Monday, September 22, 2008

Peace in Our Time

Pedro Alvarez has reached an agreement with the Pirates, staving off an arbitration regarding DeadlineGate:

In a stunning reversal of a summer-long drama, the Pirates and top draft pick Pedro Alvarez last night agreed to terms on a revised four-year, major league contract worth a guaranteed $6,355,000, according to three sources intimately familiar with the talks. The contract is expected to be signed once Alvarez passes a physical, which could happen early this week . . .

. . . [O]ne source indicated that a signed contract between the Pirates and Alvarez likely will quash a related grievance filed by the union against commissioner Bud Selig's office, offering a sign that all concerned have been duly informed of this development. That grievance, filed Aug. 27, alleged that MLB violated its labor pact with the union by approving the verbal agreement reached between the Pirates and Alvarez minutes after the midnight Aug. 15 deadline.
Good outcome for the Pirates in that they really needed this guy, but they lost quite a bit for having gone through the exercise. While the signing bonus remains the same, Alvarez now has a major league deal as opposed to a minor league one, and that limits the Pirates' options with him. They Pirates now have to start burning option years on him and he has to be on the 40 man roster. Of course, if Alvarez is as near to being ready as everyone says he is, that may not matter.

The lawyer in me worries about the precedent this deal sets in that, at least from where I'm sitting, it has made the signing deadline something of a suggestion, has it not? Of course I don't predict the future very well so I may be wrong about that.

I do remember the past pretty well, though, and I know that whenever Boras has ever been given an inch he's taken a mile, so don't look for this to be the last time he and his clients get into a signing deadline kerfuffle.


rob said...

My guess is that MLB/Pittsburgh figured that it was a good possibility that they'd lose the hearing, so this allows them to continue the practice of extending the deadline when necessary. Perhaps the union also sees some advantage to allowing that practice to continue informally, as it probably does help both sides during a contract negotiation.

I've thought all along that this was less a fight about signing bonuses and deadlines than it was about the team negotiating directly with the player instead of through the agent. There's probably no chance that a team will be able to pull a similar move with a Boras client any time soon.

Chas said...

I think the extra $355,000. (which gives #2 pick overall Alvarez and Boros the highest bonus) was about more than the money. Boros intentionally had his client wait until, or past, the "deadline" to agree to $600,000. Blowing the whistle on post-deadline favors to Pirate president,(ex-MLB Labor lawyer who came up with draft "slots" for bonuses) Frank Coonely, raised the spectre of free agency this year for Alvarez, something neither the Pirates or MLB wanted.Boros' dilatory tactics served his client well. Coponely blinked.

tHeMARksMiTh said...

The extra $355,000 is actually counting the minor-league contracts, not the bonus. The bonus stays the same.

My question is how this could be signed. Originally, they argued over a contract signed two minutes past the deadline. Now, he signed a contract a month and a half after the deadline. How come no one fights this contract?