Baseball is a business. That bulletin is coming as big news, for some reason, in Minnesota. Today, Star Tribune columnist Nick Coleman characterized the players the Twins received for Johan Santana as stiffs no 5th grader has ever heard of before. The obvious question, which nobody seems to be asking in the wake of the Santana trade to the Mets: if you don't know who they are, how do you know they're stiffs?
I get the whole "we'll miss Johan" thing, but Coleman refers to the trade as Carl Pohlad giving the fans the finger with an "Ol' Scrooge play." Maybe. But it also ignores the fact that an "Old Scrooge play" is what got Santana on the Twins roster in the first place. It's also worth noting that Johan Santana was the one who set the deadline and it was Johan Santana who decided he couldn't make ends meet on $13 million a year. So why is Carl Pohlad the bad guy?
Over at The Hardball Times, a blog for people who really do know how baseball works, Victor Wang pulls out the calculator and dives into the long-term ramifications of the trade (Remember: Santana is signing a 7-year deal with the Mets and 7 years from now, Santana is not going to be a 29 year old).
... the Twins were not ripped off as many claim. However, I would not say that the Twins won the deal outright, as the raw prospect value numbers show. When we include the four factors mentioned above into our evaluation, I would say that the Mets come out as slight winners; the extent of their edge depends on what happens with the contract negotiations with Santana.
If I were a Twins fan, I would be slightly disappointed by the fact that the rumors of the Boston and New York proposals did not come true. Still, the Twins did come away with good value in this trade.
For the record, Johan Santana asked for more than $20 million a year, and didn't think once about what his leaving would mean to Minnesota's 5th graders.
I think you're misreading what Coleman said. The fact that fifth graders don't know who these guys are doesn't mean that Nick doesn't, and "stiffs" is a word of his choosing.
Kids: Who are these guys?
Nick: A buncha stiffs.
Heh. Maybe. It was a pretty predictable column, but it ignored a lot. The value for Santana is whatever someone is willing to pay. I might think he's the best pitcher in baseball (although I don't) and he should fetch ABC but if there's nobody out there willing to pay ABC, what's he worth?
The real story, in my opinion, about Santana is that it reaffirms that the new paradigm on player contracts is at least as much about years as it is about money.
If you believe reports, the Twins offered $20 million a year for 3 or 4 years but Santana wanted 7 years. It looks like the Mets are balking at 7, but are willing to go at 6 at about the same amount.
That's a real minefield. 7 years? I don't know how a team can hand out that kind of contract, especially since they may not have steroids to help 'em.
Part of me, though, wants to see the Mets talks collapse. I think the only thing Minnesotans hate more than Carl Pohlad, are athletes who don't want to play here.
What would you think about a Congressional initiative to fund the creation of a unified U.S.A. sports authority that would create a bottom to top hierarchy of sports leagues that would cut out Little League, high schools, colleges and the pros?
All athletes would be "paid" (free t-shirts and caps for kids), and all income would go to organizational overhead with the surplus being paid out to the athletes.
I don't think you can name a single problem with sports today that's not tied to the privatization of sports (and exploitation of fans and non-pro athletes) by the organizations that run our sports.
Under this system, athletes would automatically play for teams in their region, and would have no incentive to move around, at least not financially. I think reintroducing true regionalism into sports would make every game more fun to watch.