Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Seattle Done Lost Its Mind

According to the Seattle Times, the Mariners are set to sign Ichiro Suzuki for 20 million dollars over the next five years, signaling that after a few years of financial discipline and forward thinking, the financial baseball market has gone officially and completely insane. Keeping Ichiro around for the short-term should be a priority, but the long term ramifications of this deal make Alfonso Soriano’s mega-deal with the Cubs look like Frank Thomas’ year in Oakland by comparison. Seeing Garret Anderson, Bernie Williams, and Jeff Bagwell cripple around the bases in their twilight years hasn’t exactly inspired GM’s everywhere to give older guys big contracts, has it?

Despite a few inquiries to the contrary, Ichiro is a no-doubt Hall of Famer. 200 hits a season for 10 years would put him in the pantheon for the best pure hitters in the history of the game: Cobb, Gwynn, ####*, Aaron. But as much of a reputation as Ichiro has (and you basically have to have a rep to get away with using only one name) the guy isn’t the overall offensive weapon some folks make him out to be. He doesn’t get on base regularly, he doesn’t hit for power, really all he does is hit the ball well and generally keeps it in the park, and I’m under the impression that those kinds of guys don’t age too well.

Bagwell 2006: 0H, 0HR, 0RBI; $19,369,019 dollars.

Think about it, singles hitters rely so much on their speed—to stretch out a double from a hit that would ordinarily be a single, or beat out a bunt attempt or a chop over the mound outright. Without that speed, the 30 or so extra hits a year that turn into outs can take a pretty hefty toll on a batting average, and when you don’t hit for power or walk much to begin with… a team miiiight not want to give that guy big dollars until he’s nearly 40. Throw in what seems to me like a generally mediocre performance in centerfield this year, and this has Bernie Williams territory written all over it. This is not to say that Ichiro won’t be a productive player for the next few years, but for the next five? That gets a little iffy. Are the dollars that come in from Japan with Ichiro playing really enough to make up for a 20 million dollar below average player in 2011?

The real story out of all this is the coinciding bump free agents will get in salary once this deal’s done. With a slap-hitter like Ichiro making 20 million, what will this do to the rest of baseball salaries? 20 million for Torii Hunter? 25 Million for the atrocious Adam Dunn? 30 million for Carlos Zambrano? Don’t even get me started on what A-Rod will be worth. This all started when Omar Minaya gave 13 million to the rotator cuff formally known as Pedro Martinez, and with the contemptible Scott Boras having the ear of the commissioner, chances are it’ll only get worse.

Fans everywhere are getting screwed because of this deal, and not just because that little SOB Ichiro will be terrorizing the AL for the next half decade. The increase in player salaries across the board will mean that (a) Your favorite player will be leaving for bigger money than it takes to keep him and (b) When he signs that contact, he’ll be terrible by the end of it. You mean there’s a lose-lose situation in baseball that doesn’t involve watching the Home Run derby? Count me in! The baseball financial market’s officially done lost it’s mind. Time to ride the madness, watch the carnage, and just sit back and enjoy the crazy.

40 Million buys a lot of She-Males.

*Name redacted by order from Major League Baseball and its clubs.


Signal to Noise said...

Yes, Seattle done lost its mind, but it really would have gone off the rails if the Mariners management had allowed Ichiro to walk away. The team is somehow in second place in the AL West right now and has a history of letting its big names go. Something had to give -- either the owner's wallet or their fan base.

The Brooklyn Boy said...

I disagree with the Pedro Martinez/Omar Minaya reference - $13 mil was the going rate for an ace, and the Mets offered only one more year (4) than Boston was willing to. Not to mention that the impact of that signing was massive for the organization - it helped to sway Carlos Beltran, and show the Mets were a "name" destination. Though more recent, the Barry Zito contract was about 600 billion times worse.

SlickBomb said...


I never do any research on any of this, but if I'm not mistaken, Pedro had a good, but not terrific, 2004 season. His contract was the 1st big one that had people saying "huh?!!" during the 2005 offseason. Making a team a "destination" still drives up player salaries. Back then people were thinking it was outrageous for a #3 guy (a la Carl Pavano) to make 10m/yr.

The Brooklyn Boy said...

After checking his stat line, 2004 was a fair season, Pedro-wise - 16-9, 3.90 ERA, 227 K's and a 1.17 WHIP. But he was jumping AL to NL, which plays out in the stellar 2005 numbers. The only "huh?!!" I remember was regarding that extra (fourth) year. The $13 mil didn't drive up salaries - guys like Mike Hampton and Kevin Brown had already cleared that hurdle, getting 7-year deals to boot.

The reason people hated on the Pavano signing was because, at the time, he was under .500 for his career. But he was the biggest name on the market when he signed his deal, so it was inevitable, because guys like Darren Dreifert had hustled 5-year, $55 million deals.

You want a Mets deal that skewed the salary scale, check them making Bobby Bonilla the highest-paid-player in baseball in 1993. That fucked EVERYTHING.

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