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The Daily News is still pushing the “A-Rod will never play again” angle

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This is getting pathological. The New York Daily News has been pushing the idea that A-Rod will never play again angle for some time. Their thinking, as much as I can follow it anyway, is that A-Rod, in an effort to protect his legacy or his money or avoid Biogenesis punishment or … something … is going to try to portray himself as physically unable to play, sit back and collect his salary either from the Yankees or insurance companies or both.

That meme went a bit quiet for a couple weeks as A-Rod played in rehab games and actually hit home runs and stuff. Now, after A-Rod has been put on a shelf with a strained quad, it’s back again with a vengeance. Here’s John Harper:

Whether it is convenient timing for Alex Rodriguez or simply revealing of the state of his body, the quadriceps strain that showed up on an MRI on Sunday is more reason than ever to believe that A-Rod will never play for the Yankees again … If he can make that case before a suspension becomes official, Daily News’ sources say that insurance policies, either that of the Yankees’ or A-Rod’s personal policy, would allow him to keep all or most of the money he would otherwise lose.
So was he really only an unforeseen quad injury away from being activated? Or was something like this going to get in the way of him rejoining the Yankees as the time on his 20-day minor league rehab ran out?

I love conspiracy theories, but only to the extent they make a lick of sense. No, I have no idea if A-Rod will ever play again. He could get hit by a bus tomorrow. He could strain three more things and then need Tommy John surgery. His could be the first Tommy John surgery in history to be described as “unsuccessful” after it’s over by virtue of a honey badger breaking into the operating room and killing the anesthesiologist. I really have no clue.

But I do know that the Daily News’ insurance theory makes no sense as they’ve described it. A-Rod does not save any money if he’s on the DL when he gets suspended for Biogenesis (he loses salary either way). Nothing in his history or character suggests he’ll simply choose to go away with a fake medical retirement out of shame or embarrassment because he has no shame and seems incapable of it. Finally, and most importantly, the notion that the Yankees can simply make a phone call to an insurance company after what, under Harper’s theory, is a bogus quad injury and expect checks for tens of millions of dollars to start arriving is beyond laughable. The man was playing baseball games pretty effectively four days ago.

Derek Jeter strains his quad after rehab and its a quad strain. A-Rod does it and it’s a sinister plot. I shouldn’t be surprised, I suppose, but I can’t help but wondering how on Earth the Daily News publishes this stuff with a straight face.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

Screenshot 2016-02-07 at 10.16.43 AM
Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.