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Peace On Earth And Good Will Toward Bud
2006-10-25 12:13
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and Players Association Executive Director Donald Fehr have been vilified for a laundry list of reasons over the last two decades, often for good reason. But when the first post-strike Basic Agreement expired in late 2002, the players and owners averted a work stoppage for the first time since 1970, reaching an agreement right at the August 31 deadline. Last night, Selig and Fehr appeared at Busch Stadium in St. Louis just before Game 3 of the World Series to announce that, with the 2002 agreement set to expire in December 19, they've not only avoided a work stoppage yet again, but they've beaten the deadline by nearly two months.

More impressively, despite last night's game being something of a snoozer (a 5-0 Cardinals win behind a dominant outing from Chris Carpenter), the news of the new agreement appears to have been something of an afterthought to the mainstream media this morning. As well it should be. A dozen years after the World Series was cancelled as a result of what was then the longest work stoppage in professional sports history (thanks NHL!), order has finally been restored with the game on the field stealing the headlines from what, given the history* of labor strife in the sport, is actually a far more remarkable event. While it's clear that timing of this announcement was in no way coincidental (Selig's has had the specter of the 1994 World Series hanging over his head throughout his commissionership and is clearly still desperate to exorcise it), it remains apt. Though it is somewhat contradictory to do so, I think Selig and Fehr deserve to be celebrated for conducting this round of labor negotiations outside of the media spotlight, and for allowing the new agreement to be brushed aside by the media as a boring business story secondary to the game itself.

That said, a new labor agreement is big news, regardless of the temperature of the fire in which it was forged. The full agreement hasn't been posted yet (though once it is, it will likely appear here), but here are a few highlights as cribbed from the official press release.

  • The new agreement will last through the 2011 season, expiring on December 11, 2011. The five-year agreement is the longest in baseball's labor history*.
  • The deadlines for teams to resign departing free agents who have not been offered or have rejected salary arbitration have been eliminated, allowing all 30 teams to negotiate with free agents on equal terms.
  • Free agent compensation has been rolled back. Teams will have to surrender compensatory draft picks for Type A free agents only, with Type A being redefined at the top 20 percent of the free agent pool (was the top 30 percent). Teams losing Type B free agents (correspondingly redefined as players from 21-40 percent--was 31-50) will be compensated with supplemental round picks only. There is no longer any compensation for teams losing Type C free agents.
  • Players traded in the middle of multi-year contracts are no longer allowed to demand a trade from their new team. (Existing multi-year contracts are grandfathered, allowing a player already under a multi-year contract to demand a trade only if dealt during the term of his current contract.)
  • All amateur draft picks (with the exception of college seniors) must be signed by August 15. Teams that are unable to sign first or second round picks by that deadline will get the identical pick the next year as compensation. Teams unable to sign third round picks will get supplemental round picks between the third and fourth rounds the following year.
  • Minor leaguers are bound to their organizations for an extra year before becoming eligible for the Rule 5 draft.
  • No teams will be contracted during the term of the agreement.

*A Quick History of Major League Baseball's Collective Bargaining (simplified from this):

  • 1954: Major League Baseball Players Association officially recognized as a bargaining unit. Judge Robert Cannon is the union's part-time executive director.
  • 1965: Marvin Miller replaces Cannon and becomes the MLBPA's first full-time executive director.
  • 1968: First Basic Agreement signed, raising the major league minimum (to $10,000) as well as laying out a formal structure for labor relations.
  • 1970: Second Basic Agreement introduces independent grievance arbitration, the key decision that will ultimately lead to free agency in 1975.
  • 1972: Negotiations for the Third Basic Agreement result in the first work stoppage in Major League history. The players strike for 14 days in early April, eventually winning salary arbitration and an increase in pension.
  • 1976: Negotiations over the Fourth Basic Agreement lead the owners to lock the players out for 17 days during spring training. The Basic Agreement signed that summer grants the players free agency for the first time, a concession made as a result of the independent arbitration case won the previous winter by Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally, which invalidated the reserve clause.
  • 1980: Negotiations over the Fifth Basic Agreement lead to an eight-day player strike at the end of spring training. A new four-year agreement is signed, but the issue of free agent compensation will remain on the table until the following year.
  • 1981: A 50-day player strike divides the season in half. Ultimately, free agent compensation is introduced and the Fifth Basic Agreement is extended an extra year.
  • 1982: Ken Moffett replaces the retiring Marvin Miller as executive director of the MLBPA.
  • 1983: Moffett is fired by the players and replaced by Don Fehr.
  • 1985: Negotiations over the Sixth Basic Agreement lead to a two-day player strike in August. A new four-year deal is struck in which the owners drop free agent compensation in exchange for an extra year of service prior to salary arbitration eligibility, which will now occur after three full years of service. The missed games are rescheduled.
  • 1990: The owners are found guilty of colluding not to sign free agents from 1985-1987. Negotiations for the Seventh Basic Agreement lead the owners to lock the players out of Spring Training for 32 days. Commissioner Fay Vincent intercedes and forces the owners to drop all of their demands as well as instate a new level of salary arbitration eligibility for players with between two and three years of service. The move poisons the relationship between Vincent and the owners and eventually leads to his ouster and the appointment of Milwaukee Brewers owner Bud Selig to the position of interim commissioner in 1992.
  • 1993: Players and owners agree to extend negotiations for the Eighth Basic Agreement into the 1994 season.
  • 1994: Negotiations over the Eighth Basic Agreement, specifically over a salary cap, lead to a player strike that takes effect on August 12 and wipes out the remainder of the season and the entire postseason.
  • 1995: The owners attempt to begin the season with replacement players, but the MLBPA files a grievance with the National Labor Relations Board, which forces the owners to allow the players to play under the terms of the Seventh (1990) Basic Agreement. Reduced to 144 games, the season finally starts on April 26.
  • 1998: The Eighth Basic Agreement is finally put into effect, introducing revenue sharing and luxury tax for the first time. Bud Selig is promoted from interim to official commissioner.
  • 2002: The Ninth Basic Agreement is settled at the last minute, averting a work stoppage for the first time since the second agreement (the players had set a strike date for the day the new agreement is announced). The agreement introduces the game's first performance enhancing drug testing program.
  • 2005: In an unprecedented move, the owners and player reopen the Basic Agreement to increase the penalty schedule associated with drug testing, not once but twice.
  • 2006: The Tenth Basic Agreement is settled nearly two months ahead of the deadline, again avoiding a work stoppage.

