According to Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated, when the Dodgers put Ted Lilly on waivers leading up to the trade deadline the Yankees made and won the claim for the pitcher. Then the Dodgers pulled him off of waivers and no deal was made. Now, according to the NY Daily News, the Yankees may still be trying to trade for their former lefty with the idea that there is a loop hole that could get him on to their playoff roster.
River Ave Blues actually has the best explanation of the supposed loophole:
This claim appears out of line with what we know about postseason eligibility rules. The general rule is that any player on the 25-man roster, disabled list, bereavement list, or suspended list can be added to a team’s roster in any round of the playoffs. For the Yankees that includes the 25 active guys plus Damaso Marte, Andy Pettitte, Alfredo Aceves, Lance Berkman, Nick Johnson, and Alex Rodriguez. If any of those players is still hurt come playoff time, the Yankees can substitute him for another player who was in their organization on August 31. Since Lilly can’t have been in the organization by that date, it seems that he would be ineligible for the postseason.
I did ask ESPN’s Keith Law about this. He’s not certain about the rule, but he doesn’t think such a loophole exists. He then asked a front office guy and got a similar response. Again, neither Law nor the front office guy is certain, but they both believe that the Yankees would not be able to pull off such a move. To be certain we’d probably have to leaf through the MLB rulebook, which is not available online (though if you’re a super geek you can find a copy on eBay). But from most indications the Yankees will not get their way here.
So it seems that nobody really knows for certain whether or not the Yankees would actually be able to have Lilly on their playoff roster, but if they think they can it might be worth a shot. If the Dodgers decide to move Lilly it probably wouldn’t cost them much as they are most likely just looking to get some money off their books.
At this point Lilly could possibly be a better option than both Javier Vazquez and A.J. Burnett so it couldn’t hurt. Although I am very skeptical that this could actually happen. They could deal for Lilly and just use him in September and not October, but that seems like overkill.
If I get more information on this possible loophole, I’ll be sure to pass it along.