2040.4: The Crystal Ball - Jose Estrada

GM: Fred Holmes

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2040.4: The Crystal Ball - Jose Estrada

Post by Rubaboo » Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:16 am

The 2040 season is in the books for the Aztecs. The team looks poised to return much of their current roster for the 2041 season, but what of all-time Aztec homerun leader Jose Estrada? Estrada is a free agent this offseason and there has been little discussion of a contract extension for the Mexico City slugger. Estrada's agent has gone on the record calling out the team for failing to negotiate in good faith, calling the offers put forth by the team 'Laughable, at best.' The team has been interestingly quiet on the Estrada front but sources close to the situation are reporting that the team is hesitant to meet Estrada's $90M extension demand. So what gives?

The Aztecs have a bit of a reputational identity crisis surrounding legacy players. For every Juan Pablo, who sticks around forever there's an Enrique Gomez who was shipped out. Aztec GM Fred Holmes tends to be a bit of a pragmatist with negotiations, often refusing to let emotion dictate who stays and who goes. Perhaps Estrada is viewed, even after dragging the rest of the Aztec offense along for large parts of the last two seasons, as replaceable. The team has prospects it likes at 1B in Jose Ayala and Silvain Van Noord but neither of these players seem likely to provide the unique mix of offensive and defensive capability that would be outgoing in Estrada. For a team that has very little in the way of a power threat, letting Estrada's 40 HR a year walk and replacing him with a 25 HR 1B would, perhaps, seem like a mistake.

Is the price tag untenable for a small-ish market Aztec team? The short answer to this question is no. The Aztecs, even in a year when they posted a disappointing 79-83 record, missed the playoffs, and saw their attendance per game suffer a 15% drop from 2039, are set to come in under budget and post a decent profit. This is always a profitable team, and is definitely a team that could afford $15M to keep one of it's marquee, homegrown, players in the fold. Estrada is 32, so it is reasonable to assume that if the team and player can meet in the middle, he could take his place alongside Juan Pablo in the hearts and minds of fans and people within the organization and stand alongside him as Mr. Aztec.

The disharmony surrounding this situation will be resolved, one way or another, in a few weeks when the deadline for free agent filing comes. Estrada has been a valuable piece in the heart of the Aztec lineup for 11 seasons now. Both the player and team should do the right thing, setting egos aside and making sure that Estrada doesn't wear another BBA jersey. Estrada is 76 Homeruns away from 500, a number he should easily be able to hit before he retires, and it would be borderline criminal for the team to simply wave goodbye to a franchise icon who is 2-3 seasons from a substantial milestone such as that. This is real life though, unfortunately, and there exists a large chance that Estrada is among the players looking for a place to ply his trade for 2041. The reality that Aztec fans will watch Ayala or Van Noord struggle to fill Estrada's shoes at 1B is a startlingly likely proposition as the days continue to tick with no contract progress. The credibility of Aztec management, already a bit shaky perhaps, will suffer a severe hit if Estrada is wearing another jersey next season. A team that has been hemorrhaging fans and support over the last 6 months cannot expect to turn it around by losing a player who, with a few more seasons of work, could have a shot of being a on the franchise's Mount Rushmore. Do the right thing and sign him!

The final verdict: Despite the logic in keeping him, Aztec GM Fred Holmes has a history of being extremely careful with the team's money, especially around long term deals. The chances of Estrada staying are realistically probably only around 25%. Expect Mexico City to start next season without their heart and soul and without a few thousand carryover season ticket holders.
Fred Holmes
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Mexico City Aztecs - BBA

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Re: 2040.4: The Crystal Ball - Jose Estrada

Post by bschr682 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:45 pm

He’d look good in a Vegas jersey...

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