Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Wednesday Notes

I hope everybody had a great X-mas/Hanukkah/winter solstice/whatever. Being at work this week is kind of nice since almost everybody in management is on vacation. I can slouch, wear sandals, and not have to worry about a suit walking through the door with a disapproving look on his/her face. The 9 inches of snow we got last week is starting to melt. All is right with the world. Oh, except for the fact that my wife is at home with a fever and stomach bug.

Things aren't going nearly as well for Cincinnati Reds fans. Their favorite team just gave a mediocre pitcher a star's salary. 3 years, $25.5 million is one of the worst decisions I can remember. That comes out to $8.6M per season. Milton's best season was during the Clinton administration, and it was good, but not THAT good. Last season, he had an ERA that was higher than the average National League pitcher. And they're going to pay him more than twice what the average Major League player makes. This contract is an instant albatross. Between this and the Russ Ortiz deal, I'm convinced that the owners have gone completely insane. Remember these idiotic contracts the next time they ask for the players to agree to a salary cap. Any team that is idiotic enough to hand out a contract like this doesn't deserve to turn a profit and wouldn't put a winning team on the field, even with a salary cap. Hell, I'm not sure some of these teams would even be able to figure out a structure as complex as an NFL style cap.

Billy Beane just keeps looking better as these ridiculous contracts are sure to put the market value of pitchers like Hudson and Mulder up well into the 8 figure range. Fielding a primarily pre-arbitration rotation (say that 10 times as fast as you can) makes a lot of financial sense. You can quibble with the return he got in those trades, but I've always liked Daric Barton, Juan Cruz, and Dan Haren. And Dan Meyer looks like a very good prospect, one which I plan on reviewing soon.

As always, any suggestions for prospect reviews are welcome. Post them in the comments section.

One last note. My previous pieces analyzing what 2005 draft picks have changed hands due to free agent compensation were in error. According to Baseball America's Jim Callis, picks in the sandwich rounds are given out in relation to the raw draft order rather than the Elias rankings. He's updating the compensation list pretty regularly, so I will defer to him on this matter.

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