Friday, November 17, 2006

New World Order

Keeping with the 80s-Republican-presidents-theme: remember the first Bush? He was fond of speaking of a new world order. I remember it mostly from samples on the second album released by the rapper Paris, an album that was more than slightly critical of Mr. Bush and his policies. (To avoid having Alberto Gonzales shut down the Magic, I'll skip a link to that album, and merely say that its title song and cover art spawned an investigation by the secret service. It was an interesting moment in time where crazy militia freaks hiding in the hills of Oregon and hip hop heads from the inner city had a common enemy in the new world order conspiracy theory.) Well, it seems that Theo Epstein and those poor, down-trodden Boston Red Sox who just can't keep up with the Yankees' payroll have ushered in a new world order in baseball.

The financial side of this new world order - and its ripple effect - look a lot like the conspiracy theory. I mean, $51.1 million just to talk to a pitcher? While I liked Matsuzaka, I have to agree that the numbers don't add up here. (Though the chart in the first linked article - showing the pitching staff that you could have for less than $51.1 - is really misleading. Most of the players listed there are not eligible for free agency, and no team could get them for anything near their current salaries on the open market.)

But, let's talk about the "world" part for a minute. With Tampa Bay picking up a star 3B from Japan (nevermind that the last thing the Devil Rays need is more bats to squeeze into their lineup), and the M's possibly among the teams looking for a cheaper pitching alternative from the Far East, baseball is starting to look more and more like a truly global sport. And Thomas Boswell agrees. Is it bad if MLB becomes to baseball what Europe is to soccer: stealing the best talent from everywhere else in the world for their professional leagues? Would it be possible to ever have competing leagues in different countries, to be a global sport more in the mold of soccer than basketball? Why can't the MLB owners stop the season for two weeks to let the best players in the world compete in the World Baseball Classic when they are in shape, like the NHL does with the Olympics? Besides being totally awesome - it really seems like it would would be in MLB's best financial/public-relations interests to make baseball appear to be a globally shared sport, rather than an imperialistic, American one.

Another question: Does Bavasi think anyone believes him when he says that teams are calling to see if he would be willing to deal Beltre? I'm sure they could get rid of him if they were willing to pay a big chunk of his salary, but I have never really understood the point of paying players that play for other teams.

I don't like signing Jason Schmidt, at least not for more than one year. I'd rather get Ted Lilly for less money and hope that he breaks out than hope that Schmidt somehow becomes less injury prone as he gets older.

Okay. Enough out of me. What do you all think?

37 comments:

  1. All this makes me start to think that complaining about the Yankees and Red Sox is unwarranted. We hear all this about competitive imbalance, how the Yankees and Red Sox can buy championships, etc. But, what's wrong with that? Look at the Red Sox. They sell out every game, have their own cable network, and they can jack up ticket prices every year. Why? Because they have some of the most loyal fans in baseball. They expect to win every year, and do whatever it takes to achieve that. I would love to be a fan of team that had that type of commitment. Instead, I root for a team that will go only to a certain length, and end up with long stretches of mediocre years.

    I remember Max Kellerman (yes, I'm referencing Max Kellerman) pointing out that there are more Yankees and Red Sox fans in America than there are Royals and Pirates fans. So, it's only fair that the Yankees and Red Sox should have more resources to work with. Sure, we want to feel sorry for the Royals and Pirates fans because baseball has a tendency to be an "aw-schucks" sport, but should we? I don't know. I guess we should only because their teams don't have the same commitment as others. I just don't think the Red Sox making this bid is that big of a deal. They can afford it, but more importantly- they really wanted Matsuzaka, and they wanted to keep him away from their arch rival. More power to them.

    You know my thoughts on Ted Lilly. But, part of me thinks the M's need to either go all out after every big name, or just do nothing and let the young talent develop.

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  2. I'm also not into seeing the Mariners sign Jason Schmidt to a long-term deal. Given his age and history, I would be willing to go two years tops, maybe with an option for a third year... I just don't want to see them overpay for a guy who might have already seen the best days of his career. Give him four years, and we might get a good year or two out of him and then I think we'd be stuck with his salary, which will probably be huge. Better to let the Cubs or someone else give him the big bucks, I think.

    Ted Lilly might cost less, but I don't know how much he would be worth. He might make a good #3 starter. Barry Zito? I think he could be very good at Safeco, but again I'm not sure he will be worth the money he and his agent will command. Ick.

    First I would like to see the Mariners trade either Sexson or Beltre to open up some salary room. I think Sexson would be the better of the two to trade. If another player was dealt with Sexson, it might bring an impact player to the Mariners. Sure Sexson does strike out a lot, but I think is still a valuable player, in Seattle or elsewhere.

    Then again, this probably sounds like really silly wishful thinking and it would end up with the M's putting out for an even higher salary, but maybe Atlanta would take Sexson and one of our young starting pitchers for Andruw Jones? I was actually pretty impressed with how well Baek and Woods did in the rotation at the end of last season. Maybe their value is higher for trading purposes now that is was mid-summer? Anyway, I don't know what Jones' salary is (it's undoubtedly higher than Beltre's or Sexson's), and I believe he will be a free agent after the 07 season... If they could trade for him and then give him something like a three-year deal, I would be very happy. He's one of my favorite NL players, and I think he will eventually be in the Hall of Fame.

    Anyway, I doubt they will go after Andruw.

    I would like to see them pursue an impact hitter or pitcher through a trade, and then sign an impact hitter or pitcher through free agency.

    I was glad to see the Angels take the bait on Gary Matthews, Jr. Five years and $50 million for a guy who has basically had one good season? What has Bill Stoneman been smoking? Of course the M's were happy to take on Washburn...

    I wasn't too excited about Juan Pierre either, and it looks like he has been signed. I was thinking Nomar Garciaparra might have made a nice DH for the M's, but he re-upped with the Dodgers. Who is left out there on the FA market that's any good?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Snave you bring up Sexson-I think he'd make great trade bait. Now that Soriano, Lee, and (HAHAHAHA-nice work Angels!) Matthews have been signed, Sexson could be very appealing to a team needing a RH power bat. The Giants and Orioles have been said to have interest, so we'll see. I'd love if the M's could fool the O's into giving up Bedard, but that's never going to happen.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Neddy Ballgame7:40 PM

    Great food for thought form you all--I don't knwo what to make of the Bosox bid for D-Mat--was it really an anti-Yankeee ploy with no intent to sign him?
    Beltre's not gooing anywhere but I have this gut feeling that 2007 will be a year when he earns his outlandish salary--I know,call me a starry-eyed baseball fan idealist !! As far as pitching is concerned,I think we're out of it --unfortunatley it seems we're going to have to hope our current crop has matured and/or lives up to its potential.... WASHBURN !!!
    Keep the posts coming -Hot Stove League has begin

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  5. the red sox signing was definitely an anit-yankees move, but with an intent to sign matsuzaka. i think it will be interesting to see how that shakes out. boros is doing alot of loud talking, but he has no leverage: he can't negotiate with any other team, and his client won't accept going back to japan.

    i wouldn't mind trading sexson. but, it would have to be for at least two top notch prospects if i were going to get excited about it - something along the fleecing of the red sox that the marlins did in the beckett deal. the m's history (a-rod and griffey) shows that it will be hard to get a big-time power bat to come to/stay in safeco, so i wouldn't want to give up the pure power of richie too quickly.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Too bad Anonymous doesn't offer us any baseball insights. If his or her baseball acumen is as good as for business, maybe Anonymous is GM material. Nah!

    I wonder what the Winter Meetings will hold for the Mariners, if anything... I hope there won't be any bad trades made, or any bad signings. Of course such trades or signings shouldn't be considered bad right away, because we would have to see how the players would do for the M's... but I think if you have been a Mariner fan for close to 30 years you know what kind of trades or signings I'm talking about! heh heh... the Kevin Mitchell trade, the Danny Tartabull trade... the trade for Heathcliff Slocumb... I much prefer the more rare kind like the one for Buhner, the one for RJ...

    Anybody think Seattle will make a splash next week?

    At least Gary Matthews Jr. is going to get paid by Anaheim for the next five years, and not paid by the Mariners. I was kind of worried that Bavasi might have wanted to take a flyer on Matthews.

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