Beckett Loves Boston

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No, not Josh Beckett. Beckett Baseball, which features Daisuke Matsuzaka on the cover of what you could consider its first issue of the 2007 baseball and card-collecting season. Sister publication Beckett Preview, which is one of about four or five annual baseball preview mags out there, also likes the Sox — quite a bit.

Some highlights and lowlights for the Sox and Yanks:

  • Matsuzaka is the No. 2 of five rookies who will "impact the 2007 season." (Alex Gordon is first).
  • Philip Hughes is No. 5.
  • Retaining Joe Torre as manager was the No. 1 best move of the offseason.
  • Signing Matsuzaka was No. 2. "After addressing their biggest area
    of weakness, the Sox have returned to the ranks of the elite teams in
    the American League."
  • Not trading Manny Ramirez was the sixth-best move of the offseason.
  • Trading Sheffield for Humberto Sanchez and two other prospects was
    No. 10. "On the surface, it looks like the Yankees will prosper more
    from the long-term benefits of this deal than the Tigers."
  • Neither team had a move on Beckett’s 10 worst list — The Gaints’
    signing of Zito was No. 1. Beckett also dumps on the Carlos Lee, Gary
    Matthews Jr., Juan Pierre, Alfonso Soriano and Jason Marquis signings.
    Can’t argue there. To me, the most remarkable thing about the offseason
    wasn’t how much money was spent — but how much money was spent on
    mediocre to bad players.
  • Beckett on the Red Sox: "A third-place finish sends Boston into a
    wallet-busting spending spree to bring in Daisuke Matsuzaka, J.D. Drew
    and Julio Lugo. Pencil in the Sox as AL East champs."
  • The 3 Keys to Win feature two "duh" moments and a "huh?" moment –
    1. Matsuzaka needs to pitch well, the Sox need to find a closer, and
    Manny needs to stop "being Manny."
  • Beckett’s prediction for the Yanks: Second place in the East, out of the playoffs (Indians capture the Wild Card).
  • The Yanks’ 3 Keys to Win: 1. A-Rod must stop being a distraction,
    2. Wang must continue to pitch well, 3. Igawa must be serviceable as a
    starter.
  • Beckett predicts the 2007 World Series will be Boston vs. Los
    Angeles, with the Dodgers becoming the eighth different team to win the
    championship in eight years.

The mag also has summaries of each team’s top (or near-top) prospect,
fun memorabilia tidbits with each team, and a baseball card summary
(number of cards for that team, total value and value per team). The
Yankees, of course, are No. 1 in all three categories. The Sox are No.
2 in number of cards (52,373), third in total value ($530,237), and
sixth in value per card ($13.82). I would have liked more projections
or analysis as to why they picked each team where. The description of
each team’s infield, outfield, rotation, etc. was pretty basic –
certainly nothing everyone here hasn’t discussed at length on this blog.

I’ll try to do a different preview-magazine summary each week as we head toward Opening Day.

62 comments… add one

  • I used to live for these preview magazines every winter. My personal favorite was Streets and Smiths. With the web, I haven’t purchased one in a few years, but I assume it is still published.

    VicSF February 17, 2007, 2:58 pm
  • //To me, the most remarkable thing about the offseason wasn’t how much money was spent — but how much money was spent on mediocre to bad players.//
    You hit the nail on the head right there.
    Much as I love seeing an “official” publication declaring that the Yanks will miss the playoffs, I personally don’t see it happening. I heartily approve of their proposed World Series matchup, though. The Red Sox versus the Red Sox West would be pretty neat.

    mouse - SF February 17, 2007, 3:00 pm
  • Yankees won’t even win the division this year, and I’ll be surprised if they take the wildcard.
    I think Redsox are running away with the East this season barring any unforeseen pickups by the MfY.
    Redsox will sweep whole season series against the Yankees . 19-0

    Phreek -GoSox 2007 February 17, 2007, 3:07 pm
  • I think the WC will come out of the Central again this year, but it’s so close that the four contenders could also just pound each other out of it. 3 or even all 4 of the them could finish with solid-but-not-spectacular records, affording either Boston or NY the extra spot.
    That said…who’d that mag have at first in the Central? The Tigers? I don’t like their offense at all, though Sheffield does help, and I don’t think their staff will hold up the way it did in 06. I like Cleveland best by a wide margin, Chicago least, and Minny’s a bit of an enigma with so many high-ceiling kids set to fill out the rotation. They could win 95 games or they could win 80.

    desturbd1 February 17, 2007, 3:10 pm
  • based on the tidbits that you provide, Paul, Beckett Baseball doesn’t seem a particularly insightful or interesting reading experience. The Yanks should prosper more from the long-term benefits of the Sheffield deal? Well, I would hope so. It was a trade of present for future impact. And there’s a bit too much psychologizing for my taste. I like Torre, but the best move of the off-season? Manny has to stop being Manny? And the key to the Yanks season is A-Rod has to be less of a distraction. This is silliness. I consider a good sign that such analyzers are picking the Sox!

