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Angels in hot water over teenagers’ lawsuit that could send shockwaves to rest of MLB

Arte Moreno, Angels

The Los Angeles Angels find themselves in the middle of another lawsuit this season. Unlike some of their other legal battles, though, this news has some serious implications for how the MLB will operate in the future. The lawsuit was filed by two Dominican prospects, who claimed that L.A. reneged on a verbal agreement with the two players.

According to the lawsuit (filed in the Dominican Republic), Willy Fañas and Keiderson Pavon were approached by the Angels when they were 14 and 15, respectively. The two players agreed to deals with the team ($1.8 million for Fañas, $425,000 for Pavon) that they will sign when they turn 16. However, after a change in the front office, the team reportedly backed out of the deal.

The Angels aren’t the only team making verbal agreements with prospects. In fact, it’s apparently common practice amongst MLB teams to contact players before they can officially sign with a team. Handshake deals between prospects/players and teams are as common as a 90+ mph fastball in the MLB.

It’s also just as common for teams to back out of said handshake deals at the last second. With no official contract signed, their verbal agreement doesn’t hold any weight legally. That is what the lawsuit against the Angels is trying to change, according to the prospects’ lawyer Jose Jerez. (via ESPN)

“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.