SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Re-negotiation? We're all for it. Give Gary Sheffield and Frank Thomas their "respect." Extend Barry Bonds' contract to put his family at ease.
But let's play the game both ways.
If some players deserve more, then other players deserve less. If signed contracts can be ignored, then so can stupid contracts that never should have been awarded.
Sheffield, Thomas and Co. want to be paid more like Alex Rodriguez. Other should be paid more like Frankie Rodriguez, except they're guaranteed millions under long-term contracts.
Re-negotiate? Let's re-negotiate!
Let's start with this dirty dozen:
Devon White, Dodgers: The leader of the overpaid brigade, and believe it or not, he's demanding to be traded. The Dodgers could expedite his request if he agreed to play for one-tenth of his $5.9 million salary. C'mon, Devo, give to The Sheffield Fund.
Marquis Grissom, Brewers: Never mind that his .288 on-base percentage last season was the lowest in the majors for an everyday player. Grissom will receive $10 million over the next two seasons. New ballpark or not, the low-rent Brewers could use some relief from their fourth outfielder.
Brady Anderson, Orioles: Yet another aging, broken-down center fielder. Anderson no longer can play the position, and no longer is an offensive force. Alas, he'll earn $12.25 million over the next two seasons, and also wields a no-trade clause. A Camden parachute is in order.
Mike Lansing, Red Sox: OK, he's coming off surgery to repair his lower abdomen and groin, and those injuries contributed to his .194 average in 49 games with Boston. Still, he'll earn $6.5 million this season, and also is guaranteed $1.25 million if the team fails to exercise his option. Reduce those numbers, and apply the rest toward signing bonuses for Nomar and Pedro.
Jay Bell, Diamondbacks: The Deferral-backs are full of team guys willing to sacrifice present-day dollars for future earnings. If Bell sacrifices his remaining two years and $16 million, owner Jerry Colangelo could rehire the dozen front-office employees he laid off with, oh, about $15 million to spare.
Mark Grudzielanek, Dodgers: Excuses first -- he moved to second base from shortstop last season, and struggled in the second half with a virus. Still, how is it possible that a player with a .329 career on-base percentage is owed $15 million over the next three years? Another great Dodgers contract (and we haven't even mentioned Carlos Perez). Mark, please donate to The Sheffield Fund.
Ray Lankford, Cardinals: Smash his two names together, and it sounds almost like "Refund." Lankford struck out 148 times in 392 at-bats last season. He might platoon with Bobby Bonilla this season. And the Cardinals invited his buddy Bernard Gilkey to spring training just to revive him. Lankford is due $15 million over the next two seasons. Let him keep half, and use the other half to find a cure for Rick Ankiel.
Alex Fernandez, Marlins: It's not his fault that he's still recovering from shoulder surgery after making only 32 starts the past two seasons. Still, the Marlins justified his five-year, $35-million contract in 1997 by saying it would boost attendance. That's a good one. Give him $2 million for each of the next two seasons, and put the other $10 million toward new ballpark construction.
Vinny Castilla, Wilson Alvarez, Juan Guzman, Devil Rays: What did the Rays get from their $21 million entry last season? A .221 average in 85 games from Castilla, and a combined 12 1/3 innings from Alvarez and Guzman. All three are expected to be healthy this season. If not, owner Vince Naimoli might suffer a nervous breakdown.
Tony Clark, Tigers: Should be paid the way he hits -- in streaks. The Tigers couldn't move Clark this winter, even though he's entering the final year of a four-year, $12 million deal. If only they could show him disrespect (read: less money), the Twins might have agreed to send them Matt Lawton.
Mo Vaughn, Angels: One of our favorites, but the Angels were experiencing buyer's remorse even before he underwent season-ending surgery for a ruptured biceps tendon. Why not just null and void the final four years of his six-year, $80 million deal? Mo would rather play on the east coast, anyway. And Disney would rather use the money to promote some new movie or theme park.
Albert Belle, Orioles: Last but not least -- he's signed for three more years at nearly $40 million. Belle is suffering from an arthritic hip, but now that he has passed his physical, owner Peter Angelos can't even dump his contract on an insurance company. Maybe Uncle Albert will be willing to "give something back." On second thought, maybe not.
Hey, this works for me!