As we reach the end of a Friday that we thought would bring forth Biogenesis news but which, alas, has not, the posturing continues. This from A-Rod’s side in Newsday:
“This guy is fighting this,” the source said Friday as Rodriguez was expected in Trenton, where he is scheduled to play Friday night and Saturday for the Double-A Thunder. “Alex is getting on the field, he’s excited to play, he’s ready to play. They’re [his legal team] all waiting and willing to fight anything that comes their way. The priority is to be on the field and play baseball.”
Never does it seem more clear that what Major League Baseball wants is to have an agreed suspension as opposed to having to fight any appeal, even if they are confident that they will ultimately be successful. By all accounts, Major League Baseball has considerable evidence and believes it can win if it has to. If that’s true, the only thing truly holding them back is the desire to avoid a fight altogether and the chance to wrap everything up in a bow. If that were not the case they would, one presumes, simply have suspended A-Rod already and invited him and his legal team to do its worst.
Rodriguez’s people know this. Reason suggests that they cut a deal which saves their client as much of what’s left on his contract as possible rather than risk a lifetime ban. But their awareness of MLB’s desire to settle has likely emboldened them. Made them think that they can force a bit better of a deal than what MLB currently has on the table. Obviously that’s all just speculation, but I’m struggling to think of what other sticking point there could be in this particular negotiation. It’s all a game of chicken as opposed to some multi-faceted deal. The only real variable being how many games.
Thus the posturing and thus the delay. It’s absolutely fascinating. I have no idea what will happen. No one outside the process really can know. But it’s oddly exciting to realize that a major chapter in baseball history is going to be written one way or another based, essentially, on whether Bud Selig or Alex Rodriguez blinks first.
Twins’ right-hander Nick Burdi is set to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, the team announced on Friday. Burdi made 14 appearances for Double-A Chattanooga before succumbing to a torn ulnar collateral ligament and is not expected to make his major league debut until mid-2018 at the earliest. A UCL tear doesn’t always require Tommy John surgery — less severe cases can be treated with platelet-rich plasma injections, for example — but Twins’ chief baseball officer Derek Falvey told the press that surgery was unavoidable as Burdi had sustained a “full thickness tear” in his elbow.
Entering the 2016 season, Burdi was widely considered a top ten prospect in the Twins’ system. His exceptional velocity and potent fastball-slider combo made him a fearsome relief option as he came off of his first season in Double-A Chattanooga in 2015. During the 2016 season, however, the 24-year-old experienced a significant setback after a bone bruise cut his season short in late July. Prior to Friday’s diagnosis, he appeared to be staging an impressive comeback with the Chattanooga Lookouts this spring, decorating his efforts with a sparkling 0.53 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.6 SO/9 over 17 innings.
It’s a tough break for the Twins, whose farm system was ranked 21st in the league by Baseball America. “Obviously he’s proven when he’s healthy he’s an absolute premium prospect, and the Twins are treating him that way,” Burdi’s agent, Matt Sosnick, told Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. “We just want to make sure everything we do ultimately leads to the goal of getting him back on the field as quickly as he can.”
Things have gone from bad to worse for Red Sox’ outfielder Brock Holt, who was shut down “for the foreseeable future” on Friday after meeting with head trauma specialist Michael Collins. The Red Sox placed Holt on the 10-day disabled list in April after he began experiencing vertigo, the latest in a series of head injuries he’s sustained since last spring.
According to the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato, the outfielder was initially advised to attempt playing through his symptoms, but it quickly became apparent that the strategy wasn’t going to work. Now, the plan is to shut him down from any game activity in the hopes that he’ll be able to recover from all lingering symptoms before returning to the roster. Club manager John Farrell told reporters that the 28-year-old is still cleared to take batting practice and work on his defense, but won’t continue his rehab starts in Triple-A Pawtucket for the time being.
Holt had been making regular appearances for the Pawtucket Red Sox and was batting .209/.292/.372 with two home runs through 14 games this spring. This season marks his fifth run within the Red Sox’ organization. He experienced a bit of a slump at the plate in 2016 and slashed .255/.322/.383 after breaking out during his first All-Star year in 2015.
Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe suggests that the team’s concern for Holt extends past his setbacks at the plate. It’s still a long road to a full recovery, and while Farrell told reporters he believes the outfielder is on track to make a return sometime in 2017, he’ll need to make sure that Holt is both physically and mentally prepared to do so.