Peter Gammons has this habit — which I love by the way — of casually dropping bombs in such a way that is sounds like it’s not news at all. But as far as I can tell, this is news:
Everyone in the business understands that the Mets did not insure
Beltran, so that when team physician Dr. David Altcheck and trainer Ray
Ramirez signed off on Dr. Richard Steadman’s decision to perform
arthroscopic surgery in Vail, Colo., it was clear they were afraid that
their worst time-frame fears might be realized and that Beltran could
be out for — and paid for — much of the 2010 season.
I’ve not seen anyone say that the Mets didn’t insure Beltran’s contract. If that’s the case, wow. Sure, you may eat it if your fourth outfielder or lefty specialist goes down, but how do you not insure the centerpiece of your team?
That aside, everything I’ve read previously frames the Mets’ failure to sign off on Beltran’s surgery as the team simply dithering. But were they dithering because they’re simply incompetent when it comes to getting things done or, as Gammons suggests, were they hoping to block the surgery and get Beltran out on the field at some limited percentage rather than have to pay a player to sit on the DL? It’s great sport to make fun of the Mets’ decisions, but if it truly was the latter in this case we’ve gone from more or less benign bumbling to something much, much more troubling.
And for what it’s worth, Gammons reports that it’s almost certain that Jeff Wilpon knew about the surgery stuff all along, implying that he was the one holding off on giving his OK. In light of this it would not shock me in the least if Omar Minaya’s reluctance to be out in front of this the other day, and instead, have assistant GM John Ricco be the team’s spokesperson, was a function of Omar not wanting to be the fall guy for his boss’ incompetence. If that was the case, good for Omar. His imminent termination will probably come as a relief.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.
What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.
The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.
Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.
The Associated Press is reporting that the spring training schedule will be shortened by two days starting in 2018. That change comes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last month.
Specifically, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and injured players has been changed to 43 days before the start of the regular season, down from 45. For the rest of the players, the reporting date is 38 days before the start of the regular season, down from 40.
The change goes hand-in-hand with allowing teams 187 days, rather than 183, to complete their 162-game regular season schedule.
While just about everyone seems to be in agreement that the spring training exhibition schedule is too long, team owners are likely very hesitant to shorten that part of the spring schedule because it would cost them money. So they’re just allowing players to arrive to camp a couple of days later.