A-Rod, Johan, and Perception

Dave · October 29, 2007 at 9:33 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

So, A-Rod’s a free agent again. He’s going to get a lot of money again. He won’t get it from the Mariners, though – that’s for sure. So this post isn’t about bringing Alex Rodriguez back to Seattle. It won’t happen.

I have a question, though. There’s a large contingent of people in Seatle, especially in the local media, who have spent a significant amount of time lobbying for the Mariners to acquire Johan Santana, regardless of the price. It doesn’t matter that he’s in the last year of his contract or that he’s going to lap the field in terms of dollars given to free agent pitchers next winter. They’re fine surrendering every player on the roster besides Felix to get Johan Santana to Seattle. If it takes Adam Jones, Jeff Clement, and Carlos Triunfel, no problem – they’re just prospects. And if it takes $200 million to sign Johan for 7 years, well, that’s the market price for pitching, and this team needs pitching.

When it comes to Johan Santana, the talk about spending too much money on one player goes out the window. Chemistry is never brought up as an issue, and no story about Johan ever mentions that he’s never won a World Series title despite playing on some pretty good teams the last few years.

Meanwhile, good luck reading a story this winter that doesn’t mention A-Rod’s postseason failures. The amount of writers and talking heads that will disparage Rodriguez because of a personal dislike for him (earned or not) as a person is going to be staggering.

Why is it okay to blow up the farm system and the budget to acquire Johan Santana, but no one has any interest in throwing similar amounts of money at the best player in baseball – the guy who won’t cost you Adam Jones and a handful of good prospects? Are we really at a point where we’re just not interested in adding the best player in the game because he comes across like a pompous jerk?

I’m sorry, but for an organization that employs a lot of people who actually are pompous jerks, that reasoning rings a little hollow.

I know Alex Rodriguez isn’t coming back to Seattle, and I’m fine with that. I am, however, somewhat annoyed by the reasons the organization and a large percentage of people in Seattle don’t want him back.


126 Responses to “A-Rod, Johan, and Perception”

  1. 300ZXNA on October 30th, 2007 2:32 pm

    I’m not sure that this is really about the money with A-Rod. The Yankees are the richest team in baseball. Their offer alone would be the richest. Throw in the fact that they would have had a free $20 million from Texas ON TOP of their own money, I don’t see how anyone could beat their offer. So unless they were intentionally low-balling A-Rod (which I see no reason why), I think A-Rod will be leaving money on the table in leaving the Yanks. I think it may actually be about what he originally claimed in 2000: that it is about winning a ring now. He has his money. I think he is knowingly leaving money on the table with the Yanks because he thinks the team is on the decline.

    Anyway, I could be completely wrong. Who know.

  2. Bruce on October 30th, 2007 2:37 pm

    97: The deal Texas made with Rodriguez wasn’t a bad one until they gave him to the Yankees. They had plenty of payroll headroom to build a competitive team around him. Instead, they wasted money on players like Chan Ho Park.

  3. Axtell on October 30th, 2007 2:39 pm

    Another point of contention I am having with the national media is their being upset with Arod and Boras for announcing he was opting out during the world series (Buster Onley wrote a scathing article about it), but where was the outcry for the yankees raking Torre over the coals during the playoffs? MLB has come out and condemned the timing as well. If they really wanted the focus to remain on the world series, MLB would make a rule similar to the NFL’s: no coaching changes until the last game of the world series. They could extend that rule that no player announcements could be made prior to the final game of the world series as well.

    As far as Arod goes, why *wouldn’t* you want the best player in baseball on your team? For all the razzing he got while in NY, he won 2 MVPs, strapped the team to his back this year and single handedly drug them to the playoffs, and all in all gave the unappreciative fans in NY a fantastic show the 4 years he was there. People want to knock his postseason failures in NY, but want to forget that Arod was essentially the only guy who hit in the 04 series against the twins.

    I know he can’t/won’t come back to Seattle, but I’d love to see him in a Seattle uniform again. People who want to criticize him for signing with Texas aren’t living in reality – you think ANYONE would turn that down?

