CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
The Week in Quotes: De... (01/05)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Prospectus Today: The ... (12/30)
Next Column >>
Prospectus Today: Mann... (01/06)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Transaction of the Day... (01/06)

January 5, 2009

Prospectus Today

Too Much Sun

by Joe Sheehan

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

Bear with me for a moment. I recognize that this is a relatively small issue I'm about to get into, but it's Monday, and I'm a little under the weather, and there's not much else going on other than 40,000 Manny Ramirez rumors. I understand he's accepted a sponsor's exemption to the FBR Open, and will be guesting on a three-episode arc of "House" during the May sweeps.

Last month, the Florida Marlins non-tendered right-handed reliever Joe Nelson. Nelson was the Marlins' best reliever last season, leading the team's pen in strikeouts, strikeout rate, K/BB, and ERA. That he doesn't show as well in the context-adjusted stats-he was just sixth in WXRL-points to how he was used, but inning-for-inning, he was their best reliever. The Marlins, apparently concerned about Nelson's eligibility for arbitration, declined to offer him a contract and allowed him to become a free agent. Nelson subsequently signed a one-year, $1.3 million contract with the Rays. It seems fair to say that the free-market salary Nelson got represents an upper bound on his potential cost, so the Marlins probably could have kept him for that same $1.3 million. Again: their best reliever last year, and they'd already traded away Kevin Gregg and cut loose Doug Waechter. Non-tendering him was a pretty questionable decision at the time.

Fast forward to last week, and the news emerges that the Marlins have reached an agreement with Scott Proctor on a contract for 2009 worth $750,000, and another $250,000 in incentives. Now, the Nelson decision looks so bad you might think it makes cars for a living.

The Marlins had a reliever coming off of a healthy and effective season, with some history of success in his past, who they could have retained for a minimal investment. Instead, they cut him loose and brought in a pitcher who, although two years younger, is a much higher risk, is coming off of a brutal season curtailed by injury, and who looks for all the world like a pitcher broken by a two-year stretch of overuse. Proctor is 26 months younger than Nelson, but his elbow is much, much older than 32.


                 IP     RA   BB   SO   HR
Proctor 2008   38.2   6.98   24   46    7
Nelson 2008    54.0   2.67   22   60    5

For want of $550,000-probably less than that-the Marlins traded the guy on the bottom for the guy on the top. Those lines don't reflect that Proctor will be coming off of elbow surgery, or that he made 83 appearances in both 2006 and 2007 before the elbow went bad in '08. Moreover, it's not like Scott Proctor has any upside. He's 32, and we know what his career years look like. He's never had a season like Nelson's 2008, and while it's a lot to expect that Nelson would repeat that performance, the gap in the two pitchers' upsides is significant. The Marlins don't have a slew of young arms they're making room for, as is made clear by their need to sign Scott Proctor and his sling. They simply wanted to save what amounts to a rounding error in the overall team budget.

Why am I making such a big deal over this? Well, I got in trouble last month when the Marlins non-tendered Nelson, for calling the team "a blight on the face of the American sports landscape." I stand by that statement. I'm certain there are Marlins fans, and I'm certain that there is an argument to be made that their approach to success cycles has some merit. However, you have a sports organization that has, for more than a decade, had exactly one goal, and that goal has not been "to win a championship." That the Marlins fell into a title in 2003 happened, but the real goal of this franchise has been to get its hands on hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local tax revenues in the form of a new stadium. They haven't cared how much of an embarrassment they've become, haven't cared that their payroll falls below the central fund revenues they get from the rest of the league, haven't cared that the actual attendance at their games often falls below five thousand people. They can turn a profit, and they can continue to make a reach for that $300 million jackpot.

That makes you a blight on the face of the American sports landscape. It makes Jeffrey Loria an abomination as an owner. It does not, I should emphasize, reflect upon Larry Beinfest or the baseball operations staff, who have done yeoman's work under awful circumstances. That doesn't mean that the franchise should continue to exist though, because it exists solely and entirely to steal taxpayer money.

