I have been a ‘renter’ for much of my life, whether it be apartments, vehicles, or carpet-cleaning – do they still have the Rug Doctor? But renting a player if you’re a professional sports team? This is relatively new to me, but it turns out it’s been around for a long time.
Baseball got it started because they were the first to allow their players to become free agents. A classic example recently was pitcher David Price with the Toronto Blue Jays last year. The season was more than half over when they acquired Price from Detroit in exchange for a handful of young prospects. David turned out to be a game changer on the mound, helping the Jays to their first postseason appearance in more than 20 years. The game changer was a bit of a bust in the playoffs, and in 2016 he’ll be pitching at Fenway in Boston. The ‘rent’ that the RedSox were prepared to pay? It’s a multi-year deal worth more than $80 million U.S, but you can wager a small portion of that Boston will not be David’s last stop on the major league merry-go-round.
Right now there are teams in the NHL who are assessing the rental market with one month to go until the trading deadline. Could a solid left winger or a burly defenceman make the difference in the quest for the Stanley Cup? There are lots of examples where it seems to have worked in the past.
Call me ‘old fashioned’ if you will but I can’t help but wonder about those fanciful notions of loyalty and commitment? Back in the dark ages when ball players and hockey players weren’t even allowed to think about jumping to another team, did they really pride themselves on being true blue to their team, or were they silently cursing about ‘slavery’ on the diamond and the ice.
Ponder that why don’t you, while I go pay the rent.
I’m Roger Currie