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Cashman on Yanks: 'Beggars can't be choosers'

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Cashman on Yanks: 'Beggars can't be choosers'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Here's a new one for the New York Yankees.

``Beggars can't be choosers,'' Brian Cashman, general manager of baseball's wealthiest team, said Tuesday.

While the Boston Red Sox have added Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino this week, the Yankees are taking a slow approach and appear focused on getting their payroll below the $189 million luxury tax threshold in 2014.

Dependable catcher Russell Martin already has left New York, right fielder Nick Swisher appears certain to follow and reliever Rafael Soriano also is likely to depart.

``I think sometimes people assume that the New York Yankees are the New York Yankees and there's no budget constraints and there aren't things that we want to stick to,'' manager Joe Girardi said about Martin. ``But there are. So I think that's part of the reason why he wasn't re-signed.''

New York has paid the luxury tax every year since it began in 2003 and the Yankees have been the top-spending team every season from 1999 on. By dropping under the threshold - which includes benefits - in 2014, New York would lower its tax rate in 2015 to 17.5 percent from 50 percent. And the Yankees would become eligible to get some of their revenue-sharing money back in 2014, known as a ``Market Disqualification Refund'' under baseball's new labor contract.

Girardi thinks moves may become even more limited.

``I don't think we'll get a true flavor until next year. When I say next year, I mean 2014,'' he explained, ``and maybe it's July 28th, and you're talking about adding a guy, and it puts you over the cap. I don't think we'll really get a true idea of what it's like until then.''

New York's moves thus far have been a trio of one-year contracts for pitchers nearing the ends of their careers - $10 million for Mariano Rivera, $12 million for Andy Pettitte and $15 million for Hiroki Kuroda. The Yankees are uncertain of right field and catcher, and third base is open for at least the first half of the season because Alex Rodriguez needs surgery on his left hip.

Eric Chavez, Rodriguez's backup, also is a free agent. Cashman said he has talked with the agents for Ichiro Suzuki, Kevin Youkilis and A.J. Pierzynski.

``I'm prepared to drag this thing out,'' he said.

Rodriguez's hip injury, detected during an examination last month, complicates matters.

``When you go into an offseason, you feel you have to address certain areas, and all of a sudden you get a surprise in a sense,'' Girardi said. ``It's a pretty big hole to fill. It may not necessarily be with one person. We're not sure exactly how we're going to do it. We'll let things play out here. It's not what we were expecting.''

A-Rod was pinch hit for and benched during a dismal postseason. The Yankees say now the injury likely caused the production decline.

``He wasn't the Alex we saw before the injury, and now we have a reason possibly why,'' Girardi said. ``He kept trying to play and kept trying to be productive for us. Obviously, he wasn't even sure what was going on. But he knew that his hips weren't working the way he was accustomed to them working.''

New York hopes to sign Chavez or another player who can fill in. Finding that player isn't easy.

``There's not a lot of choices out there,'' Cashman said. ``It's a very limited sandbox to play in.''

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AP Baseball Writer Ben Walker contributed to this report.

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Capitals are the class of the Metropolitan Division for fifth year in a row

Capitals are the class of the Metropolitan Division for fifth year in a row

You know what’s fun? Winning Metropolitan Division titles. 

No, it’s not as good as the big prize. The Capitals will never top their 2018 Stanley Cup championship. But winning a competitive division against their biggest rivals five years in a row? Pretty, pretty good. 

Washington took its fifth in a row officially on Tuesday when the NHL announced that the regular season had concluded thanks to the ongoing coronavirus. The Capitals just outlasted the Philadelphia Flyers with 90 standings points to 89. The difference over 69 games? One extra Caps game going into overtime for a single point. 

Credit to the Flyers for making a late run. No one was playing better in the NHL than Philadelphia just before the season was halted. Whether that carries over into the Stanley Cup Playoffs remains to be seen. 

But the Capitals should take pride in that streak. It’s hard to do in an age of parity. They play in a division where the Pittsburgh Penguins won two Stanley Cups in the previous four seasons. The two teams slugged it out three times in the second round. That’s the luck of the draw, and so four straight division titles -- and two Presidents’ Trophies -- meant just one Cup for Washington. 

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It’s also rare to dominate a division the way the Capitals have for five years. The Anaheim Ducks won the Pacific Division title every year from 2013 to 2017. Prior to that, the Detroit Red Wings won the Central Division an astounding eight times from 2001 to 2009. It doesn’t get you a championship -- Washington won the expired Southeast Division from 2008 to 2011 -- but it does mean you played great hockey year after year.

And to do it in the reconstituted Patrick Division, where long-time rivals like the Penguins, Flyers, Rangers, Islanders and Devils joined with newer rivals Carolina and Columbus, makes it even sweeter. Add another banner to the rafters at Capital One Arena. The Caps are the class of the Metropolitan Division yet again. 

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Nationals will not lay off full-time business or baseball employees amid coronavirus pandemic

Nationals will not lay off full-time business or baseball employees amid coronavirus pandemic

The Washington Nationals decided to use “partial furloughs” to keep their baseball and business employees at work through the end of their contracts or the calendar year.

The road map works like this:

All full-time business and baseball employees will receive a reduction in pay and hours ranging from 10 to 30 percent. If the employee’s contract runs to the end of baseball season -- typically Oct. 31 -- then these parameters apply from now until then. If the employee is not on contract, these reductions persist until Dec. 31.

No full-time employee is being laid off because of the economic impact from coronavirus.

An example: If a person works a 40-hour week, and has the 10 percent reduction in pay and hours, they are down to a 36-hour week at 10 percent pay cut.

The reduction scale slides. The highest-paid employees, like Mike Rizzo, are taking the largest reduction in pay. Then on down the line.

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The Nationals deciding to do this now allows their staff to know what the future holds as opposed to wondering month-to-month what decision the organization will make in regard to their job status.

Major League Baseball organizations remain uneasy about their financial future in 2020 since the season has stalled. The league and its team owners are in the midst of negotiations with the MLBPA while attempting to find a safe, revenue-satisfactory path back to the field.

Meanwhile, teams across the league are assessing their non-player finances, and the approach varies. For instance, the Anaheim Angels decided last week to furlough some non-playing employees.

In Washington, no full-time employee will be laid off because of this salary adjustment.

USA Today was first to report the Nationals’ overall decision.

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