Gregg Doyel: Having it both way with unions


I promise you that I’m not obsessed with Gregg Doyel. I just can’t seem to let this one go.

You’ll recall this morning that Doyel stuck it to the player’s union and talked about how he wanted the Mets to crush them in the course of this Francisco Rodriguez business. The union is too powerful, Doyel thinks. It’s the tail wagging the dog. It has given millionaire players so much power that even the normal rules of supply and demand don’t apply to baseball anymore!

However, reader Steve A. alerts me to something Doyel wrote about Darrelle Revis’ holdout from the New York Jets last week that sort of messes with his anti-union narrative:

My problem is with an NFL system that leaves so many of its
players crippled, brain-damaged husks — picture an empty locust
shell, clinging to a tree — who lack the money to pay for medical
care as they grow older. So when an NFL player gets the rare chance to call his shot, I’m all for it — and Revis is Babe Ruth.

Know what would fix that system and make NFL players’ lives better? A stronger union.

And yes, I appreciate that there is a difference between a union achieving basic humane working conditions and one seeking increasingly esoteric benefits for its members. Unions can overreach and have in the past, to the point where they have harmed their members’ long term interests.

But I don’t think that can be said of the MLBPA. And I don’t think you can expect a union membership who can look to the other sports and see how crappy the players have things, relatively speaking, to stop fighting for whatever they can get from an ownership that, if they could, would treat them like chattels.

The Tigers will listen to trade offers on anybody

Miguel Cabrera
Getty Images

Earlier this week Tigers GM Al Avila said that his club was going to get “lean” and “efficient” and that their days of spending big money are over. Later in the week Avila said that they would not likely offer a long term contract to outfielder J.D. Martinez, who will become a free agent after the 2017 season.

None of those comments necessarily suggested that the Tigers would be conducting a fire sale or anything, and it’s certainly possible to get leaner while still competing. One would assume that the Tigers could cut fat in the middle but still head into battle with their superstars. But that may not be the plan. Buster Olney:

. . . the message being received from the rest of the industry is a dramatic shift for one of baseball’s oldest franchises: They will listen to trade offers on everybody.

Miguel Cabrera. Justin Verlander. Ian Kinsler.


Trading those guys would be a pretty big deal. In both senses of the term.

It would take a blockbuster-sized deal to move such players. Verlander is owed $28 million a year for the next three seasons and has a vesting option for 2020 at $22 million. Cabrera just finished the first year of an eight-year, $248 million deal that will be paying him more than $30 million a year between 2018 and 2023, with an $8 million buyout for 2024. And that’s before the fact that both Verlander and Cabrera are 10/5 guys with full no-trade protection if they choose to exercise it. Beyond that Kinsler is a relative bargain at $11 million in 2017 and a $10 million club option for 2018 with a $5 million buyout. Victor Martinez and Justin Upton are hanging around too.

But for as big a trade would have to be if any one of those guys were dealt, it’d be a bigger deal in terms of team philosophy and direction. Cabrera has confirmed his Hall of Fame credentials in his nine years in Detroit. He’s the best player to wear the English D since Al Kaline and has been the biggest star in the organization for most of a generation. Verlander is nearly as important and nearly as famous. I don’t think it’s likely the Tigers will move either of them because the logistics of such deals would be mind-boggling, but even entertaining deals for these guys would alter the course of the franchise for years and years to come. It happens to every franchise eventually, but I don’t think the Tigers fan base is prepared for it to happen to them yet.

Still: the free agent market is thinner that it has been at any time in years and years. Cabrera and Verlander, if they could be had, would be the biggest splashes any team looking to improve could possibly acquire. Kinselr would be a big get for anyone as well. Al Avila knows that. Even if he’s not ready to part with his superstars, he probably owes it to his organization to at least listen.


The World Series broadcast schedule is announced

Getty Images

Major League Baseball just announced the broadcast schedule for both Games 6 and 7 (if necessary) of the NLCS and the entire World Series.

There are no surprises here. The World Series games are all on Fox. The pregame show starts at 7:30 and the games themselves start just after 8pm Eastern Daylight Time, regardless of whether it’s Chicago or Los Angeles representing the National League. For some reason Game five of the World Series, scheduled a week from Sunday if it comes to pass, starts seven minutes later than all of the other games. Maybe something super exciting will happen then.