NEW YORK (AP) The players’ union filed a grievance against the New York Mets and the commissioner’s office on Wednesday, protesting how the team has handled Francisco Rodriguez since he was injured in a fight at Citi Field.
The Major League Baseball Players Association is challenging the Mets’ decision to place the record-setting closer on the disqualified list and their effort to convert his contract to a non-guaranteed deal.
If the case isn’t settled, arbitrator Shyam Das would decide whether the team’s actions were justified. No hearing date has been set.
“We disagree with the position of the Players Association,” the Mets said in a statement. “We believe our action was justified and appropriate.”
Rodriguez was placed on the disqualified list Tuesday, six days after he tore a ligament in the thumb of his pitching hand while punching his girlfriend’s father outside a family lounge at New York’s second-year ballpark. The right-hander had surgery Tuesday and is expected to miss the rest of the season.
The Mets have said Rodriguez won’t be paid while on the disqualified list and they would exercise a contractual right to convert the rest of his $37 million, three-year deal to non-guaranteed, meaning they could try to avoid paying most of what’s left on it.
The move by the players’ association was expected. Union leader Michael Weiner said in an e-mail to The Associated Press on Tuesday that the team’s actions were “without basis.”
Rodriguez, a four-time All-Star, was arrested and charged with third-degree assault and second-degree harassment following the fight. He was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court Sept. 14.
By going on the disqualified list, Rodriguez will lose $3,016,393 of his $11.5 million salary this year. Added to the $125,683 he lost when the Mets put him on the restricted list for two days last week, the altercation already has cost him $3,142,076.
In addition, by converting his contract to non-guaranteed, the Mets gave themselves the ability to release Rodriguez in the early part of spring training next year for 30 days’ termination pay. That would mean paying $1,885,246 rather than his $11.5 million salary next year. They still likely would owe the $3.5 million buyout attached to the $17.5 million club option for 2012 that’s included in his deal.
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