From the same notes column that brought us the O'Leary story comes some owners' grousing about drug suspensions:
A couple of major league owners whispered to me last week that they wish there was something they could do to void contracts when a player such as a Manny Ramírez is suspended for violating the drug policy. While Dodgers owner Frank McCourt will get $7.7 million in relief for Ramírez's unpaid 50-game suspension, owners would like to get rid of such contracts altogether.
"There ought to be something to protect us from something like this," said a National League owner. "We sign a contract with a player in good faith and then the contract is violated and the player basically can't live up to the terms of the contract because of his behavior. "It's just not right that we have to be stuck with a contract like that."
"Something to protect us from something like this?" The owners themselves negotiated the rules of suspensions in the Basic Agreement with the players years ago, and had every opportunity to re-open the issues when the rules about PED suspensions were negotiated within the past few years. If they wanted the right to release someone when they get suspended, they should have bargained for it.
But when you think about it, the notion of voiding the contract of guys like these kind of makes no sense anyway. Ask yourself: even if they had the power to do it, would the Dodgers truly void Manny's deal? He's going to be eligible to play on July 3rd. Don't you think Los Angeles would rather have him playing for them as opposed to the Giants, Mets or Cubs? It makes no sense that Frank McCourt would turn Manny into a free agent, because for all of the complaining about him, he's still an elite talent that is going to help someone's playoff push this season. For players less talented? The money isn't so big that it would make a huge difference anyway.