Underdogs No More
Fighting the good fight? Possibly not.
Congratulations, Boston fans. Your Red Sox are the new Yankees.
Oh, I'm not saying that one World Series championship in the past 88 years is on par with the Yankees winning 26 championships and 39 American League pennants in the same period (I already get enough hate mail from New York fans to suggest such a ludicrous thing). But when the Red Sox signed J.D. (the Iron Man) Drew to a $70 million contract and invested $103 million in Daisuke Matsuzaka, they officially became everything Boston fans used to loathe about the Yankees. A team that fills out its roster by opening up a Costanza-thick wallet.
When your team adds $1,111,111.11 to a bid just because it looks cool, you're no longer entitled to complain about the Yankees' spending habits. While Boston's projected 2007 payroll (perhaps $140 million) is still substantially south of New York's, it still will likely be more than all the other teams in baseball. If the Red Sox aren't the new Evil Empire or co-Evil Empire, they at least are Wal-Mart to New York's Halliburton.
My hatred for the Yankees, which incidentally has significantly decreased this past off-season, has clouded my vision. I always thought of the Red Sox as the poor little ‘ole Red Sox who were fighting evil in the name of all that is scared and holy taking on the most maniacal franchise in creation. Guess what? It turns out the Red Sox are pretty much in the same boat with the exception that they have a cast of more likeable characters. It is pretty interesting how I’ve justified the Red Sox insane payrolls that dwarfed just about every other team’s payrolls with the exception of the Yankees’ payroll because they were the best team suited for taken down the Yankees. In reality, they are just as bad as the Yankees.
Of course my favorite team could be pushing into the $120 million+ stratosphere in terms of overall salary if they land Zito and while I want the Mets have swellicious team, it almost makes me feel a little funny inside to be throwing that type of money around while other teams are hindered by geographical impotence. I’ve kind of said to myself that $105 million is the benchmark for reasonable spending. It’s within reach of a lot of teams to hit that number and not far off of the majority of all teams. If you can win with that type of payroll and field a perennial playoff team, you’ve demonstrated the skills as a front office to get to that point with a solid mix of intelligent spending, good drafts, and solid trades. The Mets in 2006 were a shining example of this. The 2007 Mets are kind of poised to blow that out of the water, but the only saving grace for me is that it would be a temporary one year push while some more Mets youngsters get up to snuff.
Either way, it is certainly funny how your point of view changes when teams you do like and don’t like operate by identical business practices and the same business practices that you also happen to loathe them for. However, with the Yankees shifting back towards player development, as the Mets have, and their huge coffers of US currency, it seems they could very well be on the brink of another ten years of domination. Small market teams biggest fears should have always been large market teams getting 'it'. Spending big bucks on a Kevin Appier out of desperation rather than showing some restraint was how big market teams had big time payrolls without big time results. These days, big market teams seem to have had a change in organizational philosophies and operate with a blend of big time cash and some serious players being developed on the farm and not trading them for veterans. Small market teams jobs may have just gotten harder in lieu of this. Top notch player development combined with financial muscle is not exactly what the Terry Ryans and Billy Beanes of the world are looking forward to dealing with.
"I feel like I did when I was a rookie," Sosa told The Associated Press. "I have a lot of spirit and a desire to return. I think I can play three or four more years in the form I am now."
Sosa hit the ball out of the park 15 times while training at a field in San Pedro de Macoris that is operated by the Japanese Central League's Hiroshima Carp.
The 38-year-old slugger said he had received calls from teams interested in signing him but declined to reveal their names.
Why is it that old people feel the need to say they feel like they did twenty years ago when that is impossible. There is no way a 38 year old athlete feels like they did when they were 21. The only way this is even possible is if someone gained 100 pounds in their 20’s and lost it all twenty years later. Otherwise? Not happening. So can everyone just stop it already?
As for five teams being interested? He’s be LUCKY to get a minor league invite.
One person familiar with the meeting between the Mets and Zito, along with Zito's agent, Scott Boras, said the Mets were moving slowly. But that source also said five teams had made offers. While he did not detail them, Boras told The Associated Press: "We've gotten offers from every team we've dealt with. We're past the preliminary meet-and-greet stages."
Zito's rates of line drives, fly balls, and home runs allowed have all been fairly stable over the years, but his walk rate did rise a bit this year to around four walks per nine innings, and his strikeout rate did drop a bit, to around six a game. This doesn't mean he's about to implode. What it does mean is that he's likelier to decline next year than he is to improve.
This is where you have to judge him against what he's done. If Zito puts up a season in line with the worst he's ever had, he'll still be one of the 50 best pitchers in baseball, or a solid no. 2 starter. That's not a bad downside. . That's not a bad downside. Pitchers whose absolute upside is as a no. 3 starter are getting $11 million a year these days.
I 100% agree and what he says next pretty much encapsulates what all of us think his downside is.
...he'll be a solid, Glavine-type starter for the life of his deal, a Cy Young candidate in seasons where everything goes just right and a quality no. 2 starter in his lesser years.