At the age of 36 and with the career he has had, you certainly couldn’t blame the guy for being ready to hang it up, but retiring like this would be a slap in the face to the Pittsburgh Pirates (the Pirates have a very slappable face in these types of situations).
Lee wants money, who doesn’t? The Pirates offered him arbitration, which most likely would have led to him getting more money than any other team will offer him. Right now it’s unlikely that Lee will retire, I’m betting he finds a one-year deal shortly after Prince Fielder finally signs on somewhere, and chances are that deal with be for less money than the Pirates were willing to give him.
So what does that say? Lee would rather retire than play for the Pirates this year. I can’t say for sure that he would take less money to play somewhere else, but that certainly wouldn’t shock me. The Pirates put a good deal on the table, one that probably would have overpaid him for what he’s most likely going to do in 2012, but he didn’t take it because he doesn’t want to play for the Pirates.
You can’t really blame the guy for not wanting to play in Pittsburgh, I’m not sure why anybody would want to play here. He would have to be a role model and a leader, and he’s probably sick of doing that by now, he just wants a few more paychecks before retirement.
Personally, I’m glad that Lee didn’t accept the Pirates arbitration offer, because I can almost guarantee that Lee would not have been worth the money. He would have had nothing to play for, and he is getting seriously up there in age.
It’s a disappointing reminder that veteran players hate the Pittsburgh Pirates, but at the end of the day we’re better served for it.