a-rod reuters

Heyman: “MLB has receipts, checks, the whole nine yards”


Some interesting tidbits on the Biogenesis investigation from Jon Heyman. Among the things (I think anyway) we haven’t heard before: sources telling him that Major League Baseball has “receipts, checks, the whole nine yards.” I mean, it’s been safe to assume that, of course, but this is the first time I recall seeing a source tell a reporter that.

There’s also some stuff in there about A-Rod and his people being realistic about his impending suspension and the fact that, given his recent injury, he’s not likely to “beat the suspension to the field,” as they put it. Also interesting are reports of the league and the union’s possible differing interpretations of what constitutes multiple offenses, how much discipline might be doled out to players and whether any of them are willing to take pleas.

All of that makes a lot of sense. But this part about Alex Rodriguez doesn’t:

If MLB can possibly prove drug ties before and after his MLB interviews denying involvement, it’s possible he could get 150 games. While it would seem to be difficult to imagine a lifetime ban within one ruling, 150 games away could effectively end the career of a player with two bad hips who turns 38 on July 27.

The hips were good enough to have him hitting homers in rehab games until late last week’s quad injury. As for 150 games: if A-Rod got that handed to him tomorrow, and if he decided to just accept the suspension, he’d be eligible to come back at roughly this time next year. There are a lot of players — particularly pitchers — who miss a year and a half and make it back. Even old ones.

But maybe the better example here is Manny Ramirez. He’s older than A-Rod, has just as much if not more of a PED-taint than does A-Rod, was less effective than A-Rod was at the time of their last pre-suspension action, was probably in worse shape at the time of the suspensions, then retired and sat out for an extended period.  He jut signed with his third team since becoming a pariah.

Maybe A-Rod would just up and quit, but I kinda doubt it. And if didn’t quit, you can’t tell me a team wouldn’t take a chance on him as their DH at the very least. That team most likely being the Yankees themselves.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.