This morning’s New York Times article starts out as if this was something everyone knew about, but it’s the first I’ve heard of it:
What first raised suspicion among the 2001 A’s was an early May series in Toronto. Tejada and Blue Jays third baseman Tony Batista,
friends from the Dominican Republic, each put up terrific numbers. In
the three-game series, Batista went 6 for 13 with a home run and 5 runs
batted in, and Tejada was 4 for 10 with 9 R.B.I., including a home run in each game.
More significant in the eyes of some of the players was an incident in
the second game of the series. Tejada did not get to an easy ground
ball Batista hit off reliever Mark Guthrie with the Athletics leading,
8-2. When the inning was over, A’s players fumed on the bench.
Tejada, now 35, said his teammates were skeptical because Batista dropped a foul pop-up he hit in the previous game.
“I would never do that,” Tejada said. “I want to win. If my brother was on the other team, I would never help him.”
These incidents, and others, led to a supremely contentious closed-door meeting in the A’s clubhouse, and some of the guys from that team tell the tale. Contrast this to the anonymous accusations against A-Rod this past spring, and you have some great reading.
Joe Longo, the agent of Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, said his client’s relationship with the Marlins is “irretrievably broken,” ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports. He believes in the best interest of both Yelich and the Marlins to work out a trade before the start of spring training.
They have a plan. I respect that plan, but that plan shouldn’t include Christian at this point in his career. He’s in the middle of the best years of his career, and having him be part of a 100-loss season is not really where [we] want to see him going.
The relationship between player and team is irretrievably broken. It’s soured. He’s part of the old ownership regime. The new ownership regime needs to get new parts into this plan and move forward, and he needs to get on with his career where he’s got a chance to win. The big issue is him winning and winning now.
He loves the city of Miami. He loves the fans. He’s had nothing but a good experience in South Florida, and he feels sorry where they ended up. But I think having him report [to spring training] and attempting to include him moving forward is going to be uncomfortable for both sides. I don’t see how it’s going to work.
This certainly comes as no surprise considering the offseason the Marlins have had after installing new ownership, going from Jeffrey Loria to Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter. The club traded All-Star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who hit 59 home runs last season, as well as Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna. As Crasnick notes, Yelich isn’t the only player to express disappointment with the Marlins’ current direction — J.T. Realmuto and Starlin Castro have as well.
Yelich, 26, signed a seven-year, $49.57 million contract extension with the Marlins in March of 2015. Given his career performance, that’s a bargain of a contract, which is why more than a handful of teams have inquired with the Marlins about him this offseason. Yelich finished the past season with a .282/.369/.439 triple-slash line along with 18 home runs, 81 RBI, 100 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances.