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Friday, July 25, 2014

BA Report: MLBPA Files Grievance Against Astros Over Aiken, Nix, Marshall

When the Astros found an irregularity in Aiken’s elbow during a physical, they backed out of their $6.5 million agreement and reduced their offer. The two sides could not complete a deal before Friday’s deadline, which meant the Astros no longer had the money to honor their agreement with Nix (who passed his physical) without forfeiting a pair of future first-round picks.

The MLB players’ union indicated Friday that it was concerned about the way the two players were treated by the Astros, and the filing of a grievance was one possible avenue to pursue.

The grievance could be aimed at either forcing Houston to honor its agreement with Aiken or to get him declared a free agent. The other options available to Aiken and Nix are to attend UCLA and re-enter the draft in three years; to enroll at a junior college and re-enter the draft next year; or to play in an independent league for a year. Mac Marshall is the third player and Astros draft pick involved, according to the report.

eddieot Posted: July 25, 2014 at 12:47 PM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, brady aiken, mlbpa

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   1. asinwreck Posted: July 25, 2014 at 05:09 PM (#4757765)
If, somehow, the Astros are compelled to honor their agreement with Nix, would MLB actually enforce the forfeiture of those two draft picks? And if that happened, would Jim Crane fire Jeff Luhnow for managing this fiasco?
   2. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 25, 2014 at 05:20 PM (#4757772)
It’s unclear how the grievance might impact Marshall, since it does not appear his school eligibility would be in question. As Fitt reported, if the NCAA determines that Aiken and Nix did in fact agree to terms (as many media reports say they have), they would be ineligible even though the Astros backed out of the deals, according to an NCAA official.


If the NCAA declares Aiken and Nix ineligible (and I wouldn't put it past them), IMHO the only [decent] thing for the MLB to do would be to declare Nix a FA... Not sure about Aiken but I could be persuaded (he wouldn't be the first guy to have deal fall apart after a [disputed] physical, but Nix just got royally screwed over)
   3. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 25, 2014 at 05:59 PM (#4757806)

I've been one of the earliest and most consistent critics of the Astros' front office, but Nix's alleged victimhood in this has been massively overblown. He demanded a bonus roughly four to five times that of his R5 slot and had the same agent as Aiken. There's no way in hell all parties didn't understand that there was no contract with Nix unless Aiken signed first. The union — which insisted on this system in the first place — is just blowing smoke.
   4. Boxkutter Posted: July 25, 2014 at 06:02 PM (#4757807)
So, does this mean that the Astros, are in fact, having their kids taken away?
   5. Squash Posted: July 25, 2014 at 09:23 PM (#4757894)
He demanded a bonus roughly four to five times that of his R5 slot and had the same agent as Aiken.

I don't have tons of sympathy for Nix, as the reason guys like him drop is because their bonus demands are seen as in excess of their actual value (otherwise they would be drafted at a spot commensurate with the bonus they are looking for) or, much more rarely, they are seen as absolutely determined to go to college no matter what, but what round a guy is drafted in isn't really pertinent here. The Astros knew what Nix wanted and chose to take him there anyway.
   6. kthejoker Posted: July 25, 2014 at 09:24 PM (#4757895)
The Astros taking Nix was always contingent on Aiken going under slot, which obviously implies that they'd sign Aiken and have his money in their pool. No Aiken, no Nix. Pretty cut and dry and pretty much how the system is designed. This is CBA material, not an actual grievance.
   7. cardsfanboy Posted: July 25, 2014 at 09:44 PM (#4757901)
The Astros taking Nix was always contingent on Aiken going under slot, which obviously implies that they'd sign Aiken and have his money in their pool. No Aiken, no Nix. Pretty cut and dry and pretty much how the system is designed. This is CBA material, not an actual grievance.


But the Astros negotiated a deal with Nix, and Aiken that would have met those demands, then rewrote the deal with Aiken that got refused and threw the entire thing out of whack. I have no sympathy for the Astros here, and I'm a guy who wants to see Luhnow succeed.

Everything about this feels like the Astros trying to manipulate the system, so I'm hoping that any judgement on this goes massively against them. Whether they followed the rules or not, it feels like they tried to bend the spirit and intent of the rules.

