Alex Rodriguez Rumors

Quick Hits: Magic, Girardi, Pirates, Bailey

Magic Johnson's candor about the Dodgers likely not pursuing Robinson Cano this offseason has led Major League Baseball to look into Johnson's comments, ESPN's Buster Olney reports.  Officials on other teams aren't allowed to publicly discuss players who haven't officially become free agents yet, especially in cases where a player's market value could be affected.  General managers around the league told Olney that "their comments were watched more closely over the last year than in any time in recent memory," so Johnson could face some type of penalty for his remarks.

Here are some news items as we end another exciting day of four playoff games…

  • Joe Girardi "apparently remains torn" if he's going to accept the Yankees' extension offer or explore other manager jobs, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.  The Yankees "have made it clear" that they could pull back their offer if Girardi talks to other clubs, something he's not allowed to do until the end of the month since the Yankees aren't granting other teams permission to negotiate with their manager.  One such team, the Cubs, expect to learn by tomorrow if Girardi is staying in New York, a source tells Wittenmyer.
  • The Pirates want to keep Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez over the long term, team president Frank Coonelly tells MLB.com's Tom Singer.  Coonelly also discusses the Francisco Liriano signing, the farm system and other topics during the interview.
  • "It wouldn't be shocking" if the Reds traded Homer Bailey to create some payroll space, MLB.com's Mark Sheldon opines.  Bailey earned $5.3MM last season and MLBTR's Matt Swartz projects that he could earn $9.3MM in arbitration.  Though Bailey has been one of the Reds' best pitchers over the last two years, he "has shown little interest in signing" a multiyear deal with the team, Sheldon writes, so the Reds could move him now before possibly losing him in free agency after next season.
  • Major League Baseball has filed a motion requesting that Alex Rodriguez's lawsuit against the league be moved to a federal court, and if the move is granted, MLB will likely file a motion to dismiss the suit, Newsday's Steven Marcus reports.
  • The Indians have a number of things to do before Opening Day 2014, writes Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  Hoynes' list includes adding an impact bat, adding at least one quality starter, bolstering the relief corps and locking up Justin Masterson to a long-term deal.
  • It once seemed unusual, but now its the norm for playoff teams to turn to inexperienced pre-arbitration eligible players, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca writes.  Among the 24 pre-arb hurlers in this year's postseason are Michael Wacha, Jarrod Parker and Alex Cobb, all of whom started today for their respective teams.

MLBTR's Zach Links contributed to this post


Alex Rodriguez Asked MLBPA Not To Represent Him

In August, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez's lawyers wrote a letter to the Major League Baseball Players Association requesting that it stop representing him, Serge F. Kovaleski and Steve Eder of the New York Times report. The letter, which the Times acquired only recently, shows Rodriguez as suspicious not only of Major League Baseball and the arbitration system, but also of the players' union, Kovaleski and Eder suggest.

The letter claims that the MLBPA did not "fairly represent [Rodriguez's] interests" in the Biogenesis investigation. Rodriguez's attorneys also claim that MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner did Rodriguez a disservice by suggesting in a radio interview that Rodriguez should have accepted a suspension.

The MLBPA has "has made matters worse by failing to protest M.L.B.’s thuggish tactics in its investigation, including paying individuals to produce documents and to testify on M.L.B.’s behalf, and bullying and intimidating those individuals who refuse to cooperate with their ‘witch hunt’ against the players — indeed principally Mr. Rodriguez," according to the letter.

The MLBPA's David Prouty still participated in representing Rodriguez in arbitration hearings this month. Rodriguez continues to fight his 211-game suspension for his role in the Biogenesis scandal.


Alex Rodriguez Sues Major League Baseball

11:14am: Major League Baseball has issued a statement in which it "vehemently denies" Rodriguez's allegations. MLB also calls Rodriguez's lawsuit is a "desperate attempt to circumvent the circumvent the Collective Bargaining Agreement" and distract from the real issue, which is whether or not he used Testosterone and HGH over multiple years and violated the Basic Agreement by attempting to interfere with the Biogenesis investigation.

