(Reuters) - Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter believes the New York Yankees could end up as the big winners if slugger Alex Rodriguez was given a lengthy suspension by MLB commissioner Bud Selig.
With speculation rife that Rodriguez was facing a long ban for his alleged involvement in Major League Baseball's Biogenesis doping scandal, Showalter thinks the Yankees would ultimately benefit from an extended suspension.
If Rodriguez was suspended for the entire 2014 season, the Yankees would not have to pay his $25 million annual salary, helping them to reduce their overall payroll under the $189 million luxury tax threshold.
Buck Showalter told USA Today that would enable the Yankees to go on a spending spree and he feared one of their first targets would be the Orioles catcher Matt Wieters.
"If Bud lets them get away with that, they're under the luxury tax," Showalter told USA Today.
"If they can reset, they can spend again, and I guarantee you in two years Matt Wieters is in New York."
The MLB has not made any announcements on what penalties may be imposed when their investigation is complete but Showalter said it would be unfair if the Yankees got some relief because one of their players was involved.
"They're the ones who signed him to that contract," Showalter said.
Should the Yankees' 2014 payroll exceed $189 million they would be subject to a 50 percent luxury tax on the excess.
Wieters, a 27-year-old, switch-hitting catcher, will be eligible for free agency after the 2015 season and has helped power Baltimore with 14 homers and 49 runs batted in this year.
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Julian linden)