Because of Baird’s good-soldier tendencies and admirable willingness to take full blame for a lousy product, the critics lose sight of the real problem, Randa said. That would be the Glass family ownership group, which, despite its Wal-Mart billions, authorized a $37 million payroll, second lowest in the majors.
“It’s over Allard’s head,” Randa said. “He’s done the best he could with the limitations of payroll and personnel. It’s not his fault one bit. He puts so much effort and time into his job.”
Baird’s critics point to his trades of Johnny Damon, Jermaine Dye and Carlos Beltran and claim he didn’t get enough in return. But those ownership-mandated deals still brought back building blocks like Angel Berroa, Mark Teahen and John Buck.
Yes, Baird has failed to deal Sweeney for younger pieces when teams such as the Angels and Rangers badly wanted him. But ownership has steadily refused to eat any of the money that remains on Sweeney’s contract when that has become commonplace in such trades.
No one outworks Baird, who rarely gets to see his wife Julie, a Miami accountant.
“He flies all the time to see the Triple-A and Double-A teams or to go see a guy they’ve maybe inquired about,” Randa said. “He’s so hands on and he works so hard that his family life suffers. It’s unfortunate that he seems like somewhat of a fall guy all the time for the organization.”
The best solution, Randa suggests, would be for club chairman David Glass and his family to sell the team.
“I think there’s a lot of hidden agendas there,” Randa said. “With the revenue sharing and all the money he’s getting with the TV revenues, he’s making money and they’re losing games. That’s the problem.”