Alex Rodriguez’s appeal is slated to begin on Monday in New York. Today the New York Times has a rundown of his legal and P.R. team. This quote sums it up pretty well:
“Everyone has a right to the best defense money can buy, and Alex Rodriguez has got a lot of money, so he’s bought a lot of defense”
Someone is quoted in the article speculating that he’s paying six figures a month to keep the team running, which sounds about right. A huge portion of that is probably coming from the civil litigation team he has on standby. Based on my personal experience with high profile two-track cases (i.e. a criminal and civil component or an employment/civil component) there is a team of associates billing the hell out of research projects in support of all manner of lawsuits that could possibly be filed but which never will be. When they go out for beers after work, coworkers not on the A-Rod case say things like “man, I wish I was on the A-Rod case; I may fall short of my billable requirement this year and I could use the hours.”
But such is life in this world.
Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke with the media today. Naturally, he was asked various questions about the landscape of the sport, given that superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remain unsigned as spring training begins. Per The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli, Manfred said that he thinks the free agent market will begin to move once spring training exhibition games begin. Manfred also said that Harper’s camp suggesting that he wants $400 million back in 2016 was “an impediment” to discussions throughout the offseason.
No word on why Machado is also as yet unsigned, as he did not have a reported $400 million ask.
Manfred’s job is to look out for ownership, so it’s not surprising to see him point the finger at Harper. Consider:
Manfred’s comment comes just months after the Red Sox won 108 regular season games and the World Series with baseball’s largest payroll. And ongoing evidence that there is indeed a positive correlation between dollars spent and team success. We often hear justification for tanking/rebuilding because the Cubs and Astros did it and won championships because of it. When the Red Sox use financial muscle to win a championship, it’s crickets.
Manfred didn’t stop there, however.
An easy way to get baseball’s “glow” back would be for two of the game’s best and most popular players to be in uniform playing games. The first spring training exhibition game will be played on February 22, so it’s not looking like that’s going to happen anytime soon.
Baseball’s “glow” would also come back if more teams were actively trying to win. Instead, one-third of the league is “rebuilding” or otherwise coasting on revenue-sharing. For fans of the Rangers, Orioles, Royals, and Marlins — to name a few — the outcomes of their favorite teams’ seasons have already been decided, so what is there to get excited about?