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Monday, January 13, 2014

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) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business

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   1. bobm Posted: January 13, 2014 at 07:53 AM (#4637575)
If the Pirates mess up, they’re sacrificing 20 percent of payroll for Matt Morris to go yachting.


                                                                                                
Year   Age  Tm Lg  W  L  ERA  G GS    IP ERA+ HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
1997    22 STL NL 12  9 3.19 33 33 217.0  131  0.5  2.9  6.2
1998    23 STL NL  7  5 2.53 17 17 113.2  168  0.6  3.3  6.3
1999    Did not play in major leagues (Injured)
2000    25 STL NL  3  3 3.57 31  0  53.0  132  0.5  2.9  5.8
2001    26 STL NL 22  8 3.16 34 34 216.1  137  0.5  2.2  7.7
2002    27 STL NL 17  9 3.42 32 32 210.1  117  0.7  2.7  7.3
2003    28 STL NL 11  8 3.76 27 27 172.1  110  1.0  2.0  6.3
2004    29 STL NL 15 10 4.72 32 32 202.0   90  1.6  2.5  5.8
2005    30 STL NL 14 10 4.11 31 31 192.2  103  1.0  1.7  5.5
2006    31 SFG NL 10 15 4.98 33 33 207.2   90  1.0  2.7  5.1
2007    32 SFG NL  7  7 4.35 21 21 136.2  103  0.8  2.6  4.8

2007    32 PIT NL  3  4 6.10 11 11  62.0   72  0.9  3.2  4.2
2008    33 PIT NL  0  4 9.67  5  5  22.1   44  2.4  2.8  3.6


A team 20 games under .500, having not had a winning season in 15 or so years, decides to trade in mid-season for a mediocre 32 year old pitcher making $10M with a significant history of injuries. They then decide to cut him and pay him, being a sunk cost, rather than try to fix or use him out in the bullpen. How is this silliness reasonably viewed as the fault of the lack of a salary cap, or as merely "messing up"?

   2. John Northey Posted: January 13, 2014 at 07:57 AM (#4637577)
Uh, if a team is sub $30 million then it is purely by choice. TV revenues (shared by all via national contract and revenue sharing) are $50+ mil, the internet money is over $20 mil. There is $70 million available before any club even opens its gates. Mix in local TV revenue and gate receipts, not to mention merchandise sales (which are also shared, so each Yankee hat sold helps every MLB team).

Basically, every team can afford a $50-$80 million payroll if they so choose. Beyond that depends on local support.
   3. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 13, 2014 at 08:13 AM (#4637583)
This is the type of article that has me convinced we are facing a work stoppage in a couple of years. The owners are going to push for a cap.
   4. Bhaakon Posted: January 13, 2014 at 08:31 AM (#4637585)
This is the type of article that has me convinced we are facing a work stoppage in a couple of years. The owners are going to push for a cap.


Aren't baseball players still making less as a percentage of league revenue than the other major leagues? I haven't seen the percentage updated recently, but baseball revenues appear to be growing at least as fast as payrolls, so I doubt it's changed much.

I doubt you'll see much push for a cap, simply because not having one works very well for most teams. What do the Dodgers or Yankees care about the Pirates, Rays, or A's? Certainly not enough to vote for a lockout, or shoot themselves in the foot by limiting their ability to leverage their market size into a higher payroll.

Any realistic cap would have to include other rule changes that would be extremely unpalatable to a lot of teams: a tremendous expansion of revenue sharing, a salary floor or some other mechanism to peg player salaries to a percentage of league revenue, and cutting back or eliminating team control over low service time players. Not only would the MLPBA line up against that, but half or more of the owners would as well.
   5. Tim Wallach was my Hero Posted: January 13, 2014 at 08:45 AM (#4637588)
I don't mind revenue sharing if revenues are used either to pay players or player development. But I can't stand the cap. First, a cap does not make GM and owners smarter : they still give silly long contracts. Second, in the NHL anyway, it comes with a floor that is extremely problematic for a lot of teams and prevents them from investing in player development. Baseball is fine the way it is.
   6. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 09:08 AM (#4637590)
Uh, if a team is sub $30 million then it is purely by choice.


Not necessarily. If you're a bad team in an undesirable market, free agents will often simply refuse to sign with you, even if you have the best offer on the board by a significant amount. Five to ten years ago, the Pirates were routinely getting turned down by guys like Bill Mueller, Will Ohman, Daniel Cabrera, and Paul Bako, even in cases where they offered more money over the same number of years, the same AAV over a greater number of years, or in Ohman's case a ML deal instead of a minor league one.
   7. TRBMB Posted: January 13, 2014 at 09:17 AM (#4637594)
That blessed holy Salary Cap has been a mercy for the Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, etc etc. Salary Crap, the solution to everything.

What a comedy. Laugh at that stupidity.

Do remember the 1994 shutdown, that was salary cap based. Not sure anybody wants to go there again.
   8. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 09:21 AM (#4637596)
Not necessarily. If you're a bad team in an undesirable market, free agents will often simply refuse to sign with you, even if you have the best offer on the board by a significant amount.


Then you don't deserve a baseball club.
   9. bobm Posted: January 13, 2014 at 09:22 AM (#4637597)
Aren't baseball players still making less as a percentage of league revenue than the other major leagues?

The NBA and NFL do not have the minor league / player development expense that MLB has.
   10. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 10:09 AM (#4637607)
Then you don't deserve a baseball club.


This ain't Lake Wobegon, pal. Some team is always going to play in the least-desirable market. So unless you want to contract the league down to one team, the problem's not going away.
   11. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 10:29 AM (#4637619)
This is the type of article that has me convinced we are facing a work stoppage in a couple of years. The owners are going to push for a cap.


With PED-testing used as leverage.
   12. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 10:32 AM (#4637623)
This ain't Lake Wobegon, pal.


There doesn't seem to be any shortage of woebegone franchises in the league. Just ask their owners.

Some team is always going to play in the least-desirable market.


If your market is so undesirable that you can't induce a player to toil there even if you overpay, then you've failed as an owner and a businessperson. Pack it up. Nobody owes your crappy franchise, crumbling town, and ugly populace anything.

Of course we could always do an annual "Queen For a Day" type runoff between the crappiest, most downtrodden franchises for a grand prize, say the first draft pick or some other form of forced indentured servitude (say, any pre-arbitration player on the 40 man roster of the previous year's World Series champions)to help bolster their craphole town's sagging spirits. Each owner could come onscreen and regale the viewership with their tales of woe, their crummy schools and disintegrating infrastructure, their lack of baseball acumen or their financial ineptitude. Tears would be shed. Then viewers could vote for the most pathetic franchise and make them Queen For a Day as the music swells and Bud Selig, clad in the most regal ermine, presents the sobbing sad-sack with a giant novelty check containing the name of the top draft pick.

This way everyone wins. I don't see a downside.
   13. zonk Posted: January 13, 2014 at 10:32 AM (#4637624)


A team 20 games under .500, having not had a winning season in 15 or so years, decides to trade in mid-season for a mediocre 32 year old pitcher making $10M with a significant history of injuries. They then decide to cut him and pay him, being a sunk cost, rather than try to fix or use him out in the bullpen. How is this silliness reasonably viewed as the fault of the lack of a salary cap, or as merely "messing up"?


Yeah, the Matt Morris belly buster really isn't the best argument for a salary cap... it's an argument for euthanasia.
   14. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 10:45 AM (#4637634)
If your market is so undesirable that you can't induce a player to toil there even if you overpay, then you've failed as an owner and a businessperson. Pack it up. Nobody owes your crappy franchise, crumbling town, and ugly populace anything.


It's not about markets being "owed" anything. It's about MLB making more money with the current set of franchises than it would without them, much though you may hate the notion of the mighty Yankees' fortunes being propped up by yokels in Kansas City and Minneapolis. Which is why contraction is a dead letter, and always will be as long as people are interested in baseball.

   15. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4637636)
They then decide to cut him and pay him, being a sunk cost, rather than try to fix or use him out in the bullpen.


Morris sucked because he'd been steadily losing velocity on his fastball for more than half a decade, dropping from 91.6 in 2002 to 85.9 in 2008, and eventually you get to a point where even pitchability won't save you. He was done.

Sending him on his way rather than letting him stagger around hemorrhaging runs in middle relief for a couple of months was the sole sensible decision made during the whole fiasco.
   16. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 13, 2014 at 10:58 AM (#4637639)
Basically, every team can afford a $50-$80 million payroll if they so choose. Beyond that depends on local support.

Doesn't this support his point? A team with an $80M payroll can't afford to risk spending 25% of its payroll on one star player. I'm not in favor of a salary cap, but I think it's myopic to wave away any concerns about competitive balance. The league needs teams in mid and lower tier markets, yet it's going to be (and has been) almost impossible for those teams to sustain success when star players routinely get over $20M a year and their payrolls are in the $80-$100M range.

I think the solution might be to greatly increase the draft bonuses and pre-arb salaries. It will cost teams that rely on young players like the Rays more in the short term, but it might spread the money out more evenly and slow the growth of salaries at the high end.
   17. Flynn Posted: January 13, 2014 at 11:03 AM (#4637642)
The league needs teams in mid and lower tier markets, yet it's going to be (and has been) almost impossible for those teams to sustain success when star players routinely get over $20M a year and their payrolls are in the $80-$100M range.


Well, you either sign them to a team-friendly deal (like the Bucs have done with McCutchen, or the famous Longoria deal), or you become a development machine. $20 million free agents are rarely, if ever, worth the money, so if anything there is a hidden blessing in not being able to blow your money on overpriced free agents.

Developing is why the Bucs and Royals have stunk for so long - the Bucs blew how many top 10 picks? The Royals have had problems getting their guys to produce in the big leagues. It's a lot easier to CYA by blaming the Yankees than to look at how you acquire and develop talent. St. Louis doesn't have all that many more resources than the Pirates do, yet they kick their ass every single year.
   18. zonk Posted: January 13, 2014 at 11:09 AM (#4637647)

Morris sucked because he'd been steadily losing velocity on his fastball for more than half a decade, dropping from 91.6 in 2002 to 85.9 in 2008, and eventually you get to a point where even pitchability won't save you. He was done.

Sending him on his way rather than letting him stagger around hemorrhaging runs in middle relief for a couple of months was the sole sensible decision made during the whole fiasco.


Yeah, but I think the larger point was acquiring him in the first place -- that deal was head scratcher WTF at the time it was made, too.

Off the top of my head, it and the Vernon Wells trade are probably the most universally derided and came to pass exactly as awful as envisioned trades of my lifetime...
   19. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 13, 2014 at 11:09 AM (#4637648)
I'm not blaming the Yankees or saying that teams like the pirates aren't responsible for much of their own misfortune. But it's not as simple as "just be smarter."

   20. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 11:17 AM (#4637650)
It's not about markets being "owed" anything.


I dunno, I sure hear a lot of entitled thinking from your ilk.

It's about MLB making more money with the current set of franchises than it would without them


The makers are supporting the lavish sloth of the takers. There's really no argument on this point. If a team is so downtrodden and pathetic that even dumping barrels of unearned money on free agents isn't enough to overcome its wretched status then how does baseball gain anything out of propping up such dead weight? Since we've already established that a team need not show any form of profitability to be fully supported by better-run, more popular franchises, why not jettison the deadweight loser franchises and start over?

Since someone mentioned the moribund Pittsburgh plight let's discuss. Pittsburgh, so awful that money alone can't entice players to join, mired in decades of subsidized failure. Could a team in Portland really do any worse for the league? What's the worst-case scenario - nobody cares, the ownership is shiftless and delights in sponging off its betters? At least you're expanding baseball to a new market with potential for growth. If Pittsburgh doesn't have enough to offer a baseball player finally freed of indentured servitude *even with more money than anyone else* then screw Pittsburgh. Put a team in Las Vegas, I bet plenty of guys would like to play someplace fun and exciting instead of Pittsburgh.

much though you may hate the notion of the mighty Yankees' fortunes being propped up by yokels in Kansas City and Minneapolis.


The Yankees are the most popular team in baseball. As evidenced by the statements from Colorado Rockies ownership, having the Yankees swing through town is worth tens of millions of dollars for teams fortunate enough to have them on the schedule regularly. No such windfall when the welfare teams come to town, hat in hand.

Frankly if these sad-sack money pit teams prop up the Yankees' fortunes any further, the Yankees will go broke.

Which is why contraction is a dead letter


It's not a letter, it's a symbol. "$" When contraction is a profitable alternative to trying to run a business, teams will come begging for contraction monies. Carl Pohald, the penurious billionaire husk at the helm of the Twins for decades, openly lobbied for contraction but was dissuaded by the promise of eternal free money and chose that instead. Endless torrents of free, unearned money, like the mythical blood of Christ, washes away all manner of ills and discontentment.

   21. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 11:19 AM (#4637651)
St. Louis doesn't have all that many more resources than the Pirates do...


Well, that's not strictly true. In addition to an edge in total population for the metro area, they also have a much larger regional presence than the Pirates do, both because they've done a better job of building that market over the past 50+ years and because they have a more attractive assortment of secondary markets on their periphery.

It translates into a better local media deal and substantially greater local revenue from their ballpark. The Pirates had a significant bump in attendance last year (about 160k), but that only took them from 15th in the NL to 11th, and it left them substantially behind the Cardinals, who were 2nd. And that's without accounting for the fact that the Cards' average ticket prices are much higher (both due to legacy demand from recent seasons and a higher cost of living in St. Louis's market).

So there's a real edge there, resulting from both a lot of work put in by the Cards (which, hey, props to them) and certain institutional advantages they enjoy. But even if the Pirates continue to be well-run from today forward, it's a gap that's likely to persist for some time - the edge wasn't built in a day, so the Pirates' efforts to do the same thing will likely require a good bit of time as well.
   22. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4637656)
I think the solution might be to greatly increase the draft bonuses and pre-arb salaries.


I think a superior solution would be to allow teams to monetize their assets on the free market. If Yu Darvish is worth $50+ million for his rights, plus an equivalent amount in contract value, despite concerns. How much is David Price worth in an outright sale? Giancarlo Stanton? How flush would the Royals be this decade if they'd sold off their "historic" farm system 5 years ago?

How about selling those fat delicious draft picks that are awarded to failing teams each year? If money is the barrier to competition let them get more money through willing buyers meeting willing sellers, instead of devising more arcane and devious methods of interjecting the league between a player and his market value.
   23. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4637677)
I dunno, I sure hear a lot of entitled thinking from your ilk.


Well, there are two separate issues. There's the essential economic state of the game, and then there are the more abstract considerations resulting from the business's status as a competitive sport.

It's like weight classes in fighting: Jose Aldo is a hell of a fighter, but if you put him in the ring with a heavyweight, he's going to have a bad time - even if the heavyweight in question is a guy with third-tier skills (like Matt Mitrione, say). Most sports fans would find that matchup to be kind of, well, un-sporting, because Mitrione's inherent advantages of size and strength will always put Aldo at a sizable competitive disadvantage, no matter how hard he trains or how good his technique is. That doesn't make for a very fun or interesting fight, and you'd like to think that after a while Mitrione would get tired of beating up on guys half his size - though given his lack of introspection, maybe not...

(The flaw in the analogy, of course, is that Aldo has no real means of enlarging himself, while MLB could definitely ensure that its franchises are competing on a relatively level financial playing field, if it were at all interested in doing so.)

If a team is so downtrodden and pathetic that even dumping barrels of unearned money on free agents isn't enough to overcome its wretched status then how does baseball gain anything out of propping up such dead weight? Since we've already established that a team need not show any form of profitability to be fully supported by better-run, more popular franchises, why not jettison the deadweight loser franchises and start over?


First, as noted previously, "dumping...money on free agents" isn't a viable possibility for most bad franchises, so that's not a real fix. Second, all of these teams are fully profitable (as you know full well), and the books that show that they aren't are just an accounting trick.

Since someone mentioned the moribund Pittsburgh plight let's discuss. Pittsburgh, so awful that money alone can't entice players to join, mired in decades of subsidized failure. Could a team in Portland really do any worse for the league?


Well, yeah, it could. It's pretty obvious that it could, because if MLB were likely to do better with a team in Portland, they would've already moved the Rays or A's there by now. And of course, Portland hasn't shown any willingness to pony up for a new stadium, so that'd be a huge chunk out of MLB's bottom line right there if they wanted to pursue a move.

Put a team in Las Vegas, I bet plenty of guys would like to play someplace fun and exciting instead of Pittsburgh.


Las Vegas is a significantly smaller market than Pittsburgh. It's not even top 40 among national TV markets. Plus there's no workable stadium or willingness to build one. (Plus the risk associated with dropping a franchise into gambling's heartland.)

There is one option for franchise relocation that would make sense for MLB - additional teams in the two or three largest cities. New York was able to support three teams in the '50s, and it certainly hasn't gotten any smaller since than. It'll never happen, though, because the Yankees (understandably) don't want any additional competition on their turf.

Frankly if these sad-sack money pit teams prop up the Yankees' fortunes any further, the Yankees will go broke.


If the Yankees don't want to belong to MLB, Li'l Stein could withdraw tomorrow and stage barnstorming exhibitions against whomever he wants. Or found his own league, for that matter. The fact that he hasn't done so, and that nobody has even seriously suggested that he do so, tells you all you need to know about the amount of benefit that he derives from his affiliation with MLB.
   24. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 11:42 AM (#4637678)
I think a superior solution would be to allow teams to monetize their assets on the free market. If Yu Darvish is worth $50+ million for his rights, plus an equivalent amount in contract value, despite concerns. How much is David Price worth in an outright sale? Giancarlo Stanton? How flush would the Royals be this decade if they'd sold off their "historic" farm system 5 years ago?

How about selling those fat delicious draft picks that are awarded to failing teams each year? If money is the barrier to competition let them get more money through willing buyers meeting willing sellers, instead of devising more arcane and devious methods of interjecting the league between a player and his market value.


Or we could just expedite things and stage an auction between the Yankees and Dodgers for the rights to the Commissioner's Trophy. No need to even play the season - think of the savings!
   25. cardsfanboy Posted: January 13, 2014 at 11:50 AM (#4637681)
Aren't baseball players still making less as a percentage of league revenue than the other major leagues? I haven't seen the percentage updated recently, but baseball revenues appear to be growing at least as fast as payrolls, so I doubt it's changed much.


That is because of the minor leagues, and creative book keeping by the NFL.

Not necessarily. If you're a bad team in an undesirable market, free agents will often simply refuse to sign with you, even if you have the best offer on the board by a significant amount. Five to ten years ago, the Pirates were routinely getting turned down by guys like Bill Mueller, Will Ohman, Daniel Cabrera, and Paul Bako, even in cases where they offered more money over the same number of years, the same AAV over a greater number of years, or in Ohman's case a ML deal instead of a minor league one.


I think the problem the Pirates were having, was that the players didn't respect their management, Loria is now running into that problem also.

Salary cap is a joke solution. I like the soft cap, it could arguably be lower so that more teams are affected by it other than the Yankees. And would fully support a system in place that ties in the revenue a team gets with either their payroll or their standings. Something that rewards a team for winning and putting out a product the fans would like to see and get excited about. A salary floor doesn't really work though, because there are teams who have proven to have the ability to win with low salaries and forcing them to spend when they don't need to makes no sense.

That blessed holy Salary Cap has been a mercy for the Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, etc etc. Salary Crap, the solution to everything.


Since 2002 in the NFL, the super bowl has featured 1. Patriots 2. Steelers 3. Peyton Manning with the exception of last year and 2003. It's guaranteed to happen again this year. Salary cap and parity is a myth.
   26. cardsfanboy Posted: January 13, 2014 at 12:00 PM (#4637686)
If the Pirates mess up, they’re sacrificing 20 percent of payroll for Matt Morris to go yachting.


