Whitey Herzog warned the Cardinals against signing Matt Holliday today during his Hall of Fame induction press conference. He said that teams should be wary of paying one player too much money and suggested that Matt Holliday maybe isn’t the player on whom to blow the wad. Scott Boras — Holliday’s agent — fired back:
“Congratulations to Whitey on an extraordinary managerial career and
his Hall of Fame selection today. It’s understandable that a man who
was a GM 20 years ago when the revenues were $1 billion – over six
times less than the $6.5 billion revenues of today – questions the
modern-day contract structure. I don’t think modern GMs, particularly Cashman, with a new ring on his finger, characterize
signings like Mark Teixeira – who akin to Holliday [has] achieved near MVP status (both second in
the MVP voting in their career) and taken [his] team to the World
Series – as ‘suicide.’ In addition, I’m sure if Whitey asks Pujols,
[Chris] Carpenter and other Cardinal players, they would confirm the
value of Holliday’s division winning contribution. Again we
congratulate Whitey on his admittance into the Hall of Fame.”
Of course, this is why people don’t like Boras. What danger do Whitey Herzog’s comments present to Matt Holliday’s market value: none. How classless is it to criticize a Hall of Fame inductee who has been out of day-to-day baseball for years for (allegedly) not understanding the nuances of the modern financial structure in baseball? Very.
Pick your battles, Scott. Pick your battles.
Veteran hurler Jake Peavy has not signed with a team. It’s not because he’s not still capable of being a useful pitcher — he’s well-regarded and someone would likely take a late-career chance on him — and it’s not because he no longer wishes to play. Rather, it’s because a bunch of bad things have happened in his personal life lately.
As Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports, last year Peavy lost millions in an investment scam and spent much of the 2016 season distracted, dealing with investigations and depositions and all of the awfulness that accompanied it. Then, when the season ended, Peavy went home and was greeted with divorce papers. He has spent the offseason trying to find a new normal for himself and for his four sons.
Pitching is taking a backseat now, but Peavy plans to pitch again. Here’s hoping that things get sorted to the point where he can carry through with those plans.
This is fun: The San Francisco Giants recently made their last payment on the $170 million, 20-year loan they obtained to finance the construction of AT&T Park. The joint is now officially paid for.
The Giants, unlike most other teams which moved into new stadiums in the past 25 years or so, did not rely on direct public financing. They tried to get it for years, of course, but when the voters, the city of San Francisco and the State of California said no, they decided to pay for it themselves. They ended up with one of baseball’s best-loved and most beautiful parks and, contrary to what the owners who desperately seek public funds will have you believe, they were not harmed competitively speaking. Indeed, rumor has it that they have won three World Series, four pennants and have made the playoffs seven times since moving into the place in 2000. They sell out routinely now too and the Giants are one of the richest teams in the sport.
Now, to be clear, the Giants are not — contrary to what some people will tell you — some Randian example of self-reliance. They did not receive direct public money to build the park, but they did get a lot of breaks. The park sits on city-owned property in what has become some of the most valuable real estate in the country. If the city had held on to that land and realized its appreciation, they could flip it to developers for far more than the revenue generated by baseball. Or, heaven forfend, use it for some other public good. The Giants likewise received some heavy tax abatements, got some extraordinarily beneficial infrastructure upgrades and require some heavy city services to operate their business. All sports stadiums, even the ones privately constructed, represent tradeoffs for the public.
Still, AT&T Park represents a better model than most sports facilities do. I mean, ask how St. Louis feels about still paying for the place the Rams used to call home before taking off for California. Ask how taxpayers in Atlanta and Arlington, Texas feel about paying for their second stadium in roughly the same time the Giants have paid off their first.