Ive never been a fan of opt-out clauses in contracts. Norm Snead Jersey . The Dodgers two-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw who just signed a 7-year $215-million dollar pact, can get out after five years if he so chooses. Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka can escape from his seven-year $155 million dollar deal with the Yankees after four seasons. Zach Greinke and C.C Sabathia both have these kinds of deals as well. Its easy to see why the players and agents want them. If they truly grow to detest a city or an organization they can move on. If the player continues to perform at an optimum level, he can opt out early and get an even better deal, and from the agents perspective can set the market bar even higher for every other pitcher or player in the majors. However, there just seems to be something mercenary, and sort of having your cake and eating it too kind of feel about the whole thing. I can see player option years on contracts or club options or mutual options, but opt-outs just dont feel right. Talking about these kinds of clauses brings back memories of the deal the Blue Jays signed with Roger Clemens back in December of 1996. At the time, the four-year contract looked like an incredible coup for the Jays organization. They had lured one of baseballs all-time great pitchers -- albeit seemingly fading a bit at 34 -- away from the mighty Boston Red Sox. Not only that, but they outbid the Yankees for his services. Paul Beeston actually travelled down to Clemens home in Texas to personally deliver the sales pitch. Initially -- at least based on Clemens stats, over two years -- it was an incredible deal for the Jays. Clemens won over 20 games twice, captured the American League Triple Crown for pitchers both years and won back-to-back Cy Young Awards. Unfortunately, over the ‘97 and ‘98 seasons, the Jays finished a combined 24 games under .500 and attendance never really spiked the way you might have expected when Clemens pitched at home. Then there were stories that Clemens helped pushed for the ouster of Cito Gaston as manager late in the 1997 season, and when Cito was gone campaigned for Red Sox coach Tim Johnson to take over as skipper in 1998. All of that paled in comparison to the news that leaked out late in ‘98 about the exact details of Clemens contract. He had a five-point secret handshake agreement with Paul Beeston and the Blue Jays, as reported by Murray Chass in The New York Times. The key points included Clemens having the right to demand a trade two years into the four-year deal. He also had to approve which team he was traded to. He could also demand a trade to the Houston Astros at any point in the contract. The reason for that was there was a chance his agents Randy and lan Hendricks were going to buy the Astros and the “Rocket Man” really wanted to play for them. None of that transpired, but when news of this secret deal came out, the commissioners office was not impressed. The Jays were fined for entering into a secret deal that was against major league rules. Oddly enough by that time, Paul Beeston had left the Blue Jays and was working for MLB as the number two official below only the Commissioner himself Bud Selig. On Feb. 18, 1999, the Blue Jays ultimately did trade Clemens to the Yankees for Dave Wells, second baseman Homer Bush and lefty reliever Graeme Lloyd. Clemens went on to get his first World Series ring in ‘99 and got another in 2000, though Clemens embarrassed himself by throwing a piece of a broken bat across the path of the Mets Mike Piazza as he ran towards first base. The next time the Blue Jays offered an opt-clause to a pitcher it was legal, and all the “Is” were dotted and the “Ts” crossed. A.J Burnett signed a five-year deal with the Jays on Dec. 6, 2005 for five years and $55 million dollars. It was nine years after the Clemens signing, but Burnett was nowhere near the pitcher Clemens was and got more term and money. Unfortunately for the Jays, Burnett battled injuries in 2006 and 2007 and finished with identical 10-8 records. Finally in 2008 he pitched like an ace and wound up 18-10. But that was a contract year because in effect, since Burnett had the option to opt out of his deal after three years. He did just that and signed with the Yankees, helping them beat the Phillies in the 2009 World Series. I dont dislike the opt out just because of the Blue Jays experiences. No, its because it simply creates the impression the pitcher or player is just using that club as a springboard to a better deal with a perennial contender when the time is right. I hope this becomes a major battle ground when the next labour deal comes up in a couple of years. The Blue Jays opening home series is a three game set against the Yankees to cap the opening week of the season. Id wager we wont get to see Masahiro Tanaka though. The Yanks open the season in Houston and the best bet would be Tanaka would start the second game of the season after staff ace C.C Sabathia. That would mean Tanakas next turn would be at Yankee Stadium for the home opener against Baltimore. The lowest I could see him being in the rotation is number three. That would put him in line to start the finale in Houston and the second game at home against the Orioles. So well have to wait till later in the season to see Tanaka face the Jays. Steve DeBerg Jersey .Mateo Kovacic and Andrea Ranocchia scored for Inter, which had goalkeeper Samir Handanovic to thank for several crucial saves.Its an important victory against a Chievo side which plays well, Mancini said. Kevin Faulk Jersey .ca MLB Power Rankings, the third consecutive week that the As have held top spot and the third straight week that they have been one ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays.CINCINNATI – The late, great Earl Weaver once was asked about momentum and whether it existed in baseball. “Momentum is only as good as the next days starter,” the long-time Baltimore Orioles manager famously quipped. Blue Jays skipper John Gibbons was smacked in the face with that truth on Saturday. Less than 24 hours after his club staged the second biggest comeback in franchise history, winning 14-9 on Friday night in a game it had trailed 8-0, J.A. Happ (6-4) imploded on the mound and the Reds won a laugher 11-1. “He didnt have it today,” said Gibbons. “We