    Nick-YF February 17, 2007, 3:17 pm
  • I should really use the preview button.

    Nick-YF February 17, 2007, 3:17 pm
  • I always find it kind of ridiculous when people pick the Yankees not to make the playoffs. I’d love to see it happen that they fall apart completely, and I do think the Sox have a great chance of winning the East, but it’s complete stupidity to discount the Yanks. I hate them with a passion, but come on. They haven’t missed the playoffs for a decade, I think they’ll make the playoffs and lose in the first round (again).

    Laura February 17, 2007, 3:39 pm
  • > The Yanks’ 3 Keys to Win: 1. A-Rod must stop being a distraction, 2. Wang must continue to pitch well, 3. Igawa must be serviceable as a starter.
    Well, this argument starts off with an impossibility. Based on number one, this means the Yanks can not “win”. Does “win” mean the Series? Regardless, this itemization is concurrently myopic and flat-out wrong.
    1. Rodriguez was a distraction all year last year and has been a distraction before and since he got here, if by distraction you mean focus of the media. When will that change? Never. With a briefly positive note as the AL MVP in ’05 and the AL player of the month in May, then after the June stomach virus coming out of Detroit, serving as a feces magnet for the rest of the year, yeah, he was a “distraction” in that as the highest-paid player in the game, he will always be in the spotlight. However, distraction or not, everyone knows how much of a contribution he was to the offense and by the end of the year NY walked comfortably into the playoffs, admittedly in some part due to the fact that the Sox were unlucky in poorly-timed injuries to be hobbled out of contention. Would the Yanks have won the series if they got through Detroit? Who cares. For at least one week, the Tigers’ buzz saw of a rotation made any speculation irrelevant.
    2/3. Well, of course Wang must need to continue to pitch well, and Igawa must pitch “well-enough”, to keep it close for the Yank bats to have a chance. But where’s there any insight in that? Yeah, two-of-five starters can’t suck if you expect to be in contention in the AL East.
    Here’s a different take on what the Yankees need to contend for a playoff spot:
    Number 1 (and maybe 2 and 3 as well): Jorge Posada must stay healthy. Someone tell me what the backup plan is if he goes down. It is difficult to understate how important Posada is to the Yanks, and that fact concerns me.
    Number 4: The Yankees can not afford freak accidents that wipe out 2/3 of the starting outfield for most of the season. Yes, last year, it worked out in the sense the Yanks continued to win games. Yes, I *really* want to see Melky play. No, I don’t think that the Yanks can repeat what they did last year and dance around in a downpour without getting soaked.
    Number 5: The pen. Everyone says that Mo not being extended prior to the season isn’t an issue. Cashman said that you can’t pick and choose to do early negotiations, but it’s MO FRICKING RIVERA. Lock the deal. The rest will fall into place around him. The guy has special gravity.

    attackgerbil February 17, 2007, 3:46 pm
  • http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/baseball_preview_2006/
    Here’s another baseball preview that didn’t quite work out the way they had hoped.
    World Series: Met over Red Sox, Braves over White Sox (neither team made playoffs), A’s over the Dodgers, Indians over Braves(again neither team made the playoffs).
    Not one reporter picked the playoff teams correctly, not one.
    http://baseball.about.com/od/2006seasonpreview/a/2006predictions.htm
    3 of the 4 writers did pick the Cardinals to make the World Series, but all 3 picked them to lose (Indians, Indians, Angels).
    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/preview06/news/story?page=06expertpicks
    And finally good old ESPN, where not a single reporter/baseball expert picked the Tigers to make it to the playoffs, let alone the World Series.
    I agree with Nick, pick the Sox, I like it that way! Matter of fact pick them to not only win but win going away.

    Triskaidekaphobia February 17, 2007, 3:53 pm
  • Presumably, Tek has a lot to say about what Beckett throws and when he throws it. What he can’t do is locate Beckett’s curveball for him.
    The first time Beckett faced the Yanks, he killed them, if I remember correctly. But in all later broadcasts, the Yankee announcers talked about the Yankees laying off Beckett’s curveball until he proved he could get it over, and forcing him to come in with the fastball.
    When his curve worked well, he got Yankees out. When it didn’t, he had a much harder time.

    john February 17, 2007, 4:28 pm
  • Beckett also shook Varitek off a lot last year. Not the greatest idea in the world.

