Yesterday, word came down that a bunch of players were put on waivers with some likely to clear soon. The list includes Jim Thome, Wandy Rodriguez, Heath Bell, Carlos Pena, and Jason Kubel. Each one of those players could help the Yankees in some tangible capacity.
Heath Bell would add to an already lethal late-game/high-leverage bullpen combination of David Robertson, Rafael Soriano, and Mariano Rivera (and, let’s be honest, Boone Logan who’s pitched well of late). However, Bell indicated before that he would consider accepting arbitration. That wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world because he’s making just $7.5M this year, though a raise to double figures is more than possible. That would mean three relievers making double-digit million dollar salaries and that’s not an efficient use of funds. There are some notable relievers set to be available, including Jonathan Papelbon and Francisco Rodriguez, but Bell would definitely be head of the class. He could get a multi-year deal, allowing the Yankees to reap the compensation picks (if RP compensation works similarly). Still, I don’t think Bell will end up in pinstripes. Not only is it unlikely that the Padres would just let him go, but there are future costs to consider. Also, it might get crowded in those late innings and keeping everyone sharp could be a challenge.
Wandy Rodriguez, though probably an upgrade over A.J. Burnett at this point, has a not-so-cheap contract. If the Yankees weren’t willing to work to get a deal done at the trade deadline, I’m not sure they’d do anything now. Andrew Marchand also said the Yankees have “no interest” in Wandy. Again, he won’t be a fit simply because of cost.
Then, there’s the trio of Kubel, Thome, and Pena. Each one would fit a need for the Yankees: DH against right handed pitching. Jorge Posada has hit better of late as Chad Jennings noted, but we’ve seen him go hot before, only to cool off considerably. You have to be, though, that at this point, if the Yankees haven’t let Posada go, they’re not going to. It would be awesome to see Thome especially as the Yankees’ DH–he’d be a perfect fit–but I think we’re going to see Joe Girardi play the hot hand between Posada and Eric Chavez for the DH spot for the rest of the way.
Basically, the waiver wire is a giant tease right now for the Yankees. There are a lot of players out there who would help them out greatly, but because of things like cost and roster construction, they can’t go for those players. Still, that’s probably a good thing. If they ignored things like future cost and the current roster construction, we’d see a crowded roster with future money tied up in places it probably shouldn’t be. Luckily, this team is good enough to get to the playoffs and succeed there.
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