Category Archives: Scandal

A-Rod drops lawsuit

So Alex Rodriguez has apparently decided to take his medicine. He won’t be carrying his lawsuits into federal court. A-Rod, whose suspension was upheld but was reduced from 211 to 162 games, spent how much money on saving what, 49 games? In the meantime, he sued, or wanted to sue, everyone including his own team and union to save his butt. The only reason he probably dropped the suit was probably because estimates are that by proceeding, it would have cost him $10 million more in lawyer’s fees. That plus the $22 million he is losing this year b/c he won’t be playing. Right now the only thing keeping him going is probably the $61 MM the Yankees owe him from 2015-2017. Don’t think the Yanks wouldn’t like to just drop that and him.

…and A-Rod never did tell his side of the story under oath, did he? Not once did he take the stand in his own defense. His lawyer, both on 60 minutes, and in other interviews, comes across as really smarmy, doesn’t he? What a bunch of losers.

A .299 career b/a (if 2 of those outs would have been hits, it’d be rounded up to .300). 654 HR, 1951 RBI, between 2900-3000 hits. You wonder if after a whole year off, if he ever will come back to pass Willie Mays (660) in HR, get his 3000th hit or 2000th RBI. Frankly, I hope he never plays again.

If he does come back, it’d be at age 39 (40 in July 2015) and after a year off and two recent hip surgeries. His skills were declining pre-suspension to where he was becoming a slightly above average ballplayer. After the suspension?

You have to wonder why someone so rich, so talented, would stoop so low as to even have the phone number (as Bob Costas pointed out) of scum like Bosch. Stupidity, greed, no moral compass…. Without the junk, he would have been known as one of the greatest players ever, and that would have happened even if his numbers weren’t asterisked or artificially enhanced. If he would have been completely clean, and wound up with say a .290 average instead of .299, 554 HR instead of 654 and 1800 RBI instead of 1951, would he be in the HOF instead of (as it now appears) never getting in? You bet, if clean, he’d have been a shoo-in with those kinds of numbers. The same goes for other players who won’t get in. If the numbers of Palmeiro, Bonds, and Clemens (to name just three) would have been slightly lower, they STILL would have had HOF credentials. So why do it?

It’s all about THEM. Greed. Selfishness. And I have no sympathy towards them whatsoever.

In other baseball news, Fernando Rodney went to Seattle. There were some Yankees fans hoping the Yanks would sign him to go with Robertson. Not me. He can take his me-first, hot-dogging, arrow-shooting act elsewhere. Give me TEAM players.

Bronson Arroyo finally got a deal—with Arizona. The guy does eat innings. While just a slightly above average pitcher, he has given 200 or more innings each year since 2005, except for one year where he missed by one inning or so.

A friend recently asked me for my prediction for the Yanks this year. I replied that it was too early to do so. I want to see who gets hurt in spring training (remember Michael Pineda showing up out of shape and then getting hurt in 2012?) and what late pickups there are. Remember that the Yanks picked up Lyle Overbay basically just on the eve of Opening Day last year. Remember the unexpected spring training injuries to Granderson and Teix. How many of you remember that the guy getting the most reps at first base in spring training last year was Juan Rivera? Given all that, I won’t make any predictions until the eve of Opening Day. Too many things can happen between now and then.

Sojo on AAA coaching staff.

No surprise, A-Rod is going to federal court with his appeal of the suspension ruling. One, I don’t think he has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning. Two, even if he pulls off a miracle and wins, when will that be? August?

I have a friend who during spring training is a security guard outside the Yankees clubhouse. So if MLB and/or the Yanks bar A-Rod from spring training, and A-Rod wants to enter the clubhouse, does this mean my friend has to tell him to buzz off?

Luis Sojo is now a coach with AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, about an hour’s drive from me.

Another minor league deal. Switch-hitter Yangervis Solarte, who in AAA for Texas hit .276-12-75 in 2013 and .288-11-54 in 2012. Solarte, 27 next July, hasn’t played in the majors yet. Mostly 2b/3b and some SS/LF/RF.

A-Rod suspension announced. All of 2014, including postseason.

