Tagged: salaries

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There’s
nothing I hate more than hearing someone rant and rave about a problem they are
having yet they are unwilling to do anything to fix it. I have a simple life
philosophy: “If you have a problem,
either do something about it or shut up.”
Sounds harsh and cynical but it’s
kept me sane.

Looking back
on my last few entries I realize that I’m beginning to rant. My collective
opinions are warranted but not much more than a big “shame on you” to much of
the baseball world. So by my own principles, I must come up with a solution or
shut up until I have something else to talk about; which brings me to another
good life philosophy: “Judge me not by
your standards, judge me by my own.”

I should
write a book.

So the big
problem I see right now in Major League Baseball is how out of control players
salaries have been. The Yanks spent a quarter-billion on two pitchers, Raul
Ibanez is getting $10mil a year and the Boston Red Sox are calling Scott Boras’
bluff on a phantom $195 million offer.

I have
always defended higher salaries in all of pro sports. On average, a
professional athlete makes $200,000 or so a year (check me on that, I’m almost
definitely wrong). So while it seems every athlete is making millions, that
figure is only reserved for the elite. Besides, an athlete only plays 10, 15
maybe 20 years if he stays healthy. 8-12 years, I think, can be considered a
good career. That’s a lot shorter than the careers you and I will have, and we’ll
be paying far less in medical expenses. Finally, as far as superstars are
concerned, organizations are making millions be marketing their names, so why
shouldn’t they get a good chunk of that revenue?

My solution
however, would avoid a good amount of inflation that has driven up prices. It
would be a system much like that of golf and Hollywood, where you earn your
paycheck more than you do in baseball. It seems that every winter the top free
agent wants more than the top free agent got the year before, even if last year’s
top gun was much better.

Sound
familiar Matt Ryan?

A Hollywood
actor’s salary is mostly determined by how long he has been in the biz and how
well his movies have done. Newcomers like Shia LeBouf and that kid from Juno are
making a few hundred thousand to maybe a couple million which Brad Pitt and
Johnny Depp are making 25 to 30 million per movie. Sounds semi-elitist but no
one has complained so far. (except maybe Tom Cruise, but he only has himself to
blame)

So let’s say
that the free agent signing period looks a little different from now on.
Players will still only be allowed to negotiate with their current team first
before testing the market, but their worth will be determined a little
differently.

I call it the “Free
Agent Value System.”

Hit 30 homeruns in a season? That’s $250,000!

Have an ERA under 3.00? Nice! $500,000!

Been with one franchise for 10 years! Kudos! $1,000,000!

MVP? WOW! $5,000,000!

The league
will have a set of accomplishments that determines a player’s “value.”
Essentially, the market will be turned into a giant EBAY website: the value
system determines its worth (not what the agent says it is) and negotiations begin there.

Of course,
the highest bidder won’t be guaranteed a victory, but it would allow more teams
to be in the running. Look at it this way: Have you heard the names Tampa Bay
Rays, Cincinnati Reds or Kansas City Royals very much this off-season? Didn’t
think so.

Is the
system perfect? No, but it’s interesting to think about. It spreads opportunity
around without spreading money around, and it levels the playing field without
simply instituting a salary-cap. It also works both sides of the plate,
so-to-speak. It will bring down salaries for some but raise salaries for
others, so it may be easier to get the players union on board. It does,
however, change the playing field for agents (awwww, poor babies) who now have
to get a little more creative.

What do you
think?

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If I Were A Rich Man

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Finals are over at last and my
head is killing me. My last final was in STAT 200, the bain of my existence.

 

QUICK QUESTION:

At a ski area in Vermont, the daytime high temperature is normally
distributed during January, with a mean of 22 degrees F and a standard
deviation of 10 degrees F. You are planning a trip to Vermont this January.
What is the probability that you will encounter daytime high of 15 degrees F of
lower?

stressed out.jpgGive up?

Welcome to
my world.

So now I
have nothing left to do so I need to start seriously blogging again. My idea
now, since the rest of the baseball world is playing GM, is to put together a
championship caliber team. The rules? All players stats and salaries are based
on 2008 alone, and you can’t spend more than $100 million. Try it sometime, it’s
actually kind of fun.

I’ve spent a
few hours on this little project and I think I’ve come up with a team that
could legitimately compete in any division in baseball, if not dominate some of
them. So here goes.

 

Starting Lineup:

1.    
Rick Ankiel                       L         RF

2.    
Chase Utley                       L         2B

3.    
Albert
Pujols                    R         3B

4.    
Travis
Hafner                  L         1B

5.    
Josh
Hamilton                 L         LF

6.    
Russell
Martin                R         C

7.    
Reed Johnson                  R         CF

8.    
Bobby Crosby                  R         SS

9.    
Pitcher’s
Spot (because pitchers are players too!)

 

Roster:

Martin.jpg

Russell
Martin – C (Los Angeles Dodgers – $500,000)

Russell Martin is everything you
want in a catcher. He defends the plate, he has a good relationship with
starting pitchers and he swings a big stick too. On the plus side, he’s an
everyday catcher too, which is huge for a starting rotation to have that kind
of consistency. He may not win games all by himself, but he puts the rest of
the team in position to do just that.

