Nationals Baseball: I don't get whey they don't just sign the guy

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

I don't get whey they don't just sign the guy

This will-they won't-they stuff is getting tiresome. We all know whenever Orlando Hudson sleeps with the Nationals it's going to ruin the show. So just get it over with and we can move on to the Elijah Dukes inherits a fortune subplot.

I know we're supposed think highly of the organization because they aren't going to pay over value for Hudson (more on that in a sec). But you know what I don't get? The Nats, not two months ago, signed Pudge Rodriguez to a 2 year, 6million dollar contract when last year he (1) signed for a 1.5 million dollar (+ 1.5 million in incentives) deal, and (2) sucked. What makes Hudson different that the Nats can't possibly bring themselves to overpay a little to make this happen? The fact that he's actually slightly above average? That he's not at the age he could be a grandfather? They also signed Matt Capps, a low K relief pitcher coming off a bad year, to a 3.5 million dollar deal. Do we need to discuss the fungibility of your average reliever?

I didn't think either of these were terrible deals because I felt the Nats were doing on a small scale something that I like to see teams do: overpay for need. They needed a catcher - they identified a catcher they wanted - they overpaid to get him. They needed a closer - they identified a closer they wanted - they overpaid to get him. Used to be those kind of signings were only good for teams where one or two more wins meant the difference between playoffs and not. However, times are changing. It used to be overpaying meant both $ and years. You'd be stuck with a guy making too much for too long. Nowadays it's only about money. Guys don't get long deals. Mistakes are more easily brushed aside becuase either after this year or next you can move on. More teams can afford to overpay.

And these guys are on the low end of the salary scale. So Pudge only should have gotten 2.5 mill for two years (based on name mainly). So Capps shouldn't have gotten over 2. So the Nats put in 6.5 million into payroll for 2010 when they might have gotten away with 3.25. We're talking about a major league team here - 3.25 million shouldn't be a make or break amount. It wasn't for those two and yet for Hudson it is for some reason. I don't get it. Either commit to spending a little bit - like 10% more to fill needs or don't. Don't decide now, with the player that could honestly really make a difference, to draw a line in the sand.

Orlando's not great. But he's better than what the Nats have and puts them one step further from the dregs that they've been at the past few years. All for what amounts to making the Nationals the 23rd highest payroll in the league rather than the 26th. Sign the guy.

Shhhhh. In DC, the 9th largest metro area with all that per capita income. Shhhhh.


Brian said...

Harper - It's not a matter of whether or not they have the money. If the Nats view Hudson as a one year $4M guy then offer him that and let Hudson make the decision. No need to outbid yourself.

Harper said...

That's fine as long as the Nats are 100% sure they are bidding only against themselves. But I'm pretty sure the Twins are in it, if not one or two other teams.

I'd hate to see the Nats want Hudson and lose Hudson because they felt he was worth 4 million and he signed elsewhere for 5. For one year it's ok to overpay a little. Get the dessert dammit. It's just one meal.

Brian said...

I'm 100% meh on it. Hudson is OK but it seems the player's idea of value and what teams are offering aren't close.

Twins & Indians are the only others bidding if reports are correct

But these reports also make it sound that Hudson prefers DC. The rumored Nats deal of $3M base with up to a couple million in incentives sounds fair enough to me.

If they get him, great. If he passes to get an extra $500K guaranteed from someone else, It won't bother me in the slightest

Unknown said...

I agree. With both of you. If the Nats offered him 3 or 4 mill, and they are sure that's the highest offer out there, I'm fine with them waiting for Hudson to try and shop it around before giving up and coming to DC. If they lose out on a piece they need because they didn't want to spend 4 mill instead of 3 mill, I'll be pretty irritated. I'd prefer they over-pay for Hudson than Pudge. But I'm waiting to see what happens with Hudson. If they lose Hudson, and try to tell me that they valued Kennedy as Hudson's equal, my BS meter will explode instantly.

Harper said...

Brian - "meh" isn't far off (again it's just a couple of wins for one seasons projected to be in the low-mid 70s now) but I guess I'm annoyed that they seem to be operating with reverse logic. The most talented "meh" guy they are setting a firm price point at and refusing to budge. The closer who should bounce back to an ok year - they overpaid a bit to beat out other potential bidders. The catcher who sucks - they overpaid a lot and I didn't see any suitors in sight. With 6 million on the line - it would have made far more sense to just give Hudson his 5 year deal, and to say to Pudge 1 yr 1 million is it, then what they did. Minor points but annoying.

sassy - Yeah. If they sign Kennedy for 3 million that'll scream "BUDGET" rather than value when it comes to Hudson. (even if the numbers were close)

Harper said...

5 mill deal - not 5 year

Bryan said...

Harper - its pretty much the definition of penny-wise, pound foolish.

They'll (over)spend smartly at the low levels. They'll pay a $2M guy maybe $4. But for some reason, they won't pay a $4M guy $6M, even though is still the same extra $2M. But because they see the $4M and the $6M, it somehow blocks them, even though its $2M more regardless.