Alex Rodriguez to meet with MLB about poker “in a few days” and “no chance he’ll be suspended”

9 Comments

As promised, MLB soon will meet with Alex Rodriguez to discuss his involvement in high-stakes poker games, according to the New York Daily News.

The newspaper reports that the meeting will take place “in a few days” at MLB’s offices in New York, but commissioner Bud Selig likely won’t be there and the talks aren’t expected to lead to much of anything.

Here’s what an unnamed “source” told the Daily News:

This has been overblown. They just want to talk to him just to tell him to stop getting in these crazy situations. There is no chance he will be suspended. There is no chance a suspension would be upheld by an arbitrator, based on what we know about this. Everybody plays cards on team planes and in clubhouses. This is no different.

Exactly.

Obviously the Yankees and MLB would prefer that Rodriguez not play in high-stakes poker games, particularly given some of the other details about the people and places involved, but ultimately the “high-stakes” aspect is of little concern for a guy who earns $200,000 per day and MLB seems to be making it an issue largely because he’s continued to play after being warned not to.

In addition to reportedly playing with fellow stars like Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon in exclusive Hollywood home games Rodriguez has also squared off against well-known poker pros in Las Vegas, drawing mixed reviews on his no-limit hold ’em skills from Mike Matusow and Jean-Robert Bellande.

Report: Qualifying offer to be in the $18 million range

Greg Fiume/Getty Images
4 Comments

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, teams have been told that the qualifying offer to free agents this offseason will be in the $18 million range, likely $18.1 million. The value is derived by taking the average of the top 125 player salaries.

At $18.1 million, that would be $900,000 more than the previous QO, which was $17.2 million. This will impact soon-to-be free agents like Jake Arrieta, Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, and Yu Darvish, among others. That also assumes that the aforementioned players aren’t traded, which would make them ineligible to receive qualifying offers. We’ve seen, increasingly, that teams aren’t willing to make a QO to an impending free agent and that trend is likely to continue this offseason.

The QO system was modified by the newest collective bargaining agreement. The compensatory pick for a team losing a player who declined a QO used to be a first-round pick. That was a penalty to both teams and players, which is why it was changed. Via MLB’s website pertaining to the QO:

A team that exceeded the luxury tax in the preceding season will lose its second- and fifth-highest selections after the first round in the following year’s Draft as well $1 million from its international bonus pool. If such a team signs multiple qualifying offer free agents, it will forfeit its third- and sixth-highest remaining picks as well.

A team that receives revenue sharing will lose its third-highest selection after the first round in the following year’s Draft. If it signs two such players, it will also forfeit its fourth-highest remaining pick.

A team that neither exceeded the luxury tax in the preceding season nor receives revenue sharing will lose its second-highest selection after the first round in the following year’s Draft as well as $500,000 from its international bonus pool. If it signs two such players, it will also forfeit its third-highest remaining pick.

Additionally, if a player who rejected a QO signs a guaranteed contract worth at least $50 million and came from a team that receives revenue sharing, that previous team will receive a compensatory pick immediately following the first round in the ensuing draft. If the contract is less than $50 million, that team will get a compensatory pick after Competitive Balance Round B. If the player’s team is over the luxury tax threshold, that team will receive a compensation pick following the fourth round. If that team neither exceeded the luxury tax nor receives revenue sharing, the compensation pick will come after Competitive Balance Round B.

Yeah, it’s a bit convoluted, but you do the best you can with a flawed system.

The Astros’ pursuit of Sonny Gray is “heating up”

Getty Images
6 Comments

Jon Morosi of MLB Networks reports that talks are “heating up” between the Astros and Athletics on a Sonny Gray trade. Gray, obviously, would represent a big upgrade for the Astros’ rotation. He has a 3.66 ERA and has struck out 85 batters while walking 28 in 91 innings.

Morosi adds that Gray is not the only option for the Astros, as they are also talking to the Tigers about a potential acquisition of Justin Verlander and Justin Wilson. That would obviously be a much tougher deal to negotiate given Verlander’s 10/5 rights giving him veto power over any trade, not to mention the massive amount of money he’s still owed on his contract.

Also: I’m pretty sure that it’s in the MLB rules that any trade between the Tigers and the Astros has to involve Brad Ausmus, C.J. Nitkowski and Jose Lima, and that’s not possible given their current occupations and/or their deaths in 2010.