In case you hadn't already heard, the ruling on A-Rod's appeal came in - the controversy-magnetic 3B will not be allowed to play in 2014, and the Yankees no longer have to pay him $25M+.
But what does this mean for the Yanks, and for the market in general?
Well, the first thing is that the Yankees are now under $189M counting against the luxury tax, which was Hal Steinbrenner's goal all along. It also means they have a free spot on the 40-man roster, which also means that Brian Roberts's contract can become official. And it also mean the Yankees lack a third baseman.
At the moment, now, the Yankees have the following infielders - Derek Jeter, Brendan Ryan, Kelly Johnson, Brian Roberts, Eduardo Nunez, and Mark Teixeira. Assuming Johnson and Roberts platoon at second, that leaves for third base....Eduardo Nunez...That sound you hear is thousands of Yankees fans simultaneously gasping in fear at the thought of another error-filled season on the left side of the infield.
Furthermore, the Yankees are obviously in the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes, and reports indicate that the star Japanese pitcher has New York in his list of top teams. Now, if the Yanks were to sign Tanaka, all the thought of getting under the luxury tax threshold would be gone immediately, as they would simply be using A-Rod's 2014 salary to pay for Tanaka's 2014 salary. There is such a big whole in the starting rotation for the Yankees I simply cannot see how they would not go after him, so at this point, expect Project Smart-Spending to be out the window.
Which brings us to the free agent market's third base options, which are...Michael Young, Mark Reynolds, and then nobody worth your time. Neither would be full-time players, and the infield would be a messy platoon outside of first base, with Kelly Johnson getting the lion's share of the playing time. There is another option, however, albeit more expensive - at this point, Stephen Drew may be willing to shift positions, given his ridiculously low number of suitors. Unlikely, but with the A-Rod money now available, anything's possible.
In any case, nothing is certain right now but this - A-Rod's suspension may answer one question, but opens up another twelve cans of worms.
What do you guys think?