Let it never be said that Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter does not speak his mind. From his office at Camden Yards he dropped a bombshell that has already caused tongues to wag on sports talk radio from coast to coast.
What did Buck say?
He said that Major League Baseball suspending , Alex Rodriguez would mean that the New York Yankees would end up with Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters in two years. The reason the Baltimore skipper used was that if Rodriguez is suspended for all of next season, the Yankees would not have to pay ARod the $25 million salary for 2014. The unpaid money would not count against the luxury tax and revenue sharing, which would make it much easier for the Yankees to fall under team owner Hal Steinbrenner’s goal of a $189 million payroll for 2014.
Showalter, contends that if commissioner Bud Selig suspends Rodriguez, it is unfair that the Yankees would benefit financially. “If Bud lets them get away with that, they’re under the luxury tax,” the Orioles manager told USA Today. “If they can reset, they can spend again, and I guarantee you in two years Matt Wieters is in New York.”
Whatever the length of Rodriguez’s deal, Showalter thinks it is unfair the Yankees will receive salary relief from a suspension.
“They’re the ones who signed him to that contract,” Showalter said.
Furthermore if the Yankees fell beneath the $189 million limit next season, they would significantly increase their luxury tax savings under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.
For the record the Yankees would be have to pay a 50 percent luxury tax if their payroll was over the $189 million threshold. But if they were under $189 million, the Yankees’ luxury tax would roll back to 17 percent, making it easier for them to be free spenders.
As for the Orioles prize catcher the 27-year-old Wieters, who will be eligible for free agency after the 2015 season, is batting .239 with 14 home runs and 49 RBIs this year.
In the Yankees defense they are playing by the rules here and until the rules are changed why not take advantage of a windfall. The Yankees are ready for a major retooling as a great deal of cash is about to come off the books.
Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain are among the players eligible to test the market. So the Yankees will have plenty of cash to play with and the A-Rod windfall would just be icing on the cake.
But there is still an outside chance that A-Rod will get if not all of the money he is owed and the Yankees would have to pay it. Right now lawyers for A-Rod, the MLB and the Yankees are working out the details and that is a deal we all want to see.
Rodriguez, 38, will play in a simulated game Thursday in Tampa as he tries to return from off season hip surgery and a strained quad. ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” reported Wednesday that Rodriguez’s lawyers are in talks with MLB about the length of a possible suspension as a result of the Biogenesis investigation.