Archive for Alex Rodriguez
Thursday: Jim Baumbach says the federal judge presiding over the lawsuit agreed to push the conference back two weeks to November 7th. Remember, this is not the appeal hearing of A-Rod‘s 211-game suspension, this concerns his lawsuit against MLB. Two different matters.
Saturday: Via Ken Davidoff: Proceedings for Alex Rodriguez‘s lawsuit against MLB will begin with a conference on October 24th. This is not the ongoing appeal hearing for the 211-game suspension, this concerns the lawsuit A-Rod filed claiming the league is conducting a “witch hunt” and is trying to get him out of the game. Rodriguez also filed a malpractice suit against Yankees team doctor Christopher Ahmad over the handling of his left hip injury last fall. He’s going out with guns blazin’, eh?
During a recent radio interview, Brian Cashman acknowledged the obvious, that it’s really hard to replace Alex Rodriguez. “If it comes down to, would we want the player we signed to be playing that position without any problems? Absolutely, no question about that,” said the GM. “It’s not like, all right, well, Alex is gone. It’s not like, all right, we’ll take that money and go in this direction. It was not easy to plug holes [in 2013] because the talent just doesn’t exist.”
At age 38 and with two surgically repaired hips, A-Rod hit .244/.348/.423 (113 wRC+) in 181 plate appearances this year, right in line with last year’s production (also 113 wRC+). Only nine third baseman topped that output in at least 400 plate appearances this past season, so there aren’t many players out there who can contribute as much as old and crippled Alex. At least the guy he was the last two years, anyway. As we saw this year, finding good players is hard.
Meanwhile, Bill Madden says the Yankees are preparing for the offseason under the assumption that Rodriguez’s salary ($25M) will not be wiped off the books by suspension next season. That’s the right thing to do, obviously. The money isn’t off the books until MLB says it is off the books, and right now it doesn’t seem like official word is coming anytime soon. It stinks, their hands are going to be tied for a little while until they get some resolution, but that’s life.
Via Serge Kovaleski & Steve Eder: Alex Rodriguez‘s legal team formally requested that the players’ union step aside during the appeal of his 211-game suspension. The MLBPA serves as the player’s chief representative on the three-person arbitration panel. The letter with the request was sent to the union in late-August. The appeal hearing started last week and is not yet complete.
Rodriguez and his lawyers recently filed lawsuits against both MLB and team doctor Christopher Ahmad. The letter claimed, among other things, that the union failed to “fairly represent his interests” and missed opportunities to challenge the league’s aggressive investigation. Apparently the request was rebuffed, because MLBPA general counsel David Prouty is on the arbitration panel as A-Rod‘s representative. This isn’t another lawsuit or anything, just a request on A-Rod’s part to use his own legal team.
Via Ken Davidoff: Alex Rodriguez and his legal team have filed a malpractice suit against Yankees team doctor Christopher Ahmad and New York-Presbyterian Medical Center over the diagnosis of his left hip injury last fall. There were rumors of an impending malpractice suit a few weeks ago, when A-Rod‘s camp accused the team of hiding his MRI results. Rodriguez and his lawyers sued MLB for their “witch hunt” earlier today. I’m rooting for pure chaos.
This is going to be good. Alex Rodriguez and his legal team filed a lawsuit against MLB on Thursday night for a “witch hunt” and conspiring to keep him out of the game. They also allege the league paid $5M for former Biogenesis head Anthony Bosch’s cooperation. The lawsuit, complete with a section called “The Disastrous Tenure of Bud Selig,” can be seen here.
If you don’t want to sift through the suit for the gory details, Steve Eder has a breakdown. Selig is listed as a defendant but the Yankees and team officials are not. I suspect a separate lawsuit for the team is on the way. The appeal of A-Rod‘s record 211-game suspension started this week and I don’t think the timing of the lawsuit is a coincidence. Resident RAB legal expert Ben Kabak will have more later today.
