It's about the FLOOR, stupid

Yet more discussion (read: proof) why a salary cap in baseball won’t work or fix things. See, it’s not just me:

Using 2008 as an example, the thirty teams took in about $6 billion (not including MLB Advanced Media revenue), for an average of $200 million per team. Forty-five percent of that (the players’ share) is $90 million, which we’ll use as the midpoint between our floor and cap. If we want to make the floor 75 percent of the cap (a low-end figure, relative to the other leagues), we can use $77 million and $103 million, respectively.

With a $103 million cap, nine teams would have been affected last year, and a total of about $286 million would have had to be skimmed off the top. Since total salaries have to remain at existing levels, the bottom twenty-one teams would have had to take on this burden, which had previously been placed on the Yankees, Red Sox, et al. On the other end, fourteen teams would have been under the payroll floor, by a total of $251 million. Even discounting the Marlins‘ $22 million payroll, the other thirteen teams would have had to spend an average of $15 million more just to meet the minimum. Some of those teams might be able to afford it; most wouldn’t.

Imagine being Frank Coonelly in this situation. Coonelly, the Pirates‘ team President, has publicly supported a cap. Had our fictional cap/floor arrangement been instituted last year, the Pirates would have needed to increase their Opening Day payroll by $28 million. Not only would the team have taken a big loss, but Neal Huntington’s long-term strategy would have been sabotaged, since the team would have had to sign a number of veterans just to meet the minimum payroll.

Now fast forward to 2009. Let’s say the Pirates’ sales staff runs into major headwinds, with the team struggling and the economy sinking. The team’s top line takes a hit, falling $10 million from 2008. The Mets and Yankees, meanwhile, open their new ballparks, and each team increases its local revenue by $50 million. If the twenty-seven other teams are flat, total industry revenues rise by $90 million (not including any appreciation in national media revenue). Forty-five percent of that, of course, goes to the players. So even as the Pirates’ purchasing power decreases, the payroll floor actually rises.

Yay, salary cap!

Continue reading It's about the FLOOR, stupid

Abreu's an awful RF

I just happened upon this ESPN “Insider” article that was last updated 1/12/09, so it’s got a few days of stubble on it, but I wanted to bring out some things which were surprising. First, it goes to show just how statistically awful Abreu was last year in RF. Second, I happened to have a pretty strong posting about the game the author references, though I unfortunately did not discuss Abreu’s miscue.

About those defensive stats:
Among right fielders who qualified for the batting title last season, Abreu was worst in the American League with a UZR of -25.2. Yes, you read that correctly. UZR says Abreu was more than 25 runs worse than your average right fielder, and the Rockies Brad Hawpe (-37.2, oof) was the only right fielder in the majors below him.
But 2008 was not an anomaly. Abreu’s UZR in 2007 was -4.2, and it was -15.6 the year before that. In fact, he hasn’t had an above-average UZR since 2002. And it isn’t just UZR that says Abreu is clueless in right. The Hardball Times’ Revised Zone Rating measures the percentage of balls hit into a player’s zone that are converted into outs, and
Bobby Abreu (.872) was 12th out of 15 qualified right fielders by that metric in 2008.

Some of my comments, back on May 2, 2008, following another Yanks loss are both prophetic and amusing:
I woke up still feeling that way, but, I can’t help but wonder if we’re watching the onset of a slow motion train wreck. The chart below summarizes my confidence in the team making the playoffs as well as it tracks the Yanks chances of winning last night’s game [see: FanGraphs chart]
But how is this team going to make the playoffs? The short answer is, unless Pettitte, Moose and Wang are going to win 3 out of every 5 games, at least, from here on out, we’re not. Joba riding in to “save” the team as a starter is an unfair burden.
So now what? It’s May 2nd. Let’s not throw our future out in the garbage by trashing them. They are just young kids, Hughes being the youngest starter in the Majors. Give them a chance. Take a deep breath. And if this year passes and we’re home in October, so be it. Next year, the albatross contracts are gone. We become a leaner organization with fiscal flexibility to make the strategic signing (hear me, CC? You too, Teix!). And hopefully, we become younger and more fun.