10:01am: Alex Rodriguez has filed a lawsuit against Major League Baseball, accusing MLB of buying the cooperation of Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch to further a "witch hunt" to push him out of the game permanently, according to Steve Eder, Serge Kovaleski, and Benjamin Weiser of the New York Times.

The lawsuit claims that an investigator paid $150K for stolen records pertaining to Rodriguez (part of which was reportedly exchanged in a paper bag at a Fort Lauderdale restaurant). The lawsuit also claims that MLB has paid Bosch as much as $5MM for his cooperation in addition to promising to provide him security, cover his legal bills and indemnify him from civil liability. Rodriguez is quoted as stating that this lawsuit is separate from the ongoing arbitration hearing regarding his 211-game suspension:

"The entire legal dynamic is very complex, and my legal team is doing what they need to in order to vindicate me and pursue all of my rights. This matter is entirely separate from the ongoing arbitration.  I look forward to the arbitration proceedings continuing, and for the day to come when I can share my story with the public and my supporters."

MLB and the Yankees have both denied claims of conspiracy to force Rodriguez out of the game, the NY Times team notes. Commissioner Bud Selig is listed as a defendant on the claim, but the Yankees and Yankees team officials are not.



Yankees Notes: Martin, Cano, Cashman, A-Rod

Yesterday, Yankees GM Brian Cashman spent almost an hour talking to the New York media about the offseason ahead.  Cashman said that the club has made or will make a significant offer to Robinson Cano, but one has to imagine that the second baseman won't view the club's opening proposal in that light.  Cano and baseball's newest power agent are reportedly seeking a deal in excess of $300MM while the Yankees are just months removed from pitching a contract similar to David Wright's eight-year, $138MM pact.  Here's more out of the Bronx..


Yankees Notes: Rivera, Granderson, Cano, A-Rod

Mariano Rivera could receive one more retirement present in the form of a long-awaited appearance in center field.  Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters (including MLB.com's Bryan Hoch) that he could give the closer an inning of work in center during the season-ending series this weekend in Houston, which also mark the final three games of Rivera's legendary career.  Rivera has said he will take the defensive assignment only if he feels physically up to the task.  "If I cannot do it, I will not be making a fool of myself there," Rivera said. "I'm a professional. This is not a joke. This is serious, this is business."

Here are some more items out of the Bronx…

  • Curtis Granderson's preference would be to remain with the Yankees but he's looking forward to his first taste of free agency, the outfielder tells The Star-Ledger's Brendan Prunty.  MLBTR's Steve Adams recently profiled what Granderson could claim on the open market this winter.
  • Going into what could be his last home game in Yankee Stadium, Robinson Cano told reporters (including Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York) that he planned to take a long break after the season and then think about his future.  As Matthews notes, this likely means the Yankees won't be able to extend Cano during their exclusivity period following the World Series.  Cano also didn't say if he would require the Yankees to commit to making other free agent signings this winter before re-signing with them.
  • Earlier today, it was reported that Cano was seeking a ten-year contract worth at least $305MM.  He has already rejected two extension offers from the Yankees worth $138MM over eight years and between $161MM-$168MM over seven years.
  • Alex Rodriguez "absolutely" expects to finish his career as a Yankee in 2017 after playing out the rest of his contract, he told Newsday's Steven Marcus.  "I'm looking forward to that….I've shown myself that there's a lot left in the tank — and I have a lot to prove," Rodriguez said.
  • It might not be for 211 games, but Mike Axisa of the River Ave Blues blog figures Rodriguez will face some kind of PED suspension, and Axisa looks at how the Yankees would be affected if Rodriguez had to miss 50, 100 or 150+ games.

Quick Hits: Red Sox, Stanton, Collins, A-Rod

For the Red Sox, 2013 has increasingly taken on the feel of a triumphant return to glory. Now enjoying a seemingly insurmountable division lead, the Sox have engineered one of the greatest season-to-season turnarounds ever. Jonah Keri of Grantland looks back on each of the key free agent signings made by GM Ben Cherington, arguing that the team's "passel of midlevel free agents" were hardly the overpays that they were labeled.  Here's more from around baseball..

