Sports Commentary 7/31/13
The state of the Yankees at the Trade Deadline…
A-ROD AND HIS COHORTS
The Yankees probably didn’t expect it to be this bad, but they probably didn’t expect it to be this good either. At some point this season they expected to have their entire 25 man roster available. They certainly didn’t expect to go virtually the whole season without Mark Texeira, Curtis Granderson, Kevin Youkilis, Francisco Cervelli, Michael Pineda and Alex Rodriquez, and most of the way without captain Derek Jeter while myriad lesser, but, in light of the injuries, necessary players were also lost for major parts of the season. It was worse than the Yankees could have imagined. Even with one of the best pitching staffs in baseball, by the time they get as healthy as they can expect to be, their chances for post season play are likely to have already gone off the board. Stuff happens. The Yankees probably expected they would be buried under Rodriquez’s contract for all of the final five years. Funny how things work out. The Yankees can’t be considered clean in all of this. Before they signed the extension with A-Rod, which GM Brian Cashman swears he opposed, he had already been outed in baseball’s “gang of 100”, the players who tested positive during the 2003 test case, and he’d admitted to using P-E-D’s during his years with the Texas Rangers. But, somehow, it appears the Yanks are going to get out of this with a bonus. A-Rod is not among the dozen players with whom Major League Baseball has worked out a suspension agreement, they feel they’ve got him for more, including labor violations that include recruiting players for the Biogenisis lab and obstructing the investigation, which, at the very least, would remove him as a Yankee headach for the remainder of the season, making him ineligible to play even as an appeal is heard. It turns out that Cashman, by keeping A-Rod in rehab, played his cards right, keeping him away from the team, and he may never play for the Yankees again. The distraction has been kept to a minimum. The Yankees meanwhile, have kept their financial output under the luxury tax level, which could save them upways of $30 million. If baseball has the goods on A-Rod and he accepts a year and a half suspension to make it go away he’d be eligible to recieve the final three years of his contract, about $61 million, but his salary over the suspension, about 40 mil, would return to the Yankees while also not being counted against the salary cap. If A-Rod appeals, loses and gets a lifetime ban, the Yankees stand to get a cool $100 million back, as well as the inherent luxury tax relief. Suddenly a team with some of the best pitching in baseball that has been unable to support it with offense will have a glutton’s share of luxury tax free money to instantly produce a very prodigious lineup and their absence from the post season isn’t likely to be a long one. The other undeserving winner in all this, who’s hands certainly aren’t clean, not after a decade and a half of a wink and a smile approach that created the current drug monster that will continue to permeate baseball regardless of getting A-Rod and at least three of this year’s all stars, is Bud Selig. All he needs is about six months to a year of the false perception getting A-Rod will generate to allow him to find the exit with his legacy intact. They’re all partners in the same crime. It’s disheartening to see some of them actually being rewarded for their complicity. Oh, what a tangled web. With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.