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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

NY Times: Chass - The Whiff of Collusion Comes, and Goes (RR)

Murray Chass’ latest…

The owners, flush with money in prosperous times, have given players and their union no reason to think that clubs are acting in concert with other clubs, in violation of the labor agreement. That absence of suspicion hasn’t always existed the past few winters, but the union didn’t have the kind of evidence it felt could make a case for collusion the way it did in the mid-1980’s.
[Richard] Moss, who, as the union’s general counsel, won the case that created free agency 30 years ago, knows the smell of collusion and believes he got a new whiff of it a year ago. The reprise occurred when Moss was representing Tadahito Iguchi, a free-agent Japanese infielder looking to play in the United States… Moss contacted 14 clubs about Iguchi, but only the Chicago White Sox made an offer.
If clubs did conspire against Iguchi, it might have been because Major League Baseball wanted to reduce the value of the contracts Japanese players were getting… On the other hand, Kenji Jojima, a free-agent Japanese catcher, recently signed a three-year $16.5 million contract with Seattle, a good deal for a catcher whose command of English is questionable.

NTNgod Posted: January 17, 2006 at 02:36 AM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark

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   1. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: January 17, 2006 at 03:02 AM (#1824493)
I don't know for sure, I thought Iguchi's value was driven down by Kazuo Matsui's contract.

As I recall, Moss was originally asking for a Matsui-like contract, and stating that Iguchi would stay in Japan if he didn't get it. Matsui's contract was going over like a lead balloon, and only the White Sox were interested enough in Iguchi to inquire further.

It seems that Moss is engaging in a bit of selective memory in terms of what actually happened.
   2. NTNgod Posted: January 17, 2006 at 03:08 AM (#1824501)
Yeah, I was originally thinking of mentioning that in the intro.

Like you, I suspect Kaz Matsui's disappointing first year may have helped make the following offseason a bad time to be another infielder from Japan seeking a big MLB contract.
   3. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: January 17, 2006 at 03:14 AM (#1824504)
Correct me if I'm wrong, but Iguchi wasn't considered as good a player as Matsui and Jojima.
   4. Who Swished In Your Cornflakes? Posted: January 17, 2006 at 03:24 AM (#1824517)
I think that's right. Though I think Matsui was more hyped-up because of his celebrity status. Oh, and just a note...Kenji's last name is actually spelled Johjima. For weeks the press left out that 'h' until suddenly (re)discovering it after he signed with Seattle.
   5. Don Guillote (The Cheat) Posted: January 17, 2006 at 03:33 AM (#1824530)
In regards to the Cardinals, I think they did about the best they could last season at filling their middle infield gaps with the funds available to them. Grudz and Eckstein both were probably underpaid last year. They earned a combined 3.3M in '05, and while St. Louis had a payroll around $90M, they have a number of huge salaries on the books and have a hard budget figure that they have to be under.

In regards to the Yankees, they were just dumb. The Womack signing has Stienbrenner written all over it. It should be pointed out that the Yankees signed Womack before Iguchi was signed, and before Placido Polanco chose to accept Philly's arbitration offer, and before Grudz and Eckstein signed.
   6. Maury Brown Posted: January 17, 2006 at 04:07 AM (#1824582)
Another great post for the BoB blog... snagged before I can get to it. Nuts!!!!!!!
   7. Bmore Boy (Thailand edition) Posted: January 17, 2006 at 09:49 AM (#1824834)
Ok, this has been driving me nuts, so I'm going to write about it.

There is no standard transliteration of Japanese into Roman characters. Thus, both Jojima and Johjima are correct. The fact that the press has been making such a big deal out of the "correct" spelling really annoys me.

The reason they believe "Johjima" is correct is Japanese is a rhythmic language, and the "h" indicates that you hold the "o" sound for two beats instead of one. That's great and all, but sometimes it just doesn't work when changed into written English - the name Yuko, for instance, is often written Yuuko, and Yoko occasionally as Youko (which are both supposed to be pronounced "Yoko.")

So really, there's no correct spelling. Perhaps Johjima has a personal preference, or perhaps someone caught sight of his Japanese jerseys, but this little storm is over nothing. Here in Japan, Johjima is written both ways - if anything, leaving out the "h" is more prevalent.
   8. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: January 17, 2006 at 12:51 PM (#1824855)
They earned a combined 3.3M in '05, and while St. Louis had a payroll around $90M, they have a number of huge salaries on the books and have a hard budget figure that they have to be under.

I'll spare the world my usual rant about marginal costs, and point out that the Cardinals' payroll was only that high if you count Walker's and Cedeno's full salaries. Eckstein and Grudzielanek were pretty darn good in 2005 BTW.

The Cardinals got tinged by their own experience with Japanese players. Taguchi's a nice 5th OF, but it took a couple of years of adjustment for him to reach that un-lofty status. When he first got to the states he struggled so badly at AAA that they shipped him down to AA for a while.
   9. Joey B. is counting the days to Trea Turner Posted: January 17, 2006 at 03:39 PM (#1824958)
Boy, talk about trying to manufacture a story out of absolutely nothing. If this is the best they can come up with, you know things are pretty good for the players.

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