Heyman goes one better than the Daily News: claims A-Rod has “refused” to pay his legal bill

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Yesterday I explained how misguided the New York Daily News was in painting A-Rod as a “deadbeat” for still having an outstanding balance on his legal bills. I explained how legal billing works and how unusual it is for anyone — person or corporation — to have settled a multi-million dollar legal bill scarcely a month after the representation ended. Indeed, I noted how that can be reckless as prudent clients are well-served to review their legal bills and negotiate them downward. Lawyers can, even unwittingly, overcharge for services, after all.

Yesterday Jon Heyman did the Daily News one better: he says that A-Rod not only hasn’t paid his entire bill yet. He says he has refused to do so:

A-Rod has refused to pay a large part of his legal bill, sources said, confirming a report in the New York Daily News.

Those sources estimate that he has refused to pay about $3 million out of an estimated $5 million or more in legal fees. Those sources further say he has refused to even return phone calls on the matter, making it clear he has no interest in paying.

Again: I have no reason to dispute the idea that A-Rod hasn’t paid his entire legal bill. I’m sure he hasn’t. And if he is, indeed, “refusing” to do so, it would be totally consistent with what one often sees after a contentious and, in many ways, unsuccessful representation. A hard negotiation over fees, with said “refusal” being no different than a baseball player refusing to negotiate a contract extension after opening day. You see this from clients — even well-heeled ones — all the time. If Heyman had bothered to ask a lawyer about it he’d know that.

But Heyman is more interested in using this isolated and frankly uninteresting little factoid as a springboard for, once again, rehashing all of the reasons A-Rod is to be loathed. The very headline of his article calls his legal bill “the latest in a series of bad acts.” And he spends paragraph after paragraph lambasting Rodriguez for all of his past misdeeds as if they were news and as if the legal fee thing was in keeping with them on a moral and ethical level. It’s the ultimate exercise in attack journalism, built on a falsehood held out of ignorance, willful or otherwise, about the underlying facts of the situation.

No one in the media particularly likes Alex Rodriguez and I understand that. But the overheated efforts some take to shred him, and the eagerness they have to do it, is baffling to me and, frankly, pathetic.

Orioles sign Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar
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The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.

Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.

Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.