Comments (109)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-10-25 13:49:42
1.   das411
Didn't the minimum salary also get bumped up again? There is some good analysis in today's NYT...at least they do cover sports well...
2006-10-25 13:50:46
2.   tommyl
Question: If the Yankees sign a type B free agent before 12/19, do they still lose the compensation picks?
2006-10-25 14:00:07
3.   Cliff Corcoran
2 I believe that the new agreement will take effect as soon as it's ratified by the players and owners, so no.

1 Thanks for asking, it made me realize I'd botched the press release link. Yes, minimum salaries go up like this:

Major Leagues: $380,000 in 2007, $390,000 in 2008 and $400,000 in 2009.
Minor Leagues: $60,000 in 2007, $62,500 in 2008, $65,000 in 2009

2006-10-25 14:01:54
4.   Shaun P
Mo' money less problems this time, huh?

The owners and players could almost screw up a billion dollar business (1994), but no way would they risk screwing up a five billion dollar business.

Kudos to Bud and Don for getting it right this time. But I still hold Bud (and Mike Port) accountable for the crappy strikezone so evident throughout the postseason, and the Rogers incident too.

2006-10-25 14:36:59
5.   Adam B
The draft pick compensation rules take effect after this offseason.

Now that it's quite obvious the game is doing well financially, it'd be good if Bud and Co. went to work on improving the quality of the game.

2006-10-25 15:40:17
6.   JL25and3
1 IMHO, The Times covers the business of sports far better than they cover the sports themselves. Murray Chass, who wrote the article you cite, makes some really bad efforts at statistical analysis.

This article makes an important point for the Yankees beyond what Cliff said. They will continue to pay a luxury tax of 40% of all salary over the threshold; however, that threshold will rise each year.

2006-10-25 15:44:52
7.   JL25and3
5 The change in the definition of Type A and Type B free agents - from 30%/50% to 20%/40% - takes place next year. The changes in compensation take effect this year.
2006-10-25 18:17:30
8.   yankz
Jeter wins the Hank Aaron award. shrunklink.com?lzi
2006-10-25 18:39:43
9.   Cliff Corcoran
6 Yeah, I skipped things such as the increases in minimum salary and luxury tax threshold because those just pick up where the old agreement left off. What I posted above is what will be unexpectedly different under the new agreement (from what's been announced, of course).
2006-10-25 18:56:03
10.   randym77
Think there's going to be a game tonight?
2006-10-25 19:31:27
11.   Simone
It is cool that Derek won the Hank Aaron award. We'll see if he wins the AL MVP.
2006-10-25 19:57:15
12.   OldYanksFan
A-Rod isn't going anywhere. That's the message agent Scott Boras said he received from New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman in a phone conversation about Alex Rodriguez recently, according to a report on the New York Daily News' Web site.

"Brian Cashman and I had a discussion and he made it clear that he has no intention of trading Alex," Boras told the Daily News, "and I told him that Alex Rodriguez has a no-trade clause.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2637909

2006-10-25 20:02:52
13.   Simone
The game has been postponed. Shame. I had hoped to watch Suppan get shelled tonight. Guess we'll have to wait a day.
2006-10-25 20:10:59
14.   randym77
12 Peter Abraham doesn't buy it:

===
What else is Boras supposed to say? "Glad you asked, Alex hates everybody booing him, he felt hitting eighth was a slap in the face and he wants out of there as quickly as possible."

Of course not. Rodriguez had a marketing image to protect and admitting he wants out of New York would be akin to stamping "I can't take pressure" on his forehead.

So Boras will keep saying the right thing right up until a deal is presented to him. Then you make the seamless transition to, "Anaheim in many ways will be even more of a challenge than New York and Alex loves a challenge."
===

2006-10-25 20:22:08
15.   Simone
Abraham is projecting his own opinion that the Yankees should trade Alex and that he wants a trade. I'm not willing to put my head on block for Alex, but I just don't believe that he wants a trade. I think that he wants to stick it out with the Yankees and then rub it in Jeter, Torre, the critical fans and media's faces when he carries the Yankees to a World Series victory. I might be giving him too much credit, but I believe that he is a competitor who wants to win.

In any case, if the Yankees do trade Alex, I can't see them trading him within the AL. They will send his butt to the NL.

2006-10-25 20:25:55
16.   JL25and3
14 I could also ask, what's Peter Abraham supposed to say? There's no story here, no need to discuss it anymore, I'm done writing about it?

Since it's all pure speculation, I'd expect Abraham to take the position that gives him more columns. Cynical of me? Maybe, though no more so than Abraham.

2006-10-25 20:29:47
17.   ny2
When asked about clubhouse tension toward the end, Jeter responded, "What tension?"

Then he was asked if he believes there is anything more he can do to show support for Rodriguez, referring to some degree of public perception that he had not been vocal enough in support of the superstar third baseman.

"What would you like me to do?" Jeter asked. "You're there, everyone supports all your teammates all the time. I don't know if there's anything else I can do. I'm not that smart."

