Alex Rodriguez’s lawyer has maintained that his client is prepared to fight any Biogenesis-related suspension. But that tune is suddenly changing.
According to ESPN investigative reporter T.J. Quinn, A-Rod’s representatives, aware that commissioner Bud Selig is serious about attempting to seek a lifetime ban, “are now negotiating a possible settlement that could result in a lengthy suspension” for the veteran third baseman. Quinn suspects that the sentence will last “through at least next season.”
Most of the details of this saga, which is mercifully coming to a close, were laid out in Craig Calcaterra’s report from Wednesday evening. Accepting Major League Baseball’s suspension will allow A-Rod to keep a nice chunk of the $100-or-so million that is still owed to him by the Yankees, and that’s obviously something that appeals to him. Selig probably wouldn’t be able to pass a lifetime ban through the arbitration process, but the evidence is stacked high against A-Rod and the more he continues to fight the harder Major League Baseball is going to fight back. Calcaterra’s source said Wednesday that the 38-year-old Rodriguez is “in for a world of hurt” if he doesn’t settle.
Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.
In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler Austin–Greg Bird combo in 2017.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.
Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.