As the old saying goes: when the facts are on your side argue the facts. When the law is on your side argue the law. When neither are on your side pound your fist on the table and scream.
Or, in the case of Alex Rodriguez, just walk out. Which is what he did today after the arbitrator refused to force Bud Selig to testify. A-Rod issued a statement: “I am disgusted with this abusive process. The absurdity and injustice just became too much. I walked out and will not participate any further in this farce.”
As we noted last week, the idea of having Bud Selig testify was a crock to begin with. And thus walking out when he was not forced to testify is a crock too. This is A-Rod treating his arbitration as theater. Refusing to argue the legitimate case he has in front of him — that MLB’s suspension of 211 games was too severe based on precedent — and instead trying to put all of Major League Baseball on trial. That was never going to happen in this arbitration. He should have known that or should have been told that by his lawyers.
Or perhaps he was. And perhaps he didn’t care and all of this is just prologue to the fight he’d rather have in a federal courtroom as opposed to a baseball arbitration. There is no guarantee he’s going to even get that opportunity, however, so taking this stance is not bold, it’s reckless.
And if he had any shot of getting the benefit of the doubt from arbitrator Fredric Horowitz before, he can kiss that shot goodbye now.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.
Mariners’ right-hander Arquimedes Caminero is nearing a deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. The club has reportedly agreed to sell the 29-year-old’s contract, Dutton writes, though no official move has been announced by either team yet. Caminero is under club control through 2020 and currently ineligible for arbitration.
The right-hander began the 2016 season with the Pirates but was sent to the Mariners in a trade for Seattle minor leaguers Jake Brentz and Pedro Vasquez in order to clear space in the Bucs’ bullpen. With the Mariners, Caminero produced a 3.66 ERA and 8.2 K/9 through 19 2/3 innings in the second half of the year. Although he boasts an electric fastball, one which consistently averaged 98.7 m.p.h. in 2016, his success rate has been tempered by poor control throughout his major league career. According to Dutton, the Mariners’ willingness to sell Caminero’s contract was a strong indication that they did not see him as a viable contender for their 2017 bullpen or as a potential trade chip further down the line.
Should the deal go through, the right-hander will be the second former Mariner to sign with a Japanese club for the 2017 season. Per Dutton’s report, outfielder Stefen Romero also picked up a contract with the Orix Buffaloes of NPB in late November.