Except that we DID get CC and Teix and their new albatross contracts replace the expiring ones. But we’ll be younger and more fun.

Continue reading Abreu's an awful RF

Under no circumstances…

If I were Lord Theo, I’d get Papi on the phone and make it more than clear: Under no circumstances will we permit you to play in the WBC coming off your lingering wrist injury.

I have been swinging some and my injured wrist has not bothered me since last year,” he told The Associated Press by e-mail on Thursday. “Just as I promised, if I’m healthy, I will join the team.

Ortiz was on the disabled list twice last season with a partially torn tendon sheath in his left wrist. Doctors had told him to rest over the offseason.

This guy is way to important to your team to have him put himself at continued risk by playing in the WBC.

As a Yanks fan, I’d say: Go for it, Papi!

Continue reading Under no circumstances…

Signing Youk a good move

The latest in a string of good moves (that conveniently excludes Julio Lugo and Bartolo Colon and Eric Gagne), the Sox signed Kevin Youkilis to a multi-year extension, avoiding arbitration.

Multiple baseball sources confirmed today that the Red Sox and first baseman Kevin Youkilis reached agreement on a four-year, $41 million contract extension through 2012, a deal that also includes a $13 million club option for 2013 that could bring the deal to $53 million over five seasons.

This is a win-win for both sides. The genius of Theo is often overstated, but that’s a fair deal for a solid corner player in the prime of his career.

**Thanks to the guys at FackYouk for the picture! Continue reading Signing Youk a good move

Follow-up on Romero

Worth noting: The laboratory that produced the nutritional supplement that the left-hander claimed was tainted and caused him to falsely test positive has been raided by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Ergopharm’s lab, located in Champ, Ill., and owned by chemist Patrick Arnold who was part of the BALCO steroids scandal, was raided by the DEA on Thursday, according to a source with knowledge of the situation who asked not to be identified. Ergopharm produces 6-OXO, which Romero said he purchased at a General Nutrition Center in Cherry Hill, N.J. Romero also said he believed 6-OXO was not banned by MLB.

Romero tested positive twice last season, on Aug. 26 and Sept. 19.

Continue reading Follow-up on Romero

An oxymoron: A quick, smart move by MLB

Whaddya know, a swift, logical, amicable move by MLB today:

All postseason games will be played to their conclusion under a change to the major league rules approved Thursday by baseball owners.

Owners also voted to use head-to-head records to replace coin flips when determining home-field advantage for tiebreaker games in division and wild-card races.

Good move, Bud. Continue reading An oxymoron: A quick, smart move by MLB

More dumb kneejerk reactions

Crying for parity is a joke. It just is. Hate the Yanks for overpaying for their inability to develop their own cheap talent all you want, but to cry for salary cap —with NO mention of a salary floor— is ridiculous. It’s also so anti-Labor that only in the context of MLB would outsiders/fans want this to happen.

And just for the record, there is MORE parity RIGHT NOW in baseball than their is in the other salary cap laden sports like football or basketball.

The Yankees’ offseason spending spree has sparked renewed talk of a cap, an issue owners haven’t brought up in negotiations since the disastrous 1994-95 strike that wiped out the World Series for the first time in 90 years. But not all owners are critical of the Yankees’ acquisition of pitchers CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett and infielder Mark Teixeira.

“I have no problem with what they’ve done,” Kenney said. “They’ve done it within the rules, within the confines of our agreement.

“And if you look at the reality there, they’ve got a $1.3 billion stadium coming online,” [Cubs Chairman Crane Kenney] said. “They were probably relying on Wall Street to fill a lot of those seats. And they missed the playoffs for the first time in 13 years. So their reaction is probably similar to what I would do, which is, you’ve got to put a compelling product on the field when you open the doors of that new ballpark, and that’s what they did.”

