As I mentioned yesterday, I don’t think the Mets have the right to void K-Rod’s deal pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement. I don’t even think they’ll try, honestly.
But there are growing calls today for the Mets to at least attempt to void his deal or do something else drastic. Lupica’s column is the first one I’ve read, but I’m sure there are others. I’ve talked to no small number of Mets fans in the past 12 hours who think the Mets should try. I totally understand the sentiment.
The sentiment certainly sits atop the moral and ethical high ground, with that ground being the notion that violence and aggression like that (allegedly!) shown by Rodriguez has no place in a major league clubhouse or on a major league payroll. It’s an admirable bit of high ground too. If I were running a baseball team I’d attempt to take such a stand in the event my players were involved in such things, even if the odds of success were low given the CBA and precedent.
But the Mets blew their chance to take such a position. They suspended him for two games, yes, but as soon as the suspension was over they pitched him. If they thought his act was so bad they could have done what the Cubs did with Carlos Zambrano or the Mariners did with Milton Bradley and placed him on the restricted list and told him to stay away from the team. Instead, they essentially said “we’re fine with whatever K-Rod did, as long as he can pitch.”
In light of that stance, I don’t see how — ethically speaking — the Mets can now voice the kind of disapproval the columnists and Mets fans are genuinely exhibiting. Any move against K-Rod now would be borne of disappointment that their closer can’t pitch, not disapproval of his untowards acts. It would be an act of opportunism, really.
Am I out to lunch here? Is punching a guy out less of a transgression if the guy doing the punching doesn’t get hurt? If so, sure, go ahead Mets. I just don’t think it’s so.
UPDATE: Rosenthal has some less philosophical thoughts about the mechanics of punishing K-Rod over all of this.