    Laura February 17, 2007, 4:44 pm
  • Hey, don’t shoot the messenger. I don’t have much of a problem with the predictions themselves (I wouldn’t pick the Tigers to finish first in the Central though), but the lack of any real analysis as to why they reached those conclusions bugs me. Likewise, the keys to win are dumb, dumb, dumb. I also hate lists of events that include non-events: “Not firing Torre,” “not trading Manny,” etc. So, yes, Nick, a disapponting read.
    As to AG’s three keys, I’d say the Sox’ three keys should have been what I said they were not long ago: Can the new guys adjust, can the disappointments rebound, and can someone close adequately? Of course, this is true for nearly every team in baseball.

    Paul SF February 17, 2007, 5:15 pm
  • The problem with the baseball magazines that come out in early February with their preseason picks is that because of their early publishing deadlines, a lot can happen between then and the start of the season.
    Not that they’re not enjoyable to read, and fun to speculate on.
    I happen to like the pre-season picks and analysis that come out in the papers on the final Sunday before the season starts, when the prognosticators have had a chance to look at teams in spring training, see who’s looking good, see who makes the squads, who gets sent down or cut, any injuries that might occur, see if anyone is traded, etc.

    Whatever February 17, 2007, 5:23 pm
  • Paul, well-taken. It’s just disappointing that the prediction front-loads the stress on ARod for no particular definition or explanation. It’s like calling out Manny for missing some late-season games with a (medically defined!) sore knee while ignoring the fact that you don’t even have to extend his season over a the full stretch to see that he is still one of the best in the game; instead, writers pundit that he is a detraction. Ludicrous.

    attackgerbil February 17, 2007, 5:28 pm
  • The A-Rod thing is pretty silly, but this year there is an added layer, which is the potential opt-out at the end of the year. Though I am not sure how “distracting” that will be, I imagine a disproportionate amount of attention will be paid to his plans, to his person, if there wasn’t already.
    In other words, while I am not a huge subscriber to the idea that off-field silliness contributes to or detracts from on-field play (these guys are almost bizarre in their ability to focus on the game), there is a legitimate observation regarding the possible circus that will surround A-Rod this year, particularly if the team is underachieving.

    SF February 17, 2007, 6:36 pm
  • arod may decide to opt out, but how likely is it that he will find someone willing to give him more than $27m per year which is already 25% more than the next highest paid players?

    dc February 17, 2007, 6:45 pm
  • >>>and Manny needs to stop “being Manny.”
    1. Yeah, that would be just terrible for the Sox if Ramirez performed like he has every year for the past decade. /snark
    >>>The Red Sox versus the Red Sox West would be pretty neat.
    2. How sweet it would be to whup the smug, pea-brained Grady Little.

    Hudson February 17, 2007, 6:56 pm
  • dc:
    That’s not the math. The math is 3/81 (I think it’s 81, but I’ve also read that it’s less for some reason) PLUS his next contract in 2010, versus 1/24 (this year’s contract) + whatever he can get on the open market. Look at what Boras did with Drew, reading the market, and decide if A-Rod (say he puts up near-MVP numbers again) can secure, at his age, another guaranteed $120-150M. I bet it’s far better than 50% that A-Rod opts out or uses his 2007 performance (if it’s a good one) to grab more years from the Yankees. If A-Rod plays great this year, he’s got more leverage than you can imagine.

    SF February 17, 2007, 7:05 pm
  • Hud:
    I have never, ever thought of Little as smug. Pea-brained, perhaps. But smug? No way. He’s almost comically guileless.

    SF February 17, 2007, 7:06 pm
  • “dc:
    That’s not the math. The math is 3/81 (I think it’s 81, but I’ve also read that it’s less for some reason)…”
    sf, huh?….3/81 IS $27m for each of the 3 years after this one…it’s actually more with incentives…
    arod’s ability to get any more dough than that down the road depends on his ability to handle the spotlight this [his walk] year…any guesses on how that might work out?…

    dc February 17, 2007, 7:20 pm
  • dc:
    the math for A-Rod is how much he can get on the open market plus this year’s contract value (this is the “opt-out” scenario) versus the remaining three years plus what he can make on the open market at the moment his three remaining years are up in 2010 (this is the “not opt-out” scenario. That is how you have to measure the money.
    There’s no reason A-Rod, if he plays well this year, shouldn’t test the open market. He can lock in another enormous payday for a long-term contract at his age. If he doesn’t opt out, he has to hope he doesn’t decline and/or get hurt before 2010 when he can negotiate another deal. Boras will surely advise him to either opt out or try to get a lucrative extension from the Yankees for not opting out, in order to maximize value. Look what he did with Drew, who is not the sure thing that A-Rod is.

    SF February 17, 2007, 7:29 pm
  • Most people seem to think A-Rod will take less money per year for five to six more years, provided the AAV is still $20M or greater. So instead of $81M and a contract that expires when he’s older and potentially not as excellent, he gets $100M+ and the extra security.

