Veteran Second Baseman Could Split Time With Johnson; Nunez, Ryan At Third?

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Second baseman Brian Roberts and the New York Yankees have completed their $2 million, one-year contract.

The deal was agreed to on Dec. 17 and finalized Tuesday, three days after a spot on the 40-man roster opened when Alex Rodriguez was suspended for the season for violations of baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract.

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The 36-year-old Roberts, an All-Star in 2005 and 2007, is an option to replace Robinson Cano, who signed with Seattle. Roberts, who had spent his entire 13-year major league career with Baltimore, has not played a full season since 2009 because of injuries; he hit 249 with eight homers and 39 RBIs in 77 games last year.

In addition to his base salary, Roberts can earn $2.6 million in performance bonuses based on plate appearances: $175,000 each for 250 and 300; $250,000 apiece for 350 and 400; $300,000 each for 450 and 500; $350,000 for 550; and $400,000 apiece for 600 and 650.

Roberts raises the Yankees’ luxury-tax payroll to about $165 million, including benefits — the exact amount is uncertain pending a determination on how Rodriguez will be accounted for. A-Rod originally was listed at $27.5 million, but arbitrator Fredric Horowitz ruled the suspension will cost him 162/183rds of his $25 million salary this year, which comes to $22,131,148.

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New York hopes to be under the $189 million tax threshold this year.

Roberts will likely split time with veteran Kelly Johnson at second, while the Yankees search for a replacement for A-Rod. They reportedly could split the job between Brendan Ryan and Eduardo Nunez, or sign a free agent like Michael Young or Mark Reynolds.

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