In How I Met Your Mother, Ted is arguing with Lilly about whether he should pursue Robin. (I know, I’m on the first season, still). Lilly says that it’s a mistake, and Ted responds, saying that sometimes you need to make a mistake, even when you know it’s a mistake. And isn’t this true? You know that guy is just going to break your heart, but you go out with him anyway; you know that you shouldn’t have the second plate of wings, but they’re just so tasty; and you know that you shouldn’t sign a player whose production during the last year of a contract is far superior than his career averages, but we have to look like we’re doing something to make our team better.
That last clause can’t be right. I mean, in a relationship you’re guided by desire, heart and libido. While eating wings, you’re guided by your taste buds, which will let you down any chance they get. But a professional sports team? Worth millions and millions of dollars? They wouldn’t be so foolish as to be duped into signing someone based on one year of production and ignore a long career and statistical sample size. Yet, that’s exactly what so many of them do. The player who is setting up the opportunity for himself this year: Jose Reyes.
Reyes has had an excellent career: a plus hitter and great base stealing speed but an average (at best) defender at the short stop position. I’m not saying that he shouldn’t get a good contract. But he should get one that’s based on his career production, not based on one year of eight with the hope that he keeps up that intensity and production. I’m scared of players who play that much better when a contract is on the line. It shows their motivation, and I don’t want to give a long contract to someone who seems to be most motivated when their next pay day is on the line.
Despite this, he’ll be paid over a hundred million dollars and given six years. Teams are too afraid to lose fans because of apparent inaction; they panic and force their own hand, and then they hand out crippling contracts. The Red Sox did it two years ago with Lackey and this year with Crawford. The big problem is that there will consistently be teams that, like the Red Sox, will overpay for players and set the market high – it’s bad for baseball, and this is coming from a Red Sox fan. Continue Reading »