While the Yankees wait for the Masahiro Tanaka situation to play out, and while they wait for the Alex Rodriguez suspension to be decided, they have little choice but to talk to other pitchers and infielders. Brian Cashman always talks about casting a wide net this time of year, because it’s really the only way to conduct business. The Yankees have to know their options and have a feel for the market, and so they’ve been linked to — among others — Bronson Arroyo and Stephen Drew and Mark Reynolds. But those must be awkward conversations for everyone, right?
The players know what’s going on. Arroyo knows that he’s not the Yankees top choice to round out the rotation, and Drew knows he might not get to play his normal position, and Reynolds knows he’s mostly a backup option should A-Rod be ineligible. I’m sure the Yankees would be happy to have both Arroyo and Tanaka (if the money is right), and it would be nice to have Drew filling in at second or third (while providing high-profile insurance at short), and Reynolds has the kind of right-handed power that fits the Yankees current needs. But all of these are, in one way or another, a version of Plan B.
The trick will be keeping Plan B on the board while Plan A waits for a decision. Maybe the Rodriguez decision will come very soon after the New Year, bringing clarity to the Yankees infield and payroll situations. Maybe the Tanaka bidding will move quickly, separating the contenders from the pretenders, and giving the Yankees a clear idea of whether they need to back out or go all in.
We’ve already seen the Yankees move preemptively to Plan B with the Jacoby Ellsbury signing — which came as the Yankees were realizing Robinson Cano was likely to land elsewhere — and I can’t help wondering if we might see the same, especially in the case of the pitching staff. Signing a guy like Arroyo could be a sign that the Yankees are truly willing to spend huge money this winter, or it could be a sign that Plan A is melting away and it’s time to move on to Plan B.
Associated Press photo