Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wrong: There IS A Deadline

"We don't have any deadline or anything like that. When I'm healthy and they see that I'm healthy and we all decide to sit down and talk about something, then that's what we'll do at that point. There's no rush for anything right now."

-Adrian Gonzalez (source)

Wrong. There is a deadline. Adrian Gonzalez had previously said, before being traded, that he's looking for Mark Teixeira-type money. The Red Sox had previously shown that they don't like to pay Mark Teixeira-type money, and only changed their mind about that once (for Crawford, of course). Would they be changing their mind twice in six months? We'll see. But unlike everyone else, including Pete Abraham who wrote this story, I'm very skeptical.

I'm probably the only person in the world who is less than okay that the Red Sox have already paid their posting fee in prospects to the San Diego Padres for one year of Gonzalez without having a contract extension in place. If the Red Sox were truly interested in winning baseball games, they would have left no doubt and had an extension in place immediately as a condition for the trade. But, as we found out in the infamous "Neither Will Your Readers" interview, John Henry and friends don't like the luxury tax in baseball.

So, according to all the fanboys out there, they're going to wait until Opening Day to actually sign papers so they can go Tom Daschle on MLB and evade the luxury tax. The language in the italicized paragraph sounds an awful lot like there is absolutely nothing in place and that there's a lot of negotiating to do. And apparently there's "no deadline" and they haven't sat down to "talk about things." That sounds like, "hey, if we can't work something out, I'm going to free agency anyway."

And that's disgusting. It's characteristically-awful trade negotiating by the general manager. And it's the same cheap pennypinching by this ownership group that garnished them a lot of criticism early this winter until they pulled off this trade and the Crawford signing. If you actually want to make sure your trade provides worthwhile return on investment instead of being your entire farm system for a one-year rental, you say F the luxury tax, I'll pay a couple million dollars more.

Plus, due to things the Boston Globe's readers won't understand, John Henry & Co were up 20% last year. So what's an extra 10 million? TO THEM?

I'm not buying the fanboys' story. So while they might say there's no deadline, I will set one. Tuesday, April 5th. The first series of the season plus an off day will be in the books. So the team would avoid the luxury tax. This team does not need a high-stakes contract struggle following them for the last 159 just because the owners are cheap and the general manager is a bad negotiator.

If a deal is not done, signed, and sent to the MLB offices by Tuesday, April 5th, I will be calling for either Theo Epstein's job or for the sale of the team to people who want to win instead of being scumbag "smart businessmen" who disrespect gentlemen's agreements (see Junichi Tazawa and/or Bronson Arroyo) or whose wives announce rainouts on Twitter 25 minutes before fans are told about it.

10 comments:

Patrick said...

you hit the biggest thing right on the nose here dv. if you're going to pay twice (meaning committing substantial prospects and money to a player), then you have to make sure you sign him. the merits of paying twice are very much on a player by player/case by case (in terms of prospect package and money involved) basis. but whenever you commit to doing it, you have to make sure you complete it. because paying twice is a lot better than trading the prospects and not retaining the player with an extension for more than, in this case, one season. once you've traded the prospects, you should actually be willing to pay an even higher monetary price to retain the player so that trading the prospects isn't all for naught.

Anonymous said...

DV/PF,

Obviously I agree with everything you are saying.

To play the devil's advocate:

PF, as you're fond of pointing out (in fact it's become your typical response to just about everything), maybe it's not that black and white. Just because you have to sign someone doesn't mean you need to bend over and give him everything he wants. There are negotiations that need to take place. Obviously from a fan's perspective you'd like to have it done now just to have peace of mind about it. Since we don't know exactly what's has/hasn't been said behind closed doors it's probably not time to start panicing yet.

I would personally extend the deadline to 1/3 of the way through the season. I think if you get it done in that timeframe you avoid serious distraction and the risk of losing him. If we start to get into the middle of the season or stretch run and nothing is done, then I think that's a real problem.

Anonymous said...

DV/PF/Bandi's Bandi

Trading all your best prospects for a guy and then not signing that guy to a long term deal and running the risk of losing him after one year to free agency is completely stupid. It is beyond stupid.

Now, we know that I've been critical of the Red Sox front office in the past. Short of you, DV, probably as critical as anyone on this space. That said, I don't think that Epstein/Henry/Lucchino and Co. are THAT bad at their jobs. They just aren't.

I'm confident that Gonzalez has already signed an extension and that it has just not been submitted yet. If I'm wrong, then I'll take the heat for it. But I also said that Adrian Gonzalez was going to end up in Boston before his contract in San Diego was up and that worked out pretty well.

