Ian O’Connor in tomorrow’s USA Today :
When George Steinbrenner’s Yankees are done landing Randy Johnson and, most likely, Carlos Beltran, their payroll will look as if it spent a few months in Victor Conte’s lab. Steinbrenner will have hurdled the $200 million barrier and started sprinting toward the big three-oh-oh, burning $27 million more on starting pitchers in 2005 than the Pirates are expected to spend on their entire roster.
That’s not counting the Yankees’ acquisition of Barry Zito in June, when Jaret Wright becomes their latest $20-million-plus middle reliever. “When you have a $220 million payroll, you can hide $18 million mistakes,” Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy said Monday by phone. “When you’re at $40 million, you have to be perfect.”
Though McClatchy obviously wasn’t claiming to be perfect (the won-loss record of his club is easy enough to check), the very fact that he signed Derek Bell (above) to a two year, $9.75 million contract in 2001 ought to disqualify him from any further discussion of fiscal sanity. Bell, by the way, earned roughly $360,000 for each base hit, an efficiency ratio that could be considered perfect when compared to that of Nick Esasky circa 1990.
3 thoughts on “Crying Poorhouse (With A Selective Memory)”
To be fair to the owner, Bell’s signing was under the watch of GM / roto misfit Cam Bonifay. Bonifay also inked long-term deals w/ Mike Benjamin & Pat Meares, if I remember correctly. Also, whomever’s to blame is also in line for some praise – without Bell’s ridonkulous signing (& the Pirates’ slow realization that he wasn’t worth the $$$ or the HH:MM), OPERATION: SHUTDOWN would never be.
well, yeah, the Pirates employed a G.M. But it was the owner that signed the contracts and checks. It’s a little disengenious for McClatchy to speak, even in passing, of the limitations a $40 milllion payroll places upon him without disclosing that he and his subordinates have exercised questionable judgement (baseball and fiscal) on numerous occasions. To recycle an old cliche, it isn’t the price of excellence that’s killed the Pirates, it’s the price of mediocrity.
a longer interview with McClatchy can be found here.