Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Do The "Right" Thing

Mike Vaccaro has some, um, interesting suggestions as to what the Mets should do in the wake of the injury that Francisco Rodriguez "almost certainly" sustained when he assaulted the grandfather of his children last week:
So K-Rod is kaput for now, and now the Mets must prove they have the intestinal fortitude for more. If ever there was a situation that screamed for a baseball club to do the right thing, to send an unbending message, it is now.

First, they have to fight to void that portion of the contract that will coincide with his time away from the team. That means the rest of this year, at a minimum.

And then they have to rid themselves of the headache for good. If that means exiling Rodriguez in the offseason — a move that would almost certainly entail them having to eat most of his remaining deal — that’s fine. If that means going after the balance of the contract in what would be a precedent-setting move the commissioner’s office would probably rather them not fight — even better.
Obviously, the Mets are going to do what they can to void this year's portion of the contract, because I'm pretty sure that if Aaron Boone tearing his knee apart playing basketball negates his deal with the Yankees, injuries sustained while punching someone in the face (if they can prove that) would do the trick for K-Rod.

But is Vaccarro really suggesting that the Mets should eat Rodriguez's 2011 salary of $11.5M and a buyout of $3.5M in order to "do the right thing" and "send an unbending message"? What message would that be and who would it be directed towards, exactly? That would be a pretty damn expensive statement to make. It would be way cheaper to just take out a full page ad in every newspaper in New York.

The bottom line is that, in the world of guaranteed contracts, getting "fired" doesn't really mean anything, because you still get paid, so the intended message wouldn't even be reaching the person at the center of this whole embarrassing episode: K-Rod. The deal he signed with the Mets before the 2009 season was worth $37M. Although we are desensitized to those kinds of numbers because of the megadeals that other guys sign, that is still generational wealth.

If Rodriguez never gets another dime or playing baseball after this, he is still set for life. However, even if the Mets send the sort of bullshit "message" that Vaccaro is talking about, some other team is invariably going to give him a shot because he can get Major League hitters out. That's how sports work. It's not about morality, it's about winning (and the money).