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.

Royals sign Drew Storen to minor league deal

Drew Storen
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The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.

Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.

While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.