Mark Buehrle on the Marlins: “I was lied to”

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Over the weekend we heard about how Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle were upset that “verbal assurances” that the Marlins were committed to them and that they wouldn’t be traded weren’t honored.  Today Buehrle and his agent took it a step further and issued statements voicing their displeasure:

“I’m upset with how things turned out in Miami,” Buehrle said. “Just like the fans in South Florida, I was lied to on multiple occasions. But I’m putting it behind me and looking forward to moving on with my career.”

His agent Jeff Barry elaborated, saying “Mark held up his end of the bargain; unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the Marlins.”

I am obviously no fan of Jeff Loria and the Marlins these days, but cry me a freakin’ river, Buehrle and Barry.  The Marlins may have sold you a bill of goods, but you bought, willingly, and knew full well that you didn’t have a no-trade clause and that the Marlins never gave them out when you signed the deal. While we would all like to live in a world where people treat each other better than we do, you know full well that you cannot count on anything in sophisticated business dealings that aren’t set forth in the contract.

I’m sure a lot of teams would love it if they could get more out of their contracts with players than that which is set forth in writing. Promises to do more things than they’re required. Agreements to not take a course of action that benefited the player first and not the team.  If they did, the players would rightfully laugh them out of the negotiating room.  To expect the teams to treat players any differently is silly.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.