50-80 mil payrolls leaves plenty of room for a lesser tier one free agent, a couple of tier 2 and still have 20-50 mil for the rest of the roster. Instead of worrying about what the percentage of payroll one player takes up, should focus on what you are getting with the remaining payroll. There is a reason the Astros are doing what they have done, blowing it up and starting over. Heck if you look at the Yankees, a good portion of their roster has historically been homegrown with added complementary players. Ultimately what matters is the ability to produce major league players out of your drafts/international signings.

   27. Flynn Posted: January 13, 2014 at 12:03 PM (#4637691)
But even if the Pirates continue to be well-run from today forward, it's a gap that's likely to persist for some time - the edge wasn't built in a day, so the Pirates' efforts to do the same thing will likely require a good bit of time as well.


Well sure, but 20 years of utter failure shouldn't be entirely erased by one good year. The Cardinals are never, ever hopeless, and they deserve their advantage. If the Pirates are still good in 20 years but are drawing 11th in the league, then we have a problem. But I think Pittsburgh is far too good of a sports town to not draw.

Las Vegas is a significantly smaller market than Pittsburgh. It's not even top 40 among national TV markets. Plus there's no workable stadium or willingness to build one. (Plus the risk associated with dropping a franchise into gambling's heartland.)


I honestly question whether anybody who advocates for a Vegas team has ever been there. Nobody is from there, everybody is working at night, there's no stadium, the weather is atrocious and there's not much of an economy outside gambling, so another nasty recession and the people are jobless. It seems like an atrocious place for an MLB team. When you have Montreal lying around there's no good reason to prefer Vegas for anything.
   28. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 13, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4637733)
Not necessarily. If you're a bad team in an undesirable market, free agents will often simply refuse to sign with you, even if you have the best offer on the board by a significant amount. Five to ten years ago, the Pirates were routinely getting turned down by guys like Bill Mueller, Will Ohman, Daniel Cabrera, and Paul Bako, even in cases where they offered more money over the same number of years, the same AAV over a greater number of years, or in Ohman's case a ML deal instead of a minor league one.


No, it's still a choice to have a sub-$30M payroll. At this time you're talking about, the Pirates still were paying a lot of money to the players they had developed and seen through the arbitration process, even if random washed-up veterans who would only make $1M a year anyway didn't want to go there (while other washed-up veterans, e.g. Jeromy Burnitz, Joe Randa, Daryle Ward, Reggie Sanders did). Whereas the Marlins, and the Twins of the Pohlad era, traded away their own players as soon as they weren't underpaid.

NOTE: I know that Reggie Sanders was good with the Pirates, but he was 35 and on a one-year $1M deal.
   29. McCoy Posted: January 13, 2014 at 12:47 PM (#4637750)
AS has already been said, somebody has to be at the bottom and I have no problem with the bottom being Pittsburgh. I don't really care if they can or cannot afford a $20 million player nor does baseball or the vast majority of baseball consumers. You don't need a $20 million player to compete and generally speaking most $20 million players are more of a burden than a help to a team.

Pittsburgh was given a brand new shiny free stadium, a generous pile of cash via revenue sharing, a boatload of top tier draft picks, a generous pile of cash via national TV contracts that they have little to do with, and generous piles of cash via merchandise, internet, and so forth, which again they have little to do with. If they want more they can start their own league.
   30. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 01:09 PM (#4637768)
50-80 mil payrolls leaves plenty of room for a lesser tier one free agent, a couple of tier 2 and still have 20-50 mil for the rest of the roster. Instead of worrying about what the percentage of payroll one player takes up, should focus on what you are getting with the remaining payroll.


$20M to fill 22 spots on the 25-man roster? That's going to be one hell of a product you're putting out on the field.

$50M is more realistic - but a team in a market like Pittsburgh can only afford an $80-90M payroll if the team is already performing and drawing well.
   31. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4637772)
NOTE: I know that Reggie Sanders was good with the Pirates, but he was 35 and on a one-year $1M deal.


(The only reason the Pirates were able to get Lofton and Sanders on the cheap that offseason is that the owners were colluding, and Lofton and Sanders held out in the hope of a better offer until the Pirates' one was the only one left on the table.)
   32. salvomania Posted: January 13, 2014 at 02:01 PM (#4637829)
Not necessarily. If you're a bad team in an undesirable market, free agents will often simply refuse to sign with you, even if you have the best offer on the board by a significant amount.

A well-run bad team can become a good team without having to rely on signing expensive free agents.
   33. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 13, 2014 at 02:09 PM (#4637839)
Every owner except the Pirates was colluding? You'd think they would have signed more free agents!
   34. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4637857)
Every owner except the Pirates was colluding? You'd think they would have signed more free agents!


No, all the owners were colluding (they later admitted to it, and paid millions in a settlement). Lofton and Sanders ended up taking the Pirates' collusive offer rather than another team's because by the time they figured out the name of the game, the other teams that had been mirroring that offer had moved on and signed other players.
   35. McCoy Posted: January 13, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4637872)
For there to be collusion only two people from two different teams need to collude. Wasn't the settlemnt for something like $10 million?

Goes and looks it up myself. . . . .

I see the owners agreed to pay out $12 million and admitted no wrongdoing. So no they did not admit to anything later on and the millions was peanuts when you consider that the players were alleging that teams were colluding in 2002 and 2003.
   36. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4637912)
The commissioner's office was maintaining a central repository of free agent offers, which was available for each team to examine. Which is why so many players that offseason got one-year offers for exactly the same dollar amount. It wasn't just two interns going off the reservation - it was a pretty big thing.
   37. McCoy Posted: January 13, 2014 at 03:29 PM (#4637916)
That amounted to a 12 million dollar payout as opposed to hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars the union got for collusion back in the 80's.

80's-3 offseasons of collusion-$280 million payout.
00's-2 offseasons of collusion-$12 million payout.

Which one would you call a "pretty big thing"?
   38. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 13, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4637917)
AS has already been said, somebody has to be at the bottom and I have no problem with the bottom being Pittsburgh. I don't really care if they can or cannot afford a $20 million player nor does baseball or the vast majority of baseball consumers. You don't need a $20 million player to compete and generally speaking most $20 million players are more of a burden than a help to a team.


You seem to be operating on the flawed assumption that 20 mil will buy you a star. Look at the top tier FA contracts again.
   39. McCoy Posted: January 13, 2014 at 03:32 PM (#4637919)
You seem to be operating on the flawed assumption that 20 mil will buy you a star. Look at the top tier FA contracts again.