The Marlins made themselves appreciably worse for 2009 so they could save a half-million bucks. Just go away already.

One other thing...the Associated Press story on the signing included this gem:

The Marlins needed bullpen help after the departures this offseason of right-handers Kevin Gregg to the Chicago Cubs, Doug Waechter to Kansas City, and Joe Nelson to Tampa Bay.

There's absolutely no context presented for that paragraph, so let me fill it in. Those pitchers are gone, but they're gone because the Marlins dumped them. Gregg was traded (in a great deal), Waechter was outrighted to the minors, and Nelson was non-tendered. The above implies that the Marlins have been decimated by the loss of their best relievers to free agency, when in fact it was the Marlins who cut ties with each and every one of them. The noun isn't "departures," it's "dumping." Read the sentence with that one word change and decide for yourself which is factual.

We know that columnists aren't going to comment on the truth-that the Marlins have become an embarrassment to MLB, sucking up industry dollars through the welfare program and tax dollars through other means-but it would be nice if the reporters would make an effort to get the facts right, so that it didn't look like a complete and total cover-up.

Sorry, Doug. We're still trying.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Joe's other articles. You can contact Joe by clicking here

Related Content:  The Who,  Marlins

60 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

echalek
(195)

Here's what I don't get. Why even bother with Proctor? If we're talking about trying to save a half-mil, why not sign a minimum-salary minor league FA and save the additional $400K in base salary that Proctor signed for? Why spend anything above the minimum on the bullpen at all? It's not like Loria cares about the PR, so it's just odd to me.

Jan 05, 2009 11:15 AM
rating: 7
 
hokie94

Amen, brother Sheehan. This is why I subscribe to BP.

Jan 05, 2009 11:29 AM
rating: 2
 
amazin_mess

Excellent piece, Joe.

Jan 05, 2009 11:31 AM
rating: 1
 
amazin_mess

Loria is a total scumbag. The way he swindled the people of Montreal makes me sick to this day. They actually believed he was there to save the team.

Jan 05, 2009 11:33 AM
rating: 6
 
Evan
(47)

Loria should be in jail for what he did in Montreal.

Montreal deserves a team. Montreal even supported the team it had before the strike.

Jan 05, 2009 14:54 PM
rating: 1
 
chewbalka
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

You're way off base Evan, pun intended.
Win or lose Montrealers never supported the Expos.
I went to one of their last games in 2004 and it was a joke; the bus driver dropped me off at the furthest corner of the Park because I dared interrupt his conversation with two colleagues in the broken French that labeled me a hated Anglophone. I had to walk so far that I counted three raccoons and a skunk along the way to the stadium, all so I could join about 300 baseball fans who bothered to show up. The paid attendance may well have been in the thousands but only members of the Gary Carter and Andre Dawson fan club ever showed up for the actual games so I have no idea what you're talking about that suggests support of the Expos.
Loria may very well have sold them out but Montreal clearly never deserved a team before or after the strike.

Jan 05, 2009 15:46 PM
rating: -14
 
chewbalka
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

"Montreal deserves a team. Montreal even supported the team it had before the strike."

Not the best comparison but didn't those same Montrealers manage to run the Quebec Nordiques out of town because Quebec City happens to be too close to their fan base?
Maybe it's because the Canadiens have traditionally dominated the NHL that the fans are so snotty towards other sports?!? Montreal has no tolerance of anything other than the Habs yet they have the best sports coverage in Canada and boast many of the best sportswriters in Canada. Go figure.

Jan 05, 2009 16:24 PM
rating: -6
 
amazin_mess

Bullshit. I went to games in Montreal for years. They certainly did support the team. After 94 they started to fall off (can you blame them - remember the 94 Expos???) but they started coming back when Loria first got there.

