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Yankees punished for being too miserly to pay for Jay Bruce

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Outfielder Jay Bruce is a valued member of the Indians’ outfield, but he almost became a member of the Yankees back in August. Yankees ownership was too miserly to take on the entirety of his remaining contract — a few million dollars — to acquire him from the Mets. The much smaller-market Indians were willing to take on Bruce’s entire remaining salary, so they got him.

Instead, during Game 1 of the ALDS at Progressive Field on Thursday evening, the Yankees watched Bruce almost singlehandedly power the Indians’ offense to a victory. Bruce drilled a two-run home run against Sonny Gray in the bottom of the fourth inning. He knocked in another run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly against Jaime Garcia.

The Yankees’ outfield — Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, and Aaron Judge — combined to go 1-for-10 with six strikeouts in Game 1.

It wasn’t that the Yankees weren’t willing to pay at all. The club was reportedly willing to give the Mets “multiple prospects.” But adding in a few million dollars was a bit too much for the Yankees, who had an Opening Day payroll approaching $200 million and are valued as a franchise around $3.5 billion.

The Yankees will have to take on AL Cy Young Award candidate Corey Kluber on Friday with a 1-0 series deficit. And they will have to hope Bruce doesn’t punish them any more than he already has.

Mookie Betts, Javier Baez leading off the All-Star lineups

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I can’t imagine what it’s like to fill out the lineup card for an All-Star team. Most of the guys are 1-4 hitters on their own teams, but you gotta slot most of them someplace lower. Egos are probably a consideration. Strategic stuff. “Which top of the order or middle of the lineup hitter is batting eighth?” is both a difficult and thankless question.

Dave Roberts and A.J. Hinch have to do it anyway, and today they released the All-Star lineups. Seeing Bryce Harper batting sixth and Manny Machado batting seventh is just not part of the usual baseball experience:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

1. Mookie Betts, RF
2. Jose Altuve, 2B
3. Mike Trout, CF
4. J.D. Martinez, DH
5. Jose Ramirez, 3B
6. Aaron Judge, LF
7. Manny Machado, SS
8. Jose Abreu, 1B
9. Salvador Perez, C

NATIONAL LEAGUE

1. Javier Baez, 2B
2. Nolan Arenado, 3B
3. Paul Goldschmidt, DH
4. Freddie Freeman, 1B
5. Matt Kemp, LF
6. Bryce Harper, CF
7. Nick Markakis, RF
8. Brandon Crawford, SS
9. Willson Contreras, C

Not that this is gonna hold for long what with all of the substitutions.