Tuesday, July 8, 2008

To Whom It May Concern

Indians' owner Paul Dolan has published an open letter to Tribe fans explaining the reasons for trading Sabathia. Lots of "CC is a great guy" and "it has been a trying year for us" stuff, but this paragraph sticks out in a pretty big way:
We made extensive attempts to secure CC's future in Cleveland by signing him to a contract extension. In fact, we offered CC a top of the market contract that included the highest annual salary in the history of the Indians' organization. Unfortunately, due to CC's desire to test the free agent market, we determined that trading CC provided the best outcome for the long-term success of the organization.
Anyone else find it odd that the team is so publicly divulging what happened during contract negotiations? It's not like the talks between CC and the team were on the sports pages every day.

If I were CC (well, the CC who can pitch real good) I'd probably be a bit miffed.


Jason said...

Bitter? Table for one. Your table is ready.

Vegas Watch said...

There is not a single statement in this paragraph that any Indians fan did not know three months ago. There is also not a single statement that is particularly critical of CC Sabathia.

The highest AAV value in Indians history (unless I'm missing something) is Hafner at a little over 14. Not exactly breaking news that the contract offered Sabathia was larger.

All this piling on of the Indians is really pretty absurd.

Craig Calcaterra said...

Not trying to pile on VW. I just thought it a bit gauche to basically say "we tried to keep him but he wanted the big bucks" in the same letter in which they're thanking him for his time with the team. I think Dolan knows that the mind set of many fans (not this one, but many) is to think less of players who want to become free agents rather than show some loyalty -- however bogus that term truly is -- to the hometown nine. It's not a major dig, but it is a dig all the same.

And, in light of the Hafner contract being the biggest at $14M, the phrasing can be read as a tad disingenuous. How much did they offer him? Most folks -- even those I refer to in the previous paragraph -- know that $15M wouldn't have represented a serious effort by the team. Did CC reject Zito money, or did he have no real choice but to test the market? Dolan clearly wanted to leave the impression that the team went max for him, when we really don't know if that's the case.

Don't get me wrong: I think the team was right to trade Sabathia and I think they got a good return. I'm always skeptical (not disapproving, but skeptical) however, when a team executive makes a public PR play like this, and think it worthy to explore what he's trying to accomplish with his rhetoric.

Peter said...
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Peter said...

Jason, I don't think Dolan and Shapiro are bitter at all. If we're all smart enough to understand that giving 7 years/$140M to a pitcher is a terrible idea for a team like the Indians, don't you think they understand it?

I don't think that Dolan is giving away much by saying that they offered a "top of the market" extension and the "highest annual salary". Those two were givens, even before the first offer was made.

If Dolan were really bitter, he'd say:
"Huge contracts for pitchers are a terrible proposition for the team. God bless the club that gives him $20M per for 7 years."

This letter is for the average Indians fan, who doesn't understand the long-term ramifications of giving a pitcher that much money for that many years.

That said, I dislike the idea of the letter, simply because I don't think that the casual fans who don't actively follow the team and are still pissed that we "traded" Omar and Sandy will buy it anyway.

David said...

I'm sure the Indians made a reasonable effort to sign CC to a healthy contract, but I have a hard time believing it was "top of the market" -- which you would have to believe would be close to Zito or Santana money. Given their budget, they would have been crazy to offer that. They did just fine in the trade.

Justin Zeth said...

Supposedly the Indians' top offer that he rejected was 4/72. Somebody will give him 7/140 on the open market, in all likelihood. Can't blame him for turning it down. It's just economics. Sabathia staying in Cleveland makes no financial sense for either side.

Daniel said...

I don't really have a problem with the letter. It's true that it may not get through to the casual fan, but I think he said the right thing. It has been out for awhile that the Tribe offered Sabathia some good money to stay. Could he get more on the open market? Absolutely, but I think the Indians did the right thing by their sustainable franchise success and by their fans. To a casual fan, that may be hard to see on the surface.

I don't agree that the Indians got as good of a package as they could have, but that's huge speculation. They got one potential star, but the others are iffy. Given how the Santana negotiations eventually landed the Twins a package that was worse than two others they could have had, I don't blame the Indians for taking this deal.