Alex Rodriguez suffers fractured hand on HBP

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Alex Rodriguez suffered a non-displaced fracture in his left hand when he was hit by a Felix Hernandez slider on Tuesday night and will go on the disabled list, the Yankees announced after the 4-2 loss to the Mariners.

Here’s the video.

Even though it wasn’t a fastball at 88 mph, it looked like Rodriguez suffered a break from the moment he was hit. He was in serious pain as he rolled around on the ground, and he showed no interest in moving his wrist as he walked off the field.

Jayson Nix pinch-ran for Rodriguez. He and Eric Chavez figure to split time at third base for at least the next couple of weeks for the Yankees. While it’s good news that Rodriguez didn’t suffer a more serious fracture that would have been guaranteed to knock him out for at least 4-6 weeks, it still isn’t all that likely that he’ll be ready to go when his 15 days are up. For what it’s worth, Chavez said after the game that he missed five weeks in 2004 with a break similar to the one A-Rod suffered.

A-Rod was Hernandez’s second hit batter of the inning and third of the game. Derek Jeter was also hit in the hand by a pitch in the eighth, and while he seemed to be in considerable pain initially, he stayed in the game.

Hernandez was pulled following the A-Rod HBP, but he ended up with the win after allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. The second run scored after he left the game in the eighth. Lucas Luetge got out of the jam from there — though not before he knocked down Raul Ibanez with some chin music — and Tom Wilhelmsen closed it out for his 11th save.

Still trying to win a close game. the Yankees declined to send any messages back to the Mariners in the bottom of the eighth. One wonders if Ivan Nova will drill a batter early in Wednesday’s series finale. While it wasn’t obvious that any of the Mariners’ plunkings tonight were intentional, the fact that there were three, followed by the Ibanez dusting, could be considered worthy of retaliation.

MLB Network airs segment listing “good” and “bad” $100 million-plus contracts

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On Wednesday evening, Charlie Marlow of KTVI FOX 2 News St. Louis posted a couple of screencaps from a segment MLB Network aired about $100 million-plus contracts that have been signed. The list of “bad” contracts, unsurprisingly, is lengthier than the list of “good” contracts.

As Mike Gianella of Baseball Prospectus pointed out, it is problematic for a network owned by Major League Baseball to air a segment criticizing its employees for making too much seemingly unearned money. There’s a very clear conflict of interest, so one is certainly not getting a fair view of the situation. MLB, of course, can do what it wants with its network, but it can also be criticized. MLB Network would never air a similar segment in which it listed baseball’s “good” and “bad” owners and how much money they’ve undeservedly taken. Nor would MLB Network ever run a segment naming the hundreds of players who are not yet eligible for arbitration whose salaries are decided for them by their teams, often making the major league minimum ($545,000) or just above it. Similarly, MLB Network would also never think of airing a segment in which the pay of minor league players, many of whom make under $10,000 annually, is highlighted.

We’re now past the halfway point in January and many free agents still remain unsigned. It’s unprecedented. A few weeks ago, I looked just at the last handful of years and found that, typically, six or seven of the top 10 free agents signed by the new year. We’re still at two of 10 — same as a few weeks ago — and that’s only if you consider Carlos Santana a top-10 free agent, which is debatable. It’s a complex issue, but part of it certainly is the ubiquity of analytics in front offices, creating homogeneity in thinking. A consequence of that is everyone now being aware that big free agent contracts haven’t panned out well; it’s a topic of conversation that everyone can have and understand now. Back in 2010, I upset a lot of people by suggesting that Ryan Howard’s five-year, $125 million contract with the Phillies wouldn’t pan out well. Those people mostly cited home runs and RBI and got mad when I cited WAR and wOBA and defensive metrics. Now, many of those same people are wary of signing free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer and they now cite WAR, wOBA, and the various defensive metrics.

The public’s hyper-sensitivity to the viability of long-term free agent contracts — thanks in part to segments like the aforementioned — is a really bad trend if you’re a player, agent, or just care about labor in general. The tables have become very much tilted in favor of ownership over labor over the last decade and a half. Nathaniel Grow of FanGraphs pointed out in March 2015 that the players’ share of total league revenues peaked in 2002 at 56 percent, but declined all the way to 38 percent in 2014. The current trend of teams signing their talented players to long-term contract extensions before or during their years of arbitration eligibility — before they have real leverage — as well as teams abstaining from signing free agents will only serve to send that percentage further down.

Craig has written at great length about the rather serious problem the MLBPA has on its hands. Solving this problem won’t be easy and may require the threat of a strike, or actually striking. As Craig mentioned, that would mean getting the players all on the same page on this issue, which would require some work. MLB hasn’t dealt with a strike since 1994 and it’s believed that it caused a serious decline in interest among fans, so it’s certainly something that would get the owners’ attention. The MLBPA may also need to consider replacing union head Tony Clark with someone with a serious labor background. Among the issues the union could focus on during negotiations for the next collective bargaining agreement: abolishing the draft and getting rid of the arbitration system. One thing is for sure: the players are not in a good spot now, especially when the league has its own network on which it propagandizes against them.