The process referred to is the one that led the Giants to designate Miguel Tejada and Aaron Rowand for assignment on Wednesday. Ownership is Giants Managing General Partner and Chief Executive Office Bill Neukom. Neukom was “apprised” because cutting ties with Rowand without trading him means the Giants remain on the hook for the remainder of his 5-year/$60 million contract–estimated at more than $14 million. According to Baggarly, Neukom signed off on the decision “without delay.”
It remains to be seen over the next 28 days whether ridding themselves of Rowand and Tejada will turn the Giants season around. I’m not particularly hopeful, simply because there isn’t a lot of time left and, after play on Wednesday, the Giants remain 6 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks with 25 games to go. The Giants could have–should have–made these moves a month ago, or more. My guess is that the Giants believed they’d plugged an important hole with Beltran trade, that the offense would be heading in the right direction, and that the Diamondbacks would fold. That turned out to be very wrong, and the delay may very well cost the Giants a return trip to the post-season.
But on Wednesday, there was a way to make the team better, for whatever remains of the 2011 season and beyond. Yes, $14 million is a lot of money, even for a World Series Champion with nearly a season of sold out games at AT&T Park. But the Giants owed Rowand that money whether he played or sat on the bench, whether he hit a pinch-hit home run or swung at every slider on the outside corner.
In business it’s called “a sunk cost.” When the product that led to the sunk cost can no longer perform, you cut your losses and move on. Good companies do it every day. Baseball teams usually don’t.
Bill Neukom made the right business decision for the long-term success of the Giants. He did so “without delay.” For Giants fans, that’s the best and most important news of the day.