Articles

  • The First 40-40 $5 million Man
    September 25, 2022 by Todd Lemieux - Jose Canseco was Major League Baseball’s first $5 million man. He signed his contract in 1990 and in the article about the signing in the LA Times you can almost hear the remorse of the Athletics organization that they had to do this. Sandy Anderson indicated that it reflected the “Dramatic change in the marketplace.” It’s fair to say that since that contract was signed, inflation has made the $5 million contract almost an insulting joke given Canseco’s impact on the game as one of the original “Bash Brothers” with fellow Oakland A, Mark McGuire. Canseco was coming off of a year that was shortened by injury and had started to have run-ins with law enforcement. Despite only playing in 65 games he was selected to the All Star Game. He had some pretty incredible offensive years. He hit 42 home runs and stole 40 bases in 1988 and won the MVP. This made him the first 40 HR and 40 SB player in baseball history. From 1986 through 1992 he led the major leagues in home runs. Canseco was a big man and an even bigger personality in public than his quieter counterpart McGuire. For his part, Canseco handled…
  • I Just Wanted to Play
    September 23, 2022 by Todd Lemieux - There are a lot of bad contracts out there and it can be very easy to make the claim that “all agents are greedy” and players are just “in it for the money” but then you read a story like the biography of John Wockenfuss. Known as “Fuss” for short.“Fuss” always knew that he wanted to play baseball. He just loved the game. He played most every position in his life, from pitcher when he was younger to third base, catcher, and outfield. When he was drafted out of high school he was offered $500 but the scout remembered that John would have paid $500 to play. Going in to the minor leagues, he wasn’t even dressing for games since the the roster had 45 players but could only dress 25. He bounced around the minor leagues earning the nickname “Wildman” through various outbursts like trying punch a hole in a dugout roof, throwing stones at fans, and bumping umpires. It was 8 years after being drafted before he made it to the major leagues full time. He almost gave up his dream to go to work running a pizzeria with his brother. His first day for his permanent stint…
  • Show Me the Money
    September 21, 2022 by Todd Lemieux - At the end of the 2021 season there were two players who took a one year contract in order to avoid arbitration. The first player was 25 years old and had just finished an injury shortened season of 95 games. In those 95 games he had 10 HR, batted .165, had an OBP of .262 and 36 RBI. His WAR was -1.5 but despite this the player had won Rookie of the Year in 2017 and MVP in 2019. He wanted to prove to the baseball world that he could do better as he was entering his prime.  Player 1 signed for $17 million for one year.  The second player was 29 years old and had just played 148 games. He had 39 HR, batted .287, had an OBP of .373 and 98 RBI. His WAR was 6.0. He had won Rookie of the Year in 2017 as well when he finished second in MVP voting. Not wanting his contract to be a distraction, he took a risk that at 30 years old he would make his mark and get the contract he deserved.  Player 2 signed for $19 million for one year. Which one do you want? Which one…
  • Ohhhhhh Canada
    September 20, 2022 by Todd Lemieux - There used to be a team in Montreal. Games were peppered with French announcers and the promise of poutine awaited those who made the trek north to Olympic Stadium to watch the team with the goofy logo that was an “e” and a “b” but also an “m” at the same time. In 1994 they were the best team in baseball behind some of the best young players in the game. Moises Alou, Marquis Grissom, Larry Walker, Cliff Floyd, Wil Cordero, Rondell White, Pedro Martinez, Jeff Fassero, Butch Henry, Kirk Reuter, Jeff Wetteland, and Mel Rojas.  The problem was the looming negotiations that had started with the owners in 1992 and were coming to a head in the summer of 1994. The Expos were a team prepared to go to the World Series and may very well have faced the Yankees and Don Mattingly. With a better lineup of starters and middle relievers, it would have been short work for the Expos to dispatch the Yankees and start a dominance for the next generation of baseball players.  It would all come together. A new stadium in Montreal. More money to sign players and Montreal could become a large market team.…
  • Ted Williams Yesterday…Imagined Today
    September 18, 2022 by Todd Lemieux - How much would Ted Williams get paid today? Imagine if you will the following player.  23 years old and looking for a new contract. He’s been fairly dominant in the league in the last three seasons with over 100 HR, 250 RBI, an OPS for those three years over .950 and a WAR of over 19 for that time. In those 3 years he has over 340 games, over 450 hits and over 30 SB.  His BA is over .280 and his OBP is over .425.  He’s young. Fired up. Ready to take the next team in his contract to the next level.  Juan Soto turned down a contract extension this year for $440 million over 15 years. He will most likely get some insane owner to cough up $500 million over the next 15 years. Maybe even 20 years for $600 million. Scott Boras is working hard. Search your feelings. You know this to be true.  Ted Williams at 23 had been in the major leagues for 3 years. He had 127 HRs, 515 RBI, an OPS of 1.123, a WAR of 34.2, 586 games, 749 hits, 11 SB. His BA was .356 and his OBP was .481.  Both…
  • SwingPitchers
    September 15, 2022 by Todd Lemieux - Pitchers used to bat. Regularly. Not like Ohtani who actually will accomplish something at the plate. This was a regular occurrence in the National League and the usual ninth batter was the proverbial “easy out.”  Today this has been replaced with the DH and has robbed us of the opportunity to see the ambitious but slightly outmatched pitcher vs pitcher matchup. Tens of thousands of people watching, many more on television and the pitcher would take his place in the batter’s box, hell bent on proving to his teammates, manager, the girlfriend he got great seats for and all the folks back home that he takes batting practice for a reason! We will never again see the ambition and, dare I say, gusto, of the swing of one Bartolo Colon.  If you follow Bartolo on Instagram he still pitches in many ways. He pitches in sandlot games, he works out with kids, and just recently announced his formal “retirement” from the game after attending Old Timer’s Day in New York where Edgardo Alfonzo complained that he still pitched like he was an every day player.  He ended his career with 247 wins, an ERA of 4.12 and 2535 strikeouts. He…
  • “MONEY FOR NOTHING GET YOUR CHICKS FOR FREE” Dire Straits
    September 14, 2022 by Peter Lemieux - No player better displays money spent for no performance than Hector Olivera. You might consider him as a “Poster Boy” for Dead Money. The Dodgers recognized the great potential in this Cuban defector in 2015. They signed him to a six year $62.5 million contract which included a $28 million signing bonus even though he was 30 years old at the time. In July 2015, the Dodgers traded him to the Atlanta Braves before he ever played a game for the Dodgers but they had to retain most of his salary as the Braves only paid him $500,000. He was called up to the majors in September 2015. He played in 24 games. His average was .253 with 2 Home Runs and 11 RBIs. In April 2016 he was arrested for domestic abuse. This was followed by an 82 game suspension. In July 2016 he was traded to the Padres who released him in August. He did play in 6 games for the Braves in 2016 batting .211 with no Home Runs and 2 RBIs. He never played in the Major Leagues again. However he received the following payments for not playing 2019 - Padres $7.5 million 2018 - Dodgers…

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