Wednesday, June 26, 2013
No escape for Yanks, A-Rod
By Buster Olney
Derek Jeter turns 39 years old Wednesday, and it’s somehow fitting that within the career-long dynamic that has bound Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, The Captain gets cake and presents on the same day that everybody is talking about whether Rodriguez should shut up. And, as usual, Rodriguez brought it upon himself with his ninth tweet, Wallace Matthews writes.
Brian Cashman’s words are his and his alone, and he is the only one in the organization who will have to explain Wednesday why he said what he said and whether owner Hal Steinbrenner thinks his words are appropriate for a highly ranked officer of a prominent company. Cashman knows better than anyone -- after almost two decades of putting out organizational fires -- that his words turned this from a brushfire into a back-page conflagration.
But really, the Yankees’ general manager was speaking for a whole lot of people, from top to bottom, who are fed up with Rodriguez -- from the highest offices in the organization to some of Rodriguez’s peers in the clubhouse.
The Yankees’ front office long ago reached the conclusion that the Rodriguez’s 10-year, $275 million deal was a complete and utter disaster, a tremendous miscalculation. I get the sense that the team would love nothing more than for Rodriguez to go away for good, to gracefully depart the sport and save the team tens of millions of dollars.
But it is resigned to an immediate future tied to Rodriguez, like spouses in a marriage held together only for the sake of the kids, so they have generally stood by him in their public posturing and commentary, although wearily.
That’s the backdrop to Rodriguez’s tweet, which, because of the history, is almost certainly being read within the organization as a strong bit of passive-aggressiveness by the third baseman. When there was published word the other day that Rodriguez had been cleared by his doctor for baseball activities, it was assumed within some corners of the Yankees organization that this had been leaked out by Rodriguez’s side.
Cashman corrected the official record on Monday, saying that Rodriguez had still not been cleared by the Yankees’ doctors. The GM’s comments were published far and wide, and Rodriguez presumably was aware of them when he chose to send out the tweet Tuesday that he got great news and was cleared to play. It could easily have been read as an effort to push the Yankees, to pressure them publicly to working within the timeline that Rodriguez and his doctor want.
Cashman and the Yankees, however, are in no mood to be pushed. The goodwill they have extended on behalf of Rodriguez is completely gone. They have been embarrassed by his actions, by his words, by what they perceive to be repeated lies. There is almost certainly some sentiment in the organization that he’s been stealing their money through a form of business fraud, his past use of performance-enhancing drugs -- and they have to continue writing the checks.
They are willing to have a working relationship with Rodriguez, because they really have no other choice, given the contract. But it is their hope that in the time they have together, Rodriguez conducts himself with humility and respectfulness and within the usual bounds of team-player comportment.
But when he doesn’t -- as in this situation -- well, they’re likely finished with the business of protecting him from himself. If Rodriguez persists and says or does dumb, silly or passive-aggressive stuff, this will be only the first volley.
Only Rodriguez could turn good news into ugliness, writes Mark Feinsand. This was a response to the whole A-Rod thing, writes Mike Vaccaro.
The Yankees won again Tuesday, in a walk-off.
Around the league
• Ian Stewart was released by the Cubs, and the teams seen as most likely to land him are the Marlins and Diamondbacks.
• The Giants fell below .500 after losing to the Dodgers, and before the game, GM Brian Sabean pulled no punches, Henry Schulman writes. From his story:
"You earn your way to winning a division, you earn your way to be able to go to the World Series, and you earn your World Series trophy by doing it on the field," general manager Brian Sabean said before the game. "Right now we're not doing too much of it on the field. We're in rough water right now."
Sabean talked about possible trades and about prospects.
• Meanwhile, Matt Kemp is back. And he’s happy about it, writes Elliott Teaford.
• David Price hopes his next rehab start is his last, writes Joe Smith.
• Carlos Martinez is the next big thing for the Cardinals.
• The Gerrit Cole decision will be made on merit and not on money, says Pirates owner Bob Nutting.
• The Nationals put some runs up.
Moves, deals and decisions
1. The Nationals have options in trades, writes Amanda Comak.
2. Will Middlebrooks was sent to the minors. The bottom line for players pre-arbitration: If you produce, you play.
3. With Jose Reyes set to be activated, the Blue Jays made a roster move.
4. Brandon Phillips is away from the Reds.
5. A healthy roster would help the Indians make trade decisions.
6. A Padres prospect is being called up.
Dings and dents
1. Ryan Zimmerman has some shoulder discomfort.
2. James McDonald is going to remain on the disabled list.
3. Justin Ruggiano says his current shoulder issue isn’t like last year’s.
4. Michael Pineda looked sharp in his rehab start.
5. Dylan Bundy is on his way to see Dr. James Andrews.
6. Corey Hart is going to see a doctor about his knee.
1. Domonic Brown clubbed his 20th home run.
2. Zack Wheeler was shaky.
3. Dustin Pedroia and the Red Sox racked up 20 hits.
4. Lucas Harrell had a really bad day.
• Jason Heyward had a big night, writes David O’Brien.
• The Pirates clubbed a bunch of homers.
• Adam Wainwright was unhappy with his manager the other day, and now he has apologized.
• Bryan Harvey knows what’s ahead for his son, writes Peter Schmuck.
• Matt Moore beat the Jays. From ESPN Stats and Information, how he won:
A. He had 11 strikeouts in six innings, tying his career high for strikeouts.
B. He recorded a career-high seven strikeouts with his curveball (previous best was four strikeouts, done multiple times).
C. The Blue Jays swung and missed at 42.3 percent of pitches, a season high for Moore and the second-best such rate of his career.
• Chris Davis hit his 28th homer, making him the fifth player since 2001 to have that many by the end of June.
2013: Chris Davis, 28 (and counting)
2009: Albert Pujols, 30
2007: Alex Rodriguez, 28
2001: Barry Bonds, 39
2001: Luis Gonzalez, 32
• The Tigers played a stinker. However, Miguel Cabrera collected his 1,200th RBI, making him the sixth player since 1920 with at least 1,200 RBIs and 300 homers in his first 11 seasons. The full list:
• Justin Masterson faded.
• Oakland moved back into a tie for first place.
• The Angels romped.
• Taijuan Walker dominated in his first Triple-A start.
• Some translators were swapped.
• Matt Harvey says his nude shoot for ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue was all in good fun.
• The Tigers’ commitment to Venezuela has paid off, writes Lynn Henning.
And today will be better than yesterday.