Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Rocky KOd

In his first move as GM of the Nationals, Jim Bowden released Rocky Biddle, the team's former *ahem* closer.

Displaying the kind of ignorance that I hope we can't come to expect from the baseball coverage here, the Times says:
On his first day at baseball's general managers meetings, Washington GM Jim Bowden released a player, Rocky Biddle, because of money concerns.

Bowden, however, insisted that won't be the norm for the relocated Montreal Expos, who finished 67-95 last season.

Oh, I love that lazy sportswriter syndrome. Once you get that storyline in mind, we've gotta shoehorn every story into that frame, whether it makes sense or not.

Yes, Biddle was released partially for salary concerns, but it had much more to do with his dismal performance. Last season, he had a 6.92 ERA in 78 innings. The previous year, when he served as the team's full-time closer, he had a 4.65 ERA--goot, but certainly not great. He'll turn 29 next year and has a career ERA that's 16% below the league average.

He's eligible for salary arbitration this season, which would more than likely mean a decent raise. I'm not sure if this is the exact number, but apparently he made $2MM last year. With arbitration, his salary would likely go up, and even if it stays the same, that's way too much money to be paying for below-average performance. You can get 1 or 2 ok arms for the bullpen for that price.

So, instead of focusing on the negative payroll aspects, they should focus on the smart business decision this was. Releasing him saved $2MM, which can be better used on other players. What's not to like about that?