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Friday night notes and links: Romine, Rivera, Heathcott

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It’s been kind of a busy day. Or maybe it just feels that way because I started it by standing on top of a building early in the morning. Here are a few additional notes and links as we head into the weekend.

[2]• With the Yankees opening behind the plate, Jack Curry made the case that Austin Romine should be given a legitimate chance [3]to start at catcher next year. “As the Yankees march toward a world where their payroll will be under $189 million, they need some talented players who are also inexpensive,” Curry wrote. “Romine can be one of them. Why not give him a chance to show it?”

• Ken Rosenthal has the incentives in Mariano Rivera’s contract: [4] $500,000 for ALCS MVP, $1 million for World Series MVP and $1 million for Rolaids award.

• Detroit seemed to be a possible landing spot for Rafael Soriano, but the Detroit News reports that the Tigers are not shopping for a closer [5] and will let a prospect try to win the job in spring training.

Speaking of former Yankees relievers, Cory Wade became a free agent today. [6]

[7]• Russell Martin is officially with the Pirates. The signing was announced this afternoon.”It’s going to be different,” Martin said. “It’s going to be a challenge but I think the Pirates have a young and electric club. There is a lot of talent there and I don’t think we’re as far away as winning as maybe people outside baseball think we are.”

• To open a roster spot for Martin, the Pirates designated Jeff Karstens for assignment. [8]Karstens has pitched pretty well since going to Pittsburgh in the Damaso Marte/Xavier Nady trade.

• Baseball America named Slade Heathcott the sixth-best prospect in the Arizona Fall League. [9] None of the other Yankees made the list, but Heathcott won a spot ahead of some fairly significant names. BA notes that one evaluator considered Heathcott the top prospect in the league.

• In the wake of B.J. Upton’s contract becoming official, Jon Heyman took a look at the outfield free agent market and noted that “a four-year deal seems well within reach” [10] for Nick Swisher. Heyman also says that Shane Victorino, who’s been loosely linked to the Yankees, already has some three-year offers. Speaking of Swisher, he told USA Today [11] that he’s not paying attention to the coverage of his free agency.

• Baseball America’s latest minor league transactions [12] include no Yankees surprises. Kevin Russo has signed with the Tigers, but we already knew that. The only other name that stood out to me was lefty Wilkin De La Rosa who re-signed with the Reds. De La Rosa was actually on the Yankees 40-man for about 20 minutes one year. He pitched pretty well for the Reds Double-A team last season.

• Finally, our old friend Chan-Ho Park has retired from baseball. [13]

Associated Press photo