Alex Rodriguez Rumors
The changing nature of free agency has been a hot topic of late, as MLBTR noted earlier today. A series of high-profile extensions this spring have reinforced an apparent new trend towards teams retaining their best young players with long-term deals. As Larry Stone of the Seattle Times posits, this trend also increases the importance of scouting and developing young players, with MLB's recent spending limits potentially leveling the playing field between large and small-market clubs.
- Alex Rodriguez's record-breaking 2007 contract extension with the Yankees was re-visited in a piece on Saturday from David Waldstein of the New York Times. Waldstein reports on the events that ensued after Rodriguez exercised the opt-out clause in his contract, with the announcement infamously coming in the midst of what turned out to be the final game of the World Series. After receiving counsel from people ranging from Mariano Rivera to Warren Buffett, Rodriguez apologized to Hal and Hank Steinbrenner to pave the way to a new deal with the Yanks. The unprecedented contract included a $265MM salary guarantee over ten seasons, a $10MM signing bonus, and career home run milestone payments of up to $30MM. With Rodriguez now suffering from some combination of ineffectiveness, injury, and intrigue, Waldstein writes, New York may be exploring a variety of ways to get out from under the deal.
- An opt-out clause could play a big role in another potential ten-year commitment: the recently-inked eight-year, $120MM extension between Elvis Andrus and the Rangers. As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports explains, the deal's opt-out clause is likely to turn the Andrus extension into a four-year, $60MM deal. While this seems to be a big concession by Texas, Rosenthal says it was necessary to lock up four of the Scott Boras client's free agent years. The club will pursue insurance to protect itself in the event that Andrus does not exercise the opt-out clause due to injury. The deal also gives the Rangers plenty of flexibility to take advantage of super-prospect Jurickson Profar, either in their lineup (at second base) or via trade.
- While still not conforming his new deal, Andrus commented today on his relationship with Boras, as reported by T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Discussing his agent's penchant for testing the market, Andrus said: "We're the boss. I know everybody thinks that about Scott but it's different if you're the one in that position. He works for us. I know he tries to get the best deal that he can but it comes down to my choice and what's better for me and my family."
- Scott Kazmir appears close to coming all the way back to the big leagues after being activated by the Indians, writes Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer. In a corresponding move, the club optioned left-hander Nick Hagadone to Triple-A. Kazmir, who will now receive a $1MM base salary after initially signing a minor league deal, may still have to wait to actually make an appearance after straining his ab. As the Indians noted on Twitter, today's transaction allows the club to back-date a Kazmir DL stint if he is not ready to go.
- The Red Sox are signing infielder Brandon Snyder to a minor league deal, as first reported by Chris Cotillo (Twitter link). Alex Speier of WEEI.com confirmed (via Twitter) that Snyder, who was recently released by the Rangers, has signed with Boston and is headed to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera officially announced today that 2013 will be his final season in the majors. Right-hander Ivan Nova says that he will miss Rivera not just as a teammate, but as a fan as well. “The first time I saw him, when he said, ‘Hola’ to me, I was nervous,” he said, according to Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger. “This was Mariano Rivera. I remember when I got called up in Detroit, the way he treated me there, it was like I was a veteran guy, too. That makes you feel really good.” Here's more on the Bombers..
- Even if Mark Teixeira’s condition proves worse than the Yankees initially believed, the team may refrain from disclosing that information to maintain their leverage in trade talks, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Yanks, according to major league sources, acted similarly regarding Alex Rodriguez’s condition while exploring trades and free agent signings at the GM meetings this winter.
- The clock is ticking louder on the Yanks' partnership between Rivera, Derek Jeter, and Andy Pettitte, writes Scott Miller of CBSSports.com. The news just became official today, but Jeter acknowledged that Rivera let him in on his plans to retire following the 2012 season.
Justin Verlander repeated today that he wants to stay with the Tigers beyond 2014, when his current contract expires. “I love Detroit,” he said, according to John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press. “I feel like I’m a kindred part of that town. I grew up in front of these fans and earned my way into their hearts.” Verlander said he's not yet sure whether he and his representatives would be willing to negotiate during the season. Here are some more links from around MLB...
- Grantland's Jonah Keri interviewed Orioles GM Dan Duquette about the success of his team in 2012 and Duquette's outlook on 2013. Duquette feels that both Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman will be ready to make significant impacts on the club at some point in 2013.
