During a television interview this morning (video above), Alex Rodriguez‘s lawyer Joe Tacopina confirmed they are filing suit today “requesting federal court intervention to undo what’s been done in this labor arbitration.” A-Rod said he would seek an injunction in his statement following the announcement of his record 162-game suspension on Saturday.
“I don’t know [the suspension is] inevitable. I mean 162 games is inexplicable,” added Tacopina. “It’s not based on the law, it’s not based on the Collective Bargaining Agreement that’s laid out between the union and Major League Baseball. There’s no basis for it. Everyone else got 50 games, who if you accept the fact that there was a finding of liability, that 50 games — somehow 162 is what was levied to Alex for no reason. Ryan Braun, who actually tested positive, unlike Alex, and went on a campaign to besmirch the test collector and called him an anti-Semite wound up with 65 games. That in and of itself is a basis to get us into federal court.”
From what I understand, a federal judge is unlikely to look at a case following an arbitrator’s ruling in a collectively bargained matter. As Wendy Thurm explained a few weeks ago, “Rodriguez will have to show that [arbitrator Fredric Horowitz] was so in cahoots with MLB that it led to a fraudulent or biased proceeding” in order to get the case looked at it. I don’t know what will happen next, but A-Rod’s camp is going to keep fighting.
2013 Season: 85-77 (637 RS, 671 RA, 77-85 pythag. record), didn’t qualify for playoffs
Top stories from last week:
- After months of waiting, the ruling in Alex Rodriguez‘s appeal hearing was handed down. Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz upheld the suspension but reduced the length from 211 to 162 games. A-Rod said he will pursue an injunction and further legal action.
- Masahiro Tanaka traveled to the United States to meet with teams last week, including the Yankees. Negotiations have been tight-lipped in general, but the Dodgers “won’t spend wildly” to sign him. The $20M release fee will be paid out across two years. The Yankees are monitoring Johan Santana’s rehab and if they fail to sign Tanaka, they could fill out their pitching staff with low cost options rather than another big name.
- Despite the A-Rod ruling, the Yankees are not expected to add another infielder on a guaranteed Major League contract. They offered Mark Reynolds a minor league contract but a reunion is said to be “unlikely.”
- The Yankees signed right-handers Bruce Billings, Yoshinori Tateyama, and Robert Coello as well as utility man Yangervis Solarte and infielder Scott Sizemore to minor league contracts. They also had interest in reunion with Chris Dickerson before he signed with the Pirates.
- Vernon Wells was designated for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot for Matt Thornton, whose two-year contract is official.
- The Yankees backed out of a deal to move their High Class-A affiliate from Tampa to Ocala after receiving resistance from the local community.
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Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?
Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?
The Yankees have signed right-handed reliever Robert Coello to a minor league contract, reports Matt Eddy. Coello is a local guy from Bayonne. I assume he receives an invitation to Spring Training as well. That’s pretty standard.
Coello, 29, has a 5.90 ERA (3.58 FIP) in 29 career big league innings with the Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Angels. He managed a 3.71 ERA (2.52 FIP) with an excellent strikeout rate (12.18 K/9 and 31.5 K%) in 17 innings for the Halos last year, spending some time as their primary setup man. Shoulder inflammation sidelined him for more than three months.
If nothing else, Coello is fun to watch because he throws what amounts to a knuckle-forkball, alternatively titled a forkleball or WTForkball. I prefer to the latter. You can see it in the video above. Eno Sarris spoke to Coello about the pitch back in September, if you’re interested. The change of pace allows his 90-ish mph fastball to play up quite a bit.
The Yankees really need bullpen help and they’ve been stockpiling arms — Coello, Yoshinori Tateyama, Brian Gordon, Matt Daley, and David Herndon, specifically — on minor league deals in recent weeks. They figure to compete against youngsters like Preston Claiborne and Dellin Betances in camp. I hope they add a legit late-inning arm (Grant Balfour?) or two at some point before the season, but they’ve certainly addressing the bullpen depth in general.
Via Ken Rosenthal: The Yankees have signed utility man Yangervis Solarte to a minor league contract. I assume he received an invitation to Spring Training since Rosenthal says he will compete against Eduardo Nunez, Dean Anna, Corban Joseph, and Scott Sizemore for a bench job in camp.
