Archive for Alex Rodriguez
Via Bob Nightengale: MLB has formally requested permission from Alex Rodriguez‘s camp to publicly release all of their evidence against him. “While we believe that your public comments are already in breach of the confidentiality provisions of [the Joint Drug Agreement], we will agree to waive those provisions … with respect to Rodriguez’s entire history under the Program, including, but not limited to, his testing history, test results, violations of the Program, and all information and evidence,” said MLB VP Rob Manfred in a letter to A-Rod‘s lawyer.
This is really getting to be silly. MLB has been leaking information for weeks — like clockwork, really, every day during the 5-6pm ET hour something new comes out — but now they’re asking permission? A-Rod’s camp has already said no (as they should have), but now the leaks will continue anyway. Maybe they won’t leak the actual evidence, but there will still be stories about this and that intending to scare Rodriguez. The league has definitely succeeded at making this whole situation messier than it needs to be with this mudslinging. Crazy idea: Respect due process and everyone shut up until the appeal hearing.
Via Andrew Marchand: Alex Rodriguez started the process of filing a medical grievance against the Yankees within the last two weeks. This comes the day after A-Rod’s lawyer accused the team of essentially hiding MRI results and playing an injured player as a way of embarrassing him. Unsurprisingly, Brian Cashman stood behind the team’s medical staff while talking with reporters this afternoon.
Via Steve Eder: Joseph Tacopina, a member of Alex Rodriguez‘s legal team, accused the Yankees of deliberately endangering his health in an effort to get him out of baseball. “They rolled him out there like an invalid and made him look like he was finished as a ballplayer … They did things and acted in a way that is downright terrifying,” said the lawyer, who claims the team hid MRI results that showed the torn hip labrum from A-Rod last fall and continued to play him in the postseason.
Tacopina also says team president Randy Levine told Dr. Brian Kelly, who examined Alex after the season and eventually diagnosed the labrum tear, that “I don’t ever want to see [A-Rod] on the field again” and clarified “it wasn’t a joke.” Levine, obviously, denied the claims and says the team is willing to release the medical records if given the thumbs up by the necessary parties. Tacopina claims they have copies of “very damaging” email exchanges between A-Rod and Levine that prove otherwise.
So, someone is lying here. Either A-Rod’s camp is lying about what the doctor said or Levine is lying about what he told the doctor. I suppose they could both be correct and Kelly made the whole thing up, but I doubt it. Also, saying they hid the MRI results and continued to play an injured player is a very serious accusation. Like, super duper serious. I can’t wait for the appeal hearing. This is going to be a blast.
If ballplayers had a problem with Alex Rodriguez following the Biogenesis revelations, they’re going to downright hate the man if the latest report proves true. According to a 60 Minutes report, it was A-Rod‘s camp that provided un-redacted versions of the Biogenesis documents to Yahoo! Sports last February. This is quite a big deal, considering the un-redacted version of the documents added many names to the list of known Biogenesis clients.
If you search the original Miami New Times article, you will see no mention of Ryan Braun, among others (including Francisco Cervelli). It was only when the Yahoo! Sports report ran, almost a week later, that we saw Braun and others appear. Nearly all of the players on that un-redacted list have since been suspended, with the exceptions of Gio Gonzalez and Danny Valencia, who were cleared, and Melky Cabrera, Yasmani Grandal, and Bartolo Colon, who had previously served suspensions.
Given the deluge of leaks from MLB leading up to the Biogenesis suspensions, and their continuing case against A-Rod, it’s fair to assume that this leak also came from them. MLB has accused Rodriguez of attempting to obstruct their investigation into the players involved with Biogenesis, yet this seems to be the exact opposite. Whoever leaked the un-redacted documents did MLB a favor, since it exposed more players. Yet that might not be the biggest implication of this matter.
Craig Calcaterra of HardballTalk notes that if A-Rod did leak these documents, he might have violated the confidentiality clause in the CBA.
Like any report from anonymous sources (especially when signs point to MLB as the source), we shouldn’t take it as fact. Like any report involving Alex Rodriguez, we will anyway. I do have to say, if this does prove true it feels quite a bit worse than using PEDs.
Via Teri Thompson & Michael O’Keeffe: Alex Rodriguez showed up to former BALCO king Victor Conte’s doorstep last May with former NFLer Bill Romanowski in search of legal supplements to help his performance. The Yankees had an off-day in Oakland late last May before kicking off a West Coast road trip.
Conte, who served four months in prison for conspiracy to distribute steroids and money laundering, met with MLB investigators last week and said he initially declined to meet with A-Rod before he showed up uninvited. He recommended an increase in protein intake and to stop using a calcium-magnesium-zinc product. Given the people involved, the “legal supplemental” part of this is lol-worthy. Given the timing of Conte’s talk with investigators, I’m sure all of this was covered under the umbrella of the 211-game suspension handed down last week.
