We knew it was coming and here it is: Alex Rodriguez sued Major League Baseball and its players’ union Monday, seeking to overturn his 162-game suspension. The best part: as part of his suit, he had to attach the arbitrator’s decision from which he appeals. We’ll be going through it here at HBT soon and finding all the fun bits. The takeaway from arbitrator Horowitz, however?
“While this length of suspension may be unprecedented for a MLB player, so is the misconduct he committed,” Horowitz wrote in his decision Saturday.
The claims against the union revolve around A-Rod’s contention that it “completely abdicated its responsibility to Mr. Rodriguez to protect his rights” and “this inaction by MLBPA created a climate in which MLB felt free to trample” on Rodriguez’s confidentiality rights.
Read the full complaint here
As we’ve said before, the likelihood of A-Rod getting the arbitrator’s decision overturned is low. And the addition of the player’s union should be seen in the context of trying to get the arbitration to be considered a train wreck. Given how clear it was that A-Rod wanted his own legal team to take the lead, however, it’s hard now to take his claims that the union was ineffective at face value. He all but told them to get lost.
Still, fun times ahead.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.
Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.
Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.