August 11, 2002

George Steinbrenner lectures small-market teams: on Baseball economics.

posted by owillis to baseball at 11:24 AM - 33 comments

I think he's right. If small markets would spend less time worrying about how the Yankees spend their money and more time wondering if it's really a good idea to spend millions on the Derek Bells, Jose Limas, & Mark Lorettas (God bless him, but is a utility infielder worth 5 million?) of the world maybe they'd have a more competitive team, too. When two of baseball's top 10 teams have payrolls in the lower 1/3 of the sport, doesn't that imply that it's more than a simple economic issue.

posted by herc at 12:22 PM on August 11

George Steinbrenner lectures small-market teams In other news, Albert Bell will hold fan appreciation day. Steinbrenner is as good for baseball as Bud Selig think he's right. If small markets would spend less time worrying about how the Yankees spend their money and more time wondering if it's really a good idea to spend millions on the Derek Bells, Jose Limas, & Mark Lorettas Steinbrenner is as guilty of wasting money as the Brewers, Tigers and Pirates (R. Mondesi, C. Fielder, J. Canseco, S. Hitchcock, etc.). The only difference is that when your team grosses billions of dollars from a TV deal and gets more money from their radio rights than most teams make from TV rights one can afforded to piss away money. Steinbrenner has set the mark for wasting money and accelerating salaries. Steinbrenner is not part of problem; he is the problem. The solution? A third team on NYC? - No way, I don't to give New York the pleasure. A team in north central N.J.? - I like that idea. A minimum team salary - I love than idea. A hard cap on salaries and a flexible cap on tickets, concessions and parking prices (only when parking is run/owned by the same person who owns the teams) - I also love this idea

posted by Bag Man at 03:36 PM on August 11

Bitter fans should just shut the hell up. Stienbrenner took years to perfect his business, has everyone forgot the Steve Kemp years? A team in NJ would fail, people already have a favorite team, just because a team is there doesn't mean people will like them.

posted by jbou at 03:47 PM on August 11

Bitter fans should just shut the hell up. Bitter? Well, I hail from a "large market" in the NL. I'm not bitter because my team spends a lot too and has had some success recently, but I think that Stienbrenner has no right to talk about what other teams should or should not do. Stienbrenner enjoys benefits that a majority of clubs can only dream about. Stienbrenner is blinded by the fact that he is NYC. Considering this, I feel Stienbrenner has no right what so ever to speak because his viewpoint is skewed to the point of absurdity. He can only see his own balance sheet and is oblivious to what is best for the game. Sorry pal, baseball is much, much bigger than 25 guys in pinstripes from the Bronx. I donít deny that Stienbrenner is a good business man and built the Yanks up with some smart moves, but that does not give Stienbrenner the right to lambaste others for the exact same thing he has done and continues to do. Stupid fans and owners should shut the hell up.

posted by Bag Man at 04:24 PM on August 11

Not to be a nitpicker, Bag Man, but the New York Yankees only signed one of the players you mentioned in your rant. All of them were picked up in mid-season trades. In fact, for the one player they DID sign after trading for him (Hitchcock), the Yankees signed him to a contract deal that paid him LESS than what he was making the year before ($6million to $4.9million). Listen, I hate the Yankees as much as anyone, but they ARE one of the smarter spending teams in the league. Here are their top 9 players according to salary: Derek Jeter $14,600,000 Bernie Williams $12,357,143 Mike Mussina $11,000,000 Jason Giambi $10,428,571 Roger Clemens $10,300,000 Andy Pettitte $9,500,000 Mariano Rivera $9,450,000 Robin Ventura $8,500,000 Jorge Posada $7,000,000 (from here) Jeter, Williams, Mussina, Giambi, Clemens, Pettitte, Rivera and Posada are arguably among the best players at their positions (with Mussina having a bad year (first one in 6 years), and Clemens being injured and Rivera missing some time). Ventura isn't among the best, but he's having a better year than many other free agents signed this year, so I figure that's over paying a bit. But the other 8 exemplify what the Yankees do: spend the big money on the good players and don't sign bad contracts with bad players (*coughHamptonMearesPerezPalmerHammondscough*).

