Francisco Rodriguez

K-Rod may sue his old agents

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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.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
Associated Press
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The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.

 

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.