  4. Jim Thomsen on October 30th, 2007 2:43 pm

    Dave and Derek have also punctured the “A-Rod-crippled-Texas-with-his-contract” myth.

  5. Mike Snow on October 30th, 2007 2:52 pm

    Actually, that one’s a lot easier to puncture. The “Pay-Rod” thing is a matter of faith either way you come down on it, because none of us can fully capture his motivations, or the thought process that led him first to Texas and then New York. It’s about as realistic as knowing that someone’s a jerk when you’ve never met them in person.

  6. funkblast on October 30th, 2007 2:55 pm

    Articles about Boras’ preparation for A-Rod salary negotiations include the projected team income from Rodriguez’s probable history chasing seasons towards the end of his career (if not earlier). In a similar sense that the Yankees justified his contract with ticket sales increases among other things, shouldn’t the next team that Alex plays for justify his contract with a handful of non-baseball factors?

    I can imagine Safeco Field sold out to watch him hunt down Bonds’ HR record, especially when considering the attendance for the current team.

  7. Evan on October 30th, 2007 2:58 pm

    41- johan is a bad investment but BARRY BONDS is a good one? wow…

    Yes. Johan costs players, and there’s no guarantee we’d have him after 2008.

    Bonds doesn’t cost any players.

  8. jlc on October 30th, 2007 2:59 pm

    103 – Thanks. I haven’t been around long enough. I’ll strike that from my list of ARod utterances.

  9. Evan on October 30th, 2007 3:02 pm

    The deal was bad when the Rangers made it, but you can’t blame Arod for Hicks giving him a ton of money.

    I couldn’t disagree more. The Rangers got a good deal with the A-Rod contract, but then squandered that deal by spending too much on guys like Todd Van Poppel. And then they bought into the media hype that the A-Rod contract was crippling them and sent him to New York while still paying his contract. That Texas became idiots as soon as they signed A-Rod doesn’t make the contract a bad deal.

  10. DoesntCompute on October 30th, 2007 3:06 pm

    I was referring to the contract being bad because in my memory, it was significantly higher than any other offer Arod recieved. When you go to an auction an bid against yourself, you are being a bonehead.

  11. heyoka on October 30th, 2007 3:07 pm

    Johan may cost players, but do the M’s not receive extra players via draft once they lose the services of Santana to free agency? Santana can give you about 15% more wins, and perhaps you can package one of the players you’re trying to get rid of in a deal.
    When you enter these factors into a potential deal, it seems to me that Santana might actually be worth more than A-Rod

  12. DoesntCompute on October 30th, 2007 3:17 pm

    Texas offers Arod $252 million for 10 years, M’s offered $85 million for 5 years, and not much other competition for his services. I have no problem paying the best player in baseball an amazing salary but outbidding your competition by that much makes the contract bad. The contract may have not crippled the Rangers but they did not get a ‘good deal’. In my opinion, Texas became idiots before they signed Arod.

  13. msb on October 30th, 2007 3:24 pm

    I might blame Hicks for buying the whole ‘mystery team’ in competition with the Rangers story 🙂

  14. msb on October 30th, 2007 3:27 pm

    #112– just a reminder, in ’99 before free agency the Mariners offered Alex 8/$117.5M, with a $16M signing bonus

  15. Red Apple on October 30th, 2007 3:59 pm

    What amuses me is that Texas finished last all three seasons in which Alex played for them. Mind you, he put up eye-popping stats and played in 485 of 486 games, but they still were dead last. And for that, and for getting out of his contract, the Rangers shelled out over $30m per year (sending $7m or so for four seasons to the Yankees). Wow. I guess it’s not as bad as some corporations that hemorrhage money and then pay their CEOs $100m to take a hike…for perspective.

    As for his public image, Alex tries so very hard to say the right thing…and almost always seems to be clumsy about it. “That’s our A-Rod!” Bwap, bwap, bwap, bwap, bwaaaaaaaap!”

