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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Baseball

Yankees reportedly do not want to pay A-Rod his home run bonuses

Alex Rodriguez

The current relationship between Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees seems contentious, to say the least. For further proof of that, we have the Yankees reportedly looking to get out of paying A-Rod some bonus money.

In addition to the roughly $20 million per season Rodriguez is owed over the next three years, he is also eligible to receive a series of $6 million bonuses for reaching home run milestones. If A-Rod, who has 654 home runs, ties Willie Mays for sixth on the all-time home run list with 660, he is slated to get a $6 million bonus. The same is true if he ties Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds.

According to the NY Daily News, the Yankees are looking for a way out of paying the bonuses.

The Yankees, however, now view the marketing bonuses as worthless and invalid, according to sources, the result of Rodriguez’s suspension for violating the game’s collectively bargained drug policy and his scorched-earth attack on baseball and the Yankees. The club plans to do battle with its onetime superstar over paying the bonuses, and is prepared to fight Rodriguez if he files a grievance with the Players’ Association.

Apparently the bonuses are part of Rodriguez’s “marketing” contract, and not the same contract that pays him his yearly salary. The Yankees will reportedly argue that A-Rod doesn’t deserve the bonuses because he has “rendered his opportunities worthless based on years of lies, deception and, finally, admission to DEA agents last year that he had paid $12,000 a month to Anthony Bosch for steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.”

That seems like a tall task for the Yankees. But given the report we recently read about how the team reacted when A-Rod tried to apologize, we wouldn’t rule anything out.

Max Scherzer thanks Tigers with full page newspaper ad

max-scherzer-free-press-ad

Last week, Max Scherzer signed a seven-year, $210 million contract with the Nationals, bringing to an end his time with Tigers. On Sunday, Max and wife Erica thanked the Tigers organization and fans for making their time in Detroit memorable.

The two took out a full-page ad in Sunday’s Detroit Free Press which read:

Thank you to Mr. Ilitch and the Tigers organization, teammates, and most of all the Detroit Fans. We accomplished some amazing things and had many unbelievable moments that we’ll never forget.

It was a privilege and an honor to don the Old English D.

Thank you,

Max and Erica

After spending the first two seasons of his major career with the Diamondbacks, Scherzer was a member of the Tigers for five years. He won the American League’s Cy Young Award in 2013, made two All-Star teams, and helped Detroit to four straight playoff appearances. Scherzer also appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, although the circumstances were not what he intended.

Photo via: Detroit Free Press

Yankees reportedly reject A-Rod’s request for apology meeting

Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez appears to be in a conciliatory mood, but the New York Yankees may not be on the same page as the ballplayer.

The New York Daily News reports that A-Rod attempted to set up a meeting with the Yankees where he would apologize for his involvement in Biogenesis, the suspension that followed, and the legal games that ensued, but the team rejected his attempt.

From the Daily News:

The disgraced superstar offered to meet face-to-face with team executives to apologize for his role in the Biogenesis scandal and clear the air before players report to Tampa next month, the Daily News has learned, but the Yankee brass declined the invitation, telling Rodriguez, “We’ll see you in spring training.”

Apparently the Yankees do not want to give A-Rod the “superstar treatment” any longer.

It seems like somewhat of a surprise that the Yankees would not give A-Rod the chance to apologize, but perhaps they just do not feel like a special meeting prior to spring training is needed. And based on how much the relationship between Rodriguez and GM Brian Cashman has soured over the past few years, it’s probably not a surprise that he would like as little to do with the third baseman/DH as possible.

A-Rod put MLB and the Yankees through a lot of madness over the past two years. Maybe MLB was willing to meet with him despite some of his rude behavior, but perhaps the Yankees don’t care as much about someone who is just expected to be a fringe contributor to the team.

Beloved Mr. Cub Ernie Banks dies at 83

Ernie Banks

There are two things Ernie Banks could do better than almost anyone who has walked this earth: hit a baseball, and bring a smile to another person’s face.

Those are two pretty darn awesome qualities to have.

Baseball lost one of its legends on Friday when it was announced that Banks died at the age of 83.

Nicknamed “Mr. Cub,” Banks was the first black player in the history of the Chicago Cubs. The Hall of Famer hit 512 career home runs, was voted to 14 All-Star Games and won two MVPs, becoming the first player in history to win the NL MVP Award in consecutive years.

