NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – If Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is suspended by Major League Baseball, as expected, for his involvement in the league’s latest drug scandal, it could end up benefiting New York greatly.
The Yankees wouldn’t have to pay A-Rod’s exorbitant $25 million salary in 2014 if he were suspended next season, which would help their payroll fall below $189 million, which has repeatedly been owner Hal Steinbrenner’s magic number.
That doesn’t sit well with Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who told USA Today Sports that it wouldn’t be right for New York to gain financial flexibility as a result of a suspension.
He also made a bold statement, guaranteeing that if A-Rod is indeed suspended and the Yankees are freed from his 2014 salary, they’ll sign his catcher, Matt Wieters.
“If (Commissioner) Bud (Selig) lets them get away with that, they’re under the luxury tax,” Showalter told the newspaper. “If they can reset, they can spend again and I guarantee you in two years Matt Wieters is in New York.”
Wieters will be eligible to become a free agent after the 2015 season. The 27-year-old, playing in his fifth big-league season, is batting .239 with 14 home runs and 49 RBIs.
After not re-signing Russell Martin in the offseason, the Yankees haven’t gotten much production from the catcher position this season. Francisco Cervelli has been on the disabled list for the majority of the season, leaving Chris Stewart to assume the starting duty.
Stewart is batting .225 with three home runs and 16 RBIs in 73 games for New York this season.
The former Yankees manager is of the opinion that the Yankees should be penalized, not rewarded, for A-Rod’s likely suspension
“They’re the ones who signed him to that contract,” Showalter told USA Today Sports.
Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes will be eligible for free agency after the season.
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