Given that every report on the matter claims that Major League Baseball has overwhelming evidence of Alex Rodriguez’s drug use one might assume that his defense would center on the severity of the penalty as opposed to the charges on the merits. If one did so, however, one might be wrong. From ESPN:
MLB suspended Rodriguez for 211 games earlier this month for what baseball alleged was his use of banned substances over “multiple years,” among other violations.
Rodriguez’s attorney, David Cornwell, said Tuesday in an interview with New York radio station WFAN that Rodriguez’s legal team will challenge that allegation during its appeal of the suspension.
“We are challenging that there are multiple violations of the (Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment) Program,” Cornwell said.
Lawyers say things all the time and those things may or may not hew to reality once the proceedings open. But given the posture I feel like we can conclude that the A-Rod arbitration is going to be very, very long.
But hey: at least we’ll have something to do during the long, cold offseason!
Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the White Sox and Diamondbacks have emerged as two of the strongest contenders for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. It seems like a foregone conclusion that Baltimore will deal their superstar infielder this winter, but nothing appears imminent just yet. While both the White Sox and D-backs have reportedly made serious offers, Orioles owner Peter Angelos is wary of any non-contending team that might be incentivized to flip Machado to the rival Yankees next season.
The White Sox, for their part, have assured the Orioles that they view Machado more as a solid one-year rental than the new face of their franchise, with no immediate plans to deal him elsewhere. Given their current rebuilding status and the unlikelihood that they would contend in 2018, it makes their offer a bit of a head-scratcher — and, as USA Today Sports’ Bob Nightengale points out, they’ve been reluctant to put any top-5 prospects on the table in preliminary negotiations.
The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, are far better positioned to enter the postseason in 2018, though that doesn’t automatically make them the perfect landing spot for Machado. They already have Jake Lamb stationed at third base, and while it’s not inconceivable that they could jettison the Ketel Marte/Chris Owings/Nick Ahmed shortstop platoon for someone of Machado’s talent, his $17 million salary appears to be more than the D-backs are currently capable of absorbing.
The White Sox and D-backs may have exhibited the most interest in Machado so far, but they’re hardly the only contenders here. MASN Sports’ Roch Kubatko maintains that the Cardinals and Yankees remain in discussions for the 25-year-old, with Cardinals’ RHP Jordan Hicks and catcher Carson Kelly drawing interest, as well as Yankees’ top prospect Gleyber Torres. Any deal involving the Yankees still feels like a long shot, however; as Craig mentioned on Wednesday, it makes sense that the club wouldn’t want to see their star player hanging around their division rivals in 2018, and the Yankees should be well prepared to make a run at him in free agency next winter.