Back to the future: The players association, the 2004 offseason, the scariest 3-4-5 combo ever

July 14th, 2007 → 2:09 pm @ // No Comments

Ah, yes, the wonders of 20-20 hindsight. Back in 2000, when A-Rod signed a 10-year, $250 million deal, Rangers owner Tom Hicks was widely derided as a total buffoon for offering that kind of money. He most certainly way; Hicks’ offer was about $100 million more than the next highest one. But with three years remaining on the deal, it looks like $25 million/year is going to be, in the through-the-looking glass world of MLB, a relative bargain. So much of a bargain, in fact, that A-Rod said yesterday that he was refusing the offer to negotiate a contract extension during the season, preferring to take an out-clause in his deal and become a free agent when this season ends.

Those with extra good memories — and close readers of Feeding the Monster, the NYT and Boston Globe bestseller (available now in paperback for only ten bucks — cheap!) will remember that it was exactly this type of out clause that Union Prez Gene Orza ridiculed as being worthless…and it was Orza’s stance (combined with Larry Lucchino’s volatility) that squashed the A-Rod to Boston deal.

I wrote about this same thing back before the season began; that post contained an excerpt from FTM that quoted from “The A-Rod Chronicles,” the book’s relevant chapter. I’ll reprint a paragragh of that here:

“The Red Sox and Rodriguez ended up working out a deal in which Rodriguez would cut approximately $4 million a year off the last seven years of his deal in return for some licensing rights and the ability to declare free agency at different points during the remaining years of his contract. When the two sides presented the deal to Orza, he was dumbfounded. No one had signed a contract for as much as $20 million in years, Orza said. The made the offer of free agency essentially worthless — there was no way Rodriguez would ever sign a more lucrative contract again. (emphasis added) Orza made a counter-proposal he said the union would be able to accept, in which the Red Sox would save a total of about $12 million instead of $28 million. The Red Sox initially rejected Orza’s figure…”

I’m on the record as calling the Players Association “full of crap,” “moronic,” and “power-hungry,” so I don’t think my feelings about Gene Orza and crew are all that opaque. But here is another instance where Orza et al were egregiously wrong; unfortunately, many of the players are so convinced everyone else is out to screw them it’s unlikely anything will ever change…at least for another couple of decades, when retired players start growing tumors out of their eyeballs and guys on the field wonder if the fight against effective drug testing was really worth it.

It’s also interesting that note that had Orza been a bit more prescient about the vagaries of the marketplace, the Sox would, in all likelihood, currently have A-Rod at short and Magglio Ordonez in left. Or, to put it another way, we’d have a guy with 14 HRs, 54 RBIs, and a .992 OPS batting third, a guy with 31 HRs, 87 RBIs, and a 1.083 OPS batting cleanup, and a guy with 13 HRs, 72 RBIs, and a 1.028 OPS hitting fifth. This is, of course, based on a whole mess of assumptions, including the re-signing of Magglio; lots else would have been different as well (Jon Lester, for example, wouldn’t be a member of the Red Sox organization; he was heading to Texas with Manny). But as much as I despise A-Rod — and I do despise A-Rod — that is an absolutely terrifying trio. (Suffice to say that, at least thus far this year, Papi would be the weak link.)


I haven’t been posted as much as usual…which means I haven’t been reminded everyone out there about my offer of free signed and personalized bookplates. They’re really nice, and will be the icing on the cake for all of those copies of FTM you buy as gifts for the loved ones and beachgoers in your life. Don’t delay! Act today!

Post Categories: A-Rod & Feeding the Monster Outtakes & Manny Ramirez & Players association & Yankees

7 Comments → “Back to the future: The players association, the 2004 offseason, the scariest 3-4-5 combo ever”


    16 years ago

    Yeah, but for a few twists of fate, A-Rod and Mags could be Red Sox today. But if those things had happened, we could also still be seeing ‘1918’ signs at Yankee Stadium. Only Superman can turn back time.