posted by grum@work at 11:20 PM on August 11

And picking them up in trades in a sport where trades don't have to be at all balanced is somehow less economically piratical how? And your list only goes to prove everyone else's point- even if other teams were utterly, always, 100% on in their evaluation of talent, a team composed of the first four players on the list earns more than the combined payrolls of eight major league teams. Add Clemens to get a five player payroll and you've now spent more money on payroll than almost exactly one-half of the league (14 teams of 30). Yes, those contracts are fair and reasonable- and completely impossible for most teams to pay, no matter how brilliant and completely accurate their GMs are. It's not like GMs are constantly throwing good money away- yes, some of them do, many of them do. But even if they didn't they still couldn't be the Yankees. Billy Beane is widely considered the smartest GM in baseball- and he'll never be able to build a dynasty there because whenever one of his guys gets good George will offer 1/2 of the As payroll and Beane will have to start from scratch. Does that make him a poor GM? [You've also, BTW, conveniently forgotten about guys like Hideki Irabu- if the Marlins had signed him to that fat, horrid contract out of Asia, they'd have been regretting the 'investment' for years. For George? Eh. No big woop. He jut gets another. Mussina, considering his year right now, is looking to end up the same way. No other team in baseball could spend $11 million a year on a starter and say 'eh, we'll just trade at mid-season for another $5-6 million dollar guy.' El Duque similarly. The Yankees make mistakes too- they just cover them up under layers of other multi-million dollar players so they are easier to forget.]

posted by tieguy at 07:42 AM on August 12

Hold up tieguy. No one made the teams do these deal with the Yankees. I don't remember anyone holding a gun to the other teams and saying "Give the Yankees some good players for nothing in return!" The problem I have with many of the other teams is that they aren't even TRYING to build a better team. And if the fans don't think you're trying, they won't bother to show up. If they don't show up, the team gets no revenue, and the cycle continues. Just look at what happened when the Expos gave a glimmer of hope to their fans that they were going to TRY (trading for Colon):

                     Average Att.      Median Att. Expos, Not Trying        8,429            6,091 Expos, Trying           14,064           13,402
(from this article) And I haven't forgotten about Irabu. What did the Yankees do when they realized he was a bum? Turned around and dealt him to the Expos for Ted Lilly. Another smart trade by the Yankees (this time giving up the expensive player for the cheaper one). Money can't buy you championships. Just look at the Dodgers, Rangers, Red Sox and Mets. As it stands this morning, only one of those teams would make the playoffs. But what really bothers me is teams like Anaheim, Chicago (Cubs) and Detroit would actually have the gall to complain about the Yankees spending money. All three of those teams are owned by either very rich men or large corporations. They could easily spend money on better players. Instead, they complain when the Yankees do, but don't realize how they've wasted money on players like Erstad ($8million?!), Hundley ($6.5million?!) and Palmer ($8million?!).

posted by grum@work at 09:43 AM on August 12

grum@work and jbou, you should listen to tieguy. Stienbrenner has set the standard for pissing away money. Why must other teams give (*coughHamptonMearesPerezPalmerHammondscough*). more money than they are worth? Thatís because the market demands it. Why does the market demand it?? *Cough* because Stienbrenner (among others) has set the market. And picking them up in trades in a sport where trades don't have to be at all balanced is somehow less economically piratical how? Excellent point. A lot of trades these days are done to dump salary. And who is there really and willing to take on these salaries? You guessed it! Stienbrenner! And who's willing to pay the same amount or more money come next year? You guess it! Stienbrenner! Stienbrenner has punched small market teams in the gut and now spits in there faces and blames them for the problem he has created.

posted by Bag Man at 09:48 AM on August 12

But what really bothers me is teams like Anaheim, Chicago (Cubs) and Detroit would actually have the gall to complain about the Yankees spending money. The Cubs do spend a lot of money. The Cubs do try, thatís a fact. They have; however, had a limited amount of success (Winning the Wild Card in '98, leading the NL Central most of '02, and ending with a winning record in '02). In both 98 and 02 the Cubs made some smart moves, but they only paid off in the short-run. Also, I've never heard of anyone in the Cubs organization complain about the way the Yankees spend money. You do have a point about the Rangers management. After giving A-Rod $250M, they should keep quit. Palmer ($8million?!) That's unfair. Not only is Palmer a quality player, he just got hurt. You're lambasting the Tigers for bad luck and circumstances beyond anyoneís control.

