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Once again, I’ve been inspired to write a full-length response to a comment here on Batter’s Box. Ah, intertextuality. Where would Shakespeare have been without it? Anyway, here’s the quote, from BB regular Jurgen Maas:

But the lesson, again, is—nobody is irreplaceable. Other clubs need to take this to heart.

This comment was inspired by the notion the A’s would keep Eric Chavez over Miguel Tejada. I suspect they won’t keep either, and money won’t be the only reason. Part of the decision will be driven by what Jurgen said: we’re all replaceable.

Of course, other than making money being the central issue, baseball has little or no resemblance to an ordinary business. It’s true we’re all replaceable, but that should not please anyone; it doesn’t have to be like that in the “real world.” The good news, I suppose, is that, if we “slump” in real life because of age or injury, we will—hopefully—not be discarded right away. For instance, when you’re 37 and coming off an arm injury, you’re not likely to be released from your job, unless you work in a manual labor position, in which case you’ll get workers comp, and of course in the event you do work in such a position, you’ll be hoping for an arm injury or hyperobesity so you can sit around all day in a muu muu poking a computer with a broom or obtaining a drinking bird to do your job for you.

Regardless of the differences between running a baseball team and running an accounting firm, there’s something to be said for continuity. How much is unclear. We’ve seen the Red Sox, Mets, Rangers, Dodgers, Cubs and others try the rotisserie approach to building a team, and they have, for the most part, failed miserably. Meanwhile, teams like the Yankees, A’s, Indians and, to a lesser extent, the Braves have had the same core for years, and they’ve succeeded where the other teams have failed. The Yankees are an exception, obviously, because of their free-agent clout, the last two seasons in particular, but there remains much home-grown talent on their squad. On the other hand, the Giants haven’t developed much talent on their own, and they’ve made the playoffs a number of years, often plugging in spare parts to fill out not only the 24th and 25th roster slots, but also, in some cases, the lead-off and #5 spots in the batting order, and even their high-end rotation slots. Barry Bonds is responsible for much of their success, duh, but not all of it.

Yes, the A’s were able to win 103 games last year without Jason Giambi, but that only proves how great Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson and Barry Zito are. Simply put, they won’t sign Tejada unless the deal is right for them, and no agent in the world will allow the deal to be right for the A’s; it’s not right or wrong, it just is. So Tejada will bolt, they’ll stick Freddie Bynum or Mark Ellis or whoever over there, they’ll use the two draft picks to get some college pitchers, who they will trade mid-way through the 2004 season for a hitter or two, and, assuming things go well, will stroll into the playoffs hoping Mulder, Hudson and Zito can throw shutouts. And if Chavez does learn to be more patient at the plate, he’ll be a superstar, one of the top 10 or 15 players in baseball, and there’s no way they’ll be able to sign him if that happens. I don’t see Chavez having Bonds-type potential, but Jason Giambi-type potential? If he walks more, yes. In any event, the odds are low they’ll be able to keep Chavez even if he maintains his current status of “very good.” In the next few years the A’s will also lose at least one of their aces, most likely Hudson, since he has the most ML time. They may lose two, or all three, and, while Rich Harden has put up some impressive minor-league numbers, we all know how unreliable young pitchers are. Much has been made of the luck factor in player development and scouting; while I believe luck can only explain so much, the odds seem stacked against the A’s having another pitcher work out in the near future the way Hudson, Mulder, and Zito have. I’m not counting on Ted Lilly or Aaron Harang, and, since the A’s are smarter than I am, neither are they.

Ah, but the A’s will bounce back, the pundits say. They did it last year after they lost Giambi, Johnny Damon and Jason Isringhausen; they’ll do it this year after losing Jeremy Giambi, Jon Mabry, Ray Durham, Cory Lidle, and Billy Koch; and they’ll do it again in future years when they lose Tejada, Chavez, Hudson, et al. Me, I’m not so sure. Many people point to how the Mariners won 116 games without Griffey, A-Rod or Randy Johnson, and that is indeed a worthy accomplishment. All it tells me is that the Mariners got lucky. They were obviously a good team, but last year’s 93 wins is a better reflection of just how good. Given the relative paucity of minor-league prospects, I think the Mariners are in for a long period of decline, and they will eventually have to part with Freddy Garcia, Mike Cameron and others to save payroll and re-stock the system. The A’s are different than the Mariners in that they have Billy Beane; in the coming years, we will see just how brilliant he is.

