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New details emerge in the Alfredo Simon shooting case

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The bilingual Nick Collias, who translates articles for our friends over at MLB Trade Rumors, has been digging through Spanish language publications in the Dominican Republic this morning for more details on the Alfredo Simon shooting incident.

He was kind enough to pass along some of the information that has not yet been reported state-side.

Simon is currently being sought in his home country for allegedly shooting and killing 25-year-old Michel Esteban Castillo on the night of New Year’s Eve and gravely injuring his 17-year-old brother Starlin Castillo Hernandez.

From Manuel Gilbert of Listin Diario, translated by Collias:

“Relatives of the Castillo brothers said that they were in the Luperón town park at four in the morning celebrating the new year, when the player, without words, fired several times at the group that was in the town square, killing Michel Esteban Castillo and gravely injuring Starlin Castillo Hernandez.”

From El Dia, again translated by Collias:

“The player also wounded Starlin Castillo, younger brother of the deceased, when he allegedly shot into the air to celebrate New Year’s Eve, police said… Locals said the player, who had recently signed a $4MM contract with the Baltimore Orioles, is known to have shot in the air on other occasions.”

From the Venezuelan paper El Universal, also translated by Collias:

“A source from the police said Simon is negotiating his surrender to the authorities in order to be brought to justice in the coming hours.”

Piecing this whole thing together, it sounds like the younger Castillo shot a gun into the air in celebration of the new year.  Simon was nearby — also, likely intoxicated — and may have been spooked by the sudden gunfire.  So he shot in the direction of the blasts with his own fire arm.

Again, this is all based off second-hand reports from newspapers in another country.  When we get more details or word of Simon’s surrender, we will pass that information along.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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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.

Spring training will be slightly shortened in 2018

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 15:  General view of action between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants during the spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium on March 15, 2014 in Scottsdale, Arizona. The A's defeated the Giants 8-1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Associated Press is reporting that the spring training schedule will be shortened by two days starting in 2018. That change comes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last month.

Specifically, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and injured players has been changed to 43 days before the start of the regular season, down from 45. For the rest of the players, the reporting date is 38 days before the start of the regular season, down from 40.

The change goes hand-in-hand with allowing teams 187 days, rather than 183, to complete their 162-game regular season schedule.

While just about everyone seems to be in agreement that the spring training exhibition schedule is too long, team owners are likely very hesitant to shorten that part of the spring schedule because it would cost them money. So they’re just allowing players to arrive to camp a couple of days later.