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Friday, April 04, 2014

Facebook Fandom Map

This map displays Facebook fans of all of the MLB teams across the U.S.  Each county is color-coded based on which official Facebook team page has the most likes …

Apologies to Canada, first off :)  There are some obvious patterns here and some surprises.  And some awkward and counterintuitive color choices: the Delaware Valley, for instance, seems to have slud into the ocean.

BDC Posted: April 04, 2014 at 09:20 AM | 96 comment(s)
  Beats: business, fans, history, social media

Friday, March 14, 2014

AZ Republic: Mesa Riverview center bends on parking for Cubs games

At least three times already this year, crowds at the new Chicago Cubs stadium have smashed all-time Cactus League attendance records. But not everyone seemed eager at the outset to cash in on those fans and their money.

Kimco Realty, which owns the tax-subsidized Riverview shopping center across from the stadium on Dobson Road, created some bad vibes among baseball fans and Riverview Park patrons by initially banning non-customer parking at the center. At the same time, a competing center in Tempe offers free parking and game-day shuttle service.

Mesa businesses, never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 14, 2014 at 01:32 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: business, chicago cubs, cubs, spring training

Monday, March 03, 2014

Bill James Mailbag - 2/27/14 - 3/2/14

Don Coffin was originally intended to manage Kane the Undertaker.

Hey, Bill, would you agree with me that HOF voters have spent a lot of time debating Jack Morris’ candidacy to the Hall and because of that they have overlooked more qualified candidates?  I am talking about Tim Raines, Fred McGriff, Alan Trammell or Edgar Martinez. Look, I don’t believe that Morris belongs to the HOF, but who am I? Fact is, I have read every argument on behalf of Morris while I haven’t heard the bandwagon for more legitamate candidates. And when Jim Kaat or Tommy John were in the ballot, I didn’t felt the same passion in the arguments of their supporters…

The arguments about Morris are fueled by the other side, and we can’t do anything about it if they keep pouring gasoline on the fire. They have the right to do so. Traditionalists have come to see Jack Morris as “their” guy, who is being kept out of the Hall of Fame by us people over here. We’d like the discussion to move on, yes, but what are you going to do?

In 1956, every National League team had an outfielder of historic greatness on the team, ranging from among the best ever to the merely stellar. Let me lay it out: Giants - Mays, Dodgers - Snider, Braves - Aaron, Reds - Robinson, Pirates - Clemente, Cardinals - Musial, Phillies - Ashburn, Cubs - Monte Irvin. Was this a unique occurrence (the AL that year, for example, had only 3 outfielders who had top flight careers)? Is it something that has become more difficult to sustain as the number of teams have grown?

Are you saying that Bob Cerv is not a player of historic stature? Pretty interesting. I would think it was historically unique, but. . who knows?

Hey, bill. For something I’m working on, I noticed that the rate of hit batters per game (per team) in MLB is now about 0.35—one hit batter per team every three games, roughly. As recently as 1980, it was 0.14, or one every 7 games. The last time the rate of hit batters was this high was in 1910. (Data from Baseball Reference.) Is this something we should be more worried about than we apparently are? (I’ll admit it worries me.)

I hadn’t looked at it in a few years. It’s related to the increase in strikeouts. If you’re trying to hit homers—and EVERYBODY now is trying to hit homers—one of the things you do is crowd the plate to increase your pull zone. One of the things that could (and probably should) be done to reduce homers is to move the hitters off the plate an inch or two.

Hey, Bill- Am I right to recall that you once questioned whether athletes who are represented by agents should also be able to form a union? If not, I apologize for the misattribution. But if so, I was hoping you could elaborate some on that. I applaud the work unions have done to by and large improve the work conditions for athletes, notably the MLBPA under Marvin Miller. But is this form of dual representation still a good idea? It seems like they can work at cross-purposes, in that what individual agents seek for their players can be hampered by membership in a union that includes both, e.g., Mike Trout and 12-year journeymen—and vice versa. Anyhow, I don’t have any strong views on the issue, but just note that it seems like an odd arrangement, and one that is only prevalent in sports and entertainment (SAG vs. the William Morris Agency, e.g.). Thanks.