You seem to be operating on the flawed assumption that I think 20 million dollars will buy you a star.
   40. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 13, 2014 at 03:41 PM (#4637924)
80's-3 offseasons of collusion-$280 million payout.
00's-2 offseasons of collusion-$12 million payout.

Which one would you call a "pretty big thing"?


They had better evidence in the former case than in the latter, and MLB's behavior was more egregious in the former case than in the latter, so they were able to extract a bigger settlement.
   41. cardsfanboy Posted: January 13, 2014 at 03:58 PM (#4637937)
You seem to be operating on the flawed assumption that 20 mil will buy you a star. Look at the top tier FA contracts again.


Are you saying that 20 mil doesn't get you a star? On the free agent market there are usually only 2 or 3 players a year that get over 20 mil a year. I mean Cano is the big fish for this year and he is getting 24mil. Most years you can get either the best player or the second best player available at any position for less than 20mil.
   42. Random Transaction Generator Posted: January 13, 2014 at 04:50 PM (#4637991)
That blessed holy Salary Cap has been a mercy for the Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, etc etc. Salary Crap, the solution to everything.


The Cardinals were a toe-tip away from winning the Super Bowl in 2008 (and had an equal or better record than three of the teams that made the playoffs this year).
The Jets were one win away from the Super Bowl in back to back seasons (2009/2010).
The Raiders were in the Super Bowl in 2002.

You went looking for terrible teams, and still ended up picking three of them that have come closer to winning the championship (in the game, or a win/round away) in the last 11 years than the Blue Jays, Royals, Nationals, Pirates, Orioles, Mariners, or Padres.
   43. McCoy Posted: January 13, 2014 at 04:54 PM (#4637994)
in the last 11 years than the Blue Jays, Royals, Nationals, Pirates, Orioles, Mariners, or Padres.

That's what all those series will do for you instead of playing single game playoffs.
   44. Jim Wisinski Posted: January 13, 2014 at 05:01 PM (#4638000)
Since 2002 in the NFL, the super bowl has featured 1. Patriots 2. Steelers 3. Peyton Manning with the exception of last year and 2003. It's guaranteed to happen again this year. Salary cap and parity is a myth.


I don't exactly agree with the point you're making there. The salary cap does come into play when it comes to creating parity, successful teams have multi-year runs come to a halt reasonably often because of salary cap trouble and teams trying to rebuild are sometimes hamstrung for a year or two by leftover contracts killing them with the cap. Every year perfectly good players get cut by their teams when there isn't enough room under the cap and they can't come to an agreement on restructuring. The limitations imposed by the cap (and the weird contract structure the NFL uses due to cap rules and also signing bonuses being the only fully guaranteed salary), combined with the short schedule, larger playoff field, and high injury rate in the NFL, create a system where any decently run team should make the playoffs sometimes. You don't tend to get a football version of the late 90s/2000s Blue Jays where they finish above .500 in 8 out of 13 seasons and never make the playoffs.

The salary cap may actually contribute to the regular nature of the Super Bowl participants that you cite, having everyone on relatively equal ground allows really well-run teams (with quarterback stability) to pretty much always be good. The Steelers are considered to be a very well-run team and they have had an above average QB for 10 years now. The Patriots are superbly run and have an all-time great at QB. Manning's teams have been well-run and of course have had Peyton Manning as the QB, with all of the missed time in his career coming in a single season. So it's true that AFC parity is fairly limited, at least in terms of the teams capable of getting to the Super Bowl, but that's because they've had teams with great QB situations that are just plain better run than the competition. The Ravens are probably a good example of a team that's well-run (during Ozzie Newsome's tenure as GM) with the exception of being able to find an above-average QB (which, depending on who you ask, they may or may not have now). They're usually in the mix and have won a couple Super Bowls but have had more of an up and down history than the others.

Personally I don't like the idea of a salary cap in MLB, it's just so damn messy. I do support much broader revenue sharing BUT it absolutely has to be with strict oversight by the league which actually enforces the spending requirements so teams can never just pocket the money. I'm not looking for an actual salary floor but teams would need to be able to prove that an appropriate amount of money based on their total revenues (from everything: standard revenues, shared revenue, stakes in RSNs, etc.) is going towards the team for things such as major league payroll, player development, scouting, etc. While I'm sure YR won't agree with the idea of more revenue sharing regardless of the conditions attached I think the one thing we would agree on is that MLB is currently far too lax when it comes to enforcing the spending requirements for teams receiving revenue sharing.
   45. Long Time Listener, First Time Caller Posted: January 13, 2014 at 05:05 PM (#4638005)
#42: Yes, and 16 coin flips is going to have a lot more variation than 162 coin flips. Ditto to 19 coin flips vs. 169
   46. McCoy Posted: January 13, 2014 at 05:05 PM (#4638006)
The list of NFL teams that couldn't get to the League Championship or Super Bowl in the last 11 seasons-
Miami Dolphins
Buffalo Bills
Dallas Cowboys
Washington Redskins
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns
Detroit Lions
Tennessee Titans
Jacksonville Jaguars
Houston Texans
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kansas City Chiefs
Oakland Raiders
St. Louis Rams
   47. Jim Wisinski Posted: January 13, 2014 at 05:56 PM (#4638074)
The list of NFL teams that couldn't get to the League Championship or Super Bowl in the last 11 seasons-


Miami Dolphins - Mediocre at best, I may be giving them too much credit with that
Buffalo Bills - Terribly run
Dallas Cowboys - Poorly run
Washington Redskins - Badly run with a clueless, interfering owner
Cincinnati Bengals - Decent in the Marvin Lewis era though Mike Brown doesn't seem to care all that much about the team
Cleveland Browns - Dumpster fire
Detroit Lions - Disaster of a GM for a while and it looks like Schwartz was probably a lousy HC
Tennessee Titans - Largely decent or better under Jeff Fisher; I understand why they wanted to part ways with Fisher but to this point I think they're worse off for it
Jacksonville Jaguars - Seem to be pretty poorly run
Houston Texans - Expansion team starting in 2002, seemed pretty solid under Kubiak (and lost in the divisional round of the playoffs the previous two years) before the utter fiasco of a season in 2013
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The firing of Dungy seemed to pay off with the immediate Super Bowl win (though the offense was still below-average, it's hardly certain that Dungy couldn't have replicated the success considering what a great defense they had that year) but the quality of the personnel decisions seemed to drop off afterwards and the Glazers suddenly took the team from one of the highest-spending teams in the league to among the lowest immediately upon taking on a ton of debt to buy Man U, a situation that has only turned around the last couple of seasons
Kansas City Chiefs - Up and down, some good seasons in there
Oakland Raiders - Dumpster fire
St. Louis Rams - Largely a disaster after 2003, might be turning it around now

Kansas City, Cincinnati, Tennessee, and maybe Houston have arguments for their failure to make a conference championship being other than 100% self-inflicted. Worth noting is that all four teams are in the AFC and of their 14 combined playoff losses in McCoy's time period 5 of them occured to the aforementioned three power teams; if we include Baltimore, which I think we should, then the number goes up to 8 of 14. That's actually skewed by the Bengals being only 1 of 5 in both measurements, they lose to everybody in the first round. Non-Cincinnati teams can blame 7 of their 9 playoff losses on the Steelers, Ravens, Patriots, or Peyton Manning.

