07 May, 2008

Once again financials play restrictive role for big clubs

For a team to watch as one of its huge investments plummets, with very little contribution to the team, is hard enough; being forced to play the player in decline, because of financial considerations, makes the pill that much more difficult to swallow.Coming into this season the LA Dodgers had signed Andruw Jones to a 2 year $36.2 million contract, and of course the Giants were in the second year of a 7 year, $126 million deal with Barry Zito. Not only are neither of these players contributing to their team's success but they are actually restricting it.Barry Zito was 0-6 with an ERA of 7.54 heading into tonight's game. Prior to May 7, his last start was April 27, at which point manager Bruce Bochy sent Zito to the bullpen. A little over a week later and the powers that be saw to it that Zito was back in the rotation and Bochy was singing a different tune. "He's a starter. We just gave him a break," said Bochy. A much different account than was given after Zito's April 27th start.An even more clear case of financial restrictions is going on in Los Angeles. There the Dodgers, a competitive team, are being forced to play a center fielder who doesn't even look prepared to play at triple A. Through competition on Wednesday, Jones was batting an anemic .162/.273/.248 with an astoundingly low 4 RBI in 32 games. Not only is his offense a nightmare, but his once sterling defensive skills have begun to fade. True to form however, Torre is sticking by his 36 million dollar man. Again, not because Torre is making the best baseball move, but is having his hand forced by those who are paying the bills.While it is only fair that ownership and general management has its say in such enormous investments, it is clear that these decisions deprive fans of seeing the best baseball that their teams can provide; teammates are forced to compensate for the lack of production of their much higher paid counterparts, and others yet are spending time on the bench when their talents could be providing much more value to their team.

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