From The San Diego Union:

“The Padres & reliever Heath Bell’s agent are discussing a multi-year contract, both the club & Bell said Thursday. The Padres control Bell’s rights for up to four more years; Bell said he wants a three-year deal & would be happy to continue setting up closer Trevor Hoffman, who is eligible for free agency in November. “I’d like to stay in San Diego,” Bell said. “I’ve got a wife & three kids & would like to know I’m going to be here. It’d be nice to know there’s no chance of being traded this winter.” Bell, 30, is eligible for first-time salary arbitration. If talks are fruitless, he said he’d be comfortable with allowing an arbitrator to set his 2009 salary.

“I came from no money,” he said. “I was undrafted & signed for $1,000. I’d played one year of varsity baseball, walked on to my JUCO team. If I have to wait, I’ll do that.” General Manager Kevin Towers, who declined specific comment, has said Bell ultimately could succeed Hoffman. It’s not unusual for clubs to structure a set-up reliever’s contract so that his pay rises if he starts to pile up saves.”

I’m sure the union is hating him for these comments, but instead of “It’s a business” (I’m eyeing you Teixeira!) I wish more players would realize how good they have it and say what Heath Bell did,

“I came from no money,” he said. “I was undrafted & signed for $1,000. I’d played one year of varsity baseball, walked on to my JUCO team. If I have to wait, I’ll do that.”

I know the fervor has died down about the Brian Giles vetoing a trade to a contender, but in his defense (and I wish more players did it) when a player has a specific team no-trade clause, theres a reason. As you can tell with the exception of Boston & Detroit it looks like he chose some of (at the time of the contract) worst teams in baseball. The other teams were Baltimore, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Florida, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Washington. That was a specific town he did not want to play in. Apparently he had no problems being traded to either New York team or Chicago teams or Philly (because you know those are easy laid back towns like San Diego where their fans are so nice to EVERYONE friend or foe alike) so sorry all mighty center of the universe Red Sox fans Giles didn’t want to play for you. I’m glad, he’s one of the few players that plays well (as you can tell by my previous post) Oh well in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter, after all theyre an American League team, they don’t even play real baseball. Yeah I had to get that dig in there!

I admit it. I get bored writing my thoughts down + I have a girlfriend and limited time to do anything with her, much less by myself. I’m too busy to write at work, which bums me out, because if my work ethic is right on, I should never be busy!

Anywhos, I thought after getting a chance to watch a 3 game series against the Giants I would vent.

The Giants, how can any team lose 2 of 3????? If anything this year, playing the Giants meant a free win. We’ve only won 3 of 9!!!!! After all the shit talking I did in the office over the winter. At first all these Giants fans mocked me, now they just look at me and say, “Don’t worry, the season’s almost over, you’ll be out of your misery soon.” Ugh, that is sad.

Luckily I spoke to Crash a couple of months back and proclaimed my allegiance to the Rays. They almost did it right. Another decade of losing and they might have been my new permanent team after this season. Unfortunately, I’m still a Padres fan. I’m so glad I didn’t drop 150+ bucks on the MLB package this year. I would have been heartbroken. In getting the few chances I’ve had to catch Padres games it amazes me that Giles seems to know the situation and play the game right. If there’s a guy on 3rd with less then 2 outs, he attempts to poke it in to right field. Almost all the other Padres? Swing for the fences boys!!! All the players complain about the park, it’s a great hitters park. Try hitting for the gaps as opposed to the seats fellas!

I almost dropped Crash a text today to see what it’s like to root for a team that, you know wins. Then I saw Baseball Tonight and figured I would not be so cruel to bring that up after a sweep from the Astros.

Am I rambling? Yes, but the frustration needed to be vented. Ok all of 2 people that may have read this (and one of them being Crash), let’s see if I can write a little sooner then 18 months.

Read this article and found it to be a great gift for any baseball fan. Enjoy!

Only hours after I predicted that the owners would start griping about “cost certainty” in the wake of their spending spree and before the end of the current collective bargaining agreement, I see this article on Yahoo Sports. jeff Passan reports on “growing dissent over the CBA.” And quotes Chicago White Sox owner, Jerry Reinsdorf, as saying “I am already lamenting it.”

I realize that the real battling needs to go on between owners, not between owners and players. On the whole, it is clear that MLB is flush with money. The players deserve as much of that money as they can get their hands on. It is not their fault that owners get crazy and pay 10 mil for mediocre pitchers just because everyone else is doing it. That’s the owners fault. If I were the owner of the A’s I’d be more angry with the Rangers owner than with the Union. But then again, if I were the A’s owner I wouldn’t be angry because my team consistenly makes the playoffs because the team isn’t run by fools!

