So, can the Mets void K-Rod's contract?


That’s the question Mets fans who don’t want to see K-Rod’s mondo-expensive contract continue to weigh on the team are asking in light of the revelation that Rodriguez injured himself punching a 62 year-old man.  My gut feeling: seems doubtful.

This stuff is governed by a clause in the Uniform Player Contract every player signs. The clause is entitled “Termination,” and it can be found at paragraph 7(b). It reads as follows:

7.(b) The Club may terminate this contract upon written notice to the
Player (but only after requesting and obtaining waivers of this contract
from all other Major League Clubs) if the Player shall at any time:

(1) fail, refuse or neglect to conform his personal conduct to the
standards of good citizenship and good sportsmanship or to keep
himself in first-class physical condition or to obey the Club’s training
rules; or

(2) fail, in the opinion of the Club’s management, to exhibit sufficient
skill or competitive ability to qualify or continue as a member
of the Club’s team; or

(3) fail, refuse or neglect to render his services hereunder or in
any other manner materially breach this contract.

That first one seems to fit, right? I mean, K-Rod punched a guy!  But it’s telling that no one — certainly no one with the Mets — made an effort to go that way following the actual incident. Indeed, they had K-Rod pitch on Saturday night! If the team really thought that Rodriguez had done something worthy of termination, they wouldn’t have waited until they found out he was injured.  They would have done it at the time of the incident.

And that’s setting aside the giant battle the Mets would have with the union should they try to void it (quick: can anyone recall a single instance of a player’s contract being voided due to this kind of misconduct?). Indeed, if I were with the union and the Mets even hinted at trying to void the contract now that the injury has been disclosed — as opposed to when the fight occurred — I would jump up and down screaming about how disingenuous the team was being. About how it was really their intention to get out from under a bad deal as opposed to truly being shocked by his alleged “failure to conform his personal conduct to the standards of good citizenship and good sportsmanship.”

Nope: seems like the only shot the Mets have at getting out from under some of K-Rod’s deal is to have this injury turn out to be worse than anticipated and cost him a ton of 2011, thereby keeping his games finished down and thus preventing his 2012 option from vesting.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.