- ESPN's Jayson Stark presents an in-depth look at the top stories to watch in each league during Spring Training this year. Stark's piece also includes breakdowns of the best and worst free agent signings, trades and more, according to a group of 16 baseball scouts and executives.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs lists the ten worst moves of the offseason with the caveat that "the worst moves aren’t as bad as bad as they used to be." The Royals make three appearances on the list after trading Wil Myers to obtain James Shields, acquiring Ervin Santana and signing Jeremy Guthrie for three years.
- Meanwhile, in another piece for Grantland, Keri examines the worst contracts in MLB starting with Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees and Carl Crawford of the Dodgers.
- Agents at Hendricks Sports have filed an MLBPA grievance against three MLB agents who left the firm for Excel Sports Management and took players with them, Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal reports (on Twitter). Be sure to use MLBTR’s Agency Database for your agency-related inquiries.
Jurickson Profar of the Rangers, Oscar Taveras of the Cardinals and Dylan Bundy of the Orioles top Keith Law's list of the best 100 prospects in baseball at ESPN.com. Five Cardinals occupy spaces on Law's top 100 list, which focuses on high-impact minor leaguers who could develop into MLB stars. Here are some links from around MLB with Spring Training approaching quickly...
- There’s lots of talent beyond the top 100, so Law looks at some prospects who just missed his primary list.
- General manager Brian Cashman said the Yankees are content to let MLB lead the investigation into Alex Rodriguez’s involvement with a Miami-based clinic that distributed performance enhancing drugs to prominent athletes. As Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reports, the GM hasn’t spoken to Rodriguez about the issue, nor have others in the organization. “The only thing required from our end, right now, is patience and smarts,” Cashman said.
- Athletics GM Billy Beane said the team’s 25-man roster is now complete, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. However, Slusser reports that the A's are still considering free agent left-hander Hideki Okajima.
- Though Chris Carpenter is expected to miss the 2013 season, the Cardinals won’t be responsible for all of his $12.5MM salary. Insurance will cover some of that sum in 2013, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). That said, the Cardinals aren’t expecting major savings.
3:18pm: Rodriguez intends to recover from his hip operation and play out the remaining five years on his contract, Yahoo's Tim Brown reports. "Alex is working diligently on his rehabilitation and looks forward to getting back on the field as soon as possible," one source close to Rodriguez told Brown. The third baseman has not heard from MLB or from the Yankees since this week's news broke. Rodriguez doesn't have interest in a discounted buyout and probably wouldn't approve a trade away from the Yankees.
8:14am: Alex Rodriguez’s Yankees career could be over. The third baseman is unlikely to play for the Yankees again, no matter what happens with allegations linking him to a supplier of performance enhancing drugs, Bill Madden, Christian Red and Teri Thompson of the New York Daily News report.
The hip surgery that Rodriguez is recovering from “will likely derail his playing career,” according to the Daily News reporters. This would force the 37-year-old into a diminished role and could lead him to consider retirement or a settlement. Even before this week’s news, Yankees officials had already begun preparing for the probability that Rodriguez would not finish the five years remaining on his contract.
Rodriguez could retire as a result of the injury if it's as serious as expected. This could allow the Yankees to be reimbursed for up to 85% of the $114MM remaining on his contract with insurance companies covering the bulk of the commitment. It’s also possible Rodriguez could return in a diminished role and decide to retire. Under this scenario the Yankees would discuss settlement options with him, the Daily News reports.
9:43am: Privately the Yankees are thrilled with the current situation, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. If Rodriguez does have connections to the PED provider, the Yankees’ chances of severing ties with Rodriguez and saving much of the $114MM remaining on his contract increase. That said, the club would need a 'Hail Mary' to succeed, Sherman writes.
7:54am: Though the Yankees probably can’t void Alex Rodriguez’s contract following the third baseman’s connections to a Miami performance enhancing drugs clinic, they might not need to do so. As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports, there’s a scenario that would allow Rodriguez to collect the $114MM remaining on his deal without relying on the Yankees to pay most of that sum.
If Rodriguez finds a doctor who says he’s suffering from a career-ending hip injury it’d be possible to continue collecting his salary without playing again. In this scenario the Yankees would collect up to 85% of Rodriguez’s salary from insurance, Rosenthal reports. For the Yankees to collect at that level, Rodriguez would have to miss a full season -- a possibility recently acknowledged by general manager Brian Cashman.
Conversely, if Rodriguez were to retire he would forfeit his remaining salary. The 37-year-old underwent a hip operation this offseason and isn’t expected to return before July. If Rodriguez continues rehabbing without improvement, it’s possible a doctor could determine that he’s physically unable to perform. As Rosenthal notes, such a contention would prompt insurance companies to argue that Rodriguez could still play, or that PEDs led to his inability to play.
