Via Barry M. Bloom of mlb.com -
The most commonly held misconception of this offseason is that the Yankees could have signed pitcher Ben Sheets or could still sign left-fielder Manny Ramirez if only there were a few million dollars remaining in the Steinbrenner bank.
Both assumptions are incorrect. According to the Basic Agreement, and confirmed by a top Major League Baseball official, once the Yankees signed CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira, they had signed their quota of Type A or Type B free agents under the collectively bargained rules established by management and the Players Association.
All three were Type A free agents who played for other teams last season aside from the Yankees. The Yankees could re-sign their own Type A or Type B free agents without it affecting the quota.
Under the rules, “if there are from 39 to 62 [Type A and B] players [during a given offseason], no team can sign more than three.”
“Frankly, it’s an unusual year to have that many ranked players,” Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball’s executive vice president of labor relations, told MLB.com this week.
According to an unofficial list compiled by the Sports City Sports News Service, this year there were 63 Type A and Type B free agents — 29 Type As and 34 of the Type B variety. A Type A player is one who’s ranked among the top 20 percent of his group — pitcher or position player. A Type B player is among the top 40 percent. The Elias Sports Bureau does the annual independent rankings.
“If there are more than 62 such players, the club quota shall be increased accordingly,” the Basic Agreement also says.
“If there were more than 62 this year, we should have agreed on an increased quota,” Manfred said. “We did not. I think if [the Yankees] were contemplating signing another Type A player, they would’ve read the agreement and asked us what we wanted to do. They would’ve said they wanted to sign a fourth player and we would’ve had to do something with the union.”
The Yankees didn’t ask, Manfred said.
They did sign another Type A player this week, pitcher Andy Pettitte. But Pettitte played for the Yankees in 2008. The same goes for Damaso Marte, a Type A reliever the Yanks re-signed early in the offseason.
…The Yankees didn’t ask…
Brian Cashman and Jean Afterman, some team, huh?
Really, why would you not ask, just in case? What if one of your stars broke both his legs in a car accident during January and was then out for the year? Would you then, if you’re the Yankees, not want the option to make an offer to one of these ranked Free Agents, say, for a one year deal…which they may accept given the market these days, etc.?
Once again, Cashman and Company do not ensure that they have a “Plan B” just in case their “Plan A” doesn’t work…