The Mets putting K-Rod on the disqualified list yesterday was a tough but defensible move. I think the union will fight it because, in essence, the Mets are punishing K-Rod twice for the same conduct, but it’s at least possible that it will stick.
The Mets declaration that K-Rod’s contract is non-guaranteed going forward, however, is basically without precedent and will cause the MLBPA to scorch the Earth in order to get it overturned. I mean, it’s one thing to discipline K-Rod for being a jackass, but it’s another thing altogether to threaten one of the most significant accomplishments in sports labor history (i.e. baseball’s guaranteed contracts).
If I had to guess, the move to make the deal non-guaranteed was a move designed to placate angry fans and tabloids. The Mets, having determined that they couldn’t void the deal, wanted to do the next toughest thing. The problem, though, is that they apparently have no right under the CBA to do it and they’ll ultimately be unsuccessful. And, since the union is fighting anyway, they’ll likely put more gusto into their attack on the decision to put K-Rod on the disqualified list than they may have otherwise done, which may lead to less of a punishment than he might have otherwise received.
The upshot: the Mets gave the union a reason to fight hard when it may have left well enough alone (even the MLBPA isn’t immune to the PR concerns here, and K-Rod is tough to defend right now), and their overreach may very well bite them in the ass.
Of course, this is the Mets, and they have an uncanny knack for taking a situation in which they have the high ground and frittering it away in the end.
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.
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.