Jump to content

alwaysthrowheat

The Trade Deadline

Recommended Posts

(Folks, sorry in advance this is so long, I've been looking at K-Rod's contract issues for a few months now and here's how I score it...)

sagnam;

I agree Axford is a good reliever, I'm just looking at it from a contractual/legal angle. Most professional sports contracts are strictly personal service contracts. You make your services exclusively available to one team and you get a check for a contracted length of time. Some times there are performance based bonuses but teams are obliged to give the player the opportunity to reach that bonus or else it could constitute a breach of the contract by the team.

K-Rod was the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim closer, he was induced to sign a contract in 2009 as a free agent to bind his personal services to the Mets that included the vesting of a $17.5M option year if he met certain criteria consistent with being a closing pitcher. It's safe to say that if the Mets did not intend to let K-Rod close out games, then the vesting option would have been worthless to K-Rod. This inducement by the Mets as memorialized in the contract clearly resulted in K-Rod signing his services exclusively to the Mets. K-Rod relied upon the inducement of the vesting option in his decision to sign the contract.

When a major league team makes a trade and receives the traded player, the new team also assumes the original contract with all of the dreaded terms and conditions. A new team is not free to modify or change the terms of the contract without the player consent. K-Rod signed a contract with the Mets to be the Met's closer and K-Rod stands to gain a substantial vesting option should he meet the vesting requirements that he would meet as a closer. The Brewers have an obligation to provide K-Rod the same opportunity to meet his vesting option that he would have had with the Mets or else it could be a breach of contract on behalf of the Brewers.

The Brewers basically have 3 options;

1) Buy K-Rod out, say to him "Ok, we want to re-do your contract, how much money will it take to redo your contract to take out the vesting option?"

2) Take there chances and play him as a closer (either he gets it or does not legitimately)

3) Try and screw K-Rod by making him the Brewers "Closer for Tuesday afternoon games where the Brewers are leading by 6 runs or more" guy.

If the Brewers try and screw him and a lawsuit occurs, two things come into play that makes 2012 for K-Rod very interesting. In contract law, there are two basic conditions with a breach of contract action- no punitive damages are usually awarded (your actual damages are typically all you can get) and the concept of cover- if you benefit from the other parties breach of a contract, that benefit you received is offset against the damages you incurred from the breech. Why do I mention this? Because if the Brewers try and screw him, the damages may just be limited to the $17.5M for that option year. AND, if K-Rod signs a contract with another team (for say $12M for 2012 for the sake of argument) then K-Rod's actual damages from the Brewer's breach of contract would only be the difference of say $5.5M. That would be about all K-Rod could get in terms of actual damages from the Brewers.

Now here's where it get's fun. Suppose the Brewers are thinking, let's screw K-Rod and get our check book handy to write him a check for a few million to cover breach of contract claim that would occur from the breach (again the difference between the 2012 $17.5M option and K-Rod's new teams salary for 2012). A creative and smart agent (say Scott Boras for example- K-Rod's new agent) would look to sign K-Rod to a multi-year deal for a ton of money. Say 3 years for a total of $36M (an average of $12M per year). Here's where inventiveness comes in. Suppose K-Rod signs a deal in which he gets paid $500k for 2012 for his new team and $18.25M for the years of 2013 and a further $18.25M 2014. K-Rod's damages for the 2012 season now against the Brewers could be $17M dollars AND he'll be playing for another team that year!!!

This K-Rod contract thing can get fun!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As long as Axford is healthy and effective, any grievance filed would be beyond laughable.

Let's suppose you had a contract with Nokia to manufacture 10 copy machines for $17.5M for 2012. Now lets pretend Nokia was bought out by IBM and IBM assumed all of Nokia's contracts. I'm sure it would be laughable to you when IBM calls you into a meeting to tell you they are already paying someone to make copy machines for 2012 and they will not let you make 10 machines so you can earn your $17.5M....

I'm sure you'd probably find your situation beyond laughable too....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Let's suppose you had a contract with Nokia to manufacture 10 copy machines for $17.5M for 2012. Now lets pretend Nokia was bought out by IBM and IBM assumed all of Nokia's contracts. I'm sure it would be laughable to you when IBM calls you into a meeting to tell you they are already paying someone to make copy machines for 2012 and they will not let you make 10 machines so you can earn your $17.5M....

