Showalter: Yanks benefit from ban

TAMPA, Fla. -- The way Buck Showalter sees it, Alex Rodriguez's possible suspension would mean that the New York Yankees would end up with Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters in two years.

If Rodriguez is suspended for all of next season, the Yankees would not have to pay the embattled slugger's $25 million salary for 2014. The unpaid money would not count against the luxury tax and revenue sharing, which would make it much easier for the Yankees to fall under team owner Hal Steinbrenner's goal of a $189 million payroll for 2014.

Showalter, the Baltimore Orioles' manager, told USA Today Sports that if commissioner Bud Selig suspends Rodriguez, it is unfair that the Yankees would benefit financially.

"If Bud lets them get away with that, they're under the luxury tax," the Orioles manager told USA Today. "If they can reset, they can spend again, and I guarantee you in two years Matt Wieters is in New York."

After seeing his comments in print, Showalter told The Baltimore Sun on Thursday that he believed the comments were off-the-record.

"I said it and someone decided to print it," Showalter told The Sun. "It's unfortunate, but what are you going to do? ... It all boils out from the idea that we'd like Matt to be with us. We like him."

If the Yankees fell beneath the $189 million limit next season, they would significantly increase their luxury tax savings under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.

The Yankees would be subject to a 50 percent luxury tax if their payroll was over the $189 million threshold. But if they were under $189 million, the Yankees' luxury tax would roll back to 17 percent, making it easier for them to be free spenders.

The 27-year-old Wieters, who will be eligible for free agency after the 2015 season, is batting .239 with 14 home runs and 49 RBIs this year.

The Yankees will have several free agents this offseason, as they are expected to reshape their roster. Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain are among the players eligible to test the market.

After Rodriguez opted out of his previous record contract following the 2007 season, the Yankees signed the three-time MVP to a new 10-year, $275 million deal that included a possible $30 million in home run bonuses.

Whatever the length of Rodriguez's deal, Showalter thinks it is unfair the Yankees will receive salary relief from a suspension.

"They're the ones who signed him to that contract," Showalter said.

Rodriguez, 38, will play in a simulated game Thursday in Tampa as he tries to return from offseason hip surgery and a strained quad. ESPN's "Outside The Lines" reported Wednesday that Rodriguez's lawyers are in talks with MLB about the length of a possible suspension as a result of the Biogenesis investigation.