Brian Cashman held his annual end-of-season press conference on Tuesday afternoon and, unsurprisingly, there were no announcements made. Not even a minor one. He fielded questions for about an hour and in typical YankeeSpeak, the GM said a lot of words that had little substance. The team’s higher-ups have a knack for dodging questions and giving vague answers while talking a whole bunch. Anyway, let’s recap the presser:
On Joe Girardi
- Cashman confirmed he met with Girardi “for a while” yesterday and will meet with agent Steve Mandell tomorrow to continue talks. “After tomorrow, I think I’ll get a real good feel for where we’re at,” he said. “I think he likes it here. We’re going to give [Girardi] a real good reason to stay.”
- “His effort and his efforts in pre-game preparation for each series and how he runs Major League Spring Training … he’s been consistently tremendously at it,” said the GM while also crediting Girardi for working with such a poor roster this season. “[His] job as a manager is to make sure these guys compete on a daily basis … I thought he did a great job, him and his staff.”
- Cashman would not comment when asked if the Cubs (or any other team, for that matter) had contacted the team to ask for permission to speak to Girardi. His contract expires November 1st.
- Cashman closed the press conference with a preemptive “no comment” about how things go (went?) with Mandell tomorrow. He told the media not to bother to reach out for an update because he won’t give one. It was kinda funny.
3:58pm: Both Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi have shot down the report. A-Rod does not have permission to skip the Houston trip and will apparently be with the team for the final series of the year this weekend.
2:52pm: Via NYDN: The Yankees have given Alex Rodriguez permission to skip this weekend’s series with the Astros in Houston so he and his legal team can prepare for his upcoming appeals hearing. The hearing is scheduled to start on Monday and is expected to last several sessions. A ruling may not come down until November or December. The Yankees were eliminated from postseason contention last night, so these last four games don’t mean anything. Tonight will be A-Rod’s final game of the year and, possibly, his career.
When the Yankees’ season comes to an inevitable end following Sunday’s game against the Astros, Alex Rodriguez‘s appeal will finally begin. The process is set to begin on Monday and is expected to last several sessions. A-Rod‘s legal team, MLB officials, and arbitrator Frederic Horowitz held preliminary meetings earlier this month, but Monday marks the official start of the appeal.
According to union head Michael Weiner and various reports, it’s possible a ruling may not come until November or December. That would be bad. The Yankees want to know what’s going on with their third baseman as soon as possible so they can plan their offseason accordingly. They don’t have to pay Rodriguez during his suspension, so they’d save a considerable amount of money and would have to decide where (or if, I suppose) they’ll spend it. The non-tender deadline is in late-November and the Winter Meetings are in early-December, and you can be sure the team would like a resolution before then.
Horowitz can do one of three things. He can uphold the original 211-game suspension, overturn it completely, or reduce the number of games to whatever he decides. This isn’t an either/or thing. Based on the mountains of evidence MLB claims to have against A-Rod, it’s widely believed he’ll end up serving some kind of suspension. We just don’t know what. The standard ban for first-time offenders — which Alex is — is 50 games, so his legal team will probably argue the extra 161 games are an excessive punishment for allegedly impeding the investigation. There’s no collective-bargained document that deals with that kind of stuff, so MLB pulled that “161 games” number out of thin air.
As far as the Yankees are concerned, there is a best and worst case scenario for A-Rod’s suspension. That goes beyond planning their offseason, I’m talking about on-field impact in 2014 and beyond. Even if the hearing is held on Monday and they get a ruling on Tuesday, it could still be bad for the Yankees. Let’s break down the various scenarios.
Best Case Scenario: 162-Game Suspension (or more)
The Yankees have made it very clear they don’t like Rodriguez and want him gone. Can’t tarnish that otherwise pristine New York Yankees legacy, after all. A suspension that causes Alex to miss the entire 2014 season would effectively end his career. He’s had a hard enough time staying on the field due to various injuries in recent years, and even though he’s shown these last few weeks that he can still be an effective player, it’s hard to imagine any player returning at from a year-long hiatus on the cusp of their 40th birthday and being effective. Well, any player other than Andy Pettitte, I suppose.