Jeter also said that the media is not around the clubhouse long enough to be privy to conversations among players that are meant to be private, intimating that he has made efforts to reach out to Rodriguez.

http://tinyurl.com/ycrxbd

2006-10-25 20:38:40
18.   randym77
15 The fact that Pete is willing to do that tells me he thinks it will happen. Or at least that everyone wants it to happen. The only other player I can remember him dissing as badly as he's dissed A-Rod is Carl Pavano. He doesn't treat players like that if he thinks he's going to have to try to get interviews from them (or their friends) next year.

And frankly...nothing Cashman says will convince me, one way or the other. He's positioning himself for negotiations, as he has before. File this with "Bubba Crosby is our centerfielder" and his claims (twice) that they weren't making any trades (shortly before trading for Abreu, then again before trading for Wilson).

Does this mean I think A-Rod will be traded? Not necessarily. Depends on what's offered for him. We aren't giving him away for a bag of baseballs. But is he on the block? Hell, yes.

2006-10-25 20:40:17
19.   randym77
P.S. I don't think he'll to go Anaheim. I hope he doesn't. The last thing we need is to give our nemesis that kind of advantage.
2006-10-25 20:59:39
20.   randym77
Sheff's not happy:

http://tinyurl.com/voegb

===

New York Yankees slugger Gary Sheffield, informed Wednesday that the Yankees will pick up his $13 million option in 2007, was angry by the decision, hoping instead the Yankees would let him go.

""This will not work, this will not work at all," Sheffield told USA TODAY. "I don't want to play first base a year for them. I will not do that."

Sheffield, who heard that the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Angels were interested him, said he was hoping to test the free-agent market and receive another three-year contract.

"I don't know what they're [Yankees] going to do," Sheffield said. "Maybe they picked it up just to trade me. If they do that, if I just to a team for one year, there's going to be a problem.

"A big problem.

"I will not do this."

===

2006-10-25 20:59:51
21.   Stormer Sports
12

Oh God!

Re: "Brian Cashman and I had a discussion and he made it clear that he has no intention of trading Alex," Boras told the Daily News, "and I told him that Alex Rodriguez has a no-trade clause.

First, the conversation didn't happen that way, not even close. Scott Boras is an advocate of a client and position, that's it. Brian Cashman knows who has a no-trade clause, and Boras knows that. He didn't tell Cashman that Arod has a no-trade clause, that was meant for the media and fans, in an effort to provide the perception that he and his client are in equal bargaining position with the Yankees. In other words Boras is saying that Cashman doesn't intend to trade Alex, but if he does, he better rememember that we have the power to veto it. It's quite simple really, but fools almost everyone.

Look, Boras and Alex have no power here, no bargaining power or otherwise, and Boras knows that. He also knows that his power is diminished greatly because he is dealing with the Yankees, not a team whose absorbtion of 16 Mil. for a player not on the field would be a huge blow to the team. The only obligation the Yankees have to Alex is to pay him, that's it, and Boras knows he is in a much more tenuous position than are the Yankees. The Yankees could send Alex home right now and send him his check for the next 3 years, foreclosing statistical accumulation, Alex's ability to benefit from endorsements, and to raise or lower his stock once his contract expires. The Yankees could easily absorb the salary with little or no effect on the team.

The tone of the cited quotes from Boras, Alex and others tells me a trade is going to happen. To think like Boras is to think like a lawyer, which I unfortunately am, and I smell trouble a' brewin. If Boras continues to assert that he and his client have more power than they actually have in private off the record discussions with the Yankees, Alex will be the one who gets hurt in all this, not Boras, and not the New York Yankees. He's a puffer fish. He took a deep breath, puffed his body to nearly 3 times its size, but he's still a little fish, and the shark that is the Yankees can still swallow him and his client without chewing.

Sports agents do three things well: serve their own interest; take advantage of slow-witted GM's and sports "journalists;" arrange prostitutes for clients, potential clients, and their friends, but not much else.

2006-10-25 20:59:58
22.   Simone
The media and some Yankees fans need to give this coddling of Alex Rodriguez a rest. I will never understand why Derek Jeter is expected to be Rodriguez's appointed therapist. When Giambi spoke out in the SI article, he was crushed because there was the whole "who is he to talk" criticism.

In any case, what exactly can Jeter say to make Rodriguez perform better? He certainly isn't as good as a player as Rodriguez so what is there to say? Also, it seems pretty obvious that Derek doesn't like Rodriguez so if he pretends to be his friend as so many people want doesn't that make him, "D-Fraud?" If Derek did decide to fake a friendship and have a therapy session with Rodriguez and there isn't this "whatever is expected breakthrough," what then?

I don't even understand what is supposedly wrong with Alex Rodriguez. He won the MVP last season and had a good season. Yes, he struggled in the playoffs, but so did just about every other Yankee. What exactly is wrong with Alex?

Arrggh, ESPN has a segment coming up on "A-Rod's future." When will this BS end? Between the media and fan obsession with Rodriguez and T.O., I feel like I'm losing my mind as a sports fan. My two teams constantly being picked at by people with annoying agendas.

At least, Derek looks hot in his blue striped suit being interviewed on ESPN.

2006-10-25 21:05:21
23.   Simone
20 Ahhh, Sheffield starts to make it difficult for the Yankees and they haven't even picked up his option yet. So predictable.
2006-10-25 21:05:46
24.   ny2
22. exactly

"What would you like me to do?" Jeter asked. "You're there, everyone supports all your teammates all the time. I don't know if there's anything else I can do. I'm not that smart."

2006-10-25 21:08:26
25.   randym77
21 LOL! You certainly have a colorful turn of phrase. A puffer fish? Er, aren't they poisonous?

22 Maybe we can trade A-Rod for TO. :-P

But with Bledsoe benched today in favor of Romo, the press should have something else to talk about.