  • The Phillies are still interested in Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says that he's tried to trade for him "at least ten times," writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.  Unfortunately for the Phils, Marlins president Larry Beinfest has rebuffed them each time and made it clear that they're not moving him.
  • A Mets source told Mike Puma of the New York Post (via Twitter) that manager Terry Collins isn't being evaluated by wins and losses in September.  "There's different criteria at different times of the year," the offical said.
  • Alex Rodriguez's attorneys fear that the MLBPA won't fight hard for their client as he fights a 211-game ban, writes Michael O'Keeffe of the New York Daily News.  Sources say that the relationship between team A-Rod and the union is rather uneasy at this point.
  • Twins pitcher Mike Pelfrey needs 10.2 innings to reach a $100K bonus and manager Ron Gardenhire won't get in his way as he says that he never lets bonuses affect his decisions, tweets Phil Miller of the Star Tribune.
  • Regardless of his light-hitting, Brendan Ryan left his mark on Mariners baseball, writes Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.  The shortstop was traded to the Yankees earlier this week for a player to be named later.
  • Three years after signing Jayson Werth to a seven-year, $126MM deal, Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner says that he's still pleased about the deal, writes Bill Ladson of MLB.com.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


New York Notes: Backman, Hughes, Rodriguez

As we ease into the evening's slate of ballgames, here are a few quick notes on the two ballclubs that call New York home:

  • If the Mets retain manager Terry Collins next season, as is widely expected, the team could stand to lose Triple-A manager Wally Backmanwrites the New York Post's Mike Puma. Backman, who was a finalist for Collins's job, could look elsewhere to advance his career if he isn't given a seat in the New York dugout.
  • The notion of the Yankees giving struggling starter Phil Hughes a qualifying offer at year end has gone from plausible to laughable, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. While GM Brian Cashman was reportedly telling other clubs at the trade deadline that a QO was a serious consideration, a competing GM now tells Heyman: "They may make a qualifying offer. And I may run for president."
  • A schedule has been set for hearing Alex Rodriguez's appeal of his 211-game suspension, reports Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com. If the Yankees fail to qualify for the postseason, the proceedings will begin on September 30th, the day after the regular season ends. If the Yanks sneak back in, a delay would be likely since Rodriguez is entitled to be personally present. At least 45 more days are expected to be needed for a decision. Of course, the longer it takes to resolve the situation, the longer the New York front office will remain in the dark on how much money it will save on the rest of A-Rod's deal. 

Union Has Concerns Over Contract Language

The MLBPA has fought hard to secure and maintain guaranteed contracts across the board for its players.  At the same time, teams are looking to reduce their risk in deals and some have taken to adding guarantee language to contracts, which could theoretically void the contract if a player is in violation of conditions in the clause.  It's an issue that has yet to blow up, but it was of enough concern to the MLBPA that they discussed it at length in a New York City summit last year, sources tell Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

At the time, the Cubs, Yankees, and Nationals were among the teams that were putting additional language into their contracts to help protect them against certain off-the-field occurrences.  That doesn't sit well with the union as they would argue that punishment for harmful behaviors is already covered under the collective bargaining agreement.  Ultimately, the union was worried that teams could look to 86 contracts over things like PED use and misrepresentation of age.  While this hasn't really been an issue yet, sources assure Passan that the Yankees have discussed turning to guarantee language to go after Alex Rodriguez

In total, Passan counts four instances of teams attempting to use guarantee language to convert a deal from guaranteed to non-guaranteed in an effort to ostensibly void a deal.  Three of those cases were settled for close to 90 cents on the dollar owed, sources said, before an arbitrator could rule on any grievance.  The other case was when the Padres tried to void LaMarr Hoyt's deal entirely when he was caught smuggling drugs across the Mexican border, but they were unsuccessful.

