Yankees' Rodriguez stands at third base in the eighth inning of their MLB American League baseball game against the Red Sox in Boston

Cris Carter said he gave Alex Rodriguez a talking-to

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This is fun. Ex-NFL player Cris Carter ran into A-Rod down in Florida when A-Rod was getting ready to come back this year and they had a little chat. Carter said that he was concerned about PEDs and A-Rod’s P.R. problems and how his example impacts children and stuff. Then it got good. He said this on the Mike & Mike show:

“And he went into, Well, you know, I’m fighting for my life, and I basically just interrupted him and said, ‘Your life as a baseball player is over with. Now what you decide to do with the rest of your life — that’s the decision that you have to make. You and a number of other athletes have lost a whole generation of kids. Now, they’re going to be experimenting with PEDs because you guys have been successful doing it. What are you going to do to try to repair that?’ ”

Carter went on to tell A-Rod: “That’s really what your legacy should be. What you decide to do is totally up to you. I don’t care. I’m nobody — I’m just a fan. But I thought I should tell you that. You have an opportunity — and it could start today — that you could have the greatest legacy as far as PEDs, kids, high school athletes.”

I don’t think A-Rod or any big time athlete doing PEDs has nearly the impact on kids doing them as do the habits of other kids and the competitive environment in which they find themselves (i.e. if the incentive exists for them it will be way stronger a push than anyone’s example might be). But Carter is right about where A-Rod is in the grand scheme of things.

He’s not “done” in the same way Bill Madden keeps saying he’s done. He will likely still play baseball. I also believe that, yes, A-Rod has every right and incentive — in in some ways responsibility — to fight the charges against him. If for no other reason than because the precedent of MLB leveling crazy 200+ game suspensions for first time violations of the JDA is insane.

But his time as a big impact player and famous superstar is over. And it would be a good idea for him think about his future more than his present. Any move calculated to work on his present image, as opposed to his legal status alone, is probably wasted effort.

Are the current Collective Bargaining Agreement talks too friendly?

Scott Boras
Associated Press
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Baseball’s current collective bargaining agreement expires on December 1. There have been comments from both commissioner Rob Manfred and MLBPA director Tony Clark suggesting that progress was being made and there has been no suggestion thus far that there are sticking points which could lead to a work stoppage. Heck, even a few acrimonious rounds of negotiation before it’s all said and done seem unlikely.

That’s good news for fans, but it’s not making certain agents happy. Smooth labor sailing likely means a new CBA that is pretty close in most terms to the current CBA. Agents — especially agents who represent veterans — don’t like that because they believe that the current rules regarding free agency, draft pick compensation, luxury taxes and qualifying offers penalize the players they represent. Today Ken Rosenthal has a story about that anger, talking to both anonymous agents and super agent Scott Boras about how baseball’s middle class is disappearing and baseball’s median salary goes lower and lower.

Major League Baseball counters that while the median salary is going down, the average salary is going up. And baseball is right about that. But it’s also the case that the average is propped up by a handful of superstar contracts while the somewhat less lucrative but still nice mid-level contracts for mid-level veterans are disappearing. The financial landscape of the game is morphing into one with a small upper class with nine-figure contracts and a large lower class of pre-arbitration players and veterans on shorter, smaller deals, squeezing the old veteran middle class out of existence.

Sound familiar?

Baseball, of course, is not the American economy. There are some good reasons why those mid-level contracts have gone away. Specifically, because they tended not to be very good deals for the teams who signed them. At the same time, baseball is far better able to tweak its rules to spread the wealth than the U.S. government can, and those rules — like the qualifying offer and luxury tax — have had a harsh impact on a lot of players.

There’s not a clear answer on what the best system is for free agents, draft pick compensation, draft bonus pools and the like actually is. I tend to favor the fewest restrictions on a player’s right to negotiate freely with teams, but I’ll also acknowledge that there is a less than perfect market at play in baseball given revenue disparities between teams and the need to maximize, within reason, competitive balance. It’s not an easy trick even before you get into the B.S. team owners tend to spew about pocketbook matters.

But it’s also the case that an all-too-friendly relationship between the union and the league — one in which a given set of rules is rubberstamped from CBA to CBA — is not an ideal situation. No one wants acrimony, but the fact is that the players and the union are slicing up a pie. If the person you’re slicing up a pie with is all-too-happy to keep slicing it the same way, it probably means that they’re getting a bigger piece than you. Maybe, if it’s your job to grab a bigger piece?

The agents Rosenthal talked to, who represent a good chunk of MLBPA membership, certainly think the union should be doing some more grabbing. I wonder if their clients do too.

Four baseballs autographed by Jose Fernandez wash ashore

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 03: Jose Fernandez #16 of the Miami Marlins looks on during a game against the New York Mets at Marlins Park on August 3, 2015 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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This is just . . . ugh.

WSVN-TV in Miami reports that a black bag containing Jose Fernandez’s checkbook and four baseballs signed by him washed ashore on Miami Beach. Probably a bag to keep stuff dry while out on the water.

The bag was given to a lifeguard. Hopefully the bag finds its way back to Fernandez’s family quickly.