Sidetrack #1: And the funny thing is, Grant didn't even name him or make fun of him, he was just discussing the whole Rios/Lincecum drama from last year. But I'm not so lenient of the media. Here's two scenarios, which GM deserves firing more: 1) Sabean with the current situation, which is, we have Lincecum and a pretty good pitching staff, and a lineup that, based on ZIP projections, will be competitive and perhaps division winners in the NL Worst in 2009; or 2) this writer, who by hindsight and the ability to not be held accountable for any other bad moves he could have made, but suppose he didn't do the things he blames Sabean for - overpaying Zito by at least $50M (remember, his words), Rowand by $20M, and Roberts by $10M - but did do the one thing we have him on record for, which is trading the 2008 Cy Young Award winner, the Blue Jays Tim Lincecum, for Alex Rios.
Now let's tackle some of his assertions. Roberts, well, can't argue with that other than you could probably raise it to the full amount and not be far off. His signing was horrible. But not as horrible as trading off a Cy Young winner at age 24.
For the 5 year, $60M contract, over that same period an average player should earn, assuming we start with $10M in 2008 as average and 10% growth, $61M. So basically we are paying Rowand to be an average player for the life of his contract, and he was basically average in 2008, and if he's average for the life of the contract, we come out ahead by $1M. Since he was below average this year, there goes the $1-2M. If he does that over the life of the contract, that's $5-10M below, at worse, but as we all (OK, those of you out there who thought he was done) learned with Randy Winn, a season marred by injury could be followed by a return to career norms when healthy.
People forget, but Winn was the pariah for his contract a couple of years ago and now he's almost sainted by some of the Giants fans. Rowand could easily do the same by keeping healthy and hitting like he did in early 2008. But we will see if he can be healthy or our new Durham. Still, $20M is totally overstating the situation and way too soon to be declaring yourself a genius for opposing the signing.
However, 5 years is a long time and things can change. I was extremely encouraged by Zito's end of season spurt of strikeout-ability. This could be Randy Winn's situation writ large if Zito can turn it around in 2009. Obviously, 2009 is the tipping point, the situation is clearly not good, but there is still time for Zito to make good on the rest of the contract, assuming he can return to what he did for the A's in his last seasons with them, he don't even have to be like his Cy Young season to make this contract work over the next five seasons.