How Do You Solve a Problem Like Mussina?

Monday night was tough. Last night was just plain ugly. Even 2 dingers from Alex could not offset the 10 rbi performance of Garret Anderson, Yankee Killer, whom Steve Goldman thinks is an awful DH. Maybe he is, against everyone but the Yanks, but whatever. The big question posed by last night’s debacle is what to do about the Moose who has been pounded in his last 2 outings (against admittedly tough competition), and seems to have trouble getting the needle on the radar gun much past 85. Now 6 back in the division, and 2.5 in the wild card, the Yanks really can’t afford too many more games like the last 2. I’m not really sure there’s a solution to this problem. Moose could be put on the DL to give him some rest, but who takes over? That would be an awful lot of pressure on Ian Kennedy, and Jeff Karstens doesn’t seem much of an improvement. Looks like we might just have to hope the Moose turns things around…..

161 comments… add one
  • I think things are fine the way they are.
    Seriously though, not much you can do if he can’t get that fastball at least in to the high 80s, otherwise it’s just batting practice.

    LocklandSF August 22, 2007, 9:23 am
  • Next year is a long way away, but Mike Mussina’s agent (with assistance from the GM) sure dropped a big sack of you-know-what on the Bombers.
    As for this year, if Moose isn’t effective (and it sure looks like he isn’t), then what’s the pressure on a kid like Kennedy? The worst he can do is what Moose has done, which is pretty damn awful. Why not give the kid a shot? It would only be a few starts, and a cup of coffee might be a good thing, not a bad thing.
    The Sox face a similar issue with Lester: do they leave him in the rotation (he’s been pretty bad, frankly) or use the phenom Buchholz instead? Moose is effectively a fifth starter, like Lester – why shouldn’t the Yankees see what the youngster can do and, if he is passable, try to get .60 on the dollar for Moose in the offseason? Pitching a guy like Kennedy may not hurt the Yankees at all and, in fact, give them some ideas for the offseason.

    SF August 22, 2007, 9:27 am
  • YF it’s like you are in my head, reading my mind…
    I see this morning that NoMaas is calling for Kennedy to replace Moose. I normally agree with their thinking, but I disagree with this one. I don’t think rest is what Moose needs. He needs to learn how to pitch with what he has. It’s an adjustment that all veterans have to go through, his is just coming at a VERY bad time. Bringing Kennedy up in the heat of a pennant race could be detrimental to his development and I would hate to see that.

    John - YF (Trisk) August 22, 2007, 9:30 am
  • Jeez, what a complete 180 from last year, where Mussina was one of the top ten pitchers in the league. In hindsight, yeah, the deal looks bad, but Mussina could have easily gotten a 3 year deal on the open market, given what teams were giving guys like Meche and Lilly. Obviously we wish Cashman didn’t sign that extension, but you can hardly blame him for it. Like all pitchers, Mussina would fare better in the NL. I could see San Diego or someone taking a gamble on a one-year, $12 million pitcher, assuming Mussina doesn’t completely tank from here on out.

    AndrewYF August 22, 2007, 9:41 am
  • Bringing Kennedy up in the heat of a pennant race could be detrimental to his development and I would hate to see that.
    You hear this all the time about youngsters being thrown into the middle of a race, but where is the proof that this is risky? If a kid’s head is strong, why not? If the organization thinks he’s fragile or if he’s on an innings count, then it makes sense. But if they think he’s a bulldog, I don’t see how this argument is anything but “by the book” player management. Papelbon was thrown into the 2005 race, making a couple of starts and also used in high-lev relief situations, with no detriment to his development. Are there any cases of this environment crushing a great prospect’s future?
    (and Byung Kim doesn’t count…)

    SF August 22, 2007, 9:42 am
  • Trisk: Moose is already, maybe excepting Chris Young, the highest iq on an ML mound, so I’m not sure what more he can learn. I suspect that what there is to know about pitching with his arsenal, he knows.
    As for next year, given what’s happening here, I wonder whether Moose just hangs it up, (or maybe the Yanks offer him a big check to do so). There’s a lot of cash on the table, but love Moose or hate Moose, he’s a borderline HOFer, and it’s hard to imagine he’s going to want to spend an entire season getting knocked around just for the dollars. He’s already a very, very rich man.

    YF August 22, 2007, 9:42 am
  • I could see San Diego or someone taking a gamble on a one-year, $12 million pitcher, assuming Mussina doesn’t completely tank from here on out.
    I think Andrew has something here, and this would answer YF’s question about the possibility of Moose hanging them up. The only issue is that Moose gets scared being more than 200 miles from Montoursville, so San Diego might be a little daunting.

    SF August 22, 2007, 9:44 am
  • San Diego is like pitching nirvana. Huge park. No DH. But then there’s Colorado (altitude) in your division. Sure, it’s possible.
    With Kennedy, to me, it’s more an issue of “are we rushing him” and “can we seriously expect a rook to be better than the Moose”? Two blowouts get the mind reeling, but Mussina still has more than 200 wins and several truly nasty pitches. It’s easy to say “bench him,” but sometimes pitchers just get knocked around, and sometimes it happens a couple of times in a row. He’s a journeyman now. But journeyman can also do impressive things. See the White Sox of 2005.

    YF August 22, 2007, 9:51 am
  • SF is off one bridge and onto another.
    Moose had a 126 ERA+ last year (better than Schilling, Beckett, and Wake). And that after two years of league average performance (100 ERA+). He had a 16 million option for 2007. Instead, they worked out a two year deal for 22 million. I don’t see how anyone can criticize that logic based on the recent past and the cost of free agent signings this past winter. And even though they won’t trade him, he would indeed be valuable this off-season as a cheap and experienced chip.
    Now, I agree on the “throwing them in the fire” logic. I think that a player who’s capable will show themselves very early. However, you run the risk of a less than extraordinary start skewing expectations away from potential. For the Yankees at starting pitching you have to go back to Doug Drabek and Jose Rijo for examples. A more recent example, but for a position player, would be Melky in 2005. Had they given him more time, they wouldn’t have signed Damon.

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 9:56 am
  • I don’t doubt that Moose is intelligent YF, my point is accepting the fact that he can’t do what he used to. Ask any former player what the hardest part about getting older is…you can’t do what you used to and you have to accept that. His stuff is good enough to win, even circa 2007.
    SF, I don’t know that Kennedy is a “Bulldog” type like Paps. Only Cash and Torre know that I imagine. Don’t know the situation well enough.

    John - YF (Trisk) August 22, 2007, 9:57 am
  • I JUST LOVE THE YANKEE PANIC……..
    can’t wait to read this thread after Pettite gets lit up tonight!

    Lee-visor August 22, 2007, 9:59 am
  • Uh, where’s the panic?
    By the way, speaking of bulldogs:
    6 inning, 6 hits, 0 R, 7 K’s, 1 BB
    Kei Igawa, last night :)

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 10:05 am
  • I really don’t think anyone here is in panic mode, Lee. Troll it somewhere else.
    Trisk. After 2 seasons of diminishing power, I think Moose has figured out what he’s going to figure out. My opinion.
    Woosta: Exactamundo, but let’s keep in mind that Moose was brilliant in the first half of 2006, and it’s been pretty much downhill ever since.

    YF August 22, 2007, 10:05 am
  • So wait – the Yankees won’t extend Rivera or Posada but they work out an extension with Moose (despite having been able to pick up a one year extension giving them more flexibility down the road)?. This was a position they took long before Mussina began imploding so now the hardball tactic looks smart now from a risk-standpoint, considering that extending Moose unnecessarily looks to be like spent money. But it still articulates something of a contradiction within the Yankees’ front office. I am not sure what drives their decision-making process. This isn’t a dig at them, but a real question. Why didn’t they just pick up Moose’s one year option instead of extending him, when they won’t do anything like that with more durable and more valuable players like Mo and Posada? Hindsight and all that, of course, but an aging pitcher with health issues as Moose has had, dropping velocity, etc., and they extend him when they won’t do that for two vital cogs?

    SF August 22, 2007, 10:08 am
  • Re: Kennedy and ‘bulldogism’, from Baseball America.
    http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/college/features/26186.html

    SF August 22, 2007, 10:10 am
  • A snippet:
    Road Warrior
    Kennedy said he has been a cutthroat competitor since childhood, hating to lose so much as a game of cards. Maybe that’s why last year, as a sophomore, Kennedy was able to defeat four frontline pitchers–Arizona’s John Meloan, Cal State Fullerton’s Ricky Romero, Long Beach State’s Cesar Ramos and Washington’s Tim Lincecum–all on the road.
    “I love pitching those games because I’m the underdog and I’m supposed to lose, but I don’t want to lose,” Kennedy said.

    Doesn’t sound like a kid who will worry too much about being thrown into the fire.