That city and their fans got screwed.

Jan 05, 2009 17:23 PM
rating: 4
 
BurrRutledge

Agreed. I traveled to Montreal from upstate NY to watch a game in '95 or '96. The stadium was atrocious, but there were plenty of kids in the stands during batting practice. The fan base *was* still in attendance at that point in time, and having kids there means that the potential for future fans was still alive.

Jan 06, 2009 15:16 PM
rating: 0
 
chewbalka

Thanks for the replies, you made me realize how harsh I was being because of my experience that night. It was upsetting to lose Canada's other major league team, possibly forever, but Loria did poison the well for Expos fans so I can't blame them.

Jan 06, 2009 19:52 PM
rating: 0
 
ColonelTom

Nicely done, Joe - of course, you've been right on this one for a long time:

https://baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1467

Loria's just a hatchet man for Selig and MLB. Perhaps Joe's "Angel of Death" moniker needs revamping - Loria is MLB's extortionist-in-chief. He'll either force a city to cough up an expensive publicly-funded stadium on favorable terms, or he'll take the substantial payout when MLB finds another city with a buyer and public funding. Nice work if you can get it, I suppose.

Jan 05, 2009 15:08 PM
rating: 0
 
Michael
(736)

I don't know who you got into trouble with last month for calling the Marlins "a blight ..." but you shouldn't get in trouble for that. You're a baseball columnist, Joe, so it's your job to express opinions about baseball matters as long as you do so in a entertaining, persuasive and informed manner. I enjoy your columns but that doesn't mean that I or other readers should agree with 100% of your opinions.

Keep up the good work.

Jan 05, 2009 11:39 AM
rating: 6
 
Matt Hunter

I don't know that he meant "got in trouble" in the literal sense, as I disagreed and felt it was a slight towards all the people not named Jeffrey Loria.

Then some other people chimed in and called him Stephen A. Smith and silly things of that sort.

However while I will never defend the ownership, I still don't him like calling the entire franchise, which to me is more than just Jeffrey, a blight.

Was this a bad move that stinks of dropping money? Yes of course. Should they get the publicly funded stadium? No of course not.

Do all of these things equate to being an embarrasment? And a blight on the landscape of American sports landscape? I would say no. I am heavily biased of course because I have been a fan since opening day, and been there through the Two championships in that time. I can name a lot of teams that it sucks to root for way more, that one thing is for sure.

Jan 05, 2009 13:07 PM
rating: 0
 
Matt Hunter

And wow I should proof read.

Jan 05, 2009 13:09 PM
rating: 2
 
gaborde

There are two things I still don't understand about these Marlins accusations.

1. Are you suggesting that we should give a team like the Nationals or the Pirates brownie points for trying (and failing) to spend 2 or 3 times as much as Marlins?

2. Why the griping over the publicly funded stadium? The Miami city government isn't some puppet organization. They decided that they had something to gain long-term by enticing the Marlins to move to their city. I don't understand the intricacies exactly, but the stadium would obviously result in decades of additional tax revenue for the city. Even if you just consider the state, growth's good for everyone.

I don't even know what to say anymore. I'm done.

Jan 06, 2009 08:06 AM
rating: -3
 
Matt Hunter

The stadium is a bad idea for the city, and less so the state.

Jan 06, 2009 15:54 PM
rating: 0
 
Jack G

Well, if you're going to run a cut-rate franchise solely to profit off the largesse of the other owners the least you can do is send a team of mopes out there to get beat. They're the Washington Generals of MLB

Jan 05, 2009 11:40 AM
rating: 0
 
Jesse Wigtil

Loria is to MLB what Don Sterling is to the NBA. Perhaps worse.

Jan 05, 2009 11:40 AM
rating: 2
 
DWrek5

Well hes certainly worse this season. Sterling brought in a high priced free agent (B Davis) and traded FOR Camby. I dont see the Marlins bringing in 2 impact players, much less 1 this season.

