Saturday, February 21, 2009

Players Are Scrambling

  • What collusion couldn't do, the economy is doing:
Years ago, the owners tried to band together to keep player salaries down by lowballing stars or not even bidding on them. It worked for a couple of years as stars like Kirk Gibson and Tim Raines were unable to find even one team that was willing to try and sign them; of course the owners got sued; of course they lost; and of course it cost them a fortune in compensation. Now salaries are being stifled; players are forced to take one-year deals; and money is way down from what the same players would've gotten in more affluent times and teams are getting bargains because of it.
What would Bobby Abreu have gotten last year had he been a free agent? Manny Ramirez? Orlando Hudson? Francisco Rodriguez? With their resumes, they would've broken the bank. Even injury prone and slightly above average players like Joe Crede would've cashed in due to the desperation. Now we see Abreu taking an incentive-laden, one-year deal from the Angels; Manny's sitting out and seething; Hudson signed with the Dodgers for one-year; K-Rod took a three-year deal from the Mets for reasonable money after saving 62 games last year; and now Crede agrees to terms with the Twins.
Some teams, like the Yankees, are still spending wildly; and most of these owners could lose 90% of their fortunes and wouldn't even notice, but the situation has gotten to the point where the players are back on their heels and interested teams are secure in the knowledge that there aren't any options available for the players to be fussy. What collusion couldn't do, the econony is doing and knowing the owners, they'll still find a way to screw things up, but as of right now, it's a bliss for teams who always wanted to set a dollar value on players and come somewhere close to achieving it in reality and for 2009 at least, they're getting the bargains they've always wanted, but couldn't figure out how.
  • Does this sound like a mentor?
Here's some quotes from Tom Glavine on his return to the Braves:

"I don't necessarily want to be the guy who has to pitch 220 innings and win every time he goes to the mound..."

"I’m looking forward to this stage of my career where I don’t have to deal with that kind of pressure and can be more of a complement to our rotation."

I'd hate to inconvenience Tom with the nuisance of having to win.
It's like he's doing the Braves a favor by gracing them with his presence as he finishes the yard work in his Atlanta home. For a guy who was an eloquent spokesman for the game most of his career, Glavine is not only hanging on too long with his pitching, he's hanging around too long with his mouth. His indifferent reaction to his non-competitive performance on the last day of the season for the Mets in 2007 as they completed their collapse was what angered fans more than anything else; it's one thing to get pounded; it's another to sound like you're just shrugging your shoulders about it as you pack up and head back to Atlanta.
I've always been an advocate of getting players to sign with clubs by convincing them that they can flourish in the venue; it's been necessary for New York teams to cajole certain personalities into coming into the fishbowl; but in recent years I've come to the conclusion that if a player is truly enthusiastic about playing in New York and getting with the program, he doesn't need to be begged. Another example of setting a standard is when the Rays got rid of Delmon Young and Elijah Dukes; my new philosophy for an organization would be, "if you don't want to be part of this, then we'll move you; if you don't want to be here, we wish you all the luck in the world and we'll get someone else." I don't care who the player is and what he can do; no one's irreplaceable; and if someone is acting like they're doing me a favor, then I don't need them that badly.
If anything should convince the Braves that it's time to move forward, it's these stupid comments. They've lost John Smoltz; no one wants to play there anymore; and they need to rebuild. If Glavine doesn't show anything more than he did last season in the spring, they should tell him he's not making the team and he should retire before they cut him. The major leagues isn't a retirement home and for all the ridicule the Braves used to heap on the Mets, they're looking an awful lot like those Mets of the late 90s and early 2000s; I can tell them first hand that's not the direction they want to take.
  • Comments:
I'm still having trouble figuring out how to add a commenting thing to For now, if people would prefer, they can comment via Email (click on Contact Me) and I'll publish them in a posting. (The interesting ones, anyway.)

No comments: