We are told A-Rod’s Biogenesis discipline is going to come down this week. The New York Daily News reports that today may be the pivotal day in this drama. It’s when Alex Rodriguez must decide if he’s going to take an offer or fight a lifetime ban:
Armed with voluminous evidence they believe would warrant lifetime banishment, Major League Baseball officials hope to know by Monday if Alex Rodriguez will agree to a deal that would effectively end the Yankee third baseman’s career but possibly preserve a big portion of the remaining $100 million on his contract.
If Rodriguez and his representatives reject a deal, the embattled superstar’s suspension could be announced as early as late Monday or Tuesday. A source close to Rodriguez said the player was sticking to his story that he has done nothing wrong and was unwilling to cut a deal.
The offer, the Daily News believes, is a deal for a suspension which would last through the end of 2014. Which is essentially a 200+ game suspension.
I don’t know what A-Rod will do. I doubt anyone does (though his lawyers are telling people they are preparing for an appeal). But I remain skeptical that, if it goes to arbitration, Major League Baseball could actually make a lifetime ban stick in light of the fact that he’s never been disciplined under baseball’s drug rules in the past. And remember: there were reports that MLB was threatening Ryan Braun with at least a 100 game suspension and he ended up getting an offer of 65. Which he accepted.
But for us, that’s just an exercise in speculation. For A-Rod it’s a gamble. A gamble worth, potentially, a hundred million dollars.
Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.
Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.
Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.
Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.
Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.
Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.