Solarte, 26, has hit .282/.323/.404 (~91 wRC+) with 23 homers in 1,145 plate appearances for the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate these last two years. He’s been a super-sub thoughout his career and he played at least 20 games at second, third, short, and left field over the last two seasons. Solarte has never played in the big leagues and he’s likely at the very bottom of the infield depth chart. · (9) ·
Via Ken Rosenthal: The Yankees are unlikely to sign another infielder to a guaranteed Major League contract at this point. They’ve already added Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson on big league deals but still need a third baseman in the wake of Alex Rodriguez’s suspension.
Brian Cashman has said the team will not sign Stephen Drew, but Rosenthal’s report also eliminates Mark Reynolds, Michael Young, and others from the mix. Guys like Eduardo Nunez, Dean Anna, Corban Joseph, and Scott Sizemore will compete for a bench job in camp with Roberts, Johnson, and Brendan Ryan locks for the Opening Day roster. I don’t love the idea of going into the season with question marks at both second and third, but outside of signing Drew, that’s pretty much unavoidable at this point. · (78) ·
I spend a fair amount of my summer at Yankee Stadium and get to meet a lot of personalities. From the folks over at Yankee Bar and Grill, to the Twitter folks who come hang out in 420a and of course the Bleacher Creatures.
A few years back I struck up a relationship with (Bald) Vinny Milano after some back and forth on Twitter. Eventually he welcomed myself and my wife into the “Creature Family” and introduced us to a lot of the regulars. One of those regulars was Udi Latarre, a creature of the highest regard.
Udi was a smile, a funny joke, a photobomb and a stiff drink every time. Udi was a man who wanted to work hard in the IT industry and watch the Yankees play. Udi was a sweetheart who always was happy to see a familiar face. I only spent a few years getting to know him, but he was genuine and great. Vinny sent along notice last night that Udi Latarre passed away earlier this week at home suddenly.
Yankee Stadium has lost some real personality since the move from the old place to the new. People have critized that the common fan has been priced out, that it’s too quiet and just not the same. But losing real people like Udi furthers that great people make up a venue as much as the fancy video screens, expensive food and high priced beers. A house needs a family to be a home, and Udi was a member of a family.
Please take a moment in your day to remember that sometimes it’s more than just watching a baseball game. It’s about the relationships that come from sitting next to the person next to you and making a snide remark about the other team. The guy who starts the funny chant. The guy who might have on a funny shirt about “the wave.” Remember people like Udi, they just wanted to enjoy the game, like you.
Thanks for being my friend for a little while. Take care Udi.
The Yankees have added to their infield depth. The Kens (Rosenthal and Davidoff) report the team has signed infielder Scott Sizemore to a minor league contract that I assume includes an invitation to Spring Training as well. He passed up two guaranteed Major League offers to sign with New York according to Joel Sherman.
Sizemore, 29, showed some promise with the Tigers and Athletics back in 2011, hitting .245/.342/.399 (109 wRC+) with 11 homers and a 12.4% walk rate in 429 plate appearances. He has played only two games these last two years after tearing and re-tearing his left ACL. Sizemore, who has primarily been a second and third baseman throughout his career, is expected to be ready in time for camp.
The Yankees need a third baseman in the wake of Alex Rodriguez‘s suspension and Sizemore is as good a candidate for the job as anyone currently in the organization. He would remain under team control as an arbitration-eligible player through 2016 and effectively replaces David Adams as a right-handed hitting second/third baseman who has shown promise with the bat. Could be a nice little signing if Sizemore gets healthy and shows his 2011 production was not a fluke.
The Yankees now know, for certain, that Alex Rodriguez will not be available to them this coming season. Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz officially reduced A-Rod‘s suspension from 211 games to 162 games yesterday, but make no mistake, it was a huge win for MLB. They wanted Alex out of the game for the year and that’s what they got. The Yankees now have an extra $25M or so to spend but they also need a new third baseman.
With the ruling now handed down, the team will likely begin looking for a third base replacement in earnest. Here’s the latest on the hot corner situation courtesy of Anthony McCarron, Andrew Marchand, and Dan Martin:
- The Yankees continue to mull a reunion with Mark Reynolds, but they are only offering a minor league contract at this time. Such an agreement has been dubbed “unlikely.”
- Michael Young is also being considered and the two sides have been talking. It is “too early to tell” if anything will come from it, however. The Yankees tried to acquire Young at the trade deadline.