7:30pm: Both A-Rod and Cervelli were docked one day’s pay, reports Wally Matthews. That’s approximately $153,005 for Alex and $2,816 for Cervelli, who said he was “too stressed out” to report to the complex on the day the suspensions were announced.
4:00pm: Via Andrew Marchand: As expected, the Yankees have disciplined Alex Rodriguez for seeking a second opinion on his quad injury without the team’s approval. This is the whole Dr. Gross/Mike Francesa thing. A-Rod denied receiving anything informing him of the discipline but acknowledged it could have been sent to his lawyer.
The Yankees also disciplined Frankie Cervelli for “failing to report to work” on Monday. That was the day the various Biogenesis suspensions were announced. Cervelli probably knew the suspension (and his decision not the appeal) was coming that day and never bothered to report to the complex in Tampa, where hew was rehabbing his hand and elbow injuries. The nature of the discipline is unclear, but both players were probably fined. They could have made A-Rod pay for his own medical bills or something.
Just want to take a second to point you towards this great Gabe Feldman post at Grantland, which breaks down some arguments Alex Rodriguez‘s camp may use as they appeal his 211-game Biogenesis suspension. It’s a completely objective look from someone who actually knows what they’re talking about — Feldman is a professor at Tulane Law School and the director of the Tulane Sports Law Program — which is not something we see a whole lot of when it comes to A-Rod. He lays out about a dozen arguments and explains what they mean in plain English. It’s great. I highly recommend it.
Got six questions for you this week, so this is one of the longer mailbags we’ve had. The Submit A Tip box in the sidebar is the best way to send us anything throughout the week.
Joe asks: Any chance the Red Sox decline their team option on Jon Lester and if so should the Yankees sign him? Also what are your thoughts on Tim Hudson for them next year?
The Red Sox do have quite a bit of pitching depth going into next year, with Jake Peavy, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Felix Doubront, and Ryan Dempster all under contract for 2014 with youngsters like Allen Webster and Brandon Workman waiting in Triple-A. Lester, who is still only 29, had an awesome start to the season but has been terrible for more than two months now. Following last night’s outing, he is sitting on a 4.38 ERA and 3.97 FIP, which isn’t much better than what he did last year (4.82 ERA and 4.11 FIP)
Lester has not been a truly dominant ace since 2010 (3.25 ERA and 3.13 FIP), so I don’t know if he’s a guy who simply peaked early or what. He’s definitely worth examining more in depth, in a non-mailbag setting. The Red Sox hold an affordable $13M option for next year, and when you consider that Ervin Santana was terrible last season (5.16 ERA and 5.63 FIP) yet still found a team willing to pick up his $13M option, I’m guessing Boston will pick up Lester’s and look to trade him rather than cut him loose entirely. If they do cut him loose though, I would definitely want the Yankees to look into him. Reasonably young AL East proven lefties are a rare commodity.
As for Hudson, I’m very wary of a 38-year-old coming off a major ankle injury like that. He was good but not great before getting hurt (3.97 ERA and 3.46 FIP) and it’s fair to wonder how he can rebound. Even though he’s not a pitcher, we needn’t look further than Derek Jeter to see how hard it can be for an older player to come back from a traumatic ankle injury. If Hudson’s willing to take a low-base, incentive-heavy one-year contract with no guarantees, sure, look at him. I just wouldn’t want the Yankees to sign him with the idea that he’ll automatically step into the rotation.
Alex asks: If Alex Rodriguez were to get injured this year, say a pulled hammy, can he decide to start serving his suspension before the appeal is heard to get some games out of the way and miss less time next year if the suspension is reduced?
Sure, A-Rod can drop the appeal at any time and start serving the suspension right away. I don’t think he would in the case of injury because he would still get paid while on the DL. He won’t get paid during the suspension and that’s what this is all about. Alex isn’t stupid, he knows his career is probably over after the suspension. He’ll try to stay around as long as possible to collect as much of his contract as he can, especially since it’s front-loaded and his salary goes down the next few years.
Donny asks: How about Mark Reynolds (DFA’d)? He sure has sucked since May 1st, but so has every other third basemen we have run out there this year.
I can’t imagine many teams have cut their leading homerun hitter, but that’s what the Indians did when they designated Reynolds for assignment yesterday. He is hitting .205/.307/.373 (93 wRC+) with 15 homers on the year, but it has definitely been a tale of two seasons. Reynolds hit .254/.340/.503 with 12 homers in his first 50 games and .173/.272/.235 with three homers in his last 49 games. He’s been awful since the end of May.
