There’s a story in the New York Times today about some of the things the judge in the Texas Rangers’ bankruptcy said during meetings with counsel in his chambers regarding the contentiousness of the case. The comments, which were tape recorded, were all great fun. My favorite:
“I don’t like what’s been done to it, with the designated hitter and interleague play and an interminable playoff. But I used to love baseball, and I can talk baseball with — at least in terms of people like Whitey Ford and Bob Turley and their ilk — until hell freezes over.”
A man after my own heart!
Mostly, though, this all spoke to the frustration the judge had with a bunch of people — including Chuck Greenberg himself — who did not put their best foot forward during the litigation. And this comment, which will likely get a lot of play because of the example he used, is actually pretty telling:
As Lynn and the lawyers discussed the qualifications of potential auction bidders, he said that it would “make perfect sense” for baseball to reject someone from the Russian Mafia or institutionalized gambling. But, he suggested, “If the buyer is Barack Obama, however, I would not want you to say, ‘No, we don’t accept Democrats or black people.’ Do you understand me?”
I understand it. I understand it as a judge who is highly skeptical and disapproving of Major League Baseball’s claim that it can simply approve or disapprove of owners at its whim. And I remain convinced that one day a court will get an opportunity to pass on baseball’s rule in this regard, and blow it the hell out of the water as the idiotic and anti-competitive anachronism that it is.
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.