    SF August 22, 2007, 10:11 am
  • promote Kennedy, Kei Igawa ???? ok, it’s not panic, IT’S DESPERATION!
    Speaking of trolls, how about that Edwar Ramirez.

    lee-visor August 22, 2007, 10:12 am
  • Edwar’s sequence to GA was less than ideal. Aside from that, he struck out 4 in 2 innings, Vlad twice.

    YF August 22, 2007, 10:20 am
  • Kennedy isn’t going to get called up before rosters expand. Say all you like about how the Yankees don’t care about money, but if you can hold off for two weeks on using an option year for a pitcher you feel is going to be around for a while, why wouldn’t you?
    You have to think Kennedy’s innings limit is around 150, 160 for this year, having pitched 100 innings each year in college. His is a polished arm, but you still have to protect it from overuse. As good as Kennedy has been this year (and he has been GOOD), I can’t see him taking Mussina’s rotation spot down the stretch, even if the Moose goes on the DL.
    Let me say something about Ian Kennedy, though. He has rocketed through the minors, going from high-A ball to AAA, dominating at every level along the way. His season numbers so far are as follows:
    1.86 ERA, 140.2IP, 87H, 29ER, 6HR, 48BB, 156K, 0.87GO/FO, .181 BAA.
    For comparison, here are Hughes’ numbers last year:
    2.16 ERA, 146.0IP, 92H, 35ER, 5HR, 34BB, 168K, 1.51GO/FO, .179 BAA
    Pretty comparable, except of course Hughes had better K/BB numbers, and a better GO/FO ratio.
    The number that impresses me most with Kennedy is the simply outstanding BAA (batting average against). Minor leaguers are simply no match for him. Coming into the season, his prospect status was stunted by the predraft rumors that his velocity was down to 88/90, but these numbers show that Kennedy simply has to be pitching faster than that. I’ve heard reports that he’s hitting his pre-junior year college velocity of 94. The only criticisms you could have is about his walks (~3 BB/9 is not bad, but not great for a top prospect), and his GO/FO ratio, which actually has been better since his promotion to AAA (about 1.10). When Kennedy was down in Tampa and Trenton he had mediocre walk totals, about 3.17 BB/9. One blog posited that these were so high because the competition was too easy for him: if he ever got to, say, 3-0 on a batter, why waste pitches trying to get him out? Just walk him and go after the next guy, because he’s not a challenge. He seems to be right, or Kennedy seems to have bettered his control, because his walk numbers in AAA so far are in the high twos, which is excellent.
    This kid is the real deal, and comparisons to Mike Mussina abound, and are not unwarranted. Minor league pitcher of the year for the Yankees for sure.

    AndrewYF August 22, 2007, 10:27 am
  • Mussina, last 365 days: 10-11, 4.78 ERA. Mussina’s ERA is 4.73 since last July 1. So it’s not like he was brilliant all the way through the end of the season, Woosta. Likewise, his 125 ERA+ was far better than in either of the past two seasons (98, 101). That looks even more like a statistical anomaly now.
    Not to say he looked like toast — because he didn’t, certanly not to the extent he does now. But it does look like the Yanks maybe gave Mussina an extension based on an anomalous first half that masked a larger trend of decline.

    Paul SF August 22, 2007, 10:33 am
  • Thanks for that Andrew. Great stuff.

    YF August 22, 2007, 10:34 am
  • By the way, wasn’t Mussina’s option for $18 million? No player is going to agree to a team option that amounts to a pay cut.

    AndrewYF August 22, 2007, 10:35 am
  • I love the title of the thread, YF! I laughed out loud.

    Devine August 22, 2007, 10:36 am
  • Oddly, I agree with SF regarding Kennedy. If you are going to pitch for the Yanks, there are very few opportunities where you could be broken in slowly. I can’t recall the last time this team was able to play outside of a pressure situation. Even games against the likes of KC were important because the Yanks were so far back in the standings.
    Torre’s philosophy has always been to throw rookies into the fire to see if he can count on them when it matters. Given the shaky starter situation, I don’t see the problem with sending Kennedy to the hill.

    lp August 22, 2007, 10:42 am
  • I know you’re not that dense, SF. Moose’s contract was up. Yanks held a 16 million option for 2007. Instead, they re-signed him for 22 million across two years. Pretty simple, reasonable logic given his recent performance and market values. They got an extra year for 6 million and that “extension” (in your mind) is a heckuva bargain esp. when you consider any other team would have signed Moose for three years and 36 million+.
    If they didn’t sign him (option or otherwise) they would have lost him. Big difference from Mo or Jorge. They have never been faced with that prospect with either. This off-season they will be. And they’ll pony up accordingly. No hard ball “tactics” necessary. It’s the contracts playing themselves out. Moose’s from 2000 stipulated a option for 2007. As did Jorge’s (contingent upon performance thresholds).
    Sure, they could have extended both Mo and Jorge. Why though? Just as Moose, they’ll let performance determine value. Just like the Sox are doing with Schilling and Lowell and I think Wake too. To me, that’s smart contracts especially with older players.
    YF – No doubt, he’s been chicken shit. That said, He’s a fine fifth starter – for the price and the performances. Just don’t let him anywhere near a Game 4.

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 10:46 am
  • AndrewYF –
    You might be right on the option (Cot’s is down for some reason). If so, even more silliness that SF is trying to find some “contradiction in the front office”. In his mind, the Yanks signed Moose to a one-year $4 million extension. Quelle horreur!
    But how dare they play hard ball with Mo and Jorge!

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 10:49 am
  • Yeah, there’s no contradiction there. The Yankees had a choice, they either pay Moose $18 million for one year, or $24 million (plus whatever the buyout was on the option) for two years. It’s still a better idea, now, than just picking up the option would have been.
    The Yankees had a choice with Posada and Mo, too. Either let them play out the final year of their contracts, or sign them to extensions. I was somewhat surprised that they didn’t sign Mo to his typical 2-year deal, but was not surprised at all about Posada. Does Cashman look a little silly for not signing them to extensions now? For Posada, sure, he’s having a career year. But who’s to say he’s not just playing for a contract? Maybe that was Cashman’s plan all along, or maybe it was because Posada was a 35-year old catcher and, like Pudge and Varitek, fall off the cliff offensively at any given time. Now the Yankees will have to pay through the nose to keep him, but maybe Posada doesn’t play as well if he has a nice comfy contract already in place, and isn’t that what matters most? Performance risk trumps money risk. Players playing for a contract is always a better situation than players playing, knowing that they’re going to be with the team anyway for the next couple of years.
    I’ll take Posada’s performance now, thanks. And so will Cashman. And he’ll take it for the next three or four years, too, even if it’s not the same. But hopefully, by then, the Yankees will have found a decent backup. There really isn’t any other choice.

    AndrewYF August 22, 2007, 10:58 am
  • Wake has recurring $4M club options, every time the team exercises the option, an additional 1 year option for the following year is added, and so on, and so on.

    LocklandSF August 22, 2007, 11:00 am
  • Rushing prospects (esp. pitchers) to the majors can have adverse consequences. The Sox have plenty of experience with this – Craig Hansen, Cla Meredith, Jon Lester. It could prove a costly mistake to rush Kennedy into a playoff race. He might blow out his arm or screw up his mechanics trying to overpower hitters (Hansen); he might struggle and lose confidence in his stuff (Meredith). Are those risks worth replacing Mussina for what is likely to be league-average production (in one of the best cases)? He’ll probably be called up in Sept when rosters expand, make a few low-key starts, and then be shut down for the season.

    Andrew F (Sox Fan) August 22, 2007, 11:02 am
  • Okay – Cot’s is back up.
    Moose had a 17 million option for 2007 (1.5 million buyout). Instead he got 22 million for two years (plus that buyout).
    I was wrong on Wakefield. He has recurring $4 million club options. So every time the team picks one up, another gets added until they decline one. With that, how dumb (or naive) is Wakefield? He’s made between $3 and 5 million since at least 1998. He’s left what, about 30 to 40 million out there?

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 11:08 am
  • Got it, Woosta – I thought it was the difference between $16m this year vs. $26M for two, which to me isn’t so cut and dry. Thanks for clarifying – though you could be a little less antagonistic about it, frankly. No need to poke trolls around these parts, we do pretty well without them.
    As for Andrew(SF)’s claim about rushing prospects hurting said prospects, I don’t see how Lester can be used as an example, considering that he was half-decent last year even being sick, and this year he’s clearly still regaining strength. His control has always been and still is an issue, and this seems like something that needs to be worked out on the job or in the off-season with Farrell; you can’t just keep a guy buried in the minors until he’s a perfect pitcher, particularly when your other options aren’t exactly Warren Spahn. Look at Glavine and Smoltz, who learned on the job with the Braves (albeit when the Braves were pretty terrible and playing with nothing on the line). Sometimes the Majors is the best education. Getting back to the Sox, with Hansen it may have been a great deal of organizational hype and unrealistic expectations on the part of us fans; perhaps Hansen just isn’t a really great pitcher. Meredith, I have no idea, he’s certainly regressed this year and there were questions about the Sox re-teaching him how to pitch, forcing him to change his routine. That seems organizational and not related to what level he was pitching at.
    Personally, I just don’t see playing in New York being non-pressure-packed, almost ever. What’s the best scenario to break in a guy like Kennedy, when the Yankees are 20 back or 20 ahead? Not gonna happen. Barring an innings count, I just don’t see a good reason not to throw him out there in a spot start, see what happens. Believe me, I’d be happy with Moose thrown out there every fifth day, I obviously have no interest in the Yankees improving their team.

