Yesterday we told you about how Major League Baseball was desperately trying to force A-Rod’s public relations guy, Michael Sitrick, to testify in the Biogenesis arbitration. The arbitration which is over, by the way, but MLB says it needs Sitrick in order to establish that A-Rod obstructed the Biogenesis investigation. Welp, sorry MLB:
Manhattan federal Judge Edgardo Ramos sided with A-Rod’s former PR maven Michael Sitrick, granting him a stay that gets “The Wizard of Spin” out of complying with the judge’s Nov. 22 order to honor an MLB subpoena and appear before the independent arbitrator who’ll determine the ban while Sitrick appeals the ruling to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
This doesn’t mean that, eventually, a court won’t say that Sitrick doesn’t have to comply with the subpoena. But it does mean that any such ruling will come way to late to help Major League Baseball, which wants him to show up in New York before the arbitrator issues his ruling. That’s not going to happen now.
There’s a quote from an attorney in the linked New York Post piece to the effect that baseball still thinks it’ll have no trouble obtaining the 211-game suspension against A-Rod without Sitrick’s testimony. But if that’s the case, one wonders why MLB fought so hard to get Sitrick under oath. And, if it got his testimony, to open up the arbitration that has been closed for a few weeks now.
My guess: the obstruction of justice case is pretty weak. And if it is, one wonders how MLB gets to 211 games.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.