Yankees unlikely to pursue Scherzer, Lester, Shields or Sandoval

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The Yankees have a reputation for going big in free agency. Last year they signed, like, a half billion worth of contracts. This year? Don’t count on it. At least don’t count on it if Bill Madden and Mark Feinsand of the Daily News are to be believed. The report that the team “has no plans to pursue” any of those big four targets, at least two or three of which many have suspected the Yankees will pursue.

Instead: they plan to go hard to sign Brandon McCarthy and Chase Headley. The Yankees traded for those two during the season. Each performed admirably in pinstripes, filling much needed slots in the Bronx and improving significantly compared to where there were with their previous teams. Both also make sense for 2015 and beyond, with the Yankees needing both a starting pitcher and a third baseman. Of course, the Yankees probably need more than one starting pitcher. Lester, specifically, would seem to be a great fit for Yankee Stadium.

Also probably worth remembering: the Yankees have a long and rich history of saying they aren’t interested in this or that player or that they have no plans to exceed this or that figure in their budget, only to go ahead and drop serious cash anyway. So take all of this with a grain of salt.

Oakland Athletics reverse course: will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.