Monday, February 28, 2005

Bargain Basement Bullpen

The Angels bullpen, widely regarded around baseball as one of the elite, will be one of the lowest paid according to today's LA Times. In today's edition the Times estimates that the entire Angels bullpen will be signed for a total of around $3.5 million for 2005 led by newly acquired set-up man Esteban Yan's $1 million dollar salary but followed closely by Scot Shields' $925,000. Francisco Rodriguez agreed to terms on Monday for his 2005 contract which will pay him $440,000. The Times reported that Brendan Donnelly will sign today for around $420,000 and Kevin Gregg is expected to get inked to a $360,000 contract. Throw-in either Matt Hensley or Scott Dunn at around the major league minimum $316,000 and you have some slick financing that should be the envy of other teams. By contrast, the Yankees will pay their bullpen $24 million with Tom Gordon ($3.75 million) making more than all of the Halo relievers combined.

Even more amazing is the Angel players' attitudes towards their, comparably, meager salaries. K-Rod, when asked if he would prefer if the Angels signed him to a long-term deal now instead of waiting until next off-season said "Of course, I would love to sign a three- or four-year deal, but this is not the right moment," Rodriguez said. "I have to be patient. I can't focus on money right now. I've got to be focused on my job. If I have a good year, the money will come." Huhwhat? Then Brendan Donnelly, a guy who could be expected to have a huge chip on his shoulder for struggling through the minors for ten years before hitting it big with the Angels was quoted thusly by the Times: "Percy said it best — it's not anyone else's fault it took me 10 or 11 years to get to the big leagues," Donnelly said, referring to former Angel closer Troy Percival. "I can't compare myself to anybody. What the Angels are paying me is more than I ever thought I'd make, and it's still a damn good living."

Amen brother. Nice reality check from the primadonnas and swollen egos normally crying about not getting enough. It's nice when someone who lives in the fantasyland that is professional sports still can appreciate that most of us will never see $420,000 a year in our entire lives and if we did we would likely not be complaining about how unfair it is.

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