Passan's article includes a look at the list of prohibited activities under the Cubs' standard guarantee language.  The list is comically lengthy and covers everything ranging from hot air ballooning to bobsledding to participation in a show like the Battle Of The Network Stars, just in case that gets a reboot.  However, agents have asked the Cubs to back off of that language and they have agreed.  The bigger concern for the union is that the Cubs contract calls for a conversion in the event of things such as attempted suicide, contraction of HIV, criminal acts, and PED use.  The MLBPA believed teams were broadening the conversion clause to potentially punish PED users beyond the discipline called for in the joint drug agreement. 

While there is obviously some disagreement between the two sides on this issue, both tend to agree that truly standard guarantee language would go a long way toward fixing the issue.  That was an idea that was brought up during the last CBA talks, but was too far down the priority list and wasn't addressed.  That's something that could change ahead of 2016 when the league will have a new JDA.  At that point, PED penalties will likely increase and the incentive to go after users will be even greater.


Quick Hits: A-Rod, Rangers, D’Arnaud, Morneau

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez currently faces a 211-game suspension stemming from his role in the Biogenesis scandal, but his suspension might have been far shorter, perhaps as few as 50 games, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal writes. "At different points, it could have been way, way less than where it is now," a source tells Rosenthal. Rodriguez has appealed his suspension. Here are more notes from around the Majors.

  • The Mets have decided Travis d'Arnaud's promotion won't be temporary, Rosenthal tweets. The Mets promoted d'Arnaud after starting catcher John Buck went on paternity leave. Now, Rosenthal writes, the Mets plan to keep d'Arnaud on their roster and give him "significant playing time." That would suggest that Buck is likely to play much less. D'Arnaud, 24, has hit .286/.420/.514 across three minor-league levels in 2013 after having missed much of the season with a foot injury.
  • The Rangers are looking for a pitcher to start on Tuesday, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News writes. Texas has a need in its rotation after Alexi Ogando received an anti-inflammatory injection on Saturday. The Rangers will have Matt Garza pitch on Monday, a day earlier than expected. Josh Lindblom, who has made five starts for the Rangers this year, started Sunday night for Triple-A Round Rock, so he isn't a candidate to pitch Tuesday. The Rangers could promote the recently-acquired Travis Blackley, but Fraley raises the possibility that they could deal for a starter like Dan Haren or Erik Bedard, both of whom have passed through waivers.
  • The Indians are not interested in former Phillies outfielder Delmon Young, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer tweets. Hoynes also notes that the Indians have put in waiver claims on "several players," although they have not been able to trade for any.
  • The Twins aren't likely to trade Justin Morneau to the Red Sox, writes Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Morneau cleared waivers on Wednesday, and Sox first baseman Mike Napoli is currently nursing a sore foot. It's not yet clear that Napoli's injury is severe, however, and it's questionable whether Morneau would be an upgrade over options like Daniel Nava and Mike Carp.

AL East Notes: Orioles, A-Rod, Blue Jays

Wilson Betemit is on his way back from a knee injury suffered in the spring, but that won't prevent the Orioles from hunting for a designated hitter, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. "We want to find another hitter. We have been looking at this issue for a while, and we want to find a solution for DH," Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette says. "[Betemit] can certainly be a solution. He is a good hitter, but he needs some at-bats." Connolly reports that the Orioles do not seem interested in Justin Morneau and have not seriously considered Paul Konerko, both of whom have passed through waivers. Here's more from the AL East.

  • Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees are in the midst of a feud centered on accusations against the Yankees made by Rodriguez attorney Joseph Tacopina. Despite that and Rodriguez's 211-game suspension, the Yankees are not considering releasing Rodriguez, Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger writes. "That’s not something for me. I wouldn’t think that that’s – I don’t think that’s something that would be considered, personally," GM Brian Cashman says.
  • The Blue Jays have done a nice job finding depth players this season, but have struggled overall because bigger-name players aren't producing, SportsNet.ca's Shi Davidi writes. On Sunday, the Jays got a solid start from former waiver claim Todd Redmond, but couldn't put together enough offense to beat the Rays. The Jays have gotten underwhelming results from big-name acquisitions like Josh Johnson, R.A. Dickey, Melky Cabrera and others en route to a 57-67 season so far.