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View Full Version : Bagwell arrives at Astros camp (2/24)



TeamBoone
02-25-2006, 03:55 PM
Not Reds replated, but I thought it was a nice story.

February 24, 2006
Bagwell arrives at Astros camp
By CHRIS DUNCAN, AP Sports Writer

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) -- The Houston Astros want their money. Jeff Bagwell wants to play.

The standoff between the NL champions and one of their most recognizable players took the expected awkward turn Friday when Bagwell arrived at spring training.

Bagwell had surgery in June on his right shoulder, and the Astros argue that Bagwell is too hurt to play. They filed an insurance claim in January to recoup about $15.6 million of the $17 million Bagwell is guaranteed this season.

"This is what I do, this is who I am," he said. "I can't just go away. That's not in my nature. I'm going to need a couple of weeks to see where I'm at and then make a decision from there."

The 37-year-old first baseman fielded grounders, made light throws and spent most of the team's first full-squad workout in the batting cage. He seemed relaxed but felt like the team's front office was watching every move.

"Just to get out here, get back on the field, I felt like it was a little bit of a trial camp today," Bagwell said. "I felt like I almost had to try and prove something, but yet I've got to sit back and say, `No, I don't, I just have to get ready for April 1."'

Bagwell, the Astros' starting first baseman for 15 seasons, has said the team wants him to quit and that the situation has created a rift that may never be resolved.

He said the start of this spring training was "a little awkward," with his role on the team questioned for the first time.

"For so long, it's been, `OK, he's playing first base. Don't even worry about him in spring training,"' Bagwell said. "But it's a different story now, and I fully understand that. That part has been a little weird for me, but that's the way it is right now."

Bagwell has dealt with the arthritic shoulder since 2001 and says the team has never raised the issue until now. He batted no lower than .266 in the four years prior to 2005, when he missed 115 games following shoulder surgery.

"I've had plenty of conversations (in past years) where I didn't know if I was going to be able to do it, but I've always found a way to do it," Bagwell said. "And that's why I'm here again."

Owner Drayton McLane addressed the NL champions before the workout and made a point to shake hands with Bagwell. McLane said the two talked briefly and that he wanted to meet with Bagwell in the next few days.

"It's like everything in life -- close relationships have different experiences as you go," McLane said. "I've been closer to Jeff than any other player in my history of the Astros. This is a difficult time for him, and that's where friends help friends and that's what I'm here to do."

McLane flew to San Diego a few weeks ago and met with Bagwell's agent, Barry Axelrod. Bagwell was receptive to the idea of meeting with McLane in Kissimmee.

"Eventually, he and I are going to have to sit down and talk. When that is, we'll figure it out at some point," Bagwell said.

Bagwell is the franchise's leader in home runs (449), RBIs (1,529) and runs (1,517). He returned late last season and could bat but could not throw. He went 1-for-8 with an RBI in the World Series.

Doctors hired by the Astros to examine Bagwell last month told the club that Bagwell's shoulder was still damaged and that the team could no longer expect him to be productive.

"His shoulder is impaired, there's no question about that from anybody," manager Phil Garner said. "But definitely, you can make too much of what you see or don't see today."

Bagwell said he was mad at the Astros for the way the process has unfolded.

"I understand the business side of baseball," he said. "If I cannot play baseball this year and I am physically unable to play with the Houston Astros, trust me, I want them to collect as much insurance as possible. I'll write the letter. That's not an issue for me. But I just want the chance to see if I can play."


http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=AgKNm.IOE9MwWxDkQSlIasYRvLYF?slug=ap-astros-bagwell&prov=ap&type=lgns

dougflynn23
02-25-2006, 04:03 PM
:) Jeff Bagwell is perhaps my favorite non-Red ever. I love how he plays the game and how hard he worked at it to become a great player. He has the sweetest RH swing I've ever witnessed, and he's a class act to boot.

This is where the MLBPA needs to step in and allow Bagwell a dispensation to void his 2006 contract and work out a new deal with a low base and a high opportunity for incentive clauses if his ability to play is still in doubt 3-4 weeks from now. Right now it's hard to blame Houston. If Bagwell decides in May he's ready to play, plays a few games and can't go on, they're out $15.6M. Hopefully the MLBPA can give Bagwell & his people some sort of exception to their guidelines and let them work out some type of compromise.

