February 1, 2013 by Matt Musico
Both the Yankees and Red Sox added veteran bats to their roster yesterday, as Travis Hafner and New York agreed to a one-year deal worth $2 million, while the Red Sox inked first baseman Lyle Overbay to a minor league deal with an invite to Big League Spring Training. Were these two moves linked to one another, like the old days? That’s doubtful, but it was a good way to start my article, right? The Yankees were looking for a left-handed bat for the DH position, while the Sox were hoping to acquire some depth at first base behind Mike Napoli, and they were both successful in their searches.
Sticking with the Yankees, reports surfaced that Alex Rodriguez‘s career with the Bombers may be over; not because of the latest PED allegations toward the third baseman, but due to the severity of his hip injury, which could be career threatening, according to sources. If this does happen and A-Rod is unable to continue playing, the Yankees could settle with Rodriguez, and not be on the hook for the final $114 million he’s due in the next five years. However, the slugger came forward shortly after this story to say he has no intentions of walking away from the game. You expect a player at the level of A-Rod to say that, but at the end of the day, it won’t matter what he says, but it will depend on how he can physically handle himself on the field.
On the heels of the Mets signing LaTroy Hawkins to a minor league deal, Sandy Alderson and the Amazins are continuing their search for bullpen help, as there remains plenty of unsigned hurlers that could benefit any team that signs them. If Hawkins makes the squad out of Port St. Lucie, he’ll be making $1 million, with the opportunity for incentives to increase the overall value of the deal. I’m still hoping the Mets make a run for Brian Wilson, assuming he proves himself healthy enough to contribute in the Big Leagues.
GM Walt Jocketty and the Cincinnati Reds have been waiting all winter to find out whether or not Scott Rolen wants to return for 2013, and they’ve finally found out that he does. However, Cincy may not have the payroll flexibility to match Rolen’s $6.5 million salary from last season. I understand that Rolen is a good veteran presence in the clubhouse, but I’d rather give someone like Todd Frazier to find one position on the field he can play every day.
The Pirates were able to avoid arbitration with both second baseman Neil Walker and starting pitcher James McDonald. Each player had a solid start to the season, and then eventually plateaued before spiraling back down to Earth, as the Pirates once again did last season- it just took a little longer than it did in 2011.
Three teams made small deals to help fill some organizational depth, as the Rockies signed Ryan Garko and Greg Golson, the Red Sox re-signed knuckler Charlie Haeger, and the Brewers inked Alfredo Figaro. Meanwhile, the Indians grabbed what will be a solid reliever in Matt Capps on a minor league deal with an invite to Big League camp (if he stays healthy).
Finally, the Diamondbacks were able to avoid arbitration with the newly acquired Martin Prado, and agreed to a four-year/$40 million extension. Arizona received Prado as part of the Justin Upton deal, and immediately stated their desire to sign the utility player to a multi-year deal. Less than a week later, they have their man signed through 2016. That trade wouldn’t have happened if Dbacks GM Kevin Towers thought Prado wouldn’t agree to an extension, but I’m sure they’re happy to be on the same page and get it done quickly.
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