Jan 05, 2009 11:49 AM
rating: 1
 
Matt Kory

The whole thing is pretty horrendous. Great column, Mr. Sheehan.

Jan 05, 2009 11:43 AM
rating: 0
 
Richie

Ummm. Not to interrupt the love fest, but I don't read anything at all into "departures" in the oh-so-offensive quote. Just means they're gone, is all. Especially appropriate in an AP release for which brevity is a virtue. Probably a requirement, actually.

Jan 05, 2009 11:48 AM
rating: -3
 
ncimon

No, that's wrong. Departures means you, yourself, got up and left. As the article makes clear, they were pushed out. There is a difference.

Jan 05, 2009 13:01 PM
rating: 3
 
gaborde

Not really. A firing's a departure too.

Jan 06, 2009 08:07 AM
rating: 0
 
oira61

No, I agree with Joe, and think the AP messed up here. One of the problems with American journalism is its tendency to hide behind the appearance of impartiality rather than attempt to tell what's really going on. That's in large measure how we've been able to avoid addressing global warming for so long: stories in which writers felt some need to include, "But not all scientists agree ..." In a world in which newspapers are dying out, the AP needs to address the idea of why people would pay money to read stories that actively avoid saying anything.

Jan 05, 2009 11:57 AM
rating: 1
 
teddyballgame
(166)

oira61,

i realize that you were just trying to make an analogy (and that your intentions were noble), but please don't bring non-baseball politics into the discussion. there are many of us that don't buy the "majority" view on many current issues, yet still can criticize the AP for its baseball coverage.

Jan 06, 2009 10:06 AM
rating: -1
 
huckyoda

Yawn.

The franchise is a business and should be / is being run that way.

Jan 05, 2009 12:09 PM
rating: 0
 
fishtaco

Nope, pro sports teams aren't like any other business. They have another objective in addition to making a profit - to win games and championships. Joe's well-made point is that the Marlins aren't even trying. They exist ONLY to make money and that insults their fans and makes a mockery of their existence in MLB.

Jan 05, 2009 12:52 PM
rating: 0
 
Matt Hunter

Then it should be pretty troubling for some of those other teams who do try, since the Marlins have 4 winning seasons out of the last 6, and 2 of those championships in the last 12 years.

Jan 05, 2009 13:11 PM
rating: 0
 
Schere

Oh, it's just a regular business? I'm going to go start a competitor in Fort Lauderdale! Oh, what's that? I'm not allowed to do that? MLB is a consortium protected from competition by an exemption from the law that applies to businesses across the country? Wow, who knew...I guess that means it's not just a business like 7-11.
------------
Joe is right...it's a blight.

Jan 05, 2009 14:32 PM
rating: 6
 
eighteen

Dumping Nelson and signing Proctor to save $550k is the Yankees' fault. If the Yankees didn't spend so much money putting a championship team together, the Marlins would make better baseball decisions. Baseball needs a salary cap so cheapskates like Loria will spend more money to put a competitor on the field.

[Sarcasm off.]

Jan 05, 2009 12:11 PM
rating: 0
 
Kate Kirby
(93)

But, Huckyoda, the point is that going from Nelson to Proctor is not a good _business_ decision.

It's well documented that winning games leads to revenue at measurable, marginal rates. The BP writers had a nice long piece on this in _Baseball Beyond The Numbers_. One can confidently say that the difference between Nelson and Proctor has a revenue value, and it's more than $500,000. I wouldn't mind seeing someone with a little more familiarity with the math and a little more time drawing it out like that.

I'm a fan of the Oakland Athletics, so I know the hard realities of not having a franchise with unlimited resources, but there are risks one takes to be competitive, that sometimes work and sometimes don't (Mulder trade yay, Hudson trade oops), and then there's just not paying attention to the larger picture in the name of making short term money.