Banks incredibly never made the postseason, but that never got his spirit down. He was a beloved figure as he played his entire career — all 19 years — with the Cubs. He was known for his wonderful attitude, which was embodied by his famous quote, “Let’s play two!”

Banks led the league in home runs, RBIs and intentional walks twice, and he led the league in slugging percentage and total bases once — all while he was a shortstop.

Banks was a first-ball Hall of Famer who was elected in 1977 when he received 83.8 percent of the vote, which was more than any other player on the ballot that year.

Banks was one of the great players in the history of the game and will be missed. I’d like to add in a personal note about Banks. I am incredibly lucky to own his 1954 Topps rookie card (it was part of a complete set given to my as a gift by my father). That was one of the best sets in baseball history, and Banks’ rookie card is one of the biggest reasons why. And there is one more thing about Banks that I will never forget. In 2004, I spent the entire baseball season working for the Dodgers. Whether it was in the clubhouse, on the field, or in the press box, I came across many legends of the game. Vin Scully, Albert Pujols and Tommy Lasorda are just some of the people I won’t forget coming across. But there was only one time I was ever starstruck: the time I saw Ernie Banks in the press box. That smile was unmistakable, and it instantly made me happy. Ernie freaking Banks! Mr. Cub! He is a beloved baseball figure who will be missed.

Brewers reportedly interested in acquiring Jonathan Papelbon

Jonathan Papelbon Joe West

The Milwaukee Brewers are reportedly interested in working out a trade for Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon.

According to Yahoo Sports, the Phillies have engaged the Brewers in trade talks as they continue to look for ways to blow up their roster and trim payroll. Papelbon has a no-trade clause in his contract that can block moves to 17 teams, and it is unclear if Milwaukee is one of those teams.

Papelbon is set to make $13 million in 2015 with a $13 million vesting option for 2016 if he appears in 48 games next season. He finished with 39 saves and a 2.04 ERA last season. The Brewers recently traded Yovani Gallardo and his $13 million salary to the Texas Rangers, so they have the space needed to take on Papelbon.

Overall, Papelbon has not seemed happy in Philadelphia. The team was displeased with him last year after he was suspended for making this obscene gesture toward the fans. A divorce would probably be best for all parties.

Marlins reportedly intensify interest in Ichiro Suzuki

Ichiro Suzuki YankeesThe Miami Marlins are looking for outfield depth and reportedly have intensified their interest in Ichiro Suzuki.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported the news on Saturday and believes Suzuki could be a good fit for the Marlins because of his experience and speed.

Ichiro just turned 41 and needs 156 hits to reach 3,000 for his career, which is impressive considering he made his MLB debut in 2001 after spending the beginning of his career in Japan. Ichiro has spent the past three seasons with the Yankees and served as a part-time outfielder last season.

Though he would like to start, he may have to settle for a job as a fourth outfielder. The good news is Miami would be a perfect place for Ichiro to continue his Spanish trash-talking ways.

The Marlins have acquired Martin Prado, Dee Gordon, Michael Morse and Mat Latos this offseason and should be a much improved team next season.

Report: A-Rod believes Chase Headley has to win starting third base job from him

Alex RodriguezAlex Rodriguez has not played professional baseball since being suspended by MLB in 2013 for his role in the Biogenesis scandal, but he is not letting any potential rustiness deter him. In fact, he still believes he will be an integral part of the Yankees this season.

According to Newsday, A-Rod feels that he will be the team’s starting third baseman this year despite the presence of Chase Headley, whom the team re-signed with a 4-year, $52 million contract over the offseason.

“Alex’s mind is that job’s not Headley’s, it’s Alex’s to lose,” a source told Newsday. “That’s what he thinks. Alex is going into training camp thinking that he is the starting third baseman, that if there’s a competition, Headley’s got to win it from him. It doesn’t matter about the money, what they signed Headley for. This guy [Rodriguez] can play.”

As annoyed as people may be with A-Rod because of his involvement in so many scandals, you have to at least respect his attitude. Rodriguez is set to make $21 million this season and wants to contribute. He wants to prove he can still play. And it seems like he wants to earn the $61 million remaining on his contract.

GM Brian Cashman may be tired of dealing with Rodriguez’s non-stop drama, but maybe he’ll be pleasantly surprised by the former MVP. Newsday says A-Rod has been training seven days a week and plans to report early to spring training.

A-Rod won’t be the team’s starting third baseman — that’s going to be Headley’s job — but at least the Yankees will be getting a dedicated DH.

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