Baseball’s Winter Meetings are in full swing in Nashville, and trades are the hot topic. On Tuesday, the Detroit Tigers agreed to a deal for third-baseman Miguel Cabrera, one of the best young hitters in the game, along with pitcher Dontrelle Willis, who won 22 games just two years ago, from the Florida Marlins for a bunch of prospects. And that was probably just the start.
It seems like the whole baseball world is waiting to see who wins the Johan Santana sweepstakes being conducted by the Minnesota Twins. Dan Haren, the ace for the Oakland A’s, is on the block. And so is Erik Bedard, the jewel of the Baltimore Orioles staff.
Pitching talent is scarce these days, and teams looking to deal arms are making big demands. But why are teams offering up, in many cases, young pitchers or pitchers in the prime of their careers, who might give them a chance to make the playoffs and win the World Series? Money, of course.
The gap between the haves and the have-nots in baseball continues to grow, or so the “small market” teams will tell you. Depending on how it all shakes out, it looks like the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees or New York Mets will acquire Santana. The teams that don’t get him will then probably “end up with” Haren or Bedard. This is supposedly because those “big market” teams are the only ones that can afford the big time stars, while the other organizations have to try and compete each year with their prospects, who they can afford until they become stars.
Yes, some clubs have much larger revenue streams than others. They may have their own tv networks and can charge top dollar for sponsorships and tickets. But baseball is a $6,000,000,000 business according to Commissioner Bud Selig. Money is shared from tv contracts and a number of other ways that help the teams with smaller revenue streams.
More importantly, there is no salary cap, so nobody is stopping any other team from buying the players they want or bidding for their services. For goodness sakes, ALL THE OWNERS ARE MULTI-MILLIONAIRES IF NOT BILLIONAIRES, AS THAT’S THE REQUIREMENT TO BE PART OF THIS EXCLUSIVE CLUB. They just don’t want to spend their money, instead falling back on the “it’s a business” excuse.
So let’s stop all the “big market” vs “small market” talk and demand better from the owners. If they want in, they need to play to win, not to ensure they make millions more.
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