    SF August 22, 2007, 11:24 am
  • The reason, as noted above, is that they use a year off his contract.

    YF August 22, 2007, 11:27 am
  • It’s why there’s a lot of loyalty for Wakefield among Red Sox fans, Woosta. He clearly has a lot of loyalty to Boston. He’s basically signed a contract for life to stay with the team as long as the team wants him. The way he’s pitching this year, I expect he’ll be around another couple…
    I’d forgotten the details of the Mussina signing. In that case, that’s a good deal for the Yanks, even with his struggles. Signing him at a discount after the season/first half he had last year? It was definitely a bargain, just not one that’s worked out thus far.

    Paul SF August 22, 2007, 11:31 am
  • Woosta, how has Wake left 30-40 million out there? Despite what he’s done, there just aren’t that many clubs looking to sign old knuckle ball pitchers.
    Do you really think there were clubs out there offering him multi-year deals for 6+ million per?

    LocklandSF August 22, 2007, 11:32 am
  • Wouldn’t there be, Lockland? The guy’s been consistently a 15-game winner with ERA in the low 4s, certainly a safer bet than Jason Marquis, Jeff Weaver, et al. Maybe the knuckleball thing is a hindrance to some, but if so, I would think they’d be willing to sign him for 3/$20M, which is relatively low risk in this market.

    Paul SF August 22, 2007, 11:36 am
  • Wakefield is way underpaid. It’s pretty remarkable that the union let him work out such a deal with the Sox.

    Nick-YF August 22, 2007, 11:37 am
  • Fair enough, SF – and, sorry, but antagonism is tattooed in my DNA.
    As for Kennedy, it’s managing expectations that’s out of control. And they’re working hard to control them.
    They did well with Hughes until the almost no-hitter. Now Joba is the heir apparent to Mo. The same press that destroyed the organization for putting Melky out there (and questioned Hughes in May as panic) will report on Kennedy. And I think the Yanks would rather let him finish the season on a high than on some decent but not great start.
    The best way IMHO to work him in is during Spring Training and into April. Because of his past college innings, he won’t be on a limit next year and so no need to control them coming out of the gate. Regardless about how this year ends up, I feel very good about Kennedy battling for a spot in a rotation that features Wang, Hughes, and Joba. Make Moose the #5 (or Pettitte) and that’s something to looking forward to.

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 11:39 am
  • I guess it’s a possibility, I’ll give you both that, but I’m still not sure. I bet Tampa Bay would, actually, but who wants to play for Tampa Bay? Or another team that plays in a dome.
    Also, I’m fairly certain Wake is going to make a lot more money once he’s out of baseball and stayed loyal to Boston for all those years.
    So many car dealerships to open!!!

    LocklandSF August 22, 2007, 11:41 am
  • Exactly Paul.
    Sure, the $4 million/year for Wake works – but only if he’s a relief pitcher and spot starter. Since 2003, he’s been a starting pitcher throwing 200 innings on average. That’s very valuable – much more than he’s getting paid.
    So either the guy is just dumb (or naive) or he has absolutely no ego. All he has to do is look at how much the commissioner of their fantasy football league is making (Clement).

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 11:47 am
  • According to Baseball Reference, Wake has pulled down $38M+ in salary during his baseball career. I imagine there’s another few million in peripheral earnings over the decade+ he’s been playing, nothing like what other guys make marketing themselves off the field, but not pennies either; he’s a rather well-loved figure in Boston proper at this point. I don’t think it’s fair to speculate that Wakefield is naive, having been in the majors for 14 years, he’s been through lockouts and can’t be blind to the contract issues in baseball, nor correct to call him dumb (there’s no evidence that he’s any dumber than your average ballplayer that I can find, if no evidence that he’s a Stephen Hawking Mike Mussina type either, other than his being relatively articulate). Perhaps he’s wealthy, happy in his situation, and that’s that. He’s quite an anomaly, if so.

    SF August 22, 2007, 12:01 pm
  • There’s a lot more money in making the playoffs than there is in saving one year of arb-eligibility for a player and missing those playoffs. If a front office thinks that player can help them clinch a playoff spot (and with Kennedy the Yanks may very well think he will have zero impact on their chances — and they might be right — that’s the debate here!) that team would be absolutely foolish not to make that move.

    SF August 22, 2007, 12:05 pm
  • YF, not to harp…But I just heard Mussina on WFAN and Girardi on Max K. basically saying what I am trying to say. Mussina said basically the way he attacks the hitters needs to change over his next 6 starts. Girardi said Mussina needs to stop being so fine, as he has been in the past. I didn’t know he threw 10 balls in his first 12 pitches last night, Girardi thinks it’s because he is uneasy about coming over the plate due to lack of velocity. Girardi also thinks (way to go out on a limb) that Moose is just above a .500 pitcher, but still thinks he can help the Yankees down the stretch.

    John - YF (Trisk) August 22, 2007, 12:08 pm
  • Another few million?
    I look at it this way:
    League average innings munchers get $10 million/year.
    Wakefield is a LAIM. He earns $4 million/year.
    Even just going back to 2003 (when he became a full-time starter), that’s a difference of $6 million a year. Times 5 years, that’s $30 million right there. Sure, quibble the details (not so much in 2003-2005), but the fact is, the man has left a TON of money on the table. And he continues to do so! He’s a slave to the Sox until they decide to free him.
    If not dumb or naive (though that contract is both – extremely so), then the man has no ego. Again, the commissioner of their fantasy football league is making 9.5 million this year (and 9.5 million last year) with his 96 ERA+. Not only is Wakefield getting screwed, but he has no say in when it ends. Weird.

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 12:22 pm
  • If not dumb or naive (though that contract is both – extremely so),
    This assumes two highly faulty preimises: That someone should always go for more money, regardless of their personal situation; and that someone who does not is uninformed and/or unintelligent.
    This is simply a rodiculous notion. If someone who has made $40 million in 12 years likes where he is and decides he can stay there and live on “just” $4 million ANNUALLY, why is that decision somehow less in his best interest than making millions more in a place where he would be less happy?
    Tim Wakefield is happy in Boston and has a lot of loyalty to the city, the team and its fans (likely starting with the fact that the Sox rescued him from the scrap heap and continuing with the World Series ring). The Sox, by all accounts, are equally loyal to him, and the fans doubly so.
    If the player is happy, the team is happy AND the fans are happy, it sounds like the most undumb, un-naive contract possible.

    Paul SF August 22, 2007, 12:33 pm
  • Hah! “Rodiculous.” A variation of Michael Kay’s “redonkulous” perhaps?

    Paul SF August 22, 2007, 12:34 pm
  • Gee SFs who think the Yankees are sinking and panicing. What a surprise that is! (And SFs who think their team is sinking and panicing. Bigger surprise!)
    Moose has gone up and down THIS YEAR. Give him a chance. The Yanks always (if “always” means since 1996 when Joe came on) have trouble with the Angels. More than any other team over 11 years. But in general they’re scoring runs like crazy, and the problem comes when he gives up bunches of runs early.
    Otherwise, a fifth starter on the Yankees with a 4.5 era can win plenty of games.

    ugh August 22, 2007, 12:35 pm
  • Um, ugh. Mussina’s ERA is 5.22. Also, he’s never had more than three quality starts in a row this season, and only had game scores above 60 in consecutive starts once.
    Looking at his gamelogs, I’m actually surprised how consistently mediocre Mussina has been this season.

    Paul SF August 22, 2007, 12:40 pm
  • Equally loyal means a player-club mutual option. That contract gives all of the power to the club. No matter how much he likes Boston, that’s just ridiculously dumb and naive.
    With how much loyalty he’s shown (best exemplified by the dollars left out), why not give Wake the same deal, but make it a player option ad infinitum?
    Yeah, that’s a brilliant contract for Wake. Because he’s happy…

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 12:41 pm
  • Tim Wakefield makes more than me.

