The MLBPA May Be TOO Powerful At This Point

Saturday, June 30, 2007

(posted by OMDQ)

It's late, but I was just flipping through Ben Maller's MLB Rumors for Friday and this one made me sit up and pay attention:

"Two sources familiar with the negotiations said the two sides were close to completing a four-year, $56 million contract that could make Mark Buehrle the highest-paid White Sox player annually at $14 million per year. One of the potential stumbling blocks, according to one of the sources, could be the Major League Baseball Players Association, which might hesitate to approve the deal because it believes Buehrle could command more on the free agent market this winter." (emphasis mine)

Are you kidding me? How can the MLBPA even begin to suggest something like that? When they refused to okay the restructuring of Alex Rodriguez's deal in 2003, I was upset as a Red Sox fan but understood it from a business perspective. A-Rod's market value, while high at the time, had already been set. Allowing a break of the amount that was being discussed (I don't remember the amount, just that it was significant) would have set a dangerous precedent.

Here, however, it makes no sense. Buerhle has made $14 million combined the past two seasons, and while he has had some very good years, he has never been a dominant force of nature for the White Sox (the no-hitter notwithstanding; he generally gives up a lot of hits and doesn't strike out a ton of guys). But for some reason, the union has decided that if the White Sox offer $14 million annually, that's just not enough. I don't get it - did Buehrle turn into Johan Santana when I wasn't looking? And could the difference between the union's position and the team's position be all that divisive?

Anyone else have any thoughts on this? Heitner? Rovell? Anyone?

Posted by One More Dying Quail at 4:26 AM


I agree. If the player and the club think it's a fair and equitible contract than the only thing the MLBPA has to worry about are the clauses so that none violate any portion of the CBA. Even if it is below market value he wouldn't be the first player to do this. Does Ken Griffey Jr.'s contract with the Reds ring a bell?

Steve said...
Jun 30, 2007, 11:58:00 AM  

actually, there's two things at work here: one, there's the contracts given by the giants to barry zito and by the cubs to ted lilly, which have set the market for lefty starters capable of tossing 200+ innings with a decent K/BB ratio and at least a .500 career record. while buerhle isn't cy young (unless you listen to that fucking mouthbreather hawk harrelson) he defintely is somewhere between zito and lilly in the hierarchy of ML leftys. so, the union expects him to do his due diligence as a member of the union and negotiate a contract that keeps the bargaining threshold where zito and lilly put it. second, this is a common union tactic, it's just that the only union politics we see on the news are professional sports unions. for example, member unions of the AFL/CIO are expected to bargain in good faith with the contracts negotiated by their fellow members, so the plumbers union in dupage county doesn't cut a deal that undercuts the plumbers in cook county, and so on. this is union politics, simple and plain, only in buerhle's case, it's on TV. so, if you want to blame someone for this craziness, blame reinsdorf for being too cheap to give beurhle a 5 year deal (which is another thing holding up this contract) and pay him his market value, and blame the cubs and the giants for setting the market artificially high for average left-handed pitchers. the union is doing what unions do: protect its members.

pm said...
Jun 30, 2007, 12:50:00 PM  

FYI, WSCR in chicago, the white sox flagship station, is reporting that buerhle has rejected the deal because the white sox refused to add a fifth year and/or a no-trade clause.

pm said...
Jun 30, 2007, 1:05:00 PM  

I'm pretty sure that the MLBPA can't prevent a deal from a legal standpoint. It would prevent the "home team discount".

J-Red said...
Jun 30, 2007, 2:41:00 PM  

"I don't get it - did Buehrle turn into Johan Santana when I wasn't looking?"


Dave said...
Jun 30, 2007, 3:03:00 PM  

The main point to be taken from this is that unions are, in general, anti-free market, and thus, communistic.

You can't have the equivalent of a government setting prices for a certain commodity.

IT NEVER WORKS! Just ask our buddy Fidel and the Soviet Union, with many other examples exluded for fear of making this a completely political post.

Dummy said...
Jul 2, 2007, 1:58:00 AM  

P.S. Just look at those pinko-commy-bastards of the "plumber's union" in Boston that is giving Brady such a hard time (actually picketing in front of his HOME) for choosing to use non-unionized plumbers.

Since when was it a sin to find QUALITY WORK AT BETTER PRICES?????

Dummy said...
Jul 2, 2007, 2:02:00 AM  

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