    As monstrous a season as A-Rod is having, he still hasn’t gotten the real gorillas off his back. Still doesn’t have a World Series ring and still has to prove he can swing the bat in crunch time like he’s swinging it now.


  2. branatical

    16 years ago

    Yeah, no point looking back past 2004. It was all meant to be.

    Papi and Mags aren’t that far apart numbers wise, except for RBI’s. Papi is having an “off” season while Ordonez is an early MVP candidate. I’ll put money on Papi finishing with more HR’s (which he now has), more RBI (I might lose the bet here) and a better OPS (Papi closed the gap this weekend 1010 vs Mags’ 1018).

    Don’t mean to compare the two but just wanted to point out that Papi really isn’t a weak link by any means. He is 4th in the league right now in OPS. He had a mammoth year last year, especially when you consider the clutch hitting and we have come to expect so much from the man. I think Papi is going to have a sick second half (thanks to a slight hand adjustment) and finish right where he should be, right where we expect him to be, because this is the guy that can live up to every expectation put on him.


  3. Mr. Furious

    16 years ago

    The real contrast should be between Mags and Manny as that’s whose spot he’d be taking. And this year, the gap is pretty wide.

    My reasons for being against the trade then were purely sentimental (for Manny and Nomar, against A-Rod), and at least as far as individual performances go, clearly wrong. But the Sox won the World Series, and I wouldn’y go back and change anything that might have jeopardized that…


  4. Adam White

    16 years ago

    On the NY Daily News site, Madden and Feinsand suggested that the Sox could free up some money for A-Rod by letter Schilling and Lowell go. Yes, numbers and numbers, and this is the Moneyball(tm) era, but please excuse me while I throw up a little bit.


  5. branatical

    16 years ago

    Manny just hit his 13th HR and overall his offensive numbers are down. He has been unlucky but this is maybe his worst start among many poor starts. It could be argued that Manny’s poor start is affecting David Ortiz offensively. Manny has one year left of his contract. His defense in most ballparks is sub par. This is normally something we overlook due to his offensive contributions but now with his offense not where it should be, it’s a whole other story.

    So what do the Sox do with Manny and if they do decide to finally let them go, who do they get to replace him in the order…A.Jones or A.Rod? There aren’t many players who are both available and capable of filling Manny’s big clown shoes.

    I hate ARod as much as I love Manny. ARod just blasted his 32nd HR, Manny had 35 last year after shutting down his season. It would be really hard to handle ARod in Boston, but Damon plays in New York. Last year’s offseason put the Nation next to the Empire in the Evil category, so this is a different era entirely. I’m not sure if I am willing to go out and say that ARod in Boston just makes sense, because it is an idea that makes me nauseous for a lot of reasons, but it kind of does make a lot of sense. ARod playing SS, Lugo at third, Coco in LF, Ellsbury in CF.

    Please Manny put all of this nonsense to rest.


  6. Adam White

    16 years ago

    Julio Lugo has played more games in the outfield than he has at third base. Why the Sox should move him to third base and not resign Lowell is beyond me.


  7. rln2433

    16 years ago

    The Sox should be looking at trading Lowell, moving Youk to third and getting a 1B with some bop in his bat. Lowell simply gives up too many outs with his bad swings at pitches he simply cannot handle. His OBP today (7/20) is up to .354 but 2 extra base hits in his last 10 games continues a trend of him fading in the second half. Youk is playing a power hitter’s position and hitting in a power hitter’s slot in the line up. Watching him trying to protect Manny is painful to the nth degree.

    There are no big bats on the horizon (farm system) and it is fair to say that Theo and company have failed to take this team to a better place. They won with a core of players from the last regime that were supplemented by parts and key signings. They have had 7 drafts of which 2-3 should have produced some every day players for the major league roster. Pedroia is a good guy but no superstar. Bullpen arm are important but you have to develop guys on the field as well.


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