A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Should Giambi's Contract Be Voidable?

The Boss is at it again. Well, maybe at it again. No one is sure what he is going to actually do.

Giambi mostly pleaded ignorance, but offered a moment of clarity when asked if he was concerned about how fans might react if he is forced to answer questions about his alleged use.

"Well," Giambi said, "I don't think there's going to be anything that they don't already know."

And therein lies the incentive for the Yankees and, perhaps, the trepidation for Giambi. If Giambi publicly admits to steroid use in a government hearing, the Bombers could use that admission to help them void the four years and $82 million remaining on Giambi's contract. That's one reason why Giambi has avoided even mentioning the word "steroids", despite offering countless unspecified apologies for past transgressions that essentially amount to an admission.

This is what is silly to me. Basically, it's known he did steroids. We know that because of the grand jury leak. That was however, supposed to be information kept confidential and probably cannot be used against Giambi by the Yankees organization in an attempt to void the contract. Hence when he "confessed" to doing something that he could not specify, he was apologizing for an implied use of steroids. Was he stopping short of saying the word steroids as something he was purposely doing and was told by his agent not to do because the did not want to give ammunition to the Yankees? It was always my understanding that the Yankees were completely aware of his steroid use after the leak, but I'm assuming that it was not something that they could legally use against him. Are they waiting for a documented confession by him to start trying to get his contract voided?

While the Yankees are looking to give Sheffield, who had admitted he unknowingly used steroids, more money, they may be looking to void Giambi's contract. Jayson Stark has a great article on ESPN about ballplayers being subpoenaed and he had this to say:

We predict an all-time baseball record for use of the term "knowingly." We predict so many "I don't knows" and "I can't recalls," you'll want to hand out free samples of Vitamin E.

And while some people will give specific answers to specific questions, under oath, face it: None of those answers can be absolutely, positively guaranteed to constitute the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Because remember this: THERE'S NO EVIDENCE.

Baseball should have had a testing program back then, but it didn't.

So while most of the ballplayers will essentially say, "if I took them, I was not aware I did" or "I never took steroids", some may come clean and admit to doing them. They may admit to taking a substance not banned or tested for by baseball at that time. We all know something like 2% failed steroid tests when baseball actually did test, but those names were not released and kept private. Giambi's name will never be implicated as one who baseball found out was taking a banned substance at that time. We can reasonably assume that he was one of the small amount that had failed, be we do not know and will not know beyond a reasonable doubt.

The language in Giambi's contract - which has four years and $82 million left on it - says the team may withhold salary from a player for the "use or abuse of any illegal substance, including but without limitation . . ." and then goes on to list a variety of examples. It also has a general "other chemical abuse or dependency" clause that gives the team latitude in definition, according to a person with knowledge of the agreement.

Additionally, the Yankees could make a strong case that Giambi misled them about his health and substances he may have taken that would affect it. Giambi played only 80 games last season because of an intestinal parasite and a benign tumor that the New York Daily News reported was in his pituitary gland, and if he was using steroids but failed to inform his doctors and Yankee doctors, he could be in violation of his contract.

Specifically, Giambi's contract says that if a doctor determines he is not in "first-class physical condition" because of "chemical dependency, the club may in its sole discretion convert this contract to a non-guaranteed contract."

Ultimately I do not think Giambi's contract will be voidable since the players union in baseball is strongest union in sports. It sets a dangerous precedence for them and directly puts a lot of other players in jeopardy for other various reasons. If a player underperforms, a team could look to clauses or loopholes to get them out of contract.

Should Steinbrenner and the Yankees be able to void Giambi's contract for taking a substance that was not included in his contact as something that could void his contact? We have to remember, we do not know what type of steroids he took and have no idea if anyone could actually tell or know which type of steroids he took, which could matter. Should Giambi's contract be voidable by taking something that was not banned by baseball at the time? Should Steinbrenner be allowed to pick and choose if he wants to reprimand one steroid user and not another? Should anyone in baseball be allowed to pick and choose what illegal substance they want to enforce? For instance, is it ok to try and crucify someone for steroids while letting others take amphetamines?

I just think there are too many questions that go along with this topic as it relates to Giambi's contract. I would be surprised if anything at all happened to Giambi other than some boos and some idiotic fans chastising him at games. Despite me knowing what Giambi did was wrong, I truly feel bad for him

* * *

  • Mark Hale takes a look at the bullpen.

  • Not only did Beltran buy a new purse, he's got a new haircut.

    Beltran would have been in center field had the game been played. He took Tuesday off with a sore right elbow. Beltran also shaved his head in the aftermath of his wife, Jessica, trying to give him a haircut. "It didn't come out so good," he said.

    I would have given Carlos the $30 for a haircut.

  • BA has an extensive article on Omar Minaya and the Mets. He was also named #23 on BA's yearly list of the top power broker's in baseball.

    Also mentioned as an up and comer on the list was a familiar name.

    Kim Ng, Assistant General Manager, Los Angeles Dodgers. If you're looking for the first female general manager in baseball history, this is your best bet. She would be the game's first Asian-American GM as well.

    In case anyone forgot, let me remind everyone about the incident with Bill Singer earlier in the year with Kim NG.

    In the fallout from his drunken and insulting remarks to Kim Ng, super scout Bill Singer is about to become the shortest-lived Mets front office executive in team history.
    Sources told the Daily News yesterday that there is "no way" the embattled scout can survive the controversy he created when he approached Ng, a Dodgers' executive, during the GM meetings Tuesday in Phoenix and belligerently asked: "What are you doing here?"

    When she replied that she is the Dodgers' assistant GM, Singer apparently began making fun of Ng's Chinese heritage. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman interceded in the incident. Ng worked for the Yankees for four years as an assistant GM.

    Way to represent Bill.

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