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Kyle401
11-15-2006, 09:19 AM
Baseball's mad new world

Baseball's mad new worldBy Jeff Passan (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/expertsarchive?author=Jeff+Passan), Yahoo! Sports
November 14, 2006
NAPLES, Fla. To neatly summarize baseball's new era: The Boston Red Sox (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/teams/bos/) are willing to pay $51.1 million merely for the right to negotiate with Scott Boras.

Such talks have, in the past, made fools of rich men, turned dark hair gray and sent systolic and diastolic pressures to unhealthy levels. And yet here are the Red Sox, coveting Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka enough that they might just be breaking a commandment, and steeling for discussions that, if successful, will end with them shelling out another $12.5 million or so a year to actually get the right-hander in uniform.

If Boston does work out a contract with Matsuzaka over the next 30 days Boras will push for three years to get Matsuzaka back on the free-agent market before he turns 30, and the Red Sox will pull for four or five years to get the full value of the posting fee they pay the Seibu Lions he becomes the new Alex Rodriguez (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/5275/), around a $25 million-a-year man.

Only he'll play in one-fifth the games.

As sound a maneuver as signing Matsuzaka seems for the Red Sox they import a No. 1 pitcher ready to enter the prime of his career and block the New York Yankees (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/teams/nyy/) from signing him this is dangerous for baseball. Though the infusion of cash into the game calls for an equitable amount to go to the players, here is what the public, already wary of exorbitant salaries, sees: The Red Sox paying more per year for a player who has never thrown a major-league pitch than Roger Clemens (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/3340/), Barry Bonds (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/3918/), Randy Johnson (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/4288/) or Ken Griffey Jr. (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/4305/) ever made in a season.
Now it's salaries on steroids.

With its posting bid, the Red Sox threw into flux a market already primed to go nuts. However much it changes things this winter Alfonso Soriano (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/6154/) will get his $100 million or more the ramifications of the Matsuzaka deal will sock baseball in the face next winter, when there's a free-agent class worth spending over. Would it surprise anyone if Ichiro (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/6615/) Suzuki, Andruw Jones (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/5681/), Vernon Wells (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/6327/), Bobby Abreu (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/5698/), Carlos Guillen (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/6105/) and Carlos Zambrano (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/6559/) signed contracts worth a combined $650 million?

"And this," one American League personnel man warned, "is just the start."

This was no clarion call. Baseball sees the spending more as a function of its triumphs, like the successful businessman who upgrades from a beater to a Beamer. For all of its popularity, the sport has become a hugely profitable entity only in the last 10 years. The continued labor peace, which has fostered this kind of spending, is evidence of that. Businessmen in this case, owners and players shouldn't mess with something this good.

The Matsuzaka negotiations might do that. Five teams in baseball spent $48 million or less on their entire payroll last season. In 2004, the best player in the U.S.' most popular sport, Peyton Manning, received the NFL's highest signing bonus, $34.5 million, about one-third less than what could be seen as MLB's equivalent of a signing bonus, the posting fee.

Less than a year after the Red Sox shunned Johnny Damon (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/5484/) because his contract demands climbed too high, and a few months after they passed on Bobby Abreu because of supposed poverty, they are primed to send Seibu enough cash in one payment to cover its entire payroll this season, plus some.

Yes, the Red Sox did finish 26th with a 4.83 earned-run average last season, and Curt Schilling (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/4267/) will be gone after this year, and Jonathan Papelbon (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/7614/)'s move to the rotation could falter, and Jon Lester (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/7790/) is undergoing treatment for cancer, and aces on the free-agent market are as rare and precious as four-leaf clovers. Don't doubt Matsuzaka's credentials, either: He's got the fastball, changeup and slider of a No. 1 and the mettle to match. And maybe, one of these days, he'll have the gyroball (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=jp-gyro031306&prov=yhoo&type=lgns), too.

Still, in terms of popularity, Matsuzaka is not yet Hideki Matsui (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/7042/), and he probably will never be Ichiro, who is a national hero. To assume the Red Sox will become the favorite team in the Far East by signing Matsuzaka is a reach at best.
Likewise, to think the number the Red Sox offered wasn't vetted to the last decimal by Boston's bean counters would be foolish. They can afford Matsuzaka at this price; they wouldn't cripple themselves for a splash. Boston, emboldened by its sport's success, went for the gusto.