Jan 05, 2009 12:15 PM
rating: 5
 
dubfifty6

The difficulty is that the value of a win (likely) isn't linear, because making the playoffs results in such a massive income boost - that was really the crux of the piece in BBTN - and the Marlins are in a weird spot where it is hard to determine how many wins they'll need to pick up to make the playoffs in the NL East.

Still, looking purely by WXRL, Proctor was a net negative (-0.256) while Nelson contributed about 0.866 wins . . . I'm pretty sure the lowest reasonable spot on the curve in BBTN for 1 win was a value of about $450,000, and that was a few seasons ago, so I would guess that a middling team with at least some shot at the playoffs can easily justify the 1-win upgrade for 550k. With 15 more IP for Nelson, it's an unreal easy decision.

Jan 05, 2009 13:19 PM
rating: 0
 
BaseballGod

That was a funny column, Joe. I'd love to see more humorous comments in your stuff, you've got a knack for them.

Jan 05, 2009 13:13 PM
rating: 0
 
carterneal

Joe, I'm with you about the Marlins essentially giving up, but I wonder if this example can carry the burden of supporting your essay's claim. Perhaps it's another data-point to consider, but middle relief, and its fungible nature, hardly seems to be significant enough a matter to carry the burden of damning the business and competitive practices of a franchise. (and, yeah, I know you say this in your intro, but you move from "a small matter" to "a big deal." And yes, I get that this is a pattern by Florida, but that's not your argument here, either).

Frankly, I just don't think that 54 innings by a 34 year-old guy who has only 100 innings in the majors is, well, even a small deal.

Jan 05, 2009 13:21 PM
rating: 1
 
ithistle

And then there's the Yankees, who get $450 million from the NY state taxpayers for their new stadium, but it's okay because they wasted $40 million on Carl Pavano in an attempt to win...

Relievers and bullpens are a crapshoot, as is repeated over and over on this site, and you're attributing motive to a baseball decision when you don't know all the circumstances. Maybe Nelson is a jerk in the clubhouse. Maybe the coaches can't work with him. Maybe the Marlins notice he doesn't take his conditioning seriously. Sure Proctor is probably a poor replacement, but he doesn't have to stay on the big league roster all year and pitch the 7th inning every game.

Jan 05, 2009 13:30 PM
rating: -1
 
ithistle

And before any Yankees fans jump down my throat, you could replace "Yankees" with any number of other teams.

Jan 05, 2009 13:32 PM
rating: 0
 
OonBoon

Give Loria a break, guys, Jeezum Cripes. Obviously he's scrimping and saving for his own stadium. If I can buy slightly irregular Hanes at TJ Maxx for $3.00, when Fruit of the Loom at Wal Mart is $4.50, I'm driving that extra 60 miles to get to TJ Maxx every time.

Jan 05, 2009 13:33 PM
rating: 3
 
Gabo

Except, the problem with that is that the gas you're going to pay to get to TJ Maxx is gonna end up making that $3.00 pair more expensive than $4.50. Just like in baseball, where signing Nelson instead of Proctor ends up generating more value per IP, especially for the difference of 500K.

Jan 05, 2009 14:25 PM
rating: 1
 
dtung

If I may stick up for the punching bag that is Scott Proctor; he pitched quite decently in September for the Dodgers after returning from injury (7 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 10 Ks and 2 runs in his last 2 appearances). Granted, that's a very small sample size in mostly mop-up duty and the Dodgers didn't see fit to include him on their postseason roster. However, I believe that Proctor is a decent reclamation project, albeit maybe not one you want to guarantee money (The Marlins of all organizations). Which is not to say anything of his relative value compared to Joe Nelson.

Jan 05, 2009 13:51 PM
rating: 0
 
Hendo

If baseball had had a commissioner in 2002, the Expos would still be in Montreal and Loria would be off schlepping his Thomas Kinkades or whatever.

And Washington would still be without a team, which saddens me to think of, but would have been the most just outcome.

