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MLBPA chief says union won’t let contracts be voided

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jan 18, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

I realize a lot of the Alex Rodriguez/steroid stuff is getting old, but there’s bigger picture issue that has yet to play out. How will this particular suspension impact future negotiations between the league and the players union? Is it a sign of harsher penalties to come? How harsh is too harsh? This week, The Associated Press spoke with new head of the Players Association, Tony Clark, about the possibility — as mentioned by Rodriguez himself — of the league trying to terminate contracts based on drug violations. Here’s what Clark had to say.

Alex RodriguezNEW YORK (AP) — New baseball union head Tony Clark says players won’t agree to terminating contracts as part of discipline for drug violations.

Clark took over as executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association following Michael Weiner’s death in November and expects talks on possible changes to the drug agreement to start before spring training. Commissioner Bud Selig proposed last March that drug penalties be toughened, but Weiner had said any alterations would be discussed for the 2014 season.

“I’d venture to guess that even though there are concerns on a number of levels, that we will never end up in a world where player contracts are voided as a result,” Clark said Wednesday during an interview with The Associated Press at the union’s office.

Clark also anticipated players will agree before the upcoming season to ban home plate collisions and to allow expanded instant replay, which also requires a deal between Major League Baseball and the umpires’ union.

Since the start of the 2006 season, MLB’s drug agreement has called for 50-game suspensions for a first positive test for performance-enhancing drugs, 100 games for a second and a lifetime ban for a third. Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was suspended for the entire 2014 season based on a provision allowing discipline for “just cause.”

Some players have agreed with Selig’s call for harsher penalties, and some spoke out after shortstop Jhonny Peralta finished a 50-game suspension, left Detroit as a free agent and agreed to a $53 million, four-year contract with St. Louis.

“It pays to cheat… Thanks, owners, for encouraging PED use,” Arizona pitcher Brad Ziegler tweeted in November.

“Apparently getting suspended for PED’s means you get a raise. What’s stopping anyone from doing it? (hashtag)weneedtomakeachange,” free agent pitcher David Aardsma tweeted.

Tony Clark“I would argue that that concern has been there before. I think it was articulated in a fashion that was perhaps different this time than last,” Clark said. “We have a lot of players that are very passionate about the topic, and when you add in the social media component, players are confident and willing to offer that perspective. I think that’s fantastic.”

Though players are not paid their salaries while serving drug suspensions, clubs don’t have the right to alter guarantee provisions for the remainder of contracts. In a statement last weekend, Rodriguez claimed his suspension was “MLB’s first step toward abolishing guaranteed contracts in the 2016 bargaining round (and) instituting lifetime bans for single violations of drug policy.”

Weiner said last March there had been talks among players over “whether there should be increases — whether there should be a differential penalty for intentional or unintentional users.” In his decision on Rodriguez’s suspension, arbitrator Fredric Horowitz referred to how he upheld a 100-game penalty for Guillermo Mota in 2012 even though he found the pitcher’s positive test was caused unintentionally by the use of a cough syrup to treat a cold.

“We are looking to have discussions at some point in time prior to spring training with MLB to see if there are considerations that we collectively can make to improve the program,” Clark said.

Unlike the labor contract, the Joint Drug Agreement contains provisions for an annual review by the parties.

The 41-year-old Clark, a 2001 All-Star who hit 251 home runs during 15 years in the major leagues, joined the union in 2010 as director of player relations and took on more responsibility last year as Weiner’s health deteriorated because of a brain tumor.

Clark said talks had been ongoing over MLB’s proposal to ban home plate collisions, which was announced last month by New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, chairman of the rules committee. Alderson said details must be worked out.

Management could not make the change for 2014 without the union’s agreement but could impose a unilateral plan for 2015.

“I think we are closer rather than further to finding common ground,” Clark said. “And my expectation here is, in a relatively short period of time is, that we can move this thing along — for ’14.”

Owners voted last month to approve funding for expanded video review of umpires’ calls, which would include most decisions other than balls and strikes, and foul tips. Those rules also are being formulated.

“The idea hopefully is that it’s in everyone’s best interest to do what we’re doing in replay,” Clark said. “It’s been a challenge to try to navigate how best we do this without disrupting the game itself. Our guys are very concerned with making sure that the game stays the game.”

Associated Press photo





89 Responses to “MLBPA chief says union won’t let contracts be voided”

  1. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Only way anyone is voiding my contract is if they punch my ticket first.

    Then I won’t care anyway.


  2. chicken_stanley January 18th, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    double talking, ginseng hunting chicken – present and accounted for

  3. BoJo January 18th, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    MTU January 18th, 2014 at 5:52 pm
    Some of you people are funnier than sh*t.