I'm sure you'd probably find your situation beyond laughable too....

That is seriously one of the worst analogies I have ever seen, so get that **** out of here. K-rod's contract does not say "K-Rod is a closer and he is being paid to close games." His contract specifies that he is to play baseball for the team that controls his contract. So long as the team does not prevent him from reaching the option OUT OF BAD FAITH, it is perfectly legal.

Do you have any idea what kind of precedent that would set if a court ruled in favor of K-rod? No player with an option could ever be benched or moved no matter what. Got a PA vesting option? You get to start every day because you were signed as a starting player, even if your skills have eroded to the point that you are the worst player on the team and are otherwise wholly undeserving of playing time. That is what your argument is saying.

Edited by The Truman Show

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unless the contract specifically states he must be the closer, ie. that he must finish games he appears in, then everything you stated is moot. By not negotiating a full no trade clause, he chose to leave the vesting option at risk by trade to a team with an equal or better player in the role required to trigger the option.

He would have a good chance at a grievance if the team he plays for does something that can be argued was only done to avoid the option. That is not the case here. They already have a guy who's job is to finish games and it's reasonable to say that guy is as good or better at that job than Rodriguez is today.

They can file a grievance if they choose. They will lose. If he wanted protection from being traded to a team with better closer options, then he should have negotiated a full no trade clause. If on the remote chance the Brewers happened to be on the limited no trade list he did have, then he waived the clause knowing the situation. Either way, he won't win.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As long as Axford is healthy and effective, any grievance filed would be beyond laughable.

I don't get the Beltran stuff. Sure he's probably better than Maggs, but the last thing the Tigers need is another OF. What, is Maggs going to shift to DH, Martinez to 1st/C and Cabrera/Avila to 3rd? Not likely.

I agree that it means we just pissed away the money we gave Ordonez....but heck, we've already done that with Inge too.

Might as well upgrade and cut our losses at the end of the season (at least with Ordonez). Sadly, we're stuck with Inge for another year unless he does the honorable thing.

The main thing is....even if we get Beltran we still need to upgrade at 5th spot in rotation and either 2B or 3B. My guess is they are banking on Guillen for 2B or Raburn to heat up if not Guillen.

I'd rather get Beltran, a lower end rotation guy, and a 3B (but who is out there - Betemit, Blake, A. Ramirez?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But why would we even bail on Ordonez? He's looked pretty solid at the plate in his time off the DL. Beltran's definitely a better player, but it's not by all that much. If they're going to be opening the purse to eat some money, Aramis Ramirez is a much better target, because he'd be replacing a sub-replacement player.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe we send Maggs in the deal? Gives the Mets a bat back to help them compete day to day and evens out the salary burden a bit. Obviously not a straight trade, but maybe if we threw in Casper Wells and a pitching prospect or something like that. I'm not saying they'd love to take MAggs, but if we tell them its the only way we can do it and we take the most salary, it could work

Doesn't Ramirez have a huge trade kicker? I'd liek him in the lineup, but IDK about that kind of commitment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But why would we even bail on Ordonez? He's looked pretty solid at the plate in his time off the DL. Beltran's definitely a better player, but it's not by all that much. If they're going to be opening the purse to eat some money, Aramis Ramirez is a much better target, because he'd be replacing a sub-replacement player.

I agree with you that Ordonez seems to be coming around pretty well. I like Beltran but he is NOT what is most needed right now.......

I suspect these writers are about a week to 10 days behind because they don't watch the Tigers every night and they haven't perhaps seen what we've seen with respect to Ordonez.

We need a third baseman and another starter.

We might need a second baseman. I'm not jumping on Raburn's bandwagon yet just because he's looked a little better the last 10 or so days. I'd love it if Guillen came back, stayed healthy, and produced.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thinking about the post further, I don't know why you would consider K-rod's deal a personal service contract. It's pretty clearly an employment contract. K-rod is contracted to work for his team, not perform a specific tangible obligation. If I'm contracted to build 10 copy machines, then that's the contract and the only relationship is my building those machines and getting paid. Their refusal to honor the deal is in breach. K-rod is not contracted to finish 100 games in two seasons. He's contracted to play baseball for the Milwaukee Brewers. All of the governing rules are from employment and labor law, which is why there's a union, collective-bargaining, all that. I don't believe people contracted for a specific personal service have the right to collectively bargain. In employment law, the employee has to show bad faith to sue. There's no bad faith in making K-rod set up Axford, who is a better pitcher by plenty of objective standards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Maybe we send Maggs in the deal? Gives the Mets a bat back to help them compete day to day and evens out the salary burden a bit. Obviously not a straight trade, but maybe if we threw in Casper Wells and a pitching prospect or something like that. I'm not saying they'd love to take MAggs, but if we tell them its the only way we can do it and we take the most salary, it could work

Doesn't Ramirez have a huge trade kicker? I'd liek him in the lineup, but IDK about that kind of commitment.

