Professional baseball players are selfish. Everybody knows it. They’re greedy, money grubbing douchebags.
Except, for most of this offseason, they weren’t.
Don’t believe me? Let’s take a walk down memory lane.
This winter, Troy Tulowitzki, Matt Holliday, Robinson Cano, Brad Hawpe, Manny Corpas and a few others signed contracts that locked them up through their arbitration-eligible years. They left money on the table (possibly) in exchange for financial security. Nobody wants to go year to year.
Alex Rodriguez negotiated his contract with the Yankees himself (with the aid of Warren Buffett), pushing aside Scott Boras and signing for millions less than many speculated he might get.
Manny Ramirez showed up to camp in great shape and told the media that he wanted to play until he was 50 and that he wanted to retire a Red Sox.
It all seemed too good to be true. Maybe it was.
Lately, the era of good feelings has come to a screetching halt.
First, Schilling announced that he wanted to have surgery, but the Red Sox wouldn’t let him.
Then Ramirez, fresh off his “I want to stay in Boston” speech, hired Boras as his new agent. Not that hiring Boras is a guarantee that Ramirez will sign elsewhere — but it’s certainly not encouraging.
This week, Jonathan Papelbon said he wants $900,000 — the same amount Ryan Howard got in his third year. The implication, as always: they can pay now or somebody else will get the chance to pay later.
Also, Prince Fielder and Cole Hamels got all bent out of shape when their teams renewed their contracts. Both players felt like they got jipped. Hamels called his $500,000 contract a “low blow.” Here’s what Fielder had to say about his $670,000 deal:
“I’m not happy about it at all,” Fielder said. “The fact I’ve had to be renewed two years in a row, I’m not happy about it because there’s a lot of guys who have the same amount of time that I do who have done a lot less and are getting paid a lot more.
“But my time is going to come. It’s going to come quick, too.”
Them there’s fightin’ words.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Tampa Bay CF B.J. Upton said all the right things after his contract was renewed by the Rays this week. Upton will make $10,000 less than he made in 2007, despite hitting .300-24-82 with 22 steals last year. But he says the slight won’t affect his play.
Upton’s tact notwithstanding, the last few weeks represented a bit of turbulance in the otherwise smooth sailing relationship between the players and management. What will the future hold? Your guess is as good as mine.