Is Schuerholz Losing His Touch?

No, I’m not referring to his trade of Marte for $8 million and the right to pay Renteria nearly $9 million/year for the next three years, his trade of Roman Colon and Zach Miner for a two months of Kyle Farnsworth, his acquisition of Tom Martin and his awful contract, nor his unwillingness to pay Leo Mazzone the rookie minimum salary. I saw reasons behind all of these, even though I disagree with some of the moves. There is a method to his madness, and certainly, there’s no reason to focus on some potential negatives when the guy has done nothing but win for a decade and a half. Clearly, he does many more things right than wrong. What I am worried about is apparent communication problems with agents this year.

In reference to Furcal (AJC),

The Braves offered him $36 million over four years, and the Cubs offered nearly $50 million for five years. Schuerholz said agent Paul Kinzer told him he’d come back to see if the Braves had a final counterproposal, but didn’t.

“We’re big boys, and this is the environment we’re in,” Schuerholz said. “But I’ve been doing this for 25 years, and it still is puzzling to me how some of these circumstances unfold. We were waiting to hear from Furcal’s agent about what they wanted to stay a Brave and still have not heard that.

“We were told they were going to come back to us and ‘put everything on the table’ to discuss his staying with the Braves. Granted, our first offer wasn’t what they had, but we never had a chance to negotiate.

“It simply became a bidding process — whoever put in the most attractive bid got the player. They assured us more things were going to be considered than just money. But so far, about 100 percent of the people who’ve talked to me about the signing believe it was just about the money.

“You like to feel like you’d have a chance to engage in negotiations, especially with a player who’s been in your organization nine years.”

In reference to Farnsworth (AJC),

“We wanted him as our closer,” Schuerholz said. “We offered a three-year deal and were prepared to stay engaged in the negotiations, but we were told that he had decided to go to New York as a setup guy.”

And now, in reference to the claim made by Todd Jones that the Braves offered him a one-year $2.5 million contract (AJC),

Braves officials weren’t amused by the comments of veteran reliever Todd Jones after he signed a two-year, $11 million contract with Detroit on Wednesday. The Marietta native, who writes a column for The Birmingham News, told the paper he wanted to close for Atlanta, but the Braves offered only a one-year, $2.5 million contract.

“I did everything in my power to be available [to the Braves],” said Jones, 37, who had an improbable resurgence last season with Florida, recording 40 saves and a career-best 2.10 ERA. “I wanted to come home for a severe discount and they didn’t even want to hear it.”

Schuerholz had to restrain himself when asked to respond. The Braves said they offered a one-year, $3.5 million contract to Jones, with a vesting $4 million option and $500,000 buyout.

“I’m surprised that such a comment would be made,” Schuerholz said. “The offer the Braves made, we thought was a solid one, and we never really heard back about it.”

I see a theme here: John Schuerholz is having problem negotiating with agents. Why would any agent in their right mind turn down the opportunity for his client to earn more money for a team that he wanted to play? All of these players fit this description. This is clearly a pattern that involves three different players and agents. Of course, I don’t really believe this is the problem. It’s a P.R. move for fans. “We wanted to sign your favorite player, but the mean old agent took him away.”

I don’t really think JS is losing his touch, but I do wish he would just say the Braves lost the auction and move on or nothing at all. Lack of communication did not sink three different deals.

2 Responses “Is Schuerholz Losing His Touch?”

  1. Alex C says:

    This is not exactly a new strategy/trend. Glavine supposedly never got our final offer, Blauser never got his final offer because Boras lied and said he was on a hunting trip, etc…

  2. I see your reasoning. And I admit that you have given it your best shot considering you weren’t there. I say this because after searching for “what really happened/was said/was meant” in International Studies for 4 years, I was always under the illusion that just one more reference, just one more retrospective would give me “the truth”. First, have you actually met and talked to JS? I think this would give you one leg up from where you/we are now. Second, I see these negotiations as a real (cat and mouse? or put your own name in here) game. Certainly JS is experienced. What I can conclude after 14 titles is that the mistakes all even out and it is luck and injuries, and peaking at the right time that makes the difference, not the missed communications that let so and so get away? Beware of the “Great Man in History” arguement which Tolstoy shot down. By this I mean that these isolated incidents don’t mean much. There is no straw man that wins or breaks the team. One missed guy over a season with so many variables….If I have any regrets, it is that I would make it a rule to keep all my top rookies for at least 3 years before trading any away. Win Shares are nice, but so is just enjoying whatever happens ;=)