The New York press is getting desperate in their search for A-Rod intrigue


Alex Rodriguez has been pretty uncooperative this spring training. Instead of breaking both hips and flailing miserably, he has hit pretty well for an old guy on a one-year layoff. Instead of being a big distraction he has put his head down, blended into the scenery, done his job and said all the right things.

If you’re a New York columnist who looked forward to the Alex Rodriguez Circus this spring, this all must be a huge, huge disappointment for you!

Evidence of this is just how far some in the Gotham Press Corps have gone to manufacture intrigue. Take this example from Bob Raissman of the Daily News, who notes A-Rod’s lack of participation in a comedy video the Yankees made as evidence of his alienation and, um, other bad things:

Anyone else wondering why Alex Rodriguez did not perform in the Yankees’ recent video re-enactment of the Babe Ruth scene from the 1993 movie “The Sandlot?”

Well as Jack Woltz, the big-shot studio boss in “The Godfather,” might say: “You don’t understand. A-Rod never gets that movie. That part is perfect for him.”

Indeed. An appearance by Rodriguez in the video would be tantamount to Yankees brass giving him their true stamp of approval and officially welcoming him back into the fold as a member in good standing. It would also further soften Rodriguez’s tainted image, placing him smack in the middle of a singular group of players the organization has left to market.

He then changes tack and laments that, unlike in the Core Four years, this is how the Yankees have to market their Team in Transition. He adds in a jab at “seamheads” and “saber(metric) swallowers” for not getting, like he gets, that baseball is entertainment and show business, necessitating this sort of video. Never mind that the seamheads and “saber(metric) swallowers I know have long understood that it’s just a game and an entertainment. Indeed, that’s why we haven’t gotten as worked up at A-Rod stuff as his Daily News colleagues have. They think baseball is life and death and moral and ethical statement about society. If they thought it was just showbiz they wouldn’t have been outraged at everything the guy has done for the past decade.

Anyway, go enjoy what may be the single most ridiculous angle on A-Rod yet. And pray that our friends in the New York press corps can survive one more week of spring training without losing every last one of their marbles.

Diamondbacks, T.J. McFarland avoid arbitration

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Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.

McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).

McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.