Alex Rodriguez and Yankees on a Mini-Collision Course
This article in the New York Times says that now that ARod has hit his first HR upon his return, the Yankees are confirming they will absolutely not pay him the $6 million bonus he was supposed to get for home run #660, which is now only five away. That means a challenge from the Players’ Association, since it will fight a lot harder for the principle that player compensation can’t be taken away beyond the period of suspension, than they did on the question of whether Rodriguez took steroids.
From what I know of the facts, it sounds like the Players’ Association has the better case by far, since it’s a pretty straightforward argument that the $6 million bonus is compensation regardless of what unknown event might occur at some unspecified time in the future. MLB says that the bonus was for marketing based on ARod’s big dinger.
Obviously, it will come down to the specific language of the ARod/Yankees contract and whether it contains any language reasonably susceptible to an interpretation that bad behavior by ARod could terminate the bonus. Since I don’t know the actual terms of their contract, I can’t say with certainty.
However, I find it hard to believe that Scott Boras would have left such language in the contract, particularly when he was holding most of the cards in the negotiations, since the Yankees thought they might really make more than the bonuses and the whole contract if things had gone right for them.
At any rate, as the Times article suggests, the parties are likely to settle the matter short of an arbitration hearing. I would expect a settlement where ARod accepts $4-5 million, in order to avoid all risk that he gets an arbitrator who still thinks ARod should be punished.