Suspended New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez's hip injury two years ago triggered a two-year pursuit of former San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley, per Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.
"Yankees GM Brian Cashman admitted today that the acquisition of Chase Headley was the culmination of a two-year pursuit that began when Alex Rodriguez had his second hip surgery before the start of the 2012 season.
"But by no means does he consider the 2014 Yankees a finished product.
"'I have more work to do,' he said. 'I'm still going to continue to try to improve on what we have.'
"In the past couple of weeks, Cashman has added a starting pitcher, Brandon McCarthy, and Headley without giving up very much. McCarthy came for Vidal Nuno and Headley for Yangervis Solarte, the April sensation, and a low-level minor league pitching prospect named Rafael De Paula.
"But he knows that will not be enough to get the Yankees to October, especially if Mark Teixiera's lat injury turns out to be a long-term problem -- Cashman doesn't think it will -- and if the non-surgical course of action chosen for Masahiro Tanaka's partially-torn UCL turns out not to work.
"Asked if he thought the Yankees as currently constituted were good enough to make the postseason, Cashman said, 'We'll see,' which in our experience generally means 'no.'
"'We're competing for it,' he said. 'I think all of us individually have to focus on what we can do. The 25 guys that are in there have to focus on putting out the best performance they can and being in a position to do so on a daily basis.
"That's all they can do. All I can do is try to provide our manager and coaching staff the best 25 guys to go out there and compete every day. I'm going to focus on that aspect, let them focus on their aspect and hopefully all of it collectively becomes good enough in the last 2 1/2 months or wherever we're at. That's the focus for me.'"
Back in February, Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) executive director Tony Clark told MLB.com's Adam Berry on July 24 that he expects Rodriguez to serve the remainder of his 162-games suspension this season and suit up for the Yankees in 2015:
"Alex Rodriguez won't play for the Yankees in 2014, but he is once again a member in good standing with the Major League Baseball Players Association, new executive director Tony Clark said Monday.
"Clark expects Rodriguez to serve his 162-game suspension and return to the Yankees in 2015, and he doesn't anticipate any retribution from Rodriguez's fellow players.
"Rodriguez withdrew his lawsuits against the Players Association and Major League Baseball earlier this month after appealing his initial 211-game suspension. That penalty, for his use of performance-enhancing substances and his involvement with the now-shuttered Biogenesis anti-aging clinic, was dropped to 162 games by arbitrator Fredric Horowtiz.
"Clark said he hasn't spoken with Rodriguez, but he doesn't think A-Rod needs to address the issue any further in order to return.
"'The page has been turned,' said Clark, who stopped by George M. Steinbrenner Field for the MLBPA's annual closed-door meeting with the players in the Yankees' clubhouse and met with reporters for about 20 minutes afterward.
"'Our membership is our membership. Alex is a member of the Players Association,' Clark said. 'He will serve the penalty that he's been given by the arbitrator. He will come back in Spring Training ready to go, wherever that happens to be. He's under contract to the Yankees. I would expect him to be in camp with the Yankees. Am I concerned about anything beyond that? No.'
"Clark wouldn't comment on anything specific that the MLBPA representatives discussed with the Yankees during Monday's meeting, but he acknowledged that the Biogenesis suspensions and the Joint Drug Agreement were among the topics of conversation.
"Clark's predecessor, the late Michael Weiner, said after last year's meeting that he was skeptical of the Yankees' goal to keep their 2014 payroll under the $189 million luxury tax threshold. Clark said he was pleased to see that Weiner, a close friend, was right as the Yankees went on an offseason spending spree to bolster their roster.
"'We always like to see clubs making decisions that they inevitably feel are going to help them be the last team standing,' Clark said. 'Obviously the New York Yankees are a special group, and them continuing to make decisions that they hope are going to have them be the last team standing, we always enjoy seeing, as we do with a lot of other teams who are interested in being that final team.'"