If you’re an Orioles fan, feel free to root for the laundry. But let’s not celebrate Francisco Rodriguez.
K-Rod was initially arrested in Aug. 2010 after beating up the father of his girlfriend, Daian Pena. Rodriguez assaulted Carlos Pena at Citi Field after a game, punching him in the face. The incident actually left Rodriguez with torn ligaments in his pitching hand, forcing him to miss the rest of the season. The Mets took the incident very seriously, suspending him for two days. Rodriguez later pleaded guilty to assault charges and was sentenced to undergo 52 weeks of anger management. He was also barred from contacting his now ex-girlfriend, and mother of his twins, for two years.
If that was the end of K-Rod’s story, it might be worth forgiving him. However, he was arrested again last September in Wisconsin after he allegedly beat up a new girlfriend (and, again, the mother of his child). Those charges had to be dropped, mostly because the girlfriend and their housekeeper, an eyewitness, both departed for Rodriguez’s native Venezuela before the trial was scheduled to begin and never returned.
According to the prosecutor in the original case, there were also earlier incidents involving Pena, including one that led to her hospitalization in Venezuela.
So, yeah, Rodriguez is a quality reliever and he should fit nicely into a setup role in the Baltimore pen. The Orioles are a better team with him. As a person, though, he’s more worthy of scorn than any steroids user.
Former Mets catcher Johnny Monell signed a contract with the KT Wiz of the Korea Baseball Organization, per a report by Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. The 30-year-old originally struck a deal with the NC Dinos on Thursday, but the deal appeared to fall through at the last minute, according to Cotillo’s unnamed source.
Monell last surfaced for the Mets during their 2015 run, batting a dismal .167/.231/.208 with two extra bases in 52 PA before the club DFA’d him to clear space for Bartolo Colon. While he’s had difficulty sticking at the major league level, he’s found a higher degree of success in the minor league circuit and holds a career .271 average over a decade of minor league play. He played exclusively in Triple-A Las Vegas during the 2016 season, slashing .276/.336/.470 with 19 home runs and a career-high 75 RBI in 461 PA.
The veteran backstop appears to be the second MLB player to join the KT Wiz roster this offseason, as right-hander Donn Roach also signed with the club last month on a one-year, $850,000 deal.
Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.
Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.
Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.
Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):
We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.