Edit: Also, of those 14 teams McCoy lists only Dallas, Houston, Cincinnati, and I suppose Detroit have had truly stable QB situations in that time period.
   48. madvillain Posted: January 13, 2014 at 06:13 PM (#4638083)
heck 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.


This is just a gross simplification. The NBA just had a lockout and at the core of it was exactly how to define the "basketball revenue" that would be subject to the 50/50 split.

I don't think the NBA is really the ideal labor situation, not by a far cry. MLB has some issues with revenue sharing and competitive balance, but it's better than the NBA.
   49. TRBMB Posted: January 13, 2014 at 07:44 PM (#4638174)
The Cardinals were a toe-tip away from winning the Super Bowl in 2008 (and had an equal or better record than three of the teams that made the playoffs this year).
The Jets were one win away from the Super Bowl in back to back seasons (2009/2010).
The Raiders were in the Super Bowl in 2002.

You went looking for terrible teams, and still ended up picking three of them that have come closer to winning the championship (in the game, or a win/round away) in the last 11 years than the Blue Jays, Royals, Nationals, Pirates, Orioles, Mariners, or Padres.



Gee, don't you think teams might have a chance to be a lot closer to breaking through in a 16 game season and a one and done playoff then teams might in a 162 game season and multiple game playoff? Get back to me on how wonderful parity (mediocrity) is in the holy NFL once a 162 game season (with a QB rotation) and multiple game playoff round is played there.
   50. Wahoo Sam Posted: January 13, 2014 at 07:59 PM (#4638179)
How do the proponents of a salary cap, the people who say we have to have a salary cap so teams with low payroll can compete, how do they explain the Oakland A's and the Tampa Bay Rays? Five combined PS appearances in the last four years, and the A's have made the PS as many times as the Boston Red Sox since 2000.

With modern revenue sharing and TV rights, every team can afford a competitive salary on that alone, provided they hire good baseball people. Regardless of that, EVERY MLB owner is a multi-multi-millionaire or billionaire and can afford $100 million per year.
   51. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 13, 2014 at 07:59 PM (#4638181)
Since 2002 in the NFL, the super bowl has featured 1. Patriots 2. Steelers 3. Peyton Manning with the exception of last year and 2003. It's guaranteed to happen again this year. Salary cap and parity is a myth.


I don't exactly agree with the point you're making there.


The problem with the "point" being made in the first quote is that it's cheating from the start to say "the Patriots, Steelers, and Peyton Manning always make the playoffs" as if "Peyton Manning" was a franchise. In respect to the salary cap in the NFL, Peyton Manning is an argument that it does at least drive the league toward some form of parity, in that Manning is now with a different team than he used to play with because they didn't want to risk his contract/neck situation, preferring to "suck for Luck" in the draft instead.
   52. cardsfanboy Posted: January 13, 2014 at 08:06 PM (#4638190)
The problem with the "point" being made in the first quote is that it's cheating from the start to say "the Patriots, Steelers, and Peyton Manning always make the playoffs" as if "Peyton Manning" was a franchise.


(The only reason I added Peyton Manning was so that I could say guaranteed to happen this year also. Remove Peyton and make it the Colts and the comment is still true until/unless the Broncos beat the Patriots this year)

   53. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 13, 2014 at 08:15 PM (#4638205)
(The only reason I added Peyton Manning was so that I could say guaranteed to happen this year also. Remove Peyton and make it the Colts and the comment is still true until/unless the Broncos beat the Patriots this year)


Yes. Smartly run franchises still outperform badly run franchises, even with a salary cap. I'm not sure why this is a point worth making. The Pirates didn't miss the playoffs for 20 years because they didn't have money. They missed the playoffs every year because they were run like ####. The Browns don't miss the playoffs every year because the salary cap fails to equalize the ground in the NFL. They miss the playoffs every year because they are run like ####.
   54. TRBMB Posted: January 13, 2014 at 08:51 PM (#4638238)
I get really wound up with salary cap proponents and putting aside MLB versus NFL comparison, I use the NHL as a sad example. I love Major League Baseball and will defend it (as hard as that can sometimes be these days), but at one time I loved the National Hockey League more. I grew up there living through the timeframe of the greatest teams the NHL ever saw, the 1976-1979 Canadians, the 1980-1983 Islanders, the 1984-1989 Oilers, the greatest Hockey teams EVER, and their kind will never be seen again. Why? The Bettman invasion, mass over expansion and salary cap that prevents truly great dynastic teams from ever evolving/surviving again. Today we get whatever teams can briefly survive overall salary cap restrictions on roster continuity winning and then usually fading back into mediocrity as players move on due to cap barriers. Limited sustained excellence. And this is what some desire. You got it in the National Bettman League, to which I direct no attention anymore.

Referring back to MLB, remember, 1994 was lost to salary cap contention, the MLB is packed with stupid owners (redundancy), but few are so stupid so as to walk away from the revenue growth that is in the game now. MLB players don't need to protect Owners from themselves. The Owners create the salary market, not the players, so let them be the astute businessmen they pretend to be without the players guarding them. Screw all salary caps.
   55. Squash Posted: January 13, 2014 at 10:11 PM (#4638279)
How do the proponents of a salary cap, the people who say we have to have a salary cap so teams with low payroll can compete, how do they explain the Oakland A's and the Tampa Bay Rays? Five combined PS appearances in the last four years, and the A's have made the PS as many times as the Boston Red Sox since 2000.

I don't support a salary cap, but when you have to point to specific examples within a specific window you're pretty much proving the other side's point.
   56. Walt Davis Posted: January 13, 2014 at 11:49 PM (#4638319)
It's like weight classes in fighting: Jose Aldo is a hell of a fighter, but if you put him in the ring with a heavyweight, he's going to have a bad time - even if the heavyweight in question is a guy with third-tier skills (like Matt Mitrione, say). Most sports fans would find that matchup to be kind of, well, un-sporting, because Mitrione's inherent advantages of size and strength will always put Aldo at a sizable competitive disadvantage, no matter how hard he trains or how good his technique is. That doesn't make for a very fun or interesting fight, and you'd like to think that after a while Mitrione would get tired of beating up on guys half his size - though given his lack of introspection, maybe not...