Yes, it is my opinion that dual representation by an agent and a union is. . odd situation presenting some issues about what is appropriate. I don’t know that I want to elaborate on it. MAYBE it’s appropriate; I just have some questions about it.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

WashPost: New pitch would make baseball’s opener a holiday

The following question came before the American body politic Tuesday: Should Congress designate baseball’s opening day as a federal holiday?

To which fans responded: You mean it’s not?

The first day of the baseball season is already a day of mass miracles, when hundreds of thousands of invalids who call in sick at 8:30 a.m. are healed in time to be at the ballpark by the first pitch at 1:05 p.m. Maybe it should be a religious holiday….

Like many great ideas, the movement to create Opening Day Day seems to have been hatched over a beer. Or rather, a beer company. Budweiser — which is now owned by a corporation in Belgium, where they play soccer, not baseball — launched a petition drive and advertising campaign using Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith as a pitchman….


Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 26, 2014 at 10:14 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: business, general

Thursday, February 20, 2014

St. Petersburg’s Kriseman, Rays’ Sternberg meet for ‘great conversation’

Hmmm…wonder if John Rocker and Mayor de Blasio will ever meet for ‘great conversation’.

Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg and new St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman met Tuesday afternoon to talk baseball, their first official session since Kriseman took office.

“It was nice,’’ Sternberg said Wednesday morning at the Rays spring training site. “We had a great conversation and I’m very confident in his ability and his vision in leading the city.’‘

Sternberg said it was a productive discussion, but general in nature, with “nothing at all” decided and few specifics about the stadium situation.

...On Wednesday, Kriseman’s office issued a statement: “Mayor Kriseman and Rays leadership met on Tuesday to discuss the future of baseball in St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay area. Both parties agreed that such talks, based on mutual trust and respect, should remain private and not distract from what is sure to be another exciting season of Rays Baseball.’‘

Like previous Mayor Bill Foster before him, Kriseman has said he’s interested in keeping the Rays in St. Petersburg. On Wednesday, Sternberg said he is willing to discuss anything.

“Everything is an option, absolutely,’’ he said. “Our stance remains the same: that we’d like to explore opportunities that would enable the franchise to stay here for generations. And the way to get there is to find the best spot for the team and where it’s going to be for the next 50 or 70 years.’‘

Repoz Posted: February 20, 2014 at 07:49 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: business, rays

Monday, February 17, 2014

Cameron: On Craig Kimbrel and Committing to a Closer

But how likely is it that the Braves will still want to pay Kimbrel $13 million four years from now? It’s no secret that the shelf life of relief pitchers is shorter than players at other positions, and Kimbrel would hardly be the first dominant reliever to show up, dominate for a while, and then hang around as a shell of what he once was. Can we really forecast, right now, that Kimbrel will still be one of the best relievers in baseball in 2017?

...However, it must be noted that Kimbrel’s track record is far superior to the ones we’re looking at here. He’s not Gabe White, a career mediocrity who had one great year. Even guys like K-Rod or Lidge weren’t as good as Kimbrel is now. Kimbrel has further to fall than the rest, and could decline a lot while still remaining an excellent pitcher. In that way, he’s not that different from Papelbon, who is worse than he was but still quite good.

Is this a risk for the Braves? Absolutely, and I’m not entirely sure that the upside of potentially having him around for one or two extra seasons at $13 million per year is worth the extra money they guaranteed him going forward, but it should also be clear that this isn’t an obvious mistake. As much as relievers are fickle, a significant portion do sustain success for long periods of time, and Kimbrel is good enough that he can get worse and still be worth $13 million in 2017 dollars.

Like the Freeman deal, there’s an argument to be made that perhaps this deal costs Atlanta too much without providing a ton of upside, but like the Freeman deal, the Braves have ensured that they get to keep a high quality talent through his 20s without having to commit to his 30s. Every long term deal has a risk, but the Braves are taking risks on player’s prime years, and that’s a strategy I can’t argue against too strongly.

Thanks to Hip, Hip, Hippauf!.