KronoRed
02-25-2006, 04:42 PM
This is going to make the Astros look bad.

I'm gonna enjoy it ;)

traderumor
02-25-2006, 06:50 PM
Does everything have to be about money? This is similar crap that made Larkin's exit uglier than it ever had to be and both parties are unnecessarily tarnished in the process. Why not just let a loyal star blaze out gracefully on their terms when they're not asking for the moon? And yes, I know its a business, I'm a businessman myself, but sometimes doing the right thing may cost a few dimes, but in the long run, I think it earns respect and any lost resources will be recovered, and if not, so what if you do the right thing.

traderumor
02-25-2006, 06:53 PM
And, before someone points it out, I was not always on Larkin's side in the way his exits happened, but you live, watch and learn, and it is fair to say at this point that the Reds could've done things much better and let Barry leave in a better way. And I say the same for the Astros here--back off, let things take their course and quit worrying about the money.

dougflynn23
02-25-2006, 08:26 PM
Does everything have to be about money? This is similar crap that made Larkin's exit uglier than it ever had to be and both parties are unnecessarily tarnished in the process. Why not just let a loyal star blaze out gracefully on their terms when they're not asking for the moon? And yes, I know its a business, I'm a businessman myself, but sometimes doing the right thing may cost a few dimes, but in the long run, I think it earns respect and any lost resources will be recovered, and if not, so what if you do the right thing. :) Normally I'd be with you on that, especially regarding Jeff Bagwell, but comparing this to Barry Larkin's situation is apples to oranges. Bagwell is likely finished as a full time player, and could very well be finished completely. $16.5M is more than a "few dimes", and if he even plays 1 game or gets 1 at bat the Astros are on the hook for all of it. The Astros and Jeff Bagwell need to come to a compromise on this.

KYRedsFan
02-25-2006, 09:01 PM
Clemens and Bagwell, another segment in the Days of Our Lives Houston edition. Should be good times in stros camp.

traderumor
02-25-2006, 10:25 PM
:) Normally I'd be with you on that, especially regarding Jeff Bagwell, but comparing this to Barry Larkin's situation is apples to oranges. Bagwell is likely finished as a full time player, and could very well be finished completely. $16.5M is more than a "few dimes", and if he even plays 1 game or gets 1 at bat the Astros are on the hook for all of it. The Astros and Jeff Bagwell need to come to a compromise on this.Not really apples to oranges, since the principal is loyalty, not how much money was/is due, but I see your point. Regardless, too bad they signed an old player to a hefty contract and now want to tell him to get lost so they can collect the insurance money. If he is physically unable to perform, then he's physically unable to perform. If not, then they eat a bad contract just like any other team.

cincinnati chili
02-25-2006, 11:00 PM
I'm 1000% in favor of the Astros on this one.

Particularly, after I heard that Bagwell refused to speak to the owner last year, when it was rumored they might pursue this avenue. Bagwell looks worse in all of this than the Astros, IMO.

bianchiveloce
02-25-2006, 11:17 PM
:) Jeff Bagwell is perhaps my favorite non-Red ever. I love how he plays the game and how hard he worked at it to become a great player. He has the sweetest RH swing I've ever witnessed, and he's a class act to boot.

This is where the MLBPA needs to step in and allow Bagwell a dispensation to void his 2006 contract and work out a new deal with a low base and a high opportunity for incentive clauses if his ability to play is still in doubt 3-4 weeks from now. Right now it's hard to blame Houston. If Bagwell decides in May he's ready to play, plays a few games and can't go on, they're out $15.6M. Hopefully the MLBPA can give Bagwell & his people some sort of exception to their guidelines and let them work out some type of compromise.

I agree 100% with the above statement. Houston should give Bagwell an opportunity to live up to the contract. But, I also believe Bagwell should be willing to compromise if he is not able to meet a reasonable Major League performance level. I'm not sure how the player's Union feels about all this; but if they try to enforce Houston to pay the full amount of the deal if he can't play at a Major League level, then the Union runs the risk of some serious backlash and a whole lot of bad public relations in the next labor agreement.

Houston has had two very difficult decisions to make this off season in regards to Bagwell and Clemens. You are right, DougFlynn23, I really can not blame Houston for looking out for the long term best interests of the club. We are talking in terms of millions of dollars rather than a few hundred thousands of dollars.

