Carlos Lee Exercises His Contractual Rights

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Astros’ first baseman/outfielder Carlos Lee vetoed a trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Now watch him get roasted for it.

The reason players ask for and receive no-trade clauses is so a team can’t sign them and, for one reason or another, trade them somewhere they don’t want to go. The rumors of this trade shouldn’t have been leaked. Silence would’ve prevented undue pressure from being placed on Lee. Any player in such circumstances is going to have outside forces trying to influence his decision. That adds to the litany of things he has to think about when deciding whether or not to okay the deal. These are grown men—Lee is 36-years-old—but even grown men are susceptible to worrying about what their peers, current and future employers, media members and anyone else are going to say about them if they choose not to acquiesce to a requested move.

Of course many times, rumors and leaks are strategic and have little-to-no basis in reality. The clubs, agents and players whisper things to the media—whether they’re true or not—to get their story out there and frame it in such a way that will be advantageous to everyone. The inside baseball participants express their preferred position and the media get webhits, pageviews and ratings. Everyone wins except the person who’s being used. That person is you.

Lee’s contract says that he can veto trades to 14 specified teams and the Dodgers were on the list. He lives in Houston and was reluctant to go to the Dodgers. He considered it and said no.

The questions will center around his desire to win. “Why stay in Houston when the team is out of contention, your contract is up at the end of the season and the Dodgers have a chance to win?”

They’ll suggest he’s selfish. “If Lee really cared about the Astros organization he’d let them trade him to get a prospect for the future.”

It will be said that he’s stupid and/or crazy, isn’t thinking ahead and imply that he doesn’t have the stomach for a playoff chase. “The Dodgers are in the middle of a pennant race and need a bat. You could be the key to their season and get yourself a lucrative contract somewhere after the season is over.”

And there will be bitterness. “Screw you, Carlos Lee. We don’t want you anyhow.”

It’s all pointless. He doesn’t have to give a reason.

That’s the purpose of getting a no-trade clause—the ability to say no. It’s his right and he exercised it. It’s no one’s business but his.


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