Repoz Posted: February 17, 2014 at 05:57 PM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, business, history

David Samson sits down with to address the state of the franchise

Goes into a blank-faced Gale Sonderungaarded moment to channel Brattain… Obviously, you rebranded in ‘12, and it didn’t go the way you wanted. You restructured in ‘13, and endured a long season. How are you rebranding, and what do you need to do to reconnect with the fan base?

Samson: I think what our fans are looking for is stability, and what they’re looking for is better performance. The good news is we have a great ballpark, and that 10-year struggle is over with. The people who come to our ballpark really do love coming here. We want to show them a better product that wins more games. That’s what we’re definitely trying to do, and we feel we’re on the upswing. Regarding your homegrown players, when you’ve identified your core, how important is the next step—to do what the Braves just did and sign some of those guys to long-term deals?

Samson: It’s interesting if you look at teams and who their core is. Let’s talk about the Yankees, they had a core of Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera. They were only that team for a very long time. But if you look around at other teams, it’s getting more and more rare to have players spend careers on the same team. That’s just how the world of baseball is right now. So the tough part is choosing, which players you want that to be and then being right. What you don’t want to happen, if you are the Marlins or about 28 other teams, if you choose wrong, that can stop your team from winning for a sustained period of time. The key is to figure out which players you think will be the best over a long period of time. I’m happy to say we have a lot of choices right now.

What our baseball people do is they look, and they scout, including at the Major League level. They make decisions, then they come to us and say, ‘Listen, this is who we can build around. This is someone who could be a forever great player, and he will help your team win.’ What do you think is a realistic, sustainable payroll?

Samson: It’s hard to know what a realistic, sustainable payroll is because we have to see what revenues are. That’s what it’s based on. We’re certainly looking forward to more TV revenue. We want to win. We want to be able to have the players who can help us win. We want to be able to afford a mistake, which happens in baseball, in terms of signing a player who may not be helping you win. That’s not where we are right now, but it’s where we’re trying to get to.

Repoz Posted: February 17, 2014 at 10:11 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: business, marlins, media

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Berri: Why Masahiro Tanaka’s Yankees Contract Is Good for Baseball

As Professor Lavoof said: “There has to be a world off the books”.

So baseball people have thought large salaries are a threat for more than 130 years.  Despite this sentiment, Major League Baseball – unlike the NBA, NFL, and NHL – does not have a salary cap.  Consequently, baseball – relative to these other sports – has substantially more disparity in payroll.  In sum, there does appear to be a difference in baseball between the “haves” and “have-nots.”

At least, that is the payroll story.  Payroll disparity, though, isn’t really the issue from the perspective of the fans.  What really matters is disparity on the field. And on that count, baseball – relative to other sports – doesn’t really have a problem.

...In sum, losing talent to another league tends to worsen competitive balance.  And likewise, expanding your talent base makes it better.

Of course, all of this might still leave you thinking that the Yankees buying a winner is bad for baseball.  Perhaps the following might make you feel better:  Variation in payroll in baseball explains less than 20 percent of the variation in winning percentage. One reason why spending doesn’t match outcomes is that forecasting the future in baseball is difficult. We can look at the stats and know who was “good” or “bad” in the past, but the future – especially for pitchers – is hard to predict.  Consequently, it is hard for the richest teams to simply spend money and win.

So if you don’t like the Yankees (and I share this sentiment), do not despair.  The Yankees cannot simply buy a title.  But if the money in Major League Baseball can get more great players to come to the North America, then that is good for the game. At least, the game in North America.

Repoz Posted: February 04, 2014 at 09:01 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: business, yankees

Bleacher Report: Finding the Best Consumer Value

One of those annual comparisons of stadium prices and experiences that crops up in the sleepiest season for baseball news. 

The Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs are three of the most iconic teams in baseball, but given their inflated ticket prices, it’s hard to call any of them a bargain.

BDC Posted: February 04, 2014 at 09:45 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: business

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Boras: MLB wrong to go after players and not distributors

Robothal has it…

Boras, the former agent for Alex Rodriguez, was agitated as he spoke on the phone, telling FOX Sports that baseball is wrong to prosecute players while entering relationships with their suppliers.

