November 20, 2000
Big Exciting Contest V!
Pin the Tail on the Jody Reed
(Note: this contest is over, and the winner is being determined now. We'll print the best of what we got early next week.)
The Hot Stove League is now open for business. It's a time for would-be contenders to improve themselves, for GMs to make moves and for sports-radio callers to second-guess them. It's a time for free agents to get their big paydays. And it's a time for one or two players--and their agents--to make complete fools of themselves.
Of course, we refer to the Jody Reed Syndrome, that mental affliction that leads a player or an agent to turn down a very generous financial offer from one team in the mistaken belief that better offers await in the market. Mr. Reed and his agent turned down a three-year offer from his then-employers, the Los Angeles Dodgers, after the 1993 season, deciding to test the market. He received just a minor-league contract offer from Milwaukee and bounced to San Diego and Detroit before his career ended during the 1997 season.
Reed's case is the most famous, but it's hardly the only one. Charlie Hayes turned Colorado down and instead went back to Philadelphia, where his meager offensive contributions weren't disguised by the thin Colorado air that causes visiting sportswriters to think that Neifi Perez is a young hitter on the rise. Hideo Nomo and Steve Trachsel have made similar boners in recent years.
In January of 2001, the Baseball Prospectus team will announce the winner of the 2000 Jody Reed Award by selecting the player who most screwed himself by failing to accept a generous offer he received (considering all contracts offered since April 1, 2000). Since we never lack for excuses to run a contest, we're opening it up to the readers. Tell us which player you think is the most likely candidate to win the 2000 JRA and why. We'll select one winner from ballots naming the correct player, with a copy of Baseball Prospectus 2001 as the prize.