posted by Bag Man at 10:40 AM on August 12

Bag Man:Why must other teams give (*coughHamptonMearesPerezPalmerHammondscough*) more money than they are worth? Thatís because the market demands it. Bullshit. There is nothing in economics that says you have to piss your money away on players just because someone else does. Are you telling me that there were no AAA pitchers in the minors that couldn't have done what Hampton has done the last two years? Or even some cheaper/younger players? Or that Pat Meares was significantly better than an AAA shortstop at a tenth the price? Just because a player demands $5million a year doesn't mean you have to pay him that. Seattle lost an arbitration hearing a couple of years ago to Brian L. Hunter. They immediately announced they didn't want to pay him that much and cut him instead of signing him. Oakland decided they didn't want to pay Giambi $10million a year, so they let him go and gave his job to Carlos Pena (who they've since traded). Look at the Blue Jays: they ditched Homer Bush and gave the job to first Joe Lawrence and then Orlando Hudson. They filled their 3B position with Eric Hinske instead of signing some older player to a bloated contract. They are getting decent production at catcher from Ken Huckaby and Tom Wilson (a combined .680OPS (or so)) for less than $500,000, but a team like Kansas City decided that it would be a better idea to blow $2.5million on Brent Mayne (a .628 OPS). Even Minnesota gets it. When Knoblauch's salary demands became to high, they dealt him to NY. In return they got Eric Milton and some other players whose names escape me. They knew that at age 30, Knoblauch probably wouldn't be getting any better than he was now, and he'd probably get worse. And he did. So instead of investing the money foolishly on him, they saved it for some other part of the team, used minor leaguers at 2B and rode Eric Milton's arm for the next couple of years. As for choosing Palmer being unfair, no it isn't. Part of player evaluation is injuries. It was a well known fact that Palmer was injury prone. He'd never played a full season of baseball without missing time due to injuries, and he was 31 years old when they signed him. And the deal was designed to pay him more every year he got older. Did they think he was going to get healthier/stronger as he got older? As for Steinbrenner taking on salaries in a deal, why is he to be blamed? I don't remember him demanding people trade him players that cost too much. In fact, why are these teams trading away these wonderful players? I mean, it can't possibly be because they made a mistake and signed a player to a contract that wasn't at value to their contributions, was it? If so, that must be Steinbrenner's fault! He made them sign that contract!

posted by grum@work at 11:57 AM on August 12

There is nothing in economics that says you have to piss your money away on players just because someone else does. Iím no expert, but I know when some basic Econ 101 principles are at work (i.e. Supply and demand and market leadership). The players in small market teams gain leverage over their teams by pointing out the larger contracts of players in larger markets. Small market teams have basicly two options: sign the player at the larger contract or loose that player with little or compensation. Then they must take their chances with rookies amd lesser players. Some of these minor leaguers work out, but thatís the exception and not the rule. Most AA or AAA rushed to the major fizzle or never develop. The goal of baseball is win the World Series, and that goal should be no more real to a team in KC/Minnesota/Montreal than it is in NYC/LA/Chicago. The goal of baseball is not to continuously dumb players. Winning is achieved done by gathering talented rookies and veterans, a mix of role players and superstars and making late season additions. These three types of players add up to the nucleus of a ball club and itís supporting cast. But what happens when your best talent leaves every 3-5 years? It happened in Montreal, itís happening to the Indians and continues to happen to other clubs. Small market teams have become the farm system of the Yankees and others. I do concede that small market teams can win. Oakland and Seattle are perfect examples (so are the Indians of a few years ago). But again, that was done with uncanny player development, hometown discounts and a healthy dose of luck. They are the exceptions and not rule. Most teams simple can't compete the way Oakland and Seattle has. Look at the Blue Jays: they ditched Homer Bush and gave the job to first Joe Lawrence and then Orlando Hudson. They filled their 3B position with Eric Hinske instead of signing some older player to a bloated contract. They are getting decent production at catcher from Ken Huckaby and Tom Wilson (a combined .680OPS (or so)) for less than $500,000, but a team like Kansas City decided that it would be a better idea to blow $2.5million on Brent Mayne (a .628 OPS). And guess what's going to happen when the above-mentioned players realize that they're good? They will demand bigger contracts, which will price them out of their current team's range. Then the players will be traded for prospects or simply let loose to test free agency. As for Steinbrenner taking on salaries in a deal, why is he to be blamed? I don't remember him demanding people trade him players that cost too much. In fact, why are these teams trading away these wonderful players? I mean, it can't possibly be because they made a mistake and signed a player to a contract that wasn't at value to their contributions, was it? If so, that must be Steinbrenner's fault! He made them sign that contract! You have missed my point a little. Steinbrenner can do what every wants, I will concede that to you. However, Steinbrenner has missed the boat on the affects of all those big contracts he offered and the $120 million plus payroll he has unleashed. It's unfair and hypocritical to lecture small market teams for doing what he does. In other words he says "You have a problem with money because you waste it." When the truth of matter is that Steinbrenner does nothing but waste money himself. So I guess grum@work, small market teams should do as Steinbrenner says and not how he does.

