Steven Marcus of Newsday reported over the weekend that Alex Rodriguez’s appeal of his 211-game suspension will begin this week, at least preliminarily, with a status conference. He tweets today, however, that A-Rod’s team is considering other options before sitting down for an arbitration with Major League Baseball:
This isn’t necessarily surprising. As we saw with the NFL bounty case, a person with little to lose — and given the length of A-Rod’s suspension he has little to lose — can possibly make some headway against his suspension by doing an end-run around league discipline and going to court. I’m not sure what sort of theory A-Rod could advance in court — maybe saying that Bud Selig violated the Collective Bargaining Agreement in leveling the discipline that he did — but it’s quite possible that this is a means of putting pressure on the league to come back to the table and try to negotiate a lighter suspension.
Meanwhile, the Yankees, thanks in part to Rodriguez, are still in the wild card hunt. Which has to be driving Selig absolutely nuts.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.