2006-10-25 21:10:05
26.   Stormer Sports
20

He talks as if he has a choice. At some point all these clowns forgot that they are employees, not business owners. If they want to trade him, that's Sheff's problem, and there are no other "problems" he can create without repercussions to him, and no one else, and there is nothing he can do about it.

If he refuses to play first, he gets suspended without pay and loses at arbitration. Sorry bud, you have no right a particular position or spot in the order. The collective bargaining agreement and precedent are very very clear on that kiddo.

His use of "they" and "they're" instead of we and us, says everything anyone needs to know about Gary Sheffield. In the back of my mind I have to believe Torre was half hoping he would be fired, simply to avoid all this.

2006-10-25 21:10:45
27.   Stormer Sports
25

"LOL! You certainly have a colorful turn of phrase. A puffer fish? Er, aren't they poisonous?"

Exactly!

2006-10-25 21:21:35
28.   randym77
I wonder if the Yanks have picked up Sheff's option just to trade him? Pete Abe thought they would do that, and trade him for pitching. And that it would infuriate Sheff.

I thought they'd let him walk, myself. I really don't want to see him at 1B next season. And apparently, he doesn't want to be there, despite what he said earlier.

2006-10-25 21:21:47
29.   weeping for brunnhilde
Jeter, from the AP story: "Do I expect him to be back? Yeah, why wouldn't I expect him to be back?" Jeter said about A-Rod after receiving the Hank Aaron Award at the World Series. "You never sit around trying to figure out with our organization, but Alex has what? -- a few more years left on his deal -- so, yeah, I would expect him to be back."

Talk about damning with faint--or no-praise.

I don't much care about Jeter's feelings about Arod but I just thought this was funny.

Asked if he thinks Rodriguez will be back, Jeter doesn't talk about the man's numbers or his value to the team, but basically says, "Well, we're stuck with him," referring to the team's legal obligation to the man.

Funny, no?

2006-10-25 21:22:24
30.   weeping for brunnhilde
"Ha-ha"-funny, btw, not curious-funny.
2006-10-25 21:32:09
31.   ny2
29. Joe Torre said about the same thing today in an interview ... kind of stating he's staying because of he has a no trade clause instead of either of them stating he's staying because we want and need alex on this team
2006-10-25 21:38:08
32.   weeping for brunnhilde
Another chuckler from the captain:

"They don't give a trophy saying: 'Well, you know, you thought you had the best team, so you win,'" Jeter said. "It doesn't make a difference what you think about your team. The bottom line is who performs."

He is so unremittingly competetive I'm actually concerned for him a little.

What will he do after baseball?

I wonder if he loves the game per se or just the competition it affords.

2006-10-25 21:40:29
33.   weeping for brunnhilde
31 They are trying to run this guy out of town on a rail.

I can't think of any other explanation.

He's history.

2006-10-25 21:44:16
34.   ny2
32. did you watch the award presentation video ... there's a funny part when Ryan says that he had a blast this season ... and jeter laughs and says "you're season was fun" alluding to the fact that his wasn't

http://tinyurl.com/vp422

2006-10-26 03:46:38
35.   choirboyzgirl
I have to say when I read the article (haven't been watching much ESPN these days). Jeter's comment (and this isn't a knock on him just made me chuckle a little) There's nothing more I can do, what else do you want me to do? Reminded of a kid that put a half effort into something and then proclaimed he couldn't do it. LOL

To me it would have been nice to see a little public support for Alex from the captain....he doesn't have to "coddle" him but again something along the lines of he's a good (haha he doesn't have to say "great") player blah blah blah. Jeter isn't above telling untruths to the media...I don't detect any tension. Really I can tell there's some there and I'm a 1,000 miles away! Heck Ozzie Guillen has shown more support for Alex and we know they don't always get along!

It just amazes me how someone who take steriods etc... gets more support than someone who simply struggled. By both his teammates and the media....Publicly its more accepted to cheat (and win) than have a bad year (and not win).

So what do you think is worse for Alex being constantly compared to T.O or being booed by the fans LOL. There was talk about how Pudge is 0-23 in his last 23 at bats and no one is booing him, dragging him through the mud on ESPN, demanding that he be traded. If you're Alex do you say maybe I am better off somewhere else? Or are you thinking I'll get back on track and show them all (I hear he has a little bit of stubborn streak LOL).

Simone- do you really think that the Yankee Fans are coddling Alex? If so I would hate to see how they react when they are disappointed LOL

Stormer Sport- I don't dobut that Boras 'reminded' Cashman that Alex has a no trade clause when they spoke, especially if
some possible teams were mentioned :)

2006-10-26 04:10:11
36.   randym77
Ugh. The weather report is pretty awful through the weekend. We may end up with November baseball again.
2006-10-26 04:34:30
37.   yankz
35 With your superhero vision (being able to see tension from 1,000 miles away), can you tell us what goes on in the clubhouse between Jeter and Arod? It's just a couple more miles away.
2006-10-26 06:08:05
38.   Simone
The only viable trade that the Yankees can make for Alex Rodriguez is to trade him and half his salary to the Marlins for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. Nothing else makes any sense and since the Marlins won't do this trade, Alex stays put.

25 You would think, but there is John Clayton and other T.O. haters at ESPN are now trying to find a way to blame Bledsoe's declining numbers on T.O. It makes me crazy.

37 It might be the mind reading ability of the cop on Heroes though.

35 I was talking about the coddling that Yankee fans like you request that Derek Jeter give Alex Rodriguez so that you can feel better which apparently will translate to Rodriguez feeling better. Whatever.

