Baseball’s off season is off to a rousing start. Who knows where it is headed?
The two biggest questions going to the Winter Meetings in Nashville involved Ohtani and Soto.
They have both changed teams, Showtime Shohei goes to the Dodgers. Soto gets traded to the Yankees.
The baseball world seems back to normal, the big teams spend and spend and get what they want. Too bad for the rest of baseball.
The Dodgers record setting 10-year, 700M contract for Ohtani set new standards for total contract and average salary. And though there is enormous push-back, the Dodgers followed the letter of the law, how to finance the deferred payment package Ohtani will receive starting in 2034. What they did is legal, just that very few teams have packaged contracts that way.
Then the Yankees, aka the Evil Empire, did what they usually do, make a deal to get a star player. The 5-for-2 acquisition of a player with MVP qualities came at a price. The Yankees will pay just 30M this year, but will have to find a way to keep Juan Soto, who becomes a free agent next fall. They traded 4-young pitchers and a backup catcher to make the deal go thru. Nothing illegal here, just the rich getting richer.
Next up will be the decision of Japanese pitching sensation Yosh Yamamoto, who could get upwards of a 200M package at age 25. And right behind him, the bidding on Korean outfielder Jung Hoo-Lee, a great pure hitter and a superb glove, who just agreed to a (6Y) deal with the lowly San Francisco Giants..
The Dodgers and Yankees are front runners for Yamamoto. The Padres-Giants-Cubs among those desperate to get Lee.
Once those players are locked up, the flood gates will open.
Blake Snell-Josh Hader-Jared Montgomery figure to be the next off the free agent board.
Beyond that, veterans looking for one last payday will sign. Justin Turner, JD Martinez, Lucas Gialito, Marcus Stroman, Michael Wacha, Mike Clevinger among others are waiting for offers.
So too are those with troubles on their resume, Trevor Bauer and Julio Urias.
Is baseball in trouble for the way business is being done? The Union thinks not. Alot of owners don’t think this is good, the wild numbers given to superstars.
I fear MLB will have 5-super teams and 27-others that cannot be in a pennant race.
The Yankees-Dodgers go shopping at Nieman-Marcus. A ton of teams wind up doing business at Dollar General.
And the price on everyone keeps going up, from an MVP like Ohtani to some journeyman pitcher getting 15M per year.
Yes Arizona and Texas got to the World Series from different roads, but the bulk of baseball needs a different set of financial rules. The few don’t want to make changes. The rest be damned.
How is this type of disparity good for baseball? When you figure it out, let me know. Baseball’s leadership doesn’t seem to care.
Baseball today does not look to be in a good place.