Friday, December 17, 2004

Randy Johnson Trade Held Up By DC City Council Vote 

Washington, DC -- In a surprising development, the Washington, DC City Council Thursday night voted to add a controversial measure to a proposed three-way deal between the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Arizona Diamondbacks involving Randy Johnson. The measure, which passed by a 10-3 vote, requires the New York Yankees to give Alex Rodriguez plus approximately $130 million dollars to the Diamondbacks.

"I am not trying to kill the deal," said council chair Linda W. Cropp, who introduced the private financing measure. "I'm putting some teeth in it because I'm really disappointed with what Arizona got from the Yankees and Dodgers. C'mon, we have no idea how healthy Brad Penny or Shawn Green will be next year. And let's not forget that this isn't a greal deal for the Dodgers, either."

A separate amendment to require the Diamondbacks to establish the Will Carroll Memorial Labrum Institute with separate Glaus, Sexson, and Green wings with some of the $130 million failed by voice vote.

When asked after the meeting if the Council would intervene to add requirements to the 4-year, $33 million contract with pitcher Russ Ortiz, Cropp responded, "No, y'all are on your own with that one."

The Yankees had no representative at the meeting and were not available for immediate comment. But one DC Council member said he did not think the Yankees would approve of the change.

"We'll have to see how the Yankees react," said Councilman Jack Evans, a Yankees proponent. But he said he expects the council will have to change the legislation to keep the deal alive. "We'll have until the end of the year to change this," Evans said.

This morning, Major League Baseball President and Chief Operating Officer Bob DuPuy said, "The legislation approved by the District of Columbia City Council last night does not reflect the deal the Yankees, Dodgers, and Diamondbacks signed and relied upon after being invited by Randy Johnson to consider the Yankees as his home for the next three years. The legislation is inconsistent with our carefully negotiated agreement and is wholly unacceptable to Major League Baseball. Look, it's every Yankees' fan God-given right to have the best pitcher in baseball on their team, and this puts that right in jeopardy."

The vote is being viewed as a rebuke to the Yankees' continued financial dominance of baseball, one year after signing Alex Rodriguez and while they continue to pursue All-Star centerfielder Carlos Beltran. Politically beleaguered New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's only response to the vote was, "Cropp's not planning on moving to Brooklyn, is she?"

It was not clear if the Council would take any further action on the Johnson trade. Reports out of San Francisco suggested, however, that some Giants fans were petitioning the Council to add a similar amendment to the Giants' free agent signing of catcher Mike Matheny to a 3-year $10.5 million contract.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Random Thoughts 

Counsell finally signs, 2 years, $3.1 million. The value of the signing (besides engendering the "good will" that comes from signing the ever-nebulous "fan favorite") will come from what the D-Backs end up deciding about Cintron's, Hillenbrand's, and Hairston's future with the organization.

Sexson gets $50 million for 4 years. Leone for Third tries to remain optimistic. Check out the first year's contract amount, though -- $4.5 million. Seattle appears to be even more aggressive than the D-Backs (let alone the Giants) in trying to compete immediately in 2005. For all those people who thought the Glaus signing was nuts, I gotta believe they're no less apopleptic about this signing. (He's older, with less upside, playing a less-skilled position that he may have to abandon to pay left field.) In any case, best of luck to Richie, who seemed (in his brief D-Back tenure) to be a nice guy and teammate.

I have no opinion on the Giants' signing of catcher Mike Matheny other than what somebody else, namely Dan from Baseball Primer , tells me to have. Having said that, my opinion is now very funny.

MVN's D-Backs website, Out in the Desert, has a new author. Here's Joseph Jackson's first attempt to fill Levski's bloggy shoes. Welcome aboard!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Diamondbacks 2005 Payroll 

With all the talk on yesterday's entry on the D-Backs' payroll, I thought I would publicly list what I'm assuming. These are my best guesses based on what I've read; like Ryan, I've assumed that minor leaguers will make $50K and major leaguers without a specific contract are making $350K. This will overstate the payroll by maybe $2 million since some (5-7) of the $350K guys won't be on the 25-man roster come April. I'm including Randy's $6 M in deferred salaries, though who knows if the D-Backs are when they talk about "payroll" -- in any case, doing so means we're making the roster as expensive as it can be described (I'd rather be pleasantly than unpleasantly surprised).

