This just in: Tom Hicks says he was stupid

When you list the men that have helped escalate salaries in baseball over the years like Marvin Miller, Don Fehr and Scott Boras, don't leave out the name Tom Hicks. He was the owner of the Texas Rangers who gave Alex Rodriguez a 10-year, $252 million dollar contract in December of 2000. Hicks now agrees that was a dumb move. Well, duh. Most of the baseball world knew it was a dumb move then. I don't remember every detail and won't try to rewrite history here. But, by my recollection, Hicks was bidding against himself at the end and upped the pot probably by $50 to $100 million more than was needed. The highest paid position player in the 2000 season, Albert Belle, made $12.9 million. Salaries were already way, way out of whack. Couldn't Hicks have given A-Rod $14 million a year? Or $16M or $18M? Did he have to get a deal averaging $25 million per season? The deal was so badly one-sided that A-Rod had a no trade clause and could opt out of the contract early. This year, had he not opted out of that original 10-year contract, he would still be getting paid $6.1 million from Texas, a team he is now competing against in the ALCS. Yes, baseball salaries are all messed up. By being taken to the cleaners by Boras and being so stupid, Hicks upped the take for every other big time talent. The next star couldn't get "just" $14 million if A-Rod was at $25M. The A-Rod deal is one reason why Carl Crawford is waiting to see who will offer him $150 million this winter. Hicks is far from the only person to blame for this, and he entered the high salary game way down the line. But his place in history here, as an owner who really messed up a deal, one that still has lasting impact (mostly bad) on this great game, is well secure. O's minor league player of the year Joe Mahoney flew to Venezuela on Saturday to play for the Margarita team in the Venezuelan Winter League. (No jokes about post-game beverages here). Mahoney should get some props for jumping into winter ball not long after his wedding and for agreeing to play in Venezuela. I have been told that there he will face some Triple-A and Major League caliber players and play in front of large and demanding crowds. They want wins and results. It figures to be quite a challenge for a player who has only 191 Double-A at bats under his belt. The O's wanted Mahoney to play in this league, but he had to agree to do it. In the end, some players agree to play winter ball and others decide to work out on their own at home. Mahoney decided to accept a challenge and it could turn out he struggles some in this league. But this also could be good for his career and he chose to go play in a foreign land and see some 95 mile per hour heaters at a time when he could have sat at home reading his player of the year press clippings.

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A note of thanks from No. 22

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