Prospects Willy Fañas and Keiderson Pavon are suing the Los Angeles Angels in a Dominican Republic court, alleging the organization did not honor their verbal agreements to sign them.
Fañas reached a deal with the Angels for $1.8 million when he was 14 years old, and Pavon for $425,000 as a 15-year-old.
Players from outside the United States and Canada are not officially allowed to sign until they are 16 years old, but top prospects regularly reach handshake deals with teams when they are as young as 12.
Jose Jerez, a lawyer representing Fañas and Pavon, believes his clients have a strong argument against the Angels in court, via ESPN’s Jeff Passan:
“We understand that the law is on our side. Our clients didn’t make any violations of their obligation, and they have completed all their obligations. Anaheim, they changed their position unilaterally without our consent. … This change of position without justification, we think this is the most important thing here that we will debate in the court.”
If Fañas and Pavon are successful, several MLB executives believes teams and players will be more reluctant to back out of verbal agreements in the future:
The potential consequences of the civil actions, which were filed in May 2021 and have not previously been reported, are enormous beyond the millions of dollars in damages Fañas and Pavon are seeking. Hundreds of early deals are agreed to by teams and players each year but the practice would be far less prevalent if a judge deems them legally binding, four high-ranking team executives told ESPN.
The case will depend on whether the judge agrees that verbal agreements are legally binding. A resolution isn’t expected until next year as witnesses will not take the stand until Nov. 30.
One possible solution to prevent this situation from happening again is the implementation of an international draft. One was discussed by MLB and the Players Association (MLBPA) during collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations, but a deal never came to fruition.
Rendon could return to Angels before end of season
Anthony Rendon last appeared in a game for the Angels on June 14, and after undergoing wrist surgery later that month, he is finally inching closer to getting back on the field.
Angels head athletic trainer Mike Frostad said Rendon could return before the end of the regular season if he continues making progress next week.