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Friday, April 24, 2015

Angels Could Expel Josh Hamilton In "Days", And How Arte Might Do It

Michael McCann at Sports Illustrated claims that Josh Hamilton could be gone "in [a] matter of days", and even his salary. The basis for this is language in the Uniform Player Contract:
Some of the relevant language can be found in the UPC’s Loyalty Clause:
3.(a) The Player agrees to perform his services hereunder diligently and faithfully, to keep himself in first-class physical condition and to obey the Club’s training rules, and pledges himself to the American public and to the Club to conform to high standards of personal conduct, fair play and good sportsmanship.
The Angels, it would seem, could persuasively argue that Hamilton’s relapse constitutes a failure to render services “diligently and faithfully,” as well as a failure to “keep himself in first-class condition and to obey the Club’s training rules.” A drug and alcohol relapse, moreover, could be viewed as evidence that Hamilton breached his contractual duty to “pledge himself to the American public and to the Club to confirm to the high standards of personal conduct ... and good sportsmanship.”
It has been occasionally tried in the past, most recently by the Padres with Lamarr Hoyt, but unsuccessfully; also, the Rockies ended up buying out 80% of Denny Neagle's contract when that team tried to invoke the "personal conduct" clause to sever ties.
None of this language, however, will authorize the Angels to terminate Hamilton’s contract. Through the grievance process, the Major League Baseball Players’ Association (MLBPA) has aggressively prevented teams from attempting to use the aforementioned language to terminate guaranteed player contracts. The MLBPA is most concerned with preventing the creation of a precedent whereby teams can readily convert guaranteed contracts into non-guaranteed contracts.
If anything, the Angels—rather than Hamilton—might have run afoul of the Program by issuing remarkably harsh and unsympathetic statements following the arbitrator’s award. For instance, a spokesman on behalf of Angels president John Carpino bluntly remarked, “It defies logic that Josh's reported behavior is not a violation of his drug program.” Note that the Program bars teams from issuing “public statements which undermine the integrity and/or credibility of the Program.” While Carpino’s statement and others like it likely will not lead to any consequences for the Angels, it’s a reminder that Hamilton’s conduct is not the only one at issue in this controversy.
 Well, we'll see, but I'm still not hopeful. For the record, I'm somewhat opposed to the tenor of Craig Calcaterra's observations a while back that Arte is being craven or greedy here:
But really, that’s what’s going on with the Hamilton stuff. People are disapproving of Hamilton’s acts, which are borne of addiction and not malice, yet they will nod at Moreno’s efforts to not pay Hamilton, which are borne out of greed and, maybe, a side of brains.
Is there room in this discussion for mentioning personal integrity and how Hamilton exhibits very little? I mean, I agree that Arte's also failing at it (per the functional gag order mentioned above), but it's hard to root for either side in this mess.

Update 3:43 PM: Bill Shaikin of the Times has an update on the situation:
The Angels are in talks with Josh Hamilton that could result in the troubled outfielder leaving the team within 72 hours, according to a person familiar with the matter who is not authorized to discuss it publicly.

Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto was in negotiations with Hamilton's representatives Friday.

Although the Angels had announced a plan to send Hamilton to their Arizona training facility as soon as this week to prepare for a comeback, Hamilton balked at the plan. It is believed Hamilton would like to play for a club close to his Texas home.
It's important to remember that the Angels have apparently operated in bad faith throughout this story, so we should be very careful not to read too much into the "Hamilton balked at the plan" part of this. Still, it's not entirely implausible.

Update 7:35 PM: Apparently it's a done deal:
 The Angels agreed Friday to trade Hamilton to the Texas Rangers, without getting a player in return, according to a person briefed on the deal but not authorized to discuss it. Instead, the Rangers will assume a very small portion of the $83 million left on Hamilton's contract, one that might well end up as the worst in Angels history.

