The deal is not done yet, but to my knowledge — and the knowledge of any number of New York people I asked this morning — Joel Sherman has never really whiffed with one of these kinds of reports. It’s never 100% safe to call a deal done before it actually is, but the odds are better on this one than you usually see, given the reporter in question.
So, if it does happen today, what do the Yankees do about the fact that Cliff Lee is scheduled to start tonight? Would they dare keep him on schedule and have him go against the Mariners in their own park, mere hours after the deal? Kind of awkward, ain’t it?
Sherman says no. His sources are telling him that the Yankees and Mariners “may have a gentleman’s agreement” to not have him start at all this series so as not to embarrass the Mariners in their own park. It’s not clear, though, if, in the event dickering over the deal goes past start time of tonight’s game, whether the Mariners would start Lee against the guys who could be his teammates at any moment.
If Lee does start, would a bad start cause people to freak out and launch conspiracy theories that the fix was in? If he doesn’t make the start, would it cause people — mostly people in Boston and Tampa — to freak out about the Mariners basically giving the Yankees a night off? And heck, if he is traded to the Yankees before tonight’s game and he doesn’t start all weekend, what happens if the Yankees get beat three times and end up losing the division by a game or two? I imagine then that the Yankees fans would freak.
In the words of the immortal Johnny Caspar, it’s an interesting ettickal dilemma.
Jon Heyman reports that the Cardinals do not plan to exercise Matt Holliday‘s $17 million option for 2017.
And, not surprisingly, will not extend him a similarly priced qualifying offer, either.
Holliday will be 37 when spring training begins and he is finishing his worst season as a major leaguer, having hit .242/.318/.450 with 19 homers over 424 plate appearances.
Injuries have not helped him — he’s missed the last six weeks with a fractured thumb — but it’s not like guys het healthier the older they get. Holliday will likely be looking at a massive pay cut for next year and a competition to make an Opening Day roster.
The Blue Jays are poised to make the playoffs for the second year in a row and are playing a critical series with the Orioles, the outcome of which will likely determine who gets to play at home for that one-and-done game next week. Big stakes! Must keep focused!
Or, alternatively, maybe it’s time to have a silly, juvenile feud with the press. Here’s Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun, asking why the Jays are doing stuff like this while fighting for the playoffs:
Why, for example, would the leaders on the team allow someone to put up on a wall photos of two Toronto sports writers with an ‘X’ scratched on their face and the a message written on top reading, ‘Do not grant them interviews’ (or words to that effect)? . . . Things like: Someone cranking up the music just when the media arrives to conduct pre-game interviews.
Not that the Jays have been treated wonderfully by the press themselves:
There was an incident the other night when a couple of journalists tried to corral struggling closer Roberto Osuna for an interview, but he kept blowing them off. Finally, one reporter followed him right into a private part of the clubhouse and told him off.
That’s . . . not what you’re supposed to do.
Still, there is zero point to get into silly feuds with the media. If they overstep their bounds, there are a TON of Jays officials and, I suspect, newspaper editors, who will quickly and eagerly discipline the reporter. You don’t have to make wanted posters and act like children. Partially because it’s just a bad look. But also, because it leads to news stories about it like the one in the Toronto Sun.