A-Rod is going to try to put bud Selig and Randy Levine on the stand, but don’t count on it happening

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Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports that, when the arbitration resumes next week, Alex Rodiguez’s lawyers are going to try to put Bud Selig and Yankees president Randy Levine on the stand. MLB would probably fight that, though:

MLB would try to block most of the bold-name witnesses from having to testify, particularly Selig. It would contend MLB COO Rob Manfred, who is MLB’s representative on the three-person panel overseeing the hearing, spoke on behalf of the league and its investigation and subjected himself to cross-examination by Rodriguez’s attorney, Joseph Tacopina.

Like any other case, the decision should come down to whether or not Selig and Levine have relevant evidence. In a legal context, though, relevant doesn’t mean “interesting” or “headline grabbing.” It means evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence.

I seriously question whether Selig has any relevant evidence to provide. He’s the boss, sure, but that doesn’t mean he has actual specific information that cannot be better obtained from other witnesses, such as Rob Manfred or MLB investigators. Bud puts things in motion. Other people do the work and they report it back to him. Anything he has that relates specifically to the drugs Alex Rodriguez took or didn’t take and the Biogenesis investigation in general was told to him.

Of course A-Rod is trying to put MLB on trial here. He’s trying to argue that the whole investigation was cooked up as a means of Selig doing P.R. damage control or saving his legacy or what have you and that, as a result, he should get to grill Selig about it all. Same with Levine and the Yankees trying to end his career and save millions. We’ve heard A-Rod’s attorneys argue this in public before.

And there may be elements of truth to that. I personally think that, even though Biogenesis and A-Rod’s drug use wasn’t “cooked up” by Selig, he’s certainly trying to take advantage of it as a means of putting an end to the PED saga. And I am certain that the Yankees would love to be out from under A-Rod’s contract.  But I seriously doubt that the arbitrator is going to let A-Rod try that case. That’s one for the historians and, if we really stretch things, a federal court to later weigh in on in the event such motives caused MLB and the Yankees to violate A-Rod’s rights. It’s not what this arbitration is about. Or at least what it should be about.

Upshot: don’t bank on Selig getting cross-examined.

The Orioles seem pretty serious about moving Manny Machado

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become a free agent after the 2018 season and there has been no suggestion that the O’s and their young star have worked on a contract extension, strongly suggesting that Machado will test the open market next offseason.

While the Orioles have not said much about keeping him or trading him, yesterday considerable chatter filtered out here at the Winter Meetings suggests that they are serious about trading him now in order to get more than a draft pick in return when he eventually leaves Baltimore.

Jon Heyman reported yesterday that the Cardinals were a possible landing spot, and others have speculated that, at the moment, they’re the frontrunners for his services. Buster Olney, in a development that would make people go insane, I suspect, that the Yankees have expressed interest. It seems highly unlikely, though, that the Orioles would trade Machado within the division. Even if they did, they’d likely expect a premium from the Yankees that they would be unwilling to pay, especially given that they could easily wait Machado out until he was a free agent next year and give up nothing but cash for him. A couple of days ago we noted that the Phillies had expressed interest and the Orioles were doing their due diligence with respect to their farm system.

As far as the possible parameters of a deal, Ken Rosenthal reported that the O’s hope to acquire at least two controllable young starters in return. That’s a high price for a one-year Machado rental, but it makes sense for the Orioles to ask it. For Machado’s part, he reportedly wants to return to his original position, shortstop. He does not have no-trade protection, of course, so that may be a wish that is not fulfilled.

Machado had a down 2017, hitting .259/.310/.471, but still hit 33 homers and drove in 95 runs. In the two years prior, however, he posted OPSs of .876 and .861, and he’s still just 25. All of which is to say that the price for a team to acquire him will be high, even if he’s entering his walk year.