So two interesting A-Rod stories today, courtesy of the Daily News. Let’s just jump right in.
The first comes courtesy of John Harper who tries to spin some Scott Boras comments as to create the sense that Boras is blaming Mariano Rivera for A-Rod’s postseason vilification. What did Boras say? Nothing too flattering:
“The brilliant Mariano Rivera, probably the only flaw he’s made in a historic career over the postseason, if he got those three outs (in the ninth inning of Game 4), Alex would have been in the World Series and he would have been held to have a great postseason.”
In his column, Harper harps on the fact that Boras is trying to blame Rivera for A-Rod’s postseason failures. Up through game 4 of the ALCS, Rodriguez had been hitting the tar out of the ball. After game 4, he, along with every other Yankee, simply stopped hitting the ball. Had the series ended in four games, A-Rod would have probably taken home ALCS MVP honors.
Now, while I can understand what Harper is trying to do here, Scott Boras is simply stating something we all know. Had Rivera gotten those three outs in the 9th, the Yankees would have made it to the World Series against a fairly weak opponent, and A-Rod would have been one of the heroes. As much as I loathe myself for defending Boras, I don’t think he’s blaming Rivera for A-Rod’s struggles, as Harper thinks he is.
But let’s hold that thought.
Article number two comes to us courtesy of Mark Feinsand. Despite opting out and despite the Yanks’ vehement and very public stance that they are through with Mr. Rodriguez, A-Rod still claims he wants to return to the Yanks. The relevant part:
The Yankees have made it clear that they have no plans to bid on Rodriguez when free agency gets underway, but a source with knowledge of the situation said Rodriguez is hoping that the Bombers reconsider their stance.
“Alex wants the Yankees to be a part of this, because the opt-out was not done with the intention of saying goodbye to the Yankees,” said the source. “Alex wants to see what his market value is, but that doesn’t mean he necessarily wants to leave the Yankees.”
Now, I have two reactions to this. First, if A-Rod is serious about returning to the Yankees – and despite my disgust with A-Rod, I wouldn’t necessarily turn his .314/.422/.645/56/156 line away – if he’s serious about New York, he ought to tell his agent to shut up. In fact, if he’s 100 percent serious about New York, the easiest way for him to patch things up would be to simply fire Scott Boras. A-Rod could then say that he received bad advice, sign with the Yanks for a somewhat reasonable amount and let bygones be bygones. That’s not happening, but I can dream.
My second reaction is one of suspicion. Feinsand’s source, who sure does sound like Scott Boras, claims that A-Rod wants the Yankees to “be a part of this” (in old New York). Of course, A-Rod’s agent wants the Yanks – baseball’s richest team – to be a part of the bidding process; it helps drive up the price. Without the Yanks, Boras loses a lot of leverage.
So right now, A-Rod’s team sure is sending mixed signals. On the one hand, his agent is trying to blame the Yanks’ beloved closer. On the other, some unknown source is trying to claim A-Rod wants to stay.
No matter. Unless A-Rod’s willing to do some major penance for the way he has handled himself the last few weeks, to hell with him.
AzFL Peoria (10-7 win over Mesa)
Brett Gardner: 1 for 3, 3 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 SB - on base 33 times in 16 games
Juan Miranda: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Reegie Corona: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI – still batting a robust .000-.176-.000 vs LHP
Steven Jackson: 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 WP
HWB Honolulu (13-9 loss to Waikiki in 7 innings)
Austin Jackson: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 K – 13 hits (8 XBH) during 7 game hit streak
Team USA (5-3 win over AzFL Surprise)
Jeff Karstens: 4.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 1-7 GB/FB – those 2 hits were solo jacks
As the title implies, Elias released their annual player rankings (here’s the AL and NL), which determines whether a player is a Type-A or Type-B free agent. A team that signs a Type-A free agent forfeits their first round pick to the player’s old team as compensation; the former team also picks up a supplemental first rounder. Type-B’s only net the former team a supplemental first rounder. The first 15 picks of the draft are protected, so if a team owning one of those picks signs a Type-A free agent, they lose their second rounder instead. The draft order can be found on the right sidebar of BA’s draft page.
As far as Yankees are concerned, A-Rod, Posada, Rivera and Pettitte are all Type-A free agents while only The Viz is a Type B free agent. Roger Clemens, Doug Mientkiewicz, Jose Molina and Ron Villone do not rank, so the Yanks won’t gain a pick if they sign elsewhere. With any luck, A-Rod will sign with either the Brewers, Blue Jays, Braves, Cubs or Mariners, which would give the Yanks a pick before the Tigers in the first round (those damn Tigers won’t think twice about grabbing a signability guy if/when he falls).