I think he can refuse certain teams but I could be wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Doesn't Ramirez have a huge trade kicker? I'd liek him in the lineup, but IDK about that kind of commitment.

Ramirez has a $16 mil player option for next season that becomes guaranteed in event of a trade. It would be steep, and it would make current 2012 payroll obligations exceed current 2011 payroll obligations, so it couldn't happen unless the Cubs kicked in some cash or Ilitch approved a larger budget.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ramirez has a $16 mil player option for next season that becomes guaranteed in event of a trade. It would be steep, and it would make current 2012 payroll obligations exceed current 2011 payroll obligations, so it couldn't happen unless the Cubs kicked in some cash or Ilitch approved a larger budget.

That would mean the 2012 Tigers would basically spend $22m on 3b ($16m + $5.5m for Inge + $0.5m for Inge's 2013 buyout); that's not going to happen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Brewers have an obligation to provide K-Rod the same opportunity to meet his vesting option that he would have had with the Mets or else it could be a breach of contract on behalf of the Brewers.

This statement is just not correct on any legal, logical, moral or ethical level.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That would mean the 2012 Tigers would basically spend $22m on 3b ($16m + $5.5m for Inge + $0.5m for Inge's 2013 buyout); that's not going to happen

In 2009 they spent that much money on DH (13 mil for Sheff, 13 mil for Guillen).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But why would we even bail on Ordonez? He's looked pretty solid at the plate in his time off the DL. Beltran's definitely a better player, but it's not by all that much. If they're going to be opening the purse to eat some money, Aramis Ramirez is a much better target, because he'd be replacing a sub-replacement player.

Agree with this. I'm not sure Beltran improves us enough to trade the prospects and/or take on the salary. Of course, if Boesch falls off a cliff again, or Magglio re-injures himself (both possibilities), we'll all wish we had Beltran.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That is seriously one of the worst analogies I have ever seen, so get that **** out of here. K-rod's contract does not say "K-Rod is a closer and he is being paid to close games."

First, it is a perfect analogy because it is accurate and secondly like in my example, just because a guy at IBM “may” make a better copier than you does NOT mean IBM can just ignore the contract they have with you.

In fairness, the condition is "games finished" not saves. A relief pitcher is credited with a game finished (denoted by GF) if he is the last pitcher to pitch for his team in a game. A starting pitcher is not credited with a GF for pitching a complete game. Thus Axford can still be the "closer" but the Brewers must still give opportunities to K-Rod to finish games to achieve his option or else they would be breaching the contract they have with him.

Do you have any idea what kind of precedent that would set if a court ruled in favor of K-rod?
Do you have any idea what kind of precedent that would set if the courts DID NOT rule in favor of K-Rod? It would be open season on performance based contracts. Is Maggs gets a $10M vesting option for 2011 if he gets 500 AB's, shoot! Let him get 400 AB's then trade him to the Cardinals who already have 3 outfielders- then bench him, problem solved. Phil Coke gets a bonus based on getting 20 or 30 holds per year, heck, lets let him get 19 holds for the Tigers then trade him to the Nationals so they can then insert him into the starting rotation. Preventing someone from being able to complete the terms of a contract IS bad faith and IS a breach of the contract.

You get to start every day because you were signed as a starting player, even if your skills have eroded to the point that you are the worst player on the team and are otherwise wholly undeserving of playing time. That is what your argument is saying.

I can see your argument if K-Rod was some burned out hack like Inge- but he's not. K-Rods been in 597 games throwing over 619 innings and saving games for 10 years and has 291 saves to his name. John Axford has 3 years 99 games and 107 innings pitched and 48 saves. K-Rods post season relief appearances include 31.2 innings pitched, 27 hits, 11ER's, 14 Walks and 41 K's over that 31.2 innings. I'd like to compare Axford's experience in the post season but Axford DOESN'T HAVE ANY....