    Paul SF February 17, 2007, 8:23 pm
  • I meant “overstate” rather than “understate” regarding Posada, as you probably knew without me editing, but jeez I get worked up thinking about what Jorge means to the team. Keystone is what he is.

    attackgerbil February 17, 2007, 9:05 pm
  • > A-Rod will take less money per year for five to six more years
    Paul, I’m really curious to see if that is how he and Boras play it out after this year. He’s guaranteed a pile of money unmatched by any contract in the game through 2009 (I think? not sure on that, and too lazy too look it up right now) . Why would he re-up for less, considering that there is no reason to think that his talent will go into decline. Who would pay him more? Why would NY extend him now?

    attackgerbil February 17, 2007, 9:21 pm
  • considering that there is no reason to think that his talent will go into decline.
    If this is true, then he can opt out and get another $150M contract, or some other big number, guaranteed. That’s better than $81M plus a big “who knows” three years away.

    SF February 17, 2007, 9:55 pm
  • That’s a very good point, SF. You made me realize I am being completely naive in thinking that ARod will play out his contract. For some reason, my gut tells me will. Call it a naive hunch. But it sounds stupid when I say it out loud to myself.

    attackgerbil February 17, 2007, 11:09 pm
  • i guess anything can happen, but it’s still hard to imagine anyone agreeing to give him more than $27m per year…equally hard to imagine him taking less than that per year for a couple more years of “security”…security from what exactly?…this current contract will have paid him in excess of 1/4 billion [that's with a b], and guarantees him that for the next 4 years he will remain the highest paid baseball player by a lot…he’ll only be in his mid-30′s and most of you don’t see his skills eroding much…he may want to talk to the yankees about an extension, but opting out and hoping for more [using jd drew as the test case] is a huge risk for him…but, like i say anything can happen, and maybe a team like the angels or the new free-spending red sox will step up and make him a rich man…another boras client in boston…

    dc February 18, 2007, 1:07 am
  • I’d say that at this point, A-Rod is about as likely to come to Boston as Bonds is. The Angels would be a perfect fit, if Moreno opened his damn wallet for a slugger. The Giants could sign him and say goodbye to Barry, or the Dodgers could grab him and move Betemit to 2nd if they don’t want to pick up Kent’s $9MM option (and he doesn’t reach 550 ab’s in 07, which would make it automatic). Philly still needs a 3B in a bad way, and should have the resources available. The market is actually fairly limited, which would seem to indicate that A-Rod would be better served to play out his contract. But who knows…if Boras really did have an under the table thing with Drew and Boston, there’s no reason he couldn’t pull off something like that somewhere else.

    desturbd1 February 18, 2007, 1:32 am
  • opting out and hoping for more [using jd drew as the test case] is a huge risk for him
    I just flat-out disagree with this statement. It may end up being a risk, but at this point, based on player salaries and the economics of the game (apparently very healthy), it doesn’t appear to be a very big one, if one at all. By the end of this season, that may change (due to health, performance). But I am guessing that it will be up to the player: does he want to lock in more money than the $50M+ he will have remaining, or wait the two years for another payday in 2010. If I were his agent, and A-Rod puts up good numbers, I’d recommend opting out in about two seconds, and I’d also use the threat of an opt-out to try to grab an extension from the Yankees (if he’s happy to stay in NY, of course), who would have to replace a production position with a new player if Rodriguez left – that wouldn’t be cheap (or even possible, depending on the FA market, where it looks like Mike Lowell will be the best alternative, not exactly a thrilling prospect, eh?). A-Rod is the best player on Earth, and he’ll get paid like it. Look at what Bonds got this year, or Gary Matthews, or JD Drew. I am going to hedge: I am not saying he WILL opt out, just that the dynamics all point to it being a possible and very unsuprising outcome, no mattter what the AAV of his salary is, and as strange as it sounds to say that someone may opt out of a $27/year salary.
    And D1: a market that might include the Giants, the Dodgers, the Angels, the Yankees (if he opts out they’ll be in need, right?), the Sox (no Lowell after this year), and the Phillies, isn’t that “limited”.

