Are the Baltimore Orioles and other teams outdated in their logic?
Last week I touched on the topic of opt-out clauses, which is becoming popular among many of the Baltimore Orioles’ competitors. I made no bones about the fact that I’m not a fan of opt-outs. I think they’re bad for teams, and thus bad for the game. Obviously the Orioles themselves agree, as Chris Davis didn’t get one. However is that logic outdated?
I’m the first one to tell you that in most things, I’m a pretty old school guy. I work the twitter machine like a pro and I publish an online column daily, however I’m also an old world Italian guy that likes pasta and vino on Sundays – to put it mildly! I’m not the type to adapt to change well, and I’m the first one to admit that.
So how does that apply to opt-outs? Well to begin with opt-outs are somewhat new. Teams are offering them as an option to sweeten the pot for free agents. Granted, my view is that there’s no point in having a contract if you aren’t going to force the other side to honor it. But whereas I view things like that as a crutch, many “new world thinkers” see opportunity.
It’s basically a sales pitch. And one of the old adage of sales is that if I don’t offer this with a cherry on top, someone else will. So whereas in my world a player would choose a team based on salary, the situation, the city, etc., that might not necessarily be the case anymore. Now it might boil down to that – among other things.
Many would argue that this is something that could work to the advantage of teams like the Orioles, who are a small market franchise. While franchises like New York, Boston, Washington, and Los Angeles speak for themselves, the Orioles could offer benefits such as an opt-out clause to make themselves more competitive in the free agent market. And that might be a valid point; but obviously there’s still that issue of allowing someone to welch on a deal.
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And here’s the other thing; if a team’s looking to rev up for a World Series run sometime in the next 2-3 years, they’re not going to view an opt-out as a bad thing. If you think you have a legitimate shot at winning a title in the next couple of seasons, you might be more amenable to offering something like that, as in theory you get your title and then the player might think he can get paid more and become a free agent again.
I suppose that I can disagree with it all day long, but unfortunately this is becoming the way of the world. People are straying away from things such as ironcladness in the sense that if you allow yourself to sign a deal with no outs you’re boxing yourself in. People now want all options open all the time, and opt-out clauses give players options.
This might all be taking things a bit to an extreme. However that’s how a lot of younger people are viewing the world now. Will I ever think opt-outs are a good idea? I can’t see that ever happening. However as time goes on, I’ll probably be more and more in the minority.