Alex Rodriguez AP

Heyman goes one better than the Daily News: claims A-Rod has “refused” to pay his legal bill

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Yesterday I explained how misguided the New York Daily News was in painting A-Rod as a “deadbeat” for still having an outstanding balance on his legal bills. I explained how legal billing works and how unusual it is for anyone — person or corporation — to have settled a multi-million dollar legal bill scarcely a month after the representation ended. Indeed, I noted how that can be reckless as prudent clients are well-served to review their legal bills and negotiate them downward. Lawyers can, even unwittingly, overcharge for services, after all.

Yesterday Jon Heyman did the Daily News one better: he says that A-Rod not only hasn’t paid his entire bill yet. He says he has refused to do so:

A-Rod has refused to pay a large part of his legal bill, sources said, confirming a report in the New York Daily News.

Those sources estimate that he has refused to pay about $3 million out of an estimated $5 million or more in legal fees. Those sources further say he has refused to even return phone calls on the matter, making it clear he has no interest in paying.

Again: I have no reason to dispute the idea that A-Rod hasn’t paid his entire legal bill. I’m sure he hasn’t. And if he is, indeed, “refusing” to do so, it would be totally consistent with what one often sees after a contentious and, in many ways, unsuccessful representation. A hard negotiation over fees, with said “refusal” being no different than a baseball player refusing to negotiate a contract extension after opening day. You see this from clients — even well-heeled ones — all the time. If Heyman had bothered to ask a lawyer about it he’d know that.

But Heyman is more interested in using this isolated and frankly uninteresting little factoid as a springboard for, once again, rehashing all of the reasons A-Rod is to be loathed. The very headline of his article calls his legal bill “the latest in a series of bad acts.” And he spends paragraph after paragraph lambasting Rodriguez for all of his past misdeeds as if they were news and as if the legal fee thing was in keeping with them on a moral and ethical level. It’s the ultimate exercise in attack journalism, built on a falsehood held out of ignorance, willful or otherwise, about the underlying facts of the situation.

No one in the media particularly likes Alex Rodriguez and I understand that. But the overheated efforts some take to shred him, and the eagerness they have to do it, is baffling to me and, frankly, pathetic.

Report: Mark Trumbo signs three-year, $37.5 million contract with Orioles

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Mark Trumbo #45 of the Baltimore Orioles runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the fourth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.

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Update (6:02 PM EST): The deal is for “around” $37 million with deferrals that lower the present-day value, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that free agent 1B/OF Mark Trumbo is close to a deal with the Orioles. He first reported that the two sides were back in touch earlier on Thursday afternoon. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the deal is expected to be for three years and under $40 million.

Trumbo’s market hasn’t developed as he expected. The slugger turned down the Orioles’ $17.2 million qualifying offer back in November. Then the Orioles reportedly made a four-year contract offer to him in December but pulled it off the table. Most recently, a report indicated that Trumbo lowered his expectations to a three-year deal in the $40-50 million range.

Trumbo, 31, led the majors with 47 homers for the Orioles this past season. He also hit a solid .256/.316/.433 with 108 RBI in 667 plate appearances. With Trumbo back in the fold and some slight offensive upgrades made, the Orioles figure to have a formidable offense in 2017.

Astros avoid arbitration with Mike Fiers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Starting pitcher Mike Fiers #54 of the Houston Astros walks to the dugout after pitching an inning during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 17, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Astros won the game 2-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.

Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.

Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.