Fair enough RFS. Good points. He probably did endure a little more than his fairf share of criticism, but as you pointed out his production was fair game considering his contract. Maybe I'm just practicing selective memory here, but I recall the majority of the comments focussed more on performance and salary than anything personal. I know at one point I was a proponent of trading Sean Casey if you could get anyone to take his contract. But I also remember much criticism hepaed my way for such a suggestion. I also remember every time he had a good game reading multiple posts to the tune of "where are all the proponents of trading Casey now!"
I also made the point many times, to much derision, that Casey represented the "brand", to use a marketing term, of the Cincinnati Reds, and as such had additional value to the team in a very real monetary sense.
You might be surprised that I agree with this. I don't remember you saying this, but I'm glad to hear you look at this way too. It kind of validates my thoughts on the matter. BTW, Redsland can back me up on this because he and had a conversation about this very subject at the game a couple of weeks ago.
I commented that Casey has now been around long enough that he has become synonymous with the Cincinnati Reds. I didn't always believe this and if we could have traded him as recently as last year, my opinion might have been different. But he's now in his 7th season with the Reds. That's probably half of his career. Some of my saber buddies might cringe at the thought of this, but I definitely believe there is a real value to having players who spend their entire career with the Reds and become synonmymous with the city and the franchise. As you mentioned, I think it's all part of "branding" the baseball franchise. These are the players who continue to live in the city after their careers and who people will always associate with Reds baseball. Johnny Bench comes to mind for the Reds, Ozzie Smith for St. Louis, Yaz for the Red Sox. I really believe that's a value and Sean Casey might have passed that theshhold of time with the club that he can replace Barry Larkin as that person.
But there's a limit to how far I'm willing to take that. The player has to at least be decent and his contract has to be at least reasonable. Am I willing to pay a couple million dollar premium over production? That's about as far as I go. While I believe there is a value, I wouldn't be willing to overpay for that value. In other words, how much additional "brand" euqity does that player provide. Ultimately, a winning team is the best way to increase brand value, and if keeping a player like Casey prohibits the franchise from putting a winning team on the field, then I sacrifice the player for winning. But as long as that's not the case, I'd try to keep him in Cincinnati.