posted by Bag Man at 02:23 PM on August 12

you know: it's too bad that steinbrenner has so much money to play with. it is, because in spite of that, his organization is managed by some good people who understand how to develop great teams. a lot of the good players on the yankees were developed by the organization itself: mariano rivera; derek jeter; jorge posada; bernie williams; alfonso soriano; andy pettite. it's staggering what the yankees have done for themselves. new york made choices that they did not have to make. new york chose to keep players it developed, like jeter and williams, rather than continually develop new players and thus keep their payroll low. is that the best decision? it isn't always. it's just the preference of the organization, and i don't think it's right to rake ny over the coals for it. personally, i think detractors should get over the amount of money that steinbrenner spends. a smartly run organization, such as the oakland athletics, can contend: billy beane and his people have proven that. don't give me examples like the brewers and the royals: they're run like shit. if you gave them money, you'd have the mid-late 80s version of the yankees. there is a revolution in MLB. it started with oakland, and with new york; people stopped worrying about batting average and started worrying about OBP. people stopped worrying about strikeouts and started worrying about SLG. the revolution is spreading, finally. it hasn't caught up with the royals: they still think they live in the mid 80s, when many teams had astroturf and no-slug wonders like the cardinals could perennially contend. new york strays, because they have the money to make mistakes, but oakland can't afford to. when kansas city realizes that they needn't pay roberto hernandez if a joe borowski can put up better numbers, they'll have made progress. give them all the money in the world, and it probably wouldn't matter.

posted by moz at 03:57 PM on August 12

new york made choices that they did not have to make. new york chose to keep players it developed, like jeter and williams, rather than continually develop new players and thus keep their payroll low. is that the best decision? it isn't always. it's just the preference of the organization, and i don't think it's right to rake ny over the coals for it. That's easy to say, but what happens when you can't afford to do that? Moz, itís irrelevant that the Yankees developed most of their talent because theyíre one only a few teams in baseball that could afford to keep such talent. If the Expos/Royals/Tigers developed those players would be gone in a few years. Moz, if you want a perfect example, look at the Expos teams of early and mid 1990s. If the Expos were blessed with cash they might kept D. Martinez, R. Johnson, L. Walker, M. Alou, J. Wetland, T. Torrasco (Sp.?), M. Lanscing (Sp.?), M. Grudzielanek, and others. That woud have been some team. Anyway I'm not raking the Yankees for being smart or making good moves. Cudos to Steinbrenner for doing all that. I am raking Steinbrenner for opening is mouth and saying some insulting things. I am raking him for being hypocrite. I am raking him for citizen small-markets that canít compete in a system that Steinbrenner himself drives. I will concede that Steinbrenner makes a decent point when he asserts that one of the goals of the baseball owner is gain back profit on the resale of his team. Never the less, that does absolve Steinbrennerís conduct, continued stupid remarks and complete skewed perspective. Steinbrenner needs a dose of reality.

posted by Bag Man at 04:48 PM on August 12

First of all, it seems odd to include the Canadian teams into this mix as the combination of cultural differences and the fickle exchange rate will always make teams north of the border dubious participants in the league. And it's not just baseball -- ask the basketball fans in Memphis. And even if we do, wasn't Toronto considered a "Large Market" 10 years ago? They could certainly spend freely then (and now, as they're the ones who gave Mondesi that contract). And how is Oakland a "small market?" The SF Bay area the nation's 5th largest media market! Surely everyone considers the Braves to be a large-market team, but pre 1991 were they worthy of similar consideration? Were the Braves part of the problem in the 1980s? How about St. Louis? By most accounts they're the nation's 21st largest media market. The city ranked ahead of them...Pittsburgh PA. But wait, the Pirates are a small market team. So what does that make St. Louis... It seems to me that we've allowed the owners to define "small market" not based on, say, the actual size of a markeet, but rather on their individual ability to make a buck and/or field a winning. As long as they can always define who is and is not a small market based on what's most convenient for them there will always be problems. Check out the nation's top 50 media markets here: http://www.proadvance.com/topmediamarkets.html

posted by herc at 07:19 PM on August 12

Quick note, Herc: Toronto didn't give Mondesi that contract. They inherited it from his days in Los Angeles instead of paying what would have been more for Shawn Green. And yes Herc, it's been determined that a team can be both small (Toronto 1981, Cleveland 1981), big (Toronto 1993, Cleveland 1995) and small again (Toronto 2002, Cleveland 2002), depending on what is to be gained (Small? Give us more money! Big? Buy us a stadium or we leave!) And please don't include the Tigers, Bag Man, as a team that can't afford expensive players. The same owner who owns them also owns the Detroit Red Wings, whose payroll is one of the highest in the NHL (more than the Tigers, actually). He doesn't seem to have a problem with signing expensive free agents and assembling a powerhouse team in that sport, even though they have a smaller revenue base (less home games, smaller stands/arena) than the Tigers.

