Tuesday, September 08, 2009
John Perrotto On The Other Side Of The Kazmir Trade
The Rays' chances of getting to the postseason for a second consecutive season are pretty much over. They trail the Yankees by 14½ games in the AL East, and the Red Sox by six in the league's wild-card standings. To some extent, the Rays conceded last weekend when they traded left-hander Scott Kazmir to the Angels for a package of three prospects. The Rays were 3½ games out in the wild-card race at the time, but the trade showed that this is a franchise that still has to watch its money carefully despite their 2008 joyride that saw them go from having the worst record in the major leagues to winning the AL pennant before falling to the Phillies in the World Series. The trade saved the Rays $24 million, as Kazmir had two more years on his contract along with a club option for 2012.I think the Rays did a fine job last year, but it's obvious they're having trouble maintaining consistency with the same group. Kazmir especially is a player who was owed a lot of money and couldn't really maintain his production. Those are precisely the kinds of contracts that weigh around the necks of small-market franchises, whether it's Pittsburgh (Jason Kendall comes to mind) or Oakland (Eric Chavez's deal will finally be over this year).
"We have to live within our means," Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said. "This is who we are and this is what we do. People better get used to it, because it's going to continue." Sternberg was also adamant that the trade of Kazmir is not a sign that the Rays are giving up on the idea of contending again anytime soon. Instead, he said it was a "reallocation of resources" that provides financial flexibility to the franchise. "I would like to think people know me and know us better that we're not rolling up any carpets and that we have at least enough of a track record that we have a sense of what we're doing," Sternberg said. "I think any real fan who looked at it could clearly see that it's not a salary dump."
No, it most certainly is not. But try telling that to East Coast and Mid-West announcers. I remember a Blue Jays-Angels game *last summer* where the Jays' broadcasters referred to the Angels as a "small market team."
Let's run down the list of why that shows an abundance of Google ineptitude among certain broadcasters. The Angels generally always in recent years have a payroll as high as third in the league or as low as maybe fifth? Their attendance is usually around third in the league and they often get better TV ratings than the Dodgers. Sooo... *how* exactly are they small market?
I think a lot of people back East just don't get the Southland. They don't understand that the Angels pull in fans from all the surrounding counties, etc.
And I guess to certain broadcasters, any team other than the Yankees or Red Sox is a "small market team."