Unexpected off-day brings more questions for Yankees

The New York Yankees live to see another day, but only by the grace of the weather in Detroit, as Game 4 of the American League Championship Series was postponed before the rain ever began. How do we fill space when there is no game to report on? Speculation fueled by rumors and injury news of course!

The biggest “news” of the day surrounded Keith Olbermann’s assertion that the Miami Marlins have had discussions with the Yankees about a possible Alex Rodriguez trade. It goes without saying that the penny pinching Marlins would only be amiable to such a move if the Yankees were picking up all or most of the salary. Have the Yankees soured so much and so quickly on Rodriguez that they would pay up to $114 million for him NOT to play in New York?

Alex Rodriguez is surrounded by reporters after a rumor about the Yankees speaking with the Miami Marlins about receiving A-Rod in a trade surfaced. (Image: John Munson/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE)

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman claimed there was nothing to the rumor. But what is he going to say now in the middle of the ALCS? ESPN New York reporters cited a source later that suggested there was an informal discussion between Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and Yankees President Randy Levine in which Loria said he’s love to have A-Rod in Miami and Levine’s response was, “You can have him.”

The obvious fit here is Rodriguez makes a home in Miami and is a product of the area. The Marlins could use A-Rod for a draw and for him there would be much less scrutiny on his every move. Plus, the team would instantly become “his”. Don’t let Rodriguez’s ‘team first’ verbiage during interviews and press conferences fool you, this is a me first guy and maybe the way he’s been treated in the postseason is going to give him a reason to waive his 10 and 5 status rights as well as the stone-clad anti-trade clause in his albatross contract.

It is easy to see that the Yankees have a new view on Rodriguez and maybe have used the postseason and September slump as a means to the end. One thing is for certain, it is going to be an interesting offseason where A-Rod and the Yankees are concerned. There is either going to be a major move or some major hand-holding to squelch any bad feelings on Rodriguez’s part.

Rodriguez is no longer hiding behind his thoughts.

“I’ve played this game for a long time and bottom line is, anytime I’m in any lineup, I think that lineup is better,” Rodriguez said. “It has a better chance to win. I don’t care if it’s an All-Star Game. “I feel I can bring that type of impact, and I’m also at any point ready to break through. I thought my at-bats in some of those games got a little bit better. The last two [in Game 3], I hit two rockets. Anytime I’m in the box, the game can change, and everyone knows that.”

Will Jeter be ready for Spring Training?
Derek Jeter could be recovering from ankle surgery for as long as four-five months. The surgery is to be performed on Saturday. (Image: John Munson/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE)

We learned yesterday that Derek Jeter will undergo surgery on his fractured ankle in October 20 under the care of Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C. The initial time frame announced by the Yankees after the injury and Jeter’s initial workup was three months. Dr. Anderson, now that surgery has been elected, has moved that span to four to five months, which the team believes is intentionally conservative.

Four months of rehab would have Jeter ready by February 20, in and around the time Spring Training begins. We know that Jeter has usually reported to Tampa prior to the official start of Spring Training, but he with this time frame, he may not have the ability to resume baseball activities when he would normally do so. If the recovery period lasts five months, the exhibition season will be half over and would put Jeter’s Opening Day at risk. As of now the Yankees believe he will be ready for Spring Training, but at 38 years old they have no idea how he will respond to treatment.

The rainout adversely affects Yankees

In the dare to dream category, the Yankees envisioned using CC Sabathia on three days’ rest should the team figure out a way to leave their offensive issues behind them and win three straight from the Tigers. Sabathia was to start last night’s game, but will now start Game 4 this afternoon. He would be on just two days rest should the Yankees make it to a seventh game and it is safe to say doing that to their best pitcher, a major asset to the team, is not going to happen. Phil Hughes would be on turn, but he left Game 3 with a stiff back. However, he was cleared yesterday to pitch when and if necessary. The other alternative could be David Phelps for a Game 7 start, but obviously the Yankees do not want to get too far ahead of themselves. Regardless, Detroit would be able to use Justin Verlander on regular rest (this was already the case) and a Verlander vs. Hughes or Phelps matchup is much different than a Verlander vs. Sabathia battle. Anyway, the Yankees have a major uphill climb to get that far and are right now focused on winning one game at a time.

There is very little chance CC Sabathia would be able to pitch in a Game 7, if the Yankees figured out a way to get that far in the series, after yesterday’s rainout. (Image: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE)

The other way the rainout did not help the Yankees is that it gave Max Scherzer an extra day of rest. Scherzer will be on the mound for the first time since October 10. Scherzer has been limited in his time on the mound and the number of pitches he’s thrown over the last several weeks due to a sore right shoulder, which is apparently no longer an issue, other than rebuilding his stamina. One more day could mean one more inning the Yankees would have to face the talented hurler instead of a mediocre middle relief corps. On the bright side it is possible the extra time has an adverse affect on his precision.

Lastyl, one has to wonder if Joe Girardi has any second thoughts with his lineup for today after a full night to think it over. There is nothing that says he has to use the lineup he had in store yesterday which included the benching of Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson. Stranger things have happened where it concerns the lineup in this postseason alone. I doubt anything is going to change unless A-Rod took the opportunity to speak with Girardi about his role and work his way into the lineup. We’ll see by mid-afternoon as the Yankees take their first step in trying to stave off elimination.