The arbitrator announced A-Rod’s suspension today, and the reduction wasn’t too much. Instead of 211 games, he gets 162—all of this 2014 season, including the postseason, if the Yanks make it there.

It could be we’ve seen the last of A-Rod, who, if he tries to come back in 2015, would be doing so at age 39 1/2 (he’d turn 40 in July 2015) after missing a full season and after having two hip surgeries. You don’t know… come 2015 the Yanks could just say screw this, we’re sick of it and then eat the final three years of A-Rod’s deal. I hope so. I’m tired of the circus.

Alex will of course fight this, but even if he somehow wins (I can’t see it happening), that “victory” would come when, August?

If this is the end for Alex, he falls a bit short of some milestones. His 654* HR are six short of Willie Mays’ 660 (asterisk intentional), ranking him fifth on the all-time list. The .244 average he put up last year knocked his career average down to .299. He was TWO hits away from having that rounded up to become a .300 hitter. He would end with 2939 hits, 61 short of 3000, and he would end with 1969 RBI—31 short of 2000. Baseball-reference. com lists Aaron, Ruth and Cap Anson as the only three to reach the 2000 RBI plateau, and there are problems with Ruth and Anson. Anson’s first five years, (1871-1875) were in a league not recognized by MLB as being major league. Also, RBIs weren’t an official statistic until 1920, making some of Ruth’s total unofficial. Anyway, you can see what an exclusive club 2000 RBIs are (Barry Bonds finished four short and Gehrig five short).

The Yanks opened up roster space for Matt Thornton yesterday by DFA-ing Vernon Wells. Wells hit .233-11-50 for the Yanks last year, but had just one HR after mid-May.

As for now, the Yanks could do a few things. They could platoon Kelly Johnson and Eduardo Nunez at 3B. They could move the aging (40 in June) Jeter to third because of his diminishing range and play good-field/no-hit Brendan Ryan at short.

I’d rather re-sign Mark Reynolds, who had a brief cameo with the Yanks last year and who wants to return.

A-Rod hit .244-7-19, OPS+ 111 for the Yanks last year. 156 at bats in 44 games. If you multiply that by 3, you’d get 132 games, 468 at bats, about a normal full season for one who turned 38 last July. That means .244-21-57. OPS+ 111. No great shakes. Yes, he was coming off hip surgery, but no great shakes, anyway. Clearly a fading player.

Reynolds, 30, played in 36 games for the Yanks and had 110 at bats. .236-6-19. OPS+ 104. Overall, with Cleveland and the Yanks, he played in 135 games, had 445 at bats and hit .220-21-67, OPS+ 96 with 154 strikeouts. Lower BA and OPS than A-Rod, but power-wise about the same. If he is re-signed, and platooned with Johnson at third, the Yanks could get back some of the power lost by losing A-Rod. Reynolds, being 30, may at this point be a better option than the fading Alex.

Reynolds’ 162-g. average is just .233, but 33 HR and 93 RBI (but 209 K). OPS+ 108. Low average, lot of K’s, but a lot of power potential.

If the Yanks re-sign him, they could put out a lineup that could look like this (assuming Gardner isn’t traded for someone like Homer Bailey):

Ellsbury CF
Jeter SS
Beltran RF
Soriano DH
McCann C
Teixeira 1B
Reynolds 3B
Roberts 2B
Gardner LF

DH would, of course, need to be rotated between the aging (40 in June) Jeter, the 38-year-old Soriano and Beltran. Kelly Johnson figures in here, platooning with Reynolds (batting 7th) or filling in for Roberts (batting 8th then).

Signing Michael Young is another option, but I’d prefer Reynolds’ power. Young is aging himself. He is 37. One concern going into 2014 was if A-Rod returned, you’d have an old left side of the infield with one guy 40 in June and the other 39 in July. Those concerns would not be alleviated much with a SS 40 in June and a 37 year-old 3B in Young. Young hit .279-8-46 for the Phils and Dodgers last year. He is a true pro, but only had 8 HR for Texas in 2012. His power is fading, unlike Reynolds (whose problems are in meeting the ball). Young’s OPS+ was 102 last year but just an 80 in 2012. A .300 hitter, Young averaged .278-8-56 over the past two years, OPS+ 90.