Just like baseball, emboldened by its financial success, is doing the same. Only its move is far riskier with further-reaching implications. With every huge contract, it is saying: We believe in our product. We believe fans in large markets will not see the Yankees' and Red Sox's and Mets' spending and wonder when their teams turned into have-nots. We believe fans in smaller markets will continue coming to the game when their teams raise ticket prices to keep up with the big spenders. We believe Mark DeRosa (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/6094/), a lifetime utilityman who never had more than 309 at-bats in a season before this year, is worth $13 million over three years. We believe the sport is healthy enough to withstand whatever criticism may come.

They'd better believe. They created this world. And they have to live with it.

DaWolf
11-15-2006, 09:24 AM
I shoulda became a baseball player...

Archie F. Swin
11-15-2006, 10:00 AM
who does the money go to?

Bowser
11-15-2006, 10:01 AM
Maybe one of these days, Wal-Mart will start making REAL money, then the Royals can go sign a few more players.

RockChalk
11-15-2006, 10:08 AM
who does the money go to?

I believe it goes to the team that owns the rights to the pitcher, but only if he signs with Boston. If the guy doesn't sign, then no $$$ is exchanged

Amnorix
11-15-2006, 10:35 AM
Baseball is a joke, and the Red Sox have no right to b*tch about the Yankees payroll since they're perennially the #2 or #3 spending team themselves.

The whole sport is silly, though. An analogy would be to get rid of the weight classes in boxing and throw everybody in together.

Kyle401
11-15-2006, 11:09 AM
I would be suprised if this level of spending is sustainable, but I guess the Sox seem to think it is.

Frazod
11-15-2006, 11:18 AM
Yankees and Red Sox should just merge teams (as far as the rest of us are concerned, they're basically the same team anyway) and do nothing but play intra-squad games all year long. At the end of the season, the 25 highest paid players of the Yanksox could be selected to play the Mets every year in the World Series.

ESPN could provide 24/7 coverage, too. And they'd love it, since nothing outside of New York or Boston matters. :shake:

carlos3652
11-15-2006, 11:22 AM
This happens (neg. rights) on a daily basis in European Soccer... Thats how Soccer Teams make fat cash...

Wish there was a cap in baseball...

Eleazar
11-15-2006, 11:25 AM
Maybe one of these days, Wal-Mart will start making REAL money, then the Royals can go sign a few more players.

You do know that Wal-mart does not own the Royals, and neither does David Glass work for them any longer?

Archie F. Swin
11-15-2006, 11:26 AM
Dayton Moore....go get yerself a pitcher, buddy

Bob Dole
11-15-2006, 11:32 AM
You do know that Wal-mart does not own the Royals, and neither does David Glass work for them any longer?

He's on the board of directors and one could assume that he owns a significant amount of stock in the commpany...

Bowser
11-15-2006, 11:41 AM
You do know that Wal-mart does not own the Royals, and neither does David Glass work for them any longer?

*sigh*

I'll have to steal this back from patteeu so you can have it....

Mr. Laz
11-15-2006, 12:30 PM
Dayton Moore....go get yerself some pitchers , buddy

FYP

chiefqueen
11-15-2006, 12:35 PM
Yankees and Red Sox should just merge teams (as far as the rest of us are concerned, they're basically the same team anyway) and do nothing but play intra-squad games all year long. At the end of the season, the 25 highest paid players of the Yanksox could be selected to play the Mets every year in the World Series.

ESPN already provides the teams 24/7 coverage. Because nothing outside of New York or Boston matters. :shake:

Fixed your post.

Archie F. Swin
11-15-2006, 12:36 PM
FYP

indeed

Frazod
11-15-2006, 01:14 PM
Fixed your post.

Good catch. :D

tk13
11-15-2006, 01:26 PM
I have to admit, I never expected this to get anywhere near $50 million. I don't think people expected it to be near half that. There was a rumor that it was going to approach $30 million and most baseball fans thought that was a joke. Hard to believe it went this high.

The free agent market is getting pretty wild. It was down for a few years, but I think last year was probably the start of an upswing. The thing is that baseball is still running a pretty solid level of parity, I mean in terms of actual results, baseball still doesn't have less parity than football. It just doesn't. I mean the Yankees and Red Sox are always there... but so are the Colts and Patriots in football, etc. Same difference. But other than that baseball has been pretty wide open.

