Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Fleecing of Toronto

Imagine the range of emotions this morning, as I see that B.J. Ryan reportedly agrees to a deal on the front page of the Sports section. Disappointment and a little bit of surprise, as Ryan had stated his intent to join a team ready for playoff contention.
Open the paper to the article detailing in the terms. Incredulously say out loud, “5 years for $47.5M?!?”. My thoughts turn to how the negotiations must’ve gone, probably over a nice dinner:
John Courtright (Ryan’s agent) – B.J. would really like to play for a contender next year.
J.P. Ricciardi (Toronto GM) – We feel we’re right there in the AL East, with money to spend.
Courtright – There are other teams in the running a lot closer than the Jays.
Ricciardi (going into used-car salesman mode) – OK, tell me what it will take to get B.J. into a Jays uniform. Throw out a number.
Courtright – I don’t know…5 years, $47 and a half million.
Ricciardi – Done.
Courtright (getting up, shaking hands, and throwing money on the table) – OK, great I’ll send over the paperwork tomorrow morning, (under his breath) before you realize what you’ve just done.

That may be a bit of a stretch, but let’s look at some hard numbers. Now in no way am I discounting that B.J. Ryan is a nice relief pitcher, certainly with the potential to close for a very long time in the majors. However, let’s do a comparison, using Mariano Rivera’s contract from 2001-2004:

Ryan 2005 - 31 years old, 42 career saves, 1 year of closing.
-Contract for 5 years worth essentially $9.5M a year
Rivera 2001 – 31 years old, 165 career saves, 4+ years of closing.
-Contract for 4 years worth essentially $10M a year
-Did I mention he also had 19 postseason saves and a WS MVP under his belt?

I realize that players’ salaries go up every year, but this is ridiculous. Billy Wagner, the consensus best FA closer is 33 with 284 career saves during 9 years of closing games.
Guess whose price just went up. Do you think that Omar Minaya reacted well to the report?

I assumed that Wagner would get about $9.5M a year over 3 years with Ryan’s deal settling at about $8M a year over 3. So, this just completely threw those numbers out the window, not only in terms of money, but also in terms of years. Who gives a reliever a 5-year deal? He may perform at a nice level for a few years, but to lock up a closer with a short track record for that amount reeks of desperation.

Now there are conflicting reports of whether this deal is truly done (probably as Ricciardi went back to the office, looking for congratulations and receiving only gasps of, “how long…and for how much…for B.J. Ryan?), but it illustrates the FA concept that It Only Takes One Team:

  • It Only Takes One Team to offer two more years than everyone else.
  • It Only Takes One Team to outbid everyoe (sometimes outlandishly) to set the tone for the whole FA market, causing everyone's prices to go up.
  • It Only Takes One Team to “make a splash for their fans” by getting the player they want, regardless of any other circumstances.

We'll see if this deal goes through and, if so, who the Indians turn their attention to (Farnsworth, Hoffman, Gordon, or good ole Wicky) in the continuation of their bullpen restructuring project.


t-bone said...

this pretty much echo's PC's thoguhts:

Player News from ROTOWIRE

Nov. 25

News: Ryan has signed with the Blue Jays, ESPNews reports. A Blue Jays spokesman said that the deal isn't quite final, however, the Blue Jays' official site reports.

Spin: The reportedly is for five years and $47 million, both astounding numbers for a closer. It's not as if having a better closer was enough to close the gap between them and the Red Sox and Yankees. The Blue Jays have more money to spend this offseason, but they just used up a big chunk of it on just a marginal improvement.

Rockdawg said...

Well, I am a really big Ryan fan, but at those numbers, Toronto can have him. This is just another sign of how fast player salaries are getting out of control, and how owners are not only letting it happen, they are MAKING it happen.

As far as Thome coming back to play against the Tribe, I imagine that he will be welcomed with open arms by the fans, for two reasons. First, he was ADORED when he was here, unlike some other legends here (Ramirez, Belle, dare I throw Mesa in?) Plus, with his age, back, and possible lack of the juice, I can't imagine him doing anything to actually hurt the Tribe this year.

I've seen two Cavs games this year. The Spurs game and the Pacers game. (how much of the nation do you think slept through that one?) I think I may just stop watching now and settle for highlights.

t-bone said...

White Sox, Indians slated to play season opener

Nov. 28, 2005
CBS wire reports

CHICAGO -- The World Series champion Chicago White Sox will play the major league season opener on Sunday, April 2 against the Cleveland Indians.

The game, which starts at 8 p.m. EDT, will be televised by ESPN2. The White Sox and Indians, originally set to play April 3, 5 and 6, will instead finish their series on April 4 and 5.

The Associated Press News Service

Baltimoran said...

nice to see that even Frank Solich couldn't resist the urge to get blacked out drunk in Athens

In Shapiro i trust

Cy Slapnicka said...

