Cincinnati Reds Photo Day

When is it OK to report what goes on in the clubhouse?

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That’s the question a staff writer for the Dayton Daily News asks in the wake of that Jonny Gomes/Adam Wainwright thing:

When do the media go too far? Is every nanosecond of every day fair game for anyone who we christen as a public figure? As a reader, do you even want to know that kind of TMZ.com fodder?

Or are we somehow smarter for daring to report how few others do? As a reader, does that take you to the moment in a more intimate and revealing way that you appreciate more?

Just what are the media rules to play by?

I suppose these are interesting questions — and walking around clubhouses for the last week has me thinking about what’s cool and what isn’t cool to pass along — but they seem a bit presumptuous coming from the Dayton Daily News in the wake of the Gomes thing.

Because the way this seems to be shaking out is that this wasn’t a controversy borne of a reporter reporting what he heard in the clubhouse and people subsequently wondering if it was OK for him to have done so.  It was a case of a reporter misreporting what went on in the clubhouse. Really: there were other reporters around when that Gomes thing went down, and they have different stories than McCoy.

There’s a saying that hard cases make bad law. Given the lack of clarity on the fact itself, the Gomes thing seems like a bad example to use to answer the question poised in the headline. It’s just too messy.  It would be better if the stuff passed along from the clubhouse unequivocally and undeniably happened as it was reported. Then we could have a discussion about whether it was kosher to have so reported it.

Accuracy aside, here’s my only thought on it at the moment: the clubhouse is generally open to reporters for an hour or so, several hours before game time.  If the clubhouse is such a sanctuary — and maybe it should be — why open it to reporters at all?  By making it off limits most of the time, aren’t clubs strongly implying that there is a private time and a semi-public time and that, if they wanted to, they could make it all-private all the time?

But they didn’t. They have chosen to open it to people whose job it is to report what they see that they deem to be newsworthy to their readership.  In light of this it strikes me odd that we would be forced to rely on some amorphous and unwritten rule of clubhouse reporting to take care of this stuff.  Either a space is open to the media for all the good and ill that may lead to, or it’s not.  For now it is open, at least for a little while, each day.

If I waltz into the Athletics’ clubhouse later this morning and hear or see something I think is newsworthy, I’m going to be hard pressed not to pass it along. I’ll make sure I’m positive that what I’m seeing or hearing is what I think I’m seeing or hearing, but really: if you let me in your room — and teams still have total control over who they let in their room — why shouldn’t I be allowed to talk about what I see?

Cubs sign Brett Anderson to a $3.5 million deal

Brett Anderson
AP Photo/J Pat Carter
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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.

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)
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.