Sunday, December 5, 2010

"Well, there isn't a 48% tax [in soccer]."

So there are some grumblings from John Heyman of that the Red Sox and Adrian Gonzalez have indeed come to an agreement, after the story all afternoon and evening was the following:

2:00: The trade was off altogether because the Red Sox (and their idiot owner who prefers paying for soccer players because there's no luxury tax) couldn't reach an agreement with the player regarding a contract extension.
7:00: The trade was back on, but there was no extension. The Red Sox (and their idiot owner who wants you to root against the American dollar because it helps his business interests) essentially traded four top prospects so they can have Adrian Gonzalez for a one-year rental. In a year that they have Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Mike Cameron, JD Drew, and 46 in their lineup. Then they have a chance to get the player back in free agency anyway.
11:00: Maybe there's an extension in the works.

The fact that there hasn't been a finalized agreement with this extension is further proof that this general manager or this ownership group - OR BOTH - need to go into the Witness Protection Program, move to Seattle, and live the rest of their lives like schnooks (another Goodfellas reference!). The fact that nothing's finalized and nothing will be finalized by the time tomorrow's press conference happens means one of the two issues:

1. The general manager got his absolute ass kicked in negotiations. Again. That's all the guy does - get absolutely hammered in negotiations. I'd like to see the Boy Wonder talk a dude off a ledge, or to talk to Kim Jong Il or something. This idiot, probably in the name of roster flexibility, probably told Adrian Gonzalez "Hey, we already paid four freaking prospects for you. Are you okay with two years and $18 million?" I think that's the kind of thing he said to Victor Martinez, too. All sarcasm aside, he probably offered Gonzalez six years, which is less than the asinine 7-year deal Jayson Werth got from Washington this afternoon.

This is exactly the player you wanted, and you're going to get smoked in negotiations with him? Wow. Am I watching myself striking out looking in the girl category when I was a senior in high school? You're okay with not doing what it takes to get the one player you've wanted for three years? That's disgusting. Absolutely unconscionable.

2. The general manager has to ask the guy who, on his private freaking jet, was talking about how his company was up 20% for reasons the Boston Globe's readers wouldn't understand, for permission to shell out the money on top of the prospects. Theo Epstein, the way I see it, already gave up his items of value in the baseball players. But he has to ask John Henry about the dollars, and John Henry is hesitant. I just don't understand this.

("Neither will your readers.")

But seriously? It's already insurmountably stupid in the baseball category (see Saturday's post), but that damage is done. Stop being so freaking cheap and get a player who doesn't suck. You will pay $14 million a year for JD Drew, who does suck. You will pay $10 million for Mike Cameron, who also does suck. You paid $170 million on a garbage "bridge year" team that sucked. But you're falling short on the missing piece that will make this team good for the next five years. Probably because there's a 48% tax that isn't there in soccer. That is unforgivably cheap, and something this fan base does not deserve from a bunch of jackasses shoving NASCAR and membership cards down your throat and up the other way.

Pardon my French, as I have not been this furious about this team since December 6, 2006, but that is complete horseshit. I can't find any other word for it. Rubbish? Rubbish doesn't even do it justice.

This team clearly does not want to win. They want to maximize profit. Say what you want about George Steinbrenner, but he was NOT a smart businessman. He was a competitive guy who wanted to win. John Henry does not want to win. He wants you to root for his business interests because it will help him make money. He wants you to root against the American dollar and for the Chinese yuan, because it will help his business interests. Tom Werner doesn't care about winning, as he compared the 2004 World Series to 3rd Rock from the Sun.

This ownership group is absolutely rock bottom. At least Jeremy Jacobs needs "a trophy, a big one." Give me the freaking McCourt family at this point. Give me Peter Angelos. Give me Dan Snyder. I would rather have Marge Schott as the Red Sox owner than to have John Henry and Tom Werner.

These guys first tried to pull off a trade, most likely against the wishes of the baseball people, to help their public image. But now they're balking at the opportunity to have it actually help their baseball team.

Disgusting. Abominable. Unforgivable.


Anonymous said...


Marge Schott was racist and homophobic. But really, aren't those two of the best topics for humor these days? She would be wildly entertaining as an owner.

But on a more serious note, the Globe suggested that the Sox actually have an extension in place but just aren't going to announce until after the season starts so as to avoid a hefty luxury tax bill. I'm inclined to think there's some truth to that simply because they did the exact same thing with Josh Beckett last year and because there is simply too much risk to trading three top prospects for a one year rental.

Also, going back to your earlier post, the Red Sox don't always get the guy they really, really want in free agency. They didn't get Mark Teixeira.

--the Gunn

the gm at work said...


Congratulations on recognizing racism and homophobia as "two of the best topics for humor." It means that you have spent enough time away from Colby College to realize it's sometimes okay to make jokes. F the Racist Echo.

