Which Came First, The Players or the Fans? Sometimes, Not at All.
So we’re about a week into the Rizzo-experience and he’s seemed to generate about a three-beer-buzz around the Padres. I’m tempted to use the word excitement, but I’m not that bold, and that’s really hard to say when he’s sandwiched in the lineup between Ryan Ludwick and a player-to-be-named-later. Also, I’m still not sure whether the head rush I get when Rizzo comes to the plate is a player busting with potential or that player’s busty blonde mom appearing on my TV screen.
Either way, Anthony Rizzo traded his spot on the Bull Durham bus for a paycheck from the MLB’s cheapest team (both of which probably beat my paycheck, and my 40 hour a week seat under florescent bulbs). But now that he’s on the Friar’s payroll, what can we expect from the baby face bomber? To answer this question, lets take a look at where Rizzo could be in five years. Worst case scenario: he’s Sean Burroughs, plays because he’s all we have, and bats .230 while getting booed by all 548 fans in attendance. Best case scenario: he’s Adrian Gonzalez, we go last to first, first to last, and then he bolts for Ohio State to get paid in used cars and tattoos. Kidding, he actually bolts to the Yankees after Jed Hoyer makes him pick up the check at Tilted Kilt.
To be honest, the kid looks pretty good, but how well he plays, or doesn’t play, is really beside the point. The point here is that he is a kid and all he has today is potential, and he’s another one of countless examples where the Padres trade expensive production for cheap potential. The Rizzo-Adrian trade is a classic case. Adrian was going to demand a high salary, so instead of heading to the bank, the Pad Squad went to the farm, and plucked an organic prospect that we can pay with pesticide-free dog shit. I mean seriously, if the Padres don’t want to invest in the best player at his position, in his prime, who’s a fucking hometown kid, then who are they going to invest in? That’s the definition of tailor made in Urban Dictionary.
Intelligent and cynical sports fans (who, me?!) will point to our low, “small-town” payroll as the reason we can’t pay more than minimum wage for players. This low payroll is obviously a product or low attendance, which is a result of San Diegans opting to hit the beach instead of the ballpark. But isn’t that like the chicken and the egg theory? Fans won’t go to games until the team has players worth watching, but the team can’t pay good players until the fans start paying to watch the players no one has ever heard of. Jed Hoyer is doing his best Billy Beane Moneyball impression, which is a frugal way to run a business, and a terrible way to run a sports franchise. A cost-efficient team is only efficient when the efficiency and production is greater than zero; otherwise it’s just cheap.
Until Jed Hoyer joins the rest of America and starts piling up some serious debt, America’s Finest City will continue to soak up the sun while Padres management continues to save for a rainy day. ~ADLP