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Alex Rodriguez Rumors
Yesterday, the Associated Press reported MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred testified, during the Alex Rodriguez arbitration hearing, baseball did not concern itself if Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch distributed illegal substances to minors and was only interested in possible criminal activity involving players. Today, Manfred called the report "ridiculous" telling Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel his testimony was "totally out of context and mischaracterized" and accused the A-Rod camp of leaking the story. "The larger point is this: From our perspective, one of the reasons we pursue cases like the A-Rod case is we think players should be role models for kids," Manfred explained to Haudricourt. "It's almost comical that A-Rod, who already has admitted in the past he used steroids, would express an opinion on our stance on children and PEDs." The hearing will resume next month. In other news and notes from the American League:
- Mike Napoli's strong postseason is further proof his avascular necrosis is not an issue as he enters free agency for the second time, reports MLB.com's Lindsay Berra. Napoli was frustrated by having to settle for a one-year, $5MM deal (incentives pushed the eventual value to $13MM) after a three-year, $39MM contract was scrapped because of the AVN diagnosis. "I waited seven years for free agency and then got an opportunity, and it got taken away because of something I didn't even know I had and had never had any pain from," said Napoli. "I'm a little more confident about negotiating a contract now that I've shown all year that my hips aren't an issue, but I'm sure I'm going to have to go through all the steps again, with all the MRIs and talking to doctors."
- There are six questions the Tigers must answer this offseason, writes MLive.com's Chris Iott. Among the answers, Iott predicts Jim Leyland will return as manager, the Tigers will not re-sign Jhonny Peralta (despite his desire to remain in Detroit), but will re-sign Joaquin Benoit and Omar Infante.
- The Orioles don't have a lot of inventory to deal this winter after trading away six players in midseason acquisitions, writes Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com. Zach Britton, Brian Matusz, and Steve Johnson head the list of tradeable players, according to Dubroff.
- Nolan Ryan left his imprint on the Rangers, especially the pitching staff, with his attitude and focus on conditioning, opines Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
- Ryan received a $10MM buyout (his ownership stake plus incentives) when he announced his retirement from the Rangers, Grant reports in separate article. However, according to Forbes, Ryan wound up losing money on his ownership investment. Ryan's original equity interest was valued at $13MM (6% ownership); but, dwindled to $7MM (1% ownership) because he declined to participate in various cash calls to cover his share of the losses the franchise incurred.
The Red Sox can return to the World Series for the third time in the last 10 seasons if they beat the Tigers tomorrow or in a potential Game Seven on Sunday. The other four AL East teams will be working hard this offseason to match (or better) Boston's 2013 success, so here's the latest from around the division…
- The Athletics could exercise Brett Anderson's $8MM option for 2014 and then trade him to one of a few teams who are interested, with the Blue Jays being specifically cited, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. Toronto scouted Anderson late last season and have been interested in the southpaw for the last two years. Anderson has appeared in just 54 games over the last four seasons due to several injuries, most notably Tommy John surgery, so it would be a risky move for the injury-plagued Jays to acquire another pitcher with a poor health history.
- Rajai Davis is looking forward to his first free agent experience, the outfielder tells MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm. Davis is looking for an everyday job and has historically struggled against right-handed pitching, which Chisholm notes makes it unlikely that the Blue Jays will re-sign him.
- Both Major League Baseball and Alex Rodriguez's camp have admitted to paying to obtain documents from the Biogenesis clinic, sources familiar to the Rodriguez appeal hearing tell Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.
- Rays right-hander Taylor Guerrieri has been suspended for 50 games for a PED violation, the league announced Friday. Guerrieri twice tested positive for a "drug of abuse" that is believed to be marijuana, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Guerrieri was the 24th overall pick of the 2011 draft and was considered one of the top prospects in baseball by MLB.com (44th-best), ESPN's Keith Law (#47) and Baseball America (#64) in preseason rankings. The 20-year-old won't miss any game action due to the suspension since he was already slated to miss most of the 2014 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
- In AL East news from earlier today, the Yankees are reportedly planning to spend $300MM on new contracts this offseason while the Red Sox have agreed to sign Cuban right-hander Dalier Hinojosa to a minor league deal.