Edited by STLTiger69

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There's no bad faith in making K-rod set up Axford, who is a better pitcher by plenty of objective standards.

I'm sure your totally right on this.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
First, it is a perfect analogy because it is accurate and secondly like in my example, just because a guy at IBM “may” make a better copier than you does NOT mean IBM can just ignore the contract they have with you.

No it's not. Personal service contracts and employment contracts are not the same. In your example, IBM cannot ignore the contract. In the real case, Milwaukee is not ignoring anything, because....

In fairness, the condition is "games finished" not saves. A relief pitcher is credited with a game finished (denoted by GF) if he is the last pitcher to pitch for his team in a game. A starting pitcher is not credited with a GF for pitching a complete game. Thus Axford can still be the "closer" but the Brewers must still give opportunities to K-Rod to finish games to achieve his option or else they would be breaching the contract they have with him.

Finishing games is not a term of the contract. It is a performance bonus. You can come up with all sorts of other BS, but that doesn't change the fact that there is no part of the contract that stipulates that K-rod has to close. You are inferring a term of employment based on a clause intended to be a performance bonus. That is not legally valid. The Brewers are only obligated to employ him on a good faith basis, nothing more.

Do you have any idea what kind of precedent that would set if the courts DID NOT rule in favor of K-Rod? It would be open season on performance based contracts. Is Maggs gets a $10M vesting option for 2011 if he gets 500 AB's, shoot! Let him get 400 AB's then trade him to the Cardinals who already have 3 outfielders- the bench him, problem solved. Phil Coke gets a bonus based on getting 20 or 30 holds per year, heck, lets let him get 19 holds for the Tigers then trade him to the Nationals so they can then insert him into the starting rotation. Preventing someone from being able to complete the terms of a contract IS bad faith and IS a breach of the contract.

No it wouldn't because everything you just listed implied bad faith. There's no bad faith in the K-rod instance because it is a very reasonable strategic decision for the Brewers to keep Axford as a closer. It is not a breach of contract because, once again, K-rod being allowed to finish games is not a term of the contract. You are implying it as a term based on a performance bonus, and that is improper, especially given the intense negotiation and structure of a MLB player contract. If you think a judge is going to let a player infer terms that are not expressly written in a contract like this, you are out of your mind.

I can see your argument if K-Rod was some burned out hack like Inge- but he's not. K-Rods been in 597 games throwing over 619 innings and saving games for 10 years and has 291 saves to his name. John Axford has 3 years 99 games and 107 innings pitched and 48 saves. K-Rods post season relief appearances include 31.2 innings pitched, 27 hits, 11ER's, 14 Walks and 41 K's over that 31.2 innings. I'd like to compare Axford's experience in the post season but Axford DOESN'T HAVE ANY....

This has nothing to do with anything. All that matters is that the Brewers have a reasonable and legitimate baseball reason for preferring Axford in the closer role. They have tons of reasons. Coming up with reasons why K-Rod might be a better option does not establish bad faith.

I really hate to do things like this, but I have to make it an issue at this point: what is your experience with contract law? Are you a lawyer? Because I'm halfway through a law degree and taking a curriculum that is pretty much entirely business and labor law related. I have a pretty good handle on this ****, and what you're saying runs completely counter to that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm sure your totally right on this.....

2011 numbers:

John Axford: 41.1 IP, 11.54 k/9 rate, 0.44 hr/9 rate, 52.3% GB rate, 2.83 ERA, 2.26 FIP, 2.53 xFIP.

K-rod: 42.2 IP, 9.70 k/9 rate, 0.63 hr/9 rate, 51.7% GB rate, 3.16 ERA, 2.98 FIP, 3.19 xFIP

That's a lot of objective measures where Axford has the edge. Just because you can construct an argument to prefer K-Rod doesn't make the pro-Axford argument unreasonable. For there to be bad faith, the pro-Axford argument has to be completely unreasonable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My thing is pitching. I personally would like a GOOD #2 to go with Verlander and Scherzer or maybe a REAL solid #3. So to make a deal they have to be better than Porcello, Penny and Furbush/Coke/<insert name of possible 5th here>

I am going on the assumption that Guillen will be back SOON. So he takes care of my 2b worries for the moment.

