By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
5:38 PM EDT, August 1, 2013
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said his comments to USA Today – in which he said that allowing the Yankees to take Alex Rodriguez’s salary off their books would allow them to unfairly skirt the luxury tax, ensuring that O’s catcher Matt Wieters would end up in pinstripes once he becomes a free agent – weren’t intended for public consumption.
In the USA Today story, Showalter is quoted as saying:
"If [commissioner] Bud [Selig] lets them get away with that, they're under the luxury tax. If they can reset, they can spend again and I guarantee you in two years Matt Wieters is in New York."
Showalter admitted to saying that on Wednesday afternoon, but he added that he believed the comments were off-the-record.
“I said it and someone decided to print it,” Showalter said. “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.”
Showalter has spoken openly about the fact that the Orioles have to build a winner in a different way than the division rival Yankees, relying on savvy acquisitions instead of hefty contracts.
But his intent wasn't to guarantee that Wieters would eventually sign with New York, but instead give an example of how the Yankees freeing up money could affect the competitive balance.
Wieters, who was informed of the comments by Showalter Wednesday afternoon, said he’s not thinking about anything beyond trying to help the Orioles get to the postseason this year.
Wieters, in his first year of arbitration eligibility, can become a free agent after the 2015 season.
“It’s something where I’m worried about where playing this year,” Wieters said, “worried about this playoff run we’re in right now. Second off, Buck’s got his way of thinking about things and getting across his point of view.
“I’m happy to be here right now and I’m not thinking at all about where I’m going to be in two years, that’s for sure.”
If Rodriguez is suspended as part of baseball's investigation into Biogenesis, his salary during his suspension wouldn't count against the Yankees' luxury tax figure, according to the collective bargaining agreement.
Rodriguez stands to make $25 million in 2014, so any lengthy suspension could put the Yankees under the $189 million luxury tax threshhold.
Meanwhile, Showalter and the Orioles await the looming PED suspensions from the Biogenesis case.
"I cant say we’re looking forward to this because it’s going to be tough on our game for a while," Showalter added. "I don’t think there’s going to be some magical date where we can say this is behind us. If you compare it to society, we’re ahead of the curve, but we’re not normal society. Our curve’s gotta be different. It’s gotta be 100 percent."
Showalter added that he believes his players are looking forward to the suspensions coming out.
"I can tell you in our locker room, I can’t speak for other ones but I think it’s the case [elsewhere], the common denominator is that they welcome this," Showalter said. "I know talking to our players, it’s not like they’re ready for it to be over, they’re ready because it kind of soils all of them in their mind."
Copyright © 2013, The Baltimore Sun