7:30AM EST: Our sources: Nats will discuss with MLBPA and Papelbon’s agent to send Jonathan Papelbon home for the remainder of the season! This is not easy to do as player’s have rights, especially a veteran player. The collective bargaining agreement is 298 pages and of course does not have specific language to cover fights in the dugout.
More to follow as we have the information.
8:00AM EST: Outside of suspensions covered specifically for drug suspensions, there are detailed agreements between the MLB and the player’s union as to what teams and the MLB can and cannot do.
Three years ago Delmon Young was suspended 7 games by MLB without pay following his arrest on a hate crime harassment charge in New York City.
Here is an excerpt from the collective bargaining agreement:
Disputes 9.(b) All disputes between the Player and the Club which are covered by the Grievance Procedure as set forth in the Basic Agreement shall be resolved in accordance with such Grievance Procedure.
We are not lawyers but terminating the contract appears to be in the realm of possibilities which would automatically turn Papelbon into a Free Agent and the Nationals would be responsible for his $11 million salary for 2016.
Here is an excerpt from the collective bargaining agreement:
By Club 7.(b) The Club may terminate this contract upon written notice to the Player (but only after requesting and obtaining waivers of this contract from all other Major League Clubs) if the Player shall at any time: (1) fail, refuse or neglect to conform his personal conduct to the standards of good citizenship and good sportsmanship
ARTICLE XII—Discipline A. Just Cause The Parties recognize that a Player may be subjected to disciplinary action for just cause by his Club, the Senior Vice President, Standards and On-Field Operations or the Commissioner. Therefore, in Grievances regarding discipline, the issue to be resolved shall be whether there has been just cause for the penalty imposed. If discipline imposed upon a Player is determined to be improper by reason of a final decision under this Grievance Procedure, the Player shall promptly be made whole. The term “make whole” means: (1) if a fine is found to have been imposed improperly, the fine will be promptly repaid; (2) any salary loss as a result of an improper suspension will be promptly paid; (3) in the application of items (1) and (2) above, interest will also be paid at the rate per annum set forth in Article XV(L) below; and (4) crediting the Player with performance statistics for the purpose of determining whether a performance level contained in any 48 pecial covenant to his Uniform Player’s Contract has been met. Such credit shall be determined by multiplying the Player’s relevant average per game statistic while he was on a Club’s Active List for the current championship season by the number of games for which the Arbitration Panel determines the Player was improperly suspended and adding that product to the Player’s year-end total. Such credit shall not be awarded to a Player for such time that his suspension covers time the Player is on the Disabled List. B. Conduct Detrimental or Prejudicial to Baseball Players may be disciplined for just cause for conduct that is materially detrimental or materially prejudicial to the best interests of Baseball including, but not limited to, engaging in conduct in violation of federal, state or local law. The Commissioner and a Club shall not discipline a Player for the same act or conduct under this provision. In cases of this type, a Club may only discipline a Player, or take other adverse action against him, when the Commissioner defers the disciplinary decision to the Club. C. Notice Written notice of discipline of a Player (a fine, or suspension, or both) imposed by the Commissioner of Baseball, the Senior Vice President, Standards and On-Field Operations, or a Club (except for actions arising from participation in the Winter Leagues) and the reason therefore shall in every case be given to the Player and the Association. With respect to discipline imposed upon a Player by the Senior Vice President, Standards and On-Field Operations or the Commissioner, the Commissioner shall immediately give to the Association notice by mail of fines, and notice by facsimile of suspensions and of appeals for hearings. D. Discovery A Player who is disciplined shall have the right to discover, in timely fashion, all documents and evidence adduced during any investigation of the charges involved. 