I like Young, but would rather go for the power potential Reynolds provides as well as the youth. Jeter, Beltran, Soriano and Teixeira are all on the other side of their prime years (the downside), and that isn’t even including Roberts, who hasn’t played much the past four years. Adding more age in Young isn’t the way I’d like to go. I’d rather have Reynolds. We’ll see.

A-Rod decision soon?

Now that the HOF inductees have been announced, we wait for the decision on A-Rod, which could come as early as today. There are reports that Alex may accept a suspension if it’s less than 100 games, to which I say, wouldn’t that be an admission of guilt? Why fight as he has, if he IS guilty? Besides, after his 2009 mea culpa of using while with Texas, how stupid is he to go back on the stuff? Really, I wish he’d just go away.

The Tampa Bay Rays signed ex-Yankee utility IF Jayson Nix. Reports are that ex-Yankee A.J. Burnett may retire.

The BBWAA suspended that writer who sold his ballot to Deadspin.com for one year and that writer won’t ever be allowed to vote for the HOF anymore. It’s too bad that they also didn’t do that for other writers, like the one who voted for Jack Morris and only Jack Morris, or the one who voted for Armando Benitez. Armando Benitez? Really?

Or, for that matter, kick off all 16 writers who did not vote for the winningest living pitcher, Greg Maddux. Maddux won 355 games, and never a whiff of PEDs. To find an MLB pitcher who won more games than Maddux over the course of their career, you need to visit a cemetery.

But then, 23 idiots did NOT vote for Willie Mays in 1979. TWENTY-THREE.

There will be someone who won’t vote for Mariano Rivera in 2019. I only wish we could identify that jackass now so that said jackass could have his ballot stripped from him NOW.

Baseball news.

From Lohud, with my comments:

• The Yankees first significant signing of the winter — if you call it that — could be shortstop Brendan Ryan. The team is said to be “close” to a deal that would bring Ryan back as infield insurance. He’s an elite defender, and he had his moments with the bat during his brief Yankees tenure this season.

My thought? Ryan is a great defensive SS who can’t hit. It may be time to get Jeter off of SS and to DH him much more often (the same can be said for A-Rod and 3B if he comes back).  

• Knowing the Yankees are in the market for a shortstop, Derek Jeter spoke at Joe Torre’s foundation gala and said he still fully expects to be the Yankees everyday player at the position next season. Jeter has started his offseason workout and said he feels good. He expects to be 100 percent healthy in 2014.

• Brian Cashman made it clear that the Yankees will tender a contract to Francisco Cervelli, meaning Cervelli will be back in some capacity next season. Chris Stewart might not be back.

My thoughts? Let Cervelli go. Let Stewart go too. Get someone like McCann or go for Pierzynski on a one-year deal to let Romine, Murphy and/or Sanchez develop. I’m down on Cervelli what with that suspension. Stewart, although good defensively, can’t hit a lick.

• The Arizona Fall League season came to an end. Vidal Nuno probably had the most impressive numbers of all the Yankees prospects assigned to the league. The numbers from Peter O’Brien and Mason Williams showed a mix of good and bad, while the most significant Yankees news coming out of Arizona was the early decision to pull Tyler Austin because of ongoing wrist issues.

I liked Nuno. He had a good spring training, is a lefty (needed since Andy retired) and was 1-2, 2.25 in 20 IP (5 g., 3 starts) for the Yanks last season. His season came to a quick end. I’d like to see more of him. Does he have what it takes to be successful over a full season?    

• Nothing official yet, but it certainly sounds like the Yankees are going to play two exhibition games in Panama next season. The trip would be a sort of gesture of thanks to Mariano Rivera, who’s from Panama and would, presumably, make the trip.

Yankees retain coaching staff

My CPU fan is shot, and I’m working a lot of OT right now so I don’t have time to get it fixed and I’m keeping updates to a minimum until I can get it fixed.

Just a short note to say that the whole coaching staff is coming back in 2014.

We wait now to see if anyone actually accepts the qualifying offers.

