I offer this from Pete Abraham’s Twitter feed, but I’m not trying to single Pete out. Many people have made such comments this morning, so I use his as mere example:
- The could lose the suit because anyone can lose any suit;
- They could lose the suit in such a way that actually creates legal precedent that makes it harder to go after drug users or otherwise misbehaving players;
- Win or lose they will cost themselves millions if not tens of millions in legal fees;
- If they lose they have a player under contract who is alienated from the team to the nth degree, making life much harder;
- Win or lose their employees will miss tons of work for depositions, preparation and the like;
- Win or lose a lawsuit may cause potential free agents to avoid the Yankees because they believe, rationally or not, that the team is just waiting to pounce on its players in the event they make any missteps.
- Mostly, though, because lawsuits are awful;
As for winning or losing: there is a means for a PED-user to have his contract voided: being disciplined three times, which leads to a lifetime ban. For the Yankees to attempt to void the deal now is the equivalent of that, financially speaking, and I’d have a hard time seeing a court or an arbitrator agree that they can simply leapfrog over two suspensions like that to cost A-Rod the $114 million left on his deal.
If there is discipline, it will be a 50-game suspension. And it may not happen at all. Let’s not jump the gun here.
The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.
Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.
Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”
Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.
The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.