...“The integrity of the game is only partially served when a known pusher is exonerated, when the genesis of this entire problem is now given a forum and compensation and is not behind bars for the distribution and promoting the use of illegal drugs, not only to baseball players but all members of the sporting community and youth,” Boras said.

“Until we rectify that problem, we have not addressed the central issue of eradicating PEDs from professional sports. We have to have legislation; we have to have very clear authority and prosecution of these individuals.

“If these individuals go free, it promotes behavior to create processes to distribute PEDs, knowing the league’s focus is on the players, not on the distributors of drugs.”

Major League Baseball officials declined comment. Those officials have said previously that their only authority in these matters stems from the collective-bargaining agreement and Joint Drug Agreement and that they cannot act as an arm of law enforcement.

Repoz Posted: January 14, 2014 at 06:50 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: business

Monday, January 13, 2014

Cubs introduce new mascot

The Twitter is not promising, but let’s be fair: it’s still an improvement.

The Cubs will introduce the team’s first official mascot in modern history as young “Clark” makes his debut Monday night during a visit with children at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center’s pediatric developmental center…

The new mascot was created as a response to survey feedback and fan interviews, the team said in a statement. People wanted more Cubs-related family-friendly entertainment at Wrigley Field, and Clark will interact in the community, engage with young fans, and be respectful of the game. Clark is named after Clark and Addison, the intersection where Wrigley Field is located…

The Cubs say the mascot will not be on top of the dugout between innings, tossing T-shirts or hot dogs into the stands, and it won’t disrupt the game. Instead, Clark will greet fans as they enter Wrigley Field, and also stop by the ballpark’s “First Timers Booth” to welcome new guests. On family Sundays, the mascot will help kids run the bases after the game.

Most of the time, Clark will welcome fans to his own clubhouse at Wrigley Field, where families can visit. Fans also will be able to interact with Clark on Twitter and Facebook...

According to the Cubs, Clark’s great-grandbear, Joa, was the team’s original live bear mascot back in 1916. When Joa retired to the Lincoln Park Zoo, he delighted the young bears with amazing stories.

With the arrival of Clark, there are now three Major League teams that do not have a mascot—the Angels, Dodgers, and Yankees. The Angels do have the Rally Monkey.

The District Attorney Posted: January 13, 2014 at 05:33 PM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: business, cubs, mascots

Kovacevic: Want to whine, baseball? Think bigger

The gap between haves and have-nots has been a joke for two decades, and it’s outright laughable now that MLB is the only one of North America’s major leagues without a salary cap.

Defenders of the current way will point to a broad variety of teams having participated in recent World Series. They’ll especially leap at the chance to stress when a low-revenue team like the Marlins or Brewers or, yes, the Pirates occasionally will pop their heads above water. What goes unmentioned is that those teams seldom sustain that success.

If the Yankees and Red Sox mess up, they just pony up for a replacement. If the Pirates mess up, they’re sacrificing 20 percent of payroll for Matt Morris to go yachting.

The same game gets played by different rules.

And just wait. The recent monster local TV deals signed by the Dodgers, Rangers, Astros, Mariners, Angels, Padres, Phillies and others will make the current imbalance look like spare change. The Dodgers will average more than $250 million annually, all those other teams between $80 million and $200 million … and the Pirates will be stuck below $30 million.

Pretty much all you’ll see on this topic in the national baseball media is how Jeffrey Loria, the Marlins’ owner, brazenly misuses his revenue-sharing money and how, in turn, the big boys shouldn’t be paying “welfare.”

Check this out: In the NFL, NHL and NBA, owners and players split revenues through a simple 50/50 breakdown. Baseball players’ cut currently is 45-47 percent.

The difference, of course, is the cap.

By not having a cap and a similarly mandated splitting of the pot, baseball players are passing up on roughly $225 million.

And fans of half of all teams are being ripped off by having their teams play by different rules.

Seems like a bigger deal than a couple of hall voters, but I might speak too soon: I’ll be joining them next year.

Better brush up on those angst-ridden adjectives.

