From what I have been reading (mostly at Sons of Sam Horn, an invaluable resource, populated with pseudonymous writers, lawyers, and eponymous team owners even!), the big issue is obviously precedent-setting. Applying the contract-reduction dogma to other situations, it has been posited that Owners would be able to demand that players reduce their contracts in order to facilitate trades. In other words, if A-Rod agrees to reduce his contract value, and the PA gives approval to a situation where contract value is reduced (regardless of context), then what’s to prevent an Owner from approaching a under-utilised player and saying “I’ll trade you to Team B where they want to start you if you agree to reduce your contract value, but if not, well, enjoy riding the pine”. I think the PA just wants to not go near that possibility – a contract reduction is a contract reduction, and context be damned. I am not sure what the legal implications are, since, as a layperson, I don’t have any idea if context has a bearing on legal concerns. Though I want the trades to happen, I don’t really fault the PA for trying to protect that – they have no reason whatsoever to put any trust in the owners, they have no reason to crack open the door if they fear the door being swung wide open down the road. On the other hand, I also wish the PA would just ‘fess up and say that they really aren’t interested in free mobility for their players (that much was obvious when the “everyone’s a free agent and there’s no more arbitration” deal was rejected by the PA some years back). What they are interested in is the maximum dollar amount on contracts within a system that limits player mobility just as much as they feel comfortable with. That kind of honesty would be refreshing, and would at least give everyone (fans, mostly) a dose of reality. As it is, both sides continue to play an elitist, out-of-touch game with the general public, and to the nines.