To the Highest Bidder..

Ryan Senior Writer IJuly 7, 2008

It's a recurring issue in sports these days.  Are constantly spurning lucrative deals for even more lucrative ones and claiming that they had the best interest of their family in mind.

Everyone knows that to athletes, some anyways, going from an $18 million dollar salary to a $25 million dollar salary is obviously a large one but isn't needed if the situation they're currently in is comfortable.

But when you see a star player spurn a huge deal, don't necessarily think that his own greed is the culprit.

Recent Milwaukee Brewers acquisition C.C.Sabathia will be the example here.

Sabathia rejected a 4 year, $72 million dollar deal from the Indians that would have kept the big lefty in town until the end of the 2012 season. Reports state that he was looking for something in the $20-25 million dollar range per season.

Now, initial perception might make one think "How could he be so greedy? He's making $18 million a year to play in a place he knows and loves. Why would he leave?"

Truth is, it's not entirely up to him.  As an athlete there are always people to please.  For most players, their sports' union is one of the most important.  The union can be a powerful ally and help you out against the commish should you get in hot water.

Did C.C. really want the extra money to go to a new place? I personally doubt it and I have my reasons.  I believe, like most issues, it came down to the fact that the players union won't allow a star to take a deal below his market worth. It sets a precedent the union doesn't want. And if the union has a reason to be upset with you, rest assured that they will not be there for you and will do everything they can to make it known that you are not someone to be dealt with.

That's why many small market stars leave even when offered a hefty contract by their current team.  It's why C.C.'s next start will be in Milwaukee. It's why new mega-deals become reality and new salary records are set.

Throw in agents, family members and friends constantly chirping to Superstar X about how much money they could be making and ultimately it's out of the player's hands.

Also, some players, though receiving a healthy compensation, do take a pay cut to go to/stay in a comfortable or winning environment.  Take the newest Detroit Red Wing Marian Hossa.

He turned down an $80 million deal in Edmonton to play in Detroit for 1 year and $7.4 million for a great chance to win the Stanley Cup.  For all the talk of athletes being mercenaries, this should count for something.

I may be right. I may be wrong.  But I, for one, am tired of hearing about "greed" and only seeing the athletes pegged.  Look again. There's more to it than meets the eye.