posted by grum@work at 09:56 PM on August 12

That's easy to say, but what happens when you can't afford to do that? you keep developing new talent. baseball isn't sex, and the playoffs aren't an orgasm. you don't ever stop producing talent in your farm system. Moz, itís irrelevant that the Yankees developed most of their talent because theyíre one only a few teams in baseball that could afford to keep such talent. why is it irrelevant? even if they lost their good players, they should (and do) develop more of it. new york's style is to use its good players in the minor leagues as trade bait: the jeff weaver trade is a good example. both john-ford griffin and john arnold were well thought of in the ny organization. i don't see the difference between keeping good players and developing more as one being better than other: i see them as simple preferences. like i said, new york's preference is to keep its talent; like i said, it isn't always the best philosophy. If the Expos/Royals/Tigers developed those players would be gone in a few years. Moz, if you want a perfect example, look at the Expos teams of early and mid 1990s. If the Expos were blessed with cash they might kept D. Martinez, R. Johnson, L. Walker, M. Alou, J. Wetland, T. Torrasco (Sp.?), M. Lanscing (Sp.?), M. Grudzielanek, and others. That woud have been some team. and whose fault is that? why, the dumbass teams that stopped producing such talent. even with the parity of the NFL, teams in that league must still be well-run to succeed consistently. the only consistency of the royals has been their gross stupidity. randy johnson was dealt for mark langston at a time when the expos were contending (1989), i thought. in which case, that's certainly their fault. and... tony tarasco?

posted by moz at 11:14 PM on August 12

Here's the thing: Some teams spend wisely, some don't. (The Pittsburgh Pirates are a notable example: See Derek Bell, Kevin Young, Pat Meares, etc.) The Yankees, for the most part, spend wisely. They just do it a ton. The problem is, Steinbrenner's revenues through the team's exclusive TV deal allow him to massively outspend teams and still turn a profit. He can even afford the occasional gross blunder. If a better revenue sharing plan existed, to curb this kind of disparity, I think you'd see wasteful spending start to clean up. Either that or some owners would have to be really willing to trade making a profit for a chance to win. And after enough wasted money, that would curb. Players who are much better deserve more money. Players who have been around a long time and aren't good can be replaced; $5 million a year is not worth a "Veteran presence" who's a "leader in the clubhouse" and "can't hit, run, or field".

posted by nath at 12:01 AM on August 13

One other point: The Royals couldn't afford Jermaine Dye or Johnny Damon. But they ponied up $6 million a year for Roberto Hernandez and $4.9 million a year for Neifi Perez. (Each of whom, I believe, were acquired in the trading of the first two.) They turned promising young outfielders into a bad reliever who is worth more because he's a "closer", and the worst regular in the major leagues. Economic choice? Or a franchise that doesn't know what it's doing?

posted by nath at 12:15 AM on August 13

The Royals couldn't afford Jermaine Dye or Johnny Damon. But they ponied up $6 million a year for Roberto Hernandez and $4.9 million a year for Neifi Perez. (Each of whom, I believe, were acquired in the trading of the first two.) Point of fact: R. Hernandez and N. Perez had nothing to do with the J. Dye or J. Damon trades. R. Hernandez was acquired from the White Sox and N. Perez came from the Rockies. And how is Oakland a "small market?" The SF Bay area the nation's 5th largest media market! Point of fact: Although the SF Bay may be bigger than other "small markets" it is made smaller by having two teams in that one market. The Giant and A's share fans. Combine that with near by Seattle, which may draw fans from Northern California, and the Bay Area gets much, much smaller. you keep developing new talent. baseball isn't sex, and the playoffs aren't an orgasm. you don't ever stop producing talent in your farm system. Moz, while it is true that any farm system does constantly produce talent, constant talent production does not translate into competitiveness. A team needs cash to keep players around (Which the Yankees have the Expos do not). If the Yankees played in KC or Montreal all the stars they produced would have left. Further, the Yankees might not be able to afford to draft stars in the first place and or the Yankees would have to trade them a away after their deafted talent developed. To compete, a team needs to keep its players and let them gel. That takes several years. How do you keep those players? With guess what? Money. So Moz, it is irrelevant whether talent was drafted or acquire via free agency. Pure talent needs the time to gel and develop into a winner (The only exception I can think of this the 97 Marlins, but did they get their instant success? They spent tons of money. Why did they spend tons of money? Keep up in the arms race with other teams.) Baseball is not traditional business, different teams are not, as Steinbrenner suggested, competing business. On some level, baseball teams are different branch offices of Major League Baseball. The health of the overall organization (MLB) may depend on the health of each of its branch offices (different teams). If one office is failing, them that office is helped out by one of the other offices, the office is shut down or the office is moved. Revenue sharing certainly wonít take bread off Steinbrenner's plate. In fact it may indirectly help Steinbrenner by drawing more fans to the game. As someone noted above, when the Expos did better they drew more fans. Iím sure those extra fans did more than just watch Expos games. May be they when out and bought Major League apparel or got interested in other money generating activities of the game. I don't believe in revenue sharing to line the pockets of rich, white men and large corporations who run teams. What I do support is forcing owners to maintain a minimum payroll. This will allow more teams to at least have a fighting chance to sign good players and/or keep talent to build a solid nucleus.

