Fringe Friday – the contracts and context edition

on March 2017 | in Sports | by Dario Passarelli | @PapDart | with No Comments

So many things are happening right now it’s quite hard to keep up. The Raptors and Maple Leafs are fighting to make the playoffs and playoff position; Toronto FC and Wolfpack have started their seasons; the Blue Jays are about to start theirs and we are getting our first taste of this year’s Madness. So for this edition of Fringe Friday I picked a few items that might not be getting as much attention in out contracts and context edition.

Bonus Clause

Athletes having bonuses in their contracts isn’t something new or unheard of. Many times it is an incentive to reach a certain personal level that also helps the team. For example, Austin Matthews had a bonus kick in if he scored 20 goals this year. Other players have bonuses for wins, points, making the playoffs or even being named an all-star. But Eddie Lacy, the now 267 lb RB for the Seattle Seahawks has a weight bonus aptly named… a fat bonus. That’s right, he will earn an additional $385K if he drops down to a target weight of 240 lbs. It’s been done before but it still astonishes me. Getting a bonus for something you should already be doing is quite ridiculous to me. On second thought, maybe the Seahawks are correct… Dear Editor, can we negotiate a $1000 bonus to my contract if I show up to work on time almost every day?

Itty Bitty Good

Does anyone else really enjoy Jonas Valanciunas’ Itty Bitty Ballers commercial for GoDaddy? Now it certainly isn’t the greatest commercial ever made, but when we are talking greatest commercials by Raptor players, I think it ranks right up there. Now I am not including those team promo ads because those have been done well with We the North commercials head and shoulders above them all. I am talking about those individual players who are promoting a product.

Now keeping everything in context here, it might be that those old commercials were so terrible, it just makes this one stand out. There was Hedo Turkoglu “Yes coach” Pizza Pizza commercial or the now infamous Bargnani Primo Pasta commercial. Both were seriously cringeworthy. But lately, the Raptors have come through with decent advertisements including Kyle Lowry and his sidekick ball for BMO. But to me, Itty Bitty Ballers is Itty Bitty good. Finally, the Raptors have come of age.

Blue Jays Contract Pitfalls

Alex Sanchez had a very good year 2016 for the Blue Jays despite the constant threat of being sent to the bullpen to protect his arm. His 3.00 ERA was the best in the American League in 2016 and he is, technically, the ace of one of the best starting rotations in baseball. Now, it isn’t his fault nor is it the Blue Jays that he is not eligible for arbitration but what the Blue Jays did recently seemed so callous that they may have lost some respect along the way. The Jays offered him $550K for the next year and when Sanchez and his agent didn’t agree to that (which they shouldn’t have) the Jays turned around and gave him the minimum of $535K. Now other pitchers in similar situations (but not as good) were offered over $600K. So I ask with all due respect, how does a team with a payroll north of $150M be skimpy with their best starting pitcher?

This is a much bigger issue than just a few dollars. It is a poor impression that ownership is displaying to any and all players who are thinking of one day playing here. Who would want to work for a management team that is as stingy as this for example? What basketball player would want to work for someone like James Dolan or Phil Jackson of the New York Knicks considering their treatment of players recently? On the flip side, look at Masai Ujiri and how well he took care of DeRozan that he didn’t even bother to listen to any other offers from other teams. You have Brendan Shanahan of the Toronto Maple Leafs finally retiring the jersey numbers of all those great Leafs. These are small factors, but factors nonetheless when players decide what team to play for. When Sanchez does get to the point of free agency something like this could easily be interpreted as disrespectful. Blue Jays better learn quick or the little they save now will cost them millions down the road.

Keeping Odor’s Hypocrisy in Context

One of the most hated players for Toronto Blue Jays fans is Rougned Odor of the Texas Rangers. We all remember Jose Bautista’ bat flip, we all remember Texas players complaining how “unprofessional” it was. We also remember how cowardly they went after Bautista, waiting till his very last at bat against them in the regular season before pitching at him. And we all remember the punch. Now, in all fairness, we Toronto fans have always had the last laugh in this battle with Texas as we kicked them out of the playoffs two years in a row and each in outstanding fashion. But how could I possibly avoid making fun of Odor and what he did recently at the World Baseball Championships.

Did Odor flip his bat after he crushed the ball? I think he did. After whining about how unprofessional Bautista was he goes ahead and does it. Now, I was just going to call him a hypocrite and leave it at that, but considering that it wasn’t even a home run (just a looooooong single off the wall) he should be chastised a lot more than that shouldn’t he? So let’s all get our index finger ready and let’s all point at him and laugh… hahahahahaha! Now that’s a good note to finish this week’s Fringe Friday on.

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