The Baseball Hall of Fame vote is over and done with, but at least we still have the continuing saga of Alex Rodriguez to talk about.
With arbitrator Fredric Horowitz expected to making a ruling on Alex Rodriguez’s 211-game suspension any day now — in fact, a decision could come down as soon as tomorrow — Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York hears from a source “in A-Rod’s camp” that the embattled slugger has discussed the possibility of accepting a reduced suspension rather than continue his fight against MLB in court:
According to the source, a suspension longer than 100 games will likely cause Rodriguez and his attorneys to pursue a temporary restraining order against Horowitz’s ruling in federal court.
If he is given a shorter suspension, however, “then Alex will have some things to think about,” the source told ESPNNewYork.com.
According to the source, who has been privy to some internal discussions in the Rodriguez camp, the player is weighing the financial implications of continuing to fight this battle versus accepting a suspension that will allow him to take the field sometime in the second half of the coming season.
Taking his battle into the courtroom will cost Rodriguez “at least $10 million, with no guarantee of winning,” said the source, while a 100-game ban would cost him $15,425,000 of his scheduled $25 million salary for 2014.
This is quite a contrast to what we heard from Rodriguez after he stormed out of his arbitration hearing back in November, as he vowed that he “shouldn’t have to serve one inning.” However, the heavy cost of continuing the fight with no guarantee of victory apparently has him reconsidering things.
“It’s not just a matter of money,” the source told Matthews. “It’s also about the mental anguish of going through this and not knowing if or when you’re going to play again. Alex might decide to take his medicine and move on.”
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.