    MrBlackthorne August 22, 2007, 12:46 pm
  • Woosta: I said a few million in “peripheral earnings”, meaning endorsements, appearances, etc. It’s not crazy to think that Wake has made a few to several million over the time he’s been in Boston, based on his recognizability and his affability. I think you misinterpreted what I meant by that “few million”.
    He may be “dumb” on your terms, but I can’t judge him that way; if he’s richer than he ever expected and happy as a clam, why should he shake that up for more money than he wants or needs? I don’t get your position: are you advocating greed? Or are you just saying he should have prized more money out of the Sox? I can’t imagine the former being your position, but the latter may have some merit. Either way, it seems like a complaint or a criticism about something undeserving of either.

    SF August 22, 2007, 1:03 pm
  • Wakefield might be thinking that if/when the Sox decide not to renew the option, he’ll just retire.
    I understand he’s willingly put himself on tenuous ground by giving all the power to the club, but so what? Are the Red Sox going to trade him? Let him go? It’s the height of arrogance to look at a famous millionaire’s financial situation and label him dumb and naive for being in that situation.

    Paul SF August 22, 2007, 1:05 pm
  • Is Wakefield still the pitch (har!) man for Bernie & Phyll’s? If so, he should have made by now a ton of money off that. He’s nothing short of Clio-worthy in those ads. I don’t call him Tim “Sleepy” Wakefield for nothin’.

    FenSheaParkway August 22, 2007, 1:08 pm
  • “Sleepy” because Bernie & Phyll’s has mattresses. Sorry, I forgot to make that clear to those unfamiliar with that particular furniture-selling married couple.

    FenSheaParkway August 22, 2007, 1:10 pm
  • Woosta’s argument is that the Sox are bad guys and they are fleecing poor dumb Wakefield. it is obvious that Woosta only exists to go on anti-sox rants and make memorable arguments about minor issues (like the ellsbury-hype debacle). its just not worth it. oh, time to make the donuts.

    Ric August 22, 2007, 1:19 pm
  • SF –
    Fair enough. I’m simply recognizing his true market value. For the past few years, that’s 10 million per.
    The dumb/naive part is the contract itself. Sure, he has every right to be woefully underpaid. But to waive any option of ever getting his true market value? That IS dumb especially with his skill set and ability to pitch for another few years. Meanwhile, it’s not like he gave a great deal to the Royals or Pirates. They gave more to simply negotiate with one guy this off-season more than Wake has made his entire career.
    If loyalty for Wake cuts all the way through and around Beantown, why is it a team option? Did he even use an agent?

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 1:20 pm
  • Ric –
    Do you ever say anything interesting or relevant?
    Here’s a special comp just for you:
    2007 in AAA (same league, same age):
    Ellsbury – 323 AB .294 .364 .378 .742 1 HR 23 RBI 31 SB 6 CS
    Gardner – 127 AB .276 .374 .362 .736 1 HR 6 RBI 12 SB 2 CS
    And me, I love the small sample size from Gardner. It means that a hot week and he’ll look much better than Ellsbury (who in his own hot week right now).
    Enjoy!

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 1:28 pm
  • It’s funny – often fans quip something like “why would Gil Meche take $55M to play for a last-place deadend club when he could have taken $44M and played for a contender”, or something like that, but then when a player takes a lot less than “market” or gives something away to stay in a stable, preferred situation they get grief for being “dumb” or “naive”.
    Maybe a situation made someone happy. Maybe they don’t care about having an extra few million more than the multi-millions they already have. Or maybe they are dumb and naive. How can one ever know, except by asking the player in question? Anyone have Wake’s email?

    SF August 22, 2007, 1:28 pm
  • Woosta – stay on topic please.

    SF August 22, 2007, 1:28 pm
  • SF –
    There! You said “extra few million more”
    By market prices it’s 30 million more! And, as if I haven’t said it enough, it’s that he’s given up ANY hope of ever making more.
    Where there are many players like Meche and Clement and Pavano and Marquis, show me one contract, just one, like Wakefield’s?
    And still, someone explain to me why it’s exclusively a team option for a good company man?

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 1:33 pm
  • And there’s this site’s weird bias again. A SF goes ad hominen, and nothing said. A YF reacts with actual facts and he gets a slap.
    Weird. And you kids wonder why I’d rather be antagonistic. There’s no hope of equal or fair treatment so why pretend?

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 1:39 pm
  • Woosta. When the deal was cut with Wakefield I remember there being a lot of interesting language in it. One of the things I remember, I think, is that although they are technically club options, Wake can opt out of it any time he wants to. Let me see if I can dig up the Globe article the laid the whole thing out.

    LocklandSF August 22, 2007, 1:40 pm
  • Woosta, it wasn’t a slap. Ric’s comment was not deserving of a response, and you came out with something about Ellsbury, totally antagonistic and off-topic.
    Please, just keep that DNA in check, ok? It’ll serve you way better around these parts, with the long-time regular SFs and YFs who come here, I believe.

    SF August 22, 2007, 1:41 pm
  • Easy everyone, things were going well, let’s not let this get away again.
    Ric, for the record, Woosta has been real good recently reeling in his antagonism, let’s give him a fair second chance.

    LocklandSF August 22, 2007, 1:41 pm
  • Interesting, his incentives, based on # of starts, brings it to $5.25 million on a yearly basis. I’m still looking for the other language.

    LocklandSF August 22, 2007, 1:46 pm
  • Uh, SF – young Ric brought up Ellsbury. The comp was my special gift to him.

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 1:48 pm
  • Here’s what Cot’s has:
    # 06:$4M, 07:$4M club option, 08:$4M club option (added 10/06)
    # club exercised $4M option for 2007 10/06
    # additional 1-year, $4M club option is added each time club exercises 1 option, continuing until the club declines an option
    # annual performance bonuses:
    * $50,000/GS for starts 11-20
    * $75,000/GS for starts 21 and beyond
    And BTW – Tavarez is making 3.1 million this year and 3.85 next year. Somehow Wakefield – the loyal company man – is barely worth more? But the team gets to decide, yearly, if he deserves to come back?

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 1:53 pm
  • Woosta, he referred to it in cursory fashion; it wasn’t deserving of re-opening the case as you did.
    This isn’t a reprimand or a slap, it’s advice: don’t take the bait, particularly when it’s clearly nothing but weak and antagonistic. We’ll all be better off if comments like Ric’s are just left alone.

    SF August 22, 2007, 1:53 pm
  • So he’s making $5.25 mil, then let’s estimate another 750k in other earnings, if not more, so let’s guess 6 mil a year total.
    6 mill a year for basically a sure thing, play with the team he loves, not move his family, stay where he is loved, the only place he really knows any more, go fishing and hunting with Charlie Moore for NESN. Retire as an absolute icon in Boston with business ventures abound.
    Or risk all that for a few more million a year.
    I would make the same choice Wake made every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

    LocklandSF August 22, 2007, 1:55 pm
  • It’s an odd contract, but I think it just reveals that Wake isn’t all that concerned with leverage, or moving to another team, or having more money than God (or, A-Rod). Again, call it stupid, naive, whatever, but unless we talk to Wake and find out why he agreed to this type of (admittedly odd) deal, then speculation that he is stupid or naive is unfair.

    SF August 22, 2007, 1:55 pm
  • Hey, I’d take $4 million dollars a year to play for a team I love playing for. I don’t think it’s stupid at all. If Wake’s happy to make a ‘measley’ $4 million a year, who are the Sox to refuse?

    AndrewYF August 22, 2007, 1:58 pm
  • Also, he’s not the lock 15 game/year winner people make him out to be. He’s averaged 10.7 wins a year over his entire career. He’s won 15 or more games only 3 season in his entire career. (not including this year) I realize wins/losses are a bad way to judge a pitcher, but unfortunately, a lot of people do.

    LocklandSF August 22, 2007, 2:02 pm
  • sorry for stirring up the pot- i just wanted to save everyone time and effort in engaging futily in a lame and probably unwinnable debate (IMO).

    Ric August 22, 2007, 2:04 pm
  • Again, how is it dumb? The man is happy, the team is happy. He’s making millions of dollars to play in a good city for a team that is in contention for a title every year.
    it’s only dumb if you believe players should try to fleece teams for as much money as possible at every opportunity. I’m sure Scott Boras thinks it’s dumb, but he has a vested interest in seeing player salaries rise. What vested interest does random Yankee fan Woosta have in seeing Tim Wakefield earn $30+ million more?

    Paul SF August 22, 2007, 2:05 pm
  • Wakefield actually earns about $5.25 this year, performance incentives – $50,000 for each start from 11-20 and $75,000 for each start from 21-30.
    And from the original boston.com article – “In agreeing to the deal, Wakefield said he will donate $100 to charity for every strikeout he records this season.”
    Man, what an idiot. Not only is he earning half of what he deserves, but it actually COSTS HIM MONEY to strike people out.
    Time to make the donuts, indeed.

