How much pressure does the MLBPA put on FA to accept top $$$

Cliff Lee is the top free agent. How much pressure is the union able to exert to force him to take teh most $, even if it’s from a team he’d rather not play for? For example, consider these offers:

Rangers: 7yrs/$140m
Yankees: 6yrs/$150m

Would the union force him to become a Yankee, despite the LCS incident?

Yeah, probably. The union hates hometown discounts with good reason, especially when it’s someone who’s at the very top and thus sets the market for the entire league.

“Oh, Mr. BigBoy Pants wants more money than Cliff Lee? Don’t we have a high opinion of ourself?”
“Lee signed at a discount to play for the team he wanted…”
“You are not better than Lee, you get less money than him. Period.”

In the NFL, this kind of dynamic caused Michael Crabtree to hold out on the 49ers for half his rookie year last year. Al Davis stupidly (as was his MO) signed the fastest WR in the draft instead of the best prospect, then Crabtree went one or two picks later. Crabtree wanted more money than Al’s guy (Heyward-Bey) because Crabtree is objectively better than him, but because the other guy was drafted first they refused.

Same deal with Darrelle Revis this year, again because of Al Davis way overpaying Nnamdi Asomugha. The highest paid corners in the league make around $9-10 million, Jets offered something like $12 million a year, but because Al Davis stupidly paid Nnamdi $16 million a year (double market value!) they had an impasse. Revis wanted to be the highest paid guy, the Jets wanted to make him the highest sanely paid guy. Revis eventually caved but his on-field value was greatly reduced by the holdout.

So much for free agency, then.

The union does not have any real authority to “force” free agents to accept particular deals. There’s a long history of excellent players avoiding free agency altogether by signing with their current club, and plenty of players quickly sign for their hometown team without protracted competitive bids.

Frankly, I’m surprised that people think Lee is going to give a “hometown” discount to a team he joined 4 months ago. If these are the two deals, he gets $10 million more with the Yankees, with a shorter contract. Why wouldn’t you take the deal that’s worth $10 million dollars more?

Because it’s with the Yankees!

I doubt the union cares. They only get involved if the owners are trying to reduce an existing contract, or if there’s a sign of collusion. As far as they are concerned, player can sign with any team he wants, at any amount he wants.

Most players are happy to accept top dollar. Cheesesteak make a good point: if a player takes a hometown discount, he’ll often do it before he becomes a free agent.

One would assume that if Cliff Lee were to take a hometwn discount it’d be with the Indians.

I have been following baseball for a long time and I have never heard a reliable story, ever, about a player being pressured by the MLBPA to accept one contract over a cheaper “home town discount” contract. I have never heard, not once, of players being criticized or pressured by the MLBPA to hold off on signing extensions with their current teams. Aside from the fact that the MLBPA wouldn’t even have reliable info about the details of competing offers before one was signed, I find it simply impossible to believe that pressure tactics of that sort wouldn’t leak into the press and cause a shitstorm of epic proportions.

The MLBPA simply doesn’t need to do this, because no sane player would turn down a contract offer that was significantly superior to another. “Home town discounts” will generally be given when the team offers an extension before the player becomes a free agent - which, from the player’s perspective, is economically rational, since it means he might make slightly less money, but in exchange receives immediate security and doesn’t incur the risk of being or losing his skills before he gets to be a free agent.

I’m with RickJay - I’ve followed MLB for awhile and haven’t heard of any reputable story of a player being pressured out of a hometown deal.

Many players have signed for slightly under market value to stay in a comfortable situation, but others are very willing to leave for even one dollar more. MLBPA is unnecessary in this regard.

MLBPA has weighed in on trades, however, IIRC. In particular I think the A-Rod trade involved him forgoing some salary initially, and that was considered a no-go by the union.

Al Kaline pissed off the Detroit Tigers when he refused to take a contract over 100 K a year. He thought no pro player was worth that much. But that put a top level on the rest of the players. How could they ask for a bigger contract when their best player made 90K. It caused some resentment. It was also long ago.

Heh, your post reminds of Stan Musial demanding a pay CUT because he had a bad season… not sure that would fly with the MLBPA.

I distinctly remember Mike & Mike going on and on about a player being pressured by the MLBPA to not accept a lower contract from a different team because that sets the market for the rest of the league. This was probably around 4 years ago.

Well, that settles that. These two guys on the radio, maybe it was four years ago, said the MLBPA pressured that guy from that team. I’m sold.

Yeah Ellis, what are you doing giving credibility to people who work for an organization that has the largest MLB information gathering network in the world, and who daily talk to people who spend their entire lives being as informed as is possible about the game of baseball, an origination that has revenue depending on reliability, and is has a great deal on the line behind their reports.
I mean there is a guy on a message board “Who has been following baseball for a long time” who hasn’t heard of it, what more do you want?

Well, speaking for myself, I’d like a name and a year, at the least…

My guess is the reference is to the A-Rod trade to the Red Sox that was nixed by MLBPA because it involved a pay cut.

The difference is that it’s very hard—often impossible—to easily demonstrate an absence, to show that something has never happened. What do you do? Go scouring the newspapers for articles that don’t exist? A claim that something does not happen, or that it happens very rarely, necessarily relies on a broad familiarity with the subject in question.

A claim that something did happen, on the other hand, is amenable to a much more specific type of support. In this particular case, the name of the team and the player concerned and the year it happened would, i think, be the minimum necessary to convince me of Ellis Dee’s claim.

Also, even in the absence of evidence, we can make evaluations based on what we know about our sources of information. I’ve been talking baseball on these boards for almost a decade, and i reckon that RickJay knows more about the sport than just about anyone here. In a conversation about the NFL, i would defer to Ellis Dee in a heartbeat, but when it comes to baseball, in the absence of independent evidence, i’ll take RickJay’s assessment most of the time.

Yes, I’m pretty sure the case Ellis Dee is thinking of (unless he can recall it better) is A-Rod’s. It involved an existing contract, not a new one, in line with what RealityChuck said.

IF you are going to appeal to your own authority as a long time watcher, then ridicule(in a third grade manner) some one for believing an ESPN broadcast(Who is among probably among the greatest actual authority on the behind the scenes of baseball) Then you had damn well better bring your own evidence of their ignorance.

Players have the right to play with a team for less money if they choose . The players league has no authority and is not involved in the negotiations. It has happened .

What would the evidence be? That the radio show in question does not exist? How do you establish an absence such as this? Should we listen to every ESPN radio show for the last five years, just to make sure?

The general rule is that the person making a positive claim about the existence of something is the person responsible for supporting that claim. We are not responsible for proving him wrong; if he wants the claim to be believed, he is responsible for providing evidence of it.

I don’t doubt Ellis Dee’s sincerity, but it’s easy to misremember a news item from years ago, so it could be that the details are not exactly as he recalls them. Or it could be that he’s exactly right, in which case finding the incident that he’s referring to will serve as proof of the fact.