So in order to avoid the 48% tax that isn't present in European soccer, this organization is going to make a gentlemen's agreement with Gonzalez and his agent. Good. I heard the gentlemen's agreement with Japan regarding players who have only played in the industrial league has held up pretty well (ask Junichi Tazawa), as did the Red Sox' gentlemen's agreement to not trade Bronson Arroyo to the Reds for Wily Mo Pena. The only gentlemen's agreement that has really worked out for these guys was the agreement that JD Drew would opt out of his Dodgers contract when Trot Nixon was leaving.

Whom did the Red Sox really want more - Mark Teixeira or the two guys they signed four years ago today? That's what I thought.

Patrick said...
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Patrick said...
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Patrick said...

'm sure it would be ideal for adrian gonzalez to get traded to boston and not sign an extension. move from petco to fenway in a contract year? yes please. it's a tougher league but his numbers should go up just as a product of swapping parks. as a result his value goes up, and then he gets to actually hit the open market and see what that value is. he's already going to get paid, and a year in fenway could probably get him somewhere between a howard and teixeira contract.

but i agree chances are the sox will just sign gonzalez soon after the season starts to save on luxury tax just as they did with beckett. if you can get it done, it's a really smart play.

dv, we've been through this before, but it's really tough for you to say that steinbrenner wasn't a good businessman. make all the distinctions you want, but just because he didn't operate based on traditional models of business efficiency does not mean he wasn't a good businessman. he understood that winning maximized profits more than cost efficiency did, and therefore he spent, and sacrificed some efficiency, to win. this is not a totally atypical business plan. winning is unique to sports, but you could certainly draw a comparison between a steinbrenner type ownership and a more efficiency driven ownership model by looking at something like advertising (and let's save ourselves from pointing out that no, these two things are not exactly the same). some companies look very closely at their dollars spent on advertising in relation to value added. they develop a very efficient infrastructure to only spend up to what they feel like will maximize their profits/dollars spent ratio. it's smart, but it's also somewhat frugal and narrow-minded, and that's ok because the financial reality for some companies is that they are forced to operate this way. shoot, some companies choose not to advertise at all, and are just happy with the profits that they get witout it. but then there are some that only keep an eye on money spent on advertising in the sense that they want to make sure aren't getting out of control, and otherwise flex their financial muscle and put out serious ad campaigns in primetime spots regardless of cost to attract the most potential consumers. these are usually the most financially powerful companies. they may not have the highest efficiency rate in terms of profits per dollars spent on advertising (just like the yankees don't spend "efficiently" per win), but they rake in the most money in return as a result of their ad campaigns (like the yankees do every year in revenue). are the execs that choose to go all out on advertising, beyond what is most "efficient", not good businessman? of course not. they just understand how they can flex their financial might and make boatloads of money as a result. for steinbrenner, he got to win too, which was perhaps more important. but just because he wanted to win first doesn't mean that winning wasn't also a smart business model. and you can't say that a man as smart as steinbrenner wasn't acutely aware of that.

Anonymous said...


Globe reports the contract is for eight years and $167 million. He'll be 36 when the contract is up. I've got faith he'll be elite for somewhere from 4-6 years of the deal. Anything more than that is a bonus. What do you think?

Also, that Jayson Werth contract? Not only is it a blessing that he signed elsewhere (now the Sox can't get him and have JD part II), but that contract won't be a good one at any point. $18 million a year for a guy who wasn't even one of the five best players on his own team? Does that make any sense? I know people will say the obvious which is, "man, when he's 37 and 38 that contract is going to look really bad." I'm saying this--NEXT YEAR when he's batting .276 with 22 homers and 79 RBI? That contract will look horrible and will only get worse.

--the Gunn

TimC said...

I think PF makes a really good comment here about the distinction between Steinbrenner and Henry. Steinbrenner is interested in maximizing profits by winning whereas Henry is by being efficient.

To get technical, I see it as a case where Steinbrenner would be willing to keep spending even at the point where each additional dollar spent brings in less profit than the previous dollar whereas once Henry reaches that point he would stop spending. It is a case of two men whose idea of 'maximum profit' differs- Steinbrenner is an absolute dollar figure whereas Henry probably sees it more as a per-dollar spent thing. In my mind, teams that are run like the Sox are also less likely than the Steinbrenner model of producing dynasties- or in this day and age, perhaps two or three-peats.

Running with the Gunn's comment on Werth, I think it is a good example of how poisonous FA can be. Werth is, theoretically, going to be about $18 million worth of baseball player this year. However, he is unlikely to improve so for this contract to be worth the money over the life of the deal he will need to maintain his level of play over the course of the deal. Obviously, unlikely, given the age of these players when they hit the market. These contracts pretty much are situations where a team is gambling that a player will maintain his performance level for the life of the deal and there is almost no upside at all.

As for Gonzalez I think you guys, DV in particular, made many good points. My fear is that although he is a terrific player the decision was made by fears of falling ticket sales, lagging interest, and anything else non-baseball related that can be thought of. Not the sharpest way to run a team.

