PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Michael Weiner, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, addressed the Mets on Tuesday and afterward spoke publicly about issues involving the Mets, including Francisco Rodriguez's contract and the $17.5 million vesting option, which would be triggered by his finishing 55 games this season.
The question of if the club would limit Rodriguez's use to avoid having to play him for the 2012 season has been raised this spring. Manager Terry Collins has previously said he would not let that factor into his managerial decisions.
Said Weiner: "I have every expectation that the Mets are going to honor both the Basic Agreement and Frankie's contract. There is arbitration precedent that deals with that. It essentially says that a club's decisions for using a player have to be motivated by trying to win. There is arbitration precedent that makes clear that a team cannot sit a player down or decline to use him in order to prevent him from earning a bonus or having a year vest."
And about the Wilpon-Madoff matter, which the club has consistently said will not affect baseball operations, Weiner said: "We want to make sure all contractual obligations are honored, and we've been assured by the Commissioner's Office that that is the case. So there is no concern there.
"As far as broader questions ... Look, it's in the interests of everybody associated with baseball that the National League franchise in New York be a strong franchise. The Wilpons have always attempted to field competitive teams during their tenure, and we certainly hope they're in a position to do that.
"The key to a strong player market is having a number of different clubs out there competing for players. We know that in any given year, you're not going to have 30 clubs out there competing for players. That's just not the way it is. ... Whether it's the Mets, whether it's the Dodgers, whether it's frankly the Twins, the Tigers or any club ... if there is something that's going to prevent them from participating as they normally would in whatever cycle that would be in bidding for players, that's a concern for us.
"At this point, we have been assured through the Commissioner's Office that the Mets are going to be able to operate as they have."