I am also assuming that either Inge will get out of this HORRID slump and do SOMETHING to help the team going forward and if not then I will take Kelly for now. The offense has been good enough IMO.

I will not be upset with them deciding they need to upgrade 3b, but for right here and right now I think 2b is set for the rest of the year.

According to MLB Rumors.Com:

Potentially Available Starting Pitchers: MLB Rumors - MLBTradeRumors.com

There are about 24 potential starting pitchers available this year at the deadline (which is only 18 days away) I am taking ALL the pitchers on that list that are in the Central out which leaves 18 pitchers left.

pitchermlbtradedeadline.png

Porcello right now would be our 3 IMO so who out of the list below is significantly better than Porcello?

• R.A. Dickey

Better, but I am not sure if he is significantly better. Knuckleballer right?

3.61 ERA

1.32 WHIP

• Paul Maholm

This might be nice if we could get him.

2.96 ERA

1.18 WHIP

• Aaron Harang

Better numbers this year than his career.

3.45 ERA

1.28 WHIP

• Hiroki Kuroda

Yes please. Even though he is old he would help this year which at this poitn is all I am taking into consideration.

3.06 ERA

1.22 WHIP

• Erik Bedard

Currently on the DL, but..

3.00 ERA

1.11 WHIP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't get the Beltran stuff. Sure he's probably better than Maggs, but the last thing the Tigers need is another OF. What, is Maggs going to shift to DH, Martinez to 1st/C and Cabrera/Avila to 3rd? Not likely.

Well, Beltran instantly becomes our best OF, and I'm not sure how that is not a need. And I don't think anyone would mind demoting Dirks or Wells for the likes of Beltran (nor would it shock me if we had to return an OF to the Mets).

As far as positions, I think you have enough PT for Beltran, Boesch, and Maggs between LF/RF and some DH AB's against LHP. I don't see a need to shift everyone around. And I doubt the Tigers would consider it if they felt they needed to move everyone to a new position.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thinking about the post further, I don't know why you would consider K-rod's deal a personal service contract. It's pretty clearly an employment contract. K-rod is contracted to work for his team, not perform a specific tangible obligation. If I'm contracted to build 10 copy machines, then that's the contract and the only relationship is my building those machines and getting paid. Their refusal to honor the deal is in breach. K-rod is not contracted to finish 100 games in two seasons. He's contracted to play baseball for the Milwaukee Brewers. All of the governing rules are from employment and labor law, which is why there's a union, collective-bargaining, all that. I don't believe people contracted for a specific personal service have the right to collectively bargain. In employment law, the employee has to show bad faith to sue. There's no bad faith in making K-rod set up Axford, who is a better pitcher by plenty of objective standards.

A tip of the cap to you, I think your response is well thought out. The only thing I have to add is that K-Rod is still providing a contracted benefit (100 games finished) to his team just like in my example if IBM had a contract with you to provide copiers. Just because IBM suddenly says, "we don't need your copiers" doesn't excuse there non-payment in the same way that the contracting team can't say, "Hey, we don't need you to finish 100 games now- sucks to be you, were not going to pay you now". His is contracted too be a team employee (you are correct in that) WITH a further provision to compensate him further for his efforts to finish 100 games for the team. If the team refuses to give a player the chance to obtain any such performance option- what remedy would you feel should be available to the player?

And you do raise a very valid point about the players performance (specifically a lack of performance) with regards to playing time. Last year for instance, when Maggs was not hitting period, there was a very legitimate question about how much more playing time are teams contractually obligated to give to a player wanting 500 at bats vs a teams interest in not letting a .200 BA player have 500 at bats so they can win games. And frankly, this question has never really been answered. I'm not trying to beat you up about Axford, he's a good deserving closer too, I just think K-Rod would have the best argument in this sort of breach of contract case where Maggs would not have had last year if he didn't break his leg. (As I think you were trying to make reference too).

Good points all around folks, thanks everyone!

(PS: Sorry folks too, I didn't think there would be much to do about K-Rod or else I would have started a seperate thread- thank all for your patience)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Member of the Missouri Bar since 1997 and I wish you the best of luck in your law career and good luck on the bar exam when you get there.

Edited by STLTiger69

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


Motown Sports Blog



×
×
  • Create New...