tclakin

Jake Peavy Says “No Thanks” To Trade

In Uncategorized on May 22, 2009 at 1:19 pm

 

Jake Peavy staying put

Jake Peavy staying put

San Diego Padres ace Jake Peavy isn’t going anywhere. 

The pitcher chose Thursday to reject a proposed trade to the Chicago White Sox after both teams had agreed on a deal. Peavy has always maintained that he wants to pitch in the (easier) National League and saw no reason to waive his no-trade clause to head to a worse team than the one he’s already on.

“As of right now, this is the best place for us to be,” said Peavy of his decision. “I don’t want to be any kind of distraction to the team.”

Well, sorry Jake, because by refusing a trade you’re now a bigger distraction than ever before. A baseball player should not, under any circumstances, be able to reject a trade. It creates a ridiculous situation and it causes – yes, Jake – distractions for everyone involved. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I like Jake Peavy and I love San Diego. What 28 year old major league ballplayer in his right mind would ever accept a trade out of San Diego if he didn’t have to? I mean, it’s San Diego. 75 degrees and sunny every day. Beautiful beaches and beautiful people everywhere. Who would ever want to leave that? If I were Peavy, I’d stay put at least until they start a franchise in Hawaii. 

No, I don’t blame Jake Peavy – I blame Major League Baseball for allowing the inane no-trade clause to exist. It fundamentally makes no sense. No player should be bigger than his team, his front office, and his general manager. Is there a bigger obstacle to a team’s success than the no-trade clause? I say no. It handcuffs a GM beyond belief. How is Padres GM Kevin Towers supposed to improve his small-market team when his biggest and most expensive trade chip can reject any trade he wants? How is that good for the game? A baseball GM should be able to do whatever he needs to do in order to make his team better. No one guy should be untradeable. Hell, in the NFL if you’re tired of a player you can just cut him! No strings attached – it’s beautiful. Towers’ job – his occupation – is making sure the Padres are the best team they can be. I’m sure he put in a lot of time on the phones in order to get a trade lined up for his expensive star. Then he takes it to Peavy, hoping for the best, and Peavy shakes his head. “Nah, I’m good. Thanks though.” Are you kidding me?

You hear all the time nowadays that baseball is a business. A guy signs a free agent contract with his former team’s hated rival – Sorry guys, baseball’s a business. A big name star holds out for a better contract – I really do love the game, it’s just that baseball is a business. Okay, I think I get it. So, if baseball is a business, then why can any player with a no-trade clause reject a general manager’s business decision? It’s asinine. And yes, I understand that it was a business decision to a grant a player a contractually obligated no-trade clause in the first place. But that is beside the point, because often times small-market teams face immense pressure to hand out no-trade clauses in order to lock up their big stars, thereby assuring the player that they are serious about keeping him. It’s a trust thing, a small-money GM’s way of saying “we want you here,” because otherwise, many players would merely bolt for greener ($$) pastures.

But trust shouldn’t be an issue in the modern business of baseball! Aren’t we past the good old days of sealing a deal with a handshake and a promise? What is this, the Boy Scouts? Baseball has long been infiltrated by dirty money, by agents like Scott Boras who will simply sell players to the highest bidder, and by stars who have no loyalty to the teams that made them famous. It’s a business and in business the coldest, most ruthless bastards usually win. In order to succeed, you’ve got to make the hard choices and the tough decisions, and sometimes that involves trading a superstar player, the face of your franchise, to secure assets for the future.

That’s all Kevin Towers was trying to do when he set up a deal for Jake Peavy. He was simply trying to make his team better – it was nothing personal. But by rejecting the deal, Peavy made it personal. There’s no way a star player heads back to the team that just tried to trade him with no hard feelings. It goes against human nature. I’m sure Peavy’s pissed and maybe he has a right to be. But what he shouldn’t have a right to do is reject the trade. By doing so, Peavy did exactly what he claims he never wanted to do – he became a distraction. And now, for the rest of his tenure in SD, Peavy will never be more than the big star who refused to leave. If the no-trade clause didn’t exist, none of this would ever have happened. 

So get rid of the no-trade clause, Commissioner Selig – it’s detrimental, it makes no sense, and really, it’s nothing more than a distraction.

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