posted by Bag Man at 10:59 AM on August 13

The New York Yankees and New York Mets combine to split one market, does that make both small market teams? The Los Angeles Dodgers and Anaheim Angels split one market, does that make both small market teams? The Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox split one market, does that make both small market teams? Why is it that we allow Oakland that excuse, but not the other 7 teams who are in a similar situation?

posted by herc at 11:24 AM on August 13

And "...Although the SF Bay may be bigger than other "small markets"..." Other "small markets!" the San Francisco Bay Area is the 5th largest city in the country! There are only for areas larger than SF. It the cut-off for a large market is any city smaller than, say, Chicago, then there's no way any team can compete!

posted by herc at 11:27 AM on August 13

Bag Man:Point of fact: R. Hernandez and N. Perez had nothing to do with the J. Dye or J. Damon trades. R. Hernandez was acquired from the White Sox and N. Perez came from the Rockies. Point of fact: Neifi Perez was acquired from the Colorado Rockies as part of a three-team deal with the Oakland A's, who received Jermaine Dye. Roberto Hernandez was acquired from Tampa Bay as part of a three-team deal with the Oakland A's, who received Johnny Damon. So, in fact, they have EVERYTHING to do with the J.Dye and J.Damon trades. References here and here.

posted by grum@work at 12:03 PM on August 13

bag man: Moz, while it is true that any farm system does constantly produce talent, constant talent production does not translate into competitiveness. neither does keeping your "best" players. the yankees thought they ought to keep chuck knoblauch, didn't they? how about sterling hitchcock? Further, the Yankees might not be able to afford to draft stars in the first place and or the Yankees would have to trade them a away after their deafted talent developed. you know, bag man, there's a reason why MLB's draft is 50 rounds: it's unpredictable. do you know how many stars have flopped on the way to the majors? chad hermanson? chat hutchinson, for that matter? rick ankiel? travis lee? josh hamilton looked like hot shit in the tampa bay organization: after two straight years of injury trouble, though, his major league career is in serious doubt. forget about drafting the big money stars: sometimes it works out and sometimes not. even the yankees have been victims of that (remember wily mo pena?).

posted by moz at 12:19 PM on August 13

The New York Yankees and New York Mets combine to split one market, does that make both small market teams? The Los Angeles Dodgers and Anaheim Angels split one market, does that make both small market teams? The Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox split one market, does that make both small market teams? NYC - Two teams for a metro area of 15M+ people Chicago - Two teams for metro area of 8M+ people LA - Two Teams for a metro of 10M+ people San Francisco metro area and Oakland metro area - Two teams for a combined metro area of 1.2M+ Even if we expand our count to San Francisco County and Alameda Country the grand total is two teams for a combined population of 2.2M+ (I do not included some other countries of the "Bay Area" because similar counties are not included with the NYC/LA/Chicago stats) At most the Giants and Oakland still have a smaller pool of fans than the teams you mentioned. Even including the outlying regions in the "Bay Area" the Giants and Oakland can't split the same number of fans as Chicago/NYC/LA. See here There is a huge difference between SF/Oakland metro area and Chicago/NYC/LA metro areas. neither does keeping your "best" players. the yankees thought they ought to keep chuck knoblauch, didn't they? how about sterling hitchcock? I have no idea what you're arguing. But, if the Yankees played in KC they wouldn't be able to keep any of there star players. Well, I may understand what youíre getting at, but knoblauch and hitchcock are good players they were never superstars. Both of player you note were good, even all-stars, but not nearly at the level of any of the players the Yankees had. you know, bag man, there's a reason why MLB's draft is 50 rounds: it's unpredictable. do you know how many stars have flopped on the way to the majors? chad hermanson? chat hutchinson, for that matter? rick ankiel? travis lee? josh hamilton looked like hot shit in the tampa bay organization: after two straight years of injury trouble, though, his major league career is in serious doubt. forget about drafting the big money stars: sometimes it works out and sometimes not. even the yankees have been victims of that (remember wily mo pena?). Moz, good point, but your argument is too nearsighted. What happens when these players that are drafted in the late rounds realized that theyíre good? They are likely to demand more money. Then what happens? They either get the money which the market demands (set by the Chicago/NYC/LA teams) or they leave town via a trade or free agency. grum@work, I stand corrected on the facts of the two trades. I'm amazed that we are no longer talking about the thread and no one has really challenged by point about the thread. Steinbrenner should not spout BS when he has a history of doing exactly what he condemns small-markets for going. Also, because Steinbrenner sits on a cash cow I don't think he even comprehends were other teams are coming from. Perhaps many owners should not say the stuff Steinbrenner says (like the Rangers owner who gave A-Rod $250M). But, what really pisses me off is that Steinbrenner is among the worst offenders in a system he drives. Steinbrenner has the right to blow is money, but he does not stand any moral high ground even if he thinks he does. I don't agree that Selig or anyone in MLB has all the answers. I think Selig is one of the biggest parts of the problem. But does anyone here think that the "system" does not need some adjustment or change? Even the players union seems amenable to a change. If these hardliners can concede at least a little to the hardliners on the owners side surly someone here thinks change is needed. Or I guess, according to Moz and grum@work everything is perfect.

