Alberto Gonzalez, Sam Perlozzo, Jayson Werth

Ruben Amaro is still spinning Jayson Werth’s impending departure

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Yesterday we heard Ruben Amaro trying to spin things in such a way so that if Jayson Werth signs elsewhere, Amaro can claim that it wasn’t about the money.  Apparently he also tried to spin things in such a way so that he can also claim that Werth wasn’t necessarily worth it in the first place. How? By saying that Werth “did not have an extraordinary year.”

Which is kind of nuts. I mean, sure, if you believe that Werth was never an elite player to begin with, his 2010 isn’t necessarily going to make you think otherwise. You have crazy high standards, I guess, but good for you for having them.

But if you think Werth was a top talent prior to this year — which I’m guessing Amaro certainly did — you can’t reasonably claim or even imply that his 2010 was some kind of disappointment. Werth’s agent Scott Boras certainly agrees, saying in response to Amaro that “the only way to argue that Jayson had a decline in 2010 is to look at home runs, where he was down by nine. But so many other areas of his performance were up. A lot of people would say he had a better year in 2010 than he did in 2009.”

Not substantially better, but his on base and slugging percentage both went up. While the homers dipped by nine, the doubles increased by 20 and he hit an extra triple. It’s certainly hard to argue that he had a falloff from 2009, even if a lot of people wanted to believe he did earlier in the season.

The key thing here is that there is no way on Earth that Ruben Amaro would have said, a year ago, that, Jayson Werth didn’t have an extraordinary year. The fact that he’s saying it now is more a matter of politics than it is a matter of baseball analysis.

Jake Peavy is having a bad go of things right now

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 25: Jake Peavy #22 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at AT&T Park on May 25, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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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.

The AT&T Park mortgage is paid off

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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.