Archive for the ‘Moneymoneymoney’ Category

DOMINICAN-BASEBALL

San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, according to a 1986 United Press International report, was the “pot at the end of the rainbow” for baseball scouts. The city of 123,000 had produced 270 major leaguers over the past 15 years, including 21 on rosters for the 1986 season.

“They’re hungry,” Dodger vice-president Al Campanis told UPI reporter Aurelio Rojas. “They have fairly good builds. They want to get fame and acclaim and money to eat and in that country that means being an entertainer, prize fighting or baseball.”

The year prior, then-White Sox manager Tony La Russa discussed the rise of Latin American talent with Peter Gammons, then with the Boston Globe. “It’s in a Latin kid’s blood,” La Russa said. “That’s why I believe that if you give a young Latin player the time to fully adjust to the culture — on and off the field — you’ll have someone who’s easier to manage than the American stars.”

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MLB: Houston Astros-Photo Day

The Houston Astros are on to something. They are not so much exploiting the current baseball systems as much as making the most of a bad situation. As must be qualified any time an article is written about the living lab in Houston, they hired smart people and seem innovative – it appears from the outside to be a club with a vision of how they intend to win.

That doesn’t make it right, however. The Astros operated with the lowest payroll in baseball last season. In their own division, the next lowest payroll was nearly double what the Astros pay their players. You don’t need to spend to win (the fourth-lowest payroll in the AL West is, of course, the Oakland A’s, the two-time division champs). But the Astros are not extracting a great deal of value from their roster. They’re getting what they pay for, which is surely by design.

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MLB Photos Archive

A few times in this space, I’ve covered the rhetoric of owners threatened by the specter of rising player salaries. When the major leagues had their antitrust exemption challenged in Congress in the early 1900s, National Baseball Commission president August Herrmann sounded awfully similar to NCAA president Mark Emmert today. Both claimed the current way is the only way, and that any changes (calling baseball a trust or paying NCAA athletes) would destroy the game.

And as the early days of free agency led to players becoming millionaires, owners and writers alike fretted about the potential consequences of players earning increasingly higher salaries. As Jerry Green wrote in 1979:
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MLB: Atlanta Braves at Chicago Cubs

theScore’s baseball editor Jonah Birenbaum wrote what you see below for our official app (which you should totally download) and I think it belongs on Getting Blanked, too. Follow Jonah on twitter and enjoy!

Baseball’s evolving economic landscape, with national television contracts effectively emptying barrels of cash around the league, privileges players who can hang around. Arbitration-eligible players are always victims of precedent, and the cost-controlling nature of the process limits the earning potential for players who have just a few years of big-league service time.

But there are no rules in today’s open market. Players with six years of service time who felt slighted by the arbitration process are now capable of landing lucrative, ludicrous multi-year deals from cash-rich teams diverting their new monies back into their payroll. It’s precisely this market that allowed Phil Hughes, the homer-prone author of a 5.19 ERA last season, to land a three-year, $24-million deal. It’s precisely this market that allowed Jason Vargas, the soft-throwing southpaw with a career 112 FIP- (where 100 is league average) to score a four-year, $32-million deal. You get the point.

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MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers

It is indeed the most wonderful time of the year. It is just about the time on the calendar where any and all Mike Trout love flows like wine. When the Angels brass call him into their Tempe office and slide a piece of paper across the table.

What will the paper say? Will it feature another borderline insulting minimal raise or will it detail the richest contract in baseball history? Either way, fire up your outrage machines, the topic du jour is Trout’s pay packet.

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Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson holds up the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game in East Rutherford, New Jersey

So. Football eh? How bout that? Really something. Big, if true. Russell Wilson? Did you know he was an accomplished baseball player as a younger man? Bet you didn’t. Hardly ever gets mentioned.

The C-Word

The market is slow to developing. This is a slow-developing market. “February 1st is the new January 1st”, as one MLB front office exec said last week.

We can chalk it up to teams finding their way through the CBA and figuring out just how much draft pick compensation costs. Or we take the next (illogical) step and drop a c-bomb all over the free agent market. No, not the one featured prominently in every Guy Ritchie film, we’re talking about collusion.

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MLB: NLCS-Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals

Update! Right on cue, the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw agreed to a seven-year, $215 million contract extension with an opt-out option after five years – the highest annual average value contract in baseball history.

It doesn’t matter how much money your cable deal is worth or how much equity your billion dollar franchise earns each year – $300 million is a lot of money. For one baseball player, that is an unbelievable amount of money on one contract.

If that contract stretches into the range of ten or twelve years, it is understandable if even the gun slingingest general manager blanches at the thought. For a pitcher? Heart attack territory.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are in the eye of the storm right now. They have the money and they have the desire and, most importantly, they have the player. The Dodgers stand poised to ink Clayton Kershaw to a record-setting deal – a deal that could smash previously held standards for dollar amounts, term, everything. As easy as it might be to question the wisdom of a such a contract given orthodox thinking on the volatile nature of pitchers, one niggling thought stays in the back of my mind: if Clayton Kershaw isn’t good enough to throw conventional wisdom out the window, then who is?

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