  16. scraps on October 30th, 2007 4:04 pm

    D Truth, being traded by Texas is evidence that Rodriguez can’t be trusted? He didn’t force that trade. Seriously, you are stretching for reasons to support a contention that can’t be defended on the evidence. There is no reason other than vision-clouding personal dislike to say that you can’t trust Rodriguez to honor a contract (which is what you said, and so far as I can tell still are insisting).

  17. scraps on October 30th, 2007 4:11 pm

    As for his public image, Alex tries so very hard to say the right thing…and almost always seems to be clumsy about it.

    Sure: because while the media can’t overtly misquote him, they still get to present him how they want in every other way. And on top of that they get to “analyze” what he said. Which means if he won’t cooperate by saying stuff that’s outrageous, they can still do their damnedest to make him look clumsy, insincere, phony, and all the other things so many people here believe on faith without knowing him. People like Steve Kelley have built our conception of A-Rod.

  18. Ruminations on October 30th, 2007 4:24 pm

    #58 and #73. I contend that ARod and Boras did not honor his contract because they have been negotiating the terms of a new contract with other teams before exercising the free agency option. Without having his contract in front of me, I would be much surprised if there is not a prohibition against doing so until he actually became a free agent. The teams involved can be accused of tampering. For the player, it is breach of contract.
    You are free to believe that he walked away from 8 years at almost $30 million per year from the Yankees without something lined up, but that would be completely contrary from his past behavior.

  19. DoesntCompute on October 30th, 2007 4:36 pm

    You have proof of that?

  20. waitin_4_series on October 30th, 2007 5:00 pm

    ARod has a clause in his contract to pay a $1.5M bonus if he wins the MVP this year. Since he voided the remainder of his contract before he won the award, does that mean he also forfeits his bonus?? Opps… 🙂

    I hate that Texas will now have an extra $21M to play with to sign more players.

  21. Tuomas on October 30th, 2007 5:04 pm

    To all the people who complain about his salary:

    A-Rod was originally dealt from Texas to the Boston Red Sox for Manny Ramirez. His deal would have been re-negotiated to include both fewer years and less money. However, the Players’ Union stepped in and vetoed the deal, claiming the salary reduction would create a precedent for teams to squeeze more marginal players in the future. The deal was canceled and A-Rod was subsequently moved to the Yankees for Alfonso Soriano. The rest is history.

  22. joser on October 30th, 2007 5:13 pm

    Have we thought about what ARod’s departure from NY does for Texas? They suddenly have another ~$8M to play with (and something like $21M over the next three years). Assuming Texas doesn’t just pocket it and does something reasonably intelligent with it, that makes the division tougher even if ARod doesn’t land in Anaheim.

    Meanwhile, there’s no way Seattle should get caught up in the Santana goldrush. The Yankees are desperate, desperate, for pitching… and now they have that ARod money to play with. Meanwhile Boston wants to make life difficult in the Bronx. They’re probably not serious about making another Matsuzaka-esque outlay, but they’ll get in on the bidding just to make sure the people around the reanimated FrankenSteinbrenner have to pay top dollar (and top prospect). Do you really want to be salmon swimming into that shark fight?

  23. scraps on October 30th, 2007 5:41 pm

    You are free to believe that he walked away from 8 years at almost $30 million per year from the Yankees without something lined up, but that would be completely contrary from his past behavior.

    His past behavior of not honoring contracts? Do tell.

  24. JMHawkins on October 30th, 2007 9:50 pm

    You are free to believe that he walked away from 8 years at almost $30 million per year from the Yankees without something lined up, but that would be completely…

    …consistent with his previous behavior. Which is that he (and Boras) have always believed his talent would net a big payday on the free agent market. He didn’t have the Texas deal lined up before he walked away from Seattle. As big as his last deal was, salaries have gone up since then. Both Boras and A-Rod have immense confidence in their respective talent. Neither one needs to work with a net.

