Are the Yankees preparing for a shopping spree?

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Sources close to ESPN’s Andrew Marchand tell him that the Yankees are preparing for a shopping spree that could total as much as $300 million. Marchand recalls that the last time the Yankees unloaded that much money in a single off-season came after the 2008 season, when the Yankees committed a total of $423 million to CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, and A.J. Burnett.

The Yankees are expected to push for Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka and many believe they will eventually bring second baseman Robinson Cano back after he deflates his price. As their catching situation is a bit of a mess, Brian McCann would make some sense. They have had their eye on veteran outfielder Carlos Beltran as well.

With Alex Rodriguez’s future up in the air as his legal battles are pending, Derek Jeter’s health a gigantic question mark, and having watched Mariano Rivera walk into retirement, the Yankees want to do something to generate renewed interest in the organization. It will be tough to do that if they stand pat with a team that finished in a tie for third place in the AL East with an 85-77 record.

Rays to start relievers in all three games of weekend series with Orioles

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays will start a reliever in each of the three games of the club’s weekend series at home against the Orioles. Sergio Romo will start Friday, Ryne Stanek will start Saturday, and Romo will start again Sunday. The Orioles’ starters are TBA at the moment.

This continues the trend that drew attention last weekend, resulting in Angels third baseman calling the strategy “bad for baseball.” I wrote about the potential labor impacts of this strategy as well. The Rays did it against the Angels because they had a right-hander-heavy top of the lineup and didn’t want lefty Ryan Yarbrough to have to face that top of the lineup three times.

The O’s have a righty-heavy top of the lineup as well, as various combinations of Trey Mancini, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, and Jonathan Schoop have batted 1-2-3-4 for most of the season. Romo has limited right-handers to a .702 OPS this season.