Let's take a look at a few stray links to round out the weekend …
- Nationals starter Dan Haren has begun to turn around his difficult season, and sounds prepared to leave D.C. when he becomes a free agent after this season. As MLB.com's Bill Ladson reports, Haren acknowledges that he has failed to "live up to the billing so far," and that his "heart says [he] probably won't be back." The veteran righty also noted his interest in being closer to his family, which makes its home in Southern California.
- With Alex Rodriguez apparently prepared to fight his reportedly upcoming suspension, sources tell the New York Daily News that Rodriguez "may accuse the Yankees in his appeal of mishandling his injuries, forcing him to turn to other alternatives to stay on the field." Were Rodriguez to pursue such an approach, however, he could run into other issues with his contract. As I recently explored in the context of a hypothetical lawsuit between MLB teams and players, the MLB Basic Agreement requires a player to provide advance notice of any medical treatment for baseball-related injuries.
- How have recent early-career contract extensions held up over time? To approach the question, Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus looked at it another way: standing here today, would the team choose to sign the player to the portion of the deal that remains? While the full article requires a subscription, the Baseball Prospectus team also discussed this issue in their most recent podcast. While some deals have clearly worked out to date, others are more debatable, such as those given White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez, Royals pitcher Wade Davis, Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz, and Diamondbacks hurler Trevor Cahill. (Also included in the BP podcast is an interesting discussion of the international slot bonus system.)