I’m sorry to be fixated on Yankees stuff this afternoon, but apparently watching two teams that aren’t the Yankees play in the World Series is driving the New York writers crazy.
Lupica’s column today is about how, for all the money the Yankees have spent in the past decade, they only have the one World Series title to show for it. Or, put differently, only one “[s]ince Mike Piazza hit one into Bernie Williams’ glove at the end of the 2000 Subway Series.” But I guess a decade is technically a decade and who are we to dwell on something that happened 11 seasons out? Ancient history.
Anyway, this is my favorite passage:
Two years ago, the Yankees spent $425 million on Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett. When those guys finally put the Yankees back on top in 2009, we heard it was part of a grand master plan. Only now the Yankees get pistol-whipped by the Rangers, and the immediate thought – demand? – to make things right is to go spend another $125 million, or whatever it is going to take, to get the best pitcher out there this year, Cliff Lee.
Only in New York could someone caveat-away a one-year-old World Series title like that. It’s as if it didn’t matter and the plan that led to that title was a big fraud or something.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina is still open to extension talks during the last week of spring training. Once Opening Day rolls around, however, Molina has preemptively nixed any contract negotiations until the end of the 2017 season, when he’s scheduled to hit free agency.
Molina wants to stay with the Cardinals, or so he’s telling reporters, but he’s also “not afraid” to test the free agent market this fall should a deal fail to materialize. Via Goold:
I would love to stay, but at the same time I’m not afraid to go to free agency. I’ve still got many years in the tank. Believe me. I feel great. I feel like a 20-year-old kid. I’m not afraid to go to free agency.
The 34-year-old backstop is entering his final year under contract, though Goold points out that he has a $15 million option for 2018 that he can choose to decline in the event that it’s exercised by the team. He’s reportedly searching for a figure closer to those made by other top catchers like Buster Posey and Russell Martin.
The 2017 season will mark Molina’s 14th year in the Cardinals’ organization, building on a career that has spanned seven All-Star campaigns, nine postseason runs and two World Series championships in St. Louis. He batted .307/.360/.427 with eight home runs and a .787 OPS for the club in 2016.
Colby Rasmus isn’t ready to take outfield reps just yet. According to Rays’ manager Kevin Cash, that’s a red flag, one that could potentially postpone Rasmus’ debut as the club’s designated hitter and outfielder in 2017. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Rasmus will need to prove he can play a defensive position before getting cleared for the active roster, something which the veteran outfielder has yet to do this spring.
Rasmus, 30, signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Rays following his two-year run with the Astros. He batted a meager .206/.286/.355 with 15 home runs and a .641 OPS in 2016 and was shut down in late September with an unspecified hip/groin issue. Entering the 2017 season, he’s expected to work his way back to a full-time role after undergoing surgery to repair his core muscle and left hip labrum last October.
The Rays also finalized their one-year, $1.2 million deal with catcher Derek Norris on Saturday and will need to clear room for him on the 40-man roster. Topkin speculates that the move could send Rasmus to the 60-day disabled list, though the outfielder is not projected to miss more than a couple weeks of the regular season.