Jan 05, 2009 14:05 PM
rating: 0
 
Matt

If Loria is pocketing money coming from the central fund, and Selig and the other owners are turning a blind eye and/or facilitating it, the blame should go further than Loria. Extorting tax payer money for a stadium isn't so bad as long as they don't get the money. It will be a shame if they do.

Jan 05, 2009 14:16 PM
rating: 2
 
eanderson76

It is not a normal business in that they have anti-trust exemption from congress. What would Microsoft or Google or numerous other companies look like if they were given the right to put their competitors out of business using monopolistic practices. The fact is that Microsoft basically nurtured apple and is now facing real competition. In the context of the Marlins, ownership is getting rich based solely on the leagues anti-trust exemption. without it they would certainly fail.

Jan 05, 2009 14:44 PM
rating: 3
 
gaborde

That is economic nonsense. The non-profitable teams would fail. This whole article is about how the Marlins would NOT fail.

Jan 06, 2009 08:11 AM
rating: 0
 
Matt Hunter

He is right without the exemption and being run as it is currently, which probably wouldn't happen they would fall face first. They take advantage on the situations in which they operate, which is a lot like those other businesses.

Jan 06, 2009 20:17 PM
rating: 0
 
hurling

"It does not, I should emphasize, reflect upon Larry Beinfest or the baseball operations staff, who have done yeoman's work under awful circumstances."

Any why not, Joe, isn't Larry ultimately the one making the day-to-day decisions on who to keep and who to sign? I know he works at the behest of ownership, but simply presenting the case you made here for keeping Nelson should have been sufficient even for a cheapskate.

Jan 05, 2009 14:50 PM
rating: 1
 
johnzirinsky

Like any red-blooded baseball fan I'm not totally happy about the direction Loria has steered the Big Fish of late but it's unfair to single the Marlins out for punishment in a sport that also includes the Pirates and Royals. Neither has even made the postseason since the Marlins were established--and won two World Series.

Furthermore, the Pirates enjoy the advantages of over a century of continuous existence in the same city and the attendant deeply rooted fan loyalties and revenue streams. (I'm probably reaching here. I, like 330,000 of the Pitt's former residents over the past 50 years, haven't spent much time there.) More importantly, they play in one of the best ballparks in baseball--financed with taxpayers' money, of course.

When seemingly every other franchise--including those perennial paupers the Yankees--gets to treat municipal bond issues like GM treats its pension fund (topical!), can you really blame Loria for trying to do the same?

Of course we all want to live in a world were every team single-mindedly pursues championships at all costs. But baseball is business first and baseball second. Sure, I'd play for free, but you wouldn't find me mopping up the flooded urinals under the right field bleachers in Babe's crib for nothin'.

Nevertheless, not offerring a serviceable, underpriced reliever like Nelson arbitration and then turning around and signing Proctor is seemingly indefensible. I watched most of the 158 innings he threw with the Yankees in that one-and-a-half season stretch and that probably understates his mileage, given Bigelow Joe's adorable tendency to dry-hump him just about every other day. Then again, Proctor seems like a decent dude and he'll probably throw more innings than a certain petulant Arkansasian whose five year dower already feels like at least a mollymawk.

Jan 05, 2009 15:15 PM
rating: 4
 
One Flap Down

Speaking of penurious owners, I just saw that Carl Pohlad passed away at the age of 93. I wonder if he's going to have his $3.8 billion buried with him, for all the good it did the Twins.

Jan 05, 2009 15:44 PM
rating: 1
 
amazin_mess
BLOCKED
This comment has been blocked due to inappropriate content. Click here to view anyway.

Tbbq evqqnapr.

Jan 05, 2009 17:34 PM
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff
BLOCKED
This comment has been blocked due to inappropriate content. Click here to view anyway.