    SF February 18, 2007, 7:04 am
  • …i’m not saying that he won’t opt out sf, just that i’d be surprised if he did, in fact i said that i think anything can happen, and we’ve seen that more teams than the yankees are now willing to overspend…but i still say it is a huge risk for him, just like it almost was for drew [your example]…arod actually has 4 years left on his contract including this year, not 3 [07-10]…so, after 07 he’ll have 3 years at $27m per year = $81m], and a clause that guarantees him he will remain the highest paid position player [by far] in baseball…so any conjecture of what he might ask for in terms of additional years, or per year adjustments that affect the total value of a new contract needs to be measured up against what he has left on the current contract…the risk for him is that the market tends to adjust…we may or may not see teams willing to spend this year at the level arod needs to make a new deal better than the one he has, although there are a couple of possible candidates…4 years from now still in his mid-30′s he could still command big bucks without sacrificing what he already has guaranteed…of course all that depends on his performance over the next couple of years…and that’s a big “if” that says as much about his confidence as it does about just working out a better long term deal…
    …i didn’t buy the drew comparison because the guy is only going to be making about half of what arod will make [suggests we think that arod is twice as good/productive], and drew’s contract is now laden with clauses about not getting paid if he gets hurt [no such clauses in arod's contract]…the sox seemed to be the only team interested in drew which suggests they may have inadvertently outbid themselves…i give them points for being clever enough to “hold out” at the end to get the injury clauses…bonds?…the giants only signed him for this year for the marketing value from breaking the record…arod will make $11m more than bonds…i didn’t bother to take a look at matthews…
    …i think discussions with the yankees about an extension are a more likely scenario than a straight opt out…despite the rough time he’s had here, i believe he still wants to be a yankee, and leaving without winning [and contributing] would leave a tiny hole in his pride and resume, something his ego would struggle with…remember, it’s why he went to ny in the first place…
    …you guys might want to hang onto lowell if there are no other 3B’s on the market, unless that is you wind up with helton and can move youk to 3B…

    dc February 18, 2007, 9:09 am
  • Valid points, dc. But the major issue here is that you have a player with serious leverage, the best player on the planet has that leverage, and the best player on the planet has one of the shrewdest and most perceptive agents on the planet in his corner. This mix means that A-Rod is unlikely to sit still if there’s any shot of him securing a more valuable contract. Don’t think the Yankees aren’t contemplating a future where A-Rod decides he wants to be in Anaheim (or somewhere else) and leaves them with a major hole in their lineup with no good alternative, and that this scenario might incentivize them to extend him or sweeten his deal. I think there’s a very good chance we see all sorts of negotiations come November, whether with the Yankees or another team. Boras knows the landscape, and he played the Drew opt-out well, even though Drew is a lesser player. Boras knew that the Sox would need a right fielder. And he knows that the Yankees are, to some extent, in need of a third baseman following this season. The Sox too. He has the biggest players already at the table.

    SF February 18, 2007, 10:13 am
  • we probably agree on this more than it would appear sf…i see the extension as a more likely scenario, while it sounds like you think the opt out is more likely…either way, i agree with you that boras won’t let him sit tight with such a valuable bargaining chip [the option] in his pocket, and teams with money needing his services…i just feel like it will be hard to top what he’s already getting, even in this market…the variable would have to be the number of years, and how much more money can be deferred to future years…another twist to this that may play a part is that i believe a new contract would take texas off the hook for the portion of his salary that they are committed to…but i could be wrong about that…

    dc February 18, 2007, 10:53 am
  • dc:
    I actually have no clue which is more likely. But I think either an opt-out or a renogation are both more likely than A-Rod doing nothing with his contract, pending a healthy and productive year. Nothing is certain, of course.

    SF February 18, 2007, 10:59 am
  • Your right about Texas, dc. The Rangers pay roughly one third of ARod’s salary under the contract he originally signed with them.
    If he opts out that contract ceases to exist, and Texas is off the hook. If that happens that would be bad news for the Yanks if they want to keep him, because they would then have to pay his full salary, if a new deal was negotiated for a longer term, instead of the two thirds they are currently paying.

    Whatever February 18, 2007, 11:17 am
  • Yeah, that’s an interesting wrinkle, WE/dc. Interestingly, that gives Boras and Rodriguez added leverage. They can use that in negotiations with the Yankees in trying to extend A-Rod. No matter what, the party in the worst position in this whole scenario is the Yankees. They have exactly one year of Rodriguez guaranteed (not a terrible position in and of itself), and then all bets are off, financially speaking.

    SF February 18, 2007, 11:26 am
  • For the record (and correcting a couple of mistakes I made earlier and also the assumed value of the remaining portion of his contract), A-Rod is owed $72M between 2008-2010, not $81M.