Patrick said...

great points all around gunn and timc. i differ a little bit from gunn in that i think werth is an $18 mil type player right now and for next year. he's an .880-.920 ops/130+ ops+ type hitter, has generally been a well above-average defender in all three outfield spots, has speed, and can hit a lot of different places in the order for you. there are only so many players with that kind of versatility. if the yankees had a need, and had signed him to a 4-5 year deal worth 18 per i'd have been totally psyched about it. but i totally agree that the last 2, 3, even 4 years on that thing may not look so good, and that makes the contract pretty crazy. but if a team like the nationals wants a free agent, they are going to have to overpay like that to get them because players generally don't want to go there.

what are we thinking about pats/jets tonight? i like the pats in a low-scoring affair. 20-14, something like that.

the gm at work said...


The key is "if you can get it done." Until it is done, it is not done. And that's what is bothering me.

On Steinbrenner, I'm sure he isn't firing Yogi Berra in the third week of the season because it's going to limit his costs. I'm sure he's not calling Gene Michael at 3:30 in the morning because it would look better on his P&L sheet. Good business took a back seat to winning. And that's awesome.


Unless something is done, which it's not, nothing is done and the Red Sox have traded their farm system for a one-year rental.

The Werth signing is very aggressive. I'm glad the Red Sox didn't get sucked into that.


If this were a baseball decision, it would have been done next year so they only have to pay for him once. This way, they have to pay for him twice. It reeks of ownership's inability to stick to a plan.

Patrick said...

totally understand on the "if you can get it done" point.

you are right that winning was prioritized over good business. but the problem is that there is no evidence that prioritizing winning over business wasn't in fact good business. yes, he made decisions based on winning more than business. but that doesn't mean that was bad business. it just means he cared more about winning. a byproduct of his prioritizing winning was that it was not good business, it was great business. and that is where you lose me when you say he wasn't a good businessman. if you want to say he cared more about winning, that's fine. but saying he wasn't a good businessman is plainly inaccurate. he built a ship building empire and created the most powerful sports franchise in the world. you can't do that by being a bad businessman, which is a contention you have made multiple times now.

side note - i'm not sure those actions you referenced are the best examples. yes they have to do with winning, but no they really don't have that much to do with business anyway.

the gm at work said...


George's dad built the shipbuilding empire. George inherited it. Right around the time of the Howie Spira scandal, Amship filed for bankruptcy.

If I ever said that he was a bad businessman, which I don't think I did, I misspoke. What I have been meaning to say is that the guy was a winner, not a businessman. The success of the organization was a byproduct of his craving for victory, not his craving for profits.

John Henry is a businessman, not a winner.

Patrick said...

dv -

are you getting enough sleep? in the post for which we are commenting in this comments section, you said:

"Say what you want about George Steinbrenner, but he was NOT a smart businessman."

you even capitalized NOT. that's what i was referring to. what you are saying now in your most recent comment makes perfect sense and is, i think, very accurate.

TimC said...

I don't think Steinbrenner was a particularly smart businessman myself but I am looking at only the baseball side of it. And, to be honest, if the business is winning, he was the best. I think it depends on how you look at the word 'businessman' in the context of running a baseball team.

The Pats and Jets should be a low-scoring game, as you said PF. 20-14 is a good prediction. The key to the game will come in how the teams convert in the red zone, particularly the Jets O vs. the Pats D. This will be the type of game where the difference of 3 points and 7 will be massive.

What a weekend for the NFL- three massive, massive games and two have lived up to billing. Of course, FOX had to screw it up by putting Cowboys-Colts on ahead of Falcons-Bucs but that's what sports bars are for, I guess.

the gm said...

Pat, you can look at my timestamps and that will give you the answer of whether I get enough sleep...or any at all.

What I meant was that he was not a "good businessman" finding some kind of market inefficiencies and maximizing revenue while minimizing cost. Steinbrenner's not betting against the American dollar or buying soccer teams. Nothing I read about that guy indicated that he cared much about the bottom line. He cared about winning. Good businessmen care about the bottom line.

Good businessmen wait until 25 minutes after their wives Twitter a rain out to officially announce it so all the dudes guy and the guys dude have two more overpriced beers because it increases the 4000 series on the income statement. Good businessmen pussyfoot around with franchise-changing first basemen over a couple of free agent dollars or a couple of luxury tax dollars.

George Steinbrenner would say child please to all of that and just get the job done because he wants to win. George Steinbrenner would probably call John Henry a communist for betting against the American dollar, assuming he understands how currency trading works. Not sure if you knew this, but your readers won't understand how JWH and Co. was up 20% this year.

I'd rather have George Steinbrenner as an owner than a smart businessman like Henry, Werner, and Lucchino. I'm pretty sure in my original post, I used "smart businessman" as a quasi-insult.

Anonymous said...


I think we can just say that George Steinbrenner was a winner and that John Henry is a businessman. I know it's semantics at this point, but I think that works.

Also, Steinbrenner absolutely called John Henry a communist at one point or another, even if it was only privately to one of his sons or confidants. I can't stand the Yankees, but there's something very American about them and it's really pretty awesome.

--the Gunn