Not so fast: GM says Alex Rodriguez is not skipping Yankees’ final series

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UPDATE: General manager Brian Cashman denied the New York Daily News report linked below, calling it “not accurate” and telling Andy McCullough of the Newark Star Ledger that Rodriguez has not asked to skip the final road trip.

UPDATE #2: Joe Girardi also chimed in, saying he expects Rodriguez to be in Houston because “he does not have permission to not be there.”

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Teri Thompson of the New York Daily News reports that Alex Rodriguez will not travel with the Yankees to Houston for the last series of the season, skipping the final three games in order to prepare for an arbitration hearing surrounding his performance-enhancing drug suspension.

According to Thompson the Yankees granted Rodriguez permission with the hearing scheduled for next week, which means it’s possible that tonight’s game against the Rays at Yankee Stadium could be A-Rod’s final game in a Yankees uniform for … well, a while.

Rodriguez is facing a 211-game suspension, but has been able to resume playing for the Yankees while his appeal is pending and hit .244 with seven homers and a .771 OPS in 44 games. That’s the lowest OPS of Rodriguez’s career, but still ranks third among all Yankees with at least 100 plate appearances this season behind only Robinson Cano and Alfonso Soriano.

Calcaterra wrote earlier this week about Rodriguez’s legal team, which could be costing him six figures per month.

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.