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

Aug 16, 2010, 5:58 PM EST

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.

  1. Alex - Aug 16, 2010 at 6:33 PM

    Didn’t the Yankees void Aaron Boone’s contract for blowing out his knee playing basketball? I would think that punching his father-in-law in the family lounge would be worse than that (in terms of violating contract standards). There wasn’t ever any doubt, as I recall, that the Yankees were within their rights with respect to Boone.

  2. SDelMonte - Aug 16, 2010 at 6:39 PM

    The example of the Yanks and Giambi was brought up last week by Olney. Not the same sort of case, but the Yanks moved heaven and earth to break up with the admitted steroid user, and got nowhere.

  3. JimmyY - Aug 16, 2010 at 6:48 PM

    “…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.”
    Thank you, agree completely. Unless the union and his agent try to step in and argue he’s not that bad and can come back the beginning of the year with full effectiveness. OMG, take that Met fans, Minaya, as stated before, How does he keep that job?

  4. Adenzeno - Aug 16, 2010 at 8:06 PM

    Except that the idiot Mets let him pitch already..

  5. motivatortom - Aug 16, 2010 at 8:47 PM

    It’s worth a try. If I’m the Mets I do it, and then deal with the Union in the aftermath, which they’d probably have to do in any event. That’s not a surprise. Just terminate/cut him and see what the Union says.

  6. John_Michael - Aug 16, 2010 at 9:23 PM

    Would KRod be a Type A free agent if he were ‘cut?’ For some unknown reason, the Mets seem to have too much pride to rebuild, but if they’d get to first rounders and were willing to semi-compete for a year (like this year), it might be a smart idea.

    So, they won’t do it.

  7. dembones123 - Aug 16, 2010 at 10:46 PM

    Fire the a$$ qwhole

  8. Chipmaker - Aug 17, 2010 at 1:06 AM

    Denny Neagle. The Rockies bought out the final year of his contract, so it wasn’t simply voided, but they’d had enough of his antics (drunken driving, solicitation) and cashiered him.

  9. Kiwicricket - Aug 17, 2010 at 5:07 AM

    “(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;”
    Ollie had better watch out?
    If there is this clause in contracts, why is there never anyone having their contract torn up? I understand the difficulties with regards to the Union etc and legal reasons, but when a player literally can’t be bothered keeping fit enough to play? Runs along the lines of not performing, then get out, but it’s a tame version which is more than fair to the players. Everyone can sign a big contract then get injured, sure, the team management just has to lump it. But signing then eating and boozing yourself onto the DL or TripleA? The player is to blame, let him have some accountability in the matter.

  10. mcsnide - Aug 17, 2010 at 8:21 AM

    Craig,
    Couldn’t the Mets simply argue that until they found out about the injury, they were unaware that K-Rod’s lack of good citizenship had also caused him to fail to keep himself in first-class physical condition? I.E., beating up an old man on its own wasn’t enough to cut him, but the failure to conform to Crash Davis’s advice puts it over the top. You seem to be focused purely on the citizenship argument, rather than the conditioning argument. IANAL, so maybe you can explain why conditioning wouldn’t come into it.

  11. Jerzguy - Aug 17, 2010 at 8:28 PM

    Maybe now he can be a guest on the show “Jersey Shore”. He is as morally bankrupt as they are.

  12. SportsBizMiss - Aug 17, 2010 at 10:35 PM

    I agree that the Mets have little chance of being able to void his contract (in terms of getting through the grievance the MLBPA will file), however, I wanted to point out another provision in the UPC the Mets could use.
    In the Regulations provided as an attachment to the UPC, under Paragraph 2 there is a discussion of employment-related injuries. At the end of that paragraph it states: “Any other disability may be ground for suspending or terminating this contract.”
    To me it sounds like an injury that is not employment-related could be grounds for termination under this paragraph.
    - Kristi Dosh
    @SportsBizMiss
    http://www.kristidosh.com

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