So, can the Mets void K-Rod's contract?

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That’s the question Mets fans who don’t want to see K-Rod’s mondo-expensive contract continue to weigh on the team are asking in light of the revelation that Rodriguez injured himself punching a 62 year-old man.  My gut feeling: seems doubtful.

This stuff is governed by a clause in the Uniform Player Contract every player signs. The clause is entitled “Termination,” and it can be found at paragraph 7(b). It reads as follows:

7.(b) The Club may terminate this contract upon written notice to the
Player (but only after requesting and obtaining waivers of this contract
from all other Major League Clubs) if the Player shall at any time:

(1) fail, refuse or neglect to conform his personal conduct to the
standards of good citizenship and good sportsmanship or to keep
himself in first-class physical condition or to obey the Club’s training
rules; or

(2) fail, in the opinion of the Club’s management, to exhibit sufficient
skill or competitive ability to qualify or continue as a member
of the Club’s team; or

(3) fail, refuse or neglect to render his services hereunder or in
any other manner materially breach this contract.

That first one seems to fit, right? I mean, K-Rod punched a guy!  But it’s telling that no one — certainly no one with the Mets — made an effort to go that way following the actual incident. Indeed, they had K-Rod pitch on Saturday night! If the team really thought that Rodriguez had done something worthy of termination, they wouldn’t have waited until they found out he was injured.  They would have done it at the time of the incident.

And that’s setting aside the giant battle the Mets would have with the union should they try to void it (quick: can anyone recall a single instance of a player’s contract being voided due to this kind of misconduct?). Indeed, if I were with the union and the Mets even hinted at trying to void the contract now that the injury has been disclosed — as opposed to when the fight occurred — I would jump up and down screaming about how disingenuous the team was being. About how it was really their intention to get out from under a bad deal as opposed to truly being shocked by his alleged “failure to conform his personal conduct to the standards of good citizenship and good sportsmanship.”

Nope: seems like the only shot the Mets have at getting out from under some of K-Rod’s deal is to have this injury turn out to be worse than anticipated and cost him a ton of 2011, thereby keeping his games finished down and thus preventing his 2012 option from vesting.

Jeffrey Springs, Rays agree to $31 million, 4-year contract

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Left-hander Jeffrey Springs became the first of the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration salaries with their teams to reach a deal, agreeing Wednesday to a $31 million, four-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year old was among seven Rays who swapped arbitration figures with the team on Jan. 13. He began last season in the bullpen, transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts. He is 14-6 with a 2.70 ERA in 76 outings – 51 of them in relief – since he was acquired from Boston in February 2021.

Springs gets $4 million this year, $5.25 million in 2024 and $10.5 million in each of the following two seasons. Tampa Bay has a $15 million option for 2027 with a $750,000 buyout.

The 2025 and 2026 salaries can escalate by up to $3.75 million each based on innings in 2023-24 combined: $1.5 million for 300, $1 million for 325, $750,000 for 350 and $500,000 for 375. The `25 and ’26 salaries also can escalate based on finish in Cy Young Award voting in `23 and ’24: $2 million for winning, $1.5 million for finishing second through fifth in the voting and $250,000 for finishing sixth through 10th.

Tampa Bay’s option price could escalate based on Cy Young voting in 2025 and 2026: by $2.5 million for winning, $2 million for finishing second through fifth and $500,000 for sixth through 10th.

Springs would get $45.25 million if the option is exercised, $52.75 million with the option and meeting all innings targets and the maximum if he meetings the innings targets and wins two Cy Youngs.

Springs’ ERA last season was the second lowest in franchise history for a pitcher working a minimum of 100 innings. Former Rays ace Blake Snell compiled 1.89 ERA on the way to winning the 2018 AL Cy Young.

In addition to finishing sixth in the AL in ERA, Springs allowed three runs or fewer in 22 of 25 starts and two runs or fewer 17 times. He joined Tampa Bay’s rotation on May 9, gradually increasing his workload over his next six appearances. Springs was 6-3 with a 2.40 ERA in 14 starts after the All-Star break.

Arbitration hearings start next week and the Rays remain with the most players scheduled to appear before three-person panels.

Springs had asked for a raise from $947,500 to $3.55 million and had been offered $2.7 million. Tampa remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam, Pete Fairbanks and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.

Tampa Bay also agreed minor league contacts with catcher Gavin Collins and right-hander Jaime Schultz, who will report to major league spring training.

Infielder Austin Shenton and pitchers Anthony Molina and Joe LaSorsa also were invited to big league spring training.