Wednesday, January 13, 2010

And They're Regulating This, How?

  • MLB, The Players Union And Their Wrench In The Machine----The Marlins:

I'm not entirely sure how this is supposed to work.

In an agreement with Major League Baseball and the Players Association, the Florida Marlins have agreed to spend proceeds from revenue sharing on player development and salaries. Baseball was concerned about the Marlins penchant for either pocketing said proceeds or using the money to pay down debts; with the club's new ballpark on the way, they took steps to intervene----NY Times Story.

Here's the problem: the Marlins win and develop players without spending tons and tons of money. So how exactly is baseball supposed to regulate how they do business when the way they do business is profitable and successful?

If the Marlins were the hapless Pirates or the inept Padres, then maybe they'd have some cause to interfere in their template; but the Marlins are the best and smartest front office in all of baseball. They contend; they win; and the two times the organization has gotten into the playoffs, they've won the World Series. Aside from the Yankees and Red Sox over the past twelve years, can you name one team whose success you'd rather emulate than the Marlins? Then when you add their business acumen and profitability, you have no reason to mess with it aside from self-serving complaining from those that can't replicate what the Marlins do.

The stat zombies conveniently omit the success of the Marlins because they don't use stats as the end-all be-all of existence to build their club. The larger market teams complain about the Marlins pocketing the trickle-down of their massive spending. The other clubs with limited payroll look at the way the Marlins are successful and snort with jealousy.

It's for no reason other than the fact that the Marlins are successful doing what they're doing rather than following a blueprint of numbers, numbers, numbers; of flinging money at their problems; or of not even trying to compete while complaining about payroll disparity and lobbying for a salary cap.

I can promise you that if there was a salary cap or minimum payroll, the Pirates would still be the Pirates because their front office so hideously overmatched and clueless that no amount of communist-style redistribution could help them in any way, shape or form; nor could it save them from their lot in life as the punching bag and factory for veteran help to contenders that they currently are.

How is this going to be regulated? Is someone going to look at a contract the Marlins are negotiating with Josh Johnson and tell that terms agreed to by both parties aren't lucrative enough to assuage baseball and the union? Even if Johnson and the Marlins are happy with the agreement?

Are they going to tell them not to trade Dan Uggla even if another club offers two solid prospects for him? Two prospects that the Marlins are confident will be useful in some capacity?

The Marlins payroll at the end of 2009 was around $37 million.

They won 87 games and were in contention for a playoff spot until the last weekend.

Other teams like the Royals ($81 million); the Orioles ($79 million); the Mets ($142 million); the Cubs ($141 million); the Astros ($108 million); the Indians ($77 million) yielded embarrassing results not in comparison to the Marlins, but embarrassing results period!

Then there are the supposedly "smart" teams that use sabermetrics and economically-wise principles to build their clubs. The Red Sox ($140 million); the Athletics ($61 million); the Rays ($71 million) all spent a load more money than the Marlins and didn't come anywhere close to similar results per dollar.

And there are even the similarly "small-market" clubs like the Pirates ($47 million); and the Padres ($41 million) who plainly and simply don't know what they're doing. How can someone look at any club and buy into their cries of poverty when the Marlins do what they do within the budget they do it?

Putting money into salaries?


The Marlins strategy of dealing burgeoning stars who are becoming too pricey to keep for top minor leaguers has worked in the cases of Miguel Cabrera and Josh Beckett to name two. Because they find players the likes of Jorge Cantu and Cody Ross on the scrapheap, rehabilitate their careers and get massive production, it's somehow seen as a negative?

Player development?

The Marlins have a loaded farm system because of their skills at spotting talent in the draft, in the Latin American free agent market and by committing repeated masterful robberies of youngsters due to other clubs' stupidity. They also give their youngsters a chance to play.

It's almost like a case of Atlas Shrugged in which those that are the trend-setters and creators are forced to share their brilliance with the rabble that rides on their coattails contributing little to nothing to the greater cause. Through some specious sense of entitlement, clubs from both the big market and small market are dragging the Marlins into their cesspool because of the Marlins success. It's a farce and I can't see how it's supposed to be enforced.

The issue isn't that the Marlins aren't spending the money enough to keep every subpar organization happy; it's that they're spending the money wisely. It's as if they're being scolded: "How dare you not spend the money that we generously provide you through revenue sharing; and how DARE you be successful at it!!!!"

I'd love to see more details as to how this is going to work because if they really start spending money, the Marlins might create a dynasty, then the rest of baseball is going to regret having set this in motion to begin with.

  • Viewer Mail 1.13.2010:

Jeff (Underboss) at Red State Blue State writes RE the Cubs hiring Greg Maddux; and the Mark McGwire "confession":

I think that's the smartest move the Cubs have made all offseason.

As for McGwire, I was pretty shocked at his refusal to fess up that his numbers were padded from steroids. I used to rally behind Mark for the HOF vote, thinking his numbers would've been on par even if you take away the boost he got from 'roids. But as a human being, I have a hard time rallying behind anyone who looks right in my eyes and tells a stone cold lie -- that he could've hit 70 HRs that year without the 'roids -- and for that I have to walk away from my allegiance to Mac for the Hall. I hope he does well as a coach in St. Louis and I look forward to hollerin' at him during batting practice this season, but in evaluating him as a player over his career, I'm totally over it, him, all of it.