Number of times the Yanks have won the World Series the last 7 years: Zero.
Number of times the Yanks have been TO the WS in the last 7 years: One.
Number of teams in MLB who haven’t made the WS in the last 30 years: Four.
Number of NFL teams who haven’t made the SuperBowl in the last 30 years: Eleven.
Since 1984, only seven different teams have won the NBA Championship (Celtics, Lakers, Pistons, Bulls, Rockets, Spurs, Heat).
In MLB, 2o of 3o teams have made the playoffs since 2003.

From Joe Pos:
20 teams have won a World Series in the last 30 years.
Only 14 teams have won the Super Bowl over the last 30 years.
Only 14 different men have won Wimbledon over the last 30 years.
Only 13 teams have won the Stanley Cup over the last 30 years.
Only nine teams have won an NBA title over the last 30 years.

You set a salary floor at (arbitrarily) $70 million and you will have teams going bankrupt. And there ain’t no ceiling without no floor. So set a salary cap/ceiling at some number $125-$150 million, but put a floor out there, too. Then we can all hate owners for raking all the money into their pockets and out of the players’ pockets.

Teams with payrolls below $70m in 2008 (payroll rank, team, payroll, average):

Hmmmm, the AL Champs are #29. The Twins are consistently competitive. As are the A’s. The Marlins are re-emerging. The D’backs have a good squad. The Rockies were the NL Champs in 2007. Where will these teams pick up the revenues to boost their payrolls to meet the salary floor? Won’t be from a luxury tax since that would be eliminated with salary cap. The idea that the largest revenue clubs (Yanks, Boston, Mets, Angels, Cubs) will simply hand over all that cash that they generate to help Florida add $50m in payroll is flat out preposterous.

And don’t forget this doozy of a “parity” fact: The top THREE payroll teams MISSED THE 2008 PLAYOFFS!!!!

I’m just too Pro-Labor to want to make old billionaires richer instead of giving the money the guys who are putting the product on the field. And that’s what a cap will do.

I need an Exedrin right now. Ridiculously cold temperatures, snow and a crappy drive into work. And whiny owners asking for a salary cap in the name of “parity”.

Other “MLB Parity” articles/blogs worth reading:

Continue reading More dumb kneejerk reactions

4BR in DMB, concierge, marble w/vus galore!

Subpoenaed Yanks President Randy Levine has enlisted uber real estate firm Pru Douglas Elliman to help sell the highest priced seats and luxury boxes in the new Stadium.

Levine said that hiring Prudential Douglas Elliman was not an indication of a slow sales pace on high-end seats at the $1.3 billion stadium. Seven luxury suites remained to be sold, out of 59, and about 1,000 of 4,000 premium seats were available.

No, of course it’s not, Randy. Ummm, except that in the following paragraph or two, the president of PDE had this to say:

Just like everything else, in different economic times, they probably wouldn’t have needed our help,” Sroka said. He added, “We believe we can add value to what they’re doing.” His firm is receiving a consulting fee from the Yankees.

Continue reading 4BR in DMB, concierge, marble w/vus galore!

Let them play pay!

So the Canadian tax authority (the CRA) is coming down hard on Little League Baseball Canada and it’s charitable tax status**. Turns out those donations to LLBC are no longer considered deductible under Canadian law, meaning the costs of the league will have to be passed along to the families of the players rather than being mitigated by donations. Booooooooooo!

The funds received through these tax shelter donation programs were extremely valuable for us, as it allowed us to keep costs borne by the children and their families to the absolute minimum,” said [LLBC president Roy] Bergerman.

Little League Baseball Canada has only two full-time employees, according to its web site, and serves more than 40,000 Canadian youngsters playing baseball and softball.

**Thanks to foreign baseball desk chief Ron Rollins for this one. If you have any interest in baseball outside the US, I recommend a visit to Ron’s site. He does a wonderful job showing us how the game is developing and thriving around the world. Continue reading Let them play pay!