Monday, December 6, 2010

7 comments Weekend Roundup

This was a pretty busy sports weekend. A lot of stuff happened in baseball, college football, and in the NFL as well. I figured I would cover some of the important things that have happened this past weekend, since it was so busy. I'm a little surprised at how much money free agents are getting from MLB teams and of course no NFL weekend would be complete without some Brett Favre drama.

1. Let's start first with an absolutely terrible signing. Jayson Werth to the Nationals. It's not terrible because Werth doesn't have talent, not at all. It's terrible because the Nationals gave a 31 year old outfielder a $126 million contract when they could have done so much more with that money. I understand after losing Dunn they wanted to make a splash but that's no reason to spend a ton of money on Jayson Werth. He's not a top player in baseball, he isn't a guy you build your team around, and he just got paid like he was. I believe the Nationals could have competed better and quicker by splitting this money up among 2-3 players.

What annoys me the most is the Nationals could have signed Adam Dunn for $60 million and then spent $66 million on two other good players for their team. How about some pitching? Maybe another hitter or so? Why spend $126 million on Jayson Werth? I don't doubt Werth may perform well, that's not my issue. My issue is he isn't worth that long of a contract nor that much money in the long-term. Free agent deals like this are how bad teams stay bad.

I think the silliest justification in the article I linked was this:

If it proves the first in a series of deals that attempt to leverage a natural, if as yet unexploited, financial advantage into a roster worthy of the talents of Harper, Strasburg and the great Ryan Zimmerman, it could look reasonably savvy. The Detroit Tigers looked quite silly when they signed Magglio Ordonez, another vaguely similar player, ahead of the 2005 season. By the end of 2006, there was a pennant flying over Comerica Park.

The Nationals are improving, but I think that's a bit optimistic. Also, the writer fails to mention Ordonez didn't exactly live up to the deal he signed. Ordonez had a few great years in Detroit, but using him as an example of how deals for 31 year old outfielders can work out because the Tigers won the pennant in 2006 is fairly wrong. If anything, it should serve as a reminder that the Nationals may not get a full 7 years of production out of Werth.

2. I am sure you saw the national emergency alert go from red to orange on Saturday, which can only mean one thing...Derek Jeter re-signed with the Yankees. We knew it would happen. There was very little doubt. They paid him based on the production he has given the Yankees in the past of course. Why would they give him a contract based on his future production? That would be silly to do.

It is sui generis, disconnected completely from market forces. Miguel Tejada, who was a bit worse than Jeter this year at the same age, was guaranteed about 15 percent of what Jeter got. Orlando Cabrera, a year younger and about as effective as Tejada last year, might not get that.

I am not sure Jeter isn't going to have a bounce-back year of some sort, but this statistic details very well just how much the Yankees were paying Jeter for what he has done for them in the past. The ridiculous part is idiots like Mike Lupica thought he should have gotten paid more. I'm all for the Yankees re-signing Jeter, but I don't think there is any way he lives up to this contract on the field.

Heck, it's not that much less than what Troy Tulowitzki, one of the best players in baseball, is guaranteed at the peak of his six-year extension.

That says a lot to me. The Yankees HAD to re-sign Jeter. They have no logical backup option and Jeter really wasn't going anywhere else. In fact, Jeter has built up so much goodwill in New York even if he starts to struggle I don't know if the contract will ever become an issue.

Imagine if Jeter is on an offensive decline. Despite all arguing to the contrary, he isn't a great defensive shortstop and he WILL NOT change positions. So if his offense starts to decline, the Yankees are going to be paying a shitload of money for him and getting very little return on that money...of course I know Mike Lupica will find a way to blame A-Rod for this.

The upside is possibly Jeter wasn't on a decline, in which case he may be worth the contract or close to it. I don't see a way for Jeter to outperform the contract he signed, which is usually a cause for concern, but the Yankees had no choice but to re-sign him.

3. It looks like the Red Sox have gotten the first baseman they so badly wanted.

It's a Latino Mark Teixeira...or as he is better known, Adrian Gonzalez. There's not much to say on this issue, but I think the Padres got a pretty good package in return for Gonzalez. The downside for the Padres is if Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo or Reymond Fuentes become good players then the Padres will just have to trade them away when they want new contracts.

