NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball has dismissed Shyam Das, the arbitrator who made the decision in the Ryan Braun case earlier this year, an official in the Commissioner's Office confirmed on Monday.
Das, who has arbitrated cases for MLB since 1999 and still serves in that role for the National Football League, was informed in writing that his services were no longer needed.
By terms of the Basic Agreement, either MLB management or the Players' Association can unilaterally dismiss the arbitrator. The two entities must now select a new one to hear all future grievances.
"Shyam is the longest-tenured panel chair in our bargaining relationship," Michael Weiner, the union's executive director, told The Associated Press on Monday. "For 13 years, from the beginning to the end of his tenure, he served the parties with professionalism and distinction."
Braun, the left fielder for the Brewers and reigning National League Most Valuable Player, had a 50-game suspension for alleged use of a performance-enhancing drug overturned this past February. The appeal was heard by a three-man panel that included Das, Weiner and Rob Manfred, MLB's executive vice president of labor relations and human resources.
Das, who cast the decisive vote, ruled that there were inconsistencies in the collection and delivery process of one of Braun's urine samples that tainted the case. He said that barring unforeseen and unusual circumstances, the sample should have been dropped off at a FedEx office on the same day it was collected. Because it was a Saturday and FedEx couldn't guarantee next-day delivery until Monday, the collector, Dino Laurenzi Jr., kept the sample in his refrigerator. Manfred was particularly upset by Das' decision at the time.
If the parties cannot readily agree on a new arbitrator, the Basic Agreement allows them to seek help from the American Arbitration Association for a list of "prominent, professional arbitrators." The sides would then alternate striking names from the list until one remains.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.