    SF February 18, 2007, 11:33 am
  • And, the Rangers pay $21.3M of that remaining $72M. It’s easy to speculate how the conversation might go:
    Boras: My client is on your books for $17M a year. That’s, uh, underpaid in this market. He’s still in his prime, and could make upwards of $150M on the open market for the next seven years of his career. He’s never hurt, he’s 32, and he’ll be playing at all-world levels until he’s in his late 30s. He can make a fortune out there, and we’ve got big market teams ready to pounce. Who will play third for you next year that you don’t have to pay for in minor league talent or overvalued dollars? Alex is the best on the market, and I am giving you an exclusive negotiating period. Take advantage.
    Yanks: He’s being paid $24M a year, no matter how you look at it.
    Boras: Well, YOU GUYS are only paying him $16M, and if he opts out you can be damn sure he’s not resigning with you for anything less than market value, for more years. Oh, and that Texas handout goes away once Alex opts out. So you can either get a Hicks subsidy or pay full value. Your decision.
    Yanks: Uh, can you give us a second?

    SF February 18, 2007, 11:43 am
  • One more thing:
    A-Rod suffers from the “awkward big fish in a big pond” syndrome in NYC, so I imagine his local marketing payouts have been hampered by those around him. He’ll simply never get the attention and money that Jeter gets for market-based endorsements. My bet is that moving to a place like SoCal would do nothing but improve Rodriguez’ ability to make more money off the field. The national endorsements (Nike, etc.) won’t go anywhere. It may be chump change, but Scott Boras adds everything up.

    SF February 18, 2007, 11:48 am
  • “Boras: Well, YOU GUYS are only paying him $16M, and if he opts out you can be damn sure he’s not resigning with you for anything less than market value, for more years. Oh, and that Texas handout goes away once Alex opts out. So you can either get a Hicks subsidy or pay full value. Your decision.”
    …you almost had me convinced sf, but if that’s boras’ strategy, he needs to find a new line of work…the yanks would be smart to call the bluff, let him walk, wish boras good luck with that one, and resign aaron boone…like i said, a lot depends on how arod performs [on and off the field] this year…he’d probably be better off in a money market with more low key fans, like anaheim…but it sure would be interesting to see if the sox pony up the kind of dough you’re hinting that it might take, considering they didn’t last time, and arod now has a tiny choke label on him…
    …and the math is $27m for the 4 years from 07-10, that’s $81m for the 3 years after this one…plus some relatively inconsequential incentives…i don’t know where all the other numbers are coming from…source?

    dc February 18, 2007, 12:44 pm
  • A-Rod is only the best player on the planet if he produces like the best player. Last year he didn’t. What’s he going to do this year?
    If he has another year like last year, the Yanks will not give him the biggest contract on the planet. Ditto if he has a worst year.
    I think he’ll have a better year, but if I could make a trade today involving Aramis, I’d take it. If I could make a trade involving A-Rod, Pavano and ? for Aramis, Zambrano and ? … pretty interesting.
    PS: SF, you think he’s the best player on the planet, with a bargain contract? Wanna trade him for Papi?

    john February 18, 2007, 1:06 pm
  • I scoured Google. There are all sorts of differing reports, but the most common line was that the final three years are for $24M each. There may be deferred money from the first years of the contract. It was confusing.
    But dc, if the Yankees can afford a guy like Rodriguez, and the third base position is weak next year, then why would they be “smart to let him walk”? He’s so much better than anyone who might be available, and if they want to acquire a player from another squad they’ll have to pay with talent. If they want to retain his services (and he wants to stay), they’d be smart to figure out a way to incorporate the existing years into an extended contract, and Boras has to know this. You actually think the Yankees would be better off replacing A-Rod with a Boone type, even considering the cost of Rodriguez? My hypothetical conversation was for effect: I imagine Boras doesn’t need to point out the stupidity of the Yankees telling A-Rod to just walk away, that they won’t negotiate an extension even if they want him to stay.
    I am trying to figure out how the Yankees have any leverage in this situation, and it comes down to the rather unwanted scenario of A-Rod having a bad year or getting hurt. That’s it. Otherwise, Boras and Rodriguez hold all the cards.

    SF February 18, 2007, 1:11 pm
  • I would trade Papi for Rodriguez, yes, were Rodriguez still at shortstop and the Sox were able to pay him $16M per year, as the Yankees are, in a vacuum. Fandom biases being what they are, I am a little less convinced. That’s a really tough one, John, but thankfully we’ll never have to contemplate it.
    But as a point of fact, if A-Rod opts out, I’d hope the Sox would go after him hard, history and all. I doubt he’d go to Boston though, history and all.