The one constant in Seattle, however, was Lou Piniella. This year will tell us much about the effects modern major league managers have on their teams, with Piniella and Dusty Baker switching teams, and with Felipe Alou coming back. All three of those guys turned their respective franchises around, but it wasn’t like they were starting over: Alou had Vlad and Pedro and Larry Walker, et al; Piniella had the aforementioned threesome, Edgar Martinez and Jeff Fassero, among others; and Baker had Bonds—a nice starting point to build any team around—Jeff Kent, and Will Clark, to name a few. The situation in Chicago is not as rosy, but Baker takes over a Cubs team that has Sammy Sosa, albeit a declining one, and starting pitching that is, arguably, as good as the A’s. It is not ridiculous to say that Kerry Wood, Mark Prior and Carlos Zambrano will not rival Hudson, Mulder and Zito in the 2004 season—if not the 2003 season. And Alou takes over a Giants team that did not stand pat. They have improved their offense, despite the loss of Kent; their success rests with their starting pitching, as we have discussed on this board. Piniella, on the other hand, faces real challenges. If he can coax 80 wins out of the Devil Rays, for me the debate is over: the 2001 Mariners won all those games because of Sweet Lou.

Of course, that M’s team wasn’t the D-Rays; there were some tremendous players: Bret Boone, Cameron, Ichiro, Garcia, John Olerud, Jamie Moyer, Kaz Sasaki, and Martinez. And they had role players—Mark McLemore, David Bell, Stan Javier, Dan Wilson—who also played hard and helped the team. Nonetheless, the nagging question remains: How did that team win 116 games? Well, for starters, they outscored their opponents 927-627. That helps. Other than that, the usual breed of theories have been postured: Boone, Ichiro and Paul Abbott, among others, enjoyed career years; the M’s played like a “team”; they had “guts." Whatever. Nobody really knows. Ask a different question, however. If you could, somehow, have presented the Mariners with the following two choices before the start of the 2001 season:

Option A: 116 guaranteed wins.

Option B: Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson and Alex Rodriguez instead of their various replacements. This is tricky because we don’t know if the Mariners would have signed Ichiro, among others, but you get the idea.

Obviously the goal is to win, so Option A would seem the easy answer. But saying the Mariners were better without their three superstars is specious—yes, they won more games, but were they truly better? Sure, you can say, “But the Mariners only won 79 games in 1999 and 76 games in 1998. Of course they were better.” Nonetheless, to imply the Mariners wouldn’t want any of them back is not merely specious. It is an outright lie. The Mariners miss Johnson, Griffey, and A-rod, no matter how successful or mediocre their teams have been without one of them, two of them, or all three of them. Similarly, the A’s miss Giambi and will miss Tejada, Chavez, Hudson, Mulder, Zito, et al more than they are willing to admit. Again, the Beane factor makes me less inclined to forecast a decline similar to what the Mariners face. It’s impossible to know.

Eventually, the Blue Jays will arrive at the same place as the A’s: they will have to decide among Josh Phelps, Roy Halladay, Orlando Hudson, Eric Hinske, Carlos Delgado, Vernon Wells and others. Good luck, J.P. The decision will be that much more difficult if the Jays win a title in the coming years, a real possibility if they can secure one or two dependable starters. So when one, a few, or all of the above players depart, money will be used, legitimately, as the reason. But another reason is important, too: the idea we’re all replaceable. For me, that’s not very comforting in terms of the real world; it would be nice to be considered invaluable. The reality is, quite simply, outside of our families, none of us are. In baseball, it is a central tenet in the A’s philosophy—and, therefore, a central tenet for the new Blue Jays. Is it good or bad? Who knows? It is simply the truth. And as Camus says, "The truth is neither good nor bad; it is merely the truth."
Tejada or Chavez? Phelps or Wells? It doesn't matter, since they're all replaceable -- right? | 17 comments | Create New Account
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_Matthew Elmslie - Monday, February 10 2003 @ 05:42 PM EST (#96579) #
Well, any player is replaceable in the sense that you can find someone else to put on the uniform. However, the better that player is, the harder it is to find another guy who can not only fill the uniform, but contribute at a similar level to the team's wins. And at a certain level of quality, you say to yourself, if I try to replace this guy with someone cheaper, the performance hit the team is going to take is going to be too great to justify the amount of money I'd save. In such a case, you resign the guy (if he'll stay).

