Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Arbitration deadline day and other notes

Today is the deadline for teams to offer arbitration to free agents, which in turn ties into draft pick compensation for Type A and Type B free agents.

The Twins have a decision to announce — I'm sure they've made it already — on Carl Pavano (left), who is a Type B. (Orlando Cabrera is a Type A, but his contract specifically forbids his team from offering arbitration if he's a Type A, so there's no decision to make there.)

A list of Type A and Type B free agents can be seen here.

If the Twins offer Pavano arbitration, they'll get a draft pick if he signs elsewhere. If he accepts, the Twins are committed to re-signing him; the ballpark estimate is that it would be a $7 million deal, and the Twins might well be willing to go that route.

The other aspect of today's deadline is that the free agent market is essentially frozen until suitors know if someone like Placido Polanco will cost them a draft pick. (The conventional wisdom is that the Tigers will not offer Polanco arbitration for fear that he'll accept; they have a prospect they think is ready to slide in at second base.)

This deadline, plus the winter meetings next week, should start things moving again in the player market.

* Joe Mauer and the Great American Marketing Machine are preparing to embrace. Mauer is now a client of IMG for sponsorships and endorsements. Ron Shapiro will continue to handle Mauer's playing contract.

This is the most tangible sign to date of something that's been in the air — the notion that Mauer intends to make a push in the commercial field.

Charley Walters (Pioneer Press) suggested several days ago that Mauer would be more attractive to corporate America if he played in a bigger market. Aaron Gleeman (Circling the Bases) suggests that more endorsement dollars would make it easier for Mauer to decide to stay. Take yer pick.

I figure that if Payton Manning can become an advertising icon out of Indianapolis, Mauer can be one out of the Twin Cities.

* I've always enjoyed Patrick Reusse's work, but I'm beginning to re-think that. First came his unwarranted slam of Joe Nathan after the playoffs, now this Thanksgiving Day putdown of ST colleague Joe Christensen:

Gentleman Joe is a Star Tribune baseball writer and also the Twin Cities' leading advocate for OPS, a make-believe number that Bill James acolytes have embraced. How often must we say this, Joe? Runs scored and RBI mean something; OPS doesn't.

Reusse is becoming the press box equivalent of those medieval popes who tried to quash the heretical notion that the earth orbits the sun. Ignorance is one thing, sir; willful ignorance is another.


  1. I think a significant difference between Peyton Manning and Joe Mauer is that in Manning's commercials, he shows a lot of personality and seems to be outgoing. Mauer is more of the shy, calm guy that will open up if you engage him in a conversation...but will not, under any circumstances, start the talking.

  2. Ads are scripted. What you see is not necessarily an accurate depiction of the personality.

  3. Very true. Something that I clearly overlooked.

    Still, it's very hard to see Mauer take on a persona that Manning displays, even if they're told to act in that manner.

  4. This is something I've been playing around with, trying to distill a coherent column or blog post: Manning's ads are fairly unusual for athlete endorsements, because there is actual dialogue involving him.

    Study the Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan ads. Or just about anything from Nike or Gillette or Gatorade. The vocals are almost entirely voice overs or generic actors — and I think, especially with the Nike/Gillette/Gatorade trio, that that allows the ad to be shown in other countries with a different voice over. Which is why Gillette used a trio of Woods, Roger Federer and Thiery Henry, the French soccer star. Multi-racial, mutli-cultural, multi-sport.

    That's less relevant with Mauer or Manning, because baseball and American football aren't going to be particularly useful in selling razor blades in Germany.

    Persona for the marketers is a matter of projection. Bland is their friend. Problems arise when Kobe Bryant is accused of rape or Woods crashes his vehicle and insists on an air of mystery. Mauer, as far as is known, fits that aspect of the marketing machine's dream athlete perfectly.