Good post today boys.

--the Gunn

the gm at work said...

Pat,

Bingo. Every day that goes by is another day when the Red Sox have traded three of their best prospects for a one-year rental. Every day that goes by without an extension is another day where it becomes less likely that he'll be back next year. All for what? Tax loopholes. Seriously, bro, you went up 20%. Pull the trigger.

Bandi,

You are right about peace of mind, and I'm sure there's a "gentlemen's agreement" about the guy being signed 90% of free agent dollars between April 1 and April 15. But the Red Sox are an organization that has pissed on "gentlemen's agreements" in the Tazawa and Arroyo cases. They're an organization that due to disrespectful, pennypinching, and unprofessional negotiations, have pissed of A LOT of players. Johnny Damon's no-trade situation last year should tell you all you need to know about this management group's reputation. The fact that the owner's wife knew - and was Twittering about - a rainout 25 minutes before it was announced is further evidence. Engaging in what they're engaging in is already putting the future contract at risk, or at least starting to jack up the price to closer to the free agent dollar amount.

Gunn,

If they DO have an agreement (and what Gonzalez said would indicate that this can't be farther from the truth), maybe doing it and paying the extra tax is "feeding the monster." Maybe that is the case. But if they F this up, this could be a new record of failed negotiations. This would be a systematic failure of gargantuan proportions. And every day that goes by without them eating the tax money brings us one day closer to that.

Also, one more thing about Bandi's comment: Do the Red Sox really have leverage over the player right now? The player could absolutely say F you, let's go to free agency if these cheapskates lowball him.

Anonymous said...

One thing that may not entirely apply here but I am curious about: if Gonzalez walks, they pay once. And they do get picks back, right? It's not as bad as it might seem. Unless I missed something, you pay twice if you pay, twice.

-TimC

the gm at work said...

You don't give up 50% of the value of your farm system for one player for one season. That's like saying, "I just spent $20,000 for a pack of gum. But I only paid once."

Patrick said...

bandi -

i would commend you for good usage of that philosophy, except i didn't insinuate that this was a black and whit issue. i didn't say there weren't lots of different possibilities for what is actually going on. if i use that response as often as you say, then you should in turn assume that i recognize how nuanced this situation could be. i'm simply stating what should typically happen in these types of situations, without even suggesting that the red sox haven't already accomplished this. the reason it's worth pointing this out, even if it is on the obvious side, is because as dv said in his most recent comment, this is a team that has a recent history fumbling these kinds of situations.

timc -

you do pay twice if you pay twice. but this is a situation where you actually want to pay twice instead of just once, to make the first payment more meaningful. paying once here is somewhat of a waste, trading three top prospects for a one year rental, unless you win the world series this year and move on. and while i'm sure that's the red sox 2011 goal, i'd also guess they are looking for more out of this gonzalez deal. getting those draft picks back, while nice, is not enough to make up for losing the prospects and not retaining gonzalez long term. gonzalez being in another uniform in 2012 would be a pretty big L for the red sox here regarding this move, again unless they win the 2011 world series, which is certainly very possible. even still, there's very little reason not to resign a player of this caliber after you've traded a significant prospect package for him. unless there is something we all don't know about their internal organizational plan, which is also very possible.

the gm at work said...

Pat,

Two issues with your most previous comment:

1. "Fumbling" should be changed to another F word, and the word "up" should be inserted afterwards.

2. You mention an "internal organizational plan." There is none, unless you count "punting the 2011 season unless the fans erupt about a soccer transaction and an ill-advised interview." These guys aren't smart enough to do anything else.

Anonymous said...

Not one of my best comments, I think I should have worded that differently to get across some more of what I was thinking.

First, Gonzalez's value is incredibly high- $5.5 million. So the Sox did have to pay the price that they did in the summer. And I fully agree with PF- they are pot-committed, in a sense, by making the deal. But now the tables have turned in terms of FA as the Sox get the picks, not lose, if they change the player's 2012 destination. So, I do not think it is as bleak as it has been played up to be.

Perhaps this line of logic is more applicable for a lesser player- Gonzalez should be elite, so the Sox will lose out if they do not sign the extension. But in other similar deals, the idea that they are 'paying twice' the moment the trade is made is pretty much false.

-TimC

the gm at work said...

Tim,

In my opinion, paying twice is garbage in the first place. If this team had a plan, they would have punted the 2011 season like the general manager pretty much said they would. Then they'd pay for the player once in free agency. Not that I'm complaining because it's one less year of sucking. It's effective, but my efficiency police siren is going off.