Saturday, June 30, 2012

No-Trade Clauses Are Stupid!

The Major League Baseball trade deadline is fast approaching, and it is always one of my favorite times of the year. It is where the contenders and the pretenders are separated. The teams that are contending trade for that missing piece that can hurdle them into the playoffs.

Carlos Lee is one of those names that is rumored to be changing teams. The Dodgers have offered up a trade, and reports have said that both the Dodgers and Astros have tentatively agreed on a deal. The only snag in the trade being completed, is that Carlos Lee has a no-trade clause, in which he can block deals to 14 teams. The Dodgers are one of those teams.

Lee signed a ridiculous 6-year, $100 million dollar contract prior to the 2007 season. That deal expires after this year, and the Astros are in full-blown rebuilding mode. Lee has said that he will likely block any deal, because he likes to lose.

The whole idea of a no-trade clause makes little to no sense to me. I understand why players want them -- they feel it brings them security. Many players have families, and I can see the importance of living together, and allowing the children to grow up in the same town, and having some sense of stability.

On the other hand, having a no-trade clause would lead to some awkward and uncomfortable situations. Lets say I am the ace of the pitching staff. I sign a big deal with a team, and get that no-trade clause that I hope will give me that stability I so desire.

After a couple of terrible years, my club decides that they need to rebuild, and they start trading veterans. I am on that list, but I have no desire to leave my comfort zone. The team clearly does not want me around, and I am partially ruining their plans.

Essentially, I am sticking around. Walking into a place everyday where I am not wanted. I am only there because the club is contractually obligilated to sign my checks every two weeks. Perhaps this does bother athletes. They are trained to battle adversity, and succeed in a variety of situations.

I look at the situation as a normal employee of a company. I would be terribly comfortable walking into a place each day where my bosses do not want me there -- a pariah in dress slacks. I walk in every day, knowing that my bosses have no desire for me to be around. They would rather throw me to the wolves, but they cannot, because they are obligilated to cut me checks.

I just do not understand why athletes are so insistent on obtaining the clauses. For me, it would be much more important to feel wanted, to feel worthwhile. Staying on a club that is always trying to dump me, would deter me from playing to the best of my abilities. Just like any profession, players need to feel wanted. Sure, they make more in a year and most of us will in a lifetime, but they are under a ton of pressure. Millions of people live and die with their favorite team. The hopes and dreams of children rest on the backs of athletes. It sounds like an awful lot of pressure if you ask me.

Carlos Lee would be better off going to Los Angeles. He still gets his hefty salary, gets to play for a contending team, and goes to a team that actually wants him. Sounds like a win-win, if there ever was one.