We know it is pretty fast. For instance, say The Voice of Reason asks me how I like her haircut. And let's say my immediate stupid reply is "Um, did you want it that short?" The time between the last word coming out of my mouth and the bedroom door slamming is less than five seconds. That’s pretty fast.
But I think we can safely say that Bill Bavasi shattered all previous speed records this week. Bavasi, in case you don’t know, is the Seattle Mariners GM, and a couple of months ago, it looked like he was close to losing his job. His biggest mistake? Giving two veterans (Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre) huge guaranteed money after career years. But he wasn’t fired, and Mariners surged to be a couple of games out of the wild care.
Granted a stay of execution, he did what any of us would have done – he went on a bender. And in this case the bender apparently means offering Ichiro, an aging veteran having a career year, to a huge, guaranteed, five-year, $100 million contract. Bavasi voluntarily offered an extra $5 million per year and an extra guaranteed year beyond what any other team had ever given a 30-plus-year-old center fielder, outpacing even the Yankees’ deal with Johnny Damon.
Stupidy sped 2000 miles to Minneapolis. And everything changed.
Suddenly, the cost of retaining Torii Hunter next year had increased about $40 million over what it had been a week earlier. Ichiro is a helluva a player, but he’s a year older, has less power, and isn’t a true center fielder. Not only did any chance of reaching a deal with Hunter before he reaches free agency go right out the window, but in all probability, re-signing Hunter just went from “a stretch” to “irresponsible”.
Unfortunately, the impact of that moronic agreement doesn’t just affect the Twins next year. The Twins start this homestand seven games out of the playoffs. Terry Ryan is always looking first and foremost at the present year, and will likely try to add impact bats if the Twins are within range of a postseason push. But if they find themselves double-digits back as this homestand ends – a homestand featuring three opponents with .500 or better records - he may need to change his tune and fast.
If there’s no chance of reaching the playoffs, and there’s no chance of re-signing Hunter, you can bet he’ll seriously consider moving Hunter for an impact player next year. Or to restock the offense in his minor league system.
Doing anything else would just be, well, stupid.
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