(The flaw in the analogy, of course, is that Aldo has no real means of enlarging himself, while MLB could definitely ensure that its franchises are competing on a relatively level financial playing field, if it were at all interested in doing so.)


Another flaw in the analogy is that, in any given baseball game, the underdog still has, what, at least a 40% chance of winning. Last season we saw Tampa, Cleveland, Oakland, Pitt and Cincy make the playoffs. So, in fact, Jose Aldo is often beating not just Mitrione but whoever is the #1 heavyweight right now.

The better analogy is probably me vs. a world-class poker player. My chances in any single hand are pretty much as good as theirs. With some luck I can outperform several pros in a single tournament. With a heap of luck and a lot of smart decisions, I might even win a tournament. But over several tournaments, they would clean my clock.
   57. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: January 14, 2014 at 04:40 AM (#4638380)
Another flaw in the analogy is that, in any given baseball game, the underdog still has, what, at least a 40% chance of winning. Last season we saw Tampa, Cleveland, Oakland, Pitt and Cincy make the playoffs. So, in fact, Jose Aldo is often beating not just Mitrione but whoever is the #1 heavyweight right now.


Boxing's weird in that what, by all rights, should be the minor leagues (since they have worse boxers in that they'd lose to heavyweights easily), are viewed as very relevant and sometimes (like now) even more important than the major leagues. This despite (because of?) the fact that almost no one from the lesser weight divisions ever graduates to heavyweight.

The only pro sport that I can think of that's remotely comparable is that people seem to care about women's tennis almost as much as men's tennis. I guess there's also the Olympics (where women's sports are almost as relevant as men's), but that's more about cheering for your country than about the spectacle itself.
   58. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 14, 2014 at 10:30 AM (#4638444)
It's like weight classes in fighting: Jose Aldo is a hell of a fighter, but if you put him in the ring with a heavyweight, he's going to have a bad time - even if the heavyweight in question is a guy with third-tier skills (like Matt Mitrione, say).


Bob Fitzsimmons won the middleweight, light-heavyweight, and heavyweight boxing championships of the world and never topped 170lb.

(The flaw in the analogy, of course, is that Aldo has no real means of enlarging himself


Is Enzyte considered a PED?

But of course fighters move up weight classes all the time - recall the Great Fitzsimmons I mentioned above. His legendary three-crown feat in those divisions was replicated by Roy Jones Jr almost 100 years later, but Jones climbed the ladder by legitimately gaining weight to make each division.

while MLB could definitely ensure that its franchises are competing on a relatively level financial playing field


It's always about shifting around vast piles of other people's money for some folks. And of course the important thing is that we decouple these endless torrents of free money from any sort of performance, so Bud's cronies can pocket as much as they please without worrying about the slobs in the stands.

If a team is so downtrodden and pathetic that even dumping barrels of unearned money on free agents isn't enough to overcome its wretched status then how does baseball gain anything out of propping up such dead weight?

First, as noted previously, "dumping...money on free agents" isn't a viable possibility for most bad franchises, so that's not a real fix.


But as mentioned in your own #6, a crap-hole team like the Pirates can't even get free agents to sign with them even if they overpay, so crying about phony finances isn't going to provide any real answers. Stop pining for the reserve clause to return.

Since someone mentioned the moribund Pittsburgh plight let's discuss. Pittsburgh, so awful that money alone can't entice players to join, mired in decades of subsidized failure. Could a team in Portland really do any worse for the league?

Well, yeah, it could. It's pretty obvious that it could, because if MLB were likely to do better with a team in Portland, they would've already moved the Rays or A's there by now.


Is that MLB's call? I know Bud wants to run the league like a plantation but I don't think he can actually operate like this without a suitably pliable stooge in the John Henry/Jeffrey Loria mold to work with.

But of course you're missing the point - by your own admission a crap-hole franchise like the Pirates can't be expected to provide for its own financial viability. As long as someone else is forced to foot the bill, why can't you put an MLB team literally anywhere? Players already won't go to Pittsburgh even if you overpay them per your own admission, so why force everyone to be tied to an archaic legacy model instead of attempting to innovate? You sound like the dinosaur music labels railing against MP3's - all we need is the right to sue anyone who rips a CD, install rootkits on computer, monitor internet traffic, and draft a few laws and we'll be fine, we won't need to update our model to adjust to the market at all.

And of course, Portland hasn't shown any willingness to pony up for a new stadium, so that'd be a huge chunk out of MLB's bottom line right there if they wanted to pursue a move.


I'm just making suggestions as to where a failed franchise like the Pirates might be better placed for their own sake. Portland is the same size media market as Pittsburgh but has less crime, and higher median household income. Portland has the additional benefit of a team not being forced to compete with successful non-welfare teams in the region. The league could easily offer partial funding of a new stadium for the region by redirecting funds from the failed "revenue stealing" boondoggles towards proper development. This sense of misplaced entitlement where Pittsburgh somehow deserves to have a team no matter what the cost to everyone else is offensive. If the Pirates want to become a ward of the league then they need to show proper acknowledgement of that fact.

Put a team in Las Vegas, I bet plenty of guys would like to play someplace fun and exciting instead of Pittsburgh.

Las Vegas is a significantly smaller market than Pittsburgh. It's not even top 40 among national TV markets. Plus there's no workable stadium or willingness to build one. (Plus the risk associated with dropping a franchise into gambling's heartland.)


Las Vegas would cater to a tourist market on top of its local fanbase - it's constantly ranked among the top-10 most visited cities in America, in additional to a local media market size not too much smaller than Milwaukee. Throw in some free money from the league to subsidize a stadium (you aren't opposed to the league lavishing free money are you) and I'd bank on a franchise which easily overcomes the very specific shortcoming you identified as hindering the Pirates - ballplayers will play in Las Vegas if you overpay them, while they won't play in Pittsburgh.

I don't see why we have to worry about putting a franchise in a gambling town any more than you need to relocate the Rockies because of marijuana legalization in Colorado.

There is one option for franchise relocation that would make sense for MLB - additional teams in the two or three largest cities. New York was able to support three teams in the '50s, and it certainly hasn't gotten any smaller since than. It'll never happen, though, because the Yankees (understandably) don't want any additional competition on their turf.


Wait a second here - on one hand you're claiming we couldn't relocate a moribund franchise like the Pirates to unsullied regions like Portland and Las Vegas because there aren't stadiums ready-built and waiting to receive them, but when it comes to New York City I don't see any such caveats associated with your edicts.

