Lupica

Mike Lupica continues to show his legal expertise

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Today Mike Lupica writes about the A-Rod appeal. As my post from this morning suggests, I’m actually with him regarding how much of a clown show the protests outside of the arbitration have become. But of course Lupica can’t make one decent point and get off it. He has to use it as a new excuse to go after Rodriguez because that’s just what he does.

Except he does it in the dumbest ways possible.  Today he makes two arguments in furtherance of his “A-Rod is an awful monster” campaign. First, if A-Rod is so wronged, why has he not got on a witness stand and proclaimed his innocence?

Through it all, you keep waiting for Alex Rodriguez to be the one to tell you that the case against him is unjust and unfair, that he is an innocent man. Only he never says that, not even to the media, as if he’s under oath. He never says that, his handlers never say it, at least on the record. He just says he will tell his story at the appropriate time.

And you wonder what could possibly be a more appropriate time than at his own arbitration hearing!

You wonder why Alex Rodriguez doesn’t testify on his own behalf the absolute first chance he gets, proclaim his innocence so loudly that they can hear him downstairs on the street between the police barricades.

Any smart observer of this knows the answer to that: A-Rod’s defense is not one of innocence. It’s one of proportionality of punishment. That his suspension is too long compared to other similarly-situated offenders. And more than merely misrepresenting the defense in an effort to make A-Rod seem more disingenuous than he is, he misrepresents how the the arbitration works.  It does not require the player’s testimony. And no one with half a brain would go tell the media — which is what Lupica clearly wants — all about his case while it’s still pending either.

The second argument: if A-Rod has nothing to hide, why is his grand jury testimony from the Anthony Galea case still private, hmm?

You wonder about something else in this case, wonder if Rodriguez is so falsely accused, and such a victim of an MLB investigation his lawyers are flop-sweat desperate to put on trial, why did those same lawyers fight so hard in Buffalo to keep Rodriguez’s grand jury testimony in the federal case against Dr. Anthony Galea, Alex Rodriguez’s old doctor, the patron saint of human grown hormone, sealed from now until the end of time?

If there isn’t anything in Rodriguez’s grand jury testimony about his use of banned substances, if there isn’t anything in there that can hurt the guy, why are his lawyers so scared about it?

Let’s set aside the fact that A-Rod’s current legal team is not comprised of “those same lawyers” who represented him when he gave grand jury testimony in Buffalo. A-Rod hired Joe Tacopina and a different legal team since then, so here Lupica is smearing the wrong folks.

Instead, let’s focus on the fact that no lawyers are “fighting so hard” to keep A-Rod’s grand jury testimony sealed.  Grand jury testimony is sealed as a matter of course pursuant to federal law. The witness can say what he said in front of a grand jury but no one else privy to it can release it. If they do, they can go to jail. Some folks may be fighting so hard to unseal it, but it’s supposed to remain sealed. That’s how the law works.

But of course if you’re Lupica there’s no sense in understanding how grand juries work. To do so would prevent a great opportunity for grandstanding.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

Screenshot 2016-02-07 at 10.16.43 AM
Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.