I just heard that the Mets have decided that they (a) will not attempt to void Francisco Rodriguez’s deal as a result of his little fracas with his girlfriend’s father, but they will (b) attempt to avoid paying him the balance of his 2010 salary as a result of him suffering a non-baseball-related injury. The mechanism for doing this is to place K-Rod on the disqualified list, which they have done as of this evening.
UPDATE: My source tells me the Mets may also try to render the deal non-guaranteed as well. If successful, this step, while short of voiding the contract, would allow the Mets to simply cut K-Rod if he doesn’t make the team next year. However (a) if he did make the team out of camp the deal would become guaranteed once again; and (b) if they cut him despite him being healthy and able, would likely lead to a whole other grievance by the union.
The union may even try to fight K-Rod’s move to the disqualified list, however. Why? Because according to my source, the Mets considered the discipline of all of this to be sorted as of Thursday with the two-game suspension. The injury changed things, however. What this means philosophically, though, is that the team is, in effect, trying to punish the injury with a substantially larger sanction (50+ games worth of pay) than the arguably criminal transgression (2 games). On the one hand this may be semantics. It may matter a lot to an arbitrator, however.
I discussed the ethics of all of this this morning and found it, well, weird. The Mets may have been better off putting him on the restricted list and leveling a longer overall suspension upon reflection once all of the details were in. They didn’t, though, they were content to let his punishment be two games only, and now they could be stuck with that if K-Rod fights this thing.
From a legal perspective, given how difficult it is to discipline a player in the first place, let alone discipline a player when an injury is involved, the Mets’ plant to dock him of his 2010 pay may be a tall order. If you cast all of that aside, however, it seems like a rather equitable result given that (a) K-Rod did screw the Mets out of the remainder of this season’s services; but (b) will likely be ready to go in 2011. Voiding the deal beyond this year seemed like an overreach for the Mets.
As for how it will go on the ground, well, we shall see.