Saturday, January 11, 2014

Independent League Invites A Rod To Play In 2014

To nobody's surprise the Long Island Ducks of the Independent League have invited Alex Rodriguez to play for them in the 2014 season. This comes from Mark Herrman from Newsday as Alex plans on taking his fight to the Supreme Court to try and get the suspension overturned. Alex has also said he plans on attending Spring Training this season, something I do not think MLB or the Yankees can prevent, so that should be distracting interesting.  Here is a quote from the Ducks GM and President Michael Pfaff:

"While some MLB suspensions have been honored by the Atlantic League in the past, if Alex Rodriguez were unable to participate in the Major Leagues this season, we would be open to exploring giving him a chance to play, stay sharp and compete." 

Man From Milwaukee: The Alex Rodriguez Story

My personal philosophy has been to save my opinions for the air; don't tweet like a mongo, as we fans of Mike Francesa's "Mongo Nation" like to call it. I also believe in the power of the pen/keyboard, so here we go with the A-Rod response.

I'm prepared to take the slack from baseball purists and angry Yankee fans, but I've lived with this subject for six or seven years now, since A-Rod signed his new contract. Angry Yankee fans, I get it. You're upset that this team shelled out way too much money to a player that's caused this fan base nothing but agida since that new contract, with the exception of October 2009 when suddenly the pinstriped faithful loved him again.

Baseball purists, I get it. You're confused and dismayed at why any player would put foreign substances in his own, already naturally gifted body. Clearly it's because they would want to throw a harder fastball or hit longer and more home runs. Mike Barnicle said it best on the 10th inning of Ken Burns's baseball documentary; players have a lot of time on their hands during the day and they watch highlight videos of towering home runs that the fans line up in droves to see. Alex Rodriguez probably took steroids in Texas, from his OWN ADMISSION don't forget, to live up to that enormous contract from the Rangers.

IF he took them with the Yankees, it probably would've been for the same reasons; but I do have a bone to pick with the Yankee fans I've seen that are happy he has been suspended all next year. At the baseball level, you're going to really miss him when Kelly Johnson, Eduardo Nunez, or whoever they put at third bobbles the ball and is hitting .230 in July. If the Yankees don't go out and spend that extra dough on Tanaka, another pitcher, or a third baseman, then I KNOW you'll miss him.

Let's look at the whole process here: Alex Rodriguez never, not once, tested positive for any substance. As I mentioned before, he admitted at the spring training press conference that he did take steroids when with the Texas Rangers, that's it. Ryan Braun went out and basically insulted the intelligence of anyone in baseball with a brain; vehemently denying the use of steroids when it was later proven that he did. The result? Half a season; he'll be back on Opening Day. A-Rod has fought for his right to a fair trial and will now take his case to federal court. This is the biggest middle finger to baseball from any one player since Curt Flood, who would be rolling over in his grave right now if he knew how A-Rod's rights were being impeded.

Marvin Miller, the original MLBPA president, would also be doing somersaults six feet under. He would be wondering what he built up the union for. Ironically, this is all the result of another union president, Don Fehr, blinded by union politics and Bud Selig, blinded by revenue, completely sitting in the back of the limo and ignoring the need for a fair playing field. The little guys like Rick Helling who brought up the steroids issue in its infancy every winter were constantly ignored, but they felt the courage and had the morality to defend those who didn't want to use to keep up.

After 15 years of ignoring the issue, now it looks like baseball wants to roll the wheels of justice over everyone they can find. If they test positive, so be it. Alex Rodriguez NEVER tested positive for steroids, ever. It doesn't matter whether you think he used them or not, I want to know, in the words of Wendy's, WHERE'S THE BEEF! A criminal that baseball had cooperate with them does not count.

If it comes out that Alex Rodriguez used steroids while with the Yankees and tested positive, then I'll change my tune; but I'm not moving an inch until then. I applaud his decision to keep fighting for justice. For now though, Bud Selig should bring in a taxidermist, 'cause he got the big trophy buck that he wanted.

Neil Dwyer @neildwyer1993

Yankees Sign Robert Coello To Minor League Deal

The New York Yankees have announced the signing of Robert Coello to a minor league deal according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America. Coello is a right handed reliever and will provide depth for the Yankees AAA team and possibly the big league team. Coello is 29 years old and coming off a 2013 season in which he pitched 17 innings for the Los Angeles Angels posting a 3.71 ERA with a 12.2 K/9 and 4.2 B/9 ratio. Could crack the bullpen out of Spring Training, see Shawn Kelley last season, but I doubt he is anything more than depth at this point. Either way there is no such thing as a bad minor league deal.

Yankees Now Interested in Young & Reynolds

Now that the Yankees know the Alex Rodriguez decision is for 162 games plus any postseason games we would play New York has turned their attention to Mark Reynolds and Michael Young. Left handed hitting Kelly Johnson is currently penciled in as the starting third basemen along with Eduardo Nunez but the Yankees really need an upgrade, especially since they just saved $25 million by switching their third basemen.

Young hit .279/.335/.395 with the Phillies and the Dodgers last season and has diminishing skills and power. Reynolds hit .220/.306/.393 with the Indians and the Yankees last season and handled first and third base adequately for New York. Neither are very attractive options but they are better than what Alex Rodriguez is going to give us next season, nothing.