Thanks to Butch.

Repoz Posted: January 13, 2014 at 07:24 AM | 66 comment(s)
  Beats: business

Sunday, January 12, 2014

MLBPA threatens legal action against MLB for Tony Bosch’s appearance on “60 Minutes”

This is worse than the misspelling in the “Geter’s in Jail” report!

In advance of Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch’s appearance on “60 Minutes” Sunday, the Major League Baseball Players Association blistered Major League Baseball and chief operating officer Rob Manfred for violating the confidentiality of their collectively-bargaining drug program and for continuing to “publicly pile-on Alex Rodriguez.” The union also said it was considering legal action against MLB.

...“It is unfortunate that Major League Baseball apparently lacks faith in the integrity and finality of the arbitrator’s decision and our Joint Drug Agreement, such that it could not resist the temptation to publicly pile-on against Alex Rodriguez. It is equally troubling that the MLB-appointed Panel Arbitrator will himself be appearing in the “60 Minutes” segment, and that Tony Bosch, MLB’s principal witness, is appearing on the program with MLB’s blessing.

“MLB’s post-decision rush to the media is inconsistent with our collectively-bargained arbitration process, in general, as well as the confidentiality and credibility of the Joint Drug Agreement, in particular. After learning of tonight’s “60 Minutes” segment, Players have expressed anger over, among other things, MLB’s inability to let the result of yesterday’s decision speak for itself. As a result, the Players Association is considering all legal options available to remedy any breaches committed by MLB.

“Throughout this process the Players Association has repeatedly shown it is committed to an effective drug program that is strong and fair. And as we indicated in our statement yesterday, although we do not agree with the arbitrator’s decision, we respect the process and will act accordingly. We believe the other involved parties should do the same.”

Repoz Posted: January 12, 2014 at 07:54 PM | 80 comment(s)
  Beats: business, yankees

Morosi: Baseball won battle with A-Rod, but is losing bigger war

I bet more money was bet on Cam Newton vs. Colin Kaepernick than Le Batard vs. the BBWAA.

MLB remains wildly successful as an industry, particularly in the areas of advanced media and local television, but the past few days have underscored the need for a cultural shift.

The juxtaposition in sports is striking, between the traditional national pastime and present national infatuation. Football has its vices and ills — concussions, brutality, gambling, and, yes, PEDs — but they hardly overshadowed the excitement for the BCS or NFL playoffs. With baseball, the disillusionment comes baked into the crust.

Think about it. When you talked baseball with your friends over the past year, which were the biggest topics? Jose Fernandez’s remarkable story of defecting from Cuba and winning Rookie of the Year? Red Sox postseason heroes Koji Uehara and David Ortiz? Or A-Rod, the deceitful Ryan Braun and the PED-induced angst over the Hall of Fame ballot?

If you’re a teenager who followed sports news over the past week, which debate sounded more interesting to you — Cam Newton vs. Colin Kaepernick, or Le Batard vs. the BBWAA?

The media deserve some blame for this. Maybe we buy into the notion that baseball, with its unique place in American history and folklore, should be held to a higher standard than football. MLB has a more stringent and publicized drug-testing program than the NFL. But when it’s effective against high-profile users such as Rodriguez and Braun, the focus on the problem only intensifies. MLB could adopt a less aggressive approach, but then we’d all accuse Commissioner Bud Selig of taking us back to the summer of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa that fooled us all.

...If there’s one negative consequence of no salary cap and two decades of labor peace, it’s that superstars have become corporations of one. Some are so self-aggrandizing that they have forgotten owners and fellow players are their business partners. Unlike peers in the NFL, NHL and NBA, they’ve had no recent labor strife as a reality check.

The pot of available money appears limitless. Better numbers mean more money for me, but not necessarily less money for you, so it’s fine if I bend the rules. Most of today’s stars know better, but Rodriguez and Braun have operated out of the same selfish playbook. They don’t care what they do to the sport or its reputation, as long as their lawyers and PR flacks spin a story that wins a few more believers.

