December 8, 2016
86 For 103
Signed LHP Aroldis Chapman to a five-year, $86 million contract. [12/7]
In the NBA and the NFL, the league’s centers of power migrate from one place to another. Football is played once a week, so people from an extremely wide area surrounding a given team’s home stadium can get there when they wish. The league’s television contracts are all national. A team’s quarterback has an undemocratic degree of influence over the total quality of the team. Pro basketball players have the power to choose their destinations—or rather, lack the power to sell their services for anything close to full market value. The league’s lifeblood is its six-week playoff showcase, during which the superstars shine and the prestige of championships and top-level league marketing follow their lead. Both of those leagues also operate under salary caps.
Maybe baseball will one day mimic those leagues. This CBA was a step in that direction. (More on how this deal impacts the Yankees with regard to that CBA and the changes therein to come.) For now, though, baseball remains the American sports league most steadfastly committed to tradition, capitalism, and its cornerstone franchises. Only once in the last 45 years has an MLB team been dislocated. For that reason, however specious this assumption was, it felt inevitable that Aroldis Chapman would sign with the Yankees.