Just as Houston should do the "right thing," so should Bagwell do the "right thing."

As a dyed in the wool Cincinnati Reds fan, I too look forward to how this drama will be played out in Houston. Always fun to see a divisional rival going thru hard times. How will it end: a comedy, a bloody horror, an ever lasting love story, or a tragic heroic epic?

Chip R
02-25-2006, 11:31 PM
This is going to be a tough one to work out. After reading traderumor's post I agreed with Doug in regards to the comparisons to the Larkin situation. Now I'm not so sure. Doug has a valid point in that the Larkin situation wasn't necessarily about the money since Larkin was only getting paid around $1M a year. But the situations are similar in that there are two proud athletes that are at the end of the line and still feel like they can play when they really can't. If both sides are smart they will come to a compromise. Bags retires and HOU gives him, say half of his salary. Call it a bribe, a bonus, a goodbye present, even severence pay.

Jpup
02-26-2006, 05:05 AM
it's amazing how old guys get when they are not on the "juice" anymore. I find it a strange double standard when people talk about what a great guy Bagwell is, but they bash Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi into the ground.

traderumor
02-26-2006, 03:55 PM
it's amazing how old guys get when they are not on the "juice" anymore. I find it a strange double standard when people talk about what a great guy Bagwell is, but they bash Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi into the ground.
It would be a double standard if there was indisputable evidence that Bagwell was a juicer.

traderumor
02-26-2006, 03:57 PM
I'm 1000% in favor of the Astros on this one.

Particularly, after I heard that Bagwell refused to speak to the owner last year, when it was rumored they might pursue this avenue. Bagwell looks worse in all of this than the Astros, IMO.What about the responsibility for writing the contract to an old player?

cincinnati chili
02-26-2006, 04:14 PM
What about the responsibility for writing the contract to an old player?

I have to believe that the Astros only agreed to that contract after making sure that an insurance company would insure it. For example, I know that the Cardinals weren't going to give Rolen that contract until it got insured.

The only way I side with Bagwell on this is if he's clearly physically able to perform during spring this year. Last year he's was not, and the Astros are reasonable to assume that he won't be once again.

traderumor
02-26-2006, 04:43 PM
I have to believe that the Astros only agreed to that contract after making sure that an insurance company would insure it. For example, I know that the Cardinals weren't going to give Rolen that contract until it got insured.

The only way I side with Bagwell on this is if he's clearly physically able to perform during spring this year. Last year he's was not, and the Astros are reasonable to assume that he won't be once again.See, that's the part that seems unfair to me on Houston's part. He has earned the chance to try to perform, and I believe that they have spring training to determine that, if I understand the issue properly.

tts1stros
02-26-2006, 04:53 PM
There are so many bad things about this situation I don't know where to begin, but:

* January 31st was the deadline to file an insurance claim. So the Astros had to guess, on January 31st - while Bagwell was midway through rehab - if he would be OK for the season. Now we have the ugliest possible situation: The Astros are saying he can't play, and Bagwell is saying he can. Bad blood begins to boil. Why wasn't this date closer to the end of Spring Training? Whichever Astros executive thought January 31st was an OK date should be fired.

* Drayton McLane would LOVE for Bagwell to come back and prove everyone wrong. (The contract originally stated if Bagwell shows up for Spring Training, there was no payout. Drayton talked to the insurance company and got that clause dropped.) But we're talking about betting $16 million against the opinions of two world renowned experts. If you're the Astros, of course you file a claim.

* Those who say the money shouldn't matter are being very generous with other people's money. $15.6 million is a LOT of money. It's more than Adam Dunn's highest $$$ option year. It would make him the 7th highest paid player in baseball - and he wouldn't be able to throw the ball as far as a 10 year old.

If you want my prediction on what happens:

I don't think the Astros have a prayer of collecting on this policy. Jeff Bagwell will be the Opening Day starter at 1B. He'll be in enormous pain from Day 1. He'll start taking more and more games off because of his shoulder. Midseason, he'll go on the DL, and he'll never come back. Bagwell will retire during the season because his shoulder won't allow him to come back.

