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.”
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
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.