David Schoenfield is one of my favorite baseball writers, but I saw this in his latest post and just can’t agree:
The more I think about the report out of Miami, the more I think we’ve seen the last of Alex Rodriguez in a major league uniform.
Schoenfield is not the only one to say this today. Several writers — many who should probably know better — have declared A-Rod’s career over today. And I simply do not see how we get from here to there via any reasonable path.
As I noted earlier today, the Yankees are not going to void A-Rod’s deal. If they try it won’t work so they probably won’t even try. That leaves A-Rod with five years and $114 million left on his contract. He’s not walking away from that.
What might happen? He may get suspended for 50 games, after which he would come back. He may — if the Yankees simply get totally disgusted and hysterical about things — get released. In which case 29 teams can have Alex Rodriguez’s services for the league minimum. Back to Schoenfield:
When he was on the field last year for the 122 games he played in the regular season, Rodriguez was still reasonably productive, hitting .272/.353/.430.
That, I think, is the alpha and omega here. It’s not anywhere close to being worth his contract, but it’s quite useful from someone making almost no money. He’s not some monumental flake like Manny Ramirez. If healthy, he even has some defensive value. Someone would take a chance on him. The only factor would be the strength of his hip, not his status as a media pariah.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.
ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported over the weekend that the Cubs and reliever Pedro Strop agreed to a contract extension. He’ll remain with the Cubs through 2018 and the new deal includes a club option for the 2019 season as well. Per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Strop will earn $5.85 million in 2018 and the club option is worth $6.25 million with a $500,000 buyout. The two sides already avoided arbitration earlier this month, agreeing on a $5.5 million salary for the 2017 season.
Strop, 31, has been a very reliable reliever for the Cubs over the last three years. He has a combined 2.65 ERA with 212 strikeouts and 69 walks over 176 1/3 innings in that span of time.
The Cubs replaced Aroldis Chapman with Wade Davis, so Strop and Hector Rondon will be bridging the gap to Davis this coming season.
Strop joined the Cubs along with Jake Arrieta in the July 2013 trade that sent Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman to the Orioles. That trade panned out well for the Cubs.