Another interesting issue is how low-risk this trade ends up being for the Red Sox. Gonzalez will benefit from being out of Petco Park and the prospects they gave up were blocked because the Red Sox don't really need another starter or first baseman right now. Good move for the Red Sox because while they gave up prospects, they did not give up anyone who was reasonably going to contribute on a full-time basis this year. If I am a Padres fan, this just depresses me.

4. George Shinn has sold the Hornets to the NBA. He can burn in Hell.

Shinn is selling the Hornets to focus more on his faith and his charitable efforts like helping women test themselves for breast cancer by feeling their breast for them under their shirt or showing women the correct way to perform sexual acts on him.

But hey, at least it only took him 11 years to point out what an asshole he is. I thought he would never do it.

5. The college football bowl games were announced on Sunday. Even though there is really no controversy this year about the championship game matchup, I think I may be in favor of a playoff more than I ever have been. I don't want to hate the BCS, because wanting a playoff is pretty cliche at this point, but I think want to see a playoff. The idea bowl games are there for the student/athlete or they even pretend to try and match up competitive teams is a joke.

Auburn/Oregon deserve to be in the championship game, but it still frustrates me we can't see either of those teams play TCU. I know TCU gets a chance against Wisconsin, but if they beat the Badgers, which I am not sure will happen, I don't know if the debate has been settled. Why shouldn't TCU get a shot at the championship?

Other than that, the non-BCS games are full of good jokes played on the public by the corporate sponsors that choose and put on the bowls. South Carolina played for the SEC championship and now they are stuck playing Florida State in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, which isn't a complete disgrace. The complete disgrace is this happened because the Outback Bowl prefers an average 7-5 Florida team to South Carolina...even though Florida was easily beaten by South Carolina this year.

Another joke of a matchup is Washington and Nebraska. Nebraska got passed over for Missouri in the Insight Bowl, even though the Huskers played in the Big 12 championship this year. I can't help but wonder if the Big 12 had anything to do with that, because Nebraska is a team that sells tickets, so should logically be an attractive bowl team. What's irritating is Washington and Nebraska have already played once this year and will play again next fall. That's three games in a 365 day span. So there is a 10-3 Nebraska team having to play a 6-6 Washington team that only became bowl eligible because they beat a 2-10 Washington State team and this is good for college football?

Morons who argue a bowl playoff would diminish the regular season can't seem to explain how taking a Florida team that lost to a South Carolina team over South Carolina and taking a Missouri team that lost to a Nebraska team over Nebraska shows any respect for the regular season. If anything, this diminishes the regular season because it shows bowls don't care about the regular season results, just which teams sell tickets. So just think about that the very next time you hear someone talk about the regular season will mean less if there is a playoff. Some bowls ignore the regular season results anyway.

I'm not a huge playoff proponent, but I am finding many of the reasons NOT to have a playoff don't have valid reasoning behind them.

6. Why does a team sign Terrell Owens?

"It's frustrating when you feel like there are opportunities that are left out on the field and they aren't being taken advantage of. Everybody's frustrated but I feel like I can be part of the solution as well. Go back and watch the film. I can play this game. There ain't nobody I feel can stop me when I'm out there. That's just confidence; it's not arrogance.

"Everybody can listen to what I say and say that I'm arrogant and that I'm trying to create some controversy or distraction. It's not a distraction ... When there were opportunities one-on-one, I can exploit those matchups."

His production is still great, there's no doubt about that, but whether he is right or wrong in his criticism he is just too much of a distraction for a smart NFL team to take on. He is exactly like a cancer because he has gone from team-to-team in the NFL and caused problems with the things he's said.

7. Brett Favre is injured, could this be it for him?

Personally, as you could guess, I don't care. What I do care about is that Tarvaris Jackson looked pretty good in relief of Favre. Yes, he did throw 3 interceptions, but provides the Vikings with a different look with his ability to run the ball, he also threw 2 touchdowns and he was very accurate with his passing other than the interceptions. Yes, it is a small sample size, but there is a part of me that believes if Jackson ever got a real chance to quarterback the Vikings he could do a good job.

