New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said on Sunday that he would rather have third baseman Alex Rodriguez on the field for the team than to have his salary off the books due to a suspension, reports ESPN New York.
Cashman appeared on ESPN Radio's "The Ian O'Connor Show" and answered questions about Rodriguez's ongoing appeal towards a 211-game suspension he received from MLB for taking illegal supplements from the Biogenesis clinic. Said Cashman:
"If it comes down to, would we want the player we signed to be playing that position without any problems? Absolutely, no question about that," Cashman said. "I think if people think there's some sort of benefit by losing that talent, I mean, you can't replace it. It's not like, all right, well, Alex is gone. If he winds up getting suspended and it's upheld, how do you replace that? It's not easy."
There had been much speculation that the Yankees may actually prefer Rodriguez to be suspended. If he received the full 211 games even after his appeal, the team would save around $30 million by not having to pay him, which would help the team tremendously in keeping under the luxury tax.
The Yankees dealt with a wealth of injuries in 2013 that may have cost them a spot in the postseason. That includes Rodriguez's own offseason hip surgery, which cost him all but 44 games in 2013. Other players expected to be key offensive contributors included Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Kevin Youkilis. Combined, those four players appeared in 121 games.
A-Rod missing all of 2014 would leave the team with a hole remaining at third base, where nine different players saw time in 2013.
Rodriguez posted a .771 OPS and hit six home runs in his limited playing time this season. He is currently embroiled in an appeals process against his suspension as well as two lawsuits he has levied against the MLB and the Yankees team doctor.