As for A-Rod, Girardi doesn’t expect that situation to be resolved for another 4-5 weeks or so.

Veterans Committee to have tough choices this year

The HOF Veterans Committee will have tough choices to make this year.

Just consider three managers eligible for the HOF: Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa. Add Billy Martin to the mix, as well as labor negotiator Marvin Miller and Yankees’ owner George Steinbrenner.

Then there are players who are borderline HOF: Dave Concepcion, Tommy John, Dave Parker, Steve Garvey, Ted Simmons and Dan Quisenberry.

There are reports that A-Rod tested positive for stimulants in 2006 but wasn’t publicly identified because players face suspensions for banned substances only if they test positive more than once. You wonder if this helped factor into the decision for a 211-game ban.

A-Rod hit .290-35-121 in 2006, OPS+ 134, 15 SB. He finished 13th in the MVP voting that year. He won the MVP in 2003 (later he admitted he was on steroids while with Texas that year), 2005 and 2007.

Yanks targeting Japanese pitching star

Yeah, I know. You read the headline and are thinking about Irabu and Igawa and those memories just made you upchuck.

But according to the NY Post, the Yanks are serious about putting in a high bidding fee for 24-year-old Mashiro Tanaka of Japan. Tanaka’s team, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, won the Pacific League championship, and Tanaka went 22-0, 1.23. Yes, those numbers are real. 22-0, 1.23. Tanaka turns 25 on 11/1.

The Yanks lost Pettitte to retirement, will lose Hughes to free agency, and don’t know what will happen with Kuroda. Pineda didn’t pitch in 2012, only 40 some innings in 2013 after shoulder issues. (In a recent column, I omitted Manny Banuelos. Why? Because he most likely won’t make the MLB team in the spring of 2013 after pitched only 24 some innings in 2012 and not pitching at all this year due to TJ surgery in 2012. Reports are that he is throwing and throwing well right now, and he turns 24 next March, but after a long period of inactivity, he probably needs to go back to AAA, where he’s only pitched 58.1 innings so far (2-4, 4.32). )

As for Tanaka, some think he’s better than Yu Darvish, and could be the best pitcher ever to come from Japan. Yankees fans have reason to be leery because Irabu was considered the “Nolan Ryan of Japan” and Igawa was a bust. Even Dice-K, who I hoped the Yanks would get, was only good for two years in Boston (33-15 in 2007-2008, 17-22 since then).

The Yanks could use pitching help. If this guy is the real deal, great. Go get him. The Yanks have been scouting the guy for a while, and I don’t believe it is with the same scouts who scouted Igawa (Just kidding. I sure as hell HOPE not!).

But if Yankees fans are wary about spending big bucks on another free agent pitcher from Japan, could you blame them?

The Tigers shut out the A’s in Game 5 and advance to play Boston in the ALCS. So the NLCS is Dodgers/Cards, the ALCS Tigers/Red Sox. All four of the teams four of the ORIGINAL sixteen teams (taking into account the Dodgers move from Brooklyn).

Nice piece by Phil Mushnick in the Post about Dick Stockton commenting on Marlon Byrd moving from one team to another over the past few years but not once commenting on his 50-game suspension. Why not, Dick?

I’m still working on looking at 2014, Part 3 (the infield/C/DH). Part 4 will be the outfield. Both parts should be coming soon, probably over the weekend.

Playoff update

I’ve been a bit busy at work and with various items since the Yankees baseball ended, but here is an update on the playoffs.

AL: Tampa Bay beat Texas in Game 163 to become the 2nd wild card. They then won the sudden-death WC game by beating Cleveland. They lost Game 1 of the ALDS to Boston 12-2 yesterday. The loss to Boston shouldn’t be much of a surprise when you consider that the Rays had a must-win game in Toronto on Sunday, a must-win game in Texas Monday night and another must win game in Cleveland on Wednesday night. Then yesterday’s game in Boston. They sure racked up the frequent flyer miles.

Detroit beat Oakland in Game 1 of their ALDS last night.

NL: Pittsburgh beat Cincy in the sudden-death WC game. Reds’ manager Dusty Baker was fired soon afterward. The Pirates are tied with the Cardinals at one game apiece in their NLDS.