posted by Bag Man at 01:16 PM on August 13

What happens when these players that are drafted in the late rounds realized that theyíre good? They are likely to demand more money. Then what happens? They either get the money which the market demands (set by the Chicago/NYC/LA teams) or they leave town via a trade or free agency. and you keep on developing talent to replace them, bag man. it's time for teams to quit complaining and just do. if you stop developing talent and you begin to lose, you've no one to blame but yourself. i never said everything is perfect. the steroid testing agreed upon by both the player's union and MLB is pathetically weak. but with regards to "competitive balance," i'd rather teams try to be more creative rather than whine about their cashflow. it's worked for oakland: by now there's no excuse not to follow their lead. i'm sick of hearing about this crap, quite frankly.

posted by moz at 02:33 PM on August 13

and you keep on developing talent to replace them, bag man. Easier said than done. And again, a critical mass of young talent does not equal success or even a shot success. Success comes from good players staying together for several years. The reality of many teams does not allow this to happen. Do you reall think a bunch of first rookies just up from AAA and AA can compete and win? but with regards to "competitive balance," i'd rather teams try to be more creative rather than whine about their cashflow. it's worked for oakland: by now there's no excuse not to follow their lead. If every team had a brilliant GM like Bill Beane then every small-market team could be like Oakland. But, those types of Beanes don't sprout from the ground! I'm not asserting that it can't ever be done, but I am saying that some teams don't even have a chance. I don't want all teams to equal, but I do want the KCs of the world to have a fighting shot at success, or at least a way to check the power of the big boys. I support some sort of baseline. Moz, are you against that? Are you for greed or for the game? Or maybe you're just a Yankees fan. And don't pull that "it's always been like is." Because 1) the disparity has never been greater and 2) When ever injustice or unfairness occurs it should changed regardless it was acceptable in the past.

posted by Bag Man at 03:20 PM on August 13

the steroid testing agreed upon by both the player's union and MLB is pathetically weak. Well, you and I can at least agree on one thing. But it's a step in the right direction and at least it's a sign the players and owners are willing to compromise.

posted by Bag Man at 03:22 PM on August 13

KC has a fighting shot at success, if they'd like to follow through. they need to quit playing scrubs like neifi perez and start playing some guys who can hit -- preferably who can walk too. they need to draft more college players and more college pitchers, and they need to hang in there, because if they keep at it, they'll make it. you don't have to be brilliant to succeed in baseball. it's a sport of copycats, anyway. just start copying oakland (the way that toronto is doing) instead of the mid-80s cardinals. and i'm a cub fan.

posted by moz at 04:30 PM on August 13

This follow up article regarding Steinbrenner may be of interest...