Texas May Have Just Become A Tanaka Suitor

The Texas Rangers may be aggressively entering the sweepstakes that is Masahiro Tanaka after Derek Holland wen't down for at least half of the 2014 season. Holland fell at home, according to a Rangers press release, and injured his left knee and had arthroscopic surgery to repair torn cartilage. The Rangers are obviously a win now team, especially after trading for Prince Fielder and signing Shin Soo Choo to a big time contract so does that make Tanaka the eventual replacement for Holland?

The Rangers have literally nine or ten guys that could easily fill out the starting rotation including Japanese superstar Yu Darvish so I find it highly unlikely  that they get into the discussion for Tanaka, but they could. If the Rangers did sign someone I could see them jumping on a Matt Garza, the devil you know vs. the devil you don't, but I can't count the Rangers out until Tanaka is standing at Yankee Stadium being introduced as a Yankee.

Color me worried.

Alex Rodriguez Banned 162 Games

The suspension has finally been announced, and Alex Rodriguez got the ban reduced. However, going down to 162 games from 211 wasn't enough, and ARod will continue to fight the ban by heading to federal court.

It's been said that Supreme Court judges do not have much leeway when it comes to overruling arbiter's decisions, so I don't expect this ban to be reduced any further. And honestly, I think our government has better things to do than get involved in Major League Baseball.

I should also point out that Alex will not be able to hit six more home runs this season, which would trigger one of his bonuses of $6 million. So the Yankees will essentially save $33.5 million, not just the $27.5 million the AAV of Rodriguez's contract is worth. Then again, I suppose Alex could play in the postseason and hit a half dozen homers, but I highly doubt the Yankees would put him on the playoff roster after sitting all season (Joel Sherman tweeted that his suspension includes the postseason).

EDIT: I just came across the statement ARod made in regards to the suspension...
"The number of games sadly comes as no surprise, as the deck has been stacked against me from day one. This is one man’s decision, that was not put before a fair and impartial jury, does not involve me having failed a single drug test, is at odds with the facts and is inconsistent with the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement and the Basic Agreement, and relies on testimony and documents that would never have been allowed in any court in the United States because they are false and wholly unreliable. This injustice is MLB’s first step toward abolishing guaranteed contracts in the 2016 bargaining round, instituting lifetime bans for single violations of drug policy, and further insulating its corrupt investigative program from any variety defense by accused players, or any variety of objective review. 
I have been clear that I did not use performance enhancing substances as alleged in the notice of discipline, or violate the Basic Agreement or the Joint Drug Agreement in any manner, and in order to prove it I will take this fight to federal court. I am confident that when a Federal Judge reviews the entirety of the record, the hearsay testimony of a criminal whose own records demonstrate that he dealt drugs to minors, and the lack of credible evidence put forth by MLB, that the judge will find that the panel blatantly disregarded the law and facts, and will overturn the suspension. No player should have to go through what I have been dealing with, and I am exhausting all options to ensure not only that I get justice, but that players’ contracts and rights are protected through 
the next round of bargaining, and that the MLB investigation and arbitration process cannot be used against others in the future the way it is currently being used to unjustly punish me.
I will continue to work hard to get back on the field and help the Yankees achieve the ultimate goal of winning another championship. I want to sincerely thank my family, all of my friends, and of course the fans and many of my fellow MLB players for the incredible support I received throughout this entire ordeal."
EDIT 2: The Major League Players' Association has stated that they will no longer back Alex Rodriguez, saying the arbiter's ruling is "final and binding". ARod is on his own when it comes to the Supreme Court. Rodriguez has more than enough money to buy the best lawyer's possible, but this is going to hurt his case.

Yankee Stadium Legacy: #80 Tino Martinez

The New York Yankees won the last World Series in the 1990's  and also won the first World Series in the 2000's. Tino Martinez was a big part of the team's success to start the new millennium collecting eight hits in each of the ALDS, ALCS, and the World Series. The Yankees beat the Athletics, Mariners, and Mets on the way to the 2000 World Series title.

80 days until Yankees Opening Day

Alex Rodriguez Decision Could Come This Weekend

The decision from arbitrator Frederic Horowitz could come at any second now according to Ronald Blum of the Associated Press. The article states that people familiar with Horowitz think the decision could come down this weekend which would be nice to know going forward. This whole situation is becoming kind of like that Sprint commercial, the decision could come today, but it probably won't, but it might!

The Official "Adios" To Vernon Wells

"Screw You Guys, I'm Going Home"
As we all know, and are probably still recovering from with all the celebration parties that were sure to pop up, Vernon Wells was designated for assignment yesterday to make room for Matt Thornton. Nothing made me happier to remove him from our roster pages, payroll page, and Yankees Wives & Girlfriends section of the site. Thanks for the memories Vern, even though they weren't so great.

This Day In New York Yankees History 1/11

On this day in 1915 Colonel Jacob Ruppert and Colonel Tillinghast L. Huston buy the New York Yankees from Frank Farrell and Bill Devery for $460,000. Ruppert considers renaming the Yankees the "knickerbockers" to promote his product from his brewery but thankfully doesn't after pressure from newspaper men.

On this day in 1983 Billy Martin was hired as the manager of the New York Yankees for the third time. The third time will not be the charm as he would be replaced by Yogi Berra in 1985. Martin would be moved to the front office though so it was not a total loss for Billy.

On this day in 2001 David Cone agrees to a one year contract with the Boston Red Sox leaving a $500 K guaranteed offer by the Yankees. Cone would make between $4 million to $5 million with Boston with incentives so who could blame him for being a traitor.