January 11, 2014

#ARod gets the boot for a year — larger thoughts for him, #Yankees, #roiding

Everybody who's a big baseball fan has seen the news — arbitrator Frederic Horowitz has basically upheld verbatim Bud Selig's original ban on Alex Rodriguez, keeping this year's full suspension, with last year's games that would have contributed to the 2011 now water under the bridge.

(Any blog or newspaper that talks about A-Rod's suspension being "reduced" is technically correct but in reality is guilty of muddied thinking, at best, in my opinion.)

A few broader thoughts.

1. This certainly isn't good news for the Hall of Fame candidacies of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and people down the road like Manny Ramirez, Pudge Rodriguez and others. And, no expansion of the HOF's ballot to more than 10 players is going to change that. Only a successful push by the Jay Jaffes of the world to reduce the hurdle below 75 percent of votes is going to change that. And that will bring a whole raft of other problems.

2. This does get to the HOF's "morals clause." Unfortunately, in its recent election of three managers, one of whom managed A-Rod for a number of years, it's arguable that the Veterans Committee ignored that. I've commented before on my thoughts on the election of Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre in particular.

Some of this ugliness is peculiar to A-Rod, though. His statement that this is part of an MLB plot to get rid of guaranteed contracts in the next collective bargaining agreement is just the latest installment of a narcissism that's massive even by modern, Internet-driven public figure standards.

It's not just A-Rod, though. Look at what Bud Selig did to get the goods on him.

Look at how this unscrupulousness pervades the Caribbean world.

Look at how Bernie Miklasz played cover-up of sorts for Mark McGwire in 1998, and other writers surely did the same. I discuss that in passing here, and am working on a post that's going to look more directly at writers and roiders.

3. But, dirtiness and all, baseball is better than other top sports.

The NFL's a laugh on steroids, comparatively.  That's when it's not being morally disgusting, by commissioner Roger Goodell trying to claim they contribute to CTE.

The NBA? Sure, you can get suspended for a doobie, or other illicit drugs, but when did an NBA player last get suspended for PEDing.

4. Meanwhile, for A-Rod himself?

First, this almost guarantees he won't hit any of the remaining career milestone numbers in his contract that would trigger bonus money from the Yankees.

Second, it could tempt the Steinbrenners to try to void the contract, though I don't think that's likely. The players union would fight that like hell, and Bud knows that, too. He doesn't want another players' strike to be one final black mark on his legacy; after all, it was one players' strike that led to this whole pile of crap we keep stepping into right now.

5. The Yankees? With Omar Infante going to Kansas City, there ain't no free agent 3B, or quasi-3B available, period. Their only desperate hope is to sign Stephen Drew and try to teach him a new position. Or the even more yucky Michael Young. Playing Eduardo Nunez there a full season won't come close to cutting it. Even with the signings of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran, that team could still be worse, worse indeed, than this year's. If CC Sabathia continues to decline, I guarantee that. And, on lux tax issues, because of details of the suspension, the Yankees still take a $3.2M salary hit, reportedly.

And, one related thought? Defensively, that infield was already looking ugly before this. Given that the splitter is a ground ball pitch when it's not inducing strikeouts, Masahiro Tanaka should definitely prioritize other teams in his free agent search.

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