The Los Angeles Angels could be in some trouble, as they face a lawsuit from two former international prospects.
"According to Passan, “At an Aug. 31 hearing, lawyers continued to argue the cases of Willy Fañas and Keiderson Pavon, who alleged in court filings that they agreed to deals with the Angels — Fañas for $1.8 million when he was 14 years old and Pavon for $425,000 as a 15-year-old — but that they were not honored following a change in the organization’s front office.”"
Considering players from outside the U.S. aren’t allowed to sign until they’re 16 years old, this could prove difficult for both the Angels and the league itself. Los Angeles allegedly provided a ‘verbal contract’ of sorts to both players when they were younger, and didn’t follow up.
The players reportedly have video evidence which shows them agreeing to contracts with the team, according to Passan.
Lawyer: Angels lawsuit could set a precedent
The Dominican Justice System gives plenty of weight to verbal contracts, which is where this differs with U.S. law. The fact that said case would be held in the DR hurts the Angels even more. This is far from the first time teams (or even players) have backed out of verbal agreements. However, having the said verbal contract on video could make the Angels liable. The lawyer of Fañas and Pavon views their case as potentially system-altering.
“If these players don’t present this claim to a judge, it will be repeated,” said Jose Jerez, per ESPN. “It’s a matter of conscience. It’s important. People need to know this kind of agreement exists. If this does not have consequences, it will continue happening in the future. If Major League Baseball doesn’t force the teams to honor their agreements, this judgment won’t necessarily stop the practice, but it’ll be a precedent. That’s what we’re pursuing: a precedent.”
An international draft, of course, could help avoid messy situations like these. But the league and MLBPA have yet to agree to such terms.
Los Angeles Angels don’t have much going for them
The best assets the Angels currently have are multi-talented ace Shohei Ohtani and slugger Mike Trout. Ohtani is a weapon who’s been utilized as a starting pitcher and designated hitter this season and has excelled at both. Trout has been reliable and brought power to the lineup that’s difficult to come by. They are two of the best players in the sport.
According to FanGraphs, there’s no chance of Los Angeles making the playoffs. With potential legal trouble now in the picture, they could be setting themselves up for more failure.