    SF February 18, 2007, 1:13 pm
  • dc:
    ESPN archives turn up this article, which seems to have the best run-down on values remaining for Rodriguez:
    Under the deal, the Yankees pay Rodriguez $15 million in each of the next three seasons, $16 million each in 2007 and 2008, $17 million in 2009 and $18 million in 2010, according to contract information obtained by the AP from player and management sources.
    In each of the first four years, $1 million will be deferred without interest, to be paid in 2011.
    The trade calls for Texas to pay $43 million of Rodriguez’s salary over the remaining seven years: $3 million in 2004, $6 million each in 2005, 2006 and 2010, $7 million apiece in 2007 and 2009 and $8 million in 2008. In addition, the Rangers will pay the $24 million remaining in deferred money from the original contract, with the interest rate lowered from 3 percent to 1.75 percent.
    All the deferred money owed by Texas — $36 million including salaries from 2001 to 2003 — will be lumped with the original $10 million signing bonus, of which $4 million is still owed. The payout schedule will be pushed back to 2016-2025 from 2011-20.
    In exchange for the alterations, which devalue the present-day value of the contract by $5 million, Rodriguez will receive a hotel suite on road trips, have the right to link his Web site to the Yankees’ site and get a guarantee that the deferred money won’t be wiped out by a work stoppage.

    SF February 18, 2007, 1:15 pm
  • I would trade Papi for Rodriguez, yes, were Rodriguez still at shortstop and the Sox were able to pay him $16M per year, as the Yankees are, in a vacuum.
    Let’s do it. Call Theo. A-Rod prefers short.
    Two years ago, A-Rod deserved the MVP over Papi — but just. Last year, he declined. Even though he led the team in rbis, he had so many periods where he just looked helpless. Joe moved him to 8th because he wanted to win the series and A-Rod was hurting the team.
    On top of that, A-Rod is so psychologically needy that it’s hard to like him, the way we like Derek, Mo and Bernie, and you like Papi, Tek and Trot.
    A-Rod may have the most talent on the planet, but Yankee fans don’t feel good when A-Rod comes to the plate. Contrast that with how the Nation feels when Papi comes up in late innings.

    john February 18, 2007, 1:21 pm
  • This may be a naive view, but I honestly think A-Rod will opt out only if he wants to leave the Yanks, which is a very real possibility. As dc points out, A-Rod has made so much money, it’s almost beyond ridiculous to argue with a straight face that he’d be doing this to ensure more guaranteed money. That’s not to say that he won’t get guaranteed money in the long run given the apparent state of the free agent market (Carlos Lee anyone?). But if he opts out, it will be a statement that he wants to leave the Yanks, that there’s too much bad feeling in the place, etc. I just don’t see the Yanks engaging in a bidding war for his services if he chooses to opt out, and I don’t see him wanting to return.

    Nick-YF February 18, 2007, 3:55 pm
  • Why did Johnny Damon leave Boston? Wasn’t it over like $8M after taxes? Hadn’t he made like 50M in his career already, with at least another $40-44M guaranteed if he stayed in Boston? When is enough money enough money? $80M in earnings? $100M? $200M?
    So yeah, your view is somewhat naive, Nick. But it could also be true, I am willing to grant that.

    SF February 18, 2007, 4:06 pm
  • arod has gone on record to say that money isn’t the issue…for a few dollars more he’d look like a bigger phony than he did when he went to texas…the yanks will not get into a bidding war against themselves…i don’t think the sox will pony up sf, as your “…[if] the Sox were able to pay him $16M per year…” comment supports…why should the yanks go any higher? [am i the only one who thinks that texas' willingness to kick in so much is rather telling about the guy's real value?]…no i say let the guy walk if he decides to opt out…like nick says, that would be evidence that he really doesn’t want to be here, and he wasn’t sincere that it wasn’t all about the money…damon’s a good example, you guys said “good riddance” because you thought he was mercenary…i’ll feel the same way about a guy who is already by far the highest compensated player in baseball and spends more time feeling sorry for himself and cultivating his image than working to help his team…
    …by the way, my source for contract information is cots baseball contracts at:
    http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/
    …the contract details are very fuzzy as you pointed out, but the deal boils down to a salary of $27m per for the next 4 years…

    dc February 18, 2007, 4:44 pm
  • “I doubt he’d go to Boston though, history and all.”
    Using the Damon comparison, I doubted JD would go to New York given his history of explicily saying he wasn’t going to go to New York. Yet there he went.
    In A-Rod’s case, the only history is that the team wanted him badly, the fan base wanted him badly, things fell through in somewhat bizarre and regrettable fashion that had nothing to do with the relationship between the player and the team (and everything to do with the relationship between one owner and the player’s union). If ARod’s tired of the intense Northeast baseball pressure-cooker, he might tell Boras, “SoCal only,” and the LAA are good enough to get him his ring, but maybe he’s got ego enough to want to stick it to the NYY and sign with their archrivals and win the ring in Boston. Who knows the depths of A-Rod’s tortured soul?
    Of course this is all completely blind speculation that assumes he even opts out. I too hope that if he does, the Sox go after him hard. There’s no reason for them not to.

    Paul SF February 18, 2007, 5:03 pm
  • A-Rod in Boston. Man, the collective cognitive dissonance would be ludicrous. I’m trying to imagine Sox fans embracing him and it’s a difficult scenario to say the least.