    Lot’s of chuckles reading your comments.

    Tar, Bojo, Poetkiosk, and Fuji apple get special mention.
    Interesting…I never really considered sh*t to be very funny.

    Unless, of course, you are referring to William Shatner trying to see one of his in a box on eBay by calling it “Captain’s Log.” Now THAT was funny.

  4. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 6:01 pm


    Tanaka is a baby face.

    Too young to shave.


  5. BoJo January 18th, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    The above is a newly created Urban Myth started by yours truly.

  6. mick January 18th, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Tanaka is a baby face.

    Too young to shave.
    Speaking of shaving.

  7. BoJo January 18th, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    It will be interesting to see if Tony Clark has what it takes to be head of players’ union. I have my doubts. Hopefully, it won’t be as bad as Gene Upshaw in NFL.

  8. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 6:07 pm


    If I read that right “peachfuzz” is best.


  9. Ys Guy January 18th, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    im a little surprised to learn that the players havent yet agreed to ban home plate collisions as well as the new replay system. the way mlb announced it, i though both were done deals.

    both might get some pushback from some players, the collision ban from the ‘old school’ types and the replay from players who don’t like the challenge aspect.

    but clark sounds confident they’ll pass…

  10. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Off topic-

    For any of you who have dogs.

    Do they snore ?

    And do they snore more when they are rolled over on their backs asleep ?



  11. wanzies222 January 18th, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    MTU -

    Dogs snore for several reasons… some breeds more than others.

    What breed is your dog?

  12. Poetkiosk January 18th, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    I have an English Pointer and a Jack Russell. Pointer snores. They also both burrow, it’s hilarious.

  13. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 6:21 pm


    Shih Tzu’s.

    One does it more than the other though.

    It’s pretty funny to watch.

    He can really cuts some zzzzzzz’s.

    He also barks and moves his legs during REM sleep.

    Pretty neat.


  14. macintosh January 18th, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    i think collisions at home plate should be banned except when a catcher stands in front of the plate blocking home from guys who hit homers.

    then i think the guy who hit the home run should be free with a running start to knock the catcher on his ass.

  15. wanzies222 January 18th, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    It’s generally either a predisposition to the breed or the result of allergens (smoke, pollen, etc.).

    Dogs with shorter snouts tend to have airways that flatten out when then sleep, resulting in breathing difficulties, such as snoring.

    If you dog is a “digger”, then likely have a nose full of stuff… and blockages and they will likely snore.

  16. wanzies222 January 18th, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    they, not then…sorry

  17. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 6:26 pm


    These are my boys :

    The black one is the snorer.

    And they both dig.

    He once got something up his nose by inhaling it.

    Couldn’t stop sneezing.

    Cost me $250 big ones to have it removed. They had to put him out.

    Thankfully it never happened again.


  18. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    I like Jack’s they are pretty neat.

    You a hunter ?

  19. Kelvin January 18th, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Those are some beautiful pups, MTU :).

    I have a miniature pinscher. He snores sometimes too, but not often. I notice sometimes he’s just in a really deep sleep lol, people can knock at my house door and he would never notice, like he usually does.

  20. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Thanks Kelvin.

    I love ‘em to death.

    He must get into a really deep REM sleep state.

    Remember. All dogs go to Heaven but only some Humans do.

    That ought to tell ya’ something.


  21. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Must be fun to be ole’ Masahiro.

    Sitting there w. 5 or 6 six figure offers from Teams that want you.

    Knowing that whichever one you choose you’ll be set for Life.

    I could deal w that kind of trouble.


  22. oak2455 January 18th, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Any Tanaka news ? Or should I look on twitter again ????

  23. oak2455 January 18th, 2014 at 6:42 pm


  24. wanzies222 January 18th, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    MTU -

    Beautiful boys.

    Tribe has been breeders for generations….

    We don’t keep many of the pups, but still have 8 of them left.

    Mostly huskies, bernese mountain dogs, black labs…

  25. RhapsodyInBlue January 18th, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    “Remember. All dogs go to Heaven but only some Humans do.

    That ought to tell ya’ something.”

    Yeah watch where you walk.

  26. Poetkiosk January 18th, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Well at least we will know about Tanaka by next Friday, tho my guess is Tuesday – think he will avoid a US national holiday for an announcement.

  27. Shame Spencer January 18th, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    This post perfectly sums up why all the noise from the players regarding PEDs is bunk.

    Want the game clean? Put your money where your mouth is or – here’s a crazy thought – just shut up and play. At least in the past they didn’t look so hypocritical.

  28. pkyankfan69 January 18th, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    My pup is a Lab/Aussie Shep mix… She’s right about 9 months.