Links from around MLB on a day that a number of prominent players were linked to a supplier of performance enhancing drugs...
- Earlier today ESPN.com's Buster Olney suggested the Yankees will deal with Alex Rodriguez in a calculated manner following the news that the third baseman has been linked to the Biogenesis clinic in Miami. Olney's colleagues Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand have since reported that the Yankees are trying to void Rodriguez's contract, which is valued at $114MM over the course of the next five seasons.
- Boston manager John Farrell suggested the Red Sox could add depth at first base in the near future, Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports. "I think we'll probably have some additions before camp opens up in that area," Farrell said. Check out Speier's piece for a position-by-position breakdown of the Red Sox.
- The Mets are still in the market for relief help and could even pursue a closer, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). The Mets signed right-hander Scott Atchison to a minor league deal today. For the latest on closers around the league follow @closernews throughout the fantasy baseball season.
- Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said he hasn't ruled out making another modest signing or two, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports.
The Yankees are exploring multiple avenues to void their contract with Alex Rodriguez, several baseball sources told ESPNNewYork.com's Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand. Rodriguez was among several MLB stars who were linked to a PED clinic in Miami, Florida. Even if the charges turn out to be true, however, the Bombers may have little chance of getting out from under his contract.
The three-time American League MVP is owed $114MM over the next five seasons. An industry source says the Yankees "are looking at about 20 different things," including whether A-Rod breached the contract by taking medical treatment from an outside doctor without the team's authorization, and the possibility that he may have broken the law by purchasing controlled substances from the clinic.
If the Yankees do take action to 86 the remainder of the third baseman's deal, they can't do anything until the MLB investigation is concluded, according to a source. For his part, Rodriguez has issued a statement denying the allegations.
Gio Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz are among the MLB stars who have been linked to a supplier of performance enhancing drugs in a report from Tim Elfrink of the Miami New Times. A Miami-based clinic sold PEDs to athletes from various sports, according to the report. The names of Cruz, Gonzalez, Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon were found in the records at Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic located near the University of Miami.
Gonzalez's name appears five times in the notebooks of Anthony Bosch, the clinic's chief. Cruz purchased $4,000 of product, according to the report. Rodriguez's name appears throughout the clinic's files, while Cabrera's name appears 14 times and Colon’s name also comes up.
Gonzalez has considerable security after agreeing to a five-year, $42MM contract with the Nationals last offseason. He'll earn $6.25MM in 2013 and remains under contract through 2016. Cruz will earn $10.5MM this year then hit free agency following the 2013 season. Cabrera, 28, signed a two-year, $16MM contract with the Blue Jays after serving a PED-related suspension at the end of the 2012 season. Colon, who has also served a PED-related suspension, signed a one-year, $3MM deal with the Athletics this offseason.
Rodriguez could face a suspension, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. However, don't expect the Yankees to be able to void the third baseman's contract. As Yahoo's Jeff Passan reports, the Yankees weren't able to void the deal after he admitted to using performance enhancing drugs for the first time (Twitter link). Rodriguez, who will miss much of the 2013 season recovering from a hip operation, has $114MM remaining on his contract with the Yankees.
- Cashman told reporters, including MLB.com's Mark Newman, that he had conversations with the Diamondbacks about Justin Upton but Arizona was never focusing on making a deal with them. That fits in line with a report from ESPN.com's Buster Olney earlier this month that indicated that several teams were anxious to get in on the talks but were struggling to get a response from GM Kevin Towers & Co.
- Cashman also said that he's aware that he needs to strengthen the bench and find a right-handed bat for the outfield. However, he doesn't feel as though it all has to come together by Opening Day and suggested that he could explore mid-season deals to make that happen.
- Meanwhile, the GM says the Yankees were never close to signing Scott Hairston either, despite being linked to him for a good portion of the winter, writes Dan Martin of the New York Post. Cashman added that the club isn't opposed to multi-year deals but did say that they'll have to be careful about it. Hairston agreed to a two-year deal with the Cubs earlier this week.
- General Manager Brian Cashman told ESPN 98.7's Michael Kay there is a chance that Alex Rodriguez will miss the entire season after undergoing hip surgery, writes Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com. "It is a very complicated surgery. Any time someone has a surgery, there is always a chance there are complications. That didn't take place in this case. But is it possible? Sure, it is possible, but is it likely? I don't think so," Cashman said. If Rodriguez does have to retire at some point due to his hip issue, the Yankees are insured for most of his contract.