    Plus, he’s already got scads of dough. He may actually not be trying to maximize his salary. For example, he’s treated like something the cat threw up by the New York media and fans, and even during an MVP season he played second fiddle to Jeet. You read about millionaires spending big bucks for cheap thrills. Maybe A-Rod is willing to “spend” a million or two of salary for a team that can be “his.”

    Or, alternatively, he has enough money in the bank that he can gamble. He might be looking for a couple million a year raise, and if he “only” gets 6/$25 in his next contract, he’s not exatly going to end up doing “The Surreal Life” to make ends meet.

    And, the constant negativity in NY couldn’t be good for his endorsements. Pointedly, I haven’t seen him doing may big endorsements the last couple of years. Perhaps he and Boras figure they can more than make up for any shortfall in salary with better secondary deals in a friendlier market.

    Whatever. Point is, there’s ample reason to believe they took the option without another deal already in place. And no reason (other than spite?) to think that he cheated on his contract.

  25. planB on October 31st, 2007 9:39 am

    I think the average Seattle baseball fan needs to learn to separate their opinion of a player’s personality from their opinion of that player. A-Rod is annoying. Manny’s a jackass; but he can hit for my team any time he wants. Ted Williams was a complete jerk, by all accounts. Etc etc.

  26. Karen on November 1st, 2007 12:44 pm

    RE: #25. “When Fox and Major League Baseball don’t treat the World Series with respect, why should Boras or Rodriguez?” Tell me that’s a joke. If not, is this what the attitude of today’s fan is? That if one or two do it, it’s OK for all to disrespect? Ah, the permissiveness of our elders… Obviously it’s WRONG for Fox and MLB (me: longing for the days of NBC’s coverage), and it’s WRONG for Boras and Rodriguez.

    RE: #45 AMcPheeters said, “I’d be pretty happy to have Alex back — because some day I hope there’s a Hall of Famer with a Mariner cap on his plaque. (Sadly, I don’t think Edgar will get elected.) Oh, and best-player-in-baseball, yadda, yadda, yadda.”

    At last count, Alex Rodriguez spent more years in a Mariners uniform than that of any of his subsequent teams (3 for the Rangers, 4 for the Yanks). The HOF would probably give him a M’s cap if he were eligible today…

    RE: #5, #54, #94 and others: As for Alex being a jerk, you guys who say we don’t know and that it’s the media who present him that way…um, well, a lot of us WERE watching his on-field antics toward Boston’s Bronson Arroyo and Toronto’s Howie Clark, as well as his elbow to the groin of Dustin Pedroia last year.

    Also, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what ARod was doing with Joslyn Morse, the muscular blonde stripper/Playboy Bunny after taking her out to dinner and later to a strip club in Toronto, then to his hotel, entering the elevator together. Think they were meeting Cynthia upstairs? And it was a jerk thing to do, sending that letter to the Boeing Company the year after landing in Texas.

    To any woman married to a man in professional sports, maybe that’s the norm. But to me, it’s being an A-1 Jerk.

    Nevertheless, msb has it right. For the most part, when he’s in a clubhouse with his peers, he’s an OK guy (what he’s done salary-wise also has had a trickle-down effect). THAT’S been reported, too, presumably by someone who’s been there.

    RE #68: As far as what Rodriguez is worth, didn’t someone do a study on The ARod Factor including merchandising revenues, ticket sales, road game revenues, etc. and concluded he was actually worth about $18M/year to whatever team he was on since 2001? I think Ichiro compares more favorably than that for the Mariners, doesn’t he?

    Oh, yeah, one more thing: these 50-75 page glossy prospectus books (this time it was for a batch of 100) Boras keeps churning out — as if no one knows what ARod’s resume is — are a total turnoff. Next thing you know ARod’s going to offered as an IPO on the stock exchange.

    All that being said, even though ARod’s head must be swollen to the size of a Macy’s Day Parade balloon, I’d say pay him to come back to the Mariners, play 3B, ask sure-handed Adrian Beltre to start taking grounders at 1B this winter, and find a way to dump both Vidro and Sexson. We root for the laundry here in Seattle, too, don’t we? 🙂

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