Business of Baseball Reportby Brian Borawski
July 05, 2006
Jim Bowden to Stay as Nationals General Manager
Late last week, the soon-to-be president of the Washington Nationals, Stan Kasten, announced that he’ll be retaining the services of the Nationals' current general manager, Jim Bowden, when the team is finally sold to the Lerner group. Details on the length or terms of Bowden’s contract weren’t released, but it appears that with the new ownership group’s bottom to top philosophy, quick results aren’t the priority. It appears that the first order of business is shoring up the team’s minor league and player development system.
Prior to taking over as the National’s general manager, Bowden was the general manager for the Cincinnati Reds from 1992 through 2003. He served for two different ownership groups, including the eccentric Marge Schott, and he was also the man who brought Ken Griffey, Jr. home to Cincinnati.
You Want What??
Prior to his first and only season with the Florida Marlins, Carlos Delgado signed a fat contract that paid him $52 million over four years. It was a backloaded deal and he only received $4.5 million in that one season with Floida (2005) but it was a more unusual clause that caught my attention. Carlos Delgado had a clause that paid him $50,000 if he won the MVP and it also paid him the same $50,000 if he came in second place to Barry Bonds. Bonds had won the previous four MVP awards, and I guess the Marlins didn’t see any shame in Delgado being his runner up.
We usually hear about the monetary terms of contracts but there are several “perks” thrown around as well. Maury Brown breaks down some of these perks, and they include incentives for a player to keep his weight down, loans from the team, basketball tickets and private jet rides. In addition to the column, if you want to kill an hour or three, stop by Cot’s Baseball Contracts. There you can find all the details on player and executive contracts in amazing detail.
Bob DuPuy Goes to Florida, Again
It seems like MLB President Bob DuPuy is going to rack up some frequent flyer miles because he appears to be set to do what it takes to help the Florida Marlins get a new publicly subsidized stadium. Last week he met with Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina, Marlin’s president David Samson and county manager George Burgess to help grease the wheel in order for a stadium deal to be put together.
Since San Antonio, Texas backed away from the Marlins, the only real option has been in Hialeah, Florida. Right now, it looks like MLB can smell blood, so it appears their top guns are willing to put in time to try to help get a deal done.
Padres Hire Paul DePodesta
Late last week, the San Diego Padres hired former Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta to be the special assistant for baseball operations. He’ll report to the team’s CEO, Sandy Alderson. Alderson, as the general manager for the Oakland Athletics, was Billy Beane’s mentor and Paul DePodesta was Beane’s assistant general manager prior to his joining the Dodgers.
Braves Lose, Both On and Off the Field
If you’re in your early teens, you really don’t know anything different then the Braves being the National League East champions. You’d have to go all the way back to 1990 to find a Braves team that didn't win the division, but this year, it looks like that run is going to come to an end. Heading into Tuesday’s games, the Braves are 12.5 games back of the first place New York Mets.
On top of all this, the team is taking a hit. Assistant general manager Dayton Moore left to run the Kansas City Royals, the team is in the middle of being sold, and television ratings are down from last year. To date, approximately 30,000 fewer Atlanta area households are watching the Braves on television then at this time a year ago.
Fortunately, attendance hasn’t dropped, yet. In fact attendance is up almost 7% from this time last year. Whether that holds up though, especially if the team is out of contention in September, is another question.
Interleague Play a Hit With Fans
This year’s interleague games drew a record 8,592,482 fans according to a press release from MLB. The previous high of 8,493,234 was set way back in 2001. The average number of fans was also a record, with 34,097 fans per game coming to the ball park this year opposed to 33,703 coming in 2001. The 34,097 mark for interleague play is over 15 percent higher then intraleague games, which have average 29,520 so far this season.
Only eight wins separated the American League from the National League in interleague play. Since its inception, the National League held a razor thin 1,104-1,096 over the American League, but this year the American League dominated. They finished interleague play with 154 wins and 98 losses.
Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.