Francisco Rodriguez

K-Rod may sue his old agents


Last summer there was some hubbub when Francisco Rodriguez fired his agents, Paul Kinzer and Arn Tellem, replacing them with Scott Boras. Soon after that he was traded from the Mets to the Brewers.

The reason for the hubbub? Boras said that Kinzer and Tellem didn’t properly file the paperwork to activate a no-trade clause K-Rod negotiated for and that the no-trade clause would have included the Brewers on it.  As we know, K-Rod ended up going to Milwaukee and ended up being John Axford’s setup man.

Yesterday K-Rod’s lawyer, Richard Johnson, was quoted saying that he’s getting ready to raise hell over it all and accused K-Rod’s old agents of fraud:

“They did something atrocious. Their arrogance makes this so evil. It’s like rear-ending somebody but instead of stopping your car and trading insurance information they blew up the car and ran away. They committed negligence and turned it into a fraud case … He’s going to lose a lot of money; the question is whether it’s seven figures or eight figures. There’s long-term damage to his career. He wasn’t even in position to be marketed as a closer last winter. They really (messed) with his career in a monumental way.”

The alleged damage is that by being unable to veto a trade to Milwaukee like he thought he’d be able to, K-Rod lost out on showcasing himself as a closer late last year and thus was unable to make bank this winter as a free agent.  Instead he accepted arbitration and will remain, presumably as a setup man, with the Brewers.

Worth noting, of course, that we’re just hearing one side of this.  Last summer when the controversy was first reported, sources familiar with the details of the no-trade clause filing said that it was, in fact, submitted and the dispute is about form, not substance.  Since then the parties have been involved in a mediation that has apparently gone south, which might explain Johnson speaking out like this now.

What interests me most here are the sorts of damages Johnson thinks he could get out of this if, in fact, he establishes that K-Rod was aggrieved.

On the one hand he could point to Jonathan Papelbon’s silly contract and say “Look! K-Rod could have made a gajillion dollars if he had been able to market himself as a closer!”  On the other hand, Kinzer could point to Ryan Madson’s one-year $8.5 million deal and note that the one-year $8 million deal K-Rod got with the Brewers is around where he would have been anyway.  Point is, I don’t think there was any guarantee that K-Rod, given his history and given the closer market can really say he was damaged all that greatly.

Whatever the case, worth watching.

Orioles interested in Denard Span

Denard Span
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles have “some level” of interest in free agent outfielder Denard Span. The Nationals did not make a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Span, which means he doesn’t come attached with draft pick compensation unlike other free agents such as Alex Gordon and Dexter Fowler.

Span, who turns 32 in February, hit a solid .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, but took only 275 plate appearances due to back and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in September but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training.

The Mets and Royals have also reportedly shown interest in Span’s services.

Blue Jays showing interest in Ryan Madson

Ryan Madson
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.

Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.

Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.

After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.

Trevor Cahill considering the Pirates as a potential destination

Trevor Cahill
AP Photo/Paul Beaty

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.

It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.

Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.

Blue Jays narrow GM search to two candidates: Tony LaCava and Ross Atkins

Tony LaCava
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays have narrowed their search for a new general manager down to two candidates: current interim GM Tony LaCava, and Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins. Former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned last month.

LaCava was promoted to interim GM on November 2 and has already made a handful of moves along with new president Mark Shapiro. The club acquired Jesse Chavez in a trade and signed pitchers Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ to multi-year deals.

Atkins worked under Shapiro in the Indians organization for 15 seasons, so it is no surprise that he is a finalist for the open GM position.