Voiding contracts for bad behavior: case studies

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This morning I explained how hard it is for a team to void a player’s contract and why the Mariners are unlikely to be able to do so in the case of Milton Bradley.  I hadn’t seen Larry Stone’s take on it from last night in which he went through three recent case studies: Denny Neagle, Sidney Ponson and K-Rod. It’s instructive to see how those all played out. It’s also instructive to remember just how big a screwup Sidney Ponson was. Mercy.

All of those cases eventually settled, though the details about the terms and impetus for settlement are all a bit vague.  The biggest takeway: if fist fights with judges, prostitute solicitation and repeated drunk driving beefs aren’t enough to get your contract voided, not many strictly off-the-field incidents are.  At least if they don’t involve dead bodies and stuff.

Really, it seems like Uniform Player Contract provisions 7(b)(1) and 7(b)(3) are directed more at behavior that directly impacts one’s ability to play, not behavior that is merely scandalous, embarrassing or criminal.

2017 Preview: The National League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?

Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.

Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

2017 Preview: The American League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West

There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.

Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?

Our 2017 AL West Previews:

Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Oakland Athletics