The first couple weeks of spring training are usually a pretty dull time, with recently-arrived players boasting about their physical fitness, doing stretches in the sun, and marking time until games start, but setup man Francisco Rodriguez apparently has other plans. We learned last week that K-Rod was going to be at least a few days late to camp with what appears to be an unrelated issue, but now word has come out that he's thinking about a lawsuit against his former agents, Paul Kinzer and Arn Tellem.
According to Rodriguez's camp, he thought he had a no-trade clause that gave him veto power over deals to ten different teams, one of which was the Brewers. However, the required paperwork never got filed. K-Rod fired the agents upon hearing this, and was traded to the Brewers soon after. Powerless to block the deal, he was used as a setup man in Milwaukee, which hurt him in the free agent market and ultimately led him to accept the $8 million the Brewers offered him. And, according to his attorney, Rodriguez isn't very happy about it:
"They did something atrocious... Their arrogance makes this so evil. It's like rear-ending somebody but instead of stopping your car and trading insurance information they blew up the car and ran away. They committed negligence and turned it into a fraud case."
His lawyer, Richard Johnson, also said, among other things, that the agents' supposed blunder "messed with his career in a meaningful way", cost him a seven or eight figure sum, and led him to believe he had leverage that wasn't there. On the other hand, K-Rod's former agents have a slightly different view of things. Bert Deixler, one of their representatives, said yesterday "This is a fee dispute. The no-trade-list issue is a red herring" and that they plan to keep everything that has happened, as well as what goes on in mediation, confidential.
It doesn't look like Brewers fans have any vested interest in this case: The Brewers don't seem to be involved in any way, and K-Rod has stated multiple times that he's happy in Milwaukee. Actually, aside from the awesomeness that a "They blew up the car and ran away" t-shirt with K-Rod's mug on it would be, I don't think this is a very big deal on it's own. However, there could be a real problem if this causes K-Rod to rethink his satisfaction with his current situation, or if this marks the end of the relative peace that has been Rodriguez's stay in Milwaukee. This story hasn't exploded into anything too big yet, but there is an ominous ticking noise coming out of the bullpen in Maryvale that wasn't there a couple days ago.