2006-10-26 08:08:37
39.   wsporter
21 26 Stormer, I agree with your points especially as they relate to current player agents. I do however disagree that A-Rod has no leverage; I think that No-Trade Clause does give him some leverage. I believe as reasonable business people the Yankees will recognize that at some point the option of sending A-Rod home and paying him to sit ala Turdus Officious (T.O.) is just too costly relative to the potential benefits they could derive in dealing with him. I think Boras would see it as an empty threat or at least one that would require him to greatly overplay his hand before the Yankees actually did it.

If the Yankees are bound and determined to move him I would imagine that A-Rod won't want to stay but will successfully squeeze both dollars and location concessions out of the Yankees through the clause. If they want him gone he can take the line that it will cost them, he will be able to steer them to teams that are acceptable to him and therefore even affect the consideration the Yankees receive. Boras will recognize how hard he can push in this before the principle the Yankees are defending becomes more valuable to them than the dollars at stake. I think that's leverage and I think it can be converted to and employed as power quite easily. IMHO however moving him would be a mistake; I just can't see us getting equal value for him.

Where Shef is concerned he has no leverage other than by threatening to create such a pre-option stink that no team will deal with the Yankees. If he does that successfully the Yankees will have only 2 options and they are to exercise the option or let him walk. He may suffer back-end repercussions if teams decide they don't wish to deal with him as a free agent based on his behavior but that would be the gamble he would undertake. The Yankees recognize this and may allow him to employ that leverage by granting him an extension and by dealing only with teams he would be happy to play for. I agree the guy is difficult to deal with but because he has produced on the field teams seem willing to undertake the difficulty and risk of doing so. My bet is the Yankees hold their nose, exercise the option and/or sign him to an extension and move him.

2006-10-26 08:56:39
40.   Stormer Sports
39

Good points. I agree Alex has some leverage, just not at the same level that the Yankees do.

As for Sheffield, I find it immeasureably ammusing that he continues to believe he gets "disrespected" by team after team, when the reason he can't ever get the deal he wants is what he says and does off the field that is the but for reason he continues to get into these situations. If he just played and shut his mouth, most or all of this could be avoided. He should take a lesson from his boy Doc, and test the plan of actually appreciating the opportunity he has with the Yankees, and see where that takes him. But that will never happen. If he was even an adequate right fielder, I'd understand, but pitching and defense are what wins these days, and he offers neither.

2006-10-26 09:56:30
41.   JL25and3
40 I don't think the Yankees have any special leverage here. You're probably right, contractually they could pay him but send him home and marginalize him. But that's not a real option, so it doesn't provide any leverage. They might be able to absorb the salary, but that's not the problem.

They could send Rodriguez home, but they couldn't get him off the roster so easily. They'd have to play the next four (not three) years with a 24-man roster.

The alternative would be to carry Rodriguez with the team but refuse to play him, leave him sitting on the bench. That would mean giving Torre a direct order not to play Rodriguez. It would mean firing Torre if he decided he wanted to put that .300, 40-HR bat in the lineup. It would unite every player on the team - hell, every player in MLB - behind Rodriguez. Free agents would have to think seriously about signing a contract with the Yankees - and they'd never again sign a Boras client. They'd be hammered in the papers, and would alienate a fair number of fans as well.

So while it may be contractually possible, the Yankees would basically be cutting off their nose, ears and lips to spite their face. In the real world, the odds of their doing that are nil.

And if there's no chance of it's actually happening, then Boras isn't just whistling past the graveyard. He really is on an equal footing with the team.

2006-10-26 09:57:27
42.   JL25and3
As for Sheffield, I believe I'm entitled to at least one huge "I told you so."
2006-10-26 10:03:14
43.   wsporter
40 I agree that Shef is "amusing"; it seems to me that a $13 million insult, even if differed, could and should be borne with a bit more grace.

The burdens borne by wealthy athletes in this society cannot be truly appreciated by mortal man. Perhaps things will be easier for Shef in the hereafter when only Angels will be there to judge him.

Well, if not in the hereafter then at the least in Anaheim.

2006-10-26 10:23:47
44.   Chyll Will
40 "He should take a lesson from his boy Doc, and test the plan of actually appreciating the opportunity he has with the Yankees, and see where that takes him."

Mutually exclusive situations, Stormer. Doc was a recovering drug addict who was virtually out of baseball when he came to the Yankees. He made the most of his situation because his life depended on it. Sheff had and has no such issue. If anything, his personality, guided by his life experiences including that of growing up with his Uncle Doc, have predicated his behavior. And it's not at all to say that he doesn't or shouldn't have a mind of his own. For what it's worth, his personality very well likely protected him from the traps that ensnared Doc. Sheff has even said as much about himself and his uncle.

Besides that, what has Doc ultimately done with his opportunity? Gooden went to jail instead of taking a five-year probation sentence because he admittedly had a drug problem.
http://tinyurl.com/yfbebc

You can't compare their situations. Sheff is making the most out of his monetary opportunity for his better interest in a legal (if vermisciously knid-like) manner. Doc was and still is trying to save his life. Not the same.

2006-10-26 10:24:18
45.   Sliced Bread
How best for the Yankees to divorce two of the best righty hitters in the league, (easily capable of driving in 225-250 runs combined next season) and get short-changed in the process? Well, as Sal Fasano said, "ain't this boogie a mess?"

I think Sheffield would have been willing to play first base next season, and could have handled the position just fine, if it not for the trade rumor/speculation reported by the same NY tabloid which incorrectly reported Torre's departure two weeks ago. I've maintained since the Yanks signed Abreu that they should retain Sheffield's bat, which will be a weapon next year.

I think A-Rod and the Yanks (see Torre and Jeter) would be fine if reporters (who can't think of anything better to write about) would stop taking the temperature of the relationship every day, seemingly making matters worse.

The Yanks need to improve their starting rotation, and find a backup catcher who can hit, or be trained by Posada. This winter in Yankeeland does not have to be any more complicated than that. Unfortunately, seems like it will.

