Clearly, it was a bad weekend to go out of town.

November 11th, 2006 → 4:58 pm @ // 11 Comments

As expected, plenty of folks — including Buster Olney, the man who broke the story — are doing a bit of backpedaling on the whole “the Sox won the bidding rights to Matsuzaka” story. Yesterday, Olney said the Sox had won the right to bid for the Japanese phenom. (Today’s version of the story — which had been edited this morning at 11:44 — read that the Sox “may” have won the bidding; that’s not my recollection of how the piece read yesterday, but I stupidly didn’t save it.)

Today, Olney is making the whole thing sound as imprecise as exit polls (which, *cough cough* is a quip I made yesterday). “Nothing has been confirmed,” Olney writes. “No announcement has been made,” which, at the very least, is a far cry from the “according to Major League Baseball sources” we were hearing about yesterday.

Indeed. It wouldn’t be much fun to discuss if it wasn’t true (for Olney or anyone else); unfortunately (for me), some people who’ve made comments on my last post and Olney himself have already delved into some of the aspects of this supposed bid I wanted to make. The most relevant ones:

* The $40 mil the Sox may or may not have bid is a one-time cost; it’s not added payroll, which would result in: a) raising the Sox’s payroll to a new high, and with this fan base (and this media coverage) it’s hard to ever reduce payroll, b) putting the Sox well above the luxury tax threshold, which would mean every dollar they shelled out would cost much more than that at the end of the day.

* The notion that this is a worthwhile investment solely because of the prospect of increased revenues from the Far East is a load of crap: every dollar the Sox earn is only worth about 50 cents; the other 50 cents goes into the revenue sharing pot, which essentially means the Sox are paying teams like the Orioles and the Blue Jays to continue to run their clubs in a determinedly bone-headed way…the better to bleed the Sox and the Yankees. (Revenue sharing — and baseball economics in general — is a weird and confusing thing. There’s a bunch about it sprinkled in between shocking behind the scenes revelations and hilarious anecdotes in the book. Which, by the way, makes a great gift, and signed copies are available here.)

Without getting into all the ins and outs of Olney’s piece, he comes down on the Sox front office pretty hard, criticizing them for both not paying for players like Johnny Damon (or for trading players like Bronson Arroyo) while (maybe) dedicating a boatload of money to Matsuzaka. He also raises the possibility that the Sox are working without a plan. There are a lot of good possibilities; that’s not one of them…

***

In other news, Tony Massarotti has this take on Foulke’s departure. I need to confess, I’m a bit confused by Foulke’s not taking the $5 mil-plus he would have gotten by exercising his player option, because he ain’t getting anything like that kind of money from anyone else. One thing I disagree with in Tony’s column is this: “Now Foulke is gone and here is the truly amazing thing: No one is shedding a tear.” Fine: I’m not crying. But I think Foulke — along with David Ortiz — is the single most important reason why the Red Sox won the ’04 World Series. Without Papi’s superhuman heroics, he would have been a shoo-in for ALCS MVP; as it was, he sure as hell should have beat Manny for the WS award.

And finally, Sheffield is off to the Tigers in exchange for three pitchers. This whole thing was shrewdly done by the Yankees, and the fact that they’re re-stocking their minor league system — and really without losing anything in this case — has to be upsetting for the folks on Yawkey Way.


Post Categories: 2006 Hot Stove Season & Buster Olney & Daisuke Matsuzaka & Gary Sheffield & Keith Foulke & Red Sox front office

11 Comments → “Clearly, it was a bad weekend to go out of town.”


  1. dbvader

    8 years ago

    Seth,
    Where do you get the 50% figure? At least by the last CBA, teams pay 34% of net local revenue. Also, whatever the figure is, it should be compared to what other teams would receive. If the Sox receive 50%, the other 29 teams receive less than 2%.

    At the end of the day, it’s closer to something between 40 and 50 percent: there’s the 34 percent MLB takes, whatever goes to federal, state, and local taxes, and the unequal ways in which Selig doles out the commissioner’s ‘discretionary’ fund, which goes disproportionately to the small revenue teams. What’s more, the other 29 teams don’t split the rest of the money; if I’m remembering this correctly – and I’m writing this on a Trea from a wedding – all the revenue taken from the upper revenue teams is pooled together and that’s then divided by 30, so essentially half of all teams are revenue sharing givers and half are revenue sharing takers. The Orioles, Blue Jays, Phillies, and other big market teams that haven’t figured out how to make money all get money…and they get more money the more other teams in the top half make.
    Anyway, yes, I oversimplified; there are more complete (and much more compliacted) explanations elsewhere. For a more complete take on the Sox’s take on it, it’s in my book; there are other more general takes out there, too. (I hope I got all that right, and it was all clear.)
    - Seth

    Reply

  2. umass_amherst

    8 years ago

    first, an excerpt from an earlier user post with a response form Seth:

    The thought of Foulke being on the Red Sox payroll to the tune of $5.25 million ($3.75 player option + $1.5, which he gets either way) doesnt appeal to me. Seriously, thank you for 2004, Foulke. Youll forever be a legend. But its time to go. (user post)

    Actually, if he exercises the player option, he doesnt get the other $1.5 – that only kicks in if hes not on the team at all.
    - Seth

    then, Seth yesterday:

    Im a bit confused by Foulkes not taking the $5 mil-plus he would have gotten by exercising his player option.

    for someone who kills the media about accuracy…

    Speaking of reading comprehension, you need to work on yours – check out the comment/mea culpa I already mean in a previous comment…
    - Seth

    Reply

  3. Jack

    8 years ago

    Seth,

    A couple of points:

    1) The posting fee does not accrue to the luxury tax threshhold.