Gurer'f nofbyhgryl ab gehgu gb gur ehzbe gung gur qvzrf sbe Cbuynq'f rlrf jvyy pbzr bhg bs erirahr funevat zbarl. Abar ng nyy. Zbir nybat...

Jan 05, 2009 18:08 PM
 
amazin_mess

LOL

Jan 05, 2009 18:15 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Joe Sheehan
BP staff
(17)

Folks, the man died. Whatever he was as an owner, he was also a father, grandfather, colleague and friend. Pull back on the throttle.

Jan 06, 2009 07:41 AM
 
strong
(273)

Not to mention Pohlad gave $10 million to various charities per year, founded the boys and girls club in the twins cities, and was considered within the Twins organization to be a very generous man. There is a reason those around baseball agree the Twins are/were one the of the best organizations to work for.

As for how he was as an owner...that is a completely different story

Jan 06, 2009 15:12 PM
rating: 1
 
Andrew Wick Klein

Bxnl, fb abj gung V'ir yrnearq jung EBG13 zrnaf, jvyy gurer or n OC negvpyr nobhg Cbuynq fbba? Nf n Gjvaf sna jub gevrf gb znvagnva n onynaprq bcvavba ba gur thl, V'z phevbhf jung l'nyy guvax.

Jan 06, 2009 10:43 AM
rating: -2
 
eighteen

The Twins organization he built won't be buried with him, and that's a lot more important to Twins fans than his money.

Give the man some credit - he looked at his competitive environment and saw that good organization, management, scouting, and player development could put a winning team on the field year after year; without resort to the crapshoot of paying FAs exorbitant amounts for past performance.

The Twins made the playoffs 4 times the past 8 seasons (and came within a game last year of making it 5), had only 1 losing season during that stretch; and has a roster full of young, home-grown talent that will continue to contend for years.

Baseball needs MORE Carl Pohlads, and more fans capable of appreciating good ownership when they see it.

Jan 10, 2009 11:37 AM
rating: 0
 
ephinz

Absolutely great column. How else can it be described if it made you read an entire article about Scott Proctor, Joe nelson and Doug Waechter

Jan 05, 2009 18:57 PM
rating: 0
 
Gibson88

I don't think Loria should be blamed for responding to the incentives created by others. If Loria's "pocketing" baseball's redistributive payments is bad for baseball, then the responsibility falls to Selig and the owners to change the system. If Loria's attempts to "extort" Miami and Miami-Dade county would constitute bad policy, then it falls to the elected officials of those municipalities, and the voters who elect them, to put a stop to the practice.

I'm not saying that what Loria is doing is "right" (a question that's irrelevant in my view) but it seems foolish to focus on perfectly rational behavior, rather than on the structures that not only give rise to Loria's behavior, but would and will give rise to similar behavior by other actors present and future. The reason this is folly is that it creates the impression that the problem is some moral failing of Loria's when, in fact, the problem is of a different kind. If we focus only on Loria, we don't fix the bigger issue.

Jan 05, 2009 22:15 PM
rating: 1
 
Rob_in_CT

I have a soft spot for Scott Proctor. The guy is/could've been a fairly useful reliever. Torre wrecked his arm (and also misused him situationally such that his value wasn't what it could've been... for instance, you do not let SP pitch to Manny. You just don't.). So good luck in FLA, Scotty P.

As for the Marlins ownership,yeah, sure, and yet... they've won. Recently. Twice. That complicates my impulse to condemn their practices. As for extortion of taxpayer money for a stadium... um, that's MLB ownership 101.

Jan 06, 2009 06:36 AM
rating: 0
 
gaborde

I think the last thing we're forgetting here is that player's stats are notorious for, you know, not being the same in two consecutive years.

Jan 06, 2009 08:15 AM
rating: 1
 
daantart

The Marlins are becoming the real life version of "Major League" except without the happy ending. Loria conned & screwed Montreal out of the Expos and are now doing the same thing in Florida with the Marlins--that he hasn't been turfed out of the MLB is total crime against baseball fans everywhere.

