Yu Darvish’s agent had no time for Alex Rodriguez’s commentary during ESPN’s Sunday broadcast of the Cubs’ 5-2 win over the Cardinals in St. Louis and called the comments “classless.”
Darvish, on the disabled list since the end of May (triceps tendinitis), has been a disappointment this season and has yet to live up to his six-year, $126 million deal the Cubs signed him to in February. He’s 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA in eight starts and hasn’t played since May 20.
So when the camera panned to the 31-year-old right-hander in the Cubs’ dugout during Sunday’s game, Rodriguez called out ailing Darvish and accused him of being a distraction to his teammates. He also suggested that Darvish was “losing respect” in the clubhouse because the Cubs “let him basically police and take control of his own rehab, which is scary.”
“The problem is — and I’m pretty passionate about this — when you have 25 players coming to the stadium, you’re there to do one thing and that’s win a ballgame,” Rodriguez said to his broadcast partner Matt Vasgersian. “You want all the energy, all the focus, all the analytics, all the stretching: What are we going to do today to win a ballgame?
“And when you have a guy that signs an enormous contract and he’s sitting down, and you walk in the training room, and he’s got two trainers working on him, you go into the video room and you have a guy looking at video … he should be in Arizona somewhere getting treated. But don’t get in the way of 25 players going after one mission: to win a ballgame.”
Rodriguez also questioned the four-time All-Star’s commitment and compared Darvish to Cubs right-hander Tyler Chatwood, who has also had a down season and currently leads the league with 85 walks in 94 innings.
“He gets beat down but gets back up,” Rodriguez said of Chatwood, who the Cubs moved to the bullpen this weekend. “He takes a punch and gets back up. And you’ll never see players complain or whine about a guy like that. They actually back him. So this is an issue that — if you’re Cubs Nation — you have to watch the Yu Darvish development because it’s not good inside that clubhouse right now.”
After learning of Rodriguez’s critical comments, Cubs manager Joe Maddon was quick to come to Darvish’s defense and said he “totally disagreed” with what was said.
“Everybody knows what’s going on,” Maddon said Sunday. “We know that there is an injury in there. We support his recovery. Everybody in [the clubhouse] does, and everybody in the coaches’ room does also. It’s about the organization.
“It’s unfortunate that it was relayed that way, but that’s not true.”
On Monday, Darvish’s agent, Joel Wolfe, stepped up to the plate to put Rodriguez on blast. Wolfe went so far as to bring up the 14-time All-Star’s behavior during his 2014 suspension.
“I think it was classless and bordered on unprofessional to take a little nugget of somewhat exaggerated information from one person that maybe he had history with and turning that into a spokesman for the entire team,” Wolfe told The Athletic.
“[Rodriguez is] attacking a player who is injured and on the disabled list, which is difficult for any player, especially one who has a big contract and is in his first year [with a new team]. Imagine how difficult it is for Darvish. But then also attacking him for staying with the team?”
“During A-Rod’s absurd comments, the video shows that Darvish was right there on the top step in the dugout cheering on his teammates, which is what you want from somebody like that. He wasn’t hiding out in Mesa at the spring-training complex or back home like A-Rod was when he was suspended.”