Right Field

Reveille 3/4/13

Good morning.

Here are several links from the past week that will make the first Monday of March a bit more bearable:

  • Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has a message for players who moan and groan about playing in the World Baseball Classic: “Get over yourselves, and think about your sport. . . . Everyone [except elite pitchers] needs to put aside their self-interest and contribute to the greater good of the sport.”

  • Mike Trout, 21, was the 2012 AL Rookie of the Year and runner-up for Most Valuable Player, yet is slated to receive a measly $20,000 increase in salary for 2013. Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times provides details:

“During the process, on behalf of Mike, I asked only that the Angels compensate Mike fairly for his historic 2012 season, given his service time,” [Craig] Landis, who represents Trout, said in an email. “In my opinion, this contract falls well short of a ‘fair’ contract, and I have voiced this to the Angels throughout the process.”

Players with less than three years of major league service have virtually no leverage, and most will make close to the major league minimum, which rose from $480,000 in 2012 to $490,000 this season.

If a player and team can’t agree on a figure, the team can renew the player’s salary at or above the minimum, an outcome that can ruffle the feathers of some players and their agents, hindering future negotiations between the sides.

Some organizations reward young players for superb seasons. Derek Jeter was renewed after winning rookie of the year in 1996, when the New York Yankees more than tripled his salary, from $130,000 to $550,000.

After Albert Pujols was selected National League rookie of the year and finished fourth in MVP voting, the St. Louis Cardinals bumped his salary from $200,000 in 2001 to $600,000 in 2002.

The Angels, under second-year General Manager Jerry Dipoto, are obviously taking a different tack, as evidenced by their renewal of Trout’s contract. But that is their prerogative.

  • Manny Ramirez looks to be playing professional baseball this spring and summer — in Taiwan. According to ESPN Deportes via MLB Trade Rumors, Manny and the EDA Rhinos have reached a verbal agreement to play with the Chinese Professional League team.

  • Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria took out a full-page advertisement in three South Florida daily newspapers in an attempt to give fans a positive spin on the state of the franchise. (SB Nation’s Rob Neyer offered a Fire Joe Morgan–esque rebuttal.) In a subsequent press conference, reporters didn’t exactly go easy on Loria:

The letter you put out Sunday said the buck stops with you, that you can accept some of the blame. But it was followed up with a lot of buts. Where does the blame fall on you in all of this?

Loria: Where does it fall on me? I don’t know. Maybe from last year and the year before my thinking we could do it with what we had, and it didn’t work? And adding to it. I didn’t hesitate when it came to putting a $100 million payroll out there. But when you have that happen and nothing good happens on the field, I don’t know where the buck stops there because I can’t hit, I can’t run and I can’t throw anymore. But, you know, I’m responsible overall, so I guess the buck stops with me. However, it’s time to look ahead. My father used to say to me, ‘Jeffrey, you know why the windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror? Because the future is a lot brighter than the past.” That’s what we have. We have a bright future, and I would like us to rally around that.

Why did you take so long to come out and basically explain this?

Loria: “It’s kind of hard to stop a runaway train. The season ended and I decided it was time to decompress and let all that was going to be said, said. I felt the time was right recently just before spring training started. …

How do you expect fans to show up when they don’t know half the starting lineup?

Loria: “If they like baseball, they’ll come.”

They didn’t come last year with names that they knew . . .

Loria: “Yeah, because they were losing.” . . .

With all due respect, why should fans believe anything that you’re saying, given the history?

Loria: “You’ve said that question in four different ways, and my response to you is we have put together a championship caliber of young players, a large group of them. We’re going to field an excellent team in the next two or three years that you’re going to be proud of. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe what I think.”

Did you repair the image with the taxpayers, that it was kind of a con job with the stadium?

Loria: “Con job? I’m not even going to answer that question. Sorry.”

That’s it. Have a walk-off week!

Jason Epstein is the president of Southfive Strategies, LLC. He was a public-relations consultant for the Turkish embassy in Washington from 2002 to 2007.


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