Repoz Posted: January 12, 2014 at 08:20 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: business, mlb, yankees

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Frank Cattalanotto has a plan to clean up baseball

Now pitching for the Beta-Alanine…Frank Catalanotto.

But there is now finally someone in the game of baseball with a plan to rid it of PEDs and clean up the game we all love. That guy is Frank Cattalanotto.

Catalanotto was a career .291 hitter for 14 years with the Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets. He wasn’t with the Mets for long, but long enough become a New York Jets fan.

Poor guy.

After retirement, he wrote his own memoir, “Heart & Hustle.” He also founded a nutritional company called Proven 4, where he currently serves as the president.

This is all a part of his mission to clean up baseball.

...“One of the reasons why I wanted to started this company was when my partner called me up and said ‘is this something that interests you?’” Catalanotto said. “I said ‘absolutely’ because I know there are a lot of guys that don’t know what their taking and are not taking things that are not NSF certified. It’s a shame that some people are taking stuff that you can just get from GNC and they’re failing these tests because they’re taking something that’s banned. It’s not necessarily steroids but it’s something that’s just on the banned list. And a lot of these guys are Latin players that don’t speak English and don’t understand. So it was really something that I wanted to do to make an NSF certified product that these players can use and they can trust. That was definitely my motivation for starting this company.”

...“These guys can get educated and start taking some supplements that are certified,” Catalanotto said. “The PED problem will get better. We got some good products and I know a lot of Major League teams and a lot of Major League players that are using our products. I hope that they continue to use our products and I think this game can get cleaned up and I hope to be a part of that.”

While he’s not saying that all a player has to do is take his products for instant stardom, but in an athletic environment where nearly every player takes high quality nutritional supplements, his Proven 4 products are the most trustworthy. And it’s through that trustworthy alternative to non-certified supplements including performance enhancing drugs where the issue finally comes to a close.

Repoz Posted: January 11, 2014 at 11:50 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: business

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Sports Job Opening

Chairman Sean wants YOU!

Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: January 07, 2014 at 03:18 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: business

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Feinsand: Yankees must go all in on Masahiro Tanaka or lose international arms race

Screw Aaron Small…“it’s hard to dismiss a 24-0 record”.

It’s time for the Yankees to stop being international spectators.

The Bombers have watched from the sidelines in recent years as teams gambled on Aroldis Chapman, Yoenis Cespedes and Yu Darvish, hitting the jackpot each time.

It was easy to understand the Bombers’ hesitation, the wounds from the Kei Igawa disaster fresh in their minds seven years later. The statute of limitations is over. It’s time to jump back into the big-money international market, with a do-whatever-it-takes approach to signing Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka.

...Tanaka obviously doesn’t have the same track record as any of these pitchers, but it’s hard to dismiss a 24-0 record and 1.27 ERA at any level, let alone in Japan’s Pacific League. Scouts say he’s easily the best available starter on the market this winter, better than Matt Garza, better than Ubaldo Jimenez and better than Ervin Santana, each of whom is seeking a contract worth about $100 million. The Yankees have done their homework on Tanaka; several scouts have gone to see him pitch, most notably assistant GM Billy Eppler, Brian Cashman’s top lieutenant.

... Barring a big bounce-back by Manny Banuelos following Tommy John surgery, the Yankees have no starters coming through the pipeline they feel they can count on. The pitching has to come from somewhere, and for $100 million, you expect more than you’ll get from B-level guys like Garza, Santana or Jimenez.

Doesn’t it make more sense to take a little risk with the possibility of a great reward?

Adding a 25-year-old would-be ace like Tanaka feels like the perfect tonic for the Yankees, not only for 2014, but more importantly, for the rest of this decade.


Repoz Posted: December 26, 2013 at 06:41 AM | 53 comment(s)
  Beats: business, yankees

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Rakuten Golden Eagles will post Masahiro Tanaka

According to reports from Sponichi and Nikkan Sports, the Rakuten Golden Eagles have decided to post right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. The translations were provided by Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. The team has not yet made an official announcement, so nothing is final.

Tanaka, 25, went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA and a 5.72 K/BB in 212 innings for Rakuten this past season. He is widely considered the best pitcher on the market this offseason, though no one actually knew if he would be made available to MLB clubs. The free agent pitching market has been frozen waiting for Rakuten’s decision.