Filling the winter months as a minor league blogger can be difficult; there’s no Hot Stove, and winter ball is either over by December (which leads to me to wonder why they call it winter ball in the first place) or tough to follow on the intra-net. Once in a while there’s a trade to talk about (the Sheff & Unit deals were godsends last year), but otherwise the winter months consist of reading updated scouting reports, compiling lists, and looking around to see who blew out their knee playing pickup basketball.
I’m going to do a two-parter over the next few days, first taking a look at some prospects who don’t get the respect they deserve, then looking at some guys who get a bit too much love. The players are in no particular order, unless you count alphabetical.
If he’s going to toss a much-needed 200 innings next year, it’s going to be in the Bronx:
“The New York Yankees committed an awful lot of money to me and put it in my hands, gave me a player option and trusted me with that option,” Pettitte said in a story posted on Houston television station KRIV’s Web site. “It probably wouldn’t be real honorable for me not to do anything other than if I shut it down, shut it down or go back and play for the New York Yankees.”
Pettitte said he won’t let the managerial changes for the Yankees figure into his decision.
Sounds like good news all around. It would be tough to see him retiring going into his age 36 season, especially given his effectiveness last year. I’ve read reports that he has another week to decide on his option, though I can’t confirm that.
Honestly, does anyone not want Pettitte back?
Via PeteAbe, though he admits that it’s not official:
Pitching: Dave Eiland
Hitting: Kevin Long
Bench: Rob Thomson
Third base: Bobby Meacham
First base/catching: Tony Pena
Bullpen: Mike Harkey
I don’t know anything about Harkey and Thomson. If anyone has any info, e-mail me or leave it in the comments.
Good news on Long, Pena, and Eliand. And it’ll be neat to see Meacham back in pinstripes.
Update: Jason from My Baseball Bias has the skinny on the staff.
When asked if he was meeting with the Yankees, Rivera said, “Yeah. We have to see something.” Rivera declined further comment, telling reporters he would elaborate on his way out of the ballpark.
Rivera was one of five Yankees to file for free agency on Monday, the first day players were allowed to do so. The Yankees are expected to offer Rivera a three-year deal worth approximately $40 million.
No word on Mo’s comment after the meeting. But I think it would be tough for him to turn down that kind of deal.
Murray Chass at The Times comes in two flavors. One one hand, we’ve got the Bad Murray Chass who rails against VORP and feels threatens by numbers. On the other hand, we’ve got the Good Murray Chass who, today, takes A-Rod to task for being a phony and puts into words what many of us are thinking.
In his column, Chass writes about how easy it would have been for A-Rod to satisfy himself about the stability in New York. The Yanks named a new manager as soon as the World Series was over, and A-Rod could have called Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte to sound them out on free agency. Rodriguez’s claims of concern over the instability of the future of the franchise fall pretty flat.
Chass gets into the meaty stuff when he discusses the contract extension offer. While Boras and A-Rod didn’t return the Yanks’ calls, they knew that the initial offer would bring A-Rod’s deal up to an average annual value up to $28.5 million. They probably could have negotiated that up to $30 million. What’s another $1.5 million to the Yankees anyway?
So why didn’t A-Rod or Boras get back to the Yanks? I’ll let Chass cover this:
He was either calling the Yankees’ bluff that they wouldn’t pursue him if he became a free agent, or he knows there’s a team prepared to pay him more than the Yankees would have…
For Boras and Rodriguez not even to listen to the offer and not wait until the deadline prompts suspicion. In fact, the commissioner’s office, which was outraged by Boras’s untimely disclosure, is watching developments with a wary eye.
A year ago J. D. Drew, another Boras client, opted out of a contract with the Dodgers that had three years and $33 million left and signed a five-year, $70 million contract with the Red Sox. Drew and the Red Sox denied it, but the Dodgers firmly believed tampering had been involved in the deal.
Frank McCourt, the Dodgers’ owner, chose not to challenge the signing, and the commissioner’s office did not investigate it. The Yankees, however, would not shy from a fight and would file a complaint if they suspected tampering.
Since Will Leitch’s piece in New York magazine hit the stands, these thoughts have been out there. Chass has finally put them to paper.
If I’m the Yankees, at this point, I make life hell for Boras and Rodriguez. When – and not if – Alex Rodriguez signs that next blockbuster deal, the Yanks should press hard on a tampering investigation. Boras and A-Rod wouldn’t have sacrificed so much money if they didn’t have another team waiting in the wings to ink the future Hall of Famer.
This isn’t even a matter of petty revenge for the Yankees. It’s a matter of baseball integrity. Thanks to last week’s New Yorker, we know that Scott Boras is not exactly a good guy and that he is actively working to reshape the finances of baseball in his image. It’s time for the sport to take a stand, and if A-Rod ends up being that Fall Guy, so be it. He should have thought of that before opting out.