posted by jerseygirl at 04:39 PM on August 13

I never said everything is perfect. What I objected to was statement that Steinbrenner was the worst offender for spending too much money on players. He isn't, as Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Detroit are worse (off the top of my head) and he's got a point with his complaint. If I had my way there would be a salary cap/luxury tax. I'd set it at $90million. However, I'd also institute a "salary floor" of $50million. If a team drops below the "floor" for two seasons in a row, it's deemed that they are not trying to be competitive and they lose an equal percentage of the revenue sharing that they are below the "floor". So if the Twins payroll (for the 40-man roster and signing bonuses for high draft picks) was $45million, they'd only get 90% of their revenue sharing payout. (I'm not sure exactly how you force a team to spend more money on players (but given the current climate, you shouldn't have to try to hard), but it would allow the fans to identify which teams aren't "trying to win", and stop those teams from leeching money from the better (trying) teams.) the disparity has never been greater According to the New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, the Index of Competitive Balance for each of the decades is as follows (where the higher percentage is more competitive): 1870s - 21% 1880s - 24% 1890s - 27% 1900s - 30% 1910s - 36% 1920s - 34% 1930s - 31% 1940s - 34% 1950s - 34% (1958 being the most competitive year in history) 1960s - 40% 1970s - 45% 1980s - 56% 1990s - 57% (Bill James does note that it's being going slightly down hill since 1997) The ICB is a calculation based on two elements: standard deviation of winning percentage for teams in each single season (averaged for the decade), and standard deviation of winning percentages among franchises for the decade as a whole. I don't want all teams to equal, but I do want the KCs of the world to have a fighting shot at success, or at least a way to check the power of the big boys. But why? If KC is a horribly run franchise, why should they impede the ability of a better run franchise? That's seems almost, well, communist. :) (regarding threat of fine to Steinbrenner from Selig) And if Bud Selig thinks what Steinbrenner said was wrong, then it must be right because Selig's been wrong/lying about pretty much everything else recently.

posted by grum@work at 04:47 PM on August 13

And let's make no mistake about it, KC has been awfully run over the last ten years. Even who follows Royals fan in his third decade should even realize that charity begins at home. Contend? Probably unrealistic. I think most fans would be happier with a team that would simply be competent. You don't need Billy Beane, Pedro Martinez or Joe Torre to do any of those things.

posted by jackhererra at 10:59 PM on August 13

grum@work, We seem to in be in agreement with respect to at least one thing. If I had my way there would be a salary cap/luxury tax. I'd set it at $90million. However, I'd also institute a "salary floor" of $50million I completely agree with this statement; in fact, itís something Iíve said all along. However, I'd likely set the minimum salary a little lower, but thatís just semantics. On other things we donít seem to see eye-to-eye. I don't want all teams to equal, but I do want the KCs of the world to have a fighting shot at success, or at least a way to check the power of the big boys. But why? If KC is a horribly run franchise, why should they impede the ability of a better run franchise? That's seems almost, well, communist. :) And why are these teams poorly run? One is just plain poor management; I'll give you that. But, the second reason is that when big market teams spend a lot and push salaries up and small-market teams are at times forced in bad business decisions. If the Yankees and Cubs can pay a hack $7 then he Royals are forced to pay a similar hack about the same. Why? Because thatís the going rate for that kind of talent. The impact on the Yankees is minimal, but on small-market teams the impact is huge. The only other alternative is to go with AAA and AA players or field a team of major league also-rans. It's a hard choice, and itís one no team should have to make. Itís not only unfair to the teams, but also unfair to the fans. When I put down my $20-$30 to see a game, I want to see the best product that MLB has to offer. I donít want to see compromised talent simply because my team canít afford to keep-up in the arms race. If I wanted to AAA and AA players Iíd go to a minor league game (Which, incidentally I do from time-to-time. I pay much less, but get less too.) According to the New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, the Index of Competitive Balance for each of the decades is as follows Compelling stats, but your basic argument is that since it was unfair in the past it should be unfair in the future. Thatís a terrible argument. With arguments like that no progress on any issue can be made. Well, at least we agree on the minimum salary thing.

posted by Bag Man at 11:14 AM on August 14

Compelling stats, but your basic argument is that since it was unfair in the past it should be unfair in the future. Thatís a terrible argument. With arguments like that no progress on any issue can be made. But look at the stats: it's more competitive nowadays than at any time in baseball history (except for that 1958 season). I was just taking issue with the notion that "disparity has never been greater". What happens if the Twins get to the World Series? Will that just be considered a "fluke"? What if they make the playoffs three years in a row (not an impossibility since Cleveland and Chicago are going backwards and Detroit and Kansas City are clueless). What if their payroll doesn't significantly increase? This is a distinct possibility as they are LOADED with cheap talent for the next 4 years: Rivas, Hunter, Jones, Ortiz, Mientkiewicz, Radke, Milton, Guardado, Koskie, Pierzynski, Mohr, Romero and Lohse are either locked into contracts or don't have enough major league time to become free agents. Considering they have Restovich, Cuddyer, LeCroy, Kielty, Morneau, Ford and Johnson waiting to come up to the majors, they'll be able to replace any of these players if the arbitration awards become too high for those that qualify. If all this happens, do you think people will back off the whole "money buys titles" ideas?

posted by grum@work at 01:29 PM on August 14

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