If A-Rod is banned for all of next season, the Yankees will save his $25M salary and boy would that go a long way towards helping them get under the $189M luxury tax threshold. They would also know they need to find an everyday third baseman for 2014, not a short-term stopgap. There would still be three years and $61M left on Rodriguez’s contract after he returns in 2015, making a buyout much easier to swallow from the team’s point of view. That’s a lot of money to eat, but it’s pretty much a sunk cost already. A-Rod isn’t marketable and his on-field value is dwindling. Knowing he’ll miss all of next year is the best thing that could happen to the team.
Okay Case Scenario: 50-Game Suspension (or less)
It won’t be less, but I’ll throw the qualifier in there anyway. Horowitz could decide Rodriguez deserves the same 50-game ban as every other first time offender and nothing more, which means he would return to the team sometime in late-May. The Yankees would save approximately $7.72M in salary, but that would be almost completely negated when he hits the six homers needed to trigger the first $6M milestone bonus in his contract. Minimal savings.
The team wouldn’t be rid of Rodriguez, but they would be getting him back early enough in the season that he could have a meaningful impact. The suspension is a fixed number of games, so the Yankees would know exactly when he’d be returning. There’s no setback during a suspension. They could dig up a short-term third baseman without having to break the bank and then move forward with a regular lineup when A-Rod returns. Yeah, they wouldn’t save much money against the luxury tax threshold, but some savings are better than no savings.
Worst Case Scenario: 100-Game Suspension
Since no one thinks Horowitz will completely overturn the suspension — it’s certainly possible, but it would be a huge surprise — the worst case scenario for the Yankees would be a ban somewhere in the middle of 50 games and 162+ games. A hundred games is a nice round number and has been rumored as a possibility. A 150-game ban has been rumored as well, but for all intents and purposes that would be the same as a 162 (or more) game suspension.
If Rodriguez gets 100 games, the team would save about $15.44M in salary less the inevitable $6M homer bonus. I think we can all agree $9.5M or so is a nice chunk of change, but the team would also have to look for another permanent third baseman. Jayson Nix and Eduardo Nunez can’t hold down the hot corner for another 100 games like they did this year. We’ve seen that movie, we know how it ends. At the same time, the Yankees would also have to plan for A-Rod’s return, either at the hot corner or at DH (which figures to belong to Derek Jeter). Sixty-two games isn’t much time to make a significant impact on the team’s playoff chances either. With a 100-game ban, the team gets a nice amount of savings but the combined headache of a) having to find a third baseman, b) waiting for Alex to return, and c) not having him return into time to do anything meaningful.
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The Yankees have a lot of questions to answer this offseason. More than any other offseason in recent memory, by frickin’ far. The A-Rod situation might be the most problematic because it’s completely out of their hands. They’re at the whim of the appeals process. The team doesn’t know how long they will be without their third baseman or how much money they’ll save. That’s no way to go into an offseason, but it’s the approach New York will have to take. Unless ownership decides to scrap the plan to get under the luxury tax threshold next season (lol), their offseason will be held hostage until Rodriguez’s fate is decided.
10:15pm: It’s a tight right calf for A-Rod, the Yankees announced. Not the hamstring. Phew, I was getting worried they would go more than two games without a new injury.
9:46pm: Alex Rodriguez was pinch-hit for and left tonight’s game in the fifth inning for an unknown reason. He’s been battling a nagging hamstring injury that has limited him to DH duties only, so that seems like a pretty good reason. So it goes.
10:29pm: A-Rod‘s left hamstring tightening up on him running the bases, but Joe Girardi made it seem like the decision to lift him is precautionary more than anything. There are no tests planning and A-Rod may DH tomorrow night.
9:42pm: Alex Rodriguez left tonight’s game after the top of the eighth inning for an unknown reason. He scored from second on a single earlier in the inning and had to slide into home, but there was no indication he was hurt on the play. He didn’t limp off the field or anything. Considering A-Rod’s injury history and the way this year is gone in general, a red flag goes up whenever anyone leaves a game for a non-obvious reason.