For a midmarket team like the Jays, this means that only the superstars get the big free-agent contracts, and then only when the team's in a position to turn that player's contributions into a championship. It's not worth it to the Jays to break the bank for anything less.

I wouldn't mind seeing Toronto try to resign Delgado at some kind of lesser amount. I know that his current contract isn't really justifiable, but he's a better hitter than anybody else they'll be able to find.

I fully expect that Eric Hinske, in the fullness of time, will be permitted to depart as a free agent. How old will he be then - 33? Something like that? That's a bad time to sign a guy like that to a big contract. He could be done by then. It'll be bad press if he signs with the Yankees or someone, but it's quite possible that it'll be good for the Jays to have the future-Hinske on the Yankees.

Imagine if, through some magic of player development, the Jays come up with players at every position who are all superstars of about the same age. Do the Jays try to give them _all_ big contracts, as per my views of a couple of paragraphs ago? I say yes. How often does a chance like that come along? I don't know if Rogers would be willing to subsidize this hypothetical dynasty, but I hope they would. I'd like to see history made. Oh well; the situation probably won't arise anyway.
Coach - Monday, February 10 2003 @ 07:49 PM EST (#96580) #’ll be hoping for an arm injury or hyperobesity so you can sit around all day in a muu muu poking a computer...

You can't be talking about me; my arm is as good as ever.

The Blue Jays' decisions will be easier than Oakland's. Some will be made for them -- Delgado (and his agent) will choose whether to take the highest bid, or accept a "hometown" discount to play for what many of us expect to be a contender by then. Hudson will quite likely be traded; his style doesn't fit the organizational method, and there are two terrific 2B prospects on the way. Phelps, if he remains a man without a position, is -- unfortunately -- expendable.

If Halladay is healthy, I sure hope they pay him market value, whatever that is when the time comes. He's the only Jay I would consider giving a pre-emptive extension. Hinske and Wells might both prove to be keepers, though as I've said before, Vernon could be traded if he can't adjust his hitting style to the Blue Jay Way.

A contending team in Toronto should increase both gate and TV revenues, so J.P. may soon have twice Beane's budget to work with. Every team (except those Yankees) has to bite the bullet eventually on great "replaceable" players, but it's even harder when you're walking a financial tightrope.

The A's difficult choices, which aren't as clear-cut as Toronto's will be, also have to be made sooner, and there's less margin for error. If Billy Beane makes just one wrong call on his soon-to-be-expensive stars -- say he commits to Zito and Mulder, as Gitz suggests, but one gets hurt -- the consequences will be severe. If the A's survive the Tejada-Chavez-Hudson transition unscathed, and keep making the playoffs? Move over, Branch Rickey. You've got company as the game's all-time greatest executive.
_jason - Monday, February 10 2003 @ 08:20 PM EST (#96581) #
I don't think the A's view a position player and a SP as the same in terms of expendibility. I think they'll try to keep their version of Glavine-Maddux-Smoltz in tact for as long as they can.
_Theo Epstein - Monday, February 10 2003 @ 08:34 PM EST (#96582) #
Why are we fiscally responsible? Not because we are cheap; we are not. Not because we are afraid of large commitments; we are not. Not because we would rather pursue non-tenders or particularly enjoy reading through thousands of minor league free agent reports instead; we don't (well, maybe sometimes). Quite simply, we are fiscally responsible because the alternative would be a disaster. Fiscal irresponsibility is the single quickest way to hamstring a franchise for a decade. You don't have to look long and hard to find examples of the dire consequences caused by two or three bad contracts, by two or three times when you give in to the "win now" temptation and end up with a bloated roster and no way out.

We are fiscally responsible and we value payroll flexibility because we trust our ability to evaluate talent. Our attitude is: give us a talented core and some flexibility and let us go to work. The more talented the core and the more flexibility we have, the better off we will be. Injuries and down-turns in performance will be more manageable if we have flexibility.

There's no such thing as the perfect ballplayer, but there is such a thing as the perfect fit. When the right fit comes along, we will stretch ourselves (and have stretched ourselves) to acquire the player. That said, we think we have a handle on a player's value to our club, and we won't do something that doesn't make sense just to make a splash.

