In Baseball Land, the employees have a powerful union to protect their interests. And so, on Friday, the commissioner of baseball was reduced to issuing a statement that essentially said, "Yes, I would have suspended
In 1997, when the Walt Disney Co. owned the
An arbitrator overturned that suspension. This time, with Moreno as the Angels' owner, an arbitrator ruled Hamilton could not be suspended even though he admitted to using cocaine.
In each case, the overriding principle was this: The baseball owners had negotiated a collectively bargained agreement with the players, and the owners had to live up to it, like it or not.
In Hamilton's case, perhaps the agreement suffers from "deficiencies," as the commissioner's statement put it. Perhaps not, since the union believes the drug policy worked as intended.
The sides can take that up in what is shaping up to be an increasingly rancorous round of bargaining next year. It was just four days ago that the union vowed that the Chicago Cubs' decision to demote rookie slugger
But, make no mistake, Moreno is livid. He did not speak Friday morning, but the words of his lieutenants were loud and clear.
"It defies logic that Josh's reported behavior is not a violation of his drug program," Angels President John Carpino said.
"The Angels have serious concerns about Josh's conduct, health and behavior," General Manager
Although Phillips was reinstated by an arbitrator for the final weeks of the 1997 season, the Angels let him go as a free agent after the season. Could these be the final months of Hamilton's tenure with the Angels?
His first two years in Anaheim have been dreadful, a mix of injuries and ineffectiveness that frustrates his employers and some of his teammates. The Angels owe him $83 million through 2017.
In 2007, just after Moreno signed Gary Matthews Jr. for five years and $50 million, Matthews was reported to have received shipments of human growth hormone. Moreno was furious but powerless, and the two coexisted uneasily for three years, before the Angels dumped the underperforming outfielder on the
The Angels ended up paying Matthews all but $2 million. It is hard to believe Moreno would pay Hamilton even close to $83 million to go away, and maybe Hamilton comes back in May or June and starts hitting, finally.