But if he goes down, this will NOT deter the team from taking on salary if necessary. As an owner, McLane has done his share of bonehead things. But he's been willing to do what it takes when we have a chance. When he first came here, he lost huge $$$ on big free agent busts like Mitch Williams, Doug Drabek, and Greg Swindell. It didn't stop him from going after Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens. He's paid to keep Bagwell and Biggio Astros they're whole careers. He made a serious ($100 million+) run at Carlos Beltran, and was willing to take on Griffey and Tejada's contracts in trades. So I doubt the fate of the 2006 Houston Astros rests on Jeff Bagwell.

Chip R
02-26-2006, 05:04 PM
The only way I side with Bagwell on this is if he's clearly physically able to perform during spring this year. Last year he's was not, and the Astros are reasonable to assume that he won't be once again.

Who would make the determination that he's physically unable to perform? Bagwell? The Astros? The Astros' team doctor? Doctor(s) selected by the insurance company? The former three all have a conflict of interest. Bags thinks he can play, the Astros don't. The team doctor works for the Astros so he may be under some pressure to decide in favor of the Astros. Would doctors selected by the insurance company be able to decide whether Bags can play ball? We all have seen examples of players who were not supposed to play ball because of an injury play anyway and perform adequately to well. What if a doctor says that Bags is in a little better shape than he was last fall when he was on the NLCS and World Series roster? Wouldn't that hurt the Astros' case?

IslandRed
02-26-2006, 06:05 PM
I'm not sure how the player's Union feels about all this; but if they try to enforce Houston to pay the full amount of the deal if he can't play at a Major League level, then the Union runs the risk of some serious backlash and a whole lot of bad public relations in the next labor agreement.

It's not hard to guess why the MLBPA's stance is against Bagwell "renegotiating" -- they feel, and based on baseball history they're probably right, that if a club is allowed to pressure a player into renegotiating or terminating a guaranteed contract just because he got hurt, that it'll become SOP.

That probably wouldn't bother some of you, and that's fair enough. But if a deal's not a deal, then prepare for the return of holdouts. What's good for the goose and all that.

tts1stros
02-26-2006, 06:24 PM
:) Jeff Bagwell is perhaps my favorite non-Red ever....He has the sweetest RH swing I've ever witnessed, and he's a class act to boot.
Sorry, man...I have to laugh. Have you ever seen Bagwell's batting stance?

I think Ken Caminiti's the one who said "Bagwell's the only player I know who can practice hitting while he's on the john."

bianchiveloce
02-26-2006, 07:20 PM
Who would make the determination that he's physically unable to perform? Bagwell? The Astros? The Astros' team doctor? Doctor(s) selected by the insurance company? The former three all have a conflict of interest. Bags thinks he can play, the Astros don't. The team doctor works for the Astros so he may be under some pressure to decide in favor of the Astros. Would doctors selected by the insurance company be able to decide whether Bags can play ball? We all have seen examples of players who were not supposed to play ball because of an injury play anyway and perform adequately to well. What if a doctor says that Bags is in a little better shape than he was last fall when he was on the NLCS and World Series roster? Wouldn't that hurt the Astros' case?

It wouldn't surprise me to see an arbitrator involved with this case somewhere down the line.

cincinnati chili
02-27-2006, 06:24 AM
Who would make the determination that he's physically unable to perform? Bagwell? The Astros? The Astros' team doctor? Doctor(s) selected by the insurance company? The former three all have a conflict of interest. Bags thinks he can play, the Astros don't. The team doctor works for the Astros so he may be under some pressure to decide in favor of the Astros. Would doctors selected by the insurance company be able to decide whether Bags can play ball? We all have seen examples of players who were not supposed to play ball because of an injury play anyway and perform adequately to well. What if a doctor says that Bags is in a little better shape than he was last fall when he was on the NLCS and World Series roster? Wouldn't that hurt the Astros' case?

I really don't know. You would THINK that when there's this much money involved, the lawyers were prescient enough to set out some objective and clear criteria to answer this stuff.

You'd think.

cincinnati chili
02-27-2006, 06:26 AM
Those who say the money shouldn't matter are being very generous with other people's money. $15.6 million is a LOT of money. It's more than Adam Dunn's highest $$$ option year. It would make him the 7th highest paid player in baseball - and he wouldn't be able to throw the ball as far as a 10 year old.

This whole post was really good, but I especially agree with this.