Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Earlier today, it looked like Jacque Jones was about to be traded from the Cubs to the Florida Marlins.
The Marlins? Why the hell would they want a player like Jacque? This writer speculated that there would only be one way in which the Marlins would take Jones:
Base salary for a raw rookie is $380,000. There's 87 games left this season. I'm betting the Cubs get $380,000 for 2008 and $204,074 (from the Marlins) for this year (pro rata rookie salary due for 2007).
(Jones has) $7,120,000 left (on his contract)? Cubs send $6,535,926 to the Marlins.
The Marlins, who would have given up a low-level minor leaguer for Jones, would have been on the hook for the pro-rated portion of the major league minimum salary ($380,000) this season and the full minimum next year.
So, Jim Hendry, who panicked last year after losing out on Rafael Furcal and signed Jones, was willing to trade Jones now for a smidgen above nothing. His value to the Cubs was just above zero.
Clearly, Lou Piniella is pulling the strings now. Michael Barrett was sent away for nothing. Now, Jacque goes away for nothing.
Not so fast:
The deal collapsed, however, when incoming Cubs owner Sam Zell – who is in the process of purchasing a controlling interest in the Tribune Co., which publishes the Sun-Sentinel – vetoed the hefty cash exchange.
This is wrong on two levels.
First, Zell must know that, unless Hendry finds a taker for Jones, Jones gets his money from the Cubs. Period. Not taking $585,000 for Jones simply costs the Cubs that the full $7.12 million and there is no $585,000 savings.
But, there's a second, bigger issue here. No, it's not Zell sticking a middle finger to the fans. It's that Zell has ownership in the White Sox. There is a massive conflict of interest in Zell rejecting a baseball operational move while having an equity stake in a second team. What if a minority stake owner in one club could reject moves on other clubs?
I look forward to Bud Selig answering questions on why this should be allowed. I also look forward to the professional media asking Jim Hendry, Lou Piniella, John McDonough and Sam Zell the same question.
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