Report: Yankees aren’t on K-Rod’s no-trade list


We’re slowly learning more details about Francisco Rodriguez’s 10-team no-trade list.

While Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the no-trade list was written into his original three-year contract and doesn’t change on an annual basis, Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal reveals that the Yankees are not one of the teams on his list.

Here are some more interesting tidbits from Costa:

When K-Rod chose the teams, the person said, he did so based on which teams he wouldn’t want to play for, even if those teams would be unlikely to trade for him anyway. The list includes some small-market teams that would not be in the market for him, the person said, but it also includes a few that have expressed interest in trading for him recently.

This is actually a contrast with what we’ve seen with more recent no-trade lists, as players often include large-market teams for potential leverage. For example, Royals closer Joakim Soria has the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies on his six-team no-trade list.

Costa wrote earlier this afternoon that K-Rod’s new agent Scott Boras has “strongly indicated” that he will not accept a deal to a team on his no-trade list in order to be a set-up man, but there’s nothing contractual standing in the way of a potential match with the Yankees. A team that could need some help setting up Mariano Rivera, by the way. Joba Chamberlain underwent Tommy John surgery last month, Pedro Feliciano is currently shut down with a torn shoulder capsule and Rafael Soriano is rehabbing a sore right elbow.

In the playoffs, the Yankees’ weakness has become their strength

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Two weeks ago, when the playoffs began, the idea of “bullpenning” once again surfaced, this time with the Yankees as a focus. Because their starting pitching was believed to be a weakness — they had no obvious ace like a Dallas Keuchel or Corey Kluber — and their bullpen was a major strength, the idea of chaining relievers together starting from the first inning gained traction. The likes of Luis Severino, who struggled mightily in the AL Wild Card game, or Masahiro Tanaka (4.79 regular season ERA) couldn’t be relied upon in the postseason, the thought went.

That idea is no longer necessary for the Yankees because the starting rotation has become the club’s greatest strength. Tanaka fired seven shutout innings to help push the Yankees ahead of the Astros in the ALCS, three games to two. They are now one win away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 2009.

It hasn’t just been Tanaka. Since Game 3 of the ALDS, Yankees pitchers have made eight starts spanning 46 1/3 innings. They have allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on 25 hits and 12 walks with 45 strikeouts. That’s a 1.75 ERA with an 8.74 K/9 and 2.33 BB/9. In five of those eight starts, the starter went at least six innings, which has helped preserve the freshness and longevity of the bullpen.

Here’s the full list of performances for Yankee starters this postseason:

Game Starter IP H R ER BB SO HR
AL WC Luis Severino 1/3 4 3 3 1 0 2
ALDS 1 Sonny Gray 3 1/3 3 3 3 4 2 1
ALDS 2 CC Sabathia 5 1/3 3 4 2 3 5 0
ALDS 3 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 7 0
ALDS 4 Luis Severino 7 4 3 3 1 9 2
ALDS 5 CC Sabathia 4 1/3 5 2 2 0 9 0
ALCS 1 Masahiro Tanaka 6 4 2 2 1 3 0
ALCS 2 Luis Severino 4 2 1 1 2 0 1
ALCS 3 CC Sabathia 6 3 0 0 4 5 0
ALCS 4 Sonny Gray 5 1 2 1 2 4 0
ALCS 5 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 8 0
TOTAL 55 1/3 35 20 17 20 52 6

In particular, if you hone in on the ALCS starts specifically, Yankee starters have pitched 28 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on 13 hits and 10 walks with 20 strikeouts. That’s a 1.61 ERA.

While the Yankees’ biggest weakness has become a strength, the Astros’ biggest weakness — the bullpen — has become an even bigger weakness. This is why the Yankees, who won 10 fewer games than the Astros during the regular season, are one win away from reaching the World Series and the Astros are not.