If Alex Rodriguez's new lawyer wants a fight, MLB is willing to give him one

Sign the paper, Joe.

If the plan is to burn baseball's house down in the name of Alex Rodriguez, then sign the paper, make it official, strike the match, and let's get on with this.

Unless, of course, this is all a con. A bluff. Then, by all means, refuse. And continue to stand behind the restrictions of a confidentiality clause Major League Baseball says you've misinterpreted.

Rodriguez's man, Joe Tacopina, asked on Saturday to be released to discuss the details of Rodriguez's alleged drug use. He challenged MLB and executive vice president Rob Manfred to free him in writing from the confines of the Joint Drug Agreement (JDA).

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By Monday, in a surreal moment even for morning TV, Manfred had a contract messengered to the "Today Show." Viewers were treated to Matt Lauer as MLB's deliveryman, and Tacopina gesturing at Lauer with the agreement, which he'd rolled up and dismissed but had nowhere to put. Never mind, Manfred said Monday, that players – including Rodriguez – are free to divulge details of their drug use while remaining in compliance with the JDA.

If Tacopina required a formal invitation, he had one. And then, through a statement, he dismissed it.

"The letter was a publicity stunt," Tacopina said. "Such a waiver would require [the Players' Association] to be party of the agreement and signatures, [it's] nothing but a trap hoping I would sign knowing that I couldn't and in fact would have me breaching the JDA agreement."

Minutes later, Manfred offered to add a new signature line for the MLBPA.

By the terms of the letter, MLB would agree to reveal "Rodriguez's entire history under the Program, including, but not limited to, his testing history, test results, violations of the Program, and all information and evidence relating to Rodriguez's treatment by Anthony Bosch, Anthony Galea and Victor Conte."

Also, MLB would make public "all documents relating to the issue of whether Rodriguez obstructed the Office of the Commissioner's investigation."

The letter was signed, "Sincerely, Robert D. Manfred, Jr."


Tacopina's reaction?

"We would love nothing more," he told Matt Lauer.

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Sounds like MLB is itching to open A-Rod's files. And A-Rod's man is talking about opening A-Rod's files. A lot. And now there's a contract with an empty dotted line or two that would allow everybody to do that, and we could end the posturing, though hopefully not lose Matt Lauer's cameo in all of this.

MLB officials believe Tacopina is hiding behind a clause that doesn't exist, and in the meantime bucking for a street fight. Uglier the better. No holds barred. Burn the place down.

Well, then, let's do this. Make it happen.

Sign the paper, Joe.

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