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Source: Josh Hamilton’s contract does not have any special provisions regarding substance abuse

josh hamilton getty

Earlier this evening Angels owner Arte Moreno told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times that the Angels have language in Josh Hamilton’s contract regarding a drug relapse and the club may try to enforce it, suggesting that they’ll claw back money, void his deal or something in that vein.

I’m not sure what Moreno is on about here, but I spoke with a source familiar with Josh Hamilton’s contract this evening who tells me that Hamilton’s contract has language regarding substance abuse that is no different than that contained in Albert Pujols’ deal, Mike Trout’s deal and every other Angels’ player’s deal. Specifically, boilerplate about banned substances that are all subservient to that which is contained in the Joint Drug Agreement and Collective Bargaining Agreement. There are no special riders or provisions specific to Josh Hamilton or his drug history. To the extent Moreno is claiming otherwise, he is wrong.

It’s possible that this boilerplate is giving Moreno hope, but it’s likely no different than the general “good citizen” language in players’ contracts which people sometimes claim would allow a team to void a deal based on off-the-field conduct, but which those inside the game know would never fly with an arbitrator.

Everything coming from the Angels’ camp since the Josh Hamilton news broke has appeared to be nothing short of a public temper tantrum. This appears to be much of the same.

UPDATE: The union says just as much:

Union statement: “The MLBPA emphatically denies Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno’s assertions.”

— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) April 11, 2015

Rules “supersede all other player contract provisions and explicitly prevent Clubs from exactly the type of action Mr. Moreno alluded to”

— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) April 11, 2015

MLBPA denies Moreno “received the approval of the Union to insert language into Josh Hamilton’s contract that would supersede” CBA/JDA

— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) April 11, 2015