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.
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.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.