Lucchino on Making
Room for Floyd, Conspiracy...
8.20.02 8:15am EDT:
Larry Lucchino (LL) on with on with Dennis (JD) & Callahan (GC) on
The Dennis & Callahan Show on WEEI:
JD: Steinbrenner, etc., have been
calling this move a conspiracy...
LL: Complete and utter nonsense, what's
best for Expos? Keep Cliff Floyd and get draft pick
compensation if he leaves and signs somewhere else vs. three
players, fairly high-quality pitching prospects? They don't
have to spend millions to sign draft picks... we saved them
money and they helped their franchise.
GC: Did you think about the long-term
prospects of signing Floyd when you went after him?
LL: We did have a sense that this might
be a good fit for him long term. John Henry knows his
personality. But signing him will depend on his agent, market
conditions... when he sees what it's like playing in front of
full houses night after night, we think we'll have a shot, but
deal wasn't tied into the long-term signing.
JD: Does the fans impression play any
percentage into this deal (i.e. your cheap if you don't do
LL: Yes, if I gave it 10% that would be
an answer, not much more than that... still, I shouldn't say
we're on trial, but let's say we're being examined for operating
principal, our commitment long-term. Commitment to players is
more important as the end of July approaches, if you go out and
make a move that will help them it's the one dramatic thing you
can do to convince them that we're all on one team... used to
say stay close, we'll get you what you need. Important message
to the fans, yes, but more important to the players and coaches.
GC: Trades are a symbol, fun, playing
for today, win now. But what about down the road? I don't know
who is up there worrying about 2-3-5 years down the road.
LL: It's always an interesting dynamic,
what's good for us now vs. what's good for us long-term. We
have payrolls and rosters going ahead four and five years. Theo
Epstein and John Henry have a sense of long-term player
development issues. The dynamic is having those two guys being
the guardians of the long-term development. Mike and I may make
more arguments for more immediate things, commitment to fans to
make it happen this year. This is a very hard game, if you're
close, you can't just sit on your duff and let things fall into
place, you gotta go for it.
GC: You have guys in their prime
(Pedro, Nomar), you can't just say wait till next year...
LL: Right, there's injuries.. we have
two excellent starters, we can go (far), just have to get to the
post season, have to give them a chance.
JD: Floyd stacks up nicely with 3-4-5
with Yankees (as in today's Globe graphic).
LL: Yes, but I would caution, sometimes
trades that get accolades don't work out, and trades that have
been panned do work out. It may take a little time for him to
tget used to the American League, it may take some time for
Bobby, that may not go as smoothly as you would like. Fans
should understand that there is an adjustment period.
GC: Did you plan to send Melvin up to
LL: We sent Doug up there in case
lightning was going to strike at the last minute. We felt they
would deal Floyd, and it would make sense to them what they
could get from us vs. what they could get in the Fall. We put
the probability at a 10% chance for signing Colon as they have
If contraction takes place it takes two
teams in baseball, we're talking about contraction in 2004, not
2003. Management has that prerogative, if you have franchise at
McDonalds at part of town doing poorly, they have right to
revoke franchise agreement. In baseball we have 30 franchise
agreements, and we also have a very aggressive, assertive
Players' Association, anything we do, they now need to be
GC: Why do they (Player's
Association) have a say in revenue sharing?
LL: That's an excellent question
Callahan, an excellent question. I would say because of a
historical lapse on our part... we let them under the tent. It
has an indirect effect on player salaries, that's their
argument. It's been hypocrisy for years. Marvin Miller said
the problem was revenue sharing "get your own house in order" he
would say... when we did, they said "hold on, not so fast, not
that way, we want a say in it"... we let them under the tent.
JD: Are some of these owners content
to pull the plug and blow the thing up and start over?
LL: Now I should beg off on that,
tactical question that I can't comment on being so close and
with Selig's directives. Franchises are in different
circumstances, but by-and-large Selig has a uniformity, a
general support that people bring to this negotiation at the
time. Problems are so obvious, so endemic, that there is
Back to being in Montreal - LL: Nobody
allowed anyone in the room for negotiations. We said 'should we
sit by the phones (like the other teams) or because Omar Minaya
has worked with Doug Melvin before, should we can have a
Canadian on the ground in Canada, and be close to the guy that
used to work for him, so if lightning struck, we'd be the
closest tree?' That's what we did.
JD: Conspiracy theory on trade?
LL: Bud believes in reform in the
system. He would want evidence that system isn't working, i.e.,
Yankees running away with it. This move wouldn't support that.
GC: (with move coming
today) We know you like to break news here Larry, who gets sent
down? Who gets released when Floyd and Howry show up in
LL: (Ha, oh yes
Callahan) I'm going to wait and let Mike Port do that.
He's going to Texas, which would indicate that this isn't your
garden variety move, he will communicate the motivation behind
these moves (directly). Remember that in September we can bring
more guys up. If someone did go down, that person could come up
in September. But Mike has some more unusual approaches (to
this roster situation today).
GC: Would you not
release someone with a large salary because of a possible strike
(you'd be stuck paying the salary/contract during a strike)?
LL: Yes... that would
be a factor. But it's the depth of a team that matters in
August, September, and October. How many times have we
seen the big blows in pennant races struck by the 22nd, 23rd,
and 24th guy on the team. So in this case, we're not worried
about the luxury of that issue. I think that means taking on a
slightly-enhanced financial risk.