Thursday, March 15, 2012

This would rain on my parade

I am excited about the 2012 Giants. I think they've got a great club, and I can't wait for the season to start. I only really wanted one thing this off-season. Then I read this shite:
The chances of the San Francisco Giants signing right-hander Matt Cain to a contract extension before Opening Day are rapidly diminishing.
That's from Ken Rosenthal. It could just be another one of those Spring Pieces that sports-writers have to crank out. And it is diametrically opposed to the gushing enthusiasm of one Andrew Baggarly. So, I have to believe the reality is somewhere in the middle.
Cain’s representatives spoke Wednesday with Giants officials, and the two sides failed to make progress toward a deal, according to major league sources.
God, I hate "major league sources." Just say who the fuck they are fer chrissakes, and if they don't want to tell you their names then they're just gossips. And I hate fucking gossips.
No further discussions are planned, sources said, increasing the possibility that Cain could become a free agent at the end of the season.
I have a little difficulty believing that "discussions" have ended. People have phones and stuff, they can always schedule new meetings. A tad heavy on the melodrama, eh Ken?

That being said, I do not want to go into the season pissed off. C'mon--make this happen. This is Matt Cain we are talking about!



nomisnala said...

The storm before the calm. I wonder how far away the 2 sides really are.

M.C. O'Connor said...

The latest from Baggs.

I keep thinking it will get done. I hope so.

Ron said...

Matt Cain will get somewhere between $19 & $21M per year for at least 6 years:

- The annual salary is more than the combined lifetime income of every single person reading this blog.

- Matt Cain & his Family will be very well taken care of, no matter where in that range he ultimately settles.

- The range in prospective Matt Cain salary is a mere blip on the Giants' overall financial viability.

- The only person with a proportionately large stake in driving that the salary higher is Matt Cain's agent. That person's individual wealth is what is at stake here.

I am sick of greedy agents & their impact on the cost of sports. There are still a handful of Players around who negotiate their own contracts. I wish that there were more.

Zo said...

Also stated:

"...neither side is suggesting talks are close to being dead.

The Giants remain eager to get a long-term deal done...

Rick Landrum, who told me in regard to an Opening Day deadline, “We’ll never give up hope” and that “nothing really changed” with Cain’s desire to get a deal done by then.

I’ve also been told the Giants still have a similar outlook."

If there is a "fault" here, it is that everyone wants to look at comps. So Cain wants at least what Hamels gets, Hamels wants at least what Cain gets. It has nothing to do with how much is enough, how much the agents make or how much the people who peer at this from the dank corners of their mother's basement make. It is their way of keeping score.

Brother Bob said...

I agree with everything Ron wrote. Like all business, it's like a game to try to squeeze every penny out.
I'm psyched about the FNGs Pagan & Cabrera. It looks they're going to lead off every game with the potential for exciting things, and if Pablo and Buster can drive them in run production will go way up.

Ron said...

Zo, you are off-base here. Sure, it's about comps, but the whole process is motivated by agent greed. For God's sake, Matt Cain, his Wife, his Children, & his Children's Children are going to be just as comfortable for the rest of their lives, whether he plays for the Giants for $20M per year for 6 years or he plays for the Marlins for $21M per year for 6 years. Does Matt Cain really give a rat's ass whether he is paid what Cole Hamels or C. J. Wilson are paid? Does he really, deep in his heart, say "I am going to change my lifestyle & uproot my Family, because I can't bear the thought of making less than Cole Hamels"? I don't think so. Furthermore, these guys with their 6 year deals will be yesterday's news the following season, when some group of comparable players gets a little more per year. This is about a sick system built on sycophant agents having a few rich clients apiece. They conspire to work on players' & each other's egos, resulting in driving the cost of everything up, including tickets, beer, parking, TV rights, you name it.

Zo said...

Really? Are you serious? So if it were not solely for greedy agents, we would be paying $2 to sit in ATT and watch baseball games? Please check out a little more from the Baggarly article that Mark linked:

"Asked whether he was optimistic or pessimistic that an extension could be reached before the April 6 season opener, Cain pondered the question for a time.

“I guess … I don’t know,” Cain told “I’m hesitant to answer that question because I’m thinking about the times I’ve had playing with these guys, growing up in this organization. I’m definitely going to enjoy this season to the fullest with whatever happens. But you also think about going to free agency, and you might not have that chance again. So you really are torn between the two sides. It’d be hard to say it’s one way or the other.”

Does that really sound the same as, "Oh, the Giants can pay me pretty much anything because I don't want to move" to you?

There is plenty of greed (or, call it good old fashioned capitalism) here to go around. Have you seen what the asking price is for the second-rate LA doggers and their crappy, outmoded, dangerous stadium from someone who basically cashed out its value is? It is positions like yours that support the owners when they want to bust unions.

I actually have to hope that Mr. (or Ms) Nomisnala is on the money. Posturing. Sportswriters creating sturm and drang because THEY GET PAID TO WRITE STUFF. It is only we fools who do it for free.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I have no problem with Matt Cain or anyone else making the most they can make. Becoming a "free agent" is what these guys all strive for. If he wants to "test the market" then bully for him. Hell, he's the damn player rep. If anyone understands the unique opportunity he has to have his services demanded by other teams, it's him! Bully for him. Sure, I hope they keep the nucleus together, and would be upset if Matt left. But that's what the game is today. I believe in free agency. I think ALL players should be free agents as soon as they sign. The current system is a compromise from the days of the reserve clause. Why shouldn't any player (any employee of any organization, really) be free to get the best deal he can?

Ron said...

Sorry for the delayed response - it was a relatively busy weekend. Anyway, I'm not sure that you guys are getting my point. It certainly isn't that players shouldn't be Free Agents (they should) or make much higher salaries than they used to (they should). What superstars like Buster Posey get paid in their first few seasons is ridiculous.

My point is that, like much of society (& the US Congress, for example), lawyers are controlling the agenda, the discourse, & the purse strings.

A few weeks ago, Matt Cain was very publicly all 'I love it here, & my Family loves it here', etc.. Suddenly, it's that mealy-mouthed, cagey crap in the latest interview reported by Baggarly. You don't think that it had something to do with his Agent getting ahold of him & telling him to stop undermining his negotiating posture by saying too many positive things. I 100% believe that that is what is going on.

And, even though Matt will probably stay in SF (God can only hope that that is the case), once again, I ask 'who will benefit most disproportionately from this dance'? His lawyer Agent.

Marginal players are getting $5-7M/year. Mediocre players are getting $2-5M/year. C. J. Wilson, who really doesn't have that great a track record, is getting paid whatever he's getting paid. Their Agents are making very large sums, indeed. We are paying through the nose for everything.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Major League Baseball is a multi-billion dollar international business. The players are disposable fodder. They would be fools not to have agents (experts) handle the financial parts for them. It would be like doing your own dentistry, fer chrissakes.

And why do you assume Matt Cain has no mind of his own? Cuz he's a dumb jock? Maybe the more he thinks about free agency and the closer it gets, the more attractive it becomes. I understand that completely. It is not a contradiction to say "I like it here" and "free agency is an exciting opportunity". Both can be true. How do you know he isn't a smart, capable guy, trying to maximize what he has worked hard to achieve? And why do you take ballplayer quotes (and show me the quote, please) as gospel? How do you know the reporter got it right? Maybe it was out of context. Maybe it was old news. Maybe the reporter inserted his own bias. Seriously, Ron, you sound like you just stepped off the boat. You've been watching this game (and pro sports) your whole life. You've seen all this before.

The Giants have to decide whether investing long-term in the talent they have is worth it. They may believe they can replace the guys they lose. They may believe that a 6-7-8 year deal for ANY ballplayer is foolish. Or they may believe they can lock up this crew for rest of their peak years and that the hundreds of millions it will take will be a good investment. Hell, I don't know. We'll see how it plays out.

Demonizing the agents is not an accurate description of the process. They are the only ones (other than the MLBPA, we hope) who have the players interests at the forefront. They make money doing that. If I had something to sell that was worth millions, you better damn well believe I'd get all the expert help I could, and I would expect it to cost me and I would hope it would be worth it.

Ron said...

Matt Cain is a smart guy. That is why it is particularly galling to see him fumble over his words, sputtering lawyer-ish non-speak.

And, yes, I understand the Team's dilemma, especially when it comes to long, high-priced contracts for Pitchers (Barry Zito has set the standard for the drawbacks to that). But, despite the Barry Zito, Aaron Rowand, etc., the Giants are doing just fine.

I will continue to rail against agents. Collectively, they are sleazebags. As it pertains to veteran players, we are not talking about the down-trodden masses here. We are talking about guys in their late 20's being arm-twisted into prolonged dramas over whether they should make $19M or $19.5M. At those salaries, the $0.5M is chump-change to the player. The extra $100,000 for the agent is what it is all about, especially if he accumulates 10 or more of those extras dollops of $100,000.

How about a new system? No agent involvement for guys making $5M or more. But, none of this artificially-capped bullshit for the younger guys, either. The agents can go to work earning a few extra $10,000 paychecks, getting people like Dan Runzler $500,000 instead of $450,000. The inexperienced guys work like dogs, risk career-threatening injury on a daily basis, &, relatively, get paid next-to-nothing. That is a symptom of a crappy system, but you don't see the Players' Union trying to effect much progress on salaries for those early in their careers.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I'll concede your points. I'm not defending agents--merely pointing out their necessity. Yes, the system rewards veterans. They could do a lot more for young players, but vets have the voice in the MLBPA, so they don't. The vestiges of the reserve clause, like arbitration and whatnot, should be eliminated. Players should be free agents sooner. Hell, the draft is bullshit. Let's talk about that. I got plenty of reforms for baseball, believe me. But agents are low on my list. Sleazebags or not, they talk the lingo the guys in suits talk. You gotta have one or you get hosed. If you want a brick wall, hire a mason. If you want to negotiate with Satan and His Minions, hire a first-rate asshole motherfucker.

And I must protest "chump change." Why is an agent getting an extra 100 grand bad? Why shouldn't a player get an extra 400 large if he can? Isn't that the point of free agency? To negotiate the best deal? I am not upset about someone making money, especially when corporate scum make even more money off these guys.

I'm sure we all believe that if we had $20M we'd think $0.5M was "chump change." But I'm not so sure. Money isn't permanent. People lose fortunes all the time. You might just think that extra half-mil is worth the effort. You've already imagined the good things you could do with it. It isn't up to me to decide how players ought to feel about their money. I care about player salaries only in the context of what a team can or can't do because of player cost.