Are the Yankees upset with A-Rod?

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Alex Rodriguez homer.jpgYes, this story is a day old, but I couldn’t resist the temptation to point out a piece that will get everyone worked up over nothing.

Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News writes that the Yankees are furious that Alex Rodriguez did not immediately inform them that he had been contacted by the feds to testify in a case regarding Canadian doctor (and known HGH distributor) Anthony Galea.

“They (Yankees brass) don’t like being blindsided,” said a TV industry
source who deals with the Yankees and YES.
“If Rodriguez isn’t protecting the organization paying him a fortune,
why should the organization go out of its way to protect him?”

OK, fair enough. They probably are. They have every right to be. But his proof that they’re displeased? The broadcast of A-Rod’s first at-bat of the spring:

“That all amounts to a huge sigh or relief for Alex Rodriguez, who
now comes into camp healthy,” Michael Kay, YES’ play-by-play man, said as Rodriguez stepped in Wednesday
to face Pirates pitcher Ross Ohlendorf.

As soon as those uplifting words left Kay’s mouth, Ken Singleton, his partner, down-shifted into the dark
side. Singleton started talking about last spring, hip surgery and “uh,
uh, steroids.”

Kay quickly said: “Now Alex was looking to have a very, very quiet
spring this year with health and the world championship, but he was
questioned by the media the other day because he’s going to be
questioned by FBI officials about the Canadian-based doctor Anthony
Galea . . .”

Now, keep in mind that I didn’t see the at-bat, but only on YES would telling the truth be construed as punishment. The YES broadcasters have been known to coddle the home team, but more in a “rah-rah” way than anything resembling state-run television. Again, just my opinion, but I find it really hard to believe that Kay’s words were the result of any edict from above. 

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.