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?