Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Money, Denial and Facebook.

Terry Ryan assures us it's not about money. But, of course, nothing is, or so they say.

They are wrong. Money to us is like water to a fish. It so permeates everything that we don't realize it's there. I've seen gold star quality performers not get hired because they (justifiably) asked for $10000 too much per year. She was going to be responsible for a couple of multi-million dollar projects. The person she was replacing had overseen the budget swelling by half a million dollars. They hired someone that they knew would be worse.

And it swings the other way, too strangely enough. I once had a manager tell me about turning down an analyst who was overqualified. After a little probing, I realized she wasn't worried about his performance or his attitude. She just assumed that he would he would ask for more money than the job had slotted.

And it's certainly not limited to professional life. It's practically a cliche that money is the number one fight topic the first year of marriage. You simply don't understand the attitudes you carry until you share that checking account with another person.

So when Terry Ryan looks at the trade of Luis Castillo, the release of Jeff Cirillo, and the non-claim of Mike Piazza, and tells us it's not about money, I want to believe it. And I think he believes it. But I just don't believe it.

Maybe not claiming Piazza was because he knew Piazza would refuse to come here, and not because he cost $2.5 Million. Maybe losing Cirillo for nothing was because it was an easy roster move to make, and not because it saved $500,000. And maybe trading Castillo for a couple of semi-prospects was - well, I'll be honest, I don't have any idea here. Frustration with the state of the minor league hitters? Pressure to make a trade, any trade? A misguided sense of caretaking guilt? I have no idea. But maybe he had some reason other than the $2 million they would save.

But there are always other reasons, because nobody wants money to be the problem. The overpaid project manager is too cocky. The overqualified analyst will never stay. The wife is spoiled, or the husband doesn't care about the family's future. But if it wasn't for the perceived problem of money, none of those reasons would get in the way. To double-check yourself, you have to ask yourself, if it wasn't for the money, would I still do this?

And all three of Ryan's recent moves fail that test. There's no reason to not add Piazza to this lineup, or to put the team in a position where they have exclusive negotiating rights for him. There's no reason to send Cirillo to Arizona for nothing, which was made all the clearer when Brian Buscher was unexpectedly injured. And there is no reason to make this year's team worse by trading Castillo if it doesn't make next year's team better.

So don't tell me it's not about the money, Terry. Even if you believe it. Because it makes it look like you're losing it. Tell us that you couldn't justify paying $500K to watch Cirillo sit on the bench. Tell us that you wanted to save that Pizza waiver claim money for Jermaine Dye. And tell us that you were hoping moving Castillo would free up some money for another impact player that never became available.

Or hell, just tell us that after year's of scraping by, you just couldn't see the point in paying the high price of mediocrity.

And if none of these are the reasons, then find out what they were, and let us know, would you? Because we aren't going to be satisfied until we get a straight answer. And I suspect that you won't be really satisfied until you can give one.

Ok, so one of the GameDay writers me to join Facebook. I pointed out to him that I'm 40 years old, and I don't think I get this whole online social networking thing. But he talked me into it, mostly on the promise of getting the co-ed female groupies that I've been waiting half a dozen years for.

So I joined. If you've got any hints (other than "Run away. Run away NOW!") on what the point of this thing is, and what I'm supposed to be doing. I'd sure like to hear them in the comments.


Dwade said...

All reports are that Piazza and Beane had some agreement that Piazza wouldn't be traded somewhere he didn't want to go (ie anywhere besides "the coasts"). I wish TR had made a go at Piazza, but if Beane told him straight up that it was a waste of time and money, I can see why he didn't got for him.

John said...

But there is still no reason not to make a claim. If the Atheltics (or Piazza) turn you down, fine - at least they can't trade him to another contender. And you've got three days to work Piazza over and try and figure something out.

twayn said...

I like the idea of Jermaine Dye in a Twins uniform. He's a class act and despite his struggles this year I think he's still got some gas left in the tank. I do worry that his diminished production could be the result of some physical ailment, but if we're going to take a chance on a free agent slugger next year, I wouldn't mind it being Dye. Considering his down year, he might be relatively inexpensive as well. He's currently playing out a $6.75 million option year, and he made around $4 and $5 million in '05 and '06.

Also, Dye was responsible for one of my favorite baseball moments last year. With Santana on the mound, Dye flailed helplessly at two straight changeups, then watched a slider down and away go by for a called third strike - a very close pitch that could have been called either way. Dye turned to the umpire and you could clearly hear him barking as he gestured in Santana's direction, "He doesn't need your help, man. That's the one guy who doesn't need your help."

Michael said...

I use facebook as a way to keep up with college and highschool acquaintances. I don't use it for my actual friends because I keep up with them in a more intimate way, but it's fun to see how that one guy you hung out with for about 6 months in 10th grade is doing...or that heinous woman who broke your heart, and still has a ninja death-grip on it 7 years later...hypothetical, of course.

John said...

Don't know how close facebook is to MySpace, but I've found that most of the bars/nightclubs I frequent all have myspace accounts and that's where they post their music schedules. If you have an account, you can sign up to get the "bulletins" from the various places as to "who's playing this weekend". So, I use it for that as a convenience, but otherwhise, not at all.

Anonymous said...

John, you hit it on the head again with this post. The Twins are about money, as is every other major league team, corporate entity, etc, and while that is hardly profound, it is worth repeating--a lot. I have come to the conclusion that the older one gets, at least in terms of baseball, the less interesting the entire scenario becomes. The same monied teams win, most of the time, over and over and over. We see the RedSox, Yankees, Angels, blah, blah, blah. They might blow up for a year here and there, but over and over it's the same story, the same show. It's not a game, its a business, and it always has been. Shame on us for not remembering that.

Kyle Eliason said...

Wow. You're 40? I think you're going to need to write the splints and make a ton of money doing it to land the groupies. Whereas guys like Sharkey and I in our physical prime (hey, knock off the laughter!) can just write the splints.