Alex Rodriguez made some pointed comments after his rehab game with Double-A Trenton last night, alleging that certain “entities” were conspiring to prevent him from playing while finding “creative ways” to cancel his contract. While the embattled third baseman didn’t come right out and say it, he certainly gave the impression that the Yankees are one of those “entities.”
The Yankees naturally weren’t thrilled about the comments, as least according to one team source who spoke to the New York Daily News.
“This is typical Alex,” one Yankee official told the Daily News on Saturday. “Instead of taking responsibility for his actions, he blames everybody else. It wasn’t the Yankees who introduced [RODRIGUEZ]to Anthony Bosch. It wasn’t the Yankees who introduced him to Dr. Galea, or anybody else.” (The official was referring to Rodriguez’s association with Bosch, who is believed to have distributed performance-enhancing drugs to scores of athletes, and to Galea, a human growth hormone proponent who treated Rodriguez in 2009.)
The source was also said to be “amused” by Rodriguez’s claim that, “I think we all agree that we want to get rid of PEDs; that’s a must.”
Rodriguez still has $100 million remaining on his $275 million contract. Conspiracy theories aside, the Yankees would benefit greatly from a severe suspension or ban.
While Rodriguez will continue his minor league rehab assignment tonight, MLB is expected to announce suspensions by Monday for those connected to Biogenesis. Eight players — including Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, and Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera — are expected to receive 50-game suspensions, but various reports have indicated that MLB is prepared to ban Rodriguez for life if he doesn’t agree to a settlement. Bud Selig has reportedly considered using the “best interests of baseball” clause to keep him off the field if he appeals. And all indications are that Rodriguez is prepared to fight.
The Associated Press is reporting that the Cubs and starter Jake Arrieta have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $10.7 million salary for the 2016 season. That marks the highest salary on a one-year deal for a pitcher with four years of service, the AP notes. Arrieta and the Cubs were set to go before an independent arbitrator but now can simply focus on the season ahead.
Arrieta, 29, is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He had filed for $13 million while the Cubs countered at $7.5 million. The $5.5 million gap was the largest among players who did not come to terms with their respective teams by the January deadline. The $10.7 million salary is $450,000 above the midpoint between the two submitted figures.
Arrieta won the National League Cy Young Award for his performance this past season, narrowly edging out Zack Greinke, then with the Dodgers. Arrieta led the majors with 22 wins, four complete games, and three shutouts. With that, he compiled a 1.77 ERA and a 236/48 K/BB ratio across 229 innings.
Once a top prospect in the Orioles’ minor league system, Arrieta struggled in the majors but found immediate success with the Cubs in 2013 after the O’s traded him along with Pedro Strop in exchange for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.
Per Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, the Giants have signed infielder Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal. Gillaspie was selected by the Giants in the supplemental round of the 2008 draft, then was traded to the White Sox in February 2013.
Gillaspie, 28, hit a meager .228/.269/.359 with four home runs and 24 RBI in 253 plate appearances between the White Sox and Angels during the 2015 season. Almost all of his playing time has come at third base but he can also play first base if needed.
The Giants, thin on depth, will allow Gillaspie to audition in spring training for a spot on the 25-man roster.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that free agent reliever Joe Nathan, recovering from Tommy John surgery, plans to pitch in 2016 according to his agent Dave Pepe. According to Pepe, Nathan’s workouts are “going well” and the right-hander is “definitely planning on playing this year.”
Nathan, 41, got the final out on Opening Day (April 6) against the Twins before going on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right elbow, causing him to miss the next 161 games. He will likely be able to contribute out of the bullpen in late May or early June if he has no setbacks. On a minor league deal or incentive-laden major league deal, Nathan could make for a low-risk gamble.
Over a 15-season career that dates back to 1999 (he did not pitch in the majors in 2001 or 2010), Nathan has 377 saves with a 2.89 ERA and a 967/340 K/BB ratio over 917 innings.
On Thursday, we learned that the Diamondbacks were still considering free agent reliever Tyler Clippard. You can add the Rays to the list as well, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
The Rays traded lefty reliever Jake McGee to the Rockies in exchange for outfielder Corey Dickerson in late January, so Clippard would be able to slot right in behind closer Brad Boxberger. Clippard, 30, compiled a 2.92 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 31 walks over 71 innings in a season split between the Athletics and Mets. The strikeout rate was at its lowest since the right-hander become a full-time reliever in 2009, and his walk rate was at its highest since 2010, which may be a factor in his still being a free agent in February.