Listen, we know it's tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day, and trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk isn't easy. It's OK, though, we're going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end.
The Yankees supposedly wanted to get out everything that remained of Alex Rodriguez's contract -- all three years and $61 million of it -- but he showed up to spring training with all of his limbs attached, so that idea went out the door. They're still hoping to withhold the bonuses for home run milestones from A-Rod, however, and while it's unknown if the contract language will hold up in court and grant them that reprieve, you do know that there will eventually be a battle over it.
Essentially, A-Rod's contract stipulates that the Yankees can designate a homer as a milestone, and then Rodriguez is supposed to transfer his likeness to New York for marketing purposes in exchange for $6 million. The Yankees are concerned no one will care about when, say, A-Rod ties Willie Mays' career total of 660 just six dingers from now, and so they don't plan on considering it a milestone any longer. The contract also states that the Yankees "are under no obligation" to exercise this portion of the contract, which you think would have them as the clear winners here.
The thing is, though, that A-Rod's 654 career homers, while maybe tainted for some publicly, still hold up in MLB's official books. If Rodriguez's lawyer points to those books often enough -- and A-Rod has the right to file a grievance over the Yankees' decisions to recognize these milestone moments -- then a court might find that the Yankees are simply attempting to deny reality, and Rodriguez will get paid. The short of it is that if the Yankees don't just agree to pay for these milestones -- and really, there might only be one of them, considering the next is at 714 for tying Babe Ruth -- things are going to get ugly in New York. And you thought all the convoluted A-Rod drama was over.
- Speaking of A-Rod, even Hank Aaron is rooting for him to get his career back in order, and even referred to the two as friends.
- Masahiro Tanaka, Nelson Cruz, and more are some potential bust candidates in 2015, either because of the threat of injury, age, or a simple reversal of fortune.
- Josh Hamilton has reportedly suffered a relapse in his battle with alcohol and drug addiction, and both Hamilton and MLB are attempting to sort out disciplinary action. It's hard to believe MLB would want to push him out during a difficult time, so don't expect a lifetime ban even though Rob Manfred could conceivably enforce one.
- Here is a palate cleanser in the form of Giancarlo Stanton wearing a Marlins' jersey that has literally been painted on.
- Let's forget about that whole Cole Hamels to the Red Sox thing, and instead talk about how Cliff Lee to the Sox is a perfect fit for both sides' demands.
- Okay, well, unless you think the Sox should just give the Phillies what they want for Hamels, anyway.
- Spring training is a whole lot of best shape of his life stories (and also scorpions), but we still care about it anyway.
- An anonymous Giants player spoke to a Boston reporter about it being time for Pablo Sandoval to move on. Not in a throwing-him-under-the-bus way, either.
- Adam Lind is no longer on the Blue Jays, so he took some time to rip their medical staff apart.
- Mark Ellis and his wonderful defense have retired after a 13-year big-league career.
- It's okay if you feel bad for Melvin Upton Jr., aka the former Bossman Junior Upton.
- Want to get to know Yoan Moncada? Kiley McDaniel had an informal conversation with the newest Red Sox prospect and Cuban import.
- Carlos Quentin is a man without a position in San Diego, so the Padres are going to see if he can play first base. If he's healthy, he's probably a better option than what they currently have there, but you know how that goes with Quentin.
- Speaking of Quentin, his blood rival Matt Kemp is now his teammate, and the two are now BFFs.
- Have the Yankees forgotten to retire any numbers along the way? What year do you think they'll need to introduce jersey number 100, anyway?