I make no bones about it, I abhor the opt-out clauses that are being given to major league players today. MLB players today make millions of dollars a year and still they ask for and get opt-out clauses in their contracts. What is up with that?
To my way of thinking it is simple out and out GREED on the part of players and their agents. An opt-out clause in a baseball contract makes it totally one sided in favor of the player. The plan probably was originated by an agent that realized that there was more money to be made by negotiating more contracts. The players today have no loyalty to their teams or their fans what so ever and their single focus is putting more money in their pockets. They claim that they are doing all they can for the team but that is all BS, or they wouldn’t bail out of a contract if it was advantageous to them.
The players and agents aren’t the only ones to blame here, today’s baseball team owners must be the stupidest in sports. Why would you pay out hundred’s of millions on a long term contract and take all the risk that entails and still give the player an opt-out? If the players plays like crap then he stays in the contract and you have to pay him, but if he feels he is in position to make an even better deal for himself he bails and says thank you very much sucker.
Why would you do something like that? Because players and their agents demand long term contracts to and must be smarter than most baseball owners. How can players that sign long term deals with an opt-out clause stand up before a microphone as they try on their new uniform for the first time and say with a straight face how excited they are to join this new team that they have admired from afar and now get a chance to help take them to the promised land? Why don’t they just look into the camera and say, “I signed to play with this team because they agreed to pay me the most money this year but if team X offers me more in 2019, I am outta here”. Wouldn’t play well with the fans you say? Get real!
Back in the old days before free agency players were tied to their teams for life but then free agency and arbitration came along and now the players and their agents are in the drivers seat. The pendelum has swung too far the other way. Players used to take pay cuts when they had a bad season and got raises for good seasons. When was the last time you heard of a player getting a pay cut because he had a bad year?
How is an opt-out different from investing money in the stock market and being given your investment back if the stock you bought goes down in price, who does that? No one, we would all love to have that option but no one is dumb enough to give that to us. Baseball is a unique business I know, but I don’t understand for the life of me why owners put up with this. If the owners band together and put a stop to this silly practice I’m sure they would get sued for collusion so the only way to put a stop to it is to negotiate it out of existence. Surely we will see more of these opt-out deals in the near future but hopefully the owners will come to their senses and negotiate this out of existence in future league/player contracts at their first opportunity.
Owners need players and players need owners for the great game of baseball to flourish but it has to be a level playing surface for both sides, Opt-outs are totally unfair, it is embarrassing that baseball allows this to keep happening.
UPDATE – A different opinion of the opt-out clause can be seen here.