really never had a chance. You know, just kind of sucked the wind out of us right away but, hey, we move on. Show up tomorrow.” Happ got the first two outs of the first inning. Reasonably quickly, too, as Billy Hamilton grounded out and Todd Frazier lined out. Then, inexplicably, Happ fell apart. He walked Joey Votto. He walked Brandon Phillips. He walked Jay Bruce to load the bases. Ryan Ludwick smacked a two-run single to centerfield, scoring Votto and Phillips. Happ walked Devin Mesoraco. Finally, Ramon Santiago grounded out to end Happs 37-pitch first inning. Whatever the events of Friday night had done to ease the burden of an ugly sweep in New York, Happ had put his team in another hole and this time the offence couldnt climb its way out. “I was trying to be too fine, maybe, or what Im not sure,” said Happ. “I let three guys go and then the base hit, kind of a tough way to start. I tried to be aggressive after that, but we didnt have a ton for them today and that started with me.” Jay Bruce hit a solo home run in the third, the Reds scored four more times on three singles and two doubles in the fourth and Happs day was done. So was the Blue Jays afternoon; they could muster only a Colby Rasmus solo home run in the seventh off of Reds starter Mike Leake (5-6). REYES LEAVES WITH KNEE BRUISE Jose Reyes wont start on Sunday after fouling a ball off his left knee in the fifth inning of Saturdays loss to the Reds. He didnt take his shortstop position after finishing his at-bat, replaced by Steve Tolleson. He doesnt think its serious. “I hit it pretty good there, but its not a big deal,” said Reyes. Reyes confirmed hed already been approached by manager John Gibbons, who informed him that he wouldnt be in Sundays starting lineup. Reyes is hitless in his last 12 at-bats and Gibbons suggested a breather could do his shortstop good. RASMUS ON A ROLL Colby Rasmus is off to a nice start since coming off the disabled list in time for Wednesdays game at Yankee Stadium. In four games, hes 6-for-14 with a home run and two doubles. He drew a walk, a crucial one at that, leading off the ninth inning of Friday nights improbable come-from-behind, 14-9 victory over the Reds. He scored the winning run on an Erik Kratz double. Rasmus missed 33 games with a strained right hamstring. He didnt waste time while he was hurt. He went to work in the gym and he credits his easy transition into the lineup to increased strength. “Going on the DL, Im able to put a little weight on and get stronger and lift (weights) and do a lot more things that Im not able to do when Im playing because, when Im playing, its hard to get those good lifts in where you can be sore the next day,” said Rasmus. “You dont want to mess yourself up. I was able to get stronger and that helps.” The Blue Jays went 23-10 in Rasmus absence, for most of the stretch maximizing the potentiall of the Anthony Gose-Kevin Pillar centrefield platoon. Roger Craig Jersey. What Gose gave the Blue Jays with speed on the bases and defensively in centre, he couldnt make up for the power threat of Rasmuss bat. As the club began to struggle and the power numbers regressed to normalcy, it became clear how much Rasmus was missed. Hes back and hes resumed the same approach he brought into spring training. “Im not letting any pressures make me feel pressure,” said Rasmus. “In the past, when I was younger, people tried to always light a fire under me because Im kind of chilled and just kind of laid back, quiet and they always tried to make me get real amped up and it didnt help me none because I drove myself crazy wanting to do good. Id get myself so amped up and then not do good and the let down can break you down over time. I try to stay away from that, put me some country music on and stay relaxed, slowed down and then the game will speed me up.” On that crucial walk Rasmus drew against Reds flamethrower Aroldis Chapman on Friday night, he went up to the plate looking to greet one of Chapmans famous heaters, which consistently top 100 miles per hour. “Im looking for cheddar cheese balls,” said Rasmus, referencing one of his many nicknames for the fastball. “I mean, it is what it is, you cant worry about his offspeed stuff even though hes got a good slider, a good change-up.” NAVARRO JUBILANT AS MESSI SCORES Dioner Navarro is a fan of Argentine soccer great Lionel Messi. That, in fact, may be an understatement. Navarro wears a Messi jersey underneath his batting practice jersey everyday. Hes got the schedule laid out, too. When Messi is playing for his club team, FC Barcelona, Navarro sports the striped, red and blue home jersey. Currently, with Messi captaining Argentina in the World Cup, hes wearing Messis Argentine attire. When Messi scored in extra time to lead Argentina over Iran, 1-0, on Sunday afternoon, Navarro sprung up from a clubhouse couch and did a lap of the room, high-fiving teammates along the way. For Navarro, the game was too close for comfort. “I just got a few more greys on my head,” said Navarro. “What a goal.” Navarro admits his infatuation with Messi is strange, especially because its uncommon for one professional athlete to fawn over another. The admiration began about a decade ago. “Back home, Venezuela, we grew up and we didnt have much money,” said Navarro. “We had only the local (television) channels and my parents were trying to get us as far away from whatever they were showing us on TV, violence and all that stuff back home. We used to get the games from Spain and I kind of grew up watching the games from Barcelona and, when Messi stepped in, he was 17 years old the first time. Every year he keeps growing. He keeps doing unbelievable things.” Argentinas win was as much a relief to Navarro as it was a thrill. Hed been getting grief from his teammates. “They were all over me, oh my gosh,” said Navarro. “The last thing I wanted was it to be tight because I knew everybody was going to be talking smack to me. Messi came through.” ROSTER MOVE The Blue Jays optioned right-handed pitcher Liam Hendriks to Triple-A Buffalo before Saturdays game. Left-handed reliever Rob Rasmussen was recalled from the Bisons, which marks his second stint with the Blue Jays this season. Rasmussen made four appearances from May 20-29. He pitched two innings, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out two. ' ' '