Torii Hunter of the Tigers says he could continue playing after his contract expires following the 2014 season, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe tweets. "I can see myself paying beyond 2014," says Hunter. "I'm slim, trim and ready to go." The Tigers signed Hunter to a two-year, $26MM deal last offseason, a year after Hunter told the press he might retire following the 2012 season. Hunter hit .304/.334/.465 as the Tigers' right fielder in 2013. Here's more from around the American League.
- Pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez will likely void his 2014 option to stay with the Indians, and will instead try the free-agent market, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer writes. Jimenez posted a 3.30 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in 182 2/3 innings for Cleveland this year. Jimenez agreed to team options for his 2013 and 2014 seasons when he signed a long-term deal with the Rockies before the 2009 season, but he received the right to void the $8MM 2014 option when Colorado shipped him to the Indians.
- Unless there are trades, the Athletics roster isn't likely to undergo dramatic changes this offseason, reports John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. None of Oakland's key position players are set to depart, and they have plenty of starting pitching, even if Bartolo Colon leaves via free agency.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman would prefer to have Alex Rodriguez play in 2014, even if that means the Yankees have to pay his salary, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports. If Rodriguez's 2014 suspension is upheld, that would take the Yankees off the hook for the $25MM they owe him in 2014. "I think if people think there’s some sort of benefit by losing that talent, I mean, you can’t replace it," Cashman says. "It’s not like, ‘All right, well, Alex is gone.’ If he winds up getting suspended and it’s upheld, how do you replace that? It’s not easy."
In addition to hurling six no-hit innings in Game 1 of the ALCS, Anibal Sanchez made history with his performance that night. As MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm points out, Sanchez became the first pitcher to record four strikeouts in one inning of a postseason game since Cubs right-hander Orval Overall in 1908. Here's more from the American League as the Tigers and Red Sox prepare to square off for Game 2 of the League Championship Series tonight…
- In an appearance on ESPN Radio's Ian Connor Show, Yankees GM Brian Cashman shot down the theory that he'd rather have the roughly $25MM that a suspension for Alex Rodriguez would net the team than have A-Rod take the field next season. Said Cashman: "It's not like, all right, we'll take that money and go in this direction. I think … our fan base saw when we lost significant players at various positions, it was not easy to plug holes because the talent just doesn't exist."
- In that same appearance, Cashman admitted that he thought the Cubs had a real chance to steal manager Joe Girardi from the Yankees before the skipper signed a new four-year deal last week. He also said he has no gut feeling as to whether or not the team can retain Robinson Cano to this point.
- Royals assistant general manager J.J. Piccolo told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that the team is pleased with the progress that former first-round pick Bubba Starling is making, even if it's slower than many fans hoped. Piccolo added that those who point to Mike Trout and Bryce Harper already being in the Majors at 21 and feeling disappointment that Starling is just at Class-A aren't being realistic. Those comparisons aren't fair to Starling or to other first-round picks, said Piccolo, as Trout and Harper are generational talents in his mind.
- Newsday's David Lennon cautions that while Red Sox GM Ben Cherington deserves praise for the team's turnaround, there was more to Cherington's model than just adding a slew of middle-tier free agents. While many teams are hoping to emulate that model this offseason, the Red Sox were already well-positioned for the rebound with Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury in place.
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
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.
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.
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..
- After watching Russell Martin go yard twice in last night's win over the Reds, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com wonders how the Yankees ever let him get away. The Pirates wound up signing him for $17MM over two years while the Bombers batted around "concepts" of a $12-$14MM deal without officially making an offer.
- Cashman has a full plate of problems to deal with this winter, writes David Lennon of Newsday. The GM credited ownership in yesterday's presser for spending the cash to go out and get Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano to help cover up for the club's injuries, but those were nothing more than short-term fixes. Lennon also isn't optimistic about their chances of keeping Robinson Cano given the gap in negotiations.
- As the Yankees' old core moves out of the picture, the Bombers don't have a new core to take their place, Steve Politi of the Star-Ledger writes. There doesn't appear to be a lot of upper-level help as the Yankees didn't see strong seasons from catcher Gary Sanchez and outfielders Slade Heathcott, Tyler Austin, and Mason Williams. It's a problem that'll hurt them as they try to stay under the $189MM threshold.
- Alex Rodriguez's representatives presented a case to arbitrators that argues, in part, that he was tricked into taking steroids, sources tell Teri Thompson, Michael O'Keeffe, Michael Red, and Nathaniel Vinton of the New York Daily News.
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.
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.