Alvarez update

There seems to be no end to this story, with things changing all the time. Media all over the country are writing and talking about it. Here’s the latest, as I understand it, both in terms of what’s being reported and what I’ve been able to ascertain.

The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette’s Dejan Kovacevic reported earlier today that, according to his source, “The Pirates’ disputed contract agreement with Pedro Alvarez will be the
primary focus — and not that of any other player — of the Major
League Baseball Players Association’s grievance with commissioner Bud
Selig’s office.” The story goes on to say that the union will contend that the Alvarez agreement is the only one in question and that there are phone records to show a call coming in to Scott Boras’ office at 12:02 a.m.

Here’s my main question with that. If that is indeed the case, how come the Commissioner’s Office has pulled Eric Hosmer off the field until the matter is settled in that Sept. 10 hearing, as reported by’s Dick Kaegel? Maybe the Commissioner’s Office is just doing due diligence, but would it really be necessary to keep the kid from playing if the grievance only mentioned Alvarez? In fact, an unnamed source refutes the Post-Gazette story, saying the grievance filed by the Players Association does not center only around Alvarez.

I’ve received a copy of the Notice of Grievance, sent from the Players’ Association to Rob Manfred, the Executive Vice President of Labor Relations and Human Resources for Major League Baseball. The memo, dated August 27, 2008 with a subject titled, “Grievance No. 2008-11 (August 15 deadline)” is signed by Michael S. Weiner, General Counsel for the MLBPA. While this two-page memo doesn’t directly contradict the Post-Gazette report, there is no mention of a specific agreement or club in the document. The second paragraph reads:

The Commissioner’s Office, without notice to the MLBPA, unilaterally determined to permit Clubs to negotiate with drafted players after the August 15, 2008 deadline, and unilaterally determined to accept agreements by Clubs after the August 15, 2008 deadline.

I’ve added the bold-face to point out that it’s all plurals the grievance refers to. Again, not the be-all, end-all in this, but it didn’t claim there was permission to a Club — it was Clubs. It was more than one agreement, according to the grievance. I think you see what point I’m trying to make. To me, that combined with the fact that Hosmer can’t suit up, means this isn’t just about Pedro Alvarez at this point.

Some other things to chew on:

Kovacevic has a really interesting piece on the bad blood between Scott Boras and Pirates president Frank Coonelly. One of the more intriguing things I took from it is the possibility of Boras still lingering over the fact the Pirates — albeit under other management — dismissed his client Matt Wieters in the previous year’s draft. Don’t know for sure how much of that figures into all of this mess, but you never know.

In terms of the implications that much of this stems over the Boras Corp. being steamed that Buster Posey — and the agency who represents him, CAA — got more money than Alvarez did, here’s some food for thought.

  • Someone in the industry told me that both Pedro Alvarez and Buster Posey had CAA and Boras Corp as their final two choices for representation. That’s been somewhat refuted in that someone else informed me Posey never met with a representative from Boras Corp in person. Could that add fuel to this fire, that Posey got more money — with Jeff Berry and CAA advising him — than Alvarez and wouldn’t even let Boras in the door to talk pre-draft?
  • White Sox pitcher John Danks and his younger brother Jordan, fired Boras Corp after the first day of the draft this June, as reported by Scott Merkin on (and other places). The younger Danks was drafted in the seventh round (day 2) of the draft and the University of Texas outfielder ended up signing for an above-slot deal, while being represented by… you guessed it, Jeff Berry and CAA. No reasons were given for the Danks-Boras split at the time, but I’ve learned that it stems from the Dankses learning Boras turned down money — that would have seen Jordan get selected in the first day of the draft — without checking in with his advisee.

This thing is far from done, folks. Hang tight, I’m sure there’ll be a lot more to come

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