That said, Reynolds is useful. Limited, but useful. The just-turned-30-year-old has hit .215/.333/.411 (111 wRC+) against lefties this year, plus he can play the two corner infield spots. “Play” the two corner infield spots, if you catch my drift. He’s a bad defender and he strikes out a ton (32.0 K%), but he hits lefties and works the count very well (11.2 BB%). The Yankees could send David Adams, who is unlikely to play all that much anyway, back to Triple-A Scranton and platoon Reynolds at first with Lyle Overbay. It’s probably too late for a move like this to impact the playoff push, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be an upgrade.
Paul asks: Let’s assume for a moment that the season ended today. Where would the Yankees pick in the draft, and is it a strong draft this year? I’m looking for any kind of silver lining to this season, help me out here.
The Yankees currently have the 14th best (16th worst) record in baseball, so they would have the 17th overall pick in next summer’s draft if the season ended today. The Blue Jays have a compensation pick for failing to sign this year’s tenth overall pick (RHP Phil Bickford), which is why it’s the 17th overall pick and not the 16th. New York had the 17th overall pick in the 2005 draft (SS C.J. Henry), which they got from the Phillies as compensation for losing Tom Gordon. Before that, you have to go all the way back to 1993 for the last time they picked that high (RHP Matt Drews, 13th overall).
As for the quality of next year’s class, here’s what an unnamed scout said to Chris Crawford (subs. req’d) back in June:
“On paper, it’s a much better crop (than 2013),” an NL scout said. “It’s not the strongest group of advanced bats again, but there’s so much more depth than there has been the past two years, particularly with the high school hitters and even more particularly up the middle. This year, other than J.P. Crawford, there isn’t one high school shortstop I would have taken in the first round. Next year, there’s about four or five that I’d consider. It’s all speculation, but I feel much more confident about getting a quality player this year than the last two.”
It’s still way, way too early to get a firm grasp on the quality of next summer’s draft class. NC State LHP Carlos Rodon is the clear favorite to go first overall right now, he’s David Price-esque, but everything else is up in the air. We have to wait for the high school and college seasons to start in January and February before players start falling into place.
He turns 21 in December, so let’s not jump off the ledge worrying he’ll be old when he debuts just yet. The Yankees have been relatively conservative with Sanchez so far, having him repeat Low-A Charleston last year and spending most of this year in High-A Tampa. I like that, I do think they’ve been a little overly aggressive at times with their top guys the last few years. I wouldn’t expect Sanchez to have a realistic chance to make the team out of camp next year, though that could come in 2015. Have patience. They need a catcher in the worst way, but rushing the top prospect to fill that hole isn’t the answer, especially not with J.R. Murphy in Triple-A.
Ori asks: Who is the best Yankee pinch-hitter ever? I remember Ruben Sierra being a particularly good one.
Hooray for the Play Index? Hooray for the Play Index! Here are the team’s top ten pinch-hitters during the DH era (since 1973), minimum 20 pinch-hitting opportunities (34 qualifiers):
Bernie Williams is 12th with a .768 OPS and Sierra is 21st with a .646 OPS. Hassey has the highest batting average as a pinch-hitter in team history (Strawberry is second) while Johnson has the highest OBP and SLG (Strawberry is second in both).
Johnson, who played with the Yankees from 1977-79, and Strawberry are clearly a notch above everyone else here. I like that pinch-hitting was part of their role too; they weren’t full-time guys who came off the bench a few times like Matsui or Giambi. They were legit part-time players who were expected to pinch-hit in key spots. Strawberry was awesome, still my all-time favorite player to this day.
Alex Rodriguez has officially appealed his 211-game suspension for his ties to Biogenesis, the players’ union announced. No surprise here, everyone knew this is coming. He had until tomorrow to file the appeal and can continue to play until the arbitrator makes his ruling. The Joint Drug Agreement says that’s supposed to happen within 45 days, but apparently that’s not a hard deadline and this is expected to drag on into the winter.
Via Sweeny Murti: Alex Rodriguez‘s return to the Yankees last night netted the YES Network its best ratings of the season. They averaged 393k total viewers for the game and topped out at 756k from 8:30-8:45pm ET, right around when Alex came to the plate for the first time. In terms of Neilsen ratings, YES was at 4.34 for the game compared to a season average of 2.52, which is down almost 40% from last year (4.17) and 50% from 2009 (4.72).
Obviously ticket sales and television ratings are way down this year, that’s no secret, but A-Rod‘s return will definitely help on the business side of things as well as on the field. He’s a car wreck and people can’t look away — most watch because they hate him and some watch because they actually like him. The important thing is people watch. Brian Cashman recently called the A-Rod trade his best not only because he was awesome on the field, but also because he helped increase ticket sales and cable subscribers. The Yankees seem to truly hate A-Rod and want him gone as soon as possible, but I’m guessing they’ll have no trouble taking in all that extra revenue while waiting for his appeal.