One more point to consider when assessing our perceived strategy, there are literally hundreds of factors that go into player evaluations and negotiations. Of those factors, we can probably only discuss a small fraction with the mainstream media. I wish I could share all of our thinking, all of the facts with our fans, but that would be inappropriate in certain instances and would compromise our ability to compete. I think our beat writers are terrific. Just keep in mind that, sometimes, (as Neil Young says) there's more to the picture than meets the eye.

(Just part of one answer from live Theo chat on "Sons of Sam Horn" site)
_Jurgen Maas - Monday, February 10 2003 @ 09:23 PM EST (#96583) #
Wow, that was really interesting. Great discussion.

I guess Oakland's position isn't that everybody replaceable. Beane didn't get Thome when Giambi left. Instead, Hatteberg didn't and couldn't replace Giambi, but Beane didn't put him in a position where he had to for the team to succeed. Hatteberg performed well enough, and the slack was picked up in other spots.

Beane seems acutely focused on the whole of the organization, and he might be the only GM who knows on a gut level that no one part is as important as that whole. The other clubs who have tried the "rotisserie" approach, as you call it, still seem to privilege the individual parts, as if getting Albert Belle can overcome a shallow minor league system and bad drafting. Beane's stance can't be easy to maintain when fans, players, and the media are pressuring you to keep a popular player to show your "commitment to winning". Beane instead shows his commitment by just winning. If anything, losing Giambi has only increased his resolve to go his own way.

I agree Beane's had his share of luck. No other club in the history of the game has managed to do what they have with Mulder, Zito, and Hudson. And, like the Braves' run, their three aces are the players most responsible for the A's consistent success on the field. It will be interesting to see what they do when their contracts are up. I imagine they'll offer them fair contracts at slight hometown discounts, and if any of them choose to pursue winfalls elsewhere, he'll let them go. And the A's will once again be at or near the top of the division before long.
_Jurgen Maas - Monday, February 10 2003 @ 09:40 PM EST (#96584) #
Another thought...

If Coach is right and the Jays' revenue increases while the A's remains stagnant, maybe the Jays will be in a position to steal away Mulder, Zito and/or Hudson when the A's can't. Imagine... Halladay, Mulder, Zito...

Nah, who am I kidding. I can't see any reason why Steinbrenner wouldn't want 10 more starters on his team. (The Onion's idea wit is nothing more than incisive observation humorously phrased and delivered with impeccable timing.)
Gitz - Monday, February 10 2003 @ 11:00 PM EST (#96585) #
The Internet cynic in me wants to know: is that chat excerpt from the real Theo Epstein?
robertdudek - Monday, February 10 2003 @ 11:59 PM EST (#96586) #
The A's didn't adequately replace any of the big 3 that left after 2001. Giambi has been discussed. The loss of Damon meant a severe downgrade for the outfield defence, if not a loss on offence. Koch replaced Isringhausen at the cost of one excellent and one good prospect. Koch wasn't as good last year as Izzy was.

As noted above - the other big guns picked up the slack for the 3 that left town, which resulted in another 100 win season.

But the guys they lost THIS year? Small potatoes. Little G was gone in mid-season - he's a poor corner OF - relatively easy to replace. Durham was acquired in mid-season - rent a player. Mabry? Who expects him to do that again, anyway? They didn't lose Koch, the stole Foulke from the Chisox - their pen will be better this year.

They didn't lose any of their key players this off-season.
Gitz - Tuesday, February 11 2003 @ 12:26 AM EST (#96587) #

I know; everything you say is true. I was merely speaking for the "pundits," anticipating what they will say in September when the A's are in first place by 10 games. Said experts will laud Beane's ability to re-tool on his small budget, which of course is true, but in reality the 2003 team will win, as we've all said, because of Mulder, Hudson, and Zito.

I do think, however, the A's will miss Durham, as I've said earlier. They are going to struggle to score runs this year if Erubiel Durazo can't play 130 games. Otherwise, it's a mediocre offence.

At some point, as Coach points out, the A's fans will get frustrated with their inability to sign their big free agents -- i.e. Miguel Tejada this year, Eric Chavez next year, Tim Hudson after that, et al. The best way to keep the fans happy is to provide between-inning strip shows or to win. The A's have been regrettably short on strippers the last three years, but they've been long on wins -- and they will be again this year.