2006-10-26 10:25:28
46.   Sliced Bread
45 By "Sal Fasano," I mean Frank Zappa.
2006-10-26 10:31:57
47.   Chyll Will
43 Not defending Sheff in this situation, but he does have a much stronger chance of making more than $13 million in the next two years than I do right now, so I can't argue with him being mad. If I was Carl Ichan and being told I can't spin off a division of a company I just took over because it would hurt that company's leverage with their creditors even though I'll personally make huge money on the deal, I'd be kinda mad, too.

But I'll worry about that when I reach that billion-dollar mark (not too far to go!) >;)

2006-10-26 10:42:39
48.   JL25and3
45 I don't think it would have mattered when and how the Yankees picked up Sheffield's option unless they also signed him to an extension. Everything in Sheffield's history, over and over, says that without an extension he'd be trouble.
2006-10-26 10:42:55
49.   Sliced Bread
45 I'm not suggesting that the Yanks don't have issues with A-Rod and Sheff, I just think they should work out whatever problems they have with these players and retain them for the 2007 season.
2006-10-26 10:43:43
50.   JL25and3
46 Thanks for the clarification. I thought you were talking about Ron Jeremy.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-10-26 10:45:38
51.   wsporter
47 Chill, Shef is the financial genius who negotiates his own deals. He and the Yankees negotiated a club option for this year. I can understand his being "disappointed" if they exercise it. I cannot however understand his being "mad".

If he wants to employ hard tactics and affect an "efficient breach" of the contract and the Yankees are willing to allow him to get away with it then more power to him. If Shef wanted some leverage in this situation he could have negotiated a no-trade that attached only to the final option year at the time he negotiated the underlying contract. I guess he was just way to smart for that.

Maybe he finds throwing a temper tantrum more fun anyway.

2006-10-26 10:46:45
52.   Sliced Bread
48 I think Cashman could have smoothed it over with Sheff, made him accept the deal that was in place. And if Sheff wanted to squawk or walk in the last year of his deal, sobeit.

I'm not sure if Cashman ever wanted to retain Sheff, and with his new Michael Corleone status in the organization, Cash is going to do what Cash wants to do.

I'm also not convinced that the Yanks want to retain A-Rod.

2006-10-26 10:52:39
53.   Sliced Bread
51 To me, whatever Sheff says to the press is as meaningless as whatever any agent says to the press. If Sheff wants to vent, fine with me. I want his bat on the Yanks -- and it's not my money. Simple as that.
2006-10-26 10:52:42
54.   Yankee Fan In Boston
what i don't understand is what sheffield has to gain by making these statements to reporters.

it is possible that these statements will make him a less attractive option to other clubs, even at the price he considers to be below market value.

if he stays with the yankees, he won't be an everyday outfielder. ...which it appears is the role he seeks.

if he wins this battle of wills and is not picked up by the yankees for either purpose, his comments, when coupled with all of the similar statements he's made throughout his admittedly impressive career, will not help his case when negotiating a big three year deal.

it seems like the guy just needs to take a breath before he reacts this way. just like last winter, blasting the front office before they officially make a move and then having to do a 180 the next day.

he looks foolish.

if there is indeed a cold breeze blowing through the yankee clubhouse, having a tantrum-prone, unhappy gary sheffield around is not a distraction that this team can afford.

shame on gary for acting like a spoiled child. he negotiated his contract, and he gave the yankees the option.

...i used to be a big gary defender, but this is getting old.

2006-10-26 10:58:00
55.   Yankee Fan In Boston
...but at least this is giving the press something else to discuss/beat into the ground as opposed to the rumors surrounding #13.

between this and kenny rogers, we've had a nice break.

hopefully the yankee signing of matsuzaka will provide another distraction.

2006-10-26 10:58:17
56.   Chyll Will
51 You might be right, and you can substitute "frustrated" for "mad" if that would best describe his position. However, I am under the impression that he anticipated being healthy and highly productive by the time the option came around. That he got injured was a stroke of bad luck, not to mention carelessness in protecting against that. I think he chose to hedge against injury because he's just that confident (or cocky, depending on your point of view.) But I don't understand why we should throw him under the bus for chirping about it.

Ultimately that's between him and the front office, and his response is something the front office should have anticipated if they really are worried about it.

2006-10-26 11:08:04
57.   Yankee Fan In Boston
the more i consider this, the more i think other teams might not be too put off by this outburst.

if sheffield wants the respect/$$$$$ he will demand in his next contract, he'll have to prove he can still play, in whatever uni he's handed come april.

a motivated gary sheffield is a monster in the batter's box.

if i were another team's GM, i might sit sheff down and work out an incentive-laden option. if he gets X ABs, hits X HR, drives in XX runs, etc. he'll automatically get a contract for X years at $X.

...but i'd also be prepared to deal with sheff at his worst.

2006-10-26 11:09:49
58.   Chyll Will
54 I take it as the first shot across the bow, just to gauge his range and warn them that he's prepared to battle, for whatever it's worth.

Not that he's in a position to win, but no one should be surprised by it, and sometimes the winner isn't the better-equipped, but the better fighter. If this is all for show, then it only means a deal is going to be made soon that hedges on the option being picked up. The rest is just for the care and feeding of sports reporters.

If not, well, we could put this show on HBO and call it "Protect Ya Neck"...

2006-10-26 11:11:37
59.   wsporter
53 If Shef says "if that's all their payin' then I ain't playin'" I think it has a lot of meaning. If you're the GM of a MLB club what would you give up to get him if that's his attitude? Shef is negotiating through the press not only with the Yankees but with potential suitors. I think it does have weight. "Give me the extension and get me to the place I want to go" is what I think he's saying. If he relaxes and thinks about it now he will, I think, see that the Yankees are actually doing the heavy lifting for him. He'll get his deal.

