Not long ago, a couple of guys got together and started printing up shirts with stylized likenesses of Ron Washington on the front, and a Ron Washington quote — “that’s the way baseball go” — on the back. Seems that Major League Baseball doesn’t take kindly to that sort of thing, and they’ve sent a cease and desist letter shutting it down.
This happens a lot. Happened with that Los Doyers thing not too long ago. Happened to Phillies blogger Zoo With Roy recently when he made up shirts with Roy Halladay’s quote about it only getting “funner” from now on. Every other year or so you hear about this sort of thing. And I get it, because that’s the way the law go.
Still, I get a little sad every time some native enthusiasm gets squished by the IP lawyers. Maybe it’s impractical, but I wish the first impulse of baseball in these instances was to strike a deal with the creators of these kinds of products where baseball gets to protect its copyrights and stuff, the creator gets some nominal compensation for his inspiration and the fans get to buy a fun, quirky shirt or bumper sticker or whatever that captures the zeitgeist of the moment.
And really, these things are ephemeral. Ron Washington is going to be fired one day because all managers are fired. The whole “funner” thing with the Phillies probably died the moment Ryan Howard struck out looking. Would anyone really have been harmed if, in the meantime, some people had some fun?
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.