MLB and NPB ratified the new posting system recently. It limits posting fees to only $20 million, roughly a third or a quarter of what Rakuten expected to receive for Tanaka under the old system. They considered keeping him for next season and making another title run (the Golden Eagles won the Japan Series a few weeks ago). Hernandez says the club considered how keeping Tanaka would enhance their brand as well.

Thanks to Los

Repoz Posted: December 24, 2013 at 08:54 PM | 57 comment(s)
  Beats: business

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Masahiro Tanaka decision to come during Christmas holiday?

At some point soon (hopefully very soon), we will learn whether the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan will make ace right-hander Masahiro Tanaka available to MLB teams via the posting system. The pitching market has been handcuffed for weeks now while awaiting the announcement.

According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, Rakuten could announce its decision at some point this week, perhaps either Tuesday (Christmas Eve) or Wednesday (Christmas). Here’s the explanation:

  Tanaka is currently away in Tokyo making appearances at events today and tomorrow, according to Japanese media reports, including Nikkan Sports. While Tanaka said he has yet to hear back from Eagles management since he informed the team of his desire to pitch in Major League Baseball next season, it’s expected that the Eagles will inform Tanaka of their decision at their next meeting.

  Since Tanaka could have more events beginning Dec. 26, the belief in Japan is that an announcement on Tanaka could come on Dec. 24 or Dec. 25. The deadline for the Eagles to decide whether to make Tanaka available through the posting system is Feb. 1, though it isn’t expected they would drag things out anywhere close to that date.

A major announcement like this falling on a major holiday would be less than ideal for many reasons, but especially because the buzz and attention would be somewhat muted. Not too many people pay attention to the hot stove during Christmas and, frankly, not many teams and GMs work the phones particularly hard that day.

Thanks to Butch.

Repoz Posted: December 22, 2013 at 03:39 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: business

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Yankees hit with $28M luxury tax

The New York Yankees were hit with a $28 million luxury tax bill, pushing their total past the $250 million mark since the penalty began in 2003.

According to Major League Baseball calculations sent to teams Tuesday, the Los Angeles Dodgers were the only other team that exceeded the tax threshold this year and must pay $11.4 million. Boston finished just under for the second straight year, coming in $225,666 shy of the $178 million mark.

Figures include average annual values of contracts for players on 40-man rosters, earned bonuses and escalators, adjustments for cash in trades and $10.8 million per team in benefits.

Because the Yankees have been over the tax threshold at least four consecutive times, they pay at a 50 percent rate on the overage, and their $28,113,945 bill was second only to their $34.1 million payment following the 2005 season. The Yankees are responsible for $252.7 million of the $285.1 million in tax paid by all clubs over the past 11 years.

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said he hopes to get under the threshold next year, when it rises to $189 million. That would reset the team’s tax rate to 17.5 percent for 2015 and get the Yankees some revenue-sharing refunds.

But following agreements Tuesday on a $2 million, one-year deal with second baseman Brian Roberts and a $7 million, two-year contract with left-hander Matt Thornton, the Yankees are at $177.7 million for 15 players next year, when benefits are likely to total between $11 million and $12 million. Their only hope to get below the threshold appears to be if an arbitrator upholds most of Alex Rodriguez’s 211-game suspension, relieving the team of a large percentage of the third baseman’s $25 million salary.

Thanks to Chi-Chi Barnald.

Repoz Posted: December 18, 2013 at 06:23 AM | 58 comment(s)
  Beats: business, yankees

Monday, December 16, 2013

MLB reaches agreement with NPB on Revised Posting System

The Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball (MLB) announced today that it has agreed to terms with Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) on revised protocols for the posting system shared by the leagues. MLB’s Executive Council approved the new agreement today.

Swedish Chef Posted: December 16, 2013 at 06:30 PM | 56 comment(s)
  Beats: business, hot stove, japan, mlb, nbp

Saturday, December 14, 2013

STAN FISCHLER: Joe Torre deserved his spot in baseball Hall of Fame

Stan Fischler…funnier than Abbott and Costello in “Hit the Ice”!