- The Yankees remain uninterested in Stephen Drew for whatever reason. Brian Cashman said they won’t be signing him last week. Drew has never played a position other than shortstop as a pro.
- Cashman said the team does not view Brendan Ryan or Eduardo Nunez as third base options, thankfully. Kelly Johnson is an option but his experience at the position is limited (16 games, all last year).
Barring further court action, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez will be suspended for the entire 2014 season for violating MLB’s Joint Drug Argument, arbitrator Fredric Horowitz has decided. Horowitz has upheld A-Rod‘s ban but has reduced MLB’s penalty from 211 games to 162 (plus any Yankee playoff games). Essentially, A-Rod was allowed to play out the 2013 part of his suspension while appealing, but the initial penalty has been upheld.
Rodriguez has issued a statement vowing to appeal the suspension in federal court, but his faces long odds as federal courts are reluctant to overturn arbitration rulings absent obvious factual issues, gross misconduct on the part of the arbitrator or if the award was based on corruption, fraud, or undue means. Even then, courts grant broad discretion to arbitration rulings, especially those that arise out of collective bargaining arrangements.
“The number of games sadly comes as no surprise, as the deck has been stacked against me from day one. This is one man’s decision, that was not put before a fair and impartial jury, does not involve me having failed a single drug test, is at odds with the facts and is inconsistent with the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement and the Basic Agreement, and relies on testimony and documents that would never have been allowed in any court in the United States because they are false and wholly unreliable. This injustice is MLB’s first step toward abolishing guaranteed contracts in the 2016 bargaining round, instituting lifetime bans for single violations of drug policy, and further insulating its corrupt investigative program from any variety defense by accused players, or any variety of objective review.
I have been clear that I did not use performance enhancing substances as alleged in the notice of discipline, or violate the Basic Agreement or the Joint Drug Agreement in any manner, and in order to prove it I will take this fight to federal court. I am confident that when a Federal Judge reviews the entirety of the record, the hearsay testimony of a criminal whose own records demonstrate that he dealt drugs to minors, and the lack of credible evidence put forth by MLB, that the judge will find that the panel blatantly disregarded the law and facts, and will overturn the suspension. No player should have to go through what I have been dealing with, and I am exhausting all options to ensure not only that I get justice, but that players’ contracts and rights are protected through the next round of bargaining, and that the MLB investigation and arbitration process cannot be used against others in the future the way it is currently being used to unjustly punish me.
I will continue to work hard to get back on the field and help the Yankees achieve the ultimate goal of winning another championship. I want to sincerely thank my family, all of my friends, and of course the fans and many of my fellow MLB players for the incredible support I received throughout this entire ordeal.”
For MLB, this suspension is largely unprecedented. The JDA allows for a 50-game ban for an initial failed test, but it also grants the commissioner power to suspend a player for “just cause.” Horowitz has apparently upheld a broad grant of power in this “just cause” provision, and ARod’s suspension becomes the largest in MLB history over PED use, suspected or otherwise.
For the Yankees, this leaves a gaping hole on the left side of the infield. Already filled with old or fringe players, the infield has no third base anchor, and the remaining free agent market is weak, to say the least. (Just say no to Michael Young.) The team will get to save $25 million of A-Rod’s salary, less a $3 million signing bonus, but I’d rather see a better team on the field than Plan 189 or more money in the Steinbrenner family’s pockets. The gap his bat leaves in the lineup is significant as well, and the team is, as currently constructed, worse without A-Rod than with him.
The Players’ Association, meanwhile, issued a statement as well: “The MLBPA strongly disagrees with the award issued today in the grievance of Alex Rodriguez, even despite the Arbitration Panel’s decision to reduce the duration of Mr. Rodriguez’s unprecedented 211-game suspension. We recognize that a final and binding decision has been reached, however, and we respect the collectively-bargained arbitration process which led to the decision. In accordance with the confidentiality provisions of the JDA, the Association will make no further comment regarding the decision.” They are, in effect, washing their hands of this mess and, it seems, ceding power to Bud Selig and the Commissioner’s Office. That’s a risky move.
Some fans who despised A-Rod will rejoice; others who loved him, warts and all, and loved watching him hit will not. It’s not a good day for baseball though as shady dealings and PED use remain in the headlines.