I'd like your comments -- consider this an "open source" payroll effort that I'll modify if I've messed up. And thanks to Dugout Dollars, without whose D-Backs page this couldn't have been done (though I've felt free to modify… like by giving every major leaguer a flat $350,000, since we're talking about 2005 anyway).

The first thing you notice when looking at Arizona's 40-man roster is that they've listed 41 players. Now, I think because Ortiz and Counsell haven't technically signed, I think they're in the clear. (They may be waiting until they non-tender or trade Hillenbrand before taking further action.)

Grand Total? $55,965,000. Remember, that includes $6 M of deferred salary for Randy, $2.75 M for Shea, and $2 M or so in salaries staff won't get when they're not on the 25-man roster. But it's still somewhat higher than I expected… but maybe that's because I thought their payroll was $73 M, but I've seen reported as high as $77 M.

(Pulled directly off the website; the first number is their jersey number.)
Pitchers (Total = $28,665,000)
41 Greg Aquino R/R 6-1 190 01/11/78 -- 350,000
30 Brian Bruney R/R 6-3 225 02/17/82 -- 350,000
-- Jason Bulger R/R 6-4 215 12/06/78 -- 50,000
33 Randy Choate L/L 6-2 195 09/05/75 -- 350,000
32 Lance Cormier R/R 6-1 190 08/19/80 -- 350,000
54 Casey Daigle R/R 6-5 215 04/04/81 -- 350,000
16 Casey Fossum L/L 6-1 160 01/06/78 -- 350,000
49 Edgar Gonzalez R/R 6-0 215 02/23/83 -- 350,000
-- Enrique Gonzalez R/R 5-10 195 08/06/82 -- 50,000
44 Mike Gosling L/L 6-2 210 09/23/80 -- 350,000
51 Randy Johnson R/L 6-10 230 09/10/63 -- 16,500,000
22 Mike Koplove R/R 5-10 180 08/30/76 -- 350,000
38 Brandon Lyon R/R 6-1 180 08/10/79 -- 350,000
57 Brandon Medders R/R 6-2 195 01/24/80 -- 50,000
-- Bill Murphy L/L 6-0 190 05/09/81 -- 50,000
-- Dustin Nippert R/R 6-7 200 05/06/81 -- 50,000
48 Russ Ortiz R/R 6-1 210 06/05/74 -- 6,500,000
-- Ramon Pena R/R 6-2 190 01/09/82 -- 50,000
34 Stephen Randolph L/L 6-3 200 05/01/74 -- 350,000
58 Phil Stockman R/R 6-6 200 01/25/80 -- 50,000
47 Jose Valverde R/R 6-4 255 07/24/79 -- 350,000
56 Oscar Villarreal L/R 6-0 205 11/22/81 -- 350,000
55 Brandon Webb R/R 6-2 230 05/09/79 -- 715,000
-- Justin Wechsler R/R 6-2 240 04/06/80 -- 50,000
Catchers (Total = $1,050,000)
7 Robby Hammock R/R 5-10 185 05/13/77 -- 350,000
15 Koyie Hill S/R 6-0 190 03/09/79 -- 350,000
19 Chris Snyder R/R 6-3 220 02/12/81 -- 350,000
Infielders (Total = $15,450,000)
10 Alex Cintron S/R 6-2 200 12/17/78 -- 350,000
-- Royce Clayton R/R 6-0 185 01/02/70 -- 1,350,000
-- Craig Counsell L/R 6-0 185 08/21/70 -- 1,350,000
2 Jerry Gil R/R 6-3 185 10/14/82 -- 350,000
25 Troy Glaus R/R 6-5 240 08/03/76 -- 8,250,000
5 Scott Hairston R/R 6-0 190 05/25/80 -- 350,000
28 Shea Hillenbrand R/R 6-1 210 07/27/75 -- 2,750,000 (* 2004 salary)
8 Matt Kata S/R 6-1 185 03/14/78 -- 350,000
18 Chad Tracy L/R 6-2 200 05/22/80 -- 350,000
Outfielders (Total = $10,800,000)
-- Reggie Abercrombie R/R 6-3 210 07/15/80 -- 50,000
20 Luis Gonzalez L/R 6-2 200 09/03/67 -- 10,000,000
43 Josh Kroeger L/L 6-2 200 08/31/82 -- 350,000
27 Luis Terrero R/R 6-2 205 05/18/80 -- 350,000
-- Marland Williams R/R 5-9 175 06/22/81 -- 50,000

Again, any thoughts?

