Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Francisco Rodriguez, Mets settle
By Adam Rubin
NEW YORK -- Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez's confrontation with his girlfriend's father at Citi Field on Aug. 11 proved costly.
Rodriguez officially agreed Tuesday to forfeit $3.14 million in salary already withheld by the organization. In turn, the Mets reactivated Rodriguez from the disqualified list and restored his contract to guaranteed under the original terms, the sides announced.
Rodriguez is owed $11.5 million in 2011. He has a vesting option for $17.5 million for 2012 if he finishes 55 games next season and remains healthy. Otherwise, he would receive a $3.5 million buyout.
The sides had been scheduled for a grievance hearing this week in New York before arbitrator Shyam Das over the Mets' conversion of Rodriguez's contract to nonguaranteed and the withholding of the $3.14 million. That hearing was adjourned with the sides nearing an agreement.
"As I have expressed in the past, I deeply regret the incident that occurred on August 11, 2010," Rodriguez said in a statement. "I sincerely apologize to [owners] Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz, Mets fans, my teammates, and the entire Mets organization. I have worked hard since the incident to make myself a better person and member of this organization. I have been participating in an anger management program since August, and I will continue in the program for the foreseeable future. I feel that anger management counseling is undoubtedly making me a better person and a better father, and will make me a better teammate and member of this great organization."
Rodriguez required season-ending surgery for a torn right thumb ligament as a result of the incident. He acknowledged in his statement that the injury resulted from the altercation with his girlfriend's father, Carlos Pena.
"I am responsible for my injury that occurred as a result of this incident, and prevented me from finishing the season with the Mets," Rodriguez said. "As a result, I have instructed the Major League Baseball Players Association not to pursue the issue raised in the grievance regarding payment of my salary during the time that I was injured. Personally, in this situation, I do not feel that it is right for me to take a salary for the period of time in which I could not contribute as a player as a result of my off-field actions."
Rodriguez appears to be recovering from the surgery. He plans to pitch in winter ball in his native Venezuela as soon as the first week of November.
Rodriguez added that he planned to make annual $100,000 contributions to New York-area charities.
Rodriguez still has misdemeanor criminal charges pending that could result in a maximum of two years in jail. However, criminal attorney Christopher Booth recently said he expected that matter to be settled before the next scheduled hearing in Queens Criminal Court on Nov. 10.
"I appreciate the faith and support that this organization has shown me throughout this matter," Rodriguez said. "I look forward to being a part of the 2011 Mets and hopefully beyond. I want to put these issues behind me, and behind this organization and its fans. I have instructed my attorneys to work toward amicably resolving the other legal matters resulting from this incident. I want my focus to be on my family, my team and being the best closer in baseball in 2011."
The Mets issued a statement from chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon: "We are pleased that Frankie Rodriguez has accepted responsibility for his actions and their consequences. We have been assured that he is taking steps to address the issues that led to the incident, and that those efforts will continue. We have also been assured that he will work hard both on and off the field to regain the trust of the organization, Mets fans and the community."
Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNLosAngeles.com.