New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman confirmed that the team will not pay Alex Rodriguez the $6 million marketing bonus for passing Willie Mays on the all-time home run list, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
The 39-year-old third baseman tied Mays on Friday night with a dramatic go-ahead home run in the 8th inning. It silenced the booing crowd at Fenway Park, but the Yankees organization raised the volume as Cashman confirms to Nightengale that the team will exercise their right and not pay for that milestone.
“We have the right, but not the obligation to do something, and that’s it. We’re going to honor our responsibilities of the contract. So there is no dispute, from our perspective.”
After all the comments and allegations, it proved that the legal jargon in Rodriguez’s marketing contract gives the Yankees the right to determine whether or not to pay the $6 million for tying Mays (660), Babe Ruth (714), and both tying and surpassing Barry Bonds (762) on the home run list.
The legal wording in the contract reads as follows
“It’s the sole discretion of the New York Yankees to determine whether each of these milestones is commercially marketable as the home-run chase. The Yankees have the right, but not the obligation, to determine whether it’s a commercially marketable milestone.”
Unfortunately for Rodriguez, his involvement with performance-enhancing drugs and the Biogenesis scandal that led to him being suspended for all of 2014 gives the Yankees the angle they need in having a case for not paying the beleaguered former All-Star.
In addition, it was reported earlier in the week by the New York Times that the Yankees would actually have to pay more than the reported $6 million for each subsequent milestone. As the report states, the luxury tax on that $6 million figure would be accompanied by a 50 percent luxury tax, bringing the total to $9 million.
There is a belief that the Major League Baseball Player’s Association will file a grievance on behalf of Rodriguez and fight for those marketing bonuses. In Nightengale’s report, he states that both Rodriguez and the MLBPA could use the wording of “in good faith” in the contract and state that the Yankees decision to not pay isn’t following the wording.
But since he was suspended, it would be hard to give much credence to those claims. And in Cashman’s assessment, he claims that the way legal matters in baseball operate now, a proper decision will be made.
“The great thing about contracts, if there are any disputes, there’s a system in place to determine if there is some misunderstanding. I don’t think there’s any misunderstanding. I think it’s pretty clear. There’s nothing to address. He’s got a copy [of the contract] too.”
As the season’s first month and first few days of May have passed, Rodriguez play on the field has been a pleasant surprise. The former three-time AL MVP is batting .243 with six HR and 14 RBI through 22 games.
His contributions on the field and in the clubhouse have the GM Cashman happy but also hopeful that he can continue being productive and let the legal issues work themselves out.
“I didn’t know what to expect, He said all of the right things, went about his business in all of the right ways. Obviously, he’s performing on the field for us and helped us win games. That’s all we’ve ever wanted.”
[Image by Jim Rogash/ Getty Images]