Don’t worry Yankees fans: A-Rod is still ‘above average”

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Alex Rodriguez popped out with the bases loaded to end Sunday’s 10-8 loss to the Angels. But, hey, his general manager still thinks he’s good. Kind of.

“I don’t look at A-Rod and his contract. I look at him as a player who’s above average at his position,” Brian Cashman told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.

Cashman is absolutely right, of course. And that’s how Rodriguez should be looked at; the money is already spent anyway. A-Rod isn’t what he was, but he’s still a pretty good hitter and he hasn’t turned into a liability at third base yet, though he might before his deal is up.

Of course, it is the money that is getting him booed. Rodriguez is signed through 2017 and still has at least $118 million coming his way after this year.

A-Rod hit his 14th homer today, a two-run shot off Jered Weaver. He also had a single in five at-bats. Overall, he’s hitting a perfectly respectable .270 with 40 RBI in 85 games. It’s just that the fans want more than “above average” from him.

Report: Phillies moving in on a deal with Tommy Hunter

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There’s been a bit of confusion at the Winter Meetings. First, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Phillies were close to signing free agent reliever Addison Reed. That report was then disputed by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer then reported that not only do the Phillies not have a deal with Reed, they’re actually moving in on a deal with free agent pitcher Tommy Hunter. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic backed up Gelb’s report, as did Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.

Hunter, 31, spent the past season with the Rays, posting a 2.61 ERA with a 64/14 K/BB ratio across 58 2/3 innings. The right-hander, a veteran of 10 seasons in the majors, should be a good addition to the Phillies’ bullpen, which also recently added Pat Neshek. Neshek and Hunter will likely work the innings just ahead of closer Hector Neris.

As for Reed, well, who knows.