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Yankees keep playing the claim game

New York Yankees pitcher Cody Eppley pitches against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas

New York Yankees pitcher Cody Eppley pitches against the Texas Rangers in the seventh inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Arlington, Texas April 25, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)


This used to be the province of the Blue Jays. However, this year, the Yankees have taken over as the king of the waiver wire. Since the end of March, they’ve grabbed all of the following off waivers:

March 28 - C Craig Tatum
April 5 - RHP Cody Eppley
May 12 - LHP Justin Thomas
May 17 - 2B Matt Antonelli
May 29 - RHP Ryota Igarashi
June 26 - RHP Danny Farquhar
June 29 - RHP Chris Schwinden

Of the six players picked up prior to today, only Eppley and Igarashi remain on the 40-man roster. Farquhar, who was picked up from the A’s on Tuesday, was dropped today to open up a spot for Schwinder. For Schwinden, it’s the third time he’s been claimed he’s been claimed off waivers in a month: he went from the Mets to the Blue Jays on June 2 and then to the Indians four days later.

Still, regardless of what happens with the rest of these guys, the Yankees have already gotten their money’s worth for the group with Eppley, who has a 2.89 ERA in 18 2/3 innings to date. That’s because the waiver price remains $25,000, just as it has been for decades, providing no disincentive for teams engaging in this kind of behavior. I’ve always thought it odd that more teams don’t keep a 40-man roster spot “open” for these purposes. A team can simply claim a player and immediately drop him from the 40-man; if he gets picked up by someone else, the team still hasn’t lost anything. If he doesn’t, it’s pretty much a free player.