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Yankees Rumors and Gossip 7/15/15: Ben Zobrist, Craig Kimbrel, and Kurt Teixeira

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Throw open a window and yell out these rumors for the world to hear! We have news on Ben Zobrist, and are the Yankees interested in Craig Kimbrel? Meanwhile, important news from Mark Teixeira on the future return of Kurt Teixeira.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Knowledge is power. Or is it? Strictly speaking it isn’t, because power is measured in watts. We use watts to calculate energy use over time. Energy over time is measured in joules per second. And I’m pretty sure knowledge and ideas have never powered anything. So what good is knowledge then? Well, as we’ve just learned, it’s pretty much good for nothing.

Knowledge is hard. Or is it? Yes it is, and it’s my job to tell you what we don’t know and then to tell you what we do know. So what don’t we know? Pretty much everything, by which I mean we know pretty much nothing.

And what do we know? Pretty much nothing, like I just said! The world is a large, juicy, unknowable place. Rather than be afraid, let’s cling to the small glimmer of things that we do know. I held a paper cup with string to my ear last night, and here’s some stuff I heard:

  • Despite the arrival of Rob Refsynder from Triple-A, rumors persist that the Yankees are interested in Ben Zobrist. Zobrist would, of course, take Refsnyder’s spot at second base, and there’s no telling what the team would do with Refsnyder then. For what it’s worth, a recent report stated that Refsnyder was a lock to stay with the team after the All-Star break. This might suggest Refsnyder will be starting at second for the remainder of the season but the trade deadline is, of course, July 31st, which is a good stretch of time after the All-Star break – if Refsnyder performs poorly, who’s to say the Yankees won’t flinch and make a play for Zobrist?
  • There are murmurs the Yankees might be interested in shoring up their bullpen. Fangraphs lists the team's relief staff as the second best in the Majors following the Dodgers, but that’s a staff that includes at least one question mark in the form of Chris Capuano. Earlier today Caitlin looked at Jonathan Papelbon as a trade target; in an ESPN Insider piece, Buster Olney speculated that the Yankees could consider Craig Kimbrel an option, though the salary he’s owed – $11 million and $13 million in 2016 and 2017 respectively – could be a barrier to entry. His 2.63 FIP and 12.96 K/9 is undoubtedly fearsome, and a Kimbrel-Betances-Miller arrangement would essentially turn Yankees games into six inning affairs (assuming the offense scores runs, of course). Reports that the Padres are looking to shift some salary off their books might make Kimbrel a cheaper-than-expected pickup too.
  • Alex Rodriguez has continued to receive praise from baseball’s higher-ups, and rightly so! Commissioner Rob Manfred commended Rodriguez’s play and attitude this season, while Players Association chief Tony Clark praised Rodriguez's approach to the dispute over the $6 million bonus owed to him by the Yankees. The team initially refused to pay up, and Rodriguez instead negotiated to have $3.5 million of the sum donated to charity.
  • Meanwhile, Manny Machado is bitter Rodriguez didn’t make the All-Star game – "I’m pretty bummed out that he is not here," Machado said – and Alex gained a moral supporter in Jonathan Papelbon, who recently said, "Alex is definitely a Hall of Famer for sure, 100 percent."
  • Mark Teixeira recently appeared on CNBC’s Closing Bell. He did a stellar job answering questions about Harlem RBI, sabermetrics, defensive shifts, and revenue sharing, but things got weird (as we knew they would!) when anchor Kelly Evans felt the need to ask Teixeira about 50 Cent filing for bankruptcy (scrub to 2:24 in the video to see this wonderful moment in television history). Teixeira, to his credit, fielded the question well, offering some sage financial advice to his fellow multi-millionaires.
  • Teixeira also spoke to The Overhead Compartment about his travels around the U.S. with the team. In this interview we learned his favorite road trip is Seattle (have you not read the New Yorker piece about the Cascadia subduction zone, Mark?), he is building a house in the Bahamas, he is a neat freak, he loves his iPad (I recommend the iPad Pro for you Mark, coming later this year) as well as Les Miserables, and he would like to learn guitar when he retires, probably so he can go back to being called Kurt Teixeira.
  • Meanwhile, speaking of teammate Alex Rodriguez, Teixeira recently said "he’s been huge."
  • Let’s end today’s roundup with two items about old-timey Yankees. Ruben Rivera, who was put on this planet so he could contribute to the worst play in baseball, claims he didn’t steal items from Derek Jeter’s locker in 2002. "They made up all these stories," Rivera said. Rivera also said Jeter knew Rivera didn't take anything from the locker, and that Jeter told him years later, "I’m not mad at you. I know that nothing happened."
  • In other news, Joe Pepitone did the weed with Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford.