I am on record as having predicted, many times, that the "Albertross" and "Hamstrungilton" contracts won't look as bad in the future as they did to alarmists the day they were signed. I based this mostly on the observation that, over time, new contracts for star players continue to rise well beyond fan expectations. And that was before the incredible bump in financial leverage that the recent TV contracts to non-Yankee, non-Mets, teams brought to the market.
Of course, that was also before Josh Hamilton's performance melted under the warm sun of Anaheim like an over-sized Walmart inflatable Frosty the Snowman holiday lawn decoration in the December daylight. But what the hell.
Anyway, let's look it up. Over the next three years, Hambone is gonna cost $90mm. Over the next six years Pujols is gonna cost $159MM. At this rate, they BOTH ride these deal off into the sunset. So how do those compare to what's coming?
Jon Lester is now in the middle of a bidding battle that is getting noisier by the day. He's no longer expected to sign any deal before Winter Meetings just so that everybody gets a chance to throw their best haymakers. And, with the Dodgers entering the fray and the Giants needing to worry about LA getting a Lester, the expected going price is going as high as $175MM over 6 years. The Red Sox are probably already outspent.
But that's not the kicker. The kicker is what happens this offseason AFTER Lester signs. The teams that had all that capital on the table and did NOT get Lester, will now have to deal with a Scott Boras representing an even better pitcher in Max Scherzer AND the possibility that those losers are more incented to respond. Imagine, for example, how the Dodgers would react if the Giants get Lester?? And Boras knows that much better than me.
Scherzer is going for Kershaw money. He could easily do a 7 year deal in the $210MM range.
I don't know how it's all going to turn out, but I am not sure that five years from now people will be considering the $30MM for a back-of -the-rotation Scherzer to be a significantly better deal than the $28MM for a Pujols designated hitter.
And this math changes year over year. Over year.
- Winter Targets: From the Halos' own official site, Alden Gonzalez gives us a rundown of the Free Agent targets that Jerry Dipoto may actually care about and want to compete for. In focus are backup catcher, utility infielder, left-handed bat and left-handed relief. Alden has some fun names in there, such as Daniel Descalso, Nate Shierholtz, Raywilly Gomez and Atahualpa Severino.
- Albert Pujols: Last season was the first since 2009 in which Pujols' fared poorer offensively in the second half of a season (ignoring the impact of lost time due to injury). So it may be a little quick to judge this as some sort of trend that we will see from here on out as he continues to age. On the other hand, as great as Pujols has been, the trajectory of history has not been kind to his predecessors. Next year is his 35-year old season, and that is when things really tend to start falling off.
- Bobby Grich: Here is a tail (intended) of trying to beat some life back into a horse not yet to be considered permanently dead. Jeff Mays over at halos Daily THE INCREDIBLE JAWS OF BOBBY GRICH uses JAWS to demonstrate just how obtuse BBWAA voters have to have been to fail to properly consider Bobby Grich for the Hall of Fame. Take it away, Jeff: "Here’s the all-time list of the top ten JAWS for second baseman:
Everyone on that list is in the Hall of Fame except for Grich. It is an injustice that Grich never got to stand at the podium in front of a large crowd giving a short speech on one of those July afternoons in Cooperstown, New York. How does this oversight get fixed? It is up to the Hall of Fame’s Expansion Era Committee to vote him in. The next time they meet to put it to a vote will be during baseball’s 2016 winter meetings, and if anyone is voted in, the induction ceremony will take place in July in 2017, so there is time for fans to put together a Bobby-Grich-for-the-Hall-of-Fame campaign. Red Sox fans already have one brewing for a less deserving candidate, Dwight Evans."
- Odds and Ends: Michael Kohn, who had been dropped by the Rays and made a Free Agent, has signed with the Braves..........
This Date In Baseball History: 1950 - Do you remember last week, how I noted that Walter O'Malley had fired Branch Rickey and sucked Charlie Dressen away from the PCL Oakland Oaks to manage in Brooklyn? Well, that left Oakland without a manager. So, one week later the Oaks reached back into New York and stole Mel Ott away from the Giants to take over their own managerial duties...........1952 - Baseball is dying! It was announced this day that attendance had dropped nearly 10% from the prior season. Attendance would drop again in 1953, but somehow we all survived.............1955 - Carl Stotz announces plans to start up a new, alternative, youth baseball program to compete with Little League Baseball. Stottz is the guy who founded the original, back in 1939. But he argued against growth and expansion and filed suit against the very organization he founded, resulting in his being kicked out.............1957 - Gussie Busch steps in and mandates that the Cardinals execute a 5-player trade with the Reds. Coming over to the Cards was a 19-year old Curt Flood. That Curt Flood. 12 years later, after constructing a fine career, the Cards would try to trade Flood to the Phillies, and from this would lead to Flood battling the owners, Busch included, in his famous losing suit versus the rather unimaginative Commissioner Bowie Kuhn............1958 - the Phillies announce that they were dropping plans to broadcast games into New York City, and into the vacuum left behind by the westward trekking Giants and Dodgers. They back off, but only in response to a threat from the Yankees to broadcast Yankee games into Philadelphia..........1973 - So the main outcome of the Curt Flood lawsuit discussed above was that is scared the crap out of ownership, and two years before Flood would end up losing before the Supreme Court, the owners and the Players Association (then headed by Marvin Miller) negotiated a new agreement that included the 10 and 5 rule (10 years as a pro, 5 years with one club = player can veto a trade). Well, on this date in 1973 Ron Santo becomes the first player to invoke the clause and veto a proposed trade for the Cubs to the Angels. Smart move by Santo, as the Angels totally sucked over the next 4 seasons. But Santo would play only one more season anyway. In Chicago. As a White Sox............1975 - Yankee manager Billy Martin brings back Yogi Berra to the Bronx, to re-join the franchise and join his coaching staff. Thus, the role of "bench coach" is born............1977 - After signing free agent Lyman Bostock, the Angels now have room to deal away Bobby Bonds. Sending him to the White Sox along with Thad Bosley and Richard Dotson, the Angels get back in return Brian Downing AND Dave Frost AND Chris Knapp. At least two of those names should be familiar to everyone reading this. (By the way, Bonds would be traded to the Rangers just a few months later. He would only see 26 games as a White Sox.)............1996 - Interleague play is made possible as a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is signed by both sides..........2011 - Ron Santo is elected, posthumously, to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Golden Era Committee.
Pacific Coast League History Nuggets
"I broke in in '34. I signed with the Yankees when I was going to Oakland Tech High School and was signed by Joe Devine. He sure controlled the area, and Bill Essick was around too. Also little Bobby Coltrin.
Signing with the Yankees was a mistake. If I had signed with some other club I would have had a better chance. I liked Joe Devine. I played in the winter league in San Francisco because of him. I played with Frankie Hawkins and Chris Hartje. The Yankees signed both.
When I would go to spring training with the Yankees with my brother-in-law [shortstop] Bill Matheson, he'd see [Frankie] Crosetti and I'd see Lou Gehrig and we'd say 'What the hell are we doing here?'
I asked [Yankees General Manager] George Weiss to trade me out to the West Coast. Weiss made a deal for me, all right. The next thing I know, he works out a deal with Baltimore. I blasted him, really told him off. He said, 'Nobody ever talked to me like that.' I said, 'I have.'
I go over there and boy was I pissed. I had to play for that damned Rogers Hornsby. That's when I went into the front office and told them to get me out to the coast or I was going home. That's how I got to Hollywood in 1939.
I stuck around six years in the Yankee chain and nothing ever happened. I had to get out. I could have gone with the Phillies or I could have come back out to the coast and have been with a better team. I'd take the Coast [League' anytime."
- LEN GABRIELSON - Oakland Oaks, Seattle Rainers, Hollywood Stars
Woodford press, Publisher-
- PEDS Report: I have many, solid, reasons for why I don't outgrow my britches as a baseball blogger. leading off, I retain a finely honed sense of my own limitations. I have a limited amount of information, and a limited amount of time to commit. But I also retain an awareness between what I might become as a blogger, and what it means to be a journalist. This week's MLB PEDS report showcases (to me) why I think the drift from journalism to blogging can make us all poorer as a result. I, for one, am skeptical. I wish I were a journalist to deal with my skepticism. There should be many differences between a journalist and a blogger. One difference should be that while a blogger takes MLB info on drug testing counting numbers and presumes all is proven to be fine, a journalist would take the time to dig into those numbers and validate things such as: 1) Exactly what is the suite of substances being tested for?........2) Interview the dark side of the industry (Anthony Bosch, Victor Conte), and compare what is being tested for against what is being developed..........3) Exactly what is the testing protocol? Are there any holes that would allow a violator to slip by? (ARod using mid-stream as an example, or masking substances, or timing windows, or prior knowledge of test time or method to delay testing)..........4) When and where are the tests being conducted? Year round? Latin America? Japan? Korea? Taiwan? Australia? Canada?..........5) Why is it that, although the quantity of testing changes, the frequency of violators stays the same? Could that be a function of the testing itself?...........6) Go off the record, and interview the principals:...........a. The labs...b. The specimen gatherers...c. The players...d. The medics...e. The agents...f. The families...g. The officials (MLB staff and officers, MLB doctors, scouts, GM’s)..........Journalists are empowered to execute on this line of information gathering in order to flesh out and analyze a story or issue. They are granted constitutional protections, and special access unavailable to bloggers, and are corporately funded to pursue pure research. When the 4th Estate abdicates its advantage in pursuit of click-bait revenue, or when that advantage is usurped to protect some special interest from an unwanted outcome, we all lose as citizens.
- 2014 MLB GIBBY Awards: Just a reminder that the 2014 GIBBY Awards, for which the Angels have quite a decent number of nominees - including Mike Trout's - gulp! - arm! - will be announced tomorrow (12/6) at 6PM PST.
We found the one person who is more fearful of Brett Lawrie being traded into the AL west than we are! It's this Toronto Blue Jay fan-let!...........If you are reading this text, and are still in high school, and are a 5-tools position player, and you live in California, you need to move to Maryland. Immediately.............If it is true that Mike trout is faster than (almost) all these guys, and he plays a part of the field with so much ground (opportunity) to cover, why did he not have a highlight on this list? Hmm? Anyone???..........Hi, My name is Paul Molitor, your new manager here with the Minnesota Twins. The first order of business we need to address with all you players is GET OFFA MY LAWN!!!..........A lot of hay is made by blog commentors who are expert enough to claim over an dover that there is no scientific proof that PEDS create a competitive advantage in baseball, and that the REAL boost in offense earlier this century came from other factors. Well, the tide of evidence against that dike continues to rise...........
And now, being the full service weekend linkage institution that we are, here is the obligatory moment we take out of each Friday...for beer...
Friday: 18th Annual Pizza Port Carlsbad Strong Ale Festival, runs Friday and Saturday..............Bourbon County Tap Takeover at the Stache Bar in Long Beach...........New Belgium Sour Symposium at the Library Alehouse in Santa Monica.
Saturday: 18th Annual Pizza Port Carlsbad Strong Ale Festival, runs Friday and Saturday..............The Winter Market in Downtown Fullerton, with a tree lighting ceremony to boot, will be setting up a beer & wine garden for a nice wintry holiday afternoon and evening.
BEER BONUS QUIZ: Even though nobody tried to answer it, the correct answer to last week's quiz is FALSE. The National League actually outlawed beer sales in 1881. One result was the rise of the competing American League, which allowed beer sales. In this way, it was the American, not the National, that became known as "The Beer and Whiskey League".
This week's quiz: What style of beer is typically considered to be the best pairing with a hamburger?