    She’s a handful and she likes to tear up my lawn but she’s a fun happy little girl.

  29. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    Thanks Steve.

    Hope you have a lot of property, a big wallet, and very large house.


  30. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 7:03 pm


    you’ll get along w Howler.

    He has Malamutes.

  31. Howler January 18th, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    horses don’t snore…

  32. Howler January 18th, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    At least this one hasn’t started yet.

  33. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    GB had the worst dog on the blog.

    “Killer” was promiscuous and a drunkard.

    I always told GB he’d never amount to much.

    Killer would steal anyone’s beer and pizza.

    And he stole the keyboard away from GB lot’s of times as evidenced by all of his
    spelling mistakes.

    That was a bad dog.


  34. pkyankfan69 January 18th, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    My parents had a bulldog… He was an awesome dog…

    His full name was Sir John Henry Zues’ raptor… Some weird lineage dog lineage thing.

    That dog’s snoring could wake me from a drunk pass out.

  35. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 7:10 pm


    I’d recommend an English saddle.

    Be a little lighter.

    No spurs.


  36. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 7:11 pm


    Sounds like you weren’t drunk enough.


  37. Howler January 18th, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Vet actually checked their scale yesterday because they thought it had to be wrong because she gained so much weight from last month to this…23 lbs in 4 weeks. So now she’s 70 at 5 months.

  38. pkyankfan69 January 18th, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    23 lbs in 4 weeks. So now she’s 70 at 5 months.

    Wow… Mine is 9 months and she is low 40′s now… She’ll top out around 50

  39. Howler January 18th, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Yea, I expect somewhere around 130-140 from her…mom is around 165 right now.

  40. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Up until these two little critters we always had large breed dogs.

    I got the 1st of these as a companion for my Mother who lived w us at the time.

    He wound up bonding with me instead.

    When my elderly Mother moved back East to be w my Sister he stayed with us.

    Mrs. MTU loved the 1st one so much we got him a companion.

    These little dogs are like jelly beans. They just get under your skin.

    I guess I never knew what I was missing.


  41. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    And they’re a lot cheaper to feed too.


  42. Howler January 18th, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    I just ask for as much information from Jehovah’s Witnesses and I never have to worry about food…they keep sending it in pairs…it’s like a delivery service.

  43. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 7:24 pm


    Maybe I should the Mormon missionaries your way too.


  44. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    ed; should send. sorry.

  45. Howler January 18th, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    hmmm…they do say a change in diet is beneficial. Probably more pure too.

  46. Howler January 18th, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    I do have her uncle coming in a few months, so probably could use the extra.

  47. pete2 January 18th, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    How is a 41 yo ball player from the steroid era the union leader. Is it me or is Clark over his head here?. Did he even graduate from college?. All I could find was he was pursuing a degree in history after his retirement.

  48. Howler January 18th, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Oh I’m sure he’s got plenty of lawyers advising him on anything he does…he’s a known face, and someone the players can trust.

  49. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 7:36 pm


    Definitely more pure.

    Or so they think anyway.


  50. Howler January 18th, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    At that stage no one is doing anything on their own…he’s the smiling rubber stamp.

  51. wanzies222 January 18th, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    We do have a couple of huskamutes, actually.

    Combination of husky and malamute. Daddy is 150 lbs, junior is up to about 120 and still growing. They both think they are lap dogs.

  52. Kelvin January 18th, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    I’m following Masahiro Tanaka on twitter… No news lol, wish I understood more of it, it seems he post really fun stuff according to the pictures

  53. Barry January 18th, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Tony Clark is a bright and extremely articulate guy. And, he did indeed attend university.

  54. Howler January 18th, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    I’ll be happy when she gets to pseudo-lapdog stage…right now she’s in buzzsaw mode.

  55. wanzies222 January 18th, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Howler –

    Lots of energy in those dogs…

    First thing each morning, we run for an hour (or so). With all the snow outside, they want to stay outside for…..ever….

  56. chicken_stanley January 18th, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    Hi guys.

    Just finished watching “Reacher”… meh

  57. Howler January 18th, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    MTU would love a hiking partner like her…we did about 4 miles in the mountains today, only came down because it was her feeding time. Was too nice around here…sometimes it doesn’t rain in Wa. in the winter.
    I’m training her to safely go off lead so I can take my cameras along as well.

  58. Howler January 18th, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    You just wanted Kellen Winslow in the lead, instead of Cruise.

  59. chicken_stanley January 18th, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Howler – with him in the lead, the name of the movie changes to “Puller”

  60. Howler January 18th, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    So was it just Cruise that made the movie not what you were expecting considering you’ve read the books.

  61. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 8:06 pm


    I’d like that in a lot of ways.

