Wednesday, February 25, 2004

For those of you visiting Sodo Oh No for the first time because of our mention in the PI, welcome. Mike and I need to thank my wife for coming up with the catchy name.

A quick update on the MBSBL, we are well into the last few rounds of the draft. It's amazing how truly mediocre the talent is. And this is only a 10 team league with 25 players on the roster. It make me appreciate a bit more how tough it is for a GM to field quality players around the few superstars in the league. Does this mean I'll give Gilvasi a little more slack? Heck no. It's what he's paid to do and he's assembled the worst collection of supporting cast members this side of Milwaulkee with a payroll approaching $95 million dollars.

On now to the press release the M's released on Sunday under the not very clever guise of an actual sports article written by Bob (I lack the capacity for independent thought) Finnegan. In this PR piece the M's asserted the following;

1) Had they know that Tom Hicks was willing to eat $67 million of the A-rod deal they would have been "right in there".

2) Using their "unique" Mariner math ability they concluded that they offered A-rod "more" than Steinbrenner is paying A-rod to stay as a free agent in 2000.

3) It was all Scott Boras fault that Alex left because he "suggested" the M's offer him a shorter deal and A-rod was insulted that the M's were the only team to not offer him 8-10 years.

4) Assertion #1 is moot because Hicks wasn't going to trade A-rod within the division anyway and A-rod wouldn't have waived his no trade to Seattle.

5) The A-rod contract is why Texas isn't competitive.

The whole article is a perfect example of why only truly independent media sources are worth reading. It's a total corporate PR piece published under the byline of someone who pretends to be a journalist.

Let's refute all the statements in the story.

1) Isn't it the job of a baseball organization to know what is going on in the rest of the league? I knew A-rod was being dangled, I knew Hicks was open to any offer to get rid of his "perceived" albatross contract. There are only 30 clubs in MLB. How difficult is it to contact one when you know the premium player in the game is being shopped around? Reading between the lines I fully expect Hicks to sell the team before any of the more extended deferred contract money comes due. The guy was just looking for anyone to take the current money off his balance sheet. BTW, does anyone really think that the budget stickly M's would have been willing to go $16 million over their costs for this year? Even taking all the Sasaki money and applying it to A-rod would have meant taking on $8 million this year. It's not going to happen with this ownership group.

2) Alex is making $25 million a year. No matter how much funny math you apply to this, he took no pay cut to move to the Yankees for the next 4 years. Some of his deferred payments from 2007 and beyond got pushed out (which will cost him some real vs. future value money) but there is no way the M's offer in 2000 comes close to what he's making now.

3) If I'm the GM of a pro baseball team I make damn sure that my actual offers reach the player. If I'm negotiating with a once a generation player I go around the agent if I have to to get my offer put in front of him. What's the downside? Does anyone actually think Boras (or any other agent) will refuse to negotiate with a club in the future if they make the agent angry? That's not going to happen. We're down to 8-9 clubs that can make the big offers, with only 2-3 interested in any given player at any given time. No agent is going to eliminate one of those clubs from the negotiation list because of previous issues. The M's continuing to blame Boras is the pot calling the kettle black.

4) What's the point of writing the article if it's all moot and based on conjecture anyway? If I'm running the M's and want to put out the "we're trying really hard" puff piece. I actually make a run at A-rod and then get to concretely release that "We tried but A-rod wouldn't waive his no trade deal." not an article full of speculation.

5) This has been explained so many times it's not worth rehashing here. The Rangers spent money foolishly, but it wasn't the cash they spent on Alex. They had a great, young, inexpensive infield surrounding A-rod (Blalock, Teixiera, Young). If they spent their remaining $50 million wisely they should have fielded the AL West champs with a total payroll of $75 million. They didn't. Now they've capitulated to the public impression that it was the A-rod deal that was flawed and the private demands of their superstar to get out of dodge.


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