Jorge Posada has handled his benching as the Yankees’ designated hitter about as well as possible, admitting yesterday that he’s “not happy with it” while adding that “I’m moving on and I’ll be ready to play whenever I happen to play.”
Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York asked Joe Girardi how he felt back in 1998, when a young Posada supplanted him as the Yankees’ starting catcher, and the manager replied:
I didn’t like it. I just kept working at it and trying to get better. As a player, that’s the only thing you can do. Be prepared, and when you get your chance, perform and be prepared.
Which is more or less the stance Posada is taking, although he indicated that Girardi gave him no assurances about reemerging with a significant role in the final season of a four-year, $52 million contract.
Prior to the benching Posada hit just .230 with nine homers and a .681 OPS in 90 games. For now Eric Chavez has replaced him as the Yankees’ primary DH, but given his long history of injuries and the presence of top prospect Jesus Montero waiting in the wings at Triple-A the position is in a state of flux.
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.
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.