As if Yankee fans need another reason to vilify Alex Rodriguez, along comes this little tid-bid of info coming from Brian Cashman on Wednesday afternoon.
The Yankees general manager claims that James Shields, one of the most desirable starting pitchers available in free agency this offseason, will not be contacted by the team.
And the reason the Bombers — just one elbow away from a rotation disaster — are taking a pass on Shields?
Because of the high-priced A-Rod who is returning to the team and inflating the organization's payroll this year.
"We in fact had some contracts coming back on with Alex Rodriguez returning from his suspension,"Cashman said on WPAT-AM radio in an interview. "That was $21 million dollars coming back on the payroll...We'll still have about the second-highest payroll and I don't see it going any higher."
"Typically, when we're aggressive in the winter with a lot of big-time contracts is when big contracts are coming off (the payroll). This winter wasn't that case," he added.
The Yankees did spend heavily on Andrew Miller, investing $36 million on the reliever. But that has been it for their spending.
Their rotation does have some questions. CC Sabathia is coming off two consecutive down seasons. Hiroki Kuroda is gone. And Masahiro Tanaka is still a mystery as he avoided surgery and continues to pitch despite a partially torn ligament in his pitching elbow.
"He certainly may need Tommy John at some point and maybe sooner (rather) than later," Cashman said of Tanaka. "We just don't know. It's a complete guessing game. He made two starts before the season ended on us. It's just hard to predict what's going to happen, but we're certainly hopeful he can return to what he was prior to the injury."
Hopefully A-Rod has been working on a splitter.