Michael Weiner, the head of the Players Association, seems to think Francisco Rodriguez's $17.5 million vesting option for 2012 will be a non-issue. Unfortunately for whoever's signing the checks in 2012, Weiner is almost certainly right. The manager can't worry about such things, and if Rodriguez is healthy the option will almost certainly vest.
Weiner was also asked about expanded playoffs ...
"There are some players who, believe it or not, want to expand the playoffs in order to enhance the integrity of division races, because they think the current system doesn't give enough credit to winning your division.…Both sides need to come to the table with some ideas."
Players and integrity ... Hmmm, this might be the first time I've seen those words in the same sentence.
Was that mean of me?
I'm sorry. There's probably just as much integrity among baseball players as most other professions. That said, I can't help thinking that more players are simply interested in their own chances of playing in October than in some amorphous nod to integrity.
I wasn't a big fan of the extra round in the first place -- and yes, I know it's now ancient history -- but I'm also not opposed to an exceptionally limited expansion of the current system. Adding one Wild Card and a one-game first round to each league would a) create two thrilling sudden-death games, and b) potentially place the winners of those games at a disadvantage in the next round, because they would be fatigued.
But I wouldn't do anything without a great deal of study, and I always wonder if Major League Baseball bothers with such things.
The good news is that everyone seems highly optimistic about a deal being reached before the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires. Which would extend this era of labor peace to roughly two decades.