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Wait, how is this A-Rod’s fault again? Brian Cashman was clearly out-of-line


I know everyone hates A-Rod and he’s history’s worst monster and everything, but I’m really struggling to see how this latest flap — let’s call it The STFU Affair — is being spun as “here goes A-Rod again!” instead of “wow, Brian Cashman was really out of line there.”

And make no mistake, that’s how it’s being spun already. I’ve yet to see the usual columnists weight in — I’m sure Lupica and the rest will have fun things to say about this, all of which portray A-Rod as the beast here — but when even the normally even-handed and sharp Mark Feinsand of the Daily News is saying “Only Rodriguez could turn a positive story into a negative one this quickly,” you know that this is going to turn into yet another “A-Rod is the worst” fest.

Which is insane to me.

A-Rod’s transgression here: tweeting that he was ready and eager to play:

No, that message had not yet been approved for release by the Yankees yet, but (a) it was already news that was being reported by papers on Monday; and (b) is not something all that unusual in baseball. We often hear of players saying X about their readiness to rehab or come off the DL or whatever while the team says Y. We saw it in Washington just this past week with Bryce Harper. We see it many times a year. It’s something which is less-than-decorous, but it’s an inside-baseball kind of thing. Team officials care about it because they like to control the messaging for understandable reasons. The media may make note of it because any player-team disconnect is newsworthy. But about zero fans care about such things in the normal course and it’s never, ever cast as some scandalous statement.

On the other hand we have a general manager of a team telling his player, through the media, to “shut the f— up.” Think about that: when has that happened in the past? Under what circumstances is it ever considered appropriate for a boss to profanely excoriate his employee, be it privately, in front of people or, as in this case, in the press? If your boss told someone in your office that you should “shut the f— up” I don’t feel like you’d say “well, I did bring this on myself.” You’d be outraged and rightfully so. Your boss would probably be reprimanded.

Put any other player in A-Rod’s shoes here and any other GM in Cashman’s and the GM would be the one under fire here, not Alex Rodriguez.  It’s not that way though because A-Rod is everyone’s favorite punching bag. That’s the only reason Cashman isn’t the one being raked over the coals here, as he should be. It’s just the latest example of A-Rod Derangement Syndrome.

Nationals fire reigning Manager of the Year Matt Williams

Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams looks on from the dugout during a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, May 2, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

Matt Williams was voted the National League Manager of the Year on November 11, 2014, receiving 18 of 30 first-place votes from Baseball Writers Association of America members.

Today the Nationals fired Williams and his entire coaching staff following a season full of disappointment, reports of clubhouse discontent, and Jonathan Papelbon choking Bryce Harper in the dugout.

Williams went 179-145 (.552) in two seasons in Washington, which is an excellent winning percentage, but when you take over a stacked team the expectations are extremely high and there was seemingly nothing anyone could point to about his actual managing that suggested he was doing a good job.

His in-game tactics and particularly his rigid bullpen usage patterns infuriated fans. His dealings with the local media became increasingly antagonistic. And even setting aside two players literally fighting in the dugout there’s ample evidence that Williams lost the clubhouse a long time ago.

Williams was far from the only thing wrong with the Nationals this season and he’s hardly the primary person to blame for their disappointing record, but it’s also hard to make a strong case for his sticking around–meaningless, beat writer-voted award or not–and general manager Mike Rizzo predictably acted quickly to move on.

Now we’ll see who gets to take the next crack at managing the Nationals to play up to expectations.

Dan Haren plans to retire after the playoffs are over

Dan Haren
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Dan Haren, who said two months ago that he was leaning toward retiring after the season, reiterated those plans following the Cubs’ regular season finale Sunday.

At age 34 he started 32 games for the Marlins and Cubs with a 3.60 ERA and 132/38 K/BB ratio in 187 innings, so Haren would have no problem finding work and a solid paycheck for 2016.

However, he’s not expected to part of the Cubs’ playoff roster and told Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago:

That was it for me. If I have to pitch in the postseason, I’ll be ready for sure. Happy the way the last few starts have gone. Being able to contribute to this amazing team. I’m just thankful to be a part of it. If I don’t pitch in the postseason, that’s it. It’s been fun. Hopefully there’s a lot more games to go. … If my name is called, I’ll be ready.

Injuries has lessened Haren’s overall effectiveness in recent years, but he’s remained a solid mid-rotation starter and has pitched 13 seasons in the big leagues with a 3.75 ERA in 2,419 innings. He made three All-Star teams and earned more than $80 million.