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.


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7 Comments on “Alex Rodriguez and Yankees on a Mini-Collision Course”

  1. kabeiser Says:

    I remember when Boras and Arod opted out and there was nobody interested in Arod at his asking price yet the Yankees gave Arod and Boras everything they wanted. Arod and the Yankees deserve each other.

  2. Burly Says:

    ARod was coming off his second MVP Award in his four years in pinstripes. The Yankees felt they had to retain him, and they did win the World Series with ARod in 2009. It was just the fact that deal was so incredibly large that it was almost certain the Yankees would be unhappy during the last few seasons of the contract even if Rodriguez had not been caught using steroids again.

    • kabeiser Says:

      None of that changes that there was nobody else that was going to give him anywhere close to that amount of money. Despite how great ARod was at the time there was no market for him at the amount that Boras wanted.

      • Burly Says:

        It certainly seemed that way at the time, but Boras also got the Rangers to start the whole process with a deal that had to be far more than what any other team had offered. Boras can really squeeze money out of the wealthiest teams when he’s got the goods to offer, and I think Boras saw that ARod had a lot more value to the Yankees than any other team, given revenue streams available to the Yankees if ARod had brought them one or two more World Series wins than he ultimately did.

      • kabeiser Says:

        That still doesn’t mean that you just give in to the contract demands. Nobody was going to pay Arod 200M that offseason (and probably a lot less than that). It was a bad business decision not to hold out against Boras and ARod. They weren’t going to sign a 175M (WAG) deal with another team because the Yankees didn’t meet their 275M (plus incentives) deal.

      • Burly Says:

        This has been the Yankees’ M.O. in the ARod years: pay the players they really want way more than anyone else will so there is absolutely no chance they will sign with someone else. I’ve written before that this was a mistake, and the chickens certainly came home to roost last year. We’ll have to wait to see what happens this year, but the team certainly doesn’t look particularly good on paper.

  3. Burly Says:

    In a complicated deal in which more than half of the bonus went to charity and ARod got the ball he hit for No. 3,000, Rodriguez and the Yankees settled the grievance over the $6M bonus for home run number 660. My guess is that Rodriguez’s team decided that a deal giving several million to charity was worth it to try to rehabilitate his image, and might make it more likely that the Yanks won’t contest his $6M per bonuses for Nos. 714, 755, 762 and 763, at least the first of which now looks like a reasonable possibility given the way he’s performed so far in 2015.

    Frankly, it all strikes me as pretty cynical, but since $3.5 million is going to charity, it isn’t entirely bad even if at the end of the day, the deal saves the Yankees all but $500,000 they had contracted to pay Rodriguez. In cases like these, the parties rely heavily on baseball fans’ collective short memories and what-have-you-done-for-me-lately mentalities.

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