The Braves and Dodgers are tied at one game apiece in their NLDS.

Meanwhile the Yanks have made an offer to Joe Girardi to stay on as manager. Girardi should make up his mind soon whether he wants it. If not, he can talk to other clubs starting next month and the Cubs are said to be pushing for him after they fired Dale Sveum.

A-Rod sued MLB. This is getting nasty and will get worse.

Game 159. Lineup, stats & comments.

It’s a regular lineup, even though the Yanks have been eliminated. The reason is because Tampa Bay is still fighting for something (#1 WC as opposed to #2). No A-Rod. You wonder if he’ll play at all again this year, and when if at all what with that suspension and the resolution of his appeal.

You may see more of a “spring training” lineup in Houston this weekend. Speaking of, there are rumors that Joe Girardi may give Mariano Rivera his one major league dream: to play one inning in CF. That may happen in Houston this weekend. I just hope Mo doesn’t have to run up that damned hill Houston has in CF.

Girardi’s contract is up and you wonder if he’ll be back.

Yanks 82-76, tied for 3rd, 13.5 out in AL East. Eliminated from WC. (They can only reach 86 wins and Cleveland, in the #2 WC position, already has 88; Tampa, #1 WC has 89, Cleveland 88 and Texas 87.)

The Yanks have a winning season. The last time they had a losing season was 1992. It’s just the second time since 1993 that they have been eliminated from the playoffs. (The 1994 strike kept them out of the playoffs. They had the best record in the AL that year).

They are six games BETTER than their Pythagorean record. They have scored 23 runs LESS than they have allowed this season.

OPS+ 89, ERA+ 101. Average is 100. Higher the better.

BA/HR/RBI  SB/total att. OPS+  Comments in italic, team leader bold
significantly subpar bold italic.

Suzuki RF .262-7-35  20/24  77
40 on 10/22. 2740 MLB hits, but do you really want him back in 2014 at $6.5 MM? I don’t, and I LIKE Ichiro.
Nunez 3B .260-3-26  10/13  87    in 86 g.
Cano 2B .315-27-106  7/8   146   Rumors are he asked the Yanks for 10 yrs and $305 MM. No bloody way do I give him that. Better to finish last and use the $$ saved from NOT signing him to build up the farm system. Yanks apparently offered 8 yr., $138MM, and I don’t like that because it takes him to age 38. He turns 31 on 10/22 (same b/day as Ichiro). I would give him 6 years and $120 MM. I think that is more than fair. $20 MM/yr and doesn’t go past age 36. If he don’t like it, let him walk. This could be his last game in pinstripes.
Soriano DH .255-34-101  18/27  112.   406 career HR, one behind Duke Snider on the all-time list. As NYY: 55 g., .256-17-50  8/12  129. 38 next Jan.
Granderson CF .234-7-14  7/8  102.  Just 57 games. Production down and had the two broken bones. Free agent. This could be his last game in pinstripes.
Overbay 1B .241-14-59  1/1  89   37 in January. With Teixeira due back next year, probably his last game as a Yankee. Stopgap this year. 5 for his last 39. 
Almonte LF .258-1-9  3/4  76    Good to see him get a look, esp. now that the Yanks are eliminated. 23 for 89. Beats seeing Wells (who I don’t want back in 2014) out there. Wells .237-11-50, 7/10, 76, turns 35 in Dec. Granted the Angels are picking up $18.6 of his $21 MM salary for 2014, but do you really want Wells back next year? I don’t. Since May 15th, Wells hit .204-1-27 and STILL was batting fifth in the lineup vs. lefties this month! Ugh.  
Ryan SS .201-4-22  4/6  54   As NYY .250-1-1  0/0  82.  11 for 44.
Murphy C  .154-0-0  0/0     2 for 13 in MLB career. May as well look at the kid. He is just 22.

Nova RHP  9-5, 3.13   ERA+ 129

Soon, I’ll be writing about 2014 and the prospects for that year (I don’t like them and think the Yanks are in for a dry spell for a few years). I’ll discuss who I want back and who should go.