    Tyrel SF August 22, 2007, 2:08 pm
  • That’s exactly the point, Andrew. The Sox took a sucker’s bet. Who are they to refuse? But let’s be clear, nothing they did smacks of loyalty. They took a sweatheart deal and then made it better (the infinite team option).
    By contrast, the Yanks gave Pettitte a player option for 16 million next year.
    At least SF now admits the deal is “odd”. I’d say so!
    And Lockland – only 4 million is guaranteed. If Wake blew out his shoulder on one of those blazing fastballs in April, they’d owe him exactly $4 million. Again though:
    It’s not “a few million more”!!!!
    It’s tens of millions. And guaranteed.

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 2:10 pm
  • Why are we comparing Wake’s contract to those signed this past off season? Where does his contract stand in relation to other deals signed the year he signed? Apples to apples, please. Also, if he has an opt out, this whole argument is moot.
    Even if he did sign a “bad” contract (at more than 4 mil a year! ha! i’d like to make that!), i’m not sure that makes him dumb, nevermind how much he likes playing for Boston. Who hasn’t made a “bad” financial decision in life, or taken some “bad” advice? That’s just human.

    YF August 22, 2007, 2:14 pm
  • Paul –
    I don’t believe players should fleece teams. I believe in fair market value. On that – Wakefield could have made tens of millions more.
    Meanwhile, you still haven’t explained to me why it’s a team option. That contract would work just as well (indeed, no differently if the implied retirement is correct) as a player or mutual option.
    That option alone (apart from the money) tells me it’s a dumb deal.

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 2:14 pm
  • By contrast, the Yanks gave Pettitte a player option for 16 million next year.
    Yes, because despite all the claims from Pettitte about coming back home, he was in it for the money. He used the Yankees’ need for his services to extract money from the team, despite the fact that he’s made millions in the past, nearly 77M through this year (this will approach 100M if he exercises that option). Good for him. He deserves what he can get. He was smart and greedy. A perfectly modern professional athlete. And good for him for taking advantage of “the man”, suckering the greedy ownership (it goes both ways) into paying $32M for his services. Maybe the Sox weren’t quite so desperate, maybe Wake had no desire to find out if the Sox wanted to play chicken over a few million that don’t matter to him. Who the hell knows.
    This is getting to be a really stupid discussion, Woosta. My thought that the contract is “odd” shouldn’t be interpreted as any kind of judgment about Wakefield, so you’d be making a fool’s error to think that was the case.

    SF August 22, 2007, 2:16 pm
  • YF –
    His option was picked up this past off-season. And the off-season before that. Indeed, we could be looking at an effective Wakefield making $4 million in 2011 at age 44. If he wants to play baseball, that’s what he gets. He has no choice otherwise.
    But at least he’ll be happy…

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 2:17 pm
  • “It’s tens of millions. And guaranteed.”
    To leave the team he loves, the town he loves, the sure historical legacy, move his family, move away from his long time friends, the business opportunities, his local charities, his community commitments, everything the guy has known for the last 12 years.

    LocklandSF August 22, 2007, 2:17 pm
  • Point taken, Lockland. Wakefield’s more consistently an 11-12-game winner, but I think he pitches well enough to consistently win 15 games with a decent lineup/bullpen.

    Paul SF August 22, 2007, 2:20 pm
  • Guys, guys, lets stop all this. Woosta is clearly right: Wakefield is mentally retarded, and the Red Sox are big, evil super-nazis for taking advantage of him. Duh.
    This is a totally worthwhile argument to have started in a thread about Mike Mussina, too.

    Josh SF (D1) August 22, 2007, 2:21 pm
  • That’s bullshit, SF. Pettitte had offers of three to four guaranteed years. Look at the market and find his value, but let’s just say it was starting at 3 years and 45 million.
    Pettitte left money out there to come back to the Yankees. And they rewarded his loyalty with a player option.
    Again, why can’t one SF tell me why Wake’s contract is exclusively a team option (ad infinitum)?

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 2:22 pm
  • “Again, why can’t one SF tell me why Wake’s contract is exclusively a team option (ad infinitum)?”
    Because Wake didn’t ask for one? Because he didn’t care, didn’t want to pitch anywhere else? How the f*ck should we know? You don’t sign anything close to this kind of contract if you’re trying to maximize dollars…

    Josh SF (D1) August 22, 2007, 2:24 pm
  • SF. Baseball is a business. I think tossing in terms like “greed” is incendiary and pointless. If the market is willing to bare the high costs of baseball, then the players have a right to share in the proceeds with ownership. That’s not greed. Is the system designed to fleece the customer? Yes. But then we’re still here, aren’t we?

    YF August 22, 2007, 2:25 pm
  • Again, why can’t one SF tell me why Wake’s contract is exclusively a team option (ad infinitum)?
    I can’t. I don’t know why my inability to tell you this makes a whit of difference.
    Perhaps Wake is almost preternaturally secure with himself, and figures when the Sox don’t want his services, he doesn’t want to play anymore.
    Who cares, really.
    As for Pettitte, do you know that he sincerely thought about playing for anyone but the Astros and Yankees? Do you know that he didn’t speak with Clemens and know long before the season that Roger had every intention of coming back to NYC but hid that knowledge from the Yankees in order to get a second year even though he may have made his mind up about accepting that first year no matter what? This is all speculation, Woosta, but you’re the only one who has made judgments about someone being “dumb” or “naive”. That’s the beef with your line of argument.

    SF August 22, 2007, 2:27 pm
  • No doubt, Josh. But all that loyalty hasn’t been repaid by the organization – not one bit and not even close.
    At least he’s happy…

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 2:28 pm
  • “Again, why can’t one SF tell me why Wake’s contract is exclusively a team option (ad infinitum)?”
    If I may…
    Because Wakefield decided there is no other place on earth he’d rather play. And he decided that $4 million+ is more than enough money to live on. So as long as the Sox want him back, he’ll keep showing up for work.
    He’s a throwback, and I’m sure if you were able to see through your bias you’d respect him for it.

    Tyrel SF August 22, 2007, 2:28 pm
  • SF. Baseball is a business. I think tossing in terms like “greed” is incendiary and pointless
    You are missing my point, YF. Pettitte is no more greedy than Wakefield is “stupid”. It was a rhetorical device, perhaps poorly deployed. The point is we don’t know what is going through a player’s head when they sign (sometimes it’s ‘get the most money, no matter what’, sometimes it’s not). Speculating about Wakefield’s brainpower because he signed a deal that advantages the club (when viewed in a vacuum) is just silly to me.

    SF August 22, 2007, 2:30 pm
  • Woosta,
    Wake is one of the few players that realizes he’s getting paid to play a game he loves for a team he loves in a city he loves. Anything on top of that (even a “measly” 4 mil) is a bonus, especially considering how little money Wake spends. He’s a simple man–he spends his free time hunting and fishing, and that’s about it.
    It would be nice to see more players with such team loyalty (cough DAMON cough).

    Atheose August 22, 2007, 2:30 pm
  • Yes YF, excellent point, we are still here. I spend about 6-8k per year on the Red Sox and Red Sox related products and activities, not to mention lost earnings I could make by not spending 50% of my year watching, thinking about or discussing the Red Sox.

    LocklandSF August 22, 2007, 2:31 pm
  • Who said I don’t respect him for it? But it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a dumb (or naive) contract.
    Was there even a negotiation? And did anyone on Wake’s side read it?
    (Full disclosure: I’ve never had a problem with Wake. In 2003, I thought it was a shame he could get Bucknered.)

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 2:31 pm
  • From the Globe in 2005:
    “Wakefield’s agent, Barry Meister, told the knuckleballer during this past offseason that, given age and productivity, he might command $6 million from some club at the end of the season.
    “He said, `Is that club the Red Sox?’ ” Meister said. “I said, `No, might not be.’ He said, `If you said the Red Sox, that’s one thing.’
    “He waved me off and said, `Money is important, but it’s kind of down the list for me. My desire is to be in Boston and be a Red Sox. That’s just who I am now.’ ”

    SF August 22, 2007, 2:33 pm
  • I contend that he is making that 6 million, maybe more, and by staying with the Red Sox and ending his playing days here, his future earing power in this town is FAR more than that. Making it, potentially, a very smart financial decision.

    LocklandSF August 22, 2007, 2:36 pm
  • SF,
    Thanks for finding an article. Maybe that will keep Woosta from calling people stupid and naive.

