A-Rod: Bud Selig is trying to destroy me

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A-Rod bolted today’s hearing, and headed straight to Mike Francessa’s show on WFAN.

They’re talking as if it was a spontaneous eruption, but it’s almost as if it was planned that way.

Rodriguez and his lawyer, Joe Tacopina, were on the show (link here). It’ll likely be archived there later. For what it’s worth, A-Rod is fired up: “I’m so pissed off right now I can’t even think straight.” He is ripping into Bud Selig. He said Selig is “trying to destroy me. To put me on his big mantle on the way out, that’s a hell of a trophy.”

Other choice soundbites:

  • “I know [Selig doesn’t] like New York, but you gotta come face me.”
  • “And [Selig] doesn’t have the courage to come and tell me this is why I’m gonna destroy your career?”
  • “People have told me ‘I hate your guts, but what MLB is doing to you is disgusting.’ ”

Rodriguez said he was planning on testifying on Friday, but now that Bud Selig is not testifying, he is unwilling to go back.

A-Rod and Tacopina’s position: Major League Baseball has not carried its burden of proof. Indeed, Tacopina said that the league hasn’t put on a shred of evidence to justify a suspension and that if MLB came to him today with an offer of a 50-game suspension, A-Rod would turn it down. “He shouldn’t serve an inning.” he said.

Whether A-Rod is there or not, the panel will eventually make a decision. And it if it’s not to his liking, A-Rod’s appeal rights are severely limited, as courts tend not to review employment arbitration decisions. So there is no escaping the fact that by turning up the heat like he has, A-Rod is playing a dangerous game.

Carter Stewart will get $7 million over six years to play for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks

Associated Press
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Yesterday we wrote about Carter Stewart, the American pitcher who, after failing to sign with the Braves last year, went to junior college. Rather than re-enter the draft this year, Stewart has signed with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League.

Jeff Passan of ESPN has the details on that deal: $7 million for six years. That’s five million more than the lowball offer the Braves gave him after drafting him last year and over $2 million more than he would’ve gotten if the Braves had paid him slot last year. This year he was projected to be a second round pick, Passan says, so his slot bonus would’ve been under $2 million.

As Passan notes, though, he has the chance to make out far better than that, though. That’s because his six-year deal would allow the now-19-year-old Stewart to come back to the U.S. as a 25-year-old free agent via the posting system. Passan does some back-of-the-envelope figuring, comparing what he’d make in the U.S. had he stayed vs. the $7 million he’s now guaranteed in Japan:

In a near-optimal scenario, Stewart would receive around $4 million for the next six years — and would not reach free agency until after the 2027 season, when he will be 28. His deal with the Hawks would guarantee Stewart $3 million more and potentially allow him to hit free agency three years earlier.

He could flame out, of course. The Braves’ lowball offer was based on concerns about his wrist. Even without that, there are no guarantees when young arms are involved.

But there is a $7 million guarantee for Stewart now, and the chance to do better than if he had stayed in the U.S. And the opportunity was created, in large part, by Major League Baseball’s clamping down on pay for draft picks and doing whatever it can to extend team control over players via service time manipulation. Stewart, and his agent Scott Boras, are merely exploiting an inefficiency in the market.