|An atypical pitching pose|
The story began last weekend, when police took K-Rod into custody after what was called an "altercation" with a family member after the game. Apparently, Francisco has a bit of a temper, and it got the best of him. The Mets remained closed-lipped, as is customary with more personal matters. However, since the police had to get involved, it seemed like a pretty substantial confrontation.
We got concrete proof of how bad the scuffle was. K-Rod tore a ligament in his throwing hand, so he's gone for the year. He admitted that he injured it in the aforementioned scuffle he got in.
For a more in-depth report, here is the story from the New York Daily News.
As bad as this situation already looks, it could get a whole bunch worse for Rodriguez.
The Mets placed K-Rod on the disqualified list, which to be honest was a list I didn't even know existed in baseball. It is seldom used, to say the least, and comes with dire consequences for the player. Any player on the disqualified list forfeits the money remaining in the current year of their deal. In K-Rod's case, that's about $3 million. Furthermore, a disqualified player's contract is no longer guaranteed. Francisco still has a minimum of $15 million owed to him in 2011 and 2012, which the Mets are not on the hook for anymore.
All in all, the scuffle Francisco Rodriguez was a part of could cost him $18 million. For all you mentors out there, what better story do you need to convince kids that fighting is never the answer?
The story is far from over though. The MLBPA promises to fight the Mets decision, which is not surprising. Furthermore, it is probably warranted. The Mets owner, Fred Wilpon, has a reputation as a bit of a penny-pincher. This is likely a business move in his eyes, where he is simply protecting expenses as much as he can. The Mets have publicly stated that they are not looking to ditch K-Rod, and I buy that.
This will be an interesting case for an arbitrator, because K-Rod clearly screwed up, and he put himself in a position to be subjected to the disqualified list. However, to me this looks like a fluky injury sustained in the middle of a very poor decision. It's a mistake, but I'm not sure it's an $18 million mistake.
In the end, I will be honest, and admit that I love this story, because I hate K-Rod. When he first came up as a 20-year-old, I admired his killer stuff. However, once he became a closer, he became such a jerk. Maybe Rodriguez always was, but it became obvious then. The way he falls off the mound, the way he celebrates after just about anything good, how much he thought of himself after his record-breaking saves season (when statistically that was one of his weaker seasons)...K-Rod is one of those pitchers that is so easy to hate. It became even easier when JJ Putz had to set up for him in New York last year.
As a fan, this feels like justice. While a little more rational side of me thinks that Rodriguez will get off the disqualified list, the fan in me wants him to stay on it and sweat it out. I am sorry for whoever K-Rod picked a fight with, but whatever happened to them won't keep this from being one of my favorite stories of the 2010 baseball season.