MLB waiting to hear from A-Rod on a possible settlement offer

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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.

The Japanese playoffs are super unfair

Hiroshima Carp
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I know a little about Japanese baseball. Not a lot, mind you. Like, I couldn’t hold my own with people who actually watch it or report on it or whatever, but I could explain some of the broad differences and similarities between the NPB and the U.S. majors.  I can say a few things about how the two leagues compare competitively speaking. I can name some stars and (I think) all the clubs. But there’s, quite obviously, a ton I don’t know.

A thing I did not know until today: the NPB playoffs are really messed up.

The NPB is divided into two leagues, the Central and the Pacific, with the winner of each league facing off in the Japan Series. Like the U.S. majors, they have preliminary playoff rounds in each league. Each league has three playoff teams, with the second and third seed teams playing a series first, and the winner of that series playing the top seed — the team with the best record in the league — in what is called the Climax Series.

Here’s the weird part: the higher-seeded team in the Climax Series — the team which won the league in the regular season — gets every single playoff game at home. What’s more, that team begins the Climax Series with an automatic 1-0 advantage. So, yes, it’s a seven-game series on paper, but one of the teams only has to win three games to advance to the Japan Series.

Oh, in Japan, they also have no problems ending a playoff game early if it rains. That’s what happened in the Central League Climax Series last night, where the lower-seeded Yokohama BayStars took on the league champ Hiroshima Carp. Here’s the report from Jason Coskrey of The Japan Times:

The rainy conditions in Hiroshima caused the umpires to stop play for over 30 minutes and ultimately call the game after five innings, minutes after the Carp put three runs on the board. Just like that, it was over. The Carp won 3-0, with Yokohama robbed of the four innings (at least) it would’ve had to try and rally.

Even better: as Coskrey notes, there are five days in between the end of the Climax Series and the beginning of the Japan Series, so there is no reason they could not suspend a game and resume it the next day. They just choose not to. The upshot: the Carp were staked to a 2-0 series lead despite the fact that they had only played five innings of baseball. UPDATE: they played a full game today, the BayStars won, so now it’s 2-1 Hiroshima.

Imagine if that happened in the NLCS. Imagine if the Dodgers began the series with a 1-0 lead over the Cubs and played all of their games in Los Angeles. Imagine there was a freak L.A. storm and it ended one of the game in the fifth inning, right after Justin Turner hit a homer. I’m pretty sure people would riot.

Kinda makes our complaints about the replay system seem rather quaint, eh?