Questions: releasing a player, guaranteed contracts, Pena contract


Once again, thank you all for offering up your wisdom to someone who does not understand everything there is to know about baseball.

1.  When does a team (or does a team ever) have the right to release a player without pay?  As an example, would the Denny Neagle situation be one in which a team could outright release a player without paying them?  I am assuming that poor behavior is not a reason to refuse to pay the player given the whole Milton Bradley incident.  That said, is "criminal or dangerous" behavior one in which the team could release the player without pay?

Clearly, Zambrano's agent told him to wise up and take his guaranteed money.  However, let's say the guy refused to play.  Could the Cubs cut him, or do they still have to play him even though he refuses to participate? Or let's say he constantly engages in dangerous behavior, i.e., keeps throwing at players, which could hurt someone thereby necessitating benching him and not letting him pitch.  Would that allow the team to cut him without paying him?

I would assume if a player commits a crime (felony) then that would give the right to cut the player?  Perhaps not given that K-Rod was still allowed to earn his contract despite an assualt charge.  What if a player bets on games involving his own team?  Or, is it that in baseball there are no options but to pay the player regardless of the behavior he engages in?

I know it's more of a theoretical question, but I was just curious.  Are there ANY situations where a team can cut a player without pay?


2.  In football and in basketball, the commissioner can put his foot down if a player engages in conduct "detrimental to the league or sport" and take action including (as I understand it) unpaid suspensions.  Is this allowed in baseball?  Or is the commissioner a helpless spectator?  Clearly they can get involved in situations involving the owners as seen in the recent situation with the Dodgers.  Can they get involved in situations involving players?


3.  It stated that Zambrano will not be paid this month.  Does that mean that next month he gets paid twice as much to add up to his guaranteed contract?  Or does he actually lose money?  If it is the former, it is not much in the way of punishement, is it?


4. I don't want to beat a dead horse, but, to explain my confusion, I bring up trades involving other teams.

2006:  The Cleveland Indians trade Eduardo Perez (on his last leg and nearly 40 years old) for Asdrubal Cabrera

2006:  The Cleveland Indians trade Ben Broussard for Shin Soo Choo.

2009:  The Cleveland Indians trade Mark DeRosa for Chris Perez

2008:  The Pittsburgh Pirates trade Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte to the New York Yankees, receiving Jose Tabata, Dan McCutchen, Jeff Karstens, and Ross Ohlendorf

The main question I have here is regarding Carlos Pena.  I believe he is being paid $5 million next year.  Is he under contract for next year?  Or is this just some strange way of paying him $10 million THIS year and making us pay for it next year?

If he is not under contract for next year, and if Hendry himself admitted that we are not in contention for next year, then why wouldn't Pena be traded?  While I do realize other teams may not have been offering him very much, wouldn't you try to get whatever you can?  The trades above highlight players who in my estimation are much less valuable to teams than Pena would have been to a contender this year.  It makes little sense why Pena would have been pulled off of the trade market.

Is there a hope that Pena will sign with us next year, i.e., is Hendry attempting to extend his contract with the Cubs?  Why not trade him and then just sign him next year?  That is what the Indians did with Austin Kearns last year, and ended up trading for Zach McAllister (who has been an outstanding prospect) in the interim. 

If this has been asked and answered before, please forgive me, but I am trying to understand the rationale.  I am sure Mr. Hendry and the Cubs front office is not stupid, so I am simply grasping for a plausible, reasonable explanation.


Thank you again for all of your answers!

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of SB Nation or Al Yellon, managing editor (unless it's a FanPost posted by Al). FanPost opinions are valued expressions of opinion by passionate and knowledgeable baseball fans.

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