Report: Alex Rodriguez now negotiating a settlement with Major League Baseball

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Alex Rodriguez’s lawyer has maintained that his client is prepared to fight any Biogenesis-related suspension. But that tune is suddenly changing.

According to ESPN investigative reporter T.J. Quinn, A-Rod’s representatives, aware that commissioner Bud Selig is serious about attempting to seek a lifetime ban, “are now negotiating a possible settlement that could result in a lengthy suspension” for the veteran third baseman. Quinn suspects that the sentence will last “through at least next season.”

Most of the details of this saga, which is mercifully coming to a close, were laid out in Craig Calcaterra’s report from Wednesday evening. Accepting Major League Baseball’s suspension will allow A-Rod to keep a nice chunk of the $100-or-so million that is still owed to him by the Yankees, and that’s obviously something that appeals to him. Selig probably wouldn’t be able to pass a lifetime ban through the arbitration process, but the evidence is stacked high against A-Rod and the more he continues to fight the harder Major League Baseball is going to fight back. Calcaterra’s source said Wednesday that the 38-year-old Rodriguez is “in for a world of hurt” if he doesn’t settle.

Rays sign lefty Ryan Merritt to a minor league deal

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The Tampa Bay Rays have signed lefty swingman Ryan Merritt to a minor league contract. Nah, it’s not a big signing but we’ll take anything today.

Merritt, who has spent his entire career in the Indians organization, spent the entire 2018 season at Triple-A Columbus. It wasn’t a bad year for him — he posted a 3.79 ERA and a 52/2 K/BB ratio in 13 starts and two relief appearances covering 71.1 innings — but the Tribe just couldn’t find a role for him at the big league level. He has shown in the past, however, that he can hack it in the bigs, having posted a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings with the Indians between 2016-2017.

His thing is that he simply doesn’t strike guys out at anything approaching a typical clip for a big leaguer: 3.7 per nine innings in his small sample of major league outings and 6.3 Ks per nine innings in the minors. Which, while it may not prevent him from having success at the big league level, is likely a reason for the limited number of chances he’s been given.

The Rays are probably the best place he could go, frankly. They’ve shown themselves willing to utilize guys in unique ways and are more likely than most teams to find places to spot a lefty control specialist who has shown he can both start and come out of the pen.