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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Pickoff Moves

Today's Birthdays

Joe Gallagher BRO b. 1914, played 1940, d. 1998-02-25

Dan Griner BRO b. 1888, played 1918, d. 1950-06-03

Merwin Jacobson BRO b. 1894, played 1926-1927, d. 1978-01-13

Jeff Kent LAN b. 1968, played 2005, All-Star: 1999-2001, 2004-2005. Happy birthday to the crankiest guy in the Dodger lineup.

Dick Loftus BRO b. 1901, played 1924-1925, d. 1972-01-21

Doc Scanlan BRO b. 1881, played 1904-1907, 1909-1911, d. 1949-05-29

"Spiritual" = "Show Me The Money": More On The J.D. Drew Saga

I didn't have time to comment more thoroughly on yesterday's Kevin Baxter-penned story about J.D. Drew's migration to the Red Sox, so let's get to it:
"I know J.D. is a spiritual guy and a man of his word," Colletti said at the time. "I guess he changed his word."

"Those things kind of offended me," Drew said. "At the time that I talked to Ned — and I still feel this way greatly about L.A. — I loved playing there and I loved where I lived. And I would have stayed if we could have come to an agreement.

"We were upfront when we opted out that they were on the top of the list and we wanted to keep the channels open about re-signing there. But after I opted out they really showed no interest."

Regardless of how Drew views this, he'll never be more than just another Boras-run mercenary in my eyes. He's got the stats (yes, in 2006 he actually did perform well enough to earn the dollars paid him), he's got — finally — a year of being healthy and productive behind him, but the fact is that in the end, he took the money, something that also came out in the Register's version of events:
Three days before Drew opted out of his contract, Colletti had lunch with Boras to discuss free agent Greg Maddux and Eric Gagne, who was at the mercy of the team's option. Boras told Colletti that Drew's situation also needed to be discussed.

"He said, 'J.D. would love to stay and this and that,'" Colletti said. "I said, 'Well, I'm not about to add years or dollars to the deal.'"

And that was that, despite what he earlier told Bill Plunkett of the Register. So, so long, J.D. Your bat may be missed, but your DL time and your mercenary attitude won't. Here's hoping the Red Sox fans will forgive you when you make an appallingly stupid baserunning blunder in the postseason, because the chances of that happening are almost as slim as your staying healthy over the duration of your Boston contract.

Bullety Stuff

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It seems to me that Drew, probably like most of Boras' clients, care more about their career than anything else, winning included. This is (nearly) a capitol crime in minds of fans and the media. I don't see it that way. Caring about your career and maximizing your earnings does not make you a bad person. I can see why Colletti would want to avoid these types of players but I can't carry the same indignation most have towards Drew. I don't miss him either.

That's really the crux of the issue. Drew doesn't care much about the fans or the teams he plays for and the fans and teams don't really care much for him. He's, like you said, a mercenary. If only Alex Rodriguez could have the same attitude as Drew.
I suppose that is true. You can't fault Drew for not wanting to perform, only for constantly pushing for the best possible deal.
Short of a Randy Wolf-like coming-home circumstance, a) why shouldn't Drew push for the best possible deal and b) don't 95 percent of ballplayers do the same?

The Randy Wolf move was news because it was so rare. And let's see, at the end of his contract, whether he or the Dodgers show the kind of money-second attitude that Drew is damned for lacking and Colletti is erroneously praised for having.

All of this is to say I completely see why people don't love Drew, but after all this time, I still don't get why he gets singled out.
In Drew's case, he has demonstrated throughout his career that his only motivation is money.

I don't fault him for that necessarily. He exercises free will, and has every right to make that choice. But many ballplayers do at least consider other factors when it comes to picking a team, such as likelihood of success from both a personal and team standpoint (while also recognizing that playing for a winner can have financial implications), where one might like to live, the organization & management, teammates, etc., particularly if the money is close.

Boras seeks out clients whose only line is the bottom line. Drew is a classic example of this. His lazy, uninspired play on the field only serves to reinforce the idea that he does not care about the game, does not care about winning, and that his only concern is how much he gets paid. Most ballplayers try to show some love for the game, even if their primary motivation is the all-mightly dollar.
I am so tired of hearing Colletti cry about JD Drew electing to exercise the opt-out clause in his contract. If the Dodgers were willing to give him this option, why should they blame hime for using it? This clause worked out as well as it could have for the Dodgers. The way that I see it, it could have played out two ways. First, as it happened, JD has a decent year, forecasts increasing salaries, and opts to test the market again. Alternately, JD is hurt for a couple years, and his production declines, then he would obviously play out the contract.

I am not generally a Scott Boras fan, but I hope that this causes teams to consider the potential effects of such clauses in the future. This was a lose-lose deal for the Dodgers, and they should stop trying to deflect the blame for making the deal in the first place.

It seems that many of the comments deal with JD Drew's reputation for being greedy and soft. Let's not confuse this with the Dodgers putting a stupid clause in his contract. This is not Drew's fault, and Ned should stop whining. I'm looking forward to seeing how A-Rod's situation is handled this year.
... many ballplayers do at least consider other factors when it comes to picking a team, such as likelihood of success from both a personal and team standpoint (while also recognizing that playing for a winner can have financial implications), where one might like to live, the organization & management, teammates, etc., particularly if the money is close.

I don't see any evidence that most ballplayers consider these factors more than Drew. Look at the teams Drew has played for.
I think, Jon, it was the sudden change of heart from September 27 to November 9. Drew has tried to pussyfoot around the situation, and at this point it is what it is, but Drew and his gimpy shoulder, knees, and God knows what else are in Boston. There's been something about him from the beginning that's kept me at a distance; part of it, no doubt, has been his representation, but I do think that with Drew it is all about the money, and more than most players. Maybe that's just my perception, and maybe it's wrong, but it, too, is what it is.
BTW, Brian, I believe you are totally wrong about Drew's deal being a lose-lose situation for the Dodgers. There's no way Drew finishes his Boston contract as a productive player. His opt-out saves the Dodgers from having to pay him for years of benchwarming.
Good Point! I know that the Dodgers aren't devastated by the loss of Drew. But, my point is that he doesn't opt out of the contract if he is injured or struggling. This option certainly worked out as well as it could have for both parties. My comment is not that the Dodgers are screwed, simply that an opt-out clause is very powerful and only exposes the club to risk. I think that teams should be very hesitant to offer such clauses in a contract.

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