As soon as Max Scherzer signed the seven-year, $210, 000 deal with the Nationals, the second-guessing started about Jon Lester’s signing with the Cubs. “He could have done better than $155 million for six years,” was the sentiment heard on MLB-TV. “After all, Lester’s proven, especially in the playoffs, that he’s at least as good as Scherzer.”
But Lester, and his agents Sam and Seth Levinson, were willing to establish the value level for available top-tier pitchers. By waiting for the bar to be set, Scherzer, guided by Scott Boros, was able to negotiate the superior deal. Hillary Clinton is the top-tier political equivalent of Scherzer. Her strategic stance of postponing a decision on whether to commit to the 2016 presidential race is paying off far more than Scherzer’s wait-and-see pitch. Clinton’s Dem team has produced no announced competitor to the former First Lady. Thus, for the moment, Hillary has both the vacant field to herself, and, owing to the perceived likelihood that she will run, a formidable lead in fund-raising, as well.
Scherzer and Clinton part company as strategic teammates when facing the challenge of vindicating their success as front-running performers. Scherzer can be expected to help lead the Nationals to a strong start this spring. Clinton has a trickier play to execute: while going to the plate as her party’s sole candidate for national skipper, she must persuade millions of diverse fans that she’s worthy to be their candidate. It will be difficult to portray herself as a fighter for more economic fairness, for example, when she allows banks to sponsor her appearances, as happened last week in Canada. Then there’s her warrior stance that polls show most fans find worrisome. Still, with its farm system devoid of prospects (Elizabeth Warren having renounced going to bat), the Dem team has no alternative as the primary-race season approaches: It must come to terms with, and rally around Hillary, their canny Scherzer counterpart.
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More ‘Coming to Terms’: Newly departed Commissioner Bud Selig has, we know, forced what’s left of Mets fans to accept their underfinanced team. SI’s Cliff Corcoran reminds us, while reviewing Selig’s mixed-bag tenure as commish, that he took the Dodgers away from suddenly impecunious Frank McCourt. “Selig, however, has failed to make a similar move regarding the Mets.” Corcoran points out. “The Wilpon family’s finances have been similarly compromised by a series of bad investments, most notably the involvement with notorious Ponzi scheme operator Bernie Madoff. The Mets have managed to improve modestly despite their financial limitations, but with the Wilpons still deeply in debt and trying to re-finance loans they can’t afford to pay off, one of the two teams in MLB’s largest market remains as compromised as the Dodgers were under McCourt.”
The A-Rod-Yankees Drama (cont.) Alex Rodriguez expects to add $6 million to the $61 million remaining on his 10-year contract with the Yankees. It would come when, and if, he hits six more HRs to tie Willie Mays, who totaled 660 of them. A-Rod would also qualify for three more $6 mil bonuses should he tie Babe Ruth’s 714, Hank Aaron’s 755 and Barry Bonds’ 762 HR records. The bonuses are part of a separate marketing deal negotiated in 2007. The Yankees say Rodriguez won’t get a cent of the bonuses because he violated the game’s drug policy. According to the Daily News, A-Rod could file a grievance with the Players Association if he qualifies for a bonus the Yanks decline to pay. The saga continues.
(The Nub is a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey. Comments about blog issues are welcome. Previous Nubs may be found by scrolling below.)