The key to it right now is that a lot of the small market teams have put money into development and are now developing good young players. The Twins, Marlins, Tigers, A's, etc. Even the D-Rays have a great group of position players... and in a couple years it looks like the Royals might have one of the best groups of young offensive players in the league. Gordon, Butler, Shealy, Teahen, etc. That's still the best way, to develop these guys into a successful team and then try to keep them here to keep the team intact.

thedude
11-15-2006, 01:32 PM
You gotta love baseball

Kyle401
11-15-2006, 02:04 PM
... The thing is that baseball is still running a pretty solid level of parity, I mean in terms of actual results, baseball still doesn't have less parity than football. It just doesn't. I mean the Yankees and Red Sox are always there... but so are the Colts and Patriots in football, etc. Same difference. But other than that baseball has been pretty wide open.

The Colts and the Patriots have been good for several years largely due to drafting good personnnel (Manning, Harrison, Brady). The Colts only had one playoff appearance from 1978-1994. Similarly, the Patriots have gone through significant playoff droughts as well.

The NFL system allows teams to keep "home-grown" talent through the franchise designation. In MLB small market teams can develop talent, but they can't afford to keep it. Look how many former Royals players are key contributors to other teams' post-season success.

MLB payroll is not an absolute indicator of success, but it is relevant.

tk13
11-15-2006, 02:19 PM
The Colts and the Patriots have been good for several years largely due to drafting good personnnel (Manning, Harrison, Brady). The Colts only had one playoff appearance from 1978-1994. Similarly, the Patriots have gone through significant playoff droughts as well.

The NFL system allows teams to keep "home-grown" talent through the franchise designation. In MLB small market teams can develop talent, but they can't afford to keep it. Look how many former Royals players are key contributors to other teams' post-season success.

MLB payroll is not an absolute indicator of success, but it is relevant.
Yeah, but that's the same, the Yankees and Red Sox didn't do much for a long period of time either. Heck the Red Sox went 80 some odd years without a World Series. The Yankees went a good 15 year stretch without doing anything, and haven't won the last 6 years. All they had was the little stretch in the late 90's where they won.

In reality, as great of a dynasty as the New York Yankees seem to be, and the billions Steinbrenner's spent, they've won 4 titles in the past 28 years.

I bet if you asked the average person on the street they'd overshoot that number by a mile. Actually the Yankees have only won 6 titles the last 42 seasons. I don't disagree the financial balance is way off, but to be honest I don't think Steinbrenner's getting close to his money's worth.

Kyle401
11-15-2006, 02:39 PM
Yeah, but that's the same, the Yankees and Red Sox didn't do much for a long period of time either. Heck the Red Sox went 80 some odd years without a World Series. The Yankees went a good 15 year stretch without doing anything, and haven't won the last 6 years. All they had was the little stretch in the late 90's where they won.

In reality, as great of a dynasty as the New York Yankees seem to be, and the billions Steinbrenner's spent, they've won 4 titles in the past 28 years.

I bet if you asked the average person on the street they'd overshoot that number by a mile. Actually the Yankees have only won 6 titles the last 42 seasons. I don't disagree the financial balance is way off, but to be honest I don't think Steinbrenner's getting close to his money's worth.

True, the Yankees have had long championship droughts, but they are consistently in the mix. Just getting to the playoffs does not guarantee a championship, but it is a prerequisite and it keeps the fan-base interested. As far as whether Stienbrenner's getting his money's worth, it's hard to say. Perhaps he's not.

One thing I do know. It sucks to see Johnny Damon playing in pinstripes on the east coast instead of KC in Royal blue.

tk13
11-15-2006, 02:52 PM
Admittedly, I don't get too attached to particular players. Seeing Damon or Beltran or any of those guys on other teams never really bothers me. I don't know why. I just root for the Royals, just like the Chiefs. The key is to keep developing players and turn those guys we have into more good players... like we turned Beltran into Teahen. The A's do it just fine. Although I think if we can start winning some games, and people do come to the park, we'll make efforts to re-sign some of these young players we have now. We'll see. The problem with Damon, Dye, etc... was that we still weren't a good team, people didn't come to the park because of it, and we had a new owner and were just disorganized.

Frazod
11-15-2006, 03:04 PM
BTW, here's the new jacket I ordered yesterday. I note with extreme satisfaction that the words YANKEES and RED SOX don't appear anywhere on it.