Michael Sullivan, who has 1 season remaining on his contract with the Cobras, declined an extension offer yesterday from the team.
It has been rumored for the last couple seasons that Sullivan wants to play for the Missouri Express and this decision may have just solidified that assumption.
So far this offseason the Cobras have already lost Kevin Johnson to the Rapids and have not yet re-signed Cale Johnson. In addition to Sullivan the team still has fielder Bryce DesArmo under contract.
At this time it unknown what the details (salary and length) of the extension offer from Cobras owner Drew Delucchi was. It's safe to assume that the amount was probably more than $6 per season though, which is what Sullivan is scheduled to get in JAL 15.
With the new salary cap of $65, Sullivan's $6 salary obviously makes him one of the most grossly under-compensated players in the league. Him rejecting the offer simply means Sullivan is willing to endure a season of undervalue just so he can become a free agent afterward. Clearly this is disastrous to the Cobras future post-JAL 15.
The last time something like this occurred in the league it was with Adam Clark who desperately wanted off of the underdogs. Prior to Clark's last season under contract with the u-dogs he declined an extension offer as well and as a free agent this offseason he left for the Waves.
What's different in the Sullivan case is that he has remained relatively quiet about addressing the rumors, and really the whole situation entirely. In the Clark instance he was very publicly outspoken about not wanting to remain on the squad.
Because of this it's unclear why he apparently wants to leave the Cobras, who he lead to the WWCD Cup last season and nearly won it with.
Going forward the Cobras management is in a very difficult spot. The big question now will be, "should they try to trade him if he's probably going to leave after JAL 15 anyway?" Doing so would mean the Cobras would be in complete rebuilding mode immediately, but they could at least get something valuable in return for him. Not doing so would mean the Cobras would remain a title contender in JAL 15, but afterward they could potentially slip to the bottom of the barrel if he leaves on his own terms.
Either way, the Cobras are now expected to pursue a "plan B" pitcher (possibly a rookie) as insurance.