But I have to believe, no matter how smart Beane is, and no matter how great the Big Three are, the loss of so many high-caliber position players will spin the A's in decline sooner rather than later. Then, as I said, we'll see what Beane can do.
Coach - Tuesday, February 11 2003 @ 07:21 AM EST (#96588) #
Gitz, though somehow I doubt he posted it here, that looks like a legitimate chat with Theo Epstein. I've never seen the site before, but all the regulars "sounded" suitably respectful and excited to have their illustrious visitor. If it's a hoax, it's a damn good one. In a Clutch Hits thread, nobody questions the authenticity of the link; the discussion's mostly about bullpen committees. I was interested in this comment:

For players in the rookie leagues and the lower levels, we focus more on traditional scoutings and tools. As the player rises through the minors, we shift our emphasis towards performance and statistical evaluation. When a player reaches AA, we balance these two schools of evaluation 50-50... and it more or less remains that way.

The chat, a real coup for the Sons of Sam Horn, makes me wonder when J.P. will step into the Batter's Box.
_Mick - Tuesday, February 11 2003 @ 10:02 AM EST (#96589) #
First, let me reiterate that I want to be John Gizzi when I grow up. (Notable problem: Gizzi is younger than I am, but I am working on the time/space physics of that.)

Second, Miguel Tejada is going to look great in pinstripes. Mmmmm ... Giambi at first, Jeter at second (!!!), Tejada at short and Soriano at third ... mmmmmmm.

Third, I am 37 and have had a recent arm (actually shoulder) injury and my job situation is tenuous, but the three are wholly unrelated. I think. Still working on the ol' knuckleball as a backup.

Fifth, I expect Halladay to be a Jay For Life, in part for the bizarre reason that free agent signings are often as much about marquee value and media/fan attention as genuinely helping the club, especially long-term (see Rodriguez, Ivan; Glavine, Tom; ad infinitum) and Halladay doesn't have the name or flash value that would net him $12M on the market. He could go 23-5 this year and your typical Ranger fan (and maybe John Hart Attack himself) would still rather have Roger Clemens at 41.

Sixth, I really like numeric lists. And did anyone notice I just blew past "Fourth" without commenting?

Seventh, as has been hinted at, the "replaceability" of a player relies primarily on the overall value of the entire team; when the Big Red Machine let Tony Perez go beecause they had an adequate repalcement in Danny Driessen, it hurt a little, but the team was still quite good. When the team let Pete Rose go and replaced him with .300-hitting Ray Knight, they still scrabbled together for a division title in '79, but it hurt a little more. By the time Johnny Bench gave way to, um ... Joe Nolan, I think it was ... the team as a whole basically sucked. The supporting cast couldn't "pick it up" enough.

All three losses Hall of Famers, but many midwesterners pinpoint the loss of Bench (actually his move to, ugh, third base) as the turning point in the fall of the BRM. Hogwash. The Eddie Milner era was doomed from the start.

Eighth, well, eight (heavens to Dick Van Patten!) is enough.
_Jordan - Tuesday, February 11 2003 @ 01:51 PM EST (#96590) #
There's no question that North American executive culture has for years bought into the idea that everyone is replaceable. When I was editing a lawyer's newspaper a few years back and was seeking an increase in the rates we paid our freelancers (17 cents a word, for the curious), the president of our company remarked, "Lawyers who can write are a dime a dozen." Whether or not he was right (he was not), his remark encapsulated the general head-office view that people are widgets, assets whose value can be exploited or exhausted and then replaced with a younger/cheaper version. It's a management philosophy that future sociologists will look back on with horror, the post-Industrial practice of continuing to treat humans as objects for the purposes of short-term fiscal gain. The dehumanization of the modern workplace will be another ugly legacy of the late 20th century.

