Sexson speaks

Dave · November 13, 2004 at 8:51 am · Filed Under Mariners 

In an interview with the East Valley Tribune, Richie Sexson talks about his contract desires.

“I have so much confidence in my shoulder right now, it’s hard for me to sign a deal like that,” Sexson said. “Say I take a deal of that nature and sprain my ankle . . .”

Reports of a three-year, $30 million offer by Arizona are not accurate, Sexson said, because not all of the deal is guaranteed. According to sources, Sexson would get the maximum value in the contract by reaching a threshold of about 120 games played in either 2005 or 2006.

In 2001-03 with Milwaukee, Sexson played in 477 of a possible 486 games, so he believes his durability should not be an issue.

“There’s always a way to work around everything,” he said. “(But) it’s tough for me to sign an incentive-laden contract after all the (rehabilitation) time I put in.”

The D-Backs say their medical team estimates a 10 percent chance his shoulder injury — suffered on a checked swing and aggravated on another before surgery — could recur.

“I think everybody’s 10 percent,” Sexson said. “You’re 10 percent. You might bump into a door and it might come out. You can’t put 100 percent on everybody’s shoulder.”

Honestly, these quotes annoy me. Sexson is not like any other player on the market. He finished the season the DL and has not played an inning of baseball since tearing his labrum. For a team to believe he’s completely healthy, they have one option; believe the self-serving comments of him and his agent. Considering his shoulder is completely uninsurable, that’s not exactly a good foundation to be making a multi-million dollar guarantee on.

Sexson is damaged goods, and he’s going to be treated as such in the free market. His options, really, are to take a 1 year deal and prove that he’s fully healthy, then cash in next offseason, or take a longer deal at a below market rate with contingency plans for the club in case the shoulder isn’t healthy.

If Sexson and his agent demand a fully guaranteed second and third years of the contract, walk away. He’s just not worth the risk.


27 Responses to “Sexson speaks”

  1. Ty on November 13th, 2004 8:56 am

    You’re right. He’s not worth the risk. He’s a good player, don’t get me wrong, but we don’t want the guy out for half of the season.

  2. Morgan on November 13th, 2004 9:28 am

    Is it that common for athletes to actually mention that they want longer guaranteed contracts in case of injury (re: the sprained ankle comment)? That seems like it should be an “elephant in the room” thing and not just something that you throw out there when people are already concerned about your torn-up shoulder.

  3. chrisw on November 13th, 2004 9:58 am

    It’s not worth getting annoyed about. Very few people on either side of the hiring equation in these circumstances are honest, with themselves or the public, about what they really want or deserve.

  4. Adam S on November 13th, 2004 10:07 am

    I sort of see his perspective — having played everyday for three years, he considers last year a fluke. But if you’re so confident that you’re healthy, why not sign an incentive laden contract?

    Isn’t $4M plus $1M for every 100 PA better than $8.5M, unless you don’t believe you’ll get 500 PA. I guess his worry is that he’ll have another unrelated injury. Does he really feel he deserves full value if he misses significant time, regardless of the reason.

    He’s just jumped to the top of my “avoid” list.

  5. Jon Wells on November 13th, 2004 10:26 am

    I agree with the sentiment here. It wouldn’t be so bad if he were expressing disappointed in the offers on the free agent market, but to talk as if he’s insulted by Arizona’s offer wihtout taking into account that this is the team that just paid him nearly $9 million to play in 23 games is pretty offensive.

    Some other team might be willing to guarantee him more money despite the injury but since the D-Backs just got burned (in his first year with the club) it’s understandable that they want to protect themselves. Expecting a guy to play 120 games a year really isn’t too much to ask for $10 million per….

  6. hurt on November 13th, 2004 10:54 am

    I don’t see why it’s such an “annoying” thing for a player to have confidence in himself and his abilities. Sexson understands this is his prime contract and that he, like any of us would like a little security if he can get it.

    Whether or not any team gives him a guaranteed deal or not is another matter, but I don’t think a guy should be reviled for WANTING one.

    Cut him a little slack, will ya?

  7. Morisseau on November 13th, 2004 11:08 am

    would still much rather have him than Delgado.

  8. Jim Thomsen on November 13th, 2004 11:13 am

    I agree that Sexson’s comments are not at all rooted in the reality of the marketplace, but I don’t blame him for saying there. We’re all here in this world to get as much as we can … having said that, his having said what HE said just had the opposite effect. I would imagine a lot of GMs who saw that interview felt as we do.

    Some story a few months ago said the overwhelming majority of baseball players are conservative Republicans … because their first priority is protecting their money. By trying to do so here, Sexson may have just cost himself millions. Gee, what a shame it would be if he actually had to work for a few years after his baseball days are done.

  9. PositivePaul on November 13th, 2004 11:37 am

    Delgado has shown he can still hit, and his injury is infinitly less likely to affect his hitting than Sexson’s. Granted, Sexson’s more likely to sign a safer-for-the-team-type contract, but even the base would be too much to pay a player who hasn’t shown he can hit like he could before. Even Glaus came back to show he can still hit the ball fairly well. Sexson’s too much of a risk, especially for a “retooling” team. Period.

