The Colorado Rockies are completing their worst ever season. And, despite the fact that Jim Tracy is under contract for 2013, his job is on the line. But not based on what goes down on the field. Rather, what’s said in a meeting:
A meeting this weekend in Denver between Bill Geivett, the Rockies’ director of major-league operations, and manager Jim Tracy will go a long way in determining not only whether Tracy returns, but the coaching staff and the club’s direction. Rockies owner Dick Monfort said Sunday that no decision has been made on Tracy’s future. He pointed to Geivett’s discussion with Tracy this weekend as the important factor.
Geivett: Jim. we’re thinking we need to win more baseball games. You agree?
Tracy: I dunno, Bill. That’s one way to look at it, but I was thinking we should try to lose 97 or more games again. Kinda feels right.
Geivett: Hmm. I see. Well, good meeting, Jim. We’ll let you know what we decide later.
Well, obviously I have no idea what goes on in those kinds of meetings. I do sorta feel like whatever Tracy has to say doesn’t matter, though. Geivett was elevated to his current role in August when Dan O’Dowd was stripped of some of his GM powers, and O’Dowd was Tracy’s major backer, giving him a contract extension last winter.
So maybe the meeting will be more like this:
Geivett: What is it exactly you do around here, Jim?
Tracy: Well-well look. I already told you: I deal with the goddamn customers so the engineers don’t have to. I have people skills; I am good at dealing with people. Can’t you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?!
Yesterday we wrote about Carter Stewart, the American pitcher who, after failing to sign with the Braves last year, went to junior college. Rather than re-enter the draft this year, Stewart has signed with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League.
Jeff Passan of ESPN has the details on that deal: $7 million for six years. That’s five million more than the lowball offer the Braves gave him after drafting him last year and over $2 million more than he would’ve gotten if the Braves had paid him slot last year. This year he was projected to be a second round pick, Passan says, so his slot bonus would’ve been under $2 million.
As Passan notes, though, he has the chance to make out far better than that, though. That’s because his six-year deal would allow the now-19-year-old Stewart to come back to the U.S. as a 25-year-old free agent via the posting system. Passan does some back-of-the-envelope figuring, comparing what he’d make in the U.S. had he stayed vs. the $7 million he’s now guaranteed in Japan:
In a near-optimal scenario, Stewart would receive around $4 million for the next six years — and would not reach free agency until after the 2027 season, when he will be 28. His deal with the Hawks would guarantee Stewart $3 million more and potentially allow him to hit free agency three years earlier.
He could flame out, of course. The Braves’ lowball offer was based on concerns about his wrist. Even without that, there are no guarantees when young arms are involved.
But there is a $7 million guarantee for Stewart now, and the chance to do better than if he had stayed in the U.S. And the opportunity was created, in large part, by Major League Baseball’s clamping down on pay for draft picks and doing whatever it can to extend team control over players via service time manipulation. Stewart, and his agent Scott Boras, are merely exploiting an inefficiency in the market.