K-Rod once beat his girlfriend so badly she had to be hospitalized, prosecutor says

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Francisco Rodriguez was arraigned on the text-message/protection order violation yesterday. During the hearing the district attorney painted a dark picture of the Mets closer:

Hothead fireballer K-Rod once beat his girlfriend so badly she had to be hospitalized, a Queens prosecutor said Wednesday.

The chilling assault was revealed in court as Assistant District Attorney Scott Kessler painted Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez as a manipulative bully who flouts the law.

“He’s not naive and loving,” Kessler told Queens Justice Ira Margulis. “He’s merely manipulating and controlling.”

The alleged assault that led to his girlfriend’s hospitalization took place in Venezuela, prosecutors say. K-Rod’s attorney denied it. The Mets say no records of it came up when they did a background check before signing him.

I have no idea what the truth is here. Based on both experience and stuff I’ve read, there’s reason to doubt the rigor and/or veracity of Met background checks, Venezuelan court records and the kinds of statements made by prosecutors during criminal arraignments.*  All three have been known to understate or overstate the truth of the matter.

But however this breaks, it’s ugly and sad and, oh how I wish this was merely a case about a knucklehead relief pitcher getting into a comical slap fight with an old guy who insulted his mama. It’s much more than that now.

*To be clear: I have no basis at hand to doubt what the prosecutor said in this particular instance. In the past, however, I have had clients called the most heinous things by prosecutors during preliminary hearings, where it is the prosecutor’s job to cast the accused in the worst light the known evidence will allow in an effort to get a high bail and stringent pretrial conditions placed on the defendant.  

Jeffrey Springs, Rays agree to $31 million, 4-year contract

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Left-hander Jeffrey Springs became the first of the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration salaries with their teams to reach a deal, agreeing Wednesday to a $31 million, four-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year old was among seven Rays who swapped arbitration figures with the team on Jan. 13. He began last season in the bullpen, transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts. He is 14-6 with a 2.70 ERA in 76 outings – 51 of them in relief – since he was acquired from Boston in February 2021.

Springs gets $4 million this year, $5.25 million in 2024 and $10.5 million in each of the following two seasons. Tampa Bay has a $15 million option for 2027 with a $750,000 buyout.

The 2025 and 2026 salaries can escalate by up to $3.75 million each based on innings in 2023-24 combined: $1.5 million for 300, $1 million for 325, $750,000 for 350 and $500,000 for 375. The `25 and ’26 salaries also can escalate based on finish in Cy Young Award voting in `23 and ’24: $2 million for winning, $1.5 million for finishing second through fifth in the voting and $250,000 for finishing sixth through 10th.

Tampa Bay’s option price could escalate based on Cy Young voting in 2025 and 2026: by $2.5 million for winning, $2 million for finishing second through fifth and $500,000 for sixth through 10th.

Springs would get $45.25 million if the option is exercised, $52.75 million with the option and meeting all innings targets and the maximum if he meetings the innings targets and wins two Cy Youngs.

Springs’ ERA last season was the second lowest in franchise history for a pitcher working a minimum of 100 innings. Former Rays ace Blake Snell compiled 1.89 ERA on the way to winning the 2018 AL Cy Young.

In addition to finishing sixth in the AL in ERA, Springs allowed three runs or fewer in 22 of 25 starts and two runs or fewer 17 times. He joined Tampa Bay’s rotation on May 9, gradually increasing his workload over his next six appearances. Springs was 6-3 with a 2.40 ERA in 14 starts after the All-Star break.

Arbitration hearings start next week and the Rays remain with the most players scheduled to appear before three-person panels.

Springs had asked for a raise from $947,500 to $3.55 million and had been offered $2.7 million. Tampa remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam, Pete Fairbanks and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.

Tampa Bay also agreed minor league contacts with catcher Gavin Collins and right-hander Jaime Schultz, who will report to major league spring training.

Infielder Austin Shenton and pitchers Anthony Molina and Joe LaSorsa also were invited to big league spring training.