    I used to take my little guys on hikes too.

    I did 8 miles with them once.

    That’s a lot of steps for those little legs.

    But they did just fine.

    All dogs are descended from the wolf.

    Even cute little ones.


  62. Howler January 18th, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    I meet a lot of people on the trails with small dogs…they’re usually amazed how good she is with them…she’ll let small dogs crawl all over her as long as they’re nice.

  63. chicken_stanley January 18th, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Howler – The movie was ok and Cruise was ok. It was all because I had read the book before the movie… The only time I have ever read the book first and then really really loved the movie was The Shawshank Redemption

  64. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 8:17 pm


    The SR was one of my all time favorite movies.

    I couldn’t believe King wrote it. I had always thought of him as kind of a hack.

    It completely changed my opinion of him.


  65. Howler January 18th, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Movies are more of a passive experience…your mind allows you to take you further in reading a book…you have to think through the little details, in a movie they’re just thrown at you.

  66. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Reading requires brain cells.


  67. Howler January 18th, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    and they usually have to cut the crap out of them to make it fit.

  68. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    “Clubs angling to sign Masahiro Tanaka made formal offers by Jan. 16, Nikkan Sports reports (Japanese link). The list of teams includes the Yankees, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, White Sox and Cubs, with nearly all clubs putting together offers worth more than $100MM over six years.

    The Diamondbacks have made no secret of their pursuit of Tanaka this winter, and according to Nikkan, they’ve offered him a deal for six years and $120MM. Such a contract would be the largest in Diamondbacks history by a wide margin. “Like other teams, we’re very interested,” CEO Derrick Hall was quoted as saying at a recent meeting of MLB owners. “We want to win this competition.” Owner Ken Kendrick also reportedly met with Tanaka directly during his recent tour of clubs in the U.S.

    The Dodgers and Yankees are believed to have made equivalent offers, according to Nikkan, while comments by Angels owner Arte Moreno suggest that the team would have trouble fitting Tanaka into its budget. Overall, we appear to be nearing the stage in negotiations where the only step remaining is Tanaka’s actual decision.”


  69. chicken_stanley January 18th, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Mike – Shawshank is one of my top five of all time… Which reminds me of another movie that I really liked even after the book: The Green Mile

    Howler even beyond cutting crap out, lots of times they make outright changes to the plot.

  70. comet January 18th, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    MTU one of our dogs snores, the other doesn’t. Don’t know about the second question.

  71. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Thanks Comet.

    Just curious.

  72. blake January 18th, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    So I’m assuming how this will play out is the teams will make their initial offers….Tanaka will vote the Dbacks and WhiteSox off the island…..then ask the dodgers, Cubs, and Yankees to show him the money.

    I mean there will be some back and forth on the bidding I’m sure….this isn’t a blind bid

  73. wanzies222 January 18th, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    MTU -

    Old news, but MLBTR catches up eventually….

    Yankee Trader had it this morning and the link was posted as well, but nothing wrong with domestic iterations…..

  74. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    So do the Cubs blow away the field w a 7/25 type offer ?

    Also, will Close narrow it down to 1 or 2 finalists ? Or was the 1st offer supposed to be the best shot ?

    It’s hard to believe that no more negotiating would take place beyond the intial offers but who knows ?

  75. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 8:33 pm


    Sorry for the repost then.


  76. blake January 18th, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    So off topic but my wife has started using all these organic cleaners. She buys Honest Brand stuff which is basically this company Jessica Alba started that uses plant based and organic stuff etc……which is great and all but on the bottles it’ll say stuff like non toxic and biodegrade and plant based……what it doesn’t say is if it actually you know ….kills germs!

  77. wanzies222 January 18th, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    MTU -

    There was a process of elimination.

    The teams met with Close and Tanaka for an hour-ish each last week.

    The teams that were interested beyond the 17M level submitted offers this week.

    The next step is taking Tanaka’s input and playing off the 2-3 finalists against each other and getting a winner.

    Not a horrible sequence, but clearly OCD-driven.

  78. wanzies222 January 18th, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    MTU -

    Don’t apologize.. there is plenty of turnover on the board here each day and the evening crowd may not have checked in this morning.

    It’s all good…..

  79. oak2455 January 18th, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    Mtu I never seen that which means the yanks are in it

  80. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Thanks Steve.


  81. MTU January 18th, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    New old one ——->

  82. wanzies222 January 18th, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    oak -

    Each morning, Yankee Trader posts a summary of headlines/summaries from the Japanese press. Likely, this is his source:

    So if you want to see what the Japanese are writing about his whole mess, check the links.

    Spoiler: The links are in Japanese.

  83. oak2455 January 18th, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Wanz that’s hilarious!!!

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