Yesterday afternoon, there were several reports related to a Tweet posted by Tony Dungy saying that what Josh McDaniels had done to the Colts and to the assistant coaches that the Colts had hired in anticipation of his being the head coach in Indy was “indefensible”. Tony Dungy can Tweet whatever he wants, but using his Tweet as a way to post a report leads me to a question:
- Who died and made Tony Dungy the arbiter of what is proper behavior?
I thought that was Miss Manners’ job.
There is an adage that a verbal agreement is not worth the paper it is written on. That seems eerily applicable to the McDaniels/Colts situation at hand. I do not read minds, so I have no idea what prompted McDaniels to jilt the Colts as he did but maybe he had this question in his mind and it was part of his “problem” that led to his “indefensible” action:
- For whom and with whom would I prefer to work? Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick or Jim Irsay and Chris Ballard?
- Take your time here…
Yesterday seemed to be a day for people to express their butthurt feelings. MLB agents and leaders of the MLBPA cannot fathom how “bad” the free agent market is this winter. A couple of players have talked about boycotting Spring Training; agents and union leaders mused about “collusion”; pitchers and catchers are set to report next week and some pretty good players – several represented by Scott Boras – remain unsigned. MLBPA head honcho, Tony Clark said that the GMs and teams are engaged in a “race to the bottom” and that they are calling into question the “integrity of the games”. Sounds pretty bad …
On a parallel track, there were reports yesterday that JD Martinez – represented by Scott Boras – is fed up with the Boston Red Sox and their intransigence. According to reports, Martinez has a 5-year, $125M contract offer from the Red Sox but he wants a 7-year, or 8-year deal and they will not budge off the 5-year mark. Another report said that Yu Darvish had at least one “nine-figure offer” from a team but that he and his agent were waiting to see if the Yankees or Dodgers would join the bidding.
Suddenly, I feel a little less sympathy for the unsigned players, their agents and the union honchos. There are indeed some pretty good players who are still unsigned, but I would not classify any of them as “great players”. Perhaps, teams and GMs have seen enough examples of what happens when players around 30 years old sign long-term contracts; often the final few years on those deals are not pretty.
- The Angels signed Albert Pujols to a 10-year contract worth $240M when Pujols was 31. It has 4 years left and will pay him $27M, $28M, $29M and $30M in those 4 years. Really?
- The Nats signed Jayson Werth to a 7-year contract worth $126M when he was 32 years old. In the final 3 years of that deal (it ended in 2017) Werth’s batting averages were .221, .244, .226. By the way, Jayson Werth is one of the many unsigned free agents out there …
The phrase “race to the bottom” is a favorite of union leaders in various industries. In manufacturing, it is used to imply that companies are sending jobs to places where wages are low and workers are not represented by unions. The usage of that phrase by the head of the MLBPA must mean something else because none of the GMs are seeking to send players elsewhere; the GMs are simply not willing to pay what players and agents think they are entitled to get paid. Last year on Opening Day, the Houston Astros payroll for its 25 players totaled $124.3M.
- That figure is close to what the Red Sox have offered to JD Martinez for 5 years of work.
- The Houston Astros of 2017 – averaging $6M per player on Opening Day – merely won the World Series. According to Tony Clark they also won the “race to the bottom”.
On the same day as the agents and unions were bleating about unsigned free agents, the San Francisco 49ers made a major financial commitment. They signed Jimmy Garoppolo to a 5-year deal worth $137.5M with $74M guaranteed and a total of $90M to go into his bank account in the first 3 years. The baseball agents would never consider a contract like this one because it is not fully guaranteed at signing. However, the duration and the total value of Garoppolo’s deal is similar to the putative offer from the Red Sox to Boras and Martinez. And here is why Garoppolo is worth more to the Niners than Martinez is ever going to be worth to the Red Sox:
- The Niners have been awful for several years. They have a new stadium and fans are not going to the games. That embarrasses the owners and – more importantly – it diminishes the revenue stream into their bank accounts.
- Jimmy G. gives the Niners hope and a measure of charisma. He will put fannies in the seats and thereby increase revenue while – presumably – also winning more games for the team.
- The Red Sox have played to home crowds of 95% capacity or higher for each of the past 10 seasons.
- JD Martinez – nor any other free agent out there – is going to alter the Red Sox revenue stream significantly. There are not a lot of empty seats for him to put fannies in.
Yesterday may have been a day to express butthurt in the sports world, but here in Curmudgeon Central, the crocodile tears are just not flowing…
Finally, speaking about bad contracts and things of that nature, consider this item from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. In some cases, it costs a lot to have people stop working for you:
“Fired Arkansas coach Bret Bielema will receive 37 monthly installments of $322,567.57 through Dec. 31, 2020 as called for his in buyout, the Hogs’ support foundation announced.
“Final score: Greenbacks $11,935,000, Razorbacks 0.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………