Monday, March 20, 2006

Soriano Fires The First Shot

We don't know who shot those fateful first few shots at Lexington and Concord in 1775, but we know who fired the first one today.

Penciled into the starting lineup with a big ol' 7 next to his name, Alfonso Soriano sat in the dugout while the team marched on the field, a yellow-bellied deserter.

"We told him if we get to Thursday, and he refuses to play left field, we told him at that point we will request that the commissioner's office place him on the disqualified list, at that time -- no pay, no service time," Bowden said.

"If he refuses to play and goes home, and the commissioner's office accepts our request to place him on the disqualified list, then at that point, if he were to sit out this year, he would not be a free agent, he would stay our property because his service time would stay the same."

I'm weeding through the CBA now to see what I can dig up. The 'no service time' angle surprises me, and, if true, is going to be the sword of Damocles perched over his Curly W. Soriano, I THINK, is at 5.078 years of service time. You need 6 full seasons to qualify, so he only has a week or two of the season to play around with.

Verrry interesting! And more later as I figure it out!

  • Here's the piece that Dave Sheinin wrote earlier this spring on the 'what ifs' if Soriano refuses to play. There's nothing about the disqualified list per se, but he does sort of layout the timeline for the dance we're about to go under: team takes action, Union appeals, etc.

  • From the CBA (Text page 77, PDF page 88):
    For purposes of calculating credited service, a Player will be
    considered to be on a Club’s Active List if:
    (a) placed on a disciplinary suspension by a Club, the Vice
    President, On-Field Operations or the Commissioner, or on the
    Disabled List;
    (b) called to active military duty for up to two years or if called
    to emergency duty by the National Guard for a period of up to
    thirty days.

    Is the disqualified list separate from disciplinary suspension? The lack of capitlization on 'disciplinary suspension' makes me wonder if that's a catch-all category.

  • Also from the CBA (Document 148, PDF 159):
    A Player who properly has been placed on a Restricted List
    for either failing to report to his Club or failing to contract with it,
    or who properly has been placed on a Disqualified List for failure to
    render his services to his Club, shall be eligible to become a free
    agent as provided in Article XX, if otherwise qualified as set forth
    therein. Upon becoming a free agent, such Player shall automatically
    be removed from the Restricted or Disqualified List and reinstated
    to active status.

    "If otherwise qualified"? That's the key phrase. Soriano, as of today, isn't qualified. Assuming a full year on the list, would he have the proper amount of service time in accordance with the last excerpt I posted? On the surface it seems not, but there seem to be enough vagaries here that I'm not sure anyone could be certain -- all pending on what the definition of "disciplinary suspension" is and whether Soriano's actions would qualify as that. We know where Bowden stands, at least.

  • Ladson's article's up. (I wonder what Rocket Bill thinks of the Wilkerson trade now?)
    Soriano declined several times to make a comment and left the stadium by the second inning....

    "If he refuses to play and he goes home, and the commisioner accepts our request to place on the disqualified list, if he were to sit out, he would not become a free agent," general manager Jim Bowden said....

    According to one source familiar with the meeting, Soriano asked Bowden the same question he asked Robinson a few hours earlier: "Why didn't you try to talk to me before you made the trade?" Like Robinson before him, Bowden informed Soriano that the Rangers would not allow the Nationals to talk to him until everyone in the trade took their physicals.

    Soriano was acquired from the Rangers on Dec. 7 for outfielders Brad Wilkerson and Terrmel Sledge and right-hander Armando Galarraga.. The trade didn't become official until December l3 because Wilkerson won [sic] on a trip to the Bahamas. [me: Blaming Wilkerson again! ;)]

    Soriano responded by saying, "[Not granting permission] should have told you something."

    Good report by the Rocket Man.

  • There's a thread on this at Primer. There might actually be some useful info there -- or it could just devolve into a Bowden-bashing thread, which we all probably need at this point anyway! ;)

  • Svrluga's article is up.
    He left the ballpark in the second inning after a clubhouse attendant drove his white Cadillac Escalade nearer to the back entrance of the stadium.

    As he walked to the parking lot, Soriano declined to comment on the situation, as he had all day. Asked if he would play Wednesday, he said only: "We'll see. We'll see. I don't know."...

    Robinson said he would not give Soriano any time at second. "If he's going to play here," Robinson said, "he's going to be out in left field."

    Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball's executive vice president for labor relations, said in San Diego that the league is advising the Nationals on the legalities involved. Ultimately, though, "it's a player-club issue," Manfred said. Commissioner Bud Selig and Gene Orza, the chief operating officer of the players' union, declined to comment. It's possible, though, that the union could eventually take up Soriano's case, arguing that the club would be diminishing the player's value by moving him to left. [me: if that's the argument they're going to use, they're going to get their ass handed to them.]

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