    Right – that’s what I wrote.

    2) The Japanese revenue will largely go through NESN which is not subject to revenue sharing.

    Whatever broadcast fees are paid to the Sox are subject to r.s. If it goes through NESN, that will still be figured into the equation by the r.s. committee.

    3) With regard to Foulke’s departure it was an either/or situation: He either got $3.75MM to stay or they paid him $1.5MM to leave. He didn’t get both the $3.75 and the $1.5. I’m sure that Foulke thinks he can get more then $3.75 and I bet he will.
    According to press accounts, this isn’t correct – check out comments in the previous post about Foulke.
    - Seth

    Reply

  4. redsoxtimes

    8 years ago

    Seth…As best I can recall, Buster has stated the word “may” and that there was a fair amount of speculation in all his columns. I have many of the quoted on the Red Sox Times over the past few days.

    But I do agree with your later point…that Buster is being a little unfair towards the Sox consistency with their money and how they would spend it. I think this is a very calculated exercise they are going through with Matsuzaka with mitigated risk and high upside.

    for more…http://www.redsoxtimes.com/?p=352

    Reply

  5. Jack

    8 years ago

    Seth,

    Ah, I see now. A bit confusing the way you wrote that. Took me 3 re-reads… and I was an English major. (not that you could tell by those last three sentences of mine)

    Thanks for setting me straight on the Foulke dollars. No way I would want to sheel out $5MM+ for him. Tavarez is already too expensive.

    Reply

  6. umass_amherst

    8 years ago

    Seth,
    My bad…that’s probably what I get for trying to make sense of MLB contracts at 4am after a night out. You do a good job, I shouldn’t be trying so hard to catch you slipping up. I studied your work in a “documentary traditions in literature” class last year at UMass. Keep it up.

    Reply

  7. benschon

    8 years ago

    So why the heck didn’t Keith Foulke take the money? He’s leaving $3.75 million on the table, right? When I heard the contract details, I thought to myself that was an incredibly savvy move by Foulke’s agent and an incredibly stupid move by the team. Then, to my surprise, he didn’t pick it up.

    What would any sane GM pay Foulke right now? He is a crabby, 34 year old junk-baller with chronic knee, elbow, and back problems that haven’t been shown to be healed. He also telegraphed the Diamondbacks GM that he’ll take a hometown discount. He’ll get a one-year $.5 million deal. Maybe.

    I may have new respect for him if he’s willing to give up $3-million of his money to get out of a job he clearly hates. The other $21 million he got from the Sox will keep him warm at night.

    Reply

  8. Nordberg

    8 years ago

    I’ll take the sentimental approach.
    I’m sorry to see Foulke go on these terms.
    He should have been the WS MVP in ’04. He was just incredible. And then he had his assortment of ailments the last two years, was treated poorly by the fans at the beginning of 05, and had some family issues. And of course he made the unfortunate Johnny from Burger King comment.
    I thought the fans forgot about him pretty fast. He deserved a bit more of a pass from the fans than he got.
    He’s off to, probably, Arizona, with a bad taste in his mouth about Boston. His departure is for the best, but he deserved better.

    Reply

  9. dbvader

    8 years ago

    Seth,
    I should have realized this fact immediately. There is no tax on the first $51.1 M revenue. The revenue up to $51 M is set off.

    Reply
  10. [...] This is a point I’ve made before, but for some reason, people just don’t seem to get it. (Here’s what I wrote back on November 11: “The notion that this is a worthwhile investment solely because of the prospect of increased revenues from the Far East is a load of crap: every dollar the Sox earn is only worth about 50 cents; the other 50 cents goes into the revenue sharing pot, which essentially means the Sox are paying teams like the Orioles and the Blue Jays to continue to run their clubs in a determinedly bone-headed way…the better to bleed the Sox and the Yankees. Revenue sharing — and baseball economics in general — is a weird and confusing thing. There’s a bunch about it sprinkled in between shocking behind the scenes revelations and hilarious anecdotes in the book. Which, by the way, makes a great gift, and signed copies are available here.) [...]

    Reply
  11. [...] I tend to have inauspicious timing when it comes to taking time off: I was in North Carolina when the news broke that the Sox had won the Dice-K sweepstakes and I was getting married when Buchholz threw his no hitter. (Note: this does not mean that I will be on my honeymoon should the Sox make it to the World Series.) This deprived me of the chance to write many breathless posts about Buchholz’s composure, the fact that on a weekend in which Pedro returned to the mound for the first time in 11 months the most exciting baseball involving someone with “Pedro” in his name came from Dustin “DP” Pedroia, or how the past four-games have served as a good illustration of the Sox’s front office philosophy. [...]

    Reply

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