MIAMI — The U.S. government said New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez gave his cousin nearly $1 million last year to keep secret Rodriguez’s use of performance enhancing drugs.
In court documents filed last week in Miami, federal prosecutors said Rodriguez made four wire payments totaling $900,000 between June 2013 and September 2013 to settle a threatened lawsuit by Yuri Sucart, who had worked as Rodriguez’s personal assistant.
The total value of that settlement could be nearly $2 million, when factoring in other elements of the deal such as a home, a car and insurance.
Sucart, in a letter from his lawyer, threatened to expose Rodriquez’s PED use if he wasn’t given $5 million and a home.
“Unfortunately for you, litigation with you over his employment agreement will reveal all of the duties you instructed Yuri to perform, so he can prove in court what he earned, what you owe him for services rendered and what you promised,” Sucart attorney Jeffrey Sonn wrote in a proposed settlement letter to Rodriguez dated Dec. 18, 2012.
A spokesman for Rodriguez did not immediately return a request for comment Tuesday.
The payments from Rodriguez to Sucart were revealed after the government said Sucart did not fully disclose his personal financial situation during the process that would determine if he should pay some portion of the costs related to having a federal public defender. The government said Rodriguez also paid Sucart about $500,000 in salary from 2008 through 2013.
Sucart, according to the documents, told the court he does not own a house or a car, but the government alleges that he does “pursuant to the settlement with Rodriguez.”
Sucart, in that proposed settlement that stemmed from what he said was a wrongful termination by Rodriguez, asked for $5 million and a life estate for him and his wife.
In return, Sucart offered continued silence and even a willingness to remain Rodriguez’s personal assistant if so desired.
As part of the settlement, court records show Rodriguez is also spending up to $300,000 to provide medical insurance for Sucart and his family for five years. He also provided Sucart with a 2009 Chevrolet Suburban and the right to stay in a home he owns for five years — with the promise that the house, which lists Alexander E. Rodriguez as its owner, would be deeded to Sucart if the terms of the deal including “preservation of confidential information” were all satisfied.
Rodriguez played in just 44 games in the 2013 season, hitting seven home runs to increase his career total to 654, fifth-most in baseball history.
He is still owed $61 million on the final three years of his contract with the Yankees and will turn 40 next July. He could receive an additional $6 million each for five milestones that the team designates as historic achievements, the next of those believed to be tying Willie Mays’ 660 home runs for No. 4 on the all-time list.
Miami begins contract talks with Stanton: Contract talks have started between Giancarlo Stanton and the Miami Marlins, who are prepared to offer a multiyear deal that would be a big departure for the historically thrifty franchise.
President of baseball operations Mike Hill declined to say whether the Marlins have made an offer, but they’ve begun discussions with agent Joel Wolfe regarding an agreement with the All-Star right fielder.
Even if Stanton rejects the Marlins’ offer, he’s expected to play for Miami next year, and doesn’t become a free agent until after the 2016 season.
Stanton recently won the NL Hank Aaron Award and was voted the NL’s outstanding player by his fellow major leaguers. He’s a top candidate for the NL Most Valuable Player Award.
Stanton, 24, led the NL with 37 homers and a .555 slugging percentage. He has 154 career homers.
Gardner has abdominal surgery: The New York Yankees said outfielder Brett Gardner had surgery to repair a core muscle injury in his right abdomen.
The operation was performed by Dr. William Meyers at the Philadelphia Vincera Institute in Philadelphia on Oct. 16, the team said Wednesday.
Gardner hit .256 with 17 homers, 58 RBIs and 21 steals.
Napoli has surgery for sleep apnea: Boston Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli had surgery to correct his sleep apnea.
Napoli was expected to remain at Massachusetts General Hospital for several days after the operation on Tuesday to improve the flow of air through his airway.
Sleep apnea sufferers experience shallow breathing or pauses in breathing during sleep that can last up to several minutes.
Napoli’s performance declined from his strong 2013 season when he hit .259 with 23 homers and 92 RBIs to help the Red Sox win the World Series.
In 2014, he batted .248 with 17 homers and 55 RBIs.
Astros get Conger from Angels for Tropeano: The Houston Astros acquired catcher Hank Conger in a trade with the Los Angeles Angels.
The Angels got right-hander Nick Tropeano and minor league catcher Carlos Perez.
The 26-year-old Conger played 80 games with 70 starts last season for the Angels. A first-round pick in 2006, Conger hit .221 with four homers and a career-high 25 RBIs.
Tropeano went 1-3 with a 4.57 ERA in four games for Houston in 2014. He spent most of the season at Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he was 9-5 with a 3.03 ERA in 23 games.
Perez spent last season in Triple-A, hitting .259 with six homers and 34 RBIs.
Young back with Rangers as GM assistant: Texas Rangers career hits leader Michael Young was appointed as a special assistant to the general manager, the team announced Wednesday, Young was involved in the Rangers’ managerial search last month.
Young played the first 12 of his 13 major league seasons in Texas and is the team’s career leader with 1,823 games and 2,230 hits. The Rangers traded Young to Philadelphia after the 2012 season, and he split 2013 with the Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers before announcing his retirement in January.
The 38-year-old Young will work with General Manager Jon Daniels and his staff in all areas of baseball operations, including player evaluation and player development in the major and minor leagues.
Rays trade Ramos to Angels for minor leaguer: The Tampa Bay Rays traded left-hander Cesar Ramos to the Los Angeles Angels for minor league right-hander Mark Sappington.
The deal was made Wednesday. Earlier in the day, the Angels traded catcher Hank Conger to Houston for righty Nick Tropeano and minor league catcher Carlos Perez.
The 30-year-old Ramos pitched 43 games for the Rays last season, including seven starts. He was 2-6 with a 3.70 ERA. He was tied for seventh among AL relievers with 13 outings of at least two innings.
Ramos is 5-11 with one save and a 3.90 ERA in 186 games for San Diego and Tampa Bay.
Ramos went to Long Beach State and was part of a collegiate rotation with Angels ace Jered Weaver and former Angels pitcher Jason Vargas.
The 23-year-old Sappington went a combined 4-11 with a 6.02 ERA in Double-A and Single-A last season.
Patton suspended 80 games: Free-agent pitcher Troy Patton was suspended for 80 games after a positive test for an amphetamine under Major League Baseball’s drug program.
The positive test was the 29-year-old left-hander’s third for an amphetamine.
Patton was traded from Baltimore to San Diego in May for catcher Nick Hundley. Patton went a combined 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA in 17 big league appearances.
He became a free agent on Oct. 1 when he refused an outright assignment to the minor leagues.