Gerald Laird's arrest involved NBA player's wife

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Last month Tigers catcher Gerald Laird and his 22-year-old Yankees prospect brother Brandon Laird were arrested while attending a Phoenix Suns game, with initial reports describing their “loud behavior” and how “the Laird brothers allegedly assaulted the security guards” who tried to calm them down.
Gerald Laird insisted afterward that the whole thing was just a misunderstanding, but now the Arizona Republic has some further details. Chief among them is that the entire incident started when the Laird brothers’ 70-year-old grandfather allegedly touched the wife of Celtics player Eddie House “inappropriately” while they were all in the arena’s “lounge” area.
According to the police report Brandon Laird then “shouted derogatory remarks toward House and other women at the lounge before taking a swing at one of the women.” He was charged with suspicion of misdemeanor disorderly conduct, while Gerald Laird was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor assault for allegedly “striking a security guard in the head from behind during the brawl.”
Not surprisingly, the police report notes that the Laird contingent–which also included their father and uncle–were “cautioned by security when they arrived because they appeared intoxicated” before even stepping inside the arena. And naturally Gerald Laird explained afterward that he just wanted to “watch the game and have some fun” and “didn’t try to hurt anyone or strike anyone.”
So, to recap: Just about everyone in the entire Laird family showed up to a Suns-Celtics game drunk and then made their way to an in-arena bar for some more drinking, Grandpa tried to get fresh with an NBA player’s wife, Brandon got angry and turned the harassment level up a few notches, and Gerald sucker-punched a security officer once things got out of hand. Awesome.

Cubs sign Brett Anderson to a $3.5 million deal

Brett Anderson
AP Photo/J Pat Carter
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.

Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.

When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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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.