I Called It

I am delighted that both players and ownership agreed to terms on the collective bargaining agreement with relative east this year. A few more years without talk of a strike or lockout will be a great thing. However, since signing this agreement owners across the league have gone on a spending spree that is reminiscent of the culture that created the A-Rod monster and two years later sent ownership to cry about “cost certainty.”

Here are some of the outlandish contracts that have been signed thus far this offseason:

JD Drew 70 mil. over 5 years
Carlos Lee 100 mil. over 6 years
Gary Matthews Jr. 50 mil. over 5 years
Alfonso Soriano 136 mil. over 8 years
Aramis Ramirez 75 mil. over 5 years
Juan Pierre 44 mil. over 5 years
Danys Baez 19 mil. over 3 years
Vicente Padilla 34 mil. over 3 years

What is amazing is that these contracts are ridiculous both in terms of annual dollars as well as length of contract (I am operating under the assumption that 3 years for a reliever is equal to about 6 years for an everyday player).

What is also amazing is that the Yankees are basically laying out of it. I love to take any opportunity I can to bash the Evil Empire, but in this case I can’t. In this wild market they are playing it sensible.

Inevitably what is going to happen here is that two thirds of those contracts are going to blow up in the faces of the owners that offered them. Teams will have to dump salary desperately and then the Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets will be the only teams able to afford the talent. The signing teams will absorb part of the contracts and the big market teams will end up with talented players and they’ll be paying market value for them. Those players will be collecting above market salaries. The teams that had to dump the salary will be paying off the rest of the contract for nothing. (Anyone remember Mike Hampton?)

Inevitably we are all going to have to put up with these ridiculous conversations about “parity” and how “small market teams” can’t compete with “big market teams.” and all of that nonsense.

But it isn’t the Yankees fault that other owners are going to blow up their team’s economy by signing .500 pitchers with 4.50 eras to contracts worth more than 10 million annually.

The owners that are offering these contracts are either a) incredibly stupid or b) making more money than they will let on when it comes time to try to institute a salary cap after this collective bargaining agreement expires.

The bottom line is that right now the Yankees are being smart. The Twins are being smart. The A’s are being smart. I bet those teams continue to win throughout the ups and downs of contracts. Texas, Baltimore, LA, Toronto, and Chicago are being stupid. I resent the fact that I may have to put up with a labor stoppage in the future because these super-rich owners are throwing around their money in foolish ways.

I further resent that the owners will call for a salary cap because they can’t control themselves. And most of all, I resent the fact that the owners know that public opinion will be on their side because they know that most fans have the mentality  of “I’d play baseball for free. Why are these players so greedy that they can’t bear a salary cap that keeps their salary down to 10 million annually instead of 15?!”

It is clear that it is the owners, not the players, throwing the system out of whack right now. The argument for a salary cap and “cost certainty” that will follow in about 2 years will just be total rhetoric thrown about to counteract their own mismanagement of  their team. It makes me nuts!

Well, it looks to me like my astute partner picked up on something. Now that the Red Sox substantially overbid for Daisuke Matsuzaka they will be under that much more at the mercy of Scott Boras for whatever he wants. Clearly the Sawx have committed to spending too much money on D-Mat, but the problem is that they have also shown some interest in J.D. Drew — another Boras client. So now Boras will use there pre-contract investment in D-Mat to extract maximum money for 2 of his clients.

Somehow this feels like it shoould be wrong. It is the Japanese posting system that seems a bit crooked. Boras is simply playing by the rules in place. Really if this all blows up in the Sawx’ face, if they find themselves in mid-August with a mediocre Japanese pitcher struggling to adjust to life in the US of A and a 4.5 ERA and BOTH of their corner outfielders are taking themselves out of the lineup because they just don’t care that much, they have no one to blame but themselves.

What happened to the Sox front office anyway? I thought it was a shrew move to assess a dollar and year value on both Pedro and Damon and not be bullied into changing their minds by big NYC money. But after subsequent moves didn’t seem to work out they have reversed course entirely and are on track to upstage King George in the role of Evil Empire.

If I were Prince Theo I would very publicly deny any interest in Drew until long after D-Mat is locked up. The truth is that if I were any GM I would avoid JD Drew like the plague. I think he is soft and I wouldn’t want him on my team.

I am pretty much glad that the Mets ended up losing out on what I expect will end up being a train wreck for the Red Sox. I just wonder how much the D-Mat deal will drive up Zito’s price. He knows exactly how much the Mets were willing to spend to try to get Matsuzaka. He will clearly be able to leverage their savings on the posting fee to up Zito’s value.

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