If Favre really is injured, which after the hit that was put on him I can believe, I think if Leslie Frazier is smart he starts the quarterback that can win him the most games. I think that person may very well be Tarvaris Jackson. The least the Vikings could do for the kid is to give him a legitimate shot to run the team when Favre is injured/struggling.


Martin said...

Also, don't forget it's a terrible signing because it totally screws up every single negotiation going on with the other free agents. Dude just signed a contract that Carl Crawford doesn't deserve, so now Crawford is going to want 10 years 200 million or some such.

I totally agree in that the Nationals should have kept Dunn and signed another player...perhaps two. Perhaps 4 guys for their perpetually bad bullpen....

Dylan said...

This is why Washington is screwed for the next 5 years. They invest way too much in too few players.

Bengoodfella said...

Martin, it kills me. I know I am supposed to hate the Nationals b/c they are in the same division as the Braves, but if they are going to spend $127 million this offseason then they should not put it in one player. You can keep Dunn for less than half of what you pay Werth AND get other players. That money could improve the team tremendously.

Also, I am at the conclusion now that Albert Pujols will get $40 million per year and Carl Crawford is now worth $20 million...which he isn't.

Dylan, exactly. I think there are just so many holes on that team and they get could get their shit together before Harper is called up and Strasburg comes back.

rich said...

I'm going to "defend" Werth's contract (which makes me feel sick).

Jason Bay, a terrible fielder, signed a contract that pays him on average 16.5M.

Matt Holliday, whose biggest play as a Cardinal has been this signed a 7 year, 120M contract.

In terms of those contracts what was given to Werth isn't exactly out of line.

What is the problem is that GMs seem to use these contracts to set the market for current free agents. One bad contract thus breeds another bad contract which breeds a handful more and so on. Look at what ARod getting 30M did. It inflated Mauer's value and netted Ryan Howard 25M a year. Which in turn will drive up the price for Pujols and Prince Fielder. Then people will point to Fielder and Howard's contract and think that slightly above average first baseman are worth 20M a season.

Case in point, how can Jayson Werth feel good about his contract when he saw a 38 year old Raul Ibanez sign a 3 year deal for 13M a season? That bad contract required Werth to make at least 16M and then you add in the contracts of Bay and Holliday and you've got an 18M contract based on three incredibly awful indicators of market value.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, that's a persuasive argument. I think you are right, that's how we have gotten to this point. As dumb as it sounds, my problem isn't with the contract exactly, though I think it is too much money, but the fact the Nationals signed him to the contract.

Let me explain...Jayson Werth isn't a player you build a team around. He isn't a bad player, but I just can't help but believe if the Nationals are going to start shelling out money they could at least do it for a guy who is better than Werth. Those guys you named...Bay, Holliday, Ibanez, they all went to teams that had better hitters than them already on the team. So those teams were paying top money for a guy who complements their big stars, while Werth is the big star in Washington. As much as I like Zimmerman, I am not sure he is a guy you build a team around or not.

So while it wasn't a terrible move and the Nationals definitely have improved, I also feel like that money on their team would have been better spent elsewhere. The Phillies gave that money to Ibanez and the Cardinals gave that money to Holliday because they were completing a team to compete for a playoff run.

When Ivan Rodriguez, Adam Kennedy, Nyjer Morgan, Cristian Guzman, and Willie Harris all have over 200 at bats for your team then you have holes you have to fill. Spending the money on a guy like Orlando Hudson (maybe) and signing a couple other mid-level free agents would have made the Nationals a better team I believe.

Otherwise, yes you are right.

Martin said...

If they had signed him to a 3 year/48 million deal, I'd have been ok. Dude is going to be 39 when the contract ends. This isn't the 90's. His production is going to just kill this team the last couple years, just like I think that fat ass Howard is going to kill the Phillies.

Bengoodfella said...

Martin, no kidding. I just don't see Werth as the guy to build the team around. I may be wrong. Now he will kill the Braves b/c I said that.

I didn't know Tulowitzki's contract was as bad as it is. Maybe "bad" isn't the right word but I forgot the Rockies had signed Tulo to an extension already. So this contract goes to 2019. Wow, that changes my opinion of the contract a bit.