Monday, March 31, 2008

The quick and the dead...

There's a lot to be said about setting up a salary cap structure for Major League Baseball.

Even with one in football, there's a lot of dead money under the caps of a lot of teams. Sometimes it's because of players no longer on rosters, sometimes you can consider the money dead even with the player on the roster.

The San Francisco 49ers project to have $3.64 million in dead money under their cap next season.

Those are players no longer on their roster.

The Patriots will consistently put players on IR for the season, starting at the end of training camp. That's money that counts against their cap, not counted as dead, but it may as well be.

Then there are those players who just take up space on rosters. Usually they don't stick around
and the dead money hit on an NFL team is minimal.

Baseball is different.

In MLB there are players that just don't live up to their contract, sometimes receiving contracts they haven't earned. Other times demonstrating the requisite talent, however, fail to stay on the field due to injury issues or a lack of toughness.

JD Drew will come to the mind of Red Sox fans - a player who received a fat contract from the Sox who essentially were in a bidding war with themselves for his services.

While the owners need to be protected from themselves. Fans need to be protected from the owners. Teams like the Marlins should not be allowed to spend fewer dollars than they receive from their cut of the Yankees luxury tax.

Teams and fans of teams that aren't the Red Sox or Yankees whine about the spending of those teams, but the Orioles are carrying $11 million in dead money into this season over one player. Just before the season started, the team cut oft injured outfielder Jay Gibbons. While it's admirable that the team would cut its losses with a player that has a hard time staying on the field, it should be noted that they evidently feel they can eat an $11 million salary without a problem.

If that's the case, then why can't they spend in a way that keeps them in the neighborhood of their division rivals?

Honestly, other teams have proven it's not the spending itself, but how you spend.

That said - what about the ridiculousness that the Brewers engaged in during this off-season...

Gagne, baby Gagne...

After a season during which Eric Gagne, once the premier closer in the majors, blew a number of hold for the Red Sox down the stretch, the Milwaukee Brewers signed Gagne to a one-year $10 million contract. This signing happened before the Mitchell Report essentially said that his couple of years of domination came out of a syringe.

On opening day Gagne blew the save in a 3-0 game, getting smoked on a three run shot by a rookie. Gagne later got the win, but showed nothing to merit the Brewers' $10 million worth of faith in him.

If Gagne doesn't break, at the very least, the 20 save margin,or a combined 30 saves and holds, that's just more dead money on a major league roster.

The people that look at contracts like this and don't think it's time for a salary cap should go get professional help. Lord knows, if I'm a fan of a team like a Kansas City or a Milwaukee that decides to go out and make a big splash in free agency by signing someone like Gagne, and then hearing the party line that my team can't compete with the big-markets...well, I'm just gonna be really pissed.


David Sullivan said...

Milwaukee will either be geniuses or idiots. There is no inbetween. I vote for the latter.

Kevin Smith said...

For my money, at $10 mil they're either lucky or idiots. For $2 mil they could be geniuses or lucky.

I just have a hard time believing anyone would give Gagne that much money.

sugarshane024 said...

Why is it that JD Drew is the punchline for anything having to do with overpaid and underenthused athletes?

Kevin Smith said...

I don't have an issue with guys that don't wear their hearts on their sleeves as long as they play up to their contract. I wouldn't have had an issue with Drew if he played the whole season last year like he played in the playoffs. But let's face it, he didn't play up to his contract.

I'm hoping he proves Sox fans wrong this year, but considering the way he started the season on the bench, I'm not optimistic.