These Questions Are Easier Than They Seem

Nothing makes simple questions needlessly complex more quickly than a lot of people needing to fill a lot of time and space. So. Let’s knock these off quickly.

Can The Yankees Void Alex Rodriguez’s Contract?

Highly unlikely. When Rodriguez admitted to past PED use four years ago, the team had a window in which it could’ve claimed he had misled them so seriously that it amounted to fraud or more likely breach of contract. It could’ve cut off his paycheck and invited him – or the Players’ Association – to sue them.

But Rodriguez could’ve just as easily responded by saying ‘thanks.’ He was coming off a 35/103/.302/.392/.573 season, the ever-willingly gullible fan base bought his line about having merely “experimented” and stopped years before, and he would’ve found somebody to pay him – and maybe even pay him more.  The Yankees still had dreams of making additional tens of millions in marketing money as Alex Rodriguez – the clean home run hitter – expunged Barry Bonds from the record book. They didn’t want to fire him.

One of the problems with breach of contract is that if you feel you’re the victim of it, if you don’t respond legally, you are – in a passive-aggressive fashion – forgiving whatever action you think constituted the possible breach. The time frame before your window to try to void a contract expires is not set in stone, but it sure as heck is less than four years.

But Isn’t The New Allegation A Whole Different Breach?

It sure would be – if Rodriguez admitted it. But he’s denying it, outright. Unless there’s another positive test out there, there isn’t a fraud/breach way out of his contract.

By the way, no, I’m not a lawyer. Don’t ask me why I’m so familiar with this topic right now. Trust me, I just am.

So Couldn’t The Yankees Buy Him Out Of His Contract?

There are several variations, but the best estimate is that the Yankees owe Rodriguez another $114,000,000. Exactly what would your motivation be to accept something less?

If he retires, he gets less. If he has to retire because of injury, the Yankees can put in a claim on their insurance on the contract. But if he keeps showing up to work, either willing to play or trying to rehabilitate himself, the club owes him the full amount.

Ask Don Gullett. The Yankees signed him the same winter they signed Reggie Jackson. Everybody knew he had a risky delivery and a cranky arm, but they still gave him a six-year contract. He pitched exactly 30 times for them, the last game coming in July, 1978. He was still showing up at Yankee Stadium and throwing stiffly on the sidelines as late as the summer of 1980. He was a non-roster invitee in 1981. His endless arm miseries produced one of the great jokes in the history of television sportscasting. Deep into one winter, Jerry Girard of WPIX-TV in New York interrupted reading the NBA scoreboard and announced there was breaking news. “This just in,” he said as the director killed the graphics of the scores and put him on camera. “There has been a Don Gullett sighting!”

Why On Earth Did The Diamondbacks Trade Justin Upton?

This is the revised version of the question “Why On Earth Would The Diamondbacks Trade Justin Upton?” The two questions have been asked 47,552 times* this off-season on radio, tv, and the internet.

Answer: In what is now a five-and-a-half season sample size, Justin Upton is a career .250 hitter with a .325 on base percentage and a .406 slug, and an average of 18 homers and 63 RBI. That’s what he’s done lifetime away from Phoenix (the homers and RBI are normalized to a 162-game season). He drove in exactly 20 runs on the road last year.

He is a supremely talented prospect who has thus far shown he doesn’t travel well.

The Braves can take some hope from the fact that sometimes disastrous home-road splits are not entirely-park related but at least somewhat comfort-related. If he’s just as good at home in Atlanta as he was in Arizona, the trade won’t be a disaster (and he still won’t be a superstar). They can still also be optimistic about a smaller sample: 1/8/.293/.388/.483 – in 58 career at bats in Atlanta.

*-I made that number up.

Why Hasn’t Michael Bourn Signed Yet?

He hit .238 after July 1st of last year.

That’s why you trade for Ben Revere instead.

Which Hall Of Famer Is This?

From The Baseball Hall Of Fame Photo Archive

From The Baseball Hall Of Fame Photo Archive

This one is not easier than it seems. HOF President Jeff Idelson tweeted that shot out today, with this enticing hint:

This brilliant lefty’s pickoff move was deemed great by Earl Weaver. He’s in the HOF, but not as a player. Who is he?

An additional hint was later provided – that he was on USC’s national college champs of 1958.

The photo provides an approximate date. That thing at the top left is the famed curved roof of the Orioles’ old spring training home, Miami Stadium, and the bagginess of the uniform suggests 1960 or 1961 at the latest.

Since Jeff has already tweeted the answer, I’m going to give it again, below. It ain’t Steve Dalkowski and it ain’t Frank Bertaina.




This brilliant lefty is Hall of Fame executive Pat Gillick



  1. John Halloran

    KO, why can’t we get over this PED thing. Personally, I’m sick of hearing it. I pulled a local minor league player aside and asked, “what is the deal”? He explained to me that HGH was $3,500 a month and only the bonus babies could afford it. I just wish that it could be accepted, administered by a Doctor and we all get over this. It is progress in science. Who is doing it? Do the math and look around. A Joke!

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  3. Mary Caruso

    A contract is a binding agreement between two parties who have basically written out what they agree are the terms from each side. If one party breaks any part of that contract it is rendered null. The injured party could then seek recovery. That’s all I got out of contracts in business law class. I’m sure you are better versed in it than me.
    This situation with A-Rod depends largely on what the Yankees high priced lawyers and A-Rods reps agreed to put into the contract. I don’t hear anything about an escape clause. Until the Yankees figure out how to lessen the pay blow-back, they’re stuck. Stuck like paper and glue. I think they hope A-Rod will come back and pretend to play, but only use him for promotional efforts. They can’t unload him now.
    Until this issue with PEDs is resolved and made to ‘disappear’, it is going to cloud the game for the next ‘ump-teen’ years (pun intended). I believe these players were led down a false garden path by their trainers and doctors, only to pump pills, lotions, and potions supplied by the drug cartel known as big pharma. So who really is at fault? Players feel the pressure of remaining relevant so they resort to artificial means. It’s the money and the exorbitant salaries that drive these guys. The exposure to these drugs has to be restricted more diligently. Unfortunately this is not going away any time soon.
    Great blog post. Like the way we can keep current on trades and issues.

    • Juan

      “I think they hope A-Rod will come back and pretend to play, but only use him for promotional efforts.”
      Not even this. A-Roid’s reputation is burnt to a crisp and the Yankees know it. Last week, even the MLB Network framed the retrospective narrative in ways they have NEVER done before, such as “Rodriguez became Public Enemy #1 after signing with the Texas Rangers in 2001 for $20 million a year…” That tone is new and it took me by surprise.
      But as KO pointed out with more elegance and style than me, those zany Steinbrenner kids had a huge part in manufacturing this colossal s**t sandwich with onions, and they’re gonna have to take a big ol’ bite.

  4. Phil Perspective

    Maybe the MLB Network will let him broadcast games this year? I know they usually just pull one of the team’s feeds, but I do know they’ve let Costas broadcast a game or two(probably Yankees/Red Sox).

  5. JBOY

    “$114,000,000. Exactly what would your motivation be to accept something less? ” ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Well Keith, unlike you and Alex Rodriguez, there are people in America who can look in the mirror and say “you know what…. I suck at this, and it’s probably time to find a real job”, or in the case of you two azzoles, it should have been time to completely walk away a long time ago and just use up that money you swindeled the Yankees, or Rangers, or ESPN, or MSNBC out of.

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