The player agrees to the following statements:
- "The Player agrees to perform his services hereunder diligently and faithfully, to keep himself in first-class physical condition and to obey the Club's training rules, and pledges himself to... conform to high standards of personal conduct, fair play and good sportsmanship."
- "The Player represents and agrees that he has exceptional and unique skill and ability as a baseball player; that his services to be rendered hereunder are of a special, unusual and extraordinary character which gives them peculiar value...and that the Player's breach of this contract will cause the Club great and irreparable injury and damage."
- "The Player agrees that, in addition to other remedies, the Club shall be entitled to injunctive and other equitable relief to prevent a breach of this contract by the Player, including, among others, the right to enjoin the Player from playing baseball for any other person or organization during the term of his contract."
- "Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed to restrict the rights of the Clubs to manage and direct their operations in any manner whatsoever except as specifically limited by the terms of this Agreement."
I certainly feel for the guy. He wants to play 2B, and he has every right to express this to management. But ultimately he doesn't get to make that decision. Ballclubs have the right to decide who plays where and when for them; that is how teams are able to make decisions to allow themselves to compete. It's a strange business, but I really do think this is fundamental to allowing clubs to do what they need to do to win baseball games.
Of course, this all may now all be a moot point, as Soriano has agreed to play left field this year, though somehow I wouldn't be surprised to see these issues come up again in the future. And, as I said before, it never should have come to this. This all should have been settled behind closed doors when the Nationals first acquired their talented young slugger. But Bowden never has been one for tact and decency. -j