New York Daily News trying to paint A-Rod as a deadbeat regarding his legal fees

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The New York Daily News has a story up today in which they try to paint Alex Rodriguez as a deadbeat for unpaid legal fees. Specifically, they have a source telling them that “A-Rod hasn’t paid millions of dollars in legal bills he owes.” Even more specifically “Rodriguez has paid some of the bills, the source said, but he still owes his attorneys and private investigators as much as $3 million for the work they did.”

Setting aside for a moment that that construction — “he has paid some of what he owes but not all, so he may be a deadbeat” — could apply to every person with a car payment and a mortgage, this is beyond silly. Multi-million dollar legal bills are not like your electric bill. They’re not typically turned around ASAP lest you start getting late notices. There is always negotiation about specifics of the charges. At least if the client is being prudent there is.

Giant corporations review their bills because — this may be a shocker to you — not everything that appears on an attorney’s bill is always legitimate. Indeed, a big reason businesses get into trouble is simply cutting checks to their attorneys without scrutiny or negotiation for whatever the attorneys say is charged. That’s how double billing and all manner of attorney shenanigans happens. And that’s from even the most respectable attorneys. If I got a bill from Joe Tacopina, I’d be inclined to go over it a bit.

A-Rod dropped his case against Major League Baseball on February 7. It’s now March 20. If he was given a final bill for services after that it’d probably be no more than a month or so since he received it. To butcher a quote, A-Rod is not just a businessman, he’s a business, man. If he doesn’t have someone close to him whose job it is to make sure he’s not getting fleeced, he’s doing it wrong. And while A-Rod does a lot wrong, parting with his money willy-nilly doesn’t seem like one of them.

But I suppose that’s all just speculation. Let’s see what the attorneys who are allegedly being stiffed say:

In a statement to The News, Tacopina denied he has had problems collecting his fee from Rodriguez.

“I have absolutely no fee dispute whatsoever with Alex,” Tacopina said. “He has been entirely fair and responsible with respect to the payment of my fees.”

Hmm. Maybe it was one of his other lawyers:

Cornwell declined to comment for this story. Reed Smith partners Jordan Siev and James McCarroll, and Davis, did not return requests for comment.

Rodriguez also allegedly owes money to Guidepost Solutions, the private investigation firm that worked for Rodriguez last year. A Guidepost spokeswoman said the firm had no comment.

Guess not.

I have no doubt that A-Rod has not remitted his outstanding legal fees in full. But at this point in any case Microsoft, General Electric and Exxon-Mobil hasn’t paid outstanding legal bills either. He paid a retainer early or else these guys whouldn’t have lifted a finger. As the Daily News itself notes he has paid some amount of the bills, which suggests that he paid monthly bills as they rolled in. There is likely some haggling going on and maybe a bit of foot-dragging occurring over the final balance. Haggling and foot-dragging the likes of which occurs in every single case of size ever. News flash: people hate paying lawyers.

But hey, if it gives the Daily News yet another chance to paint A-Rod as a terrible awful monster, no need to dwell on these sorts of details.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.