We heard the news about Alex Rodriguez being benched for Game 5, and the reaction from the manager, now here it is straight from the man himself:
“Obviously I’m not happy and disappointed. You want to be in there in the worst way, but as I keep telling you guys, this isn’t a story about one person. This is about a team, and we have some unfinished business today. Our objective is to win one game tonight and keep this thing moving.”
When if he’s OK coming off the bench — and Joe Girardi said he would pinch hit Rodriguez if and a lefty comes in — he said:
“Without question. I do know in 27 outs, a lot can happen. I’ll be ready.”
He also added that he has no problem with Joe Girardi, saying “It’s never about Joe. I always have to look in the mirror and do what I can do to do the best I can.”
Well, at least he has experience with that.
Seriously, though: those are all the right answers. If anyone is looking to make a bigger deal out of this than “struggling player sits in favor of player with better chance to help team win in a single game,” they’re just looking for stuff that isn’t there. To the extent this becomes a bigger drama, it’ll happen in the offseason in the event that the Yankees think about fundamentally changing A-Rod’s role with the team.
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.