Who wants to move to NYC? Let them. The league already has a well-established mechanism in place to compensate existing franchises for entering their territory, which teams are pursuing that route? I mean, this is NEW YORK CITY, any team who gets into that market will be as fabulously successful as the Mets so whatever it costs it would certainly be worth it.

Now of course maybe the money associated with these territorial rights is daunting. All the league needs to do is schedule a vote to eliminate all territorial rights, but there seems to be some sort of reluctance to do so.

If the Yankees don't want to belong to MLB, Li'l Stein could withdraw tomorrow and stage barnstorming exhibitions against whomever he wants.


Yes and if Muslims don't like being profiled as terrorists they can move back to Iran. Injustice is freedom, love it or leave it. Shame on you.
   59. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 14, 2014 at 10:40 AM (#4638450)
I think a superior solution would be to allow teams to monetize their assets on the free market. If Yu Darvish is worth $50+ million for his rights, plus an equivalent amount in contract value, despite concerns. How much is David Price worth in an outright sale? Giancarlo Stanton? How flush would the Royals be this decade if they'd sold off their "historic" farm system 5 years ago?

How about selling those fat delicious draft picks that are awarded to failing teams each year? If money is the barrier to competition let them get more money through willing buyers meeting willing sellers, instead of devising more arcane and devious methods of interjecting the league between a player and his market value.

Or we could just expedite things and stage an auction between the Yankees and Dodgers for the rights to the Commissioner's Trophy. No need to even play the season - think of the savings!


Ah yes, those overbearing Dodgers who have been tilting the competitive balance of the league so shamelessly. Let's throw the Mets, Cubs, and White Sox on the pile - shame on these big-market bullies for oppressing the rest of the league!

Up off the fainting couch with you. The poormouth franchise say they need money, money, money, lots of it and it can't ever stop. I'm just showing a better way they can leverage their existing assets to bring in more of the precious money, which they would of course use to improve their franchise by locking up their own players and participating more fully in free agent acquisitions. If free money doesn't constitute any sort of moral hazard for the welfare franchises I can't see how money earned through the fair market sale of hard-won assets would.
   60. base ball chick Posted: January 14, 2014 at 01:54 PM (#4638702)
YR Is Surrounded by Yankees (the bad kind) Posted: January 14, 2014 at 09:30 AM (#4638444)


It's always about shifting around vast piles of other people's money for some folks. And of course the important thing is that we decouple these endless torrents of free money from any sort of performance, so Bud's cronies can pocket as much as they please without worrying about the slobs in the stands.


dingdngding

and what bud and his cronies have long since decided is that what is most important, actually the only thing that is important, is making as much money as possible, hopefully on poor peoples' money

and the yankees benefit best financially by subsidizing all the other teams to beat up on. they decided they would make less money if they just let all the poorer franchises fold. because there is no way in heck that MLB is gonna give one thin dime to build some other stadium in an area where the politicians aren't corrupt enough - hard to believe that such a place exists, but i guess so

mlb doesn't give even the tiniest damm about fans. they want customers who look at a ball game as any sort of 1 time entertainment they spend a couple hundred bux on, and they want season tix for suites, clubs etc from companies, big companies and they don't care real too particular much if people actually fill those seats. mlb has decided this because this is how they make the most profit and it is why even if they managed to make all the salaries decrease to 1970 levels, the seat prices would not be cheaper. payroll has nothing to do with seat prices.

as for vegas
the only big commercial companies are gamblers and apparently the city/county won't agree to cough up the money to build a ML stadium which would have to be covered.

people don't go to vegas to watch a baseball game played by some team they don't follow or care about. they go to vegas to gamble and have sex. who is it you think is going to pay for all those suites/club level tix? who is gonna be the corporate sponsors who pour tons of money in for advertizing?

cmon

as for NYC
do you seriously think that all those yankees/mets fans are gonna suddenly stop being yankees/mets fans and go follow some new team in brooklyn or wherever? cmon. and mlb is not gonna pay money to buy the land and build a stadium. they got NO reason to
   61. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: January 14, 2014 at 02:01 PM (#4638710)
What goes unmentioned is that those teams seldom sustain that success.

So the point of a salary cap is that every team will be good every year? Got it!
   62. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 14, 2014 at 02:32 PM (#4638758)
and the yankees benefit best financially by subsidizing all the other teams to beat up on. they decided they would make less money if they just let all the poorer franchises fold.


The Yankees, owned by George Steinbrenner,were the only MLB club to vote against the 2002 CBA. This position was likely due to the increases in revenue sharing and the imposition of the substantial competitive balance tax.

They didn't decide, they had a decision forced on them.

people don't go to vegas to watch a baseball game played by some team they don't follow or care about. they go to vegas to gamble and have sex.


So build a baseball experience that caters to what the market demands. That's how proper businesses maximize their profitability and distinguish themselves against their competitors. The idea that you need to have the same generic interchangeable canned vanilla pudding product in Milwaukee as you do in Los Angeles as you do in Las Vegas is foolish.

who is it you think is going to pay for all those suites/club level tix?


Casinos. Nightclubs. Strip joints.

as for NYC
do you seriously think that all those yankees/mets fans are gonna suddenly stop being yankees/mets fans and go follow some new team in brooklyn or wherever?


That does appear to be the common contention, yes. It's such a frightful risk to the Yankees, as evidence by the fact that the team insists that its territorial rights are just as valid as those granted to every other team in baseball. If they weren't scared of adding another team to New York City they'd just waive those rights and welcome their new brethren. Shame on them! Take more of their money!
   63. BochysFingers Posted: January 14, 2014 at 03:55 PM (#4638843)
The Giants somehow being able to dump Morris on the Pirates was an indication that SF was going concave up during their only last place finish in the last 17 seasons.
   64. base ball chick Posted: January 14, 2014 at 03:58 PM (#4638850)
why would the yankees want to lose even ONE fan if they don't have to?

buddy boy and gang are obsessed with the "family" G-rated "experience" of baseball and are not gonna stand for a ho-house being a corporate sponsor of a ball club
   65. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: January 14, 2014 at 04:09 PM (#4638867)
who is it you think is going to pay for all those suites/club level tix?

Casinos. Nightclubs. Strip joints.

Why would a casino lease a corporate suite at a ballpark to entertain high roller clients when instead they can entertain their high rollers in their own casino?
   66. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 14, 2014 at 04:33 PM (#4638896)
Why would a casino lease a corporate suite at a ballpark to entertain high roller clients when instead they can entertain their high rollers in their own casino?


Why not have the capabilities to do both? Something about live sporting events might prompt sports-minded high-rollers to want to drop a dime or two on all sorts of other competitions.

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