Nov 23

Open those wallets.

Do you remember a few weeks ago Commissioner Bud Selig asked the sports’ owners and general managers to be fiscally responsible as to be sensitive to the public during these tough economic times?

As unemployment spirals and prices rise, will the public be receptive to the sport’s shopping season?

Selig wasn’t telling teams not to indulge in the free agent market, but be cognizant and feeling to a public struggling to survive. He couldn’t tell teams not to spend because, after all, that’s collusion and the Players Association already won that battle.

Then the Yankees offered $140 million to CC Sabathia and talk about signing anybody not nailed down. But, this isn’t a Yankees’ rant, as they are only the poster child for the economics of the sport.

Mediocre players – read Oliver Perez – are about to make untold millions, and over the next few weeks teams will announce ticket prices for the 2009 season. Care to guess how many of the 30 teams will lower prices?

It’s not hard.

It’s easy to be cynical of Selig’s plea because he’s always talking about keeping salaries down, but he’s not about to throw his “best interest in baseball weight” around, because baseball’s best interest, at least to the short term thinkers in the sport, is today’s bottom line.

How nice it would be for the sport to place a moratorium on ticket and concession prices for next season, perhaps cut them five percent. That would be a gift to the public who always gives to the game, in both heart and wallet.

That won’t happen, because he can’t order a team to set prices. It won’t happen because he knows the players won’t take less.

It doesn’t work that way. Players are under pressure from the Players Association to take the best deal because it helps other players.

Sabathia, for instance was offered $100 million to stay in Milwaukee, but even if he were giddy happy there, he won’t re-sign and leave $40 million on the table. It’s easy to say, “how much is enough?” But, you’re not the one leaving money on the table, and the truth is, if in the same position you’d do the same.

It’s never enough.

Baseball doesn’t know the meaning of enough as it expands overseas with the reach of a poker player leaning across the table to pull in his chips. The players will get their millions because teams can afford it, and they can afford it because you always foot the bill. Whether it be tickets, or T-shirts, or watching on TV, the public always pays.

And, does so willingly.

Nov 03

Mets Chat Room: Gathering around the Hot Stove

What's on your mind?

What's on your mind?

Pat Burrell turned down $22 million over two years from Philadelphia and CC Sabathia is about to turn down over $100 million from Milwaukee.

All signs are pointing toward the Yankees getting Sabathia. They don’t appear to have a ceiling. The same can’t be said about the Mets. They’ll have money coming off the books with Pedro Martinez, Orlando Hernandez and Moises Alou going, but they’ll be giving raises to David Wright and Jose Reyes.

Their payroll last year was $143 million, and I don’t see it going much higher.

We can discuss all of that tonight.

Oct 18

Brewers to make a run at keeping Sabathia.

Sabathia: Brewers will make strong run.

Sabathia: Brewers will make strong run.

The foregone conclusion is CC Sabathia will sign with the one of the Coast monsters, either the Yankees or Dodgers. The Mets will make agent contact, but aren’t believed to be big players. Then again, they weren’t supposed to be players for Johan Santana, either.

However, Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin said today in a conference call that the Brewers will try to retain the lefty who put them in the playoffs.

Sabathia, who was 17-10 with a 2.70 ERA, will command big bucks which lead to the conclusion the Brewers wouldn’t challenge the market.

“At least we have a chance, whereas before, we wouldn’t have any chance with a pitcher of CC’s caliber,” Melvin said. “I do feel we will make him an offer, and at that point, it will be in his court.”

Oct 10

Who gets the ball?

Would you give Sabathia all that money?

Would you give Sabathia all that money?

The Mets are staring at two holes in their rotation with the possible losses of Oliver Perez and Pedro Martinez. The free-agent market has options with CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett. So, you’re Omar. Who gets the money? Would you give Sabathia $150 million?

Do you re-sign either Perez or Martinez and go elsewhere?
Do you re-sign both Perez and Martinez?
Do you go elsewhere to fill both holes?
Do you give the ball to Jon Niese for the season and take your lumps?

THE FREE AGENT MARKET FOR STARTING PITCHERS

Kris Benson (33)
A.J. Burnett (32) – can opt out after ’08 season
Paul Byrd (38)
Roger Clemens (46)
Matt Clement (33)

Bartolo Colon (36)
Ryan Dempster (32)
Shawn Estes (36)
Josh Fogg (32)
Freddy Garcia (33)

Jon Garland (29)
Tom Glavine (43)
Mike Hampton (36)
Mark Hendrickson (35)
Livan Hernandez (34)

Orlando Hernandez (43)
Jason Jennings (30)
Randy Johnson (45)
John Lackey (30) – $9MM club option for ’09 with a $0.5MM buyout
Jon Lieber (39)

Braden Looper (34)
Rodrigo Lopez (33) – club option for ’09
Derek Lowe (36)
Greg Maddux (43)
Pedro Martinez (37)

Sergio Mitre (28)
Jamie Moyer (46)
Mark Mulder (31) – $11MM club option for ’09 with a $1.5MM buyout
Mike Mussina (40)
Carl Pavano (33) – $13MM club option for ’09 with a $1.95MM buyout

Brad Penny (31) – $8.75MM club option for ’09 with a $2MM buyout
Odalis Perez (32)
Oliver Perez (27)
Andy Pettitte (37)
Sidney Ponson (32)

Mark Prior (27)
Kenny Rogers (44)
Glendon Rusch (34)
C.C. Sabathia (28)
Curt Schilling (42)

Ben Sheets (30)
John Smoltz (42)
Tim Wakefield (42) – perpetual $4MM club option
Kip Wells (32)
Randy Wolf (32)