If Shef is the Yankees DH next season I'd be happy with that. I'd be happy if they gave him another year on top of it. A problem is what to do with Giambi. I wish that Shef could continue to work out at first base and try to master the position. I wish that I had some lunch in the office; neither one seems to be coming true.

2006-10-26 11:23:58
60.   Chyll Will
59 And the Yankees without Sheff at first is like a hunger that keeps pokin' atcha, pokin' atcha.... "so sad, so sad, it's a sad-sad sit-u-a-tionnnn..."
2006-10-26 11:28:26
61.   wsporter
60 and on that note ...
2006-10-26 11:29:08
62.   Max
The Jeter "interview" has been the funniest piece of non-news during this off-season. The guy gives his usual non-answers to reporters seeking red meat, and his responses are analyzed and dissected like pronouncements on economic or foreign policy.

Discerning deep meaning in Jeter's statements is like trying to herd fireflies in order to light a house in the absence of electricity.

2006-10-26 11:31:50
63.   rbj
55 Sheff's unhappiness is A-Rod's fault. Everything bad is A-Rod's fault.
2006-10-26 11:34:27
64.   Chyll Will
61 I wasn't making fun of you...
2006-10-26 11:36:18
65.   yankz
63 And thus Jeter's fault
2006-10-26 11:37:48
66.   wsporter
64 I didn't think you were ... I have to pay attention to something now and that seemed like a good moment. Have fun with this; I expect this all be be cleared up by the time I get back.
2006-10-26 11:38:03
67.   Yankee Fan In Boston
63
it was a matter of time.

i read on the internets that rodriguez was responsible for the booking of billy ray cyrus to sing the national anthem before the 4th game of the world series.

...but jeter produced the storm to keep this from happening.

2006-10-26 11:39:22
68.   Chyll Will
63 Sheff's unhappiness is all A-Rod's fault. Everything bad is all A-Rod's fault.

That's what I call good meme >;)

2006-10-26 11:48:54
69.   Chyll Will
67 Production worthy of the Hank Aaron Award, no doubt...
2006-10-26 11:50:36
70.   JL25and3
67 As I understand it, Rodriguez didn't just get Billy Ray Cyrus booked - he actually wrote "Achy Breaky Heart."
2006-10-26 11:51:53
71.   Yankee Fan In Boston
70 well played. well played indeed.
2006-10-26 11:55:01
72.   Yankee Fan In Boston
70 i believe rodriguez is doing the accompanying dance in the middle of this clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lpu2kRiLck

(an aside, with these dance moves rodriguez rendered me impotent. thanks, mr. rodriguez.)

2006-10-26 11:55:19
73.   Chyll Will
70 (low chorus from the audience) oooooohhh...
2006-10-26 11:57:13
74.   Chyll Will
72 See 73
2006-10-26 11:57:45
75.   JL25and3
This, from mlb.com (http://tinyurl.com/y5snta)

Sheffield's agent, Rufus Williams, said that his client is willing to return to the Bronx as a first baseman next season, but he wants a contract extension from the Yankees to do so.

"He's enjoyed his time playing in New York, enjoyed the fans there; what he would like to do is to continue to help the team," Williams said Thursday in a telephone interview. "Playing first base for one year doesn't help him or the team. That's not his position. He will do it and he will learn to do it, but in the confines of a longer-term agreement."

2006-10-26 12:14:51
76.   Yankee Fan In Boston
74
just kidding. unfortunately, this is one problem that mr. rodriguez had no involvement.

(sigh)

so...

jeff suppan, huh?

2006-10-26 12:18:22
77.   Chyll Will
76 Why has it come to this? jeff suppertime...
2006-10-26 12:19:44
78.   Yankee Fan In Boston
77 just trying to break the uncomfortable silence brought about due to my "issues."

i apologize.

(for both utterances.)

2006-10-26 12:25:42
79.   Chyll Will
78 Oh. I must have missed that. I thought the crickets came out for Rufus Williams.
2006-10-26 12:27:27
80.   Simone
75 This Sheffield situation promises to be even nastier than even I thought. I continue to hope that it is just a rumor that the Yankees will be picking up this malcontent's contract.
2006-10-26 12:27:46
81.   Yankee Fan In Boston
...

...

so...

a lot of rain out in st. louis...

(whistles uncomfortably and without melody)

looks like they won't play tonight, either...

...

uh...

...

...karim garcia?

2006-10-26 12:33:41
82.   Chyll Will
81 Homey, it's cool. Next one will be killer >;)

80 Ouch. If it's a rumor, aren't you being as reactive as he is in calling him a malcontent?

2006-10-26 12:34:52
83.   Chyll Will
81 ...who was that masked man?
2006-10-26 12:37:18
84.   Chyll Will
83 The Lone Anger...
2006-10-26 12:49:01
85.   Yankee Fan In Boston
alex rodriguez's finest work:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-_3EY35JTY
2006-10-26 12:58:42
86.   rbj
Another rainout is A-Rod's fault. He should have single handedly lost the All Star game so that now the WS would be played in NY (because Alex single handedly won the ALDS & ALCS)
2006-10-26 13:09:40
87.   Yankee Fan In Boston
also the handiwork of mr. rodriguez:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAqiXWlXOhg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHkNFl-gAeg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_bylg-Jjz8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wqt3BpwoLVg
2006-10-26 14:11:28
88.   Cliff Corcoran
72 There was a time when Dennis Rasmussen was the Yankees' best starting pitcher. Count your lucky stars, folks.

85 You fool! I almost watched that!

87 Warning, links 1, 2 & 4 not safe for kids.

2006-10-26 14:37:13
89.   Bama Yankee
88 That link in 85 is not safe for kids either ;-)

My grandfather has this singing cowboy doll that my two year old loves to play with. It says "Hello Darlin'" and then sings the "Achy Breaky Heart" song. Now my son goes around singing that song non-stop...