Although the Angels had announced a plan to send Hamilton to their Arizona training facility as soon as this week to prepare for a comeback, Hamilton balked at the plan and told them he wanted to play in Texas. Hamilton, who has four children and filed for divorce in February, makes his off-season home in Texas.
Update 8:01 PM: Jeff Passan writes the Angels will eat $68M of the remaining $83M on Hamilton's contract. Yow.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Comcast/TWC Deal Dead, SportsNet LA Renegotiation Can't Be Far Behind

Bloomberg reports that the Comcast/Time Warner Cable deal is dead, after Comcast decided to pull out. (Warning: auto-play video at that link.) Almost certainly, this also means the Dodgers' TV deal with SportsNet LA will be renegotiated, possibly as a consequence of that entity going into bankruptcy. Probably good news, but not for Dodger TV fans, not soon, anyway.

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Josh Hamilton Sells His Newport Beach Home, Files For Divorce

A report yesterday from the Times says Josh Hamilton is selling his Newport Beach home for $16.5 million. Josh Hamilton apparently filed for divorce around the time his relapse went public, according to the Dallas Morning News. After the fracas with the Angels in which Arte Moreno refused to commit to Hamilton again playing with the team, it seems like there's more, not less, chaos in Hamilton's life going forward.

Update: Looks like I missed the part where his wife has an ongoing affair, who is forbidden to stay at their shared (for now) home (emboldening mine):
Hamilton outlined 34 requests in the petition. Among the requests: prohibit her from using the Maserati and 1972 Chevrolet Blazer in his possession; prohibit her from “hiding” the children from him; prohibit her from making disparaging remarks against him or his family; prohibit someone who has an intimate relationship with her from staying in the same home as the children overnight.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

The Rebirth Of Montreal In MLB = The Death Of The Rays?

Rob Manfred's remarks about a new baseball stadium in Montreal in concert with his denial of any effort to expand to 32 teams leads one to believe that the long strategy is as both a lever over the Rays and their apparently now-dead efforts to find a new stadium deal, and a possible escape clause. It would be highly ironic if the Rays did leave for Canada, because the Expos' former owner, the execrable Jeff Loria, ran them into the ground; after 2000, the team had no native TV contract. MLB engineered his purchase of the Marlins by purchasing the earthly remains of the Expos, relocating them Washington, D.C., in an unceremonious end to a brutal (67-95) 2004 season. If it does happen that way, both cities will have gotten far less than they deserved as a consequence of their "investments".

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Time Warner's Big Hit

Comes a post from the New York Post about Time Warner taking a billion dollar hit to their bottom line thanks to the rapacious, unjustifiable contract for the Dodgers.
Sources told The Post that the market rate for the channel is more likely $3 per subscriber per month, meaning the charge will be almost $1 billion when adjusted over the life of the contract or in the region of $700 million in present-day terms.

“Comcast will be made whole,” said the source, suggesting this mess had to be cleaned up as a condition of Comcast’s proposed deal to acquire Time Warner Cable.

“Unless the deal [to merge Time Warner and Comcast] closes, there will not be another [Dodgers] season shown outside of Time Warner Cable. I don’t believe they’ll get carriage,” a source told The Post.
I would even go so far as to suggest that, if the entity that bought the rights is independent, the Dodgers could end up on the wrong side of a bankruptcy. It's hard for me to imagine that Time Warner didn't protect their interests in this way, but dumber things have happened.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Subtraction By Addiction? Josh Hamilton To Face Disciplinary Hearing

We don't know why Josh Hamilton is in New York to face an MLB disciplinary hearing, but it sure sounds bad. If Ken Rosenthal's surmise that the charges are worse than PED use, it suggests he's fallen off the wagon again.

Update:  It appears the issue is a relapse with drugs (cocaine, at least) and/or alcohol. Bill Shaikin thinks it "unlikely" he would be treated as a first-time offender if this is the case.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Josh Hamilton Out 6-8 Weeks For Shoulder Surgery

Many thanks to Halos Heaven for pointing me at the story that Josh Hamilton will miss 6-8 weeks for shoulder surgery. Probably the best-case scenario for the Angels is retirement, as the Rev says. It sounds like side effects of arthritis, which at least rules out rotator cuff problems. But it also lowers our expectations from his ability when he does return, if he returns.

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