Bud Selig

MLB is gonna tell us what it has on A-Rod at some point, right?

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Is Major League Baseball going to show us what it has on Alex Rodriguez?  I feel like it has to at some point, don’t you?

Maybe not if they settle. If A-Rod and is legal team agree to take some harsh discipline and part of that is an agreement that MLB keep what it has on him confidential, I’m OK with that. Because at least at that point the person most directly affected by MLB’s act — A-Rod himself — has implicitly agreed that the evidence against him is strong and roughly justifies the penalty he receives.  But what if he fights? And what if that fight lasts a long, long time? Won’t Major League Baseball have to tell us what A-Rod did exactly?

I say that because, while we have heard report after report about just how badly A-Rod behaved, we don’t have anything but the most broad explanations of it. He allegedly used PEDs. He allegedly lied about it. He allegedly obstructed the investigation. There are disputes about how he did so, ranging from him simply talking to Tony Bosch and/or Porter Fischer about buying evidence, possibly at their initiation, possibly his, to him actively trying to destroy it and intimidate witnesses.

There’s a lot of ground covered in those allegations. If the worst is borne out it may very well justify A-Rod being banned for life. But a more charitable interpretation of those allegations covers things other Biogenesis-related players have done. Ryan Braun took PEDs and lied. Melky Cabrera took PEDs and attempted to obstruct. It’s not easy to say based on what we know that what they did was 1/3 as bad (if, say, A-Rod gets 150 games) or a fraction as bad (if A-Rod is banned for life).

Is Major League Baseball obligated to tell us anything? No. They’re a private enterprise. And of course, there is supposed to be a general cloak of confidentiality around all drug discipline.  But that has long gone out the window thanks to leaks from people close to the process.  And, more importantly, because of the unorthodox nature of this entire process.  If things were operating as the Joint Drug Agreement specifies, fine, we can accept silence. But there is large deviation from that now and we’re not sure why.

And ultimately, there is a credibility issue in play. Buck Showalter today observed that MLB’s discipline of Rodriguez is going to create a windfall for the Yankees’ business interests and possibly its competitive ones. He is most certainly right. Others — including many HBT readers — have gone a step further, saying that this is all starting to look like a very convenient way of getting the league’s marquee franchise out from under one of its largest ever financial mistakes: signing A-Rod to a ridiculous contract in the first place.

As I said earlier today, I’m not inclined to engage in conspiracy theories and I feel like any benefit to the Yankees is incidental and welcome, not intended. But not everyone is going to think that way. Some will think this is rigged. More calm and reasonable people may not buy that, but may very well think Major League Baseball is acting arbitrarily with respect to Rodriguez and may wonder why he is being treated so harshly when Ryan Braun, who was portrayed as just as villainous until two weeks ago, got off so lightly. Maybe that is justified. But I feel like we should not have to take that on Major League Baseball’s word alone.

Perhaps MLB intends to present its evidence to the public at some point anyway and my concern is unfounded. Perhaps it is merely, and understandably, waiting for this process to play out first.  That would make sense.  But I do think, at some point, people should know why the game’s highest paid and highest profile player is getting either a defacto or an actual lifetime ban when no one else involved in roughly similar activities is getting anything close.

Wade Davis? Greg Holland? Who needs ’em?

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 21: Joakim Soria #48 of the Kansas City Royals throws in the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Kauffman Stadium on August 21, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The story of the two-time defending AL champion and current defending World Series champ Kansas City Royals cannot be told without talking at length about their bullpen.

In 2014, Wade Davis, Greg Holland and Kelvin Herrera formed a shutdown brigade that not only made it next to impossible for the opposition to mount late rallies, but managed something which seemed utterly impossible before 2014: they turned Ned Yost into a tactical genius. Indeed, the only time Yost got criticism at all that fall was when he messed with the autopilot formula that had that three-headed monster handling the 7th, 8th and 9th innings.

Much the same happened in 2015, of course, despite Holland’s sharp decline and eventual injury. Davis and Herrera continued their dominance. They were joined by Ryan Madson and a cast of other effective relievers who, along with timely hitting, great defense and good health, helped propel the Royals to the title.

This year had not been quite the same story. Holland has been out all year and Davis, while effective when he’s pitched, has missed time due to injury. As has longtime contributor and presumptive next-man-up Luke Hochevar. Herrera is basically still Herrera, but Ned Yost has been presented with a decidedly different set of choices. Lots of choices and Ned Yost don’t always go together well, but lately that hasn’t mattered.

Last night the Royals’ bullpen came in to a close game and tossed three scoreless innings. That set a franchise record with 32 straight scoreless frames, besting the previous record set back in the club’s inaugural season in 1969. The streak is a huge part of why the Royals have won nine games in a row.

Unlike the success of 2014-15, the streak is not a three-man show. As Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star notes, eight different relievers have appeared for Kansas City during the streak, with Joakim Soria and Matt Strahm leading the crew with five and a third innings pitched. Herrera has tossed five scoreless. Otherwise it’s been a group effort with even Peter Moylan offering a couple of scoreless frames. And here you thought Moylan was, I dunno, gearing up for the upcoming Brisbane Bandits season. Nope.

The Royals are still not, in my view anyway, a lock to make the postseason. It’s a a crowded field right now. They’re seven and a half back in the AL Central and four back in the Wild Card with a bunch of teams in front of them. But they’re certainly playing themselves back into the conversation. They’re interesting. And they’re doing it in much the same way they’ve done it the past two years. Only with different dudes doing the do.

Video: Mookie Betts made a ridiculous throw last night

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 10.16.51 AM
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Mookie Betts was an infielder once upon a time and the knock on him both then and since his move to the outfield was that maybe his arm was not fantastic. As an infielder there was talk that he was better suited to the right side than the left. As an outfielder people were saying that, with work, his arm could be average and/or serviceable. Not bad, of course, but not anything to write home about.

Maybe we need to reassess that, because last night he uncorked one from right field that would make Dwight Evans says “dang, man.”

 

And the throw mattered, as Kiermaier represented the tying run in a game that, at the time, the Sox were leading 2-1.

Betts is a dangerous middle-of-the-order bat at age 23. And now he shows that he’ll nail a fast runner with a frozen rope if he has to. The guy is going to win an MVP award some day. And maybe not just one.