    Nick-YF February 18, 2007, 5:09 pm
  • Hehe, so true, Nick. I think we can be pretty flexible though. To me, it wouldn’t be as weird as if Jeter somehow became a member of the Sox.

    Paul SF February 18, 2007, 5:19 pm
  • A-Rod as a Sox would be odd, but it wouldn’t be that hard to assimilate. He’d certainly have a much easier time, since there’s so much less pressure up in Beantown. ;-)

    SF February 18, 2007, 5:43 pm
  • paul, the sox won’t spend that kind of money [i know sf's not the voice of the FO, but his comment about $16m was interesting and probably right on]…they’ve already extended themselves financially, don’t really need arod if they can bag a guy like helton [rumor is that deal is still simmering slowly], and it seems to me anyway, that they wouldn’t want to take a chance on his [arod's] fragile psyche…just as the yankees are bound to be having 2nd thoughts about his “value”…remember, the last time the yankees won, they didn’t have a bunch of guys who were considered superstars…i may eat my words if arod has a great year with the bat and glove, and is perceived as a real contributor…

    dc February 18, 2007, 5:45 pm
  • i don’t think the sox will pony up sf, as your “…[if] the Sox were able to pay him $16M per year…” comment supports…
    dc:
    It’s not a big deal (I don’t mean to start an argument) but that’s out of context. I was responding to John’s hypothetical, not what I think the Sox should pay A-Rod if he hits the open market. I have no idea what number of years or dollars my brain could tolerate. Probably somewhere between what JD Drew makes and infinity.

    SF February 18, 2007, 5:46 pm
  • fair enough

    dc February 18, 2007, 5:50 pm
  • I don’t buy that the Yankees haven’t won because they’ve assembled a team of superstars. They haven’t won because many of the superstars they assembled were aging and/or slipping, particularly the pitchers, and there was no farm-system depth to replace those superstars. I would pin the lack of championships since 2000 on a number of acquisitions and decisions before I worked down to A-Rod. When you look at production, the Sox may be faced with a choice of extending Mike Lowell at way above value or filling with a one-year mediocrity (and by 2008, that may be exactly what Lowell will be anyway) while they await a trade or a miracle. I’d prefer taking my chances and acquiring A-Rod, if it’s possible.

    Paul SF February 18, 2007, 5:52 pm
  • start saving your nickels

    dc February 18, 2007, 5:58 pm
  • I don’t think he said the Yankees haven’t won because they assembled a team of superstars. He said the last time they won the team was not just an assemblage of superstars — and that’s a fact.
    The idea that one can buy a WS championship obviously hasn’t been proven by the Yanks, although they’ve come pretty close. And as all the statisticians point, the best team can easily get tripped up in the two rounds of playoffs before the World Series.
    What the Yanks have done is win a very tough division eight or nine years in a row, and that’s tough too.

    john February 18, 2007, 10:20 pm
  • Eh, I dont know. I still think Matsuzaka is upset in the back of his head for getting picked by the Red Sox. He really had his sights set on being with the Yanks (as did his wife, who would have benefited from it)and I hope that doesn’t affect his performance.
    Also, Kei Igawa noted that the ball is more slippery than the Japanese ball. I hope this also doesn’t affect Dice-K. Being that The Evil Empire Redux spent over 100 million for the Japanese pitcher, they can’t afford him to dip much in performance, unlike the Yankees who spent about half for theirs.
    Anyone see Schilling in ST? They might have to roll him out like the red carpet.

    Russ February 19, 2007, 8:23 am
  • “Eh, I dont know. I still think Matsuzaka is upset in the back of his head for getting picked by the Red Sox”
    Sounds to me, Russ, like you’re still upset in the back of your head that Matsuzaka got picked up by the Red Sox.

    Paul SF February 19, 2007, 10:29 am
  • i think shilling’s the one that’s upset

    dc February 19, 2007, 11:44 am
  • Of course I’m upset that Dice-K didnt get picked up for the Yanks. It would have helped them, thats obvious. Still doesn’t change the fact that he had his sights set on being a Yankee.
    Overall, I’m happy they didnt win though b/c its too much a risk at 100+ million. Plus, it made Boston look like hypocrites for calling the Yankees an Evil Empire. All hail the new king!

    Russ February 19, 2007, 4:21 pm
  • Paul, thanks for the Beckett Baseball shout out. We are always looking for feedback both on content and design. One of the posts referenced the headaches of publishing early for preview magazines and let me tell you there was a lot of hand wringing in our offices over some of the preview assessments.
    Thanks again and enjoy the season.
    Elon Werner
    Beckett Baseball PR

    Elon Werner April 25, 2007, 11:28 am

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