If you ever had any doubt that the Yankees own New York, just look at the back page of the New York Daily News today.
Pretty impressive feat — no, I didn’t use that word because of Rex Ryan — especially on a weekend when the Jets are playing the Patriots in the divisional playoffs.
Anyway, Bill Madden and Roger Rubin wrote this morning that the Steinbrenners were “bothered by Cashman’s blueprint,” specifically that the club was going into the season with a thin starting rotation and little in the way of protection for closer Mariano Rivera. Cashman expressed confidence with in-house options Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson for the bullpen, but team brass ultimately decided that Rafael Soriano was an insurance policy that they couldn’t turn down.
Despite the difference of opinion, Buster Olney of ESPN.com hears that Cashman still has “full confidence” of the Steinbrenners. Jon Heyman of SI.com hears the same, adding that while Cashman preferred to keep the first-round draft pick, he “in no way threw a body block” to prevent the Soriano signing.
So, it sounds like Cashman was overruled in this instance. But is this really a big deal? And do we have any evidence that this hasn’t happened before? As much as we’d like to think that Cashman has been calling the shots personnel-wise, this is just a dose of reality that ownership has the final say, not just here, but pretty much everywhere.
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.