Nice! That'll give them an off day before coming home for the Minnesota series and then another off day before they play the Mariners. sounds like we are starting the season 9-0!

As for Solich, he probably had someone vodka beer him. Its an awful experience and I don't even wish it on Art Modell.

Rockdawg said...

I got Vodka-Beered at a Jimmy Buffet concert once...It was quite possibly the worst experience of my life. I wouldn't wish on Art Modell, but I do wish it upon Stephen A Smith.

Michael Irvin's interview on The Dan Patrick show was awesome. Apparently he was "holding" the crack pipe for his friend who he was taking to rehab. He planned on throwing the pipe away, but he never "got around to it."

Cy Slapnicka said...

For those of you that have sworn off Roger Brown, saw this today:

"Let's make sure we have this right: Throughout the 2005 baseball season, Indians president Paul Dolan, son of team owner Larry Dolan, warned the team needed 1.95 million fans - a mark no AL Central team reached in 2004 - to break even financially. (Check.) Indians fans responded by surpassing the high bar set by Dolan, and coming out 2 million strong. (Check.)

Yet, now, the Indians still can't manage to sign their No. 1 target, bullpen closer B.J. Ryan? And they lose out on Ryan to the Toronto Blue Jays - a franchise often hamstrung because it draws much revenue in Canadian dollars, which lag in value to U.S. bucks? (And, please, spare us the sour-grapes excuse the Indians failed with Ryan because they didn't get a final chance to top the Blue Jays' offer. Does anyone else find it odd that every winter, the Indians "might have" signed a player - if only the player's agent hadn't rudely refused to call and give them one last chance? Why do agents apparently take such particular delight in stiffing the Indians?)"

If there is one person that deserves to get vodka-beered, Roger-dodger is him. Of course I imagine he drinks apple martinis or something similar.

Cy Slapnicka said...

Ouch, coulda done without that today. Couldn't he gone to the Orioles? Is that too much to ask?

I wonder if during BP Jimmy will pepper him with questions while he smashes HRs and Jimbo ices his back and elbow with frozen stacks of money:

JT: So whats it like to get a fair contract and not max out the money and years from anyone that will pay it?
PK: Cool, feels good. *smashes one into the bleachers
JT: I bet its neat to stay where you're comfortable and happy and adored by the fans?
PK: Rocks man, love it. *smashes another one into the bleachers
JT: Golly Pauley, I bet its even cooler to get all that and play for a team that has a shot at the post-season too?
PK: As long as your country boy ass earns your money we will.

Ah....that felt good. I've needed to get that off my chest since 2002.

t-bone said...

Buster Olney's blog entry today...

Nomar rebirth in '06?

posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2005 | Feedback

Nomar Garciaparra is among the players the Indians are considering -- Trevor Hoffman and Paul Byrd are others -- and he would make a lot of sense for Cleveland.
We are long past the days when it seemed Garciaparra was intent on getting paid as well as fellow star shortstops Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. He's played in more than 62 games in only two of the last five seasons, and Garciaparra will be 33 next summer. He's no longer an elite player, and scouts who watched him play last year doubt that he can succeed as a shortstop.

But some scouts also think he's a guy worth considering, if he were to embrace a Tony Phillips-type role, moving around from position to position. "I saw a lot of life in his bat at the end of the (2005) season," said one scout. "I think he's going to help somebody."

He got off to a terrible start last season, batting .157 in April before tearing his groin, but Garciaparra hit .338 in August and .311 in September. When healthy, he would fit in perfectly with the Indians in the middle of their lineup, perhaps batting behind Travis Hafner, lending some experienced and right-handed protection; he'd be playing for former Red Sox prospect Eric Wedge in Cleveland.

Garciaparra would be a nice addition in San Francisco, as well, as long as the dollars were right, or in Pittsburgh, or maybe in Texas, if the Rangers wound up swapping Kevin Mench. "I recommended him to our team," said another official.

He wouldn't be a bad gamble for the Yankees, either (and this is pure speculation on my part; no one with the Yankees has indicated the team is interested in Nomar).

The Yankees are insistent on not investing long-term in older players this winter (hello, Johnny Damon), but any deal with Garciaparra would be for one year, two years tops. The team could sell him on the idea that while playing in New York, he would not be the focal point of media scrutiny while housed in the same locker as A-Rod, Jeter, etc. He could hit sixth and be in position to drive in a ton of runs. The Yankees could try him at first base, in center field, in left, at second base against the occasional tough lefty (to give the left-handed hitting Robinson Cano a day off), and give him at-bats at DH. They couldn't tell him where he's going to play, but they could basically guarantee that he'll play just about every day, somehow. Maybe it would turn out that he's not very good in the outfield, but maybe it turns out that he's OK in center, or maybe better than average at first base.

Perhaps we'll see a Nomar rebirth in 2006.