Some men just want to watch the world burn.
Men like A-Rod’s lawyers, who told Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York that they’re going to break confidentiality of the arbitration tomorrow and give all of the juicy stuff they say they have to the press:
“We’re going to open up everything,” said Ron Berkowitz, a spokesman for Rodriguez. “We’re going to show everything we have to the press so they can show it to the American public.”
Matthews speculates that the dump would include transcripts of witness testimony, sworn affidavits and information supplied to the Rodriguez team by an MLB-employee “whistle-blower.”
They can do that. And it can potentially embarrass Major League Baseball. But I don’t see how it changes their clients’ legal position. The arbitrator is still going to rule. The barriers that must be leapt to get out from under that penalty and into federal court remain exceedingly high.
At one time I assumed the scorched earth tactics were to force MLB to the settlement table. The league seems to have no desire to do that. So now, unless someone can tell me what this does for A-Rod tactically, this seems like spite and P.R. strategy.
Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.
Update (6:02 PM EST): The deal is for “around” $37 million with deferrals that lower the present-day value, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that free agent 1B/OF Mark Trumbo is close to a deal with the Orioles. He first reported that the two sides were back in touch earlier on Thursday afternoon. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the deal is expected to be for three years and under $40 million.
Trumbo’s market hasn’t developed as he expected. The slugger turned down the Orioles’ $17.2 million qualifying offer back in November. Then the Orioles reportedly made a four-year contract offer to him in December but pulled it off the table. Most recently, a report indicated that Trumbo lowered his expectations to a three-year deal in the $40-50 million range.
Trumbo, 31, led the majors with 47 homers for the Orioles this past season. He also hit a solid .256/.316/.433 with 108 RBI in 667 plate appearances. With Trumbo back in the fold and some slight offensive upgrades made, the Orioles figure to have a formidable offense in 2017.
The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.
Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.
Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.