Mark Buehrle signed a contract that didn't include a no-trade clause. So why is he so upset about getting traded?
"I’m upset with how things turned out in Miami," Buehrle said. "Just like the fans in South Florida, I was lied to on multiple occasions. But I’m putting it behind me and looking forward to moving on with my career."
"In an off-season of change and uncertainty, the overriding factor in Mark’s signing with Miami was Ozzie Guillen and the level of comfort his presence provided Mark and his family," (agent Jeff) Barry said in his statement. "While the Marlins were the highest bidder, baseball had already made Mark a wealthy man, so money was far from the most important factor in his decision.
"Throughout the recruiting process, the Marlins made repeated assurances about their long-term commitment to Mark and his family and their long-term commitment to building a winning tradition of Marlins baseball in the new stadium. This was demonstrated by their already completed signings of Ozzie, Heath Bell and Jose Reyes.
"At the same time, given the Marlins’ history, we were all certainly aware of and voiced concern about the lack of no-trade protection. This is unquestionably a business, and signing with the Marlins was a calculated risk. Mark held up his end of the bargain; unfortunately, the same can't be said of the Marlins."
Just want to get this straight ... The Marlins were the highest bidder and he signed with them mostly because of Ozzie Guillen's steady hand? What a happy coincidence that was!
There's a part of me that can't help admiring the Marlins. I hate no-trade clauses. If I'm running a baseball team, I want as few fetters as possible.*
* Except from 1992 through '97, when Mike Fetters was really good.
And there are few things more fettering than a no-trade clause when, you know, you're trying to make a trade. You can usually still get something done, but it generally takes more time and costs more money. Granted, you'll often spend more on the front end, essentially buying a no-trade clause by making a slightly larger offer in the first place. But in addition to the added flexibility at the back end (or the middle) of the contract, there's also the benefit of not setting a precedent. If you hand out one no-trade clause, then all the agents will ask for one. When you've got a policy, you can just shrug and say, "Sorry, man. You know I would just love to give you that one, but my hands are tied. We've got a policy."
Now, if you're Larry Beinfest you might say to yourself, "Larry-self, the policy's irrelevant now, because we'll never be able to sign another top-notch free agent again. Not after the Great Fire Sale of 2012."
And then you'll start giggling, and the giggles will quickly become a paroxysm of guffaws. Because you realize that when it's once again time to become the highest bidder, the free agents and their agents will come running. Just like they always have, and always will.