The Yankees’ apparent determination not to pay Alex Rodriguez a milestone bonus under his contract if (really, when) he matches Willie Mays on the all-time home run list has been well-documented. But as David Waldstein of the New York Times reports, the financial motivations are even stronger than had previously been realized. New York would be required to pay a 50% luxury tax on the potential $6MM bonus, meaning that $9MM is actually at issue from the team’s perspective.
Here’s more from the rest of the AL East:
- The Blue Jays have placed shortstop Jose Reyes on the 15-day DL with a cracked rib and will recall Jonathan Diaz to take his place on the active roster. As Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca explains, the injury was suffered early in the season, and it remains unclear precisely what motivated the move at this point. While it could just be that the club wants Reyes to heal up for a long season, his long list of injury struggles make this a situation to monitor.
- Reyes is not the only area of concern for the Blue Jays, whose reliance on internal options in the bullpen has started to come into question, as Davidi writes. It was a mistake for Toronto not to find an upgrade or two over the winter, he opines, arguing that the current mix of arms has left the club short of reliable options since the rotation, too, has some questions. Manager John Gibbons discussed the matter at some length, noting that the club may be asking too much of young hurlers Miguel Castro and Roberto Osuna. The division already looks like it could be a tightly-contested affair all season long, and the Jays’ relief corps is an obvious area for upgrade as the summer approaches.
- Speaking of pitching concerns, the Red Sox rotation has long been an area of attention. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe looks into the team’s league-worst 5.75 starters’ ERA, noting that the club still believes its current options will improve. But as Speier explains, recent history shows that we are reaching a point where it may no longer be reasonable to expect a significant leap forward in productivity from the group as a whole.
- With a competitive division to navigate, the Red Sox front office is set up for a difficult test of its patience, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com writes. GM Ben Cherington hinted that there could be more early trade activity this year, in part because of an increased sense of urgency owing to the spread of talent in the AL East. We have already seen greater creativity in structuring deals over the last year or so, and Cherington at least hints that the destabilization of established transactional patterns could continue. “The old saying was to take the first two months, figure out what you are and what you need to do, and then take the next two months to try and solve your needs and then let your team play for the last two months,” said Cherington. “I don’t think that it has to be that. Every team’s situation is different and has different needs.”