Just Because You're Paranoid Doesn't Mean People Aren't Against You
The generally redoubtable Murray Chass pooh-poohs the conspiracy theories circulating over the Cliff Floyd Gambit. Chass details the reaction to the Strickland-to-Mets trade, the Colon trade, and the last Floyd trade, showing that the reaction has transformed to fit the conspiracy theory du jour. Well, there will be criticism for nearly every deal (by the way no one questioned J. P. Ricciardi for trading Billy Koch because he was a closer with a 4.80 ERA in 2001). Besides, I think the reaction to the Colon and first Floyd trades was very favorable.
Quoting the ever-equanimable Larry Bowa does not lend an air of credibility to Chass's theories, but maybe Bowa was right-maybe the directive of the team is to make it as attractive and/or profitable as possible for a potential sale. Collecting star names, generating some press and possibly competing for a playoff spot would certainly increase a team's value. By the same token, once you've determined that a playoff spot is not within your grasp traded a slumping star with a $6.5 million contract for two middling prospects after renting him for 19 days and pocketing the $1.5 million bonus from the team that traded said star to you also would make the team more profitable and therefore, more attractive to a potential suitor. Maybe the Red Sox were the only team that didn't demand that the Expos eat some of Floyd's contract to consummate a deal, something that was highly popular at the trade deadline. Maybe MLB baseball plans to sell the team after the season and wants to boost its value as much as possible to make as large a profit as possible off its sale. I don't know if it qualifies as a conspiracy, but it stinks of conflict of interest. Maybe having Bud Selig's lapdog acting as the Red Sox owner didn't hinder the proceedings either.
Whatever the motivation behind the Expos moves, the relationship with MLB will wreak of conflict. Hopefully, the owners are primping the Expos for a sale after the season so that this embarrassing episode can come to an end.
By the way, Chass's suggestion that people are against Omar Minaya because he is the majors' first Latin (is that even the preferred term now?) General Manager. This is totally unworthy of inclusion. Minaya's future appears far from "promising" when he continues to pour through players as quickly as he does (Chris Truby, Bruce Chen, and Cliff Floyd have all been acquired via a trade later to be traded during the 2002 season). The best reply to the conspiracy theorists is that Minaya demonstrates pretty clearly that there is no conspiracy plot behind his motives since there is no intelligible plan driving his actions, other than having George Steinbrenner apologize to his team for criticizing a highly questionable trade.