New York Yankees pitcher Cody Eppley pitches against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas

Yankees keep playing the claim game


This used to be the province of the Blue Jays. However, this year, the Yankees have taken over as the king of the waiver wire. Since the end of March, they’ve grabbed all of the following off waivers:

March 28 – C Craig Tatum
April 5 – RHP Cody Eppley
May 12 – LHP Justin Thomas
May 17 – 2B Matt Antonelli
May 29 – RHP Ryota Igarashi
June 26 – RHP Danny Farquhar
June 29 – RHP Chris Schwinden

Of the six players picked up prior to today, only Eppley and Igarashi remain on the 40-man roster. Farquhar, who was picked up from the A’s on Tuesday, was dropped today to open up a spot for Schwinder. For Schwinden, it’s the third time he’s been claimed he’s been claimed off waivers in a month: he went from the Mets to the Blue Jays on June 2 and then to the Indians four days later.

Still, regardless of what happens with the rest of these guys, the Yankees have already gotten their money’s worth for the group with Eppley, who has a 2.89 ERA in 18 2/3 innings to date. That’s because the waiver price remains $25,000, just as it has been for decades, providing no disincentive for teams engaging in this kind of behavior. I’ve always thought it odd that more teams don’t keep a 40-man roster spot “open” for these purposes. A team can simply claim a player and immediately drop him from the 40-man; if he gets picked up by someone else, the team still hasn’t lost anything. If he doesn’t, it’s pretty much a free player.

Nationals fire reigning Manager of the Year Matt Williams

Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams looks on from the dugout during a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, May 2, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

Matt Williams was voted the National League Manager of the Year on November 11, 2014, receiving 18 of 30 first-place votes from Baseball Writers Association of America members.

Today the Nationals fired him following a season full of disappointment, reports of clubhouse discontent, and Jonathan Papelbon choking Bryce Harper in the dugout.

Williams went 179-145 (.552) in two seasons in Washington, which is an excellent winning percentage, but when you take over a stacked team the expectations are extremely high and there was seemingly nothing anyone could point to about his actual managing that suggested he was doing a good job.

His in-game tactics and particularly his rigid bullpen usage patterns infuriated fans. His dealings with the local media became increasingly antagonistic. And even setting aside two players literally fighting in the dugout there’s ample evidence that Williams lost the clubhouse a long time ago.

Williams was far from the only thing wrong with the Nationals this season and he’s hardly the primary person to blame for their disappointing record, but it’s also hard to make a strong case for his sticking around–meaningless, beat writer-voted award or not–and general manager Mike Rizzo predictably acted quickly to move on.

Now we’ll see who gets to take the next crack at managing the Nationals to play up to expectations.

Dan Haren plans to retire after the playoffs are over

Dan Haren
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Dan Haren, who said two months ago that he was leaning toward retiring after the season, reiterated those plans following the Cubs’ regular season finale Sunday.

At age 34 he started 32 games for the Marlins and Cubs with a 3.60 ERA and 132/38 K/BB ratio in 187 innings, so Haren would have no problem finding work and a solid paycheck for 2016.

However, he’s not expected to part of the Cubs’ playoff roster and told Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago:

That was it for me. If I have to pitch in the postseason, I’ll be ready for sure. Happy the way the last few starts have gone. Being able to contribute to this amazing team. I’m just thankful to be a part of it. If I don’t pitch in the postseason, that’s it. It’s been fun. Hopefully there’s a lot more games to go. … If my name is called, I’ll be ready.

Injuries has lessened Haren’s overall effectiveness in recent years, but he’s remained a solid mid-rotation starter and has pitched 13 seasons in the big leagues with a 3.75 ERA in 2,419 innings. He made three All-Star teams and earned more than $80 million.