When Ryne Sandberg signed a then-record four-year, $28.4 million contract extension with the Chicago Cubs throughout spring coaching in 1992, baseball executives have been apoplectic.
Sandberg’s common annual wage of $7.1 million far exceeded the $5.8 million common New York Mets slugger Bobby Bonilla obtained only some months earlier.
What have been the Cubs considering?
Minnesota Twins common supervisor Andy MacPhail was amongst these furious over the toppling of baseball’s wage construction.
“My 3-year-old son could have made that deal (with Sandberg),” MacPhail stated. “To bounce from 5.8 (million) to 7.1! That was completely silly a yr forward of free company. That’s stupidity and timidity.
“Sandberg sets an artificial deadline and gets away with it! It’s a terrible deal. We’re going to spend ourselves into oblivion. I don’t blame the players. It’s the owners’ fault. We keep giving it to them.”
Two years later, MacPhail left his job with the Twins with two years remaining on his deal to change into president of the Cubs. He didn’t appear to thoughts the Cubs proprietor, Tribune Co., inflating his price for a greater job.
MacPhail’s journey from finger-wagging government of a small-market crew to “take-the-money-and-run” government for a big-market crew involves thoughts after listening to baseball individuals wailing over Craig Counsell’s stunning five-year, $40 million deal to go away the Milwaukee Brewers and handle the Cubs.
The Athletic quoted one unnamed former supervisor who referred to as the Cubs’ determination to fireplace a supervisor underneath contract, David Ross, for a higher-priced substitute because the “managerial Hunger Games,” referring to the dystopian novel a couple of battle of survival. The irony is The Athletic started by poaching reporters from newspapers and web sites with a lot increased salaries, a type of “journalistic Hunger Games.”
Anyway, the report concluded that baseball individuals have been “conflicted” by the transfer. It quoted one other nameless former supervisor as saying “it just felt wrong” and spelled the top of the “brotherhood” of managing, as if the 30 major-league managers have been all on this collectively.
I’m undecided what planet any of those nameless baseball persons are residing on, however there was completely nothing fallacious with Cubs President Jed Hoyer electing to rent what Counsell, who most imagine is likely one of the high managers within the sport, to interchange Ross, who had a yr remaining on his contact and oversaw an epic September collapse to lose a wild-card spot.
Either they weren’t being attentive to the Cubs downfall or they’re jealous that somebody set a brand new marketplace for managerial pay.
Few managers play out their contracts and elect without spending a dime company, preferring the safety of an extension. That consists of Ross, who signed a three-year extension earlier than the 2022 season with an choice for 2025.
Counsell determined to wager on himself, realizing if the Brewers missed the postseason for a second consecutive yr it may backfire. He received.
The concept that Counsell ought to’ve deferred to Ross’ standing and informed the Cubs he wasn’t thinking about a job that was already stuffed can also be backward considering. He owed Ross nothing.
Baseball individuals like to inform us they’re all a part of a household — till it comes right down to cash. Then it’s like every other enterprise. Players profess they love a metropolis and its followers, then decide out in hopes of a much bigger deal, as former Cubs pitcher Marcus Stroman simply did.
It’s all a part of the sport. If somebody supplied you a prestigious job for more cash, would you reject it out of hand since you’d be taking somebody’s place?
The response in Wisconsin to Counsell’s departure additionally has been disturbing. Someone defaced an indication on a baseball discipline named after Counsell, and Brewers proprietor Mark Attanasio, who threatened to maneuver final summer time if funding for stadium enhancements wasn’t forthcoming, whined that “Craig has lost us, and he’s lost our community also.”
Such nonsense. Counsell informed the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he would stay a part of the group the place he grew up and continues to stay.
“And that’s going to continue, hopefully, because it has nothing to do with baseball, that part of it,” he stated. “I’m looking forward to being part of a new community and hopefully impact our community well too. But as I went through (the decision), it just became clear that I needed a new challenge.”
The proximity of Chicago was additionally essential to Counsell for household causes. He was going to be paid wherever he landed, so you need to suppose being near house was virtually as essential because the file contract. He nonetheless has cheese in his DNA.
As for Hoyer, he deserves credit score for making a troublesome determination that he thought was in the perfect curiosity of the group, as he did in the course of the huge summer time sell-off in 2021. Javier Báez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo will all the time be beloved in Chicago, however few followers want they have been nonetheless right here.
It was additionally good to listen to Hoyer concede “we left wins on the table.” Though Ross deserved credit score for the crew’s revival after being 10 video games underneath .500 in June, he additionally deserved among the blame for the collapse. How a lot of it was Ross’ fault is debatable, however it’s exhausting to argue that his crew didn’t look defeated in the course of the last street journey to Atlanta and Milwaukee that sealed its destiny.
Whether this determination seems nicely for Hoyer and Counsell is anybody’s guess. The Cubs nonetheless want expertise upgrades after an 83-win season and will lose their finest hitter in Cody Bellinger. Counsell will probably be reminded earlier than his subsequent postseason sport that he by no means has managed a crew to the World Series
But it signaled a brand new period for the Cubs — an opportunity for Hoyer to separate himself from Theo Epstein’s lengthy shadow in Chicago and for Counsell to stay as much as his fame as top-of-the-line within the sport.
If this actually is the Hunger Games, we will’t anticipate them to start.