I'm not defending him, but he couldn't have planned his remarks all that thoroughly and once he was into the fire of the interviews, he didn't have a clear idea of what he was saying. The whole admission/apology tour had to be pretty overwhelming and something of a heady relief.

We've all been in the situation of trying to be ready for whatever and then suddenly find ourselves in the middle of it and seeing the original intent go off the reservation. It's possible that he really believes that the PEDs had nothing to do with his power surge, but clearly it's absurd to think otherwise. The muscle development combined from the juice combined with a super light bat and terrible pitching turned shots that would likely have gone to the warning track into legendary blasts.

And like I said yesterday, at this point, who cares?

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE Mark McGwire:

I'm with Jeff. That statement about being able to hit 70 HRs without the 'roids because he was such a natural as a kid rang hallow. And the low doses? Please. But the funniest was when he said he didn't want to look like Schwarzenegger. Does he think he looked like Olive Oil?

Wouldn't we all have been happier with McGwire's confession if he's done what I suggested when it was announced he was hired as Cardinals hitting coach and said the following: "I did it; I used the drugs to help my health and my performance. I now wish I hadn't done it. They obviously helped me extend my God-given ability past what was realistic without the drugs. And I'm sorry."

Plus any bodybuilder, doctor or steroid guru will tell you that unless you use the drugs properly in their required doses, they won't work.

Joe at Statistician Magician writes RE the Mets outfield:

I was wondering if maybe they should just play Beltran in left center, and play Francoeur in right. That might be a better defensive outfield than having Bay out there at all :)

And would these cute comments be coming from you if Bay had stayed with the Red Sox, Joe? I wonder...

Mike at The Brooklyn Trolley Blogger writes RE Mark McGwire:

I think we share a brain about "Puff the Mutant Slugger"
McGwire. Certainly not a surprise and pretty yawn inspiring by now, but with it out in the open, kinda, sorta, they can receive their due individualized slings and arrows. They aren't I say let em squirm and, if need be....Cry! whatever it takes. man enough to juice? take your lumps however long they last. It's all we have as fans.

Maybe I'm misreading the fan reaction, but the palpable indifference will prevent any full-scale unleashing on McGwire once the season gets started. Only those who are really beered up or just scream at the players for the sake of it are going to go to the effort to yell at the hitting coach, who they'll only see if they show up for batting practice, if then.

David writes RE Mark McGwire:

And here's the comparison that I love to bring up everytime a 'roids story busts open: McGwire "fully" admits to his crimes, and gets a borderline letter of condolence from Selig, and a job with the Cards that seems almost guaranteed with LaRussa's backing. *Yet*, Pete Rose, an extraordinary athlete who never did drugs and was known for his hustle is still banned for life for betting on games. I'm not advocating Pete Rose as Mother Teresa here, but sad irony, anyone?

The league was tacitly complicit in the PED use, so there's not much that Selig and company can do aside from accept the apology and move on hoping it goes away as quickly as possible. Like the apology itself, the rapid acceptance of said apologies is more self-serving than anything else. I doubt even Bud Selig believed that McGwire was clean.

The difference with Rose was that it was gambling. Rose's banishment for life stemmed from his initial insistence that he didn't bet on baseball. The agreement for lifetime banishment never contained a conclusion of guilt or innocence. It was a tactical move on Rose's part. Had he admitted what he'd done in 1989, he would've been suspended for a year and that would've been it and he'd probably be in the Hall of Fame now.

He'd have been back in baseball pretty quickly and all would've been forgiven. Under no circumstances would he have gotten another managing job, but he would've been allowed to broadcast or maybe coach at least in spring training. He made his own mess with his lies.


She-Fan said...

If I were a big market team having to fork over millions to small market teams in revenue sharing, I'd want to see where my money was going. Nothing wrong with that. I feel the same way about the government's bailout money!

Gabriel said...

Interesting opinion on Rose. As for the Marlins, maybe there's an agreement on how the money it's supposed to be spent and the Marlins are violating it because they're very smart. Other than that, it's an invasion. Revenue sharing gives the club the right to spend it wherever they like to improve their club, as big market teams can do. If the Marlins feel healthy finances are going to help them to win because they have the players covered, then leave them alone.

Jeff said...

I'll have to read over that NYT article, because I'm shocked that the league would scold a team like the Marlins for being savvy and competitive. Since their inception, I have always enjoyed watching the Marlins clubs because they're frequently young, fresh and exciting -- a bunch of young fellas intent on establishing themselves as real deal Major Leaguers.

So, given all that... why don't they have any fans? If I were the Marlins front office, I'd take that extra money and go do some marketing, to get butts in the stadium. I'm always saddened by the "crowd" shots in Miami. You know, the ones with no crowd.

theBrooklynTrolleyBlogger said...

They don't show up to games out there because one, it's too hot and two, the chances of rain are good, and three, not much outside of the Dolphins and U.Miami really moves them. The Panthers are drawing from transplanted NYers. I'm there too often, there's a lot of apathy for their baseball team in SoFlo.