Alex Rodriguez arrived to Yankees camp in Tampa, Florida today, first completing a physical before doing his first workout at the team’s minor league complex. Normally teams would applaud their players for reporting early. It’s showing initiative. But this is A-Rod we are talking about, so of course somebody has a problem with it.
According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, Yankees officials were “fuming” that A-Rod didn’t give them a heads up about his early arrival. Really:
A-Rod’s early arrival was a bit of a surprise, as many had pegged him for a Wednesday appearance when position players are slated to report to Steinbrenner Field.
Roughly 20 reporters and a handful of cameras were on hand at the minor-league complex to greet A-Rod, a fraction of what had been expected for his arrival.
But while the early start may have lessened the media boom, it also caught the Yankees by surprise, leaving Brian Cashman and the team’s media relations staff scrambling for answers when asked about Rodriguez’s rumored arrival.
The Yankees had no issues with A-Rod arriving on Monday, but team officials were fuming that he hadn’t alerted them to his plans.
“He’s learned nothing,” said one baseball executive. “He’s the same old guy. He just did what he wanted to do.”
And if A-Rod merely reported on time with the rest of the position players, we’d likely hear an anonymous source saying the Yankees were disappointed he didn’t get there early to show that he means business after his year-long PED suspension. We’re in damned if you do, damned if you don’t territory here and it’s beyond silly. But it’s also oh-so-predictable.
Times are changing in Philadelphia. The Phillies traded longtime shortstop Jimmy Rollins during the offseason and it’s likely just a matter of time before they cut ties with Ryan Howard and deal Cole Hamels elsewhere. But what about Chase Utley’s future with the rebuilding club?
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. said back in December that Utley would prefer to finish out his contract with the team. According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhily.com, Utley indicated today that would like to stick around, but he also left the door open for the possibility of a trade.
“Obviously I’ve said it before, I really enjoy playing with this organization,” Utley said. “They’ve done a lot for me, personally, and put together some pretty good teams over the years. So I have a lot of respect for the people making decisions. If you go back and look at 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, ’11 — they always gave us a chance to win. We’ve had some great opportunities over the years and I respect that.
“For as much respect as I have for the organization, if they ever came to me and asked me [to consider a trade], I would have to listen, but I don’t think much will change.”
Utley has full no-trade rights, so the Phillies would have to get his approval on any deal. It would likely require a situation like Rollins and the Dodgers, where it was the one place he wanted to go.
Utley, 36, batted .270/.339/.407 with 11 home runs and 78 RBI over 155 games last season. He’s owed $15 million this season with a series of vesting options from 2016-2018 which could max out at a total of $45 million.
It was reported this morning that the Red Sox will sign Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada to a $31.5 million bonus. Boston will pay a 100-percent tax for exceeding their international draft pool, so the total outlay for the signing will be $63 million.
$31.5 million is a huge sum to give to a 19-year-old prospect. And it’s something that would never happen under the current structure of the rules for amateur players from the United States. Rays left-hander Drew Smyly sees a big problem with this disparity:
Here’s the full text of his critique:
“It’s not right that a Cuban 19yr old gets paid 30m and the best 19yr old in the entire USA gets prob 1/6th of that. Everyone should have to go through same process”
The thing is, he’s not wrong. It is unfair. However, this is a result of owners trying to keep salaries down and members of the MLBPA selling out players they don’t represent (amateurs and minor leaguers) in the process. An international draft will likely change the structure of this situation to prevent another huge bonus like Moncada, but there’s no question that it’s a loophole at the moment.
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post wrote an interesting piece today about this very topic. It’s worth checking out.
Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman recently remarked that the team is in “deep trouble” if first baseman Joey Votto is content with leading the league in on-base percentage again. Yep, that sure sounds like a nightmare scenario. It’s ridiculous that half-baked comments like this even need a response, but Votto attempted to address continued criticism of his approach at the plate upon arriving to Reds camp today in Goodyear, Arizona.
Below are some quotes from Votto’s Q & A session with reporters earlier today, via Mark Sheldon of MLB.com:
“I have to be careful with what I say. In terms of being in the middle of it, sometimes I think it’s really, really silly. I’m not going to use the word ‘ignorant,’ but ignorant. I also think there’s some validity to it because it’s coming from a perspective that is being nostalgic. … Ultimately, it’s entertainment. I’m part of the entertainment industry. If there weren’t debates like this then, what the hell are we doing? I think this is great.
“I’m the big money guy. I’m the guy that is supposed to do certain things and has done certain things in the past and it’s expected in the future. I’m not doing it so let’s talk about it, let’s get after it and I think that it’s great. I’m glad I can be a lightning rod, as long as I’m a lightning rod while performing one way or the other. Whether it’s the 2010 version or the 2013 version, you cannot deny that I haven’t performed and been able to provide value for the team and able to help the team get to the playoffs. Both examples, I was part of a playoff team. I’m not saying the main part or anything like that, but I was a part of it. As long as I’m part of it, it’s the most important thing. I think it’s fun. No one is getting hurt. I should expect it.”
Well done. The biggest issue with Votto isn’t his approach at the plate, but his health. He had knee issues in 2012 and was limited to just 62 games last season due to a distal strain of his left quad. While he still has to be seen by doctors and the training staff, he said today that he feels “good” and is “hopeful” of being in the lineup on a daily basis again this season.
Votto owns a .417 career on-base percentage, which is the highest among all active players. The 31-year-old is owed $213 million through 2023.
Mets manager Terry Collins said back in December that right-hander Matt Harvey might not make his season debut until the team’s home opener on April 13, but it appears that there has been a change of plans.
According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Collins said today that the current plan calls for Harvey to start one of the team’s first five games. Limiting his workload after Tommy John surgery was one of the motivations behind potentially pushing back his season debut, but Collins said today they are more inclined to give him five-inning starts at times as opposed to skipping him in the rotation altogether.
As for how many innings Harvey will throw in 2015, don’t look for a Stephen Strasburg-like shutdown. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said this week that he could log 200 innings “including the playoffs.” Hey, he’s an optimist.