Sunday, July 24, 2011

Murder You Violently in the Info War

One of the more priceless lines of Charlie Sheen's February ranting began to manifest itself in the 2013-2014 offseason war of information last week.  Not a typo.  On Thursday morning, Theo Epstein had an interview with WEEI, much of which was recapped on Pete Abraham's blog.  I feel like the headline, "Red Sox would like to lock up [46] with a long term deal" was something that may have come directly from the team.  The fact that the general manager is talking about this two years and three months in advance is very clear:
Your hero 46, whose OPS+ in his last full season was 79, is gone after 2013.  Time to start training yourself for it.

As many of you know, I stopped referring to 46 by his name in December 2007, not because of any coincidential loyalties I had to Coco Crisp, but because it was a memorable time in baseball history.  As 46's Red Sox were winning Game 4 of the 2007 World Series, Alex Rodriguez announced that he was opting out of his contract.  A move allegedly orchestrated by Scott Boras, Arod decided he was going to upstage the game he played, the game that made him rich, the hand that feeds him, on the biggest night of its season.  Boras took the fall, and many of his customers fired the agent, saying that the way the game was disrespected that night was too much for them to take.

Kenny Rogers is okay with beating his wife, but he is not okay with what Boras did.
Gary Sheffield is okay with steroids and smoking rock with his uncle Dwight Gooden, but he is not okay with what Boras did.

It looked like the super-agent who had made a mockery of the MLB draft and had broken a slew of etiquette rules during his reign as a super-agent in the game, had met his match and was going down.  Then the tide turned, because a player decided, "hey, I'm going to fire my agent and hire you, because I think it's cool that you spit on the game during its biggest stage.  I didn't really care about that World Series I won, because I got a stolen base and won a free taco for everyone."  If that player happened to be some dude on the Cardinals or Rangers, I would have crushed him.  That player, however, happened to be 46.  In my eyes, 46 is the reason Scott Boras still has a job.  Aside over.

The Red Sox know that 46 doesn't give a crap about the well-being of the team and only cares about his future pay.  Seriously, he was a main catalyst in that World Series, so he probably should have cared about what happened that night in 2007.  But that's what pulling a move tells you about a guy's character: he will go beyond the boundaries of good taste to get that paper.  That's why he previously didn't play at 99% during his rib injury debacle last year.  Unlike people who don't regulary read How Youz Doin Baseball or look at birth certificates, the Red Sox know that 46 is turning 28 years old in seven weeks, making him 30 when he is eligible for free agency.  And the Red Sox also know how popular this player is.  Let's put it this way:  somewhere in the Franchise's family, there will be a 5-year-old kid in 2014 with an atypical first name, a name shared with the most reviled player in the city after a contentious contract negotiation.  Poor kid.  Hopefully he just goes by "Jake" by then.

So this is what Theo said:  We've had negotiations, we'll continue to have negotiations, he's the type of player we like to keep around, we'd love to announce he's going to be here for a while.  Translation:  When he leaves, it's not due to our lack of effort.  It's because of the player.  It obviously doesn't make sense for them to reach a conclusion right now, as the player's played out of his mind all season, inflating his value due to a small sample size (Julio Lugo was good for this long before being traded from Tampa to LA in 2006).  But Theo is not completely devoid of intelligent though.  He better start saying that he's trying.

Because we're in the information wars.  And if the Red Sox don't get a head start murdering 46 violently in the information wars, you bet 46 will murder them violently.  We're 27 months out.  46, it's your move.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

one thing i had never thught of before now was that maybe since he was playing in the series the year this happened it might have flew under the radar for him a little bit more then others who were not focusing on the games they had to play but the stories about baseball while it went on
just a thought
Jason

ZWeiss said...

GM-
I think it's hard to say that Ellsbury is all aboout the dough and that he "doesn't give a crap about the well-being of the team." I think that's a very heavy accusation with very little fact behind it. Yeah, he spent most of last year nursing sore ribs out in Arizona, but even then it's hard to say that he was faking it or sitting out intentionally or whatnot. I feel strange suggesting that a player isn't actually hurt and that he is deliberately sitting out. He's a professional baseball player right? I bet he wants to play baseball, and I bet he wants to win ballgames. This ISN'T J.D. Drew we're talking about.

The main point here is, if Ellsbury continues playing the way he is now until his contract expires, he has to get resigned (unless other, better outfield options are available at the time). He's playing unbelievably this year, and if he puts two and a half more seasons up like this then let the strange named children keep coming.

the gm at work said...

Jason,

Doubt it. That story rocked baseball for a good three weeks. Even Pat was talking about it.

ZWeiss,

For better or for worse, HYD Baseball is one of the few places on the Internet who isn't putting together the three-ring binder for this freaking guy. In Boston, you can pick on JD all you want, but once you start poking the sacred cow of 46, everyone starts buggin. I may be heavy-handed about this guy, but this is why:

1. When you hire the guy he hired, you know what you're signing up for and you know what he represents. This goes double after the Arod thing in 2007.
2. Members of the organization have questioned this guy's toughness since before the sore ribs incident.
3. 46 went to Arizona for heliotherapy last year while half the team all stuck around in the dugout. For this, he was criticized by fellow players, even taking it to the media.
4. 46 harshly criticized the Red Sox' medical staff for his injury situation. While this is partially justified, you didn't see Mike Cameron doing that, while Mike Cameron probably had just as good - if not better - of a case.

If you really want to think about it, it was 46 who started the war of information in the first place. There has definitely been a disconnect between player and team. Most of the time, I'm behind the team.

As far as re-signing him, he is not worth $20 million a year. Let the Mets pay him that. I'd only be willing to bring him back if the price is right.

Anonymous said...

still, being young winning the world series? these are things that can easily take priority over hearing a news story like that while you are still celebrating
jason

ZWeiss said...

GM
Signing Boras definately means he's chasing that dough, no question about that. And the whole leaving the team for the desert and calling out the medical staff was definitely ugly and something I didn't support. The only thing is, if he keeps performing at this level, he has to be resigned, barring any other disconnects between himself and his teammates the the organization. However, since he is a Boras man, he'll probably want Carl Crawford money, and in that case, there is no way in hell Theo and Co. can bring him back in. Ellsbury to me is worth $12-15M maximum if he continues playing they way he has up to this point, and with the ribs injury last year, I can't see the point in giving him anything more than a 4 year deal with maybe a club option for the fifth year.
Scott Boras has caused enough financial havoc among Sox outfielders (read JD Drew) so if the Sox were to bust on a big deal with Ellsbury, it'd start to feel a bit like the Mets in here.

Ross Kaplan said...

I just wanted to take the opportunity to wish our very own Patrick Featherston the best of luck on the bar exam he is taking this week. If a schmuck like me can pass it than Pat surely can. Kick ass this week and I'm looking forward to seeing you make your return to Yankees blogging.

the gm at work said...

Jason,

That's like being at the '96 Olympics and not knowing a bomb went off.

ZWeiss,

The Red Sox can afford that, let's not play the poverty card here. But I do agree with you that it is not the wise thing to do. I have a feeling that the negotiations may go a way similar to the Jeter ones last winter, with the player trying to grab the team by the balls.

Tankenstein,

Agreed with you on that front. Not only because I want to JD out a little bit on my own posting, but because I want a little bit of balance here. He's been working too hard to fail that test. Good luck, Pat.