Francisco Rodriguez was arraigned on the text-message/protection order violation yesterday. During the hearing the district attorney painted a dark picture of the Mets closer:
Hothead fireballer K-Rod once beat his girlfriend so badly she had to be hospitalized, a Queens prosecutor said Wednesday.
The chilling assault was revealed in court as Assistant District Attorney Scott Kessler painted Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez as a manipulative bully who flouts the law.
“He’s not naive and loving,” Kessler told Queens Justice Ira Margulis. “He’s merely manipulating and controlling.”
The alleged assault that led to his girlfriend’s hospitalization took place in Venezuela, prosecutors say. K-Rod’s attorney denied it. The Mets say no records of it came up when they did a background check before signing him.
I have no idea what the truth is here. Based on both experience and stuff I’ve read, there’s reason to doubt the rigor and/or veracity of Met background checks, Venezuelan court records and the kinds of statements made by prosecutors during criminal arraignments.* All three have been known to understate or overstate the truth of the matter.
But however this breaks, it’s ugly and sad and, oh how I wish this was merely a case about a knucklehead relief pitcher getting into a comical slap fight with an old guy who insulted his mama. It’s much more than that now.
*To be clear: I have no basis at hand to doubt what the prosecutor said in this particular instance. In the past, however, I have had clients called the most heinous things by prosecutors during preliminary hearings, where it is the prosecutor’s job to cast the accused in the worst light the known evidence will allow in an effort to get a high bail and stringent pretrial conditions placed on the defendant.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.
Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.
Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.
Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.
The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.
Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.
Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.
The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.
Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.
Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.
Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.