 








hafner.jpg

Travis
Hafner – 1B (Cleveland Indians – $8.05million)

I feel bad for Travis Hafner
because he never got a chance to really come about. He is a big, strong power
hitter who can send a ball into orbit at will. Problem was, he only needed one
good season to make pitchers afraid. So they stopped pitching to him. With a
lineup as shaky as Cleveland’s, pitchers could get away with it too. Give him a
little protection in the lineup and the league will have to invest in a few
more baseballs each season.

 

utley.jpg

Chase Utley –
2B (Philadelphia Phillies – $7.8 million)

Chase is a rock star. Some may
give him a bad rap because he likes to throw out a few too many f-bombs in
public, but that’s exactly why I love him. He shys away from nothing. On the
field, he’s every little league coach’s dream. He plays like it’s his last game
ever and he wants to go out with style. He plays a great second base and won’t
hesitate to dive for that line drive. At the plate, he’s clutch and can go yard
at the drop of a hat.

 


pujols.jpg


Albert
Pujols – 3B (St. Louis Cardinals – $13.9 million)

Some forget that Pujols
originally came up as a Third Baseman. I had trouble deciding between him and
Chipper Jones for this spot but eventually decided to go with Pujols because of
his upside. Chipper is on the latter end of his career, and while he’s capable
of putting on a hitting clinic on any given night, he has trouble staying on
the field. Pujols is all upside and I don’t need any justification here.

 









crosby.jpg


Bobby Crosby
– SS (Oakland Athletics – $3.5 million)

Bobby Crosby’s not flashy, he’s
not in your face and he’s not going to hit many walk-off home runs. What he
will do is step on the field between third base and second base and play solid,
fundamental baseball. He gets on base, which is important to any lineup. He’s a
catalyst to any offense and a rock to any defense.

 

hamilton1.jpg


Josh
Hamilton – LF (Texas Rangers – $396,830)

Josh is more than just a great story; he’s a top-tier ball player
too. The homerun derby was no fluke; this kid hits the ball hard every time.
Someone who can hit the ball hard will get hits more often than not.

 

johnson.jpg




Reed Johnson
– CF (Chicago Cubs – $1.3 million)

Reed Johnson flies under the
radar for the most part but he’s a good old-fashioned ball player. He puts me
in mind of Lenny Dykstra from the 1993 Phillies NL Championship team. He’s not
the biggest or the strongest but he plays like he’s the biggest dog in the
pack. Don’t tell him he’s not the cleanup hitter because he knows how to get
the barrel of the bat on the ball every time he makes contact.

 

ankiel.jpg

Rick Ankiel –
RF (St. Louis Cardinals – $900,000)

I’m becoming a really big fan of
Rick Ankiel, fast. He’s the most naturally gifted athlete in baseball. Who else
could come up through the system as a pitcher (a good pitcher), lose his stuff,
get sent back to the minors, change positions to the outfield and make it back
to the majors? No one. He’s a guy I want on my team and I’ll find a place for
him.

 











Bench:

IF         Ryan Theriot – R
(Chicago Cubs – $428,000)

OF       Fred Lewis – L (San Francisco Giants – $392,000)

OF       Shane Victorino – S (Philadelphia Phillies – $480,000)

IF         Josh Willingham – R (Florida Marlins – $405,000)

 

 Starting
Pitchers:

hamels1.jpg

  1.    
Cole Hamels
– LHP (Philadelphia Phillies – $500,000)

What can you
say about Cole Hamels that hasn’t already been said? He’s a stud. He stares
down opposing batters and throws ridiculous stuff at them. He proved his worth
in the playoffs where it really counts. Now if only I could get him to cut his
hair a little bit. Those wavy locks have got to go.

 




roy-halladay.jpg

2.    
Roy Halladay
– RHP (Toronto BlueJays – $10 million)

Halladay is
a work horse. He will make 30 starts a season and pitch at least 6 innings each
outing. You can’t put a price on that. It shortens each game to three innings
long and makes the bullpen’s life easier. He works the count well with a good
fastball/changeup combination and pulls the string when you least expect it.

 




buehrle.jpg

      3.    
Mark Buehrle
– LHP (Chicago White Sox – $14 million)

Buehrle
flies under the radar a bit on the south side of Chicago but his repertoire speaks
for itself. He’s a low-ball pitcher who induces a lot of ground balls and
pop-ups and virtually takes the bat away from lefties. Not only that, but he gets
better as the season goes along and pitches well in the post