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.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.