    Atheose August 22, 2007, 2:36 pm
  • Boston Globe, April 19, 2005, “Wakefield gets new deal”:
    “For the last 11 years, Tim Wakefield has represented the best of the Boston Red Sox,” general manager Theo Epstein said. …
    [“]This agreement virtually guarantees Wake will retire as a Boston Red Sox, which is fitting. In the long, proud history of this franchise, few men have brought greater honor to the uniform.”
    ——————–
    The following day, 4/20/05, “Deal keeps Wakefield in team’s grip”:
    “Wake deserves all the credit in the world for having priorities and acting in line with those priorities,” said general manager Theo Epstein. “He could have pushed this to free agency and gotten other teams involved and maxed out dollars.”
    But Wakefield, who turns 39 Aug. 2 and is making $4.67 million this season, didn’t do that. By signing for a base of $4 million, he took less than he probably could have gotten from another team after this season.
    Wakefield’s agent, Barry Meister, told the knuckleballer during this past offseason that, given age and productivity, he might command $6 million from some club at the end of the season.
    “He said, ‘Is that club the Red Sox?'” Meister said. “I said, ‘No, might not be.’ He said, ‘If you said the Red Sox, that’s one thing.’
    “He waved me off and said, ‘Money is important, but it’s kind of down the list for me. My desire is to be in Boston and be a Red Sox. That’s just who I am now.'”
    —————-
    Yeah. What a naive dummy.

    Paul SF August 22, 2007, 2:37 pm
  • SF –
    Since we don’t know what a player is or isn’t thinking, all I can judge is results.
    Pettitte sign a fair market value deal. And retained a player option for the future. He gave up alot of guaranteed money.
    Wakefield signed a below market deal. And gave up all leverage for the future. He gave up alot of guaranteed money.
    The former makes sense, and speaks of generosity by the organization.
    That latter makes no sense (in the market) and speaks of greed by the organization.
    How’s that for a rhetorical device?

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 2:38 pm
  • Barry Meister is also Randy Johnson’s agent. So Wake is getting advice from someone who knows the game. I have to imagine that Wake and Meister knew exactly what the deal was and why they accepted the deal they did.

    SF August 22, 2007, 2:39 pm
  • Woosta, it has nothing to do with organizational greed. It’s obvious that Wake wants to retire a Red Sox, and he signed a contract that ensures it will happen.
    Assuming the Red Sox took advantage of a man who got exactly what he wanted is, frankly, stupid and naive.

    Atheose August 22, 2007, 2:42 pm
  • Also, from the April 20 Globe article: “There is a perpetual team option with the same terms, meaning Wakefield is here at the same money as long as the team sees fit. If Wakefield wants to retire, he simply does so and forfeits the money if the option has been picked up for the ensuing season.”
    Clearly, the agreement is mutual that Wakefield will pitch for the Red Sox until he no longer can, at which point he will retire.

    Paul SF August 22, 2007, 2:42 pm
  • Wake didn’t give up any leverage, Woosta. That’s a huge misconception on your part. I think you don’t get that there was no leverage desired by Wake at all, he’s a 10-5 guy, so the Sox can’t trade him without his approval. He’s not going anywhere he doesn’t want to, and he’s making all the money he wants to. He is in control of who he plays for, as long as they want him to play. That seems to be all he desired; he got exactly what Pettitte got: WHAT HE WANTED.
    Enough with calling it dumb, naive, or whatever ill-chosen word you want to use.

    SF August 22, 2007, 2:43 pm
  • Boston Herald 4/20/05
    “Wake told his agent, Barry Meister, to give up all present and future leverage to the organization. Then he relieved his agent of his duties and commission and signed the contract on the back of a cocktail napkin.”
    “His first act as a lifetime member of the Nation was to throw back a shot of Jagermeister, in honor of his agent. Then he shot his 12 barrel in the air.”

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 2:43 pm
  • I think we can officially label Woosta as a Troll, now. Thanks for proving our point for us, bud.

    Atheose August 22, 2007, 2:45 pm
  • Wakefield is happy, and that’s great for him. But his deal, honestly, would be akin to Rivera giving the Yankees $4 million a year ‘because he likes them so much’. Of course the team will then laud you as one of the ‘greatest’ Red Sox, but to them, it’s all about the money. You have to think that the front office is laughing their asses off that they got someone who actually doesn’t care about money, and who sees Wakefield as somewhat of a sucker. I see where Woosta is coming from.

    AndrewYF August 22, 2007, 2:46 pm
  • Didn’t Rivera sign a below-market extension for his last contract? Was he a moron, an idiot, a naif?
    No.

    SF August 22, 2007, 2:47 pm
  • You were doing so well Woosta, what a shame.
    Moving on…

    LocklandSF August 22, 2007, 2:48 pm
  • dont say i didnt warn you- unwinnable.

    Ric August 22, 2007, 2:48 pm
  • I have a very hard time believing that being the richest – by far – reliever in the major leagues constitutes ‘below-market’.

    AndrewYF August 22, 2007, 2:49 pm
  • Paul –
    If it was mutual, it would have been a mutual option. It’s not and isn’t.
    Sure Wake can decide to retire. But he can never decide he want to play for another team or wants more money – unless the Red Sox say so.
    Sorry, that’s dumb. But if you want another (or two) SF – try “indentured servitude”.
    Meanwhile, I enjoy the knuckleball. I hope to see Wakefield still pitching in 2011 for his measley $4 million. At least I’ll know he’s happy…

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 2:49 pm
  • Andrew, you’re comparing Wake to Mo? I love Wake, but he’s nowhere near Mo when it comes to desirability.
    Keep in mind that Wake comes with baggage: you have to aquire a catcher that can reign-in the Knuckler. A lot of teams (especially NL teams) would not want an extra bench-spot being occupied by a guy like Dougie.

    Atheose August 22, 2007, 2:50 pm
  • TAMPA, Fla. – Mariano Rivera wanted to stay with the New York Yankees. That’s why it took little time to negotiate a $21 million, two-year contract extension through 2006. Yankees owner George Steinbrenner looked on as the deal was announced Tuesday and gave the pitcher a hug.
    “I think I was born to be a Yankee,” Rivera said. “I want to thank Mr. George to get the opportunity to stay with the Yankees forever, have a chance to get into the Hall of Fame with the pinstripes. That’s big for me.”
    Rivera, MVP of the 1999 World Series and last year’s AL championship series, helped the Yankees win four Series titles and six AL pennants. He was 5-2 with a career-low 1.66 ERA last year and had 40 saves in 46 chances, increasing his career total to 283.
    “He’s the best I’ve ever been around,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “Not only the ability to pitch and perform under pressure, but the calm he puts over the clubhouse. He’s very important for us because he’s a special person.”
    Rivera will make $8.89 million in 2004, the final season of a four-year contract. He is baseball’s second-highest paid closer behind Atlanta’s John Smoltz, who will make $11 million this year.
    Rivera’s extension calls for $10.5 million salaries in 2005 and 2006. New York has a $10.5 million option for 2007 that would become guaranteed if he has 60 games finished in 2006 or a combined 114 games finished in 2005 and 2006.

    So the greatest closer ever gave up leverage and signed with his hometown team for less than a closer in ATLANTA. What a dimwit.

    SF August 22, 2007, 2:50 pm
  • Mo is making 10.5 million this year for 70 innings of work.
    By contrast, Wake is making $4 million for 200 innings of work.

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 2:53 pm
  • So Woosta, you’re saying Wake deserves more money than Mo?
    Your arguments keep stretching more and more. It’s getting comical.

    Atheose August 22, 2007, 2:55 pm
  • SF –
    In case you haven’t noticed, Smoltz is a starter again. So wouldn’t that make Mo the highest paid reliever in the game?
    Nice try though.
    Meanwhile, a contract just below market value wouldn’t be dumb, because of the other factors that have been cited.
    But a contract at least $6 million/year below value and no hope to ever again get market value?
    That’s dumb.

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 2:56 pm
  • But his deal, honestly, would be akin to Rivera giving the Yankees $4 million a year ‘because he likes them so much’.
    Ah, so Rivera won’t be giving the Yankees any hometown discounts this offseason then? And if he does, he will also be considered dumb and naive? Good to know.
    This line of reasoning makes no sense. Wakefield decided he’d rather finish his career in Boston for $4 million/yr rather than get $6 million/yr elsewhere (a loss thus far of a whopping $6 million). He signs a contract accordingly. He cannot be traded, as SF points out. The Red Sox are not so foolish as to cut him when he’s productive, which he clearly is, and endure the PR disaster that would cause. It’s a win/win for everybody — except, apparently, hyper-antagonistic Yankee fans who have no reason to care except that he’s a member of the Red Sox, and they hate the Red Sox, and therefore must hate him and call him a doo-doo head.
    Anyway, I too shall move on from this pointless debate.