2006-10-26 14:42:31
90.   yankz
85 Dude, he's Arod, not Satan.
2006-10-26 14:43:13
91.   randym77
Youse guys are bringing back horrible memories. Like the office Christmas party where they insisted we all learn the Electric Slide...to "Achy-Breaky Heart." o_O
2006-10-26 15:12:28
92.   Cliff Corcoran
91 It's Electric! Achy-Breaky-Breaky!
2006-10-26 15:13:00
93.   Cliff Corcoran
92 Okay, I just ruined my own day.
2006-10-26 15:25:10
94.   Bama Yankee
(In the voice of Bob Sheppard)

"Pinch hitting for Karim Garcia, number 92, Billy Ray Cyrus"

BTW, having Billy Ray on your bench is not a bad idea, except all he would ever get for you is one hit... ;-)

2006-10-26 15:25:56
95.   randym77
Groan....

I want baseball, dammit. Even sadly Yankee-less baseball.

Has a baseball game ever been snowed out? Just wondering...

2006-10-26 15:30:21
96.   Bama Yankee
95 Yes, Braves-Rockies, April 18, 1998

http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/041898/spo_124-4249.shtml

2006-10-26 15:35:07
97.   Chyll Will
93 Ya see that? You have to stretch first before you attempt a joke like that. But I have the antedote: turn your radio to CD101.9 FM to neutralize the ringing in your ears, then take an hour of WBGO (88.3 FM)at 9PM until the memory goes away. You'll be ready for freddie by tomorrow morning >;)

You can substitute 1/2 hr of Z100, but you must follow that up with 1/2 hr of WBGO at 8:30PM and 1/2 hr Lite FM before bed.

2006-10-26 15:36:49
98.   randym77
Well, if they were playing in Colorado this week, it would be snowed out again. They got hammered.
2006-10-26 15:42:07
99.   Chyll Will
94 Trade him to the Mets for Garth Brooks, then have him pinch-run for Giambi. Put on the hit-and-run for Sheff, who'll no doubt be motivated by the moving target.

Easiest way to manufacture a run in the late innings.

2006-10-26 15:47:00
100.   Chyll Will
98 They got hammered... before or after the snow?
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-10-26 16:04:37
101.   Chyll Will
okay... nobody home. Right, I'll go, but before I do I'll leave this one out for you:

"If Detroit traded for Justin Spiers and Jeff Suppan, they could have Suppan start and Zumaya close, while Spiers could be the Suppan-Z bridge." (ba-dum, ting)

That loud, popping sound you just heard over the internet was the sound of thousands of heads exploding all over Westchester and Rockland County in New York, plus anyone who actually got that. Now, to quote wsporter from earlier 66, I expect this mess to be cleaned up before I get back....

2006-10-26 16:40:16
102.   Yankee Fan In Boston
90 isn't he though?

...isn't he?

2006-10-26 17:04:09
103.   OldYanksFan
There is not a lot better then good-looking chicks in boots dancing.

Unless we make a dymanic aquisition, next year's pitching could be worse then this years. Wang is more likely to regress then be better. Moose had his best years in three years... and it not getting younger. RJ was crappy and God knows whats up after back surgury. Wright could be better, but he wasn't that bad. The only possibly lift would be a decent, healthy Pavano (raise your hand if you think that's happening).

I don't have faith in overpriced FAs (like Zito) in a thin market. Metsuzaka will cost a fortune, Seattle will make a big push (Matsuzaka wants to play with Ichiro) and I think the Yanks are headshy on expensive pitchers.

So IF this turns out to be the case, and if we had a LF who is in the bottom 10% offensively (Melky), and with an achy and aging Giambi, do we really want to lose BOTH ARod and Sheff?

I don't. Our pitching NEEDS a killer offense.

2006-10-26 17:10:20
104.   weeping for brunnhilde
New strategy.

How's this for an idea--we concede the starting pitching, as per 103 but instead focus on the bullpen.

If we could design a pitching staff around five mediocre starters but have the best bullpen in baseball, we'd have a good shot. Coupled, of course, with stellar defense.

The point being, middle relief is perhaps cheaper and more available pound-for-pound than starters are.

Thoughts?

2006-10-26 17:11:31
105.   weeping for brunnhilde
103 I'd have no problem losing those two guys if it were part of a long-term plan. I'd gladly concede the year if I thought there was something to look forward to.
2006-10-26 17:14:50
106.   Cliff Corcoran
Chyll, Lite FM and CD101.9 are verboten in my household. As for 101, I think you just made my "on notice" list. :)
2006-10-26 17:21:42
107.   Cliff Corcoran
Oh, and new game post for those who haven't found it.
2006-10-26 17:30:48
108.   randym77
104 I don't think it will work, but it's worth a shot.

Remember that article someone posted a link to a few weeks ago? They crunched the numbers and found three things were key to post-season success: a power pitching staff, good defense, and a lights-out closer.

Currently, we have only one of those. I told myself we could win anyway, because no one else had really good pitching, either. Obviously, I was fooling myself. :-P

Unfortunately, good power pitchers don't just grow on trees. Farms, yes, trees, no. ;-) We aren't going to acquire a good power pitching staff via free agency. We have to grow our own, and may be on our way. But it's not going to happen next year.

The Boss doesn't want to waste a year rebuilding. He doesn't have a lot of seasons left, and he knows it. That being the case, trying to make do with a good bullpen until the kids are ready is probably our best option.

Then there's the defense thing. I'd really like to see that addressed. I don't think it will be, though. The Yankees are still too enamored with big bats.

2006-10-27 06:22:52
109.   jayd
103 do you have a source for "Matsuzaka wants to play with Ichiro"?

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