This is what Curt Flood fought for. You may not remember the centerfielder, but his refusal to accept a trade to the Phillies and subsequent lawsuit against baseball forged a trail in which the players stood together and got free agency started.
Has it now progressed to the point of insanity?
Albert Pujols is seeking a contract somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 million dollars. He reportedly is asking the Cardinals (or whoever wants his services) to shell out $30 million dollars a year (fixed thanks), well into his late 30’s and early 40’s.
We’ve heard and had the big market versus small market debate for years. The truth is that there are only a small handful of teams that could pay that salary. Cleveland certainly isn’t one of them.
So should the Cardinals consider trading Pujols if they don’t think they are going to win it all this year? Or do they risk letting Pujols walk while getting nothing in return?
We know what the Indians would do. They’ve already done it.
Switch sports for moment. Down in Orlando they are making a big deal about Dwight Howard’s free agency plans. Howard doesn’t become a free agent until after the 2011-2012 season. In the media, Blake Griffin’s impending free agency is already a topic.
Carmelo Anthony has killed this season for the Denver Nuggets and their fans. They boo their own superstar. Is this really what’s best for the game? For the players? For the fans?
The Albert Pujols free agency tour will be no different. Every home run hit will be a reminder that he may be leaving soon. These things are a distraction at best, a cancer at worst.
This is the new free agency.
Curt Flood argued that players were no better than slaves in that they had no right to choose where they played. He said they were property.
Now players now hold teams hostage. Surround me with a team that will win championships every year, and pay me top dollar or I will leave. Isn’t that the message LeBron sent last July?
Why not concede and only sign players to one year contracts? Start over every year. What a disaster that would be. Kind of like the sports landscape in Cleveland now.
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)