  10. Greg on November 13th, 2004 12:50 pm

    I am reading between the lines and suspect a gauranteed deal with “Arizona” is the offer required for them to sign him. He may be open to the mixed, incentive deal with a team that actually has some promise of winning over the next 3 years.

    Sexson healthy and with or without risk, I say put Ibanez at first and focus on a quality bat + quality defense to shore up LF or CF. If we are talking about a value based contribution upgrade, you will get more for your money by using the adequate solution at 1B (Ibanez) and investing in upgrade in the OF.

  11. Pete on November 13th, 2004 2:08 pm

    I think the big thing to remember is that Sexson injured himself swinging the bat. Swinging the bat is the most important thing he does as a baseball player. For me, this injury is in the same league as Griffey’s. Griffey gets hurts every few times he runs, while Sexson has the same problem with swinging. That’s hyperbole, but essentially true. In the long run, running is probably more essential than swinging, but you get the point.

    As some have said, Delgado is a far lesser risk. He has a compact, beautiful swing, with relatively no risk of injury. Isn’t that what we’re paying him to do?

    For my part, this isn’t even a choice. Sexson shouldn’t even be considered unless the contract is heavily incentive-laden.

    If we’re going to sign a first baseman, it should be Delgado, Delgado, Delgado…choices one, two, and three. Glaus would be my fourth choice.

  12. jj on November 13th, 2004 2:49 pm

    I prefer Delgado also. But that article does not bother me as much. Sexson is doing his job to promote himself. When we go for our job interviews, don’t we do the same thing? Try to sell ourselves high up there. lol.

  13. Ty on November 13th, 2004 3:46 pm

    True jj.

  14. tvwxman on November 13th, 2004 4:05 pm

    I don’t really have a problem with the comments. I mean, the guy is barganining for a job and a contract. It’s certainly easy to read too much into these public statements, since that’s all that we can go on. If I were Sexson and his agent, I’d put the best spin on it as I can. Heck, I’m sure that even Floyd Rayford said that he was in “the best shape of his life” when he was a free agent.

    Look at it another way: If you’re trying to sell your car, are you really going to point out that the radio only gets AM, the engine leaks oil, and the belts need changing in the classified ad? No. Those little details will come out when the prospective buyer is face to face.

  15. Ross on November 13th, 2004 4:58 pm

    Given his comments, I wonder if he’d take an Ivan Rodriguez-style deal, where the later years become voidable if a preexisting medical condition puts him on the shelf. That would protect him from losing money due to subsequent fluke injuries and protect whatever team he signs with from getting stuck with a long-term lemon.

  16. big chef terry on November 13th, 2004 5:45 pm

    After the initial injury he came back too soon, to help the team of course. Now they don’t want to assume any of the risk, which if there are no takers he’ll be stuck with. In the history of the game its the owners over the years who have been the dishonest, thieving robber barrons. Not the players…

    The d’backs are matched in ineptitude only by the Ms.

  17. Cap on November 13th, 2004 6:55 pm

    I also do not have a problem with Sexson’s comments.

  18. Matt Williams on November 13th, 2004 7:13 pm

    120 games per year isn’t exactly ironman status. Especially if he has two years in which to do it, as the article seems to indicate.

    If he’s really that confident in his health he’s going to get much more money on an incentive-based contract than on a guranteed one. His comments don’t make me hate him, but the sense of entitlement bothers me a bit. The work he put in was so that he would have the chance to continue making millions of dollars a year playing baseball, not to be guranteed a cushy ride with no risks. I don’t hate him, I just don’t want to see him pulling an Albert Belle on the M’s payroll.

  19. Idahobob on November 13th, 2004 7:36 pm

    How is it “entitlement” to sell yourself? The fault will never lie in any person making a case for themself, only in the judgement of those buying.

  20. Matt Williams on November 13th, 2004 7:54 pm

    it’s tough for me to sign an incentive-laden contract after all the (rehabilitation) time I put in

    Idahobob right there. The statement “I worked hard to get back in shape, therefore I want a contract that makes sure I get paid even if I do nothing to help my team.” Every player has worked hard to get there, including all the guys toiling in the minors. I can understand his feelings, but I can’t help but suspect he’s worried about his shoulder going out again also.

  21. Bela Txadux on November 13th, 2004 8:48 pm

    I agree that I find Sexson’s comments disturbing, but for a somewhat different reason.