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Poor, Poor Diamondbacks 

I decided to outsource my blog entry today to the Arizona Republic. OK, not really, but Craig Harris' article this morning outlines what I'd have said anyway. Now, I'm probably beginning to get a reputation as the unhinged "D-Back Financials" guy, but I'm still frustrated at people not understanding the D-Backs' basic finances. Take this article purloined from the New York Daily News stating that they had no idea where the $250+ million in reinvestments came from.

The reinvestment (or at least $160 million of it)? Try this article from nearly 3 years ago.

Ask any reader of D-Back blogs, and they could've told you that there were a whole bunch of contracts coming off the books this year. But it's as if everyone else, both locally and nationally, are surprised.

Look, I have no idea if the D-Backs are truly losing money now (Kendrick says they will in 2005), thanks to the tangled web of MLB finances which make me wary of believing anything anybody associated with a team says regarding its finances. You could argue that it would be better for the D-Backs to scale back this year in hopes of competing in 2006 and onward. (And, if you have a chip on your shoulder, you could argue that the whining is self-serving rumor by GMs ticked off that the D-Backs took a good hitter and decent pitcher off the market at premium prices.) But it was crystal clear at the end of the season that the D-Backs could -- if they wanted to -- make a splash in the free agent market. Makes you wonder why there wasn't more attention paid to this beforehand...

Monday, December 13, 2004

D-Backs Sign Clayton 

One year, $1.3 million.

Looking at their 2004 Win Shares, Clayton was marginally better than Cintron, maybe 2-3 Win Shares, or one win. The negative view is that both Cintron and Clayton age a year, with some marginal improvement on Alex's part and decline on Clayton's part, meaning we're now paying $1.3 million for $300K of production. The positive view is that Cintron gets his act in gear since he'll be fighting for playing time with Clayton, Counsell, and Kata.

Of course, who knows what else management has up their sleeves.


Homer: I'll buy her that pony she's always bugging me for.
Marge: We can't afford to buy a pony.
Homer: Marge, with today's gasoline prices, we can't afford not to buy a pony.
-- from "Lisa's Pony," Simpsons, Season 3

So Richie Sexson may or may not have a contract with the Seattle Mariners. For anywhere from 3 to 5 years, $10 million a year or more. For a sample view of the reaction, check out Jeff's thoughts at Leone For Third. (Hint: when people hope the prospective big free agent signing fails the physical, it's not going over well with the fan base.)

By the way, Jeff's graphs here are a nice overview of the free agent signings as of last week. "What seems to be taking place is that, in the absence of many bargain free agents, the market for midlevel players has ballooned."

So, to take Homer's logic, with today's pony prices (bargain free agents), we can't afford not to buy gasoline (midlevel players). Teams that want to engage in a game of high stakes poker with Scott Boras and other teams for a chance at superstar-like players such as Beltran may get a relative bargain somewhere down the line, but most of the teams seem willing to fold their hands, take their losses (and one-time All-Stars and #2 pitchers), and move on.

By the way, thanks to Studes' article on fair market value, as it's a good article, plus it has a link to an article on the D-Backs' "sudden" financial resurgence. It has bugged me to no end to listen to national media and bloggers (and even some local media) express shock that the D-Backs can suddenly afford $78 million in contracts. (Note: As of this morning, the Ortiz contract still wasn't confirmed; perhaps waiting to see what happened in the very short Rule 5 Draft in case they needed a spot on the 40-man roster.) It's as if people are suddenly discovering… hey, wait, they had new investors! Hey, wait, you mean they're losing $35+ million of contracts after the 2004 season?!! They may not be investing that money wisely, but nobody should be confused about where the money's coming from.

Finally, MLB.com is reporting that Royce Clayton's potential contract would be a one-year deal. That's a glimmer of hope. (One year alone, perhaps that spurs Cintron to work harder; as he seemed to play harder last year when his job was in jeopardy.) If Counsell is signed, that would leave a potential infield of:
1B: Hillenbrand
2B: Counsell
SS: Clayton
3B: Glaus
With Kata, Cintron, Hammock, and Tracy coming off the bench. It sure seems like Hillenbrand's days with the organization are numbered.