A look at Jeffrey Loria and Miami's current financial situation.
“The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right; greed works.” —Gordon Gekko, Wall Street
I don’t know if Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria owns a copy of Oliver Stone’s Wall Street. The movie, which came out at the height of the 1980s’ “excess is best” period would seem to play well with him. That now infamous speech by Gekko summed up everything that was wrong with not only Wall Street but also where America was headed. Loria, it seems, is still living in the 80s.
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A look at the growing trend of huge free agent contracts.
Money has a way of making people do funny things. A lot of it can alter your perception of what is (and is not) extravagant. It certainly changes how you approach purchases, and in MLB, it’s no different.
The times were different and the circumstances far removed, but I can’t help but recall former commissioner Peter Ueberroth speaking to the owners on October 22, 1985. As I said, the topic was far, far different (collusion), but nothing (maybe ever) has changed about owners being hyper-competitive. As outlined in John Helyar’s seminal book, Lords of the Realm, Ueberroth was quoted as saying:
A look at the changing landscape of media rights deals in sports and how MLB will be affected.
There was a point not too long ago when the key revenue stream for Major League Baseball was the gate—ticket sales—with media rights through television coming in second. Recently, however, there has been an explosion in the amount of money coming into sports properties in the U.S. via media rights that is altering the landscape. Whether it’s collegiate sports conferences or the “big four” sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL), the dollar amounts for national and local broadcast rights have increased. The reason? With the advent of the DVR and movies on-demand, regular programming can be watched whenever viewers like. With content being recorded, fast-forwarding past commercials has become commonplace. Live sports programming is the exception. Since fans want to see action when it happens, advertisers are placing more focus around sports than ever before.
The increases in media rights fees have happened already at the local and regional level in baseball, as exhibited by the Rangers, Angels, and Astros (and soon to be Dodgers and Padres). In the coming months, MLB itself will be cashing in, too, when the national television broadcast rights come up for renewal. Currently, the deals with FOX, TBS, and ESPN all expire at the end of 2013. According to sources, informal conversations have already begun on renewing the national television deals.
Will Colby Rasmus continue to be dogged by off-field issues?
In two-plus years as the general manager of the Blue Jays, Alex Anthopoulos has shown a penchant for buying low on other teams’ undervalued players. He did it with Yunel Escobar, who delivered a 3.7 WARP season last year. He did it with Brett Lawrie, who emerged as one of baseball’s top prospects, and then batted a remarkable .293/.373/.580 in 171 plate appearances in 2011. Most recently, he did it with Colby Rasmus and Kelly Johnson last summer, though the returns on those two investments are thus far unclear.
Once viewed as a potential star center fielder, the 25-year-old Rasmus has a much greater role to play in the Jays’ future than Johnson. Rasmus was a 2.3 WARP player—mostly thanks to a .276/.361/.498 triple-slash, because his fielding was 18.8 runs below average—in 2010, and he was expected to blossom into one of the National League’s best players.
Long before there was Prince Fielder, there was Bill Caudill, one of the first beneficiaries of the super-agent's skills.
In 1981, the Seattle Mariners had no closer. Seven Mariners saved at least one game, and nobody saved more than eight. Shane Rawley, he of the eight, walked more batters than he struck out, with an ERA worse than the league average. In March of 1982, he gave up 12 runs in 11 spring training innings. Days before the season began, Rawley was traded to the Yankees for Bill Caudill and Gene Nelson, both young pitchers, and cash. Saves weren’t quite such a big deal yet—just one pitcher in the American League had saved more than 20 in the strike-shortened 1981 season, and only five reached even a dozen—so the Mariners entered the 1982 season without a closer.
But Caudill pitched well, surprisingly well, and in Seattle’s 15th game, Caudill earned his first save. The trade to Seattle "was the biggest break of my life,” he said after the game. “I just love being here. I'm finally getting a chance to play. I was a mop-up man.” He would get 26 saves that year and 26 the next. In 1984, he was traded to the A’s, where he saved 36 games and made his first All-Star team. After that season, he was traded once again, to the Blue Jays, and that’s where the fun begins.
A look at the Marlins' and Angels' reasoning for the big Reyes and Pujols deals.
Each day, here at Baseball Prospectus and elsewhere, bright minds work diligently to quantify player value. Eyes scan stats, watch games, and spin numbers, all in that effort to find nirvana where we can quantitatively say this team is good or bad based upon its makeup.
It’s an impossible endeavor, of course. There are variables outside of control at play. Before you think I’m talking about injury, think again… I’m talking owners and the influx of revenues.
Jay looks at the Dodgers' deadline deals and wonders what they were thinking when they traded Travyon Robinson.
It's fair to say the Dodgers aren't accustomed to selling at the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline. The last time they were lousy enough to go into the deadline far enough removed from a playoff spot to be sellers was 19 years ago when they were en route to 99 losses: their worst season in 83 years. Not that they hadn't failed to recognize the need to do so last summer when they were seven games back in the NL West and 5 1/2 games back in the Wild Card; a more honest assessment of their chances would have had general manager Ned Colletti selling off parts in exchange for prospects. This week, the Dodgers finally got a chance to see Colletti doing just that, and the sum of his moves and non-moves was enough to make a fan pine for the days of Octavio Dotel.
As the Brewers aim to put themselves over the top with another deadline deal for pitching, take a look at some of history's most successful mid-season swaps.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
The Brewers are hoping for big things from Francisco Rodriguez, but a reliever isn't likely to crack this list of best-ever buyer's acquisitions, which originally ran as a "You Could Look it Up" column on October 3, 2008.
Has super-agent Scott Boras earned his reputation for getting the most cash and the longest contracts for his clients?
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
Vince Gennaro is the author of Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseballand a consultant to MLB teams. He teaches in the Graduate Sports Management programs at Columbia University and Manhattanville College. He is also on the Advisory Board of The Perfect Game Foundation and the Board of Directors of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), whose upcoming annual convention will feature Scott Boras as the keynote speaker. A non-profit organization with 6,700 members, SABR is a perfect fit for anyone who has an interest in baseball research, statistics and history. Vince's website is www.vincegennaro.com.