I literally LOL’d out loud (isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?) when word trickled out late Monday night that the Orioles got bent over by the Oakland A’s in their deal involving Jim Johnson.
How could you not snicker at Dan Duquette getting one-upped by the A’s of all people?
The Orioles got fleeced on Monday night for one reason: Every single team in the major leagues knew they weren’t going to pay Jim Johnson the $10 million salary his one-year tender would have required.
You knew it. I knew it. And if dummies like you and I knew it, smart baseball people in St. Louis, Boston, Tampa Bay and Oakland certainly knew it.
How did we all “know it”?
Because it’s the Orioles.
I can hear the conversation now between DD and any other general manager in the big leagues last Tuesday.
“Hey…it’s Dan Duquette in Baltimore. We have Jim Johnson available…and we’d like a really good player or decent AAA prospect for him.”
Other team’s GM — “Why would I give you anything in return for Jim Johnson? He’s due to make $10 million next season. We all know you’re not going to tender him a contract next week at the deadline. Call us back when you’re ready to take a bag of balls for him.”
When it comes to matters involving money, they’re almost always going to throw up on themselves.
Meanwhile, they’ll be getting a new $27 million check this March as part of baseball’s mega-mother TV deal that gives each MLB team a total of $54 million in 2014 (last week I wrote it was $51 million but the number has officially been established by MLB at $54 mil).
I assume Tommy Hunter will be given the ball now and “groomed” to be the team’s new closer.
Good-freakin’-luck with that.
Or, maybe they’ll give 36-year old Grant Balfour – the now-ex Oakland closer – a two-year deal at $7.5 million per-year. Wouldn’t that be so “O’s like”? Let the incumbent go because you’re digging in and refusing to pay $10 million for one season, but give a guy six years older an additional five million on the books because he’s “cheaper” for one season.
Back to the deal constructed by Billy Beane and the A’s.
Like the rest of the country paying attention, Beane knew the Orioles weren’t going to pay $10 million for Johnson’s services. They only have two players on the roster currently who make more than $10 million (Jones and Markakis) and, faced with the prospect of having to give Chris Davis $13 million or more in arbitration, they just couldn’t handle ONE more guy making upwards of ten mil per-season. Right? Right.
So, knowing the Orioles weren’t paying Johnson, the A’s bent them over, sending some guy named Jemile Weeks (yeah, I know you’ve never heard of him — neither has anyone else) and the always exciting “player to be named later” for one of the American League’s most productive closers over the last two seasons.
Wait, I know what you’re thinking…”But, Drew, Weeks has upside…”
“Upside”. It’s a word that Duquette and the O’s cuddle up next to – naked – with the fireplace burning and a bottle of Boone’s Farm within arm’s reach.
“Upside”. A word the Orioles are so intimately familiar with when it comes to taking a gamble on players, they’re buying stock in home pregnancy kits.
What a joke they’ve become.
Wait…did I write “become”? This isn’t new. The Orioles always choose “don’t pay the player” over “pay the player”.
Of course, because you ALWAYS have to mention this, the Orioles COULD be trying to stockpile a bunch of money for the big moment this winter when they fork over a Brinks Trick for one of the game’s talented free agents like Shin-Soo Choo.
Yeah — “and if you like your plan, you can keep your plan…”
I’d love to be wrong, and frankly, the Orioles SHOULD prove all of us wrong by spending some of that $54 million in TV money (plus the $35 mil or so they give themselves from MASN), but I won’t be wrong.
They dumped Jim Johnson on Monday night because they didn’t want to pay him $10 million in 2014. The guy they got in exchange has four more career home runs as you, me, your neighbor’s boss and the guy who took your money at the Royal Farms register this morning.
And, because the whole world knows how frugal they are, no one was at the poker table to play with Duquette when he showed up at 11pm.
Except for Billy Beane.
Oh, and while the Orioles were busy getting exposed, their business partners in Washington D.C. who actually are trying to win picked up a nice starting pitcher on Monday night, acquiring Doug Fister from the Tigers for bucket of balls and a journeyman named Steve Lombardozzi.
The Nationals picked up Doug Fister on Monday night to bolster their rotation.
The Orioles dumped $10 million in salary.