opt-out clauses

Will the Yankees release A-Rod? And what about Sabathia? 2


I read an interesting article on Forbes.com and it really made me think. I watch a lot of MLB Network’s programming and I believe it was a poll of the experts on MLB Now that I heard similar opinions that I read in the Forbes article, regarding the New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez.

MLB Now features “perspectives from baseball journalists, current and former players and managers, sabermetricians and broadcasters,” according to MLB Network‘s website. I already know this having watched the show but I thought it pertinent to understanding who has these opinions and how they may relate to my own.

Alex Rodriguez. Getty Images.

Alex Rodriguez. Getty Images.

The Forbes article maintained that the Yankees will release A-Rod by Memorial Day if he is not producing at the designated hitter position.

Out of the four or five experts they have on MLB Now, when asked if Rodriguez would hit even 15 home runs in 2015, at least half of them answered “zero,” meaning that there is little chance that A-Rod wouldn’t even make it out of spring training alive.

It’s not a far-fetched idea. Rodriguez, who turns 40 in July, hasn’t played baseball in over a year and is aging. There will be other young talent vying for his place.

Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman recently said that A-Rod will be the designated hitter and will not play at his regular position, third base,

This position is further validified by the Yankees’ signing of third baseman Chase Headley to a four-year deal as well as the acquisition of Garrett Jones as a possible DH alternative to A-Rod. Both transactions happened within the last week, around the same time Cashman made his announcement.

What all of these writers and experts are assuming is that the Yankees are willing to eat the $60 million A-Rod is owed through 2017. The Forbes article author David Lariviere goes as far as saying that not only will A-Rod be released by Memorial Day (which is much more kind than the experts on MLB Now. He’s at least saying A-Rod can survive spring training) but that the Yankees will also release starting pitcher C.C. Sabathia who also has $60 million left on his contract, if he cannot produce.

C.C. Sabathia. Mike McGinnis/Getty Images.

C.C. Sabathia. Mike McGinnis/Getty Images.

Sabathia has had his fair share of knee problems and has been said to be considering retirement but no official announcement has been made. Lariviere’s reasoning for this is the fact that they Yankees also re-signed Chris Capuano to a one-year deal this past week. He maintained that Capuano’s signing is to make him a possible replacement should Sabathia retire or struggle early on in the season.

But will the Yankees really eat $120 million, which is more than the yearly payroll of quite a few teams? My instinct is no, but the way the Yankees are trending with their signings the real signs point to yes.

It may be something their fans are not used to but they’ve gotten themselves stuck in more than one situation here: What to do with A-Rod if he can’t hit and what to do if C.C. can’t seem over come his knee problems.

It starts to make sense when you take into account that the Yankees have not once, not twice but multiple times denied that they will be going after free agent starting pitcher Max Scherzer. He would be the perfect antidote to save their precarious starting rotation.

He’s a great fit for the Yankees, who (unless they release Rodriguez and Sabathia) can afford him and his $200 million asking price. They also have Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda in the rotation but neither can be counted on to remain healthy (and also in Pineda’s case to not use pinetar – what is it with these Yankees?), neither can Sabathia – so Scherzer makes perfect sense.

Masahiro Tanaka. Getty Images.

Masahiro Tanaka. Getty Images.

However, if the Yankees are planning on releasing Alex Rodriguez and possibly C.C. Sabathia as was asserted in Lariviere’s Forbes article, that could be the reason that they have kept saying that they are not going after Scherzer.

No matter how long the Yankees continue to say that, there will always be speculation that they will jump in at the last minute and sign Max Scherzer. The same rumors surrounded the signing of left-hander Jon Lester who landed with the Chicago Cubs. Nevertheless the speculation was that the Yankees would jump in with an offer Lester couldn’t refuse. They did not.

The fact that they did not do that with Lester can be taken two ways. The first is that they are waiting for Scherzer or that they are really being truthful and do not plan to spend money on starting pitching this time around.

If they are not planning on spending money on a big starter this year, then Lariviere’s assumptions could be correct. What if the Yankees are planning on kicking A-Rod to the curb as soon as possible?

What if they are planning on eating both his and Sabathia’s salaries which would render the team out of playoff contention for the next few years, much to the chargrin of the Yankees’ fans.

No one really knows what is inside of Brian Cashman’s head. All these opinions – whether or not A-Rod gets through spring training or if he makes it till Memorial Day or if they will release Sabathia, if he doesn’t retire first – are just opinions, but the fact is that Cashman probably has an idea of how this next Major League Baseball season will play out.

I can see it all happening, the release of the already disgraced A-Rod and the retirement of C.C. Sabathia. It comes down to when, where and how much salary the Yankees are willing to eat.

Max Scherzer. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

Max Scherzer. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

The point that hits home and makes all of this seem more likely, at least to me, is that the Yankees’ have said more than once that they will not be bidding for Scherzer. They cannot spend “Clayton Kershaw money” on Scherzer and still rid themselves of two very expensive players.

Unfortunately for A-Rod and C.C. (of whom I am a big fan! Local boy! Oaktown born!) it is looking more and more likely that Lariviere’s predictions just may be correct. There’s enough evidence already to support his theories.

However, when it comes to the New York Yankees you can never know what to expect nor how much money they will spend.

I just found all this interesting as pretty much everyone is saying that, mainly A-Rod as well as Sabathia, will not be able to hang in 2015. I guess we will have to wait and see how it all goes down.

One thing is guaranteed, it will be interesting to watch what happens with the Yankees in 2015.

  • Don Schalk

    Interesting take and speculation. I agree that A-Rod will not make it past Memorial day at the least. He really hasn’t played much for two years and the fact that he will be watched closely for steroid use more than ever before, to expect much if anything is wishful thinking. Relative to C.C., he is a classy guy and if he can’t go, my guess is he will retire. It is not about him as opposed to A-Rod. My view is he would do what is best for the club and himself.
    Thanks for the article and insight. Have a wonderful holiday!

    • Jen Rainwater

      Thanks! Happy Holidays to you as well. I didn’t mean it to be CC as opposed to A-Rod! CC is a classy guy! He comes from my neck of the woods and I completely agree that he would do what is best for everyone involved! Thank you for taking the time to read my post! Much appreciated!! 🙂