Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Mets have handled K-Rod correctly

Here's my take on the developing K-Rod saga...

First a few facts (and I know that I'm leaving out the word allegedly)...
  • Last Wednesday after the game, in view of some players/families/children, he punched his father-in-law (or the father or his fiance or the father of his girlfriend, I'm not really sure what their relationship is). The man was removed via ambulance and K-Rod was held in custody at Citi Field until his arraignment the next day. I don't actually know how he pleaded. A court date is scheduled for September 14 (about 4 weeks later).
  • The Mets suspended him for 2 games, without pay, allowing time for the legal matters to sort out and allowing the Mets to replace him on the roster.
  • He returned to the club and clubhouse on Saturday, and was brought in to pitch the 9th with the Mets losing.
  • He complained of a problem in his thumb on Sunday and was examined on Monday. It turns out that he tore a ligament in his pitching/punching hand during the altercation. Surgery was recommended, and given the time to recover and where the Mets were in the season, it meant he would be out for the season.
  • K-Rod had the surgery on Tuesday.
  • On Tuesday, the Mets also placed K-Rod on the Disqualified List, where he will not receive pay or MLB service time until he is reinstated.
  • Word on the street is that the Mets are going to try to void or renegotiate the remainder of K-Rod's contract with the Mets because of this (which I'll get into my thoughts on it in a bit) and that the MLB Players Association will try to contest some of this (which I will also blast later).

For the most part, I actually think that the Mets have handled this correctly, save for Jerry Manuel not realizing that K-Rod would be inactive on the day in which he appeared in court, and for Omar to say anything.

You're looking at a couple of things. First, there is an unsettled legal matter. Second, there is an injury directly related to this incident (a claim which nobody has disputed). The injury is probably evidence, which makes it harder to defend K-Rod in the legal sense. Some of what will eventually happen with K-Rod will depend on how things go in court.

The Mets have every right to a) not pay him for time missed this season and b) renegotiate his contract after he is allowed to return. First off, it is hard to punish him for more than the 2 games from last week for being arrested. He did need time to get legal matters sorted out, and it's very justified that K-Rod could be suspended while that took place. After the trial, when the verdict is handed down, the Mets could act much more swiftly.

Now throw in the injury. K-Rod has made himself physically unable to play due to what's essentially committing a crime against another person. The result of the injury is that he won't be able to pitch again this season. In a way, the Mets catch a break with this because it means removing the distractions by fans and media that would have been caused by having him active with all this crap pending. Based on this, there is no reason why K-Rod should be paid for the time spent on the DL since it was a non-baseball (and illegal) activity that resulted in his inability to play. And I really don't see what the MLBPA could do about it without coming off looking like they condone his behavior.

As for the I said earlier, some of it will depend on the outcome of the legal case against him. But something like this could take a mental toll on a person (aren't all players people?). He could come back from the injury and not be himself. He could go to prison for a period of time (and I guess if that happened, and dragged into next season, he wouldn't be reinstated until he is a free man). All of these are very just reasons why the Mets can and should either void or renegotiate his contract for next season (and why they shouldn't say anything else about his status for next season). Would you want the financial commitment to a player who can no longer perform his job after an injury sustained while committing a possible crime? I'm sure that the Mets wouldn't (and this isn't a knock at them being cheap for once), and they should do everything in their power to get out of such a situation.

A number of fans have been saying that they want the Mets to get rid of Oliver Perez and/or Luis Castillo (among others), crying that they can get rid of K-Rod. The two things are entirely different matters. If Ollie Perez broke a knee cap stealing a car next week, then we can talk about him.

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