* As a Brooklyn boy, I’m tickled that Joe Torre has become a Hall of Famer.

* As a New York newsman, I covered Joe when he and brother Frank tore up the Parade Grounds League in Flatbush, across from Prospect Park.

* I have no problem with Bobby Cox or Tony La Russa making the Cooperstown trek.

* But why the big fuss over the Marvin Miller snub? The late baseball union boss of bosses long ago made it clear that he didn’t even want himself on the ballot.

* And who says the voters are either fair or know what the heck they’re doing in the first place? Then again, isn’t it a bit silly to get all hot and bothered of getting in or our of Cooperstown?

* Seattle is paying ridiculous money to Robinson Cano who is not a superstar and will not be missed at all in The Bronx by May.

* This Cano guy could have stayed in The Bronx and still be filthy rich. Thus, we’d have to call him disloyal to the Pinstripes. Others would simply label the man, ingrate.

* Not that the spate of Yankees signings will make much of a difference, except lower the numbers in the Bronx vault.

Repoz Posted: December 14, 2013 at 05:12 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: business, history, hof, mariners, yankees

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

As Bloomberg departs, a soccer arena deal emerges

No word yet on how Mariano Rivera be honored during the ceremonial implosion of the garages.

According to a confidential outline of the formative deal obtained by Capital New York, the 10-acre site would encompass three of Yankee Stadium’s financially troubled parking lots, a portion of 153rd Street, and a building on the same street now occupied by an elevator parts company called GAL Manufacturing that employs about 400 people.


Chip Posted: December 11, 2013 at 01:24 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: business, soccer, stadium deals, yankees

WSJ: For Yankees, Buying a Contender Means Selling the Farm

Parch meant farm. Crack in the system!

And this winter, whatever visions Steinbrenner had of turning the Yankees into a different kind of winning team have been just about shattered.

Because the Yankees had no top prospects on the horizon, the only way they could reinvigorate their roster to the necessary degree was to turn, once again, to the high end of the free-agent market. And because they have done so, they are making it more difficult to improve the weakness that left them in such a position to begin with.

Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran may help the Yankees return to the playoffs in 2014. But under the free-agent compensation rules in the collective-bargaining agreement, they will also cost the Yankees their first three draft picks next June.

The Yankees will forfeit their first-round pick along with the two compensation picks they would otherwise receive for losing Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson to free agency. As a result, their first pick figures to be somewhere in the mid-50s overall.

That’s significant because the probability of drafting a quality major-league regular falls dramatically after the first round. In July, Baseball America published a study of every draft between 1988 and 2008. It found that 39.1% of players taken in the first round (excluding those who didn’t sign) played at least three years in the majors. But in the supplemental round (between the first and second rounds), that rate fell to 15.8%. And from the sixth round on, the rate is just 3.1%.

“Listen, there’s still good players throughout the draft,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday. “You see that. There are examples all over the place. I’d like to have our draft picks, but it’s just not the way the system is set up. It is what it is.”

Repoz Posted: December 11, 2013 at 10:11 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: business, yankees

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tennessean: Nashville Sounds’ new ballpark on track for final approval

The Metro Council is poised to give the go-ahead to construction of a new ballpark for the Nashville Sounds tonight, setting the stage for the minor league baseball team to start playing in a new home in 16 months.

Pending approval by the council and a final vote by the Metro Sports Authority on Wednesday, the city will go to market and sell $65 million worth of municipal revenue bonds later this week, Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling said Monday. A construction manager could be on board by Jan. 1.

This has been a *lonnngggg* time in the making.

Greer Stadium is my least favorite minor league venue; it should have been replaced long ago. The proposed location, on the old Sulphur Dell site, offers an attractive alternative, particularly if the Sounds follow through on their commitment to develop the surrounding area (which they’re not obligated to do but which makes a lot of sense from a financial standpoint). This is about as close to a win-win situation as you’re going to get in this day and age.

Mike Emeigh Posted: December 10, 2013 at 07:00 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: business, minor leagues

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