    Paul SF August 22, 2007, 2:58 pm
  • Atheose – believe me, I know. I always bring that up when the true value of Wakefield as a pitcher is discussed. I was just trying out a comparison. I think Woosta’s ‘problem’ with the Wakefield thing is that it really is a horrible deal for Wake. His deal consists of this situation: If the Sox want him, for $4 million, he’s back. Otherwise – retire. It’s nice that Wakefield signed this lifetime contract, but stupid, in a way, for future consideration. What if, some day, he decides Boston isn’t for him, but he wants to keep pitching? Then he’s really screwed, isn’t he? If he wanted the same deal, but with an out included, he could just give himself to the Red Sox for $4 million every year, instead of leaving it up to them to decide. Say he wants to pitch in San Diego next year, he can’t. But without the lifetime contract, he can leave the Red Sox and keep pitching on his own terms, instead of theirs.
    For a pure business standpoint, it is one of the silliest things you could do. As long as Wake’s happy, that’s great. But if he ever has a change of heart, well, that’s where the stupidity comes in. No one’s calling Wakefield stupid for being happy, just that he’s betting on being happy in the future when he never needed to.

    AndrewYF August 22, 2007, 2:58 pm
  • Atheose –
    The market has set Mo’s value at 10-11 million/year. We’ll see if that increases this off-season.
    By contrast, Wake’s value has been set by the same market, at 10-11 million/year.
    The difference in innings pitched you can interpret any way you’d like.
    But one is grossly underpaid and forever will be. The other is fairly paid and forever will be.

    Woosta August 22, 2007, 3:02 pm
  • In case you haven’t noticed, Smoltz is a starter again. So wouldn’t that make Mo the highest paid reliever in the game?
    Nice try though.

    Clearly you don’t understand the idea of “apples to apples”, Woosta. At the time of the deals, both pitchers were relievers.
    But I am done with this discussion, it’s obviously going nowhere. So congrats, Woosta, you successfully (with our help, I suppose) derailed YF’s smart thread. Nice work.

    SF August 22, 2007, 3:02 pm
  • Well said, thanks Andrew.

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 3:04 pm
  • Fair enough Andrew… I took offense because Woosta was attacking a man who deserves respect for deciding he cares about more things than money. Naive was a poor word to use when describing such a man.
    You’re right though, if he decides that he wants to play for another team, he’s screwed. But I don’t think he will ever decide that, so everyone will continue to be happy.

    Atheose August 22, 2007, 3:05 pm
  • Atheose – for Wakefield’s sake, let’s hope so.

    AndrewYF August 22, 2007, 3:07 pm
  • But if he ever has a change of heart, well, that’s where the stupidity comes in.
    It’s impossible to argue that this will never happen, but it is kind of silly to use the possibility of a “change of heart” as evidence of stupidity, particularly because Wakefield clearly signed this contract knowing it would likely be his last, no matter what. He wasn’t trying to hit free agency at prime age, a la Dice-K.

    SF August 22, 2007, 3:09 pm
  • Maybe there is a misuse of language here. The dictionary at my desk says that the definition of “dumb” is simply “stupid.” The definition of “stupid,” in turn is: “Lacking normal intelligence or understanding.”
    Wakefield may have taken a risk with the cotnract. He may have projected current feelings over an indefinite number of years hoping those feelings don’t change. Such a gamble is fairly common in people’s lives and careers. I do not see such a gamble as being below normal standards of intelligence or understanding. The Globe article indeed makes it quite clear Wakefield was fully aware and understanding of the situation and made an intelligent, informed decision.
    Considering it’s a gamble that guarantees him $4 milion per year, I’d say it’s pretty well above normal standards.

    Paul SF August 22, 2007, 3:10 pm
  • And clearly, SF, you don’t understand “apples-to-apples”.
    The Mo in NY deal in no way equates to the deal Wake “gave” Boston.
    1) Mo’s deal wasn’t at least 50% less than what he could get on the open market.
    2) Mo never gave up all future rights to future deals.
    So why did you bring up Mo’s deal again?
    (BTW: I love how this discussion is somehow *my* fault. I had an opinion about a dumb deal (which it is). And SF’s tried to justify the un-dumbness of that deal. Who’s dumber: the dummy who signed the dumb deal or the dummies who think it’s not a dumb deal?)

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 3:11 pm
  • “If the Sox want him, for $4 million, he’s back. Otherwise – retire.”
    Not true, not at all, if they don’t want the option, he can play any place he wants.
    Also, he signed for about 1.75 million below market at the time, not this 6 million below market you keep yelling about, these deals are made in the market at the time, not what they think the market will be.

    LocklandSF August 22, 2007, 3:12 pm
  • Ah, but Paul, “normal” doesn’t apply to the rest of society. Normal applies to his peers. Relative to his peers (LAIM’s), I’m very comfortable saying it was a deal “lacking normal intelligence or understanding”.
    I win!

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 3:15 pm
  • Ah, but Lockland, the beauty of that dumb deal is that it’s timeless. No matter how much the market values LAIMs from this point forward (now $10 million/year), Wakefield will always and only be worth $4 million/year (so long as he’s still productive).
    Again, I actually like Wakefield. I wish he was on my team, especially because I love the knuckleball. But it would be a hoot if he was making $4 million/year in 2011 and still a LAIM.
    That’s the other problem, Andrew and Atheose – Wake could have a change of heart when he realizes that guys like Tavarez are getting paid more than him. The team option means he has no say about it.

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 3:21 pm
  • But if they do want the option, and Wakefield doesn’t want to pitch in Boston, then he has to retire, and can’t pitch somewhere else. That’s the one situation he gambled on, and absolutely didn’t have to. Paul says that we make gambles in life all the time, but the gamble Wakefield took can only hurt him down the road. There is no better payoff than if he just kept signing one-year, $4 million deals with Boston every year they both wanted to work together.
    The deal was unnecessary, and only has the potential to hurt Wakefield down the road. It is not a very smart deal, and if he ever has a sudden change of heart, well, he’s gambling that he won’t, and that’s a gamble he absolutely didn’t need to make. It’s the unnecessary aspect of the deal that no one seems to understand that I think has Woosta confused – and a little annoyed that no one seems to get it.

    AndrewYF August 22, 2007, 3:22 pm
  • You don’t win, not even close, you’ve been proven so wrong in so many different ways it’s just silly at this point. I mean, you completely made up a market that didn’t exist!
    I realize, being a Yankee fan, it’s difficult for you to comprehend the possibility that a baseball player could also be a good person, but that doesn’t mean it’s not so.

    LocklandSF August 22, 2007, 3:23 pm
  • And Woosta – you could do with being a little less incendiary. Try to make people understand with normal, soft tones, instead of saying “Ah, but Paul/Lockland” and “I win!” and other things that, come on, you know will set people off.
    Nice discussions are a lot more enjoyable than trading barbs back and forth and putting people’s backs up.

    AndrewYF August 22, 2007, 3:28 pm
  • the gamble Wakefield took can only hurt him down the road.
    Yeah, playing where you want to play, in contention for World Series rings until you retire. Rough job, that.
    I find it interesting that because Woosta thinks it’s a bad deal, that makes it objectively “dumb.” It’s wonderful when Yankee fans unwittingly uphold the stereotypes of them all on their own. If only you had any clue how dumb YOU sound, Woosta. Ah well. Cleary you don’t, and clearly you never will.
    Time to make the donuts.

    Paul SF August 22, 2007, 3:28 pm
  • My imaginary market, you mean the one that pays guys like Clement, Pavano, and Marquis 10 million/ year?
    Or the one that pays guys like Moose and Maddux 10 million a year?
    Relative to performance, that’s what Wake’s worth.
    And worse for him, those prices are only going up. Good thing he’s happy though!
    And thanks again, Andrew.

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 3:29 pm
  • Ok, 1 las thing because I’m a glutton for punishment, apparently. The only person with any real knowledge of the market for a unique pitcher like Wakefield at the time he signed his contract was his agent, who put his valur at $2 million per year more than what Wakefield signed for. So the $10 million figure is essentially a red herring, thrown out based on the 2007 market for more traditional pitchers who are younger and don’t require a personal catcher, to boot. If Wakefield had tested free agency, he’d still be under contract at $6 million a year, and he wouldn’t be as happy as he is in Boston — which sounds a lot more “dumb” to me.

    Paul SF August 22, 2007, 3:33 pm
  • “Yeah, playing where you want to play, in contention for World Series rings until you retire. Rough job, that.”
    You’re not understanding me. If, by any chance, Wakefield doesn’t want to play in Boston, then he is screwed. Say he divorces his wife and wants to move, or he has a falling-out with teammates, or several other things that have a possibility of happening. The single sticking point is that Wakefield absolutely did not need to sign the lifetime deal. He could be doing the same thing, AND protect himself from possibilities down the road, by just continually signing one-year deals! If he pitches into retirement, perfectly happy along the way, then sure, couldn’t be happier for him. But, if by chance something like that does happen, well, he screwed himself when he absolutely didn’t need to.
    Like I said, it’s the unnecessary-ness of it all that makes him look kind of silly to others. And please don’t bring up fan bias when talking about players that essentially gave their careers to your team.

