Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said he thinks the New York Yankees have grounds not to pay Alex Rodriguez a $6-million marketing bonus for tying Willie Mays for fourth place on the career home run list.
When Rodriguez signed a $275-million, 10-year contract with the Yankees in December 2007, the sides also agreed to a separate deal that called for $6 million each for up to five milestone accomplishments, payable within 15 days of designation by the team.
The accomplishments were contemplated to be Rodriguez hitting home runs 660, 714, 755, 762 and 763. In exchange for each designation, he would give the Yankees marketing rights, such as using his name and image in selling licensed goods.
After Rodriguez hit No. 660 on May 1, New York refused to make the payment. The Yankees said making the payment was their right and not an obligation.
"The Yankees have a well-founded legal position," Manfred said Thursday.
Rodriguez returned to the Yankees this year after serving a season-long drug suspension.
Under baseball's labor contract, a grievance must be filed within 45 days of the occurrence on which it is based, unless the sides agree to a different timetable. Unless the case is settled, it would be heard by an arbitrator.
"If there's a dispute over it, it'll get handled in the ordinary course," Manfred said.
Rodriguez is hitting .246 with 10 homers and 22 RBIs, playing primarily as a designated hitter.
"Alex has done a great job re-entering in a difficult situation," Manfred said. "Whenever a player is suspended, it's difficult to return to the field and, you know, he's played well, and good for him. I'm pleased for him."
Rose's role for All-Star game to be determined
Pete Rose's role at the All-Star game in Cincinnati will be determined by Major League Baseball and the Reds after they determine what other obligations the banned career hits leader has.
Rose began work as a studio analyst for Fox this month. The network will broadcast the game, which is being played in Rose's hometown on July 14.
"We're in conversations with the Reds about the specifics of his involvement at the All-Star game and it relates to Pete's employment, where he's committed, what he's going to be available for," baseball Manfred said Thursday.
"That's one of those issues that will be resolved. It's just a question of nailing the details down," he said.
Rose agreed to a lifetime ban in 1989 after an MLB investigation concluded he bet on Reds' games while managing the team. He has applied for reinstatement, but Manfred has not given a timetable for a decision.
Manfred doesn't think Rose's presence will detract from the game.
"The idea that any individual could overshadow the great players that we're going to have at the All-Star game in Cincinnati is just not something that seems realistic to me," he said.
Rose generally is not allowed in parts of ballparks not open to fans. MLB allowed him to take part in the All-Century team announcement at Atlanta's Turner Field during the 1999 World Series and a Reds ceremony in 2013 honoring their 1975 and '76 championship teams.