Henry's Not Happy with Petey
John Henry (JH) calls in from cell phone to The Big Show with
Glenn Ordway (GO) & Michael Felger (MF) and Chris Collins (CC):
JH: Hi, I'm a call-in caller
today... I couldn't help but comment on your last discussion at
least with regard to rebuilding, especially after buying the
Marlins, just after Wayne had let everyone go after the 1998 World
Series. One thing thing you don't have to worry about is us coming
up with some cockamamie plan to start over or rebuild.
GO: (recap) Caller called up,
brought up the premise that maybe the reason that you and the Red
Sox had exercised the option on Pedro's contract right now is that
were looking at short term, to have a strong ballclub this year,
next year, to win the whole thing, have a little bit of latitude
that you could deal him away or certainly have the strength to win
a championship this year or next year, and then worry about 2004
JH: Just thought I'd give you some
insight into what we think. When Theo and I talk, when Larry and I
talk, we all talk about trying to build a team that can make the
playoffs every year. Every year you have eight teams make it,
they're somewhat evenly matched in these short series. So, it's
the most important thing and keeping and maintaining a
championship team is to make the playoffs every year, so we don't
think in terms of going for it in any particular year. We feel
that we have to have a team that can be competitive every year. I
mean we charge a lot of money for these tickets.
GO: This is a long-term situation,
that's what you're telling me. JH: Yeah...
CC: John, did you hear something on
the air in the last 20 minutes that was just so wrong that you had
to call and say that was so wrong and if that's the case, what was
JH: Well it was just simply that, I
heard the comment about what happened with the Marlins, and having
gone through that situation, to see the way that it really
destroyed that franchise, it's just not something that's gonna
happen here. You're not gonna have Pedro and Manny and Nomar one
day and then get a whole new team the next, it's just not gonna
GO: You've obviously picked up the
newspapers. You have read the comments by Pedro Martinez. You just
exercised an option that gave him 17 and a half million dollars.
And it's certainly, in the comments I've read here, doesn't seem
to have brought you an awful lot of goodwill via this player that
you just gave all this cash to.
JH: I would uh... I couldn't
disagree with you. I could not disagree with that comment based on
what I read today.
CC: Does that disappoint you?
JH: ......... um.... I don't know if
I want to create any more quotes :-)... but I can't disagree with
what you are saying.
GO: Well obviously when you exercise
the option I would think you expected that this guy would at least
say something more positive along the lines of "and now we can
negotiate and work something out at the end of the season" instead
he's coming out and basically saying that the deal that you had on
the table, even though you've just given him $17.54 million John
is off the table, and he's telling you his demands are going to be
greater come November. Do you regret giving him the $17.5 million?
JH: .....well I don't know what to
say other than uh hopefully we'll be able to make a deal, but I
can't disagree with what you're saying.
CC: John, knowing Pedro, and having
gone through this in spring training, when you told him to put the
squelch on him, you told him to quiet down, and he went through
the negotiation period relatively quiet. Why when you're working
on a contract extension would you not have kept those same
parameters on Pedro Martinez... and made that very clear after you
picked up the option?
JH: Well I don't think we ever told
him he can't talk about anything, I don't think that it's..
CC: (Collins interrupting now --
as if his cumbersome questions aren't bad enough) But Larry
himself had said we kept this relatively quiet, Pedro himself has
said we've kept this relatively quiet, we don't want to let it
play out in the media, we're gonna handle it behind closed doors,
and now this)
JH: Well that's why I don't want to
make too many comments here about it, because, I think we have a
sort of understanding that we'll try to keep these discussions
GO: You mentioned yesterday that
there were other issues, other things in those negotiations that
obviously we were not privy to that information. I read in this
morning's newspaper that Pedro Martinez revealed that this season,
in which he's being paid $15 million, that that contract was not
covered by insurance. He had claimed that he had agreed to go for
a physical for insurance purposes, but would not do so unless the
club exercised the option. Could that possibly have been one of
those things that you would not reveal yesterday, and if that's
the case are you disappointed that the player would reveal
something like that.
JH: No, it's not one of the issues.
You could contractually... the contract that he has now says (cell
call drops... Glenn: He's obviously disappointed at the Pedro
contract situation) anyway that was not an issue because his
existing contract provides for that. He had an obligation in there
under his existing contract.
GO: John are you at all concerned,
based on the comments by Pedro today, that other players are going
to look at this and maybe they're going to act up about their
particular contract situation situation.
JH: Well hopefully not. One of the
things that we said all along is that Pedro is a special talent,
he's won Cy Youngs, and we're going to work with him to try to
make sure he stays in a Red Sox uniform. We're going to try to
work with others, we have had conversations with others, but we're
trying to keep them in the background rather than the forefront.
CC: You got a guy like Derek Lowe
who is obviously looking for an extension, this cannot make things
easy in dealing with his contract.
JH: I think Derek has handled
everything on or off the field very well.
GO: Thanks for calling in, call any
time you want
JH: Well I appreciate being able to
comment on that, because that is something that we are consciously
working towards each year.
CC: Let me ask you real quick,
there's no way you can keep this core of players together. You
can't pay Manny 20, Pedro, Lowe Nomar, etc. at some point you're
going to have to, if not blow this team up, drastically rework it
just if nothing more than the financial aspect of it and you are
obviously sensitive to that feeling (Chris Collins questions
are so painful, that one is abbreviated).
JH: Well I don't believe we have to
blow the team up.We have sufficient resources. Prices in baseball
are coming down for players. Every team is having a problem trying
to resign its stars, that there may be some stars that will just
be impossible to resign, but we're going to give it every effort.
I think yesterday we showed that we're willing to make every
effort to keep our stars.
GO: But you can show all the effort
you want if the player does not feel that it's not market value.
And I gotta tell you I was shocked and I actually saw it last
night on redsox.com, all these comments by Pedro before last
night's game. And I gotta give redsox.com credit, they certainly
didn't shy away from any of the things that Pedro had to say, but
I read these comments as I'm watching the game and I must tell you
that I was shocked... that that quickly Pedro would react to this.
He obviously is talking about his market value. He is mentioning
specific players, including Kevin Brown who we all know was vastly
overpaid and talking about how much money he should be paid and
certainly giving the impression that he should be paid over and
above what those guys are making. So he certainly has a much
different idea of where the market value is going for premier
JH: Yeah he may ultimately
impossible to resign, but we're going to extend every effort we
can to sign him.
GO: Do you think it will be harder
to sign him now, that you've given him $17.5 million for next year
and that certainly you're not going below $17.5 million in year
one of that contract which would be the 2005 season?
JH: This is one area that I can't
really get too much into because it leads into some of the issues
I was talking about yesterday that you just don't want to be