   8. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 25, 2014 at 09:53 PM (#4757905)
I've been one of the earliest and most consistent critics of the Astros' front office, but Nix's alleged victimhood in this has been massively overblown. He demanded a bonus roughly four to five times that of his R5 slot and had the same agent as Aiken. There's no way in hell all parties didn't understand that there was no contract with Nix unless Aiken signed first. The union — which insisted on this system in the first place — is just blowing smoke.


Yep, this is how I understand it as well. I think it very unlikely Aiken or Nix is going to get anything about of his legal pursuit.
   9. Ziggy Posted: July 25, 2014 at 11:21 PM (#4757929)
Why would the MLBPA want these guys to be FA? That would just mean less money for their actual members.
   10. Hank G. Posted: July 25, 2014 at 11:52 PM (#4757938)
Whether they followed the rules or not, it feels like they tried to bend the spirit and intent of the rules.


The spirit and intent of the rules seems to be to screw the players being signed, so they pretty much followed them, albeit in a different way than the intended way.
   11. Bhaakon Posted: July 26, 2014 at 02:08 AM (#4757954)
The spirit and intent of the rules seems to be to screw the players being signed, so they pretty much followed them, albeit in a different way than the intended way.



Indeed. The whole idea of using a bonus pool instead of hard slotting is to allow situations like this--signing one pick for less so that you can sign another for more. Otherwise there would be no reason not to just assign a take-it-or-leave it bonus number to each pick. Honestly, I'm more outraged that Nix and Aiken had the same agent than I am about the Astros following the obvious intent of the rules here (not that the agent behaved dishonorably, just that it's a blatant conflict of interest).

The reason it leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth is because Aiken "failed" his physical on something that isn't even an injury. People are uncomfortable with the idea of being judged on things like DNA profiles, and this is only one step removed from that. If they'd found out that his UCL had snapped, no one would be complaining, but he's actually perfectly healthy.
   12. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: July 26, 2014 at 08:56 AM (#4757972)
The spirit and intent of the rules

I've always felt that the idea of rules having "spirits" is silly: something is either a rule, or it ain't. Don't want people countermanding your rules by thinking up workarounds? Write better rules.
   13. Bhaakon Posted: July 27, 2014 at 01:51 AM (#4758292)
I've always felt that the idea of rules having "spirits" is silly: something is either a rule, or it ain't. Don't want people countermanding your rules by thinking up workarounds? Write better rules.


Of course there's a spirit or intent behind the rule, otherwise they wouldn't need to be re-worked when loopholes or unanticipated corner cases were found.
   14. bfan Posted: July 27, 2014 at 07:26 AM (#4758315)
The reason it leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth is because Aiken "failed" his physical on something that isn't even an injury. People are uncomfortable with the idea of being judged on things like DNA profiles, and this is only one step removed from that. If they'd found out that his UCL had snapped, no one would be complaining, but he's actually perfectly healthy.


Interesting comment. There are teams that draft pitchers higher than expected because they have less wear and tear (Braves picked Josh Hursh in part because he had TJ surgery already, and had college less innings on his arm), and teams do (or should) shy away from pitchers from schools like UNC, who routinely offer high pitch opportunities. It is not the same as DNA testing or a flawed x-ray, but teams are judging based upon past use, and that's not bad, is it?
   15. AROM Posted: July 27, 2014 at 08:48 AM (#4758329)
" Honestly, I'm more outraged that Nix and Aiken had the same agent than I am about the Astros following the obvious intent of the rules here (not that the agent behaved dishonorably, just that it's a blatant conflict of interest). "

Unavoidable. There are by necessity a lot more players than agents. I would assume that among the 20-30 Astro draftees who signed, at least some of them were also represented by Close.
   16. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 27, 2014 at 08:50 AM (#4758330)
But the Astros negotiated a deal with Nix, and Aiken that would have met those demands, then rewrote the deal with Aiken that got refused and threw the entire thing out of whack.


No, the agreement with Nix was contingent on Aiken signing, and Aiken signing was contingent on him passing his physical. If the thing on which the deal is contingent doesn't happen, then there's no deal.

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