Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Francisco Rodriguez & Mets Close On Grievance

As reported by SI.com, Francisco Rodriguez and the New York Mets have settled their dispute.

This outcome was not a surprise.

The Mets’ placed its closer on the disqualified list and converted his contract to a non-guaranteed deal. He was placed on the list after he tore a ligament in the thumb of his pitching hand while allegedly punching his girlfriend’s father, 53-year-old Carlos Pena, outside a family lounge at Citi Field. The 28-year-old reliever was arrested and charged with third-degree assault and second-degree harassment following the fight. Rodriguez had surgery to repair the self-inflicted injury and is expected to miss the rest of the season.

The Mets took action against Rodriguez because of conduct in violation of the Uniform Player’s Contract. The Uniform Player Contract in baseball is the baseline contract. All player contracts contain the terms in the UPC and then the teams and players are free to negotiate additional terms.

In a nutshell, by converting the contract to a non-guaranteed deal, it would have been open to the Mets to cut K-Rod if he wasn't ready to pitch next spring. They would, however, have had to provide him with termination pay (a few million).

As a separate issue, the Mets had not ruled out trying to void K-Rod's contract. If successful, the Mets would have been able to walk away without paying the closer anything.

K-Rod and the Union were headed to arbitration this week to challenge the Mets on disqualification and the conversion of the contract.

History favours the players and for this reason settlement was not a suprise. It can be very tough for teams to get out of contracts without having to pay out a significant amount of a contract. Therefore, arguably the Mets were facing an uphill battle on this one.

Please read the following column for a review of past cases and why this was a tough case: Francisco Rodriguez: Understanding The Grievance.

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