Jan 06, 2009 09:45 AM
rating: -1
 
tbwhite
(361)

If the Marlins are such an embarrassment to MLB, what does that make the 16 teams that finished behind them last year in the standings ? To finish behind a team that doesn’t even try to win, that’s a real embarrassment, and yet over half of MLB accomplished the feat.

Why is Loria a bad guy because he insists on turning a profit ? I’m sure the Yankees turn a profit too. The Steinbrenner’s probably spend 50% of their revenues on salaries and are good guys because that happens to work out to $200mm, but Loria is a jerk because he spends 70% of his revenues which is only $30mm ? I’m making those numbers up, but I have to believe that no matter how cheap Loria is, there is no way the Marlins have a higher gross margin than the Yankees. So, why aren’t the Yankees labeled the cheap bastards ?

You can argue it’s terrible that Loria wants to stick the taxpayers with a bill for a new stadium ok fine. But how much higher are average ticket prices today because of the foolish, uncontrolled spending of owners like Steinbrenner, Angelos, Moreno, McCourt, etc. ? What’s worse for John Q. Public paying for a new stadium with tax dollars or not being able to go to the games once the stadium is built because of the grotesque ticket prices jammed down people’s throats by spendthrift owner’s in large markets ?

I know that ticker prices are impacted by a number of factors, not just player salaries, but it seems to me that the lack of a salary cap, and the lack of revenue sharing has created a situation where large market teams “buy” their way out of mistakes. This unfair advantage set up a cycle of inflating player salaries, creating a dire need for new revenues for smaller market teams, causing new stadiums to be built(with smaller capacities to limit supply and increase price, thereby maximizing revenue), etc. The new revenues were spent on player salaries, and on and on it went. It was/is a bubble. It will of course pop. Meanwhile we lambaste a guy like Loria who wins and makes money in the worst market in MLB, and praise stupid fat cats like the Yankees whose main skill is buying their way out of mistakes. Beautiful, I guess that’s the American way these days, but I can’t help but think that a league of Loria’s with a salary cap and revenue sharing would mean that I could:
a) have an expectation that my team has as much a chance of winning as any other team
b) take my family to a game with decent seats for less than $200 per game
What’s so wrong with that ?

Jan 06, 2009 16:16 PM
rating: -3
 
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
The Week in Quotes: De... (01/05)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Prospectus Today: The ... (12/30)
Next Column >>
Prospectus Today: Mann... (01/06)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Transaction of the Day... (01/06)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article League Preview Series
Every Team's Moneyball: Minnesota Twins: Reb...
Premium Article Skewed Left: History Repeats Itself
Premium Article League Preview Series
Premium Article Pitching Backward: Why Relievers Get A Free ...
Premium Article Spring Training Notebook: Cactus League
Prospectus Feature: How the Astros do Spring...

MORE FROM JANUARY 5, 2009
The Week in Quotes: December 29-January 4

MORE BY JOE SHEEHAN
2009-01-28 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Catching Up
2009-01-15 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Bad Timing
2009-01-06 - Prospectus Today: Manny Being Jody
2009-01-05 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Too Much Sun
2008-12-30 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: The OBP Pit
2008-12-24 - Prospectus Today: A Holiday Surprise
2008-12-23 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Free Agent Dragnet
More...

MORE PROSPECTUS TODAY
2009-01-28 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Catching Up
2009-01-15 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Bad Timing
2009-01-06 - Prospectus Today: Manny Being Jody
2009-01-05 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Too Much Sun
2008-12-30 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: The OBP Pit
2008-12-24 - Prospectus Today: A Holiday Surprise
2008-12-23 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Free Agent Dragnet
More...

INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2009-04-06 - Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: Opening Day Edition
2009-02-04 - Prospectus Hit and Run: Outside Help, NL Eas...