    AndrewYF August 22, 2007, 3:35 pm
  • (And yes I understand I’m now basically arguing the opposite of what I argued at the beginning of this thread, but that’s because I — like Woosta and unlike Lockland — made the mistake of using 2007 dollars for a 2005 market that was much lower. That was also before I read the quotes from the agent, who is really the only creditable source on what Wakefield could have been earning).

    Paul SF August 22, 2007, 3:36 pm
  • Andrew –
    Look back through the comments. Incendiary comments were directed at me just as often, and outright trolling, yet no one says anything?
    Again, weird place here.
    And Paul –
    By your very definition – the one you had to look up – it WAS dumb!
    I never said he didn’t have his reasons. But the deal was “lacking normal intelligence or understanding”. I can’t see how this is an arguable point anymore.

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 3:37 pm
  • I see your point, Andrew, but I think you might be overstating the possibilities of those things happening. Wakefield has been in Boston since 1995 and been through some of the worst teams/situations possible. We just don’t know his personality — he might find great enjoyment outside the clubhouse, so the status of his teammates isn’t as much of a concern to him. He might be happily married and so has no reason to factor possible divorce into his equation. Really, we can’t know his mind, except that he made the deal that made him happy. Calling that “dumb and naive” is, well, dumb and naive! Hehe.

    Paul SF August 22, 2007, 3:39 pm
  • Woosta, the only possible explanation I can find for your continued rationale for using subjective, derrogatory terms in place of objective ones is that you’re so used to name-calling, it has taken on the weight of normal conversation with you. That’s very sad, and I have no choice but to induct you into the hallowed Jim Dean club. I will no longer engage in conversation with you, regardless of the topic.

    Paul SF August 22, 2007, 3:42 pm
  • “Incendiary comments were directed at me just as often, and outright trolling, yet no one says anything?”
    Who cares? The perception was that you were throwing incendiary comments out there, and I’m not going to read every single comment to see who ‘struck first’. Just ignore the ad hominem, and then no one will have any reason to throw incendiary comments back at you. If they do, that is sad for them, but you can ignore them and not miss much.
    Paul – like I said, as long as he’s happy, that’s great for him. But he made the gamble that this deal would continue to make him happy, a good bet, but one that was absolutely unnecessary to make. Would you sign a deal, saying that you will remain a Red Sox fan for the rest of your life, and if you don’t you can’t watch baseball? I think that’s a pretty good analogy to the situation. You can enjoy the Red Sox for your whole life if you want anyway. Wakefield can pitch for the Red Sox his whole life, too. He didn’t need to gamble that he’d always want to.

    AndrewYF August 22, 2007, 3:44 pm
  • Is it dumb to limit your options when you don’t have to? Can you not just renew the decision you made every year when the time comes up instead of revoking your right to do so for eternity?
    Maybe he is a guy who liked making the point that he is a RS forever and liked that it would endear him to fans even more, and that he doesn’t want the stress of any uncertainty in his life – even the uncertainty of his own mind changing.
    Sound dumb? If I am dating a woman, and she is fine with me fooling around, but I want a monogomous commitment and like what making that commitment says to our families, friends, and the world, so I ask her to marry me and intend to stay true to my marriage vows, is that dumb, or is that knowing what you want in life?
    Wake may learn that businesses can change much more than individuals (including wives!) – they can change owners for one thing and, when they do, can be heartless and greedy, even toward those who have been loyal and giving to them in the past. If this happens to Wake, he may regret the deal he made. But if it doesn’t, he may take special pride in the uniqueness of the deal he made wiith the RS and may know that it will endear him to RS fans forever.
    They may even forget that he gave up the winning home run in the 7th game of the 2003 ALCS. Come to think of it, maybe that’s what he was buying all along…
    I wouldn’t have singed his deal, but I don’t know that he is dumb for it frankly.

    IronHorse-YF August 22, 2007, 3:44 pm
  • Paul –
    By younger pitchers, you mean Maddux and Moose making 10 million/year?
    And all those quotes are two years old. Maybe Wake signs a three-year 20 million contract with a NL team and puts up above average numbers. Now he goes back on the market as a more reliable starter than Randy Johnson, Maddux, Moose, etc.
    Suffice it to say, this off-season he’d get $10 million/year and with option where HE decides. Instead, if he wants to pitch next year he gets $4 million.
    Like Andrew said much better than I, he gave up everything for nothing. He could have just as easily signed a series of one-year deals. Or if the club was generous with him, (seeing as he gave them a significant hometown discount), they could have given him a player option every year at the same price.

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 3:45 pm
  • that Jim Dean dude died apparently… and i was less directing incedniary comments at Woosta than advising others to engage him.

    Ric August 22, 2007, 3:49 pm
  • NOT to.

    Ric August 22, 2007, 3:51 pm
  • IronHorse, I agree with what you and Andrew say. Wakefield didn’t need to do it. But he did. And he’s happy. And I have a hard time saying doing something that makes you happy — and makes you millions, to boot! — is “dumb,” as long as it doesn’t get you arrested.
    Some might say getting married — in which you give up your ability to, as you say, “fool around” in favor of lifelong commitment with someone who will get old and wrinkly is equally dumb. Of course there are other benefits. It’s just a matter of how superficially you consider your options.

    Paul SF August 22, 2007, 3:52 pm
  • Oh, I get it, Paul. You can feel free to use “subjective, derrogatory terms”. But any time someone does the same, it’s too much to handle?
    Maybe it’s time for another week of bailing?
    By the way: who’s Jim Dean?

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 3:54 pm
  • Yeah, he did, Ric. Which is sad. He had a lot of great insights on Bronx Banter, and when he first came here, too.

    Paul SF August 22, 2007, 3:57 pm
  • Andrew, I think your concept of leverage is too narrowly defined as “playing one team off of another,” er something. Wake certainly has other forms of leverage available to him, if he chooses to use them. He can walk into Theo’s office and say “give me a raise or I’m retiring.” Retirement is a HUGE leveraging factor. If he is truly making only 40% of market value, as the winner claims, then the Sox wouldn’t hesitate giving him a raise. Or he could leverage his stellar (and deservedly so) reputation with the fans, and publicly ask for a raise. The Sox would look like total pricks to deny the consumate team player a raise, and given their obsession with image, they wouldn’t risk the PR backlash.
    Wake has plenty of leverage, if he chooses to use it.

    Tyrel SF August 22, 2007, 4:01 pm
  • How do you guys ever find time to work?

    mp August 22, 2007, 4:01 pm
  • Let’s see, Paul – 12:33pm:
    “two highly faulty preimises”
    “This is simply a rodiculous notion.”
    Nah, those are good objective statements! Maybe you want to look up “objective”? (And spell-check in Firefox is your friend – red squigglies and right-click to fix).
    “The Sox, by all accounts, are equally loyal to him, and the fans doubly so.”
    At least you’ve you’ve changed your mind on that point.

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 4:04 pm
  • Alas, no grammar checker in Firefox.

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 4:06 pm
  • Can we all just move on already. Does anyone really give this much of a shit about Tim Wakefield’s contract? Seriously?
    Cool it.

    YF August 22, 2007, 4:09 pm
  • Woosta: just so you understand. That’s uncalled for. We all know your position now.
    Time out for everyone.

    YF August 22, 2007, 4:12 pm
  • What’s uncalled for? Paul calls me out for “subjective, derrogatory terms” and I point out how he’s done exactly the same, but you feel the need to police me?
    Weird place here.

    Woosta YF August 22, 2007, 4:21 pm
  • What?
    Jim Dean passed away?

    Tyrel SF August 22, 2007, 4:40 pm
  • Yes, Tyrel. It’s on Bronx Banter somewhere. Happened last week, I believe.

    Paul SF August 22, 2007, 5:47 pm
  • >>>Moose is effectively a fifth starter,<<< Wow. I wonder what Yankee fans would have thought in April if they heard that statement.

    Hudson August 22, 2007, 6:16 pm
  • >>>Why didn’t they just pick up Moose’s one year option instead of extending him, <<< Because it only was $6 million more for the second year (if the above-posted figures are correct)?

    Hudson August 22, 2007, 6:23 pm
  • With regard to “They may even forget that he gave up the winning home run in the 7th game of the 2003 ALCS.”
    Please. What they remember is that they wouldn’t have been in the 7th game if Wakefield hadn’t already won Game 1 and Game 4. No one in Boston blamed Wake for Game 7. No one.

    Robin August 22, 2007, 6:51 pm
  • Relax Robin – it was a minor dig at Sox fans. I couldn’t side with so many of them/you in this discussion without getting at least one small shot in.

    IronHorse (yf) August 22, 2007, 7:36 pm
  • That’s too bad about Jim. It wasn’t that long ago that he trolled under my name. Crazy.

    Tyrel SF August 22, 2007, 7:43 pm
  • No worries. Consider deep breaths taken.

    Robin August 22, 2007, 7:44 pm

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