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.

Mariners sign Ichiro to a minor league deal

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USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Mariners will sign Ichiro Suzuki to a minor-league deal. If he makes the roster he’ll make $750,000. At least until he retires.

I say that because it seems quite clear that the idea here, telegraphed since last season, is to activate Ichiro for the Mariners’ series against the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo on March 20-21 and for hoopla surrounding it all. The Mariners and A’s will have a 28-man roster for that series, which is officially part of the regular season schedule, but it will be pared back down to 25 once games begin in the United States.

Suzuki, 45, hit .205/.255/.205 in 47 plate appearances through May 2 last season, at which point he agreed to be deactivated to join the Mariners’ front office. Many assumed Ichiro would announce his retirement later that season or during the offseason, but the Japan Series soon crystalized as an obvious way for him to offer his final farewell to both his American and his Japanese fans.

Unless of course he goes 6-10 with three doubles in that series, at which point everyone will be tempted to keep him on the roster past Japan. Which, given the Mariners’ rebuild and likely poor performance this coming season, wouldn’t exactly be hurting anyone, would it?