49 . Compliance (1) Nothing contained in the Grievance Procedure shall excuse a Player from prompt compliance with any discipline imposed upon him. (2) Club Fines. A fine imposed by a Club pursuant to Regulation 5 of the Uniform Player’s Contract in excess of $5,000 may not be deducted from the Player’s salary until such fine is finally upheld in the Grievance Procedure or the time in which to file a Grievance has expired. (3) Discipline Imposed by the Senior Vice President, Standards and On-Field Operations or Commissioner. (a) A fine imposed by the Senior Vice President, Standards and On-Field Operations or the Commissioner in excess of $5,000 may not be deducted from the Player’s salary until such fine is finally upheld in the Grievance Procedure or the time in which to file a Grievance has expired. (b) The Player’s employing Club is authorized, at the request of the Senior Vice President, Standards and On-Field Operations, or the Commissioner in the case of a fine imposed by the Commissioner, to deduct the amount of the fine from the Player’s salary and transmit such sum to the Commissioner once the fine may be deducted from the Player’s salary. (c) The Senior Vice President, Standards and On-Field Operations may choose to suspend a Player without pay for: (i) intentionally throwing a baseball, equipment or other object at a non-uniformed personnel with the intent of causing bodily harm; (ii) physically assaulting a fan or member of the media; (iii) physically assaulting an umpire in a manner that endangers his health or safety; and (iv) making public statements that question the integrity of the game, the umpires, the Commissioner and/or other Commissioner’s Office personnel. Suspensions without pay for such conduct shall be appealable through the procedures of Article XI(B) in an expedited manner, and the suspensions shall be stayed pending the completion of those procedures. 50 . Investigations Except where circumstances require expeditious handling, the Player and the Association shall receive reasonable advance notice of any investigatory interview with a Player. Where circumstances requiring expeditious handling are present, the Player and the Association shall receive as much advance notice as is possible, but in no event shall the Association receive less notice than the Player. All parties recognize the right of the Player to be represented at such interview by the Association and counsel of his choice. G. Major League Rules 15 and 16 The following time limit provisions set forth in Major League Rules 15 and 16 shall be inapplicable in disciplinary matters: (1) the prohibition in Rule 16(a) against reinstatement of a Player on the Restricted, Disqualified and Ineligible Lists in the period August 1 to October 31, inclusive; (2) the prohibition in Rules 15(c)(1) and 16(c) against application for reinstatement from the Ineligible List until after the lapse of one year from the date of placement on such list; and (3) the requirement of Rule 16(a) that the Player’s Club shall be entitled to 30 days’ written notice prior to his reinstatement from the Disqualified or Ineligible Lists, if application for such reinstatement is filed after February 1 of any year.
You can see specific suspendable and fineable events which include violent acts; however, it doesn’t mention physical acts against a teammate. We have seen MLB suspend players for fights with other teams of course. Could this be the first action of this kind or will the protections of the collective bargaining agreement save Papelbon from any further action.
In fairness to Papelbon, this article from former player CJ Nitkowski sheds a very different opinion from the players’ viewpoint that Papelbon was right in yelling at Harper. CJ puts in numerous quotes in his piece titled: PLAYERS OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORT PAPELBON IN DUST-UP WITH HARPER. CJ also quotes as what we did from Wednesday’s HBP of Machado where we believe is the genesis of the anger which Papelbon denied:
Harper seemed to take exception to Papelbon’s actions.
“I mean, Manny freaking hit a homer,” Harper told the media after that game Wednesday night. “Walked it off, and somebody drilled him. I mean, it’s pretty tired. It’s one of those situations where it happens, and, I don’t know, I’ll probably get drilled tomorrow.”
That somebody was Papelbon. Harper didn’t call him out by name but we obviously know he was referring to his closer teammate of about two months.
Harper is free to disagree with Papelbon; the mistake came in airing his grievance to the media. That’s a conversation that happens between teammates, not in front of a microphone and a camera. You can bet Papelbon, at 34 years old with 11 major-league seasons under his belt, didn’t take too kindly to the 22-year-old Harper’s comments.
The line was drawn by Harper: Calling out teammates publicly is OK.
BREAKING 1:38PM EST: With the 3 game MLB suspension and 4 game suspension from the Nats, Papelbon is indeed done for the season and confirms what our sources said were the intention to accomplish.