    In one sense Richie is the victim or just terribly rotten luck: in his walk year after a monster year he stood to cash in for $30-$50M this offseason, more money than most people ever get to dream about, a true lottery payoff—and his shoulder tears on a swing. So he rushes back after far too little rehab to prove ‘he’s healthy’ and keep his market value at peak—and completely blows up the shoulder with a truly terrible injury. Yes, he hurt the shoulder _swinging_, which he will have to do 4-6 times a day, every day, for the rest of his career however long that is for him to have any value whatsoever to a MLB franchise. He then spends the rest of last season on the shelf in return for which his team—who traded a bunch for him—was obligated to pay him the rest of $9M (none of which he offered to give back, it may be said, but then he wasn’t obligated to give it back, no). That impending $30-$50M just went up in smoke. That’s a blow to a person; come on, we can admit that, even if it’s someone else’s misfortune.

    . . . But he’s still in denial about the risks and context of his employment as a professional baseball hitter, and that concerns me greatly. It is HIS shoulder, yes, and he’s in a better position than anyone to know how it feels as of today, but he is in no position to evaluate how it will play over the course of next season to say nothing of beyond. He already pushed himself to play with it once when he shouldn’t have, with terrible consequences. What I really hear him saying in that blurb is, “No, no way I’ve just lost $30-$50M, that’s kind of hard to swallow.” In other words, he isn’t even thinking about how to play, and for what next year, he’s still in denial mode on the loss _he’s already sustained_ from this PAST year. I absolutely wouldn’t take his advice on anything regarding his medical condition therefore, and it’s not that I’m calling him ‘a liar,’ he’s just not in touch with his present reality yet. I doubt he could honestly tell anyone anything at the moment, particular with an agent hanging on to him praying that the wallet he had his hand in doesn’t have the gaping hole at the bottom he’s wiggling his fingers through as of today.

    And Sexson’s present reality is and should be: one-year, tiny guarantee, nearly all incentives. Richie, buddy, if you are so confident in your shoulder than go on the market for a one-year and prove it to us, just like other guys have to. It’s a tough break that it was your walk year, but it is what it is, and _this_ is what everybody else has do do in your situation. But even if he has a healthy year, which I suspect is highly unlikely, I would never sign him to any long-term guaranteed $, period; just one guaranteed and an option, or at most with subsequent voidables if the shoulder recurrs (which however makes the team look like the bad guy, so probably I wouldn’t do that, either). His shoulder could go at any time, assuming he can play at all.

    I completely agree that he is the kind of risk that a rebuilding team should avoid in all circumstances. A team making a run for this year may want to gamble for ‘this year,’ but a team laying a base for several years is crazy to _lock in_ continued high risk at high $$$, which is what Richie will be for at least the next three years. If by outstanding medical care, religious rehab, and proven durability he performs over that span at something comparable to his Milwaukee years, he can start to talk about what he ‘expects.’ I expect a medical trainwreck, I’m sad to say.

  22. KC on November 14th, 2004 12:01 am

    As mentioned above, Sexson simply came back too soon from the initial injury. I went back and read articles on ESPN and in local Arizona papers printed just before he came back. If you read carefully, you can hear the Arizona coaches and trainers hinting he may be rushing back too fast. This is the type of thing a solid team-oriented player wants to do — and what the club is supposed to keep him from doing!
    He had surgery, has rehabbed, and is currently swinging all-out in the cage. Do I think he is worth the gamble? Yes, on two conditions:
    One, he is our second-best free agent pick-up (Glaus or Pavano come first, for example.)
    Two, he is willing to come down a little in price. If he signed for 3 years at 9 mil per, its worth it. To turn this team around, the Mariners are going to need the minor leaguers to develop well, and to take risks in the open market. Picture-perfect free agents like Beltran and Beltre will NEVER sign here.

  23. Scraps on November 14th, 2004 1:15 am

    Gee, what a shame it would be if he actually had to work for a few years after his baseball days are done.

    Because goodness knows knows it isn’t work to be a professional athlete. They’re just playing a game, not like the rest of us.

    I think anyone who subscribes to the above sentiment should read David Foster Wallace’s essay about the minor tennis player Michael Joyce, for starters.

  24. Garry on November 14th, 2004 4:45 pm

    Not only did Arizona pay Sexson $9M to play in 23 games last year…they mortgaged their entire farm system to get in a losing season! I didn’t think it was a very good GM decision for Arizona to pick this guy up to be a 1yr rent-a-player!

  25. The Ancient Mariner on November 14th, 2004 5:14 pm

    Y’know, “Gee, what a shame it would be if he actually had to work for a few years after his baseball days are done” doesn’t necessarily equate to “it isn’t work to be a professional athlete.” To be sure, that might be the intent, but it’s just as likely that it isn’t.

  26. Scraps on November 14th, 2004 8:03 pm

    Fair enough. I still don’t understand the eagerness to wish work on a player after his baseball career is over, or why it was relevant to Sexson’s desire to do the best for himself right now. It seems strange to me that some of us put so much time and energy into baseball fans, then begrudge players the rewards that our time and energy brings them.

  27. Lefebvre Believer on November 15th, 2004 6:21 pm

    If we are talking about a 3 year deal, Delgado is hands down the better option for the M’s. I have a hunch right now that Delgado is going to get a lot of offers which will get into the overpriced range. I would not be surprised if he signs a 4 year 48 mil.