Why are the Yankees pretending to have a budget this year?

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Well, they have some budget. I mean, eventually we’ll would reach a point where the Yankees actually can’t afford to meet payroll. I just think that number is way higher than the $198 million they’re claiming to be held to this year.  So why are they sticking to this likely artificial budget?

Because next year is going to be when they really go hog wild.  I mentioned Carl Crawford earlier this morning, but the 2010 free agent class really is significantly better than the 2009 class and there are many players to spend their money on next year that are better buys than Jason Bay, Matt Holliday or Johnny Damon.  Players like Crawford, and Jayson Werth and Cliff Lee and Josh Beckett and Brandon Webb and Matt Cain and, yes, Joe Mauer (who some are speculating could rake in $30 million a year if he hits the open market).

No, I don’t think the Yankees are all-in on all of those guys — I’ve often said and still believe that the Twins will extend Mauer — but in my mind this is shaping up like 2008’s lull before New York went crazy on Sabathia, Teixeira and Burnett before the 2009 season.  Biding their time — the extent acquiring Granderson and Vazquez can be called biding one’s time — until they jack up the payroll to $220 million+ and make a run at Crawford and maybe one of Lee, Beckett or (shudder) Mauer.

Not that I endorse that for the good of anyone’s health outside of the Yankees Universe.

Adam Eaton sustains leg injury after tripping over first base

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Nationals’ outfielder Adam Eaton was carried off the field after stumbling over first base on Friday night. In the ninth inning of the Nationals’ 7-5 loss to the Mets, Eaton appeared to catch his ankle on the bag as he ran out an infield single, suffering a leg injury on the fall. He was unable to put pressure on his left leg after the play and required assistance by two of the Nationals’ athletic trainers as he exited the field.

Eaton is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday, but Nationals’ manager Dusty Baker told reporters that it “doesn’t look too good.” It’s the first significant leg injury the outfielder has sustained since 2014, when he went on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring strain. He’ll likely be replaced by Michael Taylor in center field for the next couple of games, though that could be a temporary fix as the Nationals seek a better solution during Eaton’s recovery process.

Madison Bumgarner likely sidelined through the All-Star break

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It’s been just over a week since Giants’ left-hander Madison Bumgarner got a serious scare after a nasty dirt bike accident. He escaped with bruised ribs and a Grade 2 strain of his left shoulder AC joint, but there was some speculation that the injuries would cause a significant, if not permanent, setback in the southpaw’s career. Thankfully, things aren’t looking quite so bleak today. Not only will Bumgarner not require surgery, but he could return as soon as the week following the All-Star break, the Giants said Friday.

Of course, that timeline is wholly dependent on how smoothly the recovery process goes, so nothing is set in stone yet. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic estimates 2-3 months of rest and rehab, including “two months before he can get back on the mound and then another three to four weeks of throwing and rehab starts before he’s big league-ready.” It’s a long and laborious schedule, but still looks much better than any surgical alternative.

Prior to the accident, Bumgarner was working on a solid start to the 2017 season. He maintained a 3.00 ERA, 1.3 BB/9 and 9.3 SO/9 through 27 innings with the club, though his average 1.75 runs of support per start fed into an 0-3 record.