I say "short-term fiscal gains" because many of these companies didn't, and won't, survive these tactics. Over the past 10 to 20 years, insecurity and cynicism have become integrated into the general corporate culture, feeding off the implemented anti-Kantian notion that people are indeed merely means to a desired end. Morale has bottomed out, productivity has slowed, commitment has faded, innovation has been discouraged, "excellence" has become a joke -- all the things that corporations said they were committed to are the very things they have actively discouraged. Companies treated their employees like commodities, and employees returned the favour by treating the company as a paycheque and nothing more. Good people eventually went elsewhere and bad apples burrowed deep into the enterprise. It was inevitable that these institutions would stumble and fall -- we've seen some topple already, and we'll see a lot more over the course of this decade. Human beings are not replaceable at work because we're not replaceable, period. We're all unique, with personalities and idiosyncracies, talents and abilities many of us don't even realize we have. ("Yes, we are all individuals!" "I'm not." "Shh!")

I believe that this principle has applicability to baseball teams as well. One of the few remaining untried business strategies left in the marketplace is the First Mover advantage: be the first to adopt a new and better way of doing business, and you'll reap tremendous rewards. George Steinbrenner was among the first to recognize the advantage of free agency -- an early manifestation of the evolution of the employer-employee relationship into that of paymaster-mercenary -- in the early to mid-'70s, and he made it work for him. I have a feeling that the first team that resuscitates the human element in baseball labour relations -- the first to treat their employees as people first and foremost and batters and pitchers second -- will be the first to reap the rewards. There is precedent right here in Toronto.

It wasn't that long ago that the Blue Jays were considered the best organization in baseball because they treated their people -- players and staff, not to mention visitors -- like gold. Free agents were eager to join them, and longtime players didn't want to leave. It was a part of their World Series formula. It got out of hand soon afterwards, of course -- player accountability was cast aside, the country club atmosphere took root and the organization itself lost the key people (Beeston and Gillick primarily) who made the rules and set the examples.

But consider the market advantage that a team could gain by abandoning the mercenary model, by treating employees of all stripes and salaries as valued partners in a worthy venture. It would catch a lot of people off guard, and a lot of people would laugh at it. But I'll betcha it would work, because I think it's shortly going to start working in the business world, as disillusioned Dilbert-Generation workers who've watched pension plans be misspent and who've been helplessly abused by leverage-wielding executives will be attracted to a company that practises, not just preaches, a style of management that cares without apology.

And if that happens in baseball, then sabrmetrics is going to have to adapt as well, because the old formulas will be incomplete. But then again, they always were.
Gerry - Tuesday, February 11 2003 @ 02:11 PM EST (#96591) #
Oakland, and other teams such as Toronto, are forced by market economics to acknowledge that no-one is irreplaceable. The smaller market teams have a limited budget for 25 players. If we look at a $40 or $50 million dollar payroll what is the maximum amount you can pay one player, 15%? 20%?, 30%? The Jays have almost 40% committed to one player. They have to manage around that.

Oakland, or the future Blue Jays, will probably cap the salary of one player at around 20%. That is $10m. Once you get above that it is hard to fill in the rest of the roster with the right mix of experienced and young players. A roster has approx. 15 key players (9 hitters, 5 starters and a closer). That leaves ten other players. Those ten "other" players will use about $5m of payroll. If we have a $50m payroll budget, that leaves $45m to share among your 15 key players. That is an average of $3m each. Once your key players get towards arbitration eligible, they will be easily be hitting the $3m mark. If one player earns $10m, then you have $35m left to share among 14 players, an average of $2.5m. And so on.

General managers have to find their "sweet spot". Is it one $10m player, 14 at $2.5m and 10 close to minimum. Or is it 15 players at a $3m average with no-one above, say $6m? Or the Jays at $18m for one player and $27 for the other key 14 players, an average under $2m. The Jays can do it because they have so many young players.

Has anyone thought about the Jays in 2004? Delgado will still be a Jay. All the young guys will be looking for big salary increases as third year players. Some may be eligible for arbitration. The Jays payroll could jump by $10m just to keep the same lineup on the field. There will be relief in 2005 (bye bye Carlos) but will Ted open the wallet for 2004?

So back to the original thread.....Oakland know that once a players salary gets over $10m, they will have to go. Once they are a free agent the good players will get that offer from some other team. So an all-star free agent can not stay with a team like Oakland. So trade him, or keep him and get the draft picks. Its Vegas baby, Vegas!
_Ted Rogers - Tuesday, February 11 2003 @ 06:59 PM EST (#96592) #
-will Ted open the wallet for 2004?

If the fans open theirs in 2003.
Pepper Moffatt - Tuesday, February 11 2003 @ 10:17 PM EST (#96593) #
Keep in mind that the Jays won't be paying Mondesi $7mil to play with the Yankees in 2004. That will make for most of the difference.

I also imagine Stewart and Escobar will be playing elsewhere. To be honest, I think J.P. should have non-tendered Escobar.. I have no idea why the Jays re-signed him.

So Mondesi + Escobar = $10mil. That should make up for any shortfall. Plus I expect the salaries of mid level players to be depressed next year, as it looks like there will be a surplus of good free agents.

_Richard - Tuesday, February 11 2003 @ 11:55 PM EST (#96594) #
I thought I'd take a run at estimating the financial imperatives facing the Jays in 2005,the first year I believe the team will challenge for a wild-card.

A few caveats;

A.)J.P. has stated the payroll will remain in the 55-60 million range for the "next few years".

B.)Player contracts will remain relatively stagnant for the next few years.

C.)My research is somewhat cursive(I have a 3 year old asking me to get off the "puter" so as he can play some games.)Corrections are welcome.
Here's the crystal ball.

Position players:

1B.Phelps $600,000, Still not arbitration eligible(I believe this is one of the reasons he was brought up late this past season.)

2B.Adams-$300,000, Sorry guys J.P. trades the O-Dog not because of lack of production,but rather because Adam's is an OBP beast.

SS.Woodward-$3,000,000,Has settled in nicely as a .800-850 OPS guy.
He becomes a FA after the 2006 campaign.

3B.Hinske-2.5 million,First arbitration year,will use Chavez as a template who got 2.4 million for his first arb.year.

C.Cash-$350,000,Establishes himself as a regular during the 2004 campaign.

LF.Cattlatano-$4 million-Moorad still thinks he's negotiating with Gord Ash,J.P. gets tired of the charade and signs the Cat for 3yrs at 12 million after 2003 and dumps Stewart who refuses a long term contract.

CF. Wells 2.5 million-As Coach pointed out on an earlier thread this is his first arbitration year.I used Tori Hunter as an example of what a player of this ilk gets in his first year.

RF.Werth/Gross/ Griffin -$750,00-Werth forms a platoon with one of these lefthanders.

Bench:2-million-Berg/Bordick long gone..J.P. constructs a bench of six year free agents.

Total $16 million

Pitching Staff:

Halliday- 10 million-After the 2004 year Roy is signed to a long term contract before he hits free agency after 2005(Millwood similar player)

3 starters from this group establish themselves.

Total cost 1.5 million.

The relief group has

Politte 4 million
Bush $400,000
2 veteran loogys- 2 million
3 of the left over starters ,rule 5 guys,and the good group of 2002 draftees(E.G. Plieness,Mareua etc..)-1.2 million

Total for hurlers 19.1 million

This gives us a total of 35.1 million.

Note, I have not included a DH or a number 2 starter.The Jays would have almost 25 million left to play with.

Would Delgado take a "home town discount" at 10-12 million?

Should the Jays go out an get a veteran ace nearing the end of his contract?

In 2006 You'd need 6-8 million to service increased arbitration settlements,but the Jays appear to be able to keep this core group together for a nice run.
Coach - Wednesday, February 12 2003 @ 09:31 AM EST (#96595) #
If TANSTAAPP (there ain't no such thing as a pitching prospect) smiles on the Jays, four of Richard's seven young guns could be in the rotation, and a couple might be trade bait.

Most of this thread has been devoted to one issue faced by front offices -- how to afford the players you want to keep. The sudden change in the baseball economy leaves other teams (not Toronto, who somehow anticipated this) with an even bigger problem -- how to get rid of the guys you don't want. From a Newsday piece a couple of days ago:

"Part of our [offseason] game plan was that we'd do our best in moving some contracts," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said last week. "We were unsuccessful in doing that."

Still no takers for Sterling Hitchcock + $3 MM (he's owed $6 MM) for a nondescript prospect, and the Yanks can't (or wont; the Boss hates to admit mistakes) give Mondesi away, either. Paying Raul not to play is one of J.P.'s better moves, even if Scott Wiggins stays in Syracuse.
Tejada or Chavez? Phelps or Wells? It doesn't matter, since they're all replaceable -- right? | 17 comments | Create New Account
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