For those of us hoping for an ultimate failure in Barry Bonds’s deal, our dreams have stayed alive for at least one more day. Monday, the situation looked grave, with Bonds in San Francisco to take his physical prior to contract signing. Late Tuesday/early Wednesday, the situation became slightly more optimistic, with the commissioner’s office rejecting the deal. Still, one had to assume it would be done within the next few days.
This morning, Bonds’s agent, Jeff Borris, announced that Bonds will not sign the revised contract. While I love the sound of that, it may be a non-issue:
After several disputes, lawyers for the union and the commissioner’s office agreed last fall that no additional appearance provisions would be accepted in future player contracts. It was not yet clear Wednesday whether Bonds must sign a new contract or whether the one he already signed would be accepted with the troublesome language eliminated.
It makes sense, then, that if Bonds doesn’t sign a new contract, MLB will take the latter action described in the above paragraph. Then again, the MLBPA would certainly file a grievance given that situation — they’d file a grievance if the contract gave Barry a paper cut.
The language regarding termination in the case of indictment also came to light this morning:
Player acknowledges and agrees that an indictment for any criminal act under (that section) … is proper grounds for termination of this contract.
Player also acknowledges and agrees that he will not grieve, appeal or otherwise challenge any club action to terminate this contract as a result of player’s indictment for any criminal acts (specified) … nor will he cause or authorize any third party, such as the Major League Baseball Players Association, to grieve, appeal or otherwise challenge any club action to terminate this contract as a result of player’s indictment for any (specified) criminal acts.
That language seems a bit tighter than the articles mentioned in the Monday round of Bonds articles. However, Jeff Borris believes it’s meaningless:
“Although it is not my policy to comment on the specifics of an individual player’s contract, the reporting that Barry will allow the Giants to get out of his contract if he is indicted on the federal steroid investigation is inaccurate,” he said. “The collective bargaining agreement governs the work relationship between the owners and players, not the Giants’ unilateral assertions.”
If the collective bargaining agreement “governs the work relationship between the owners and players,” I wonder what that means for injury out clauses. If J.D. Drew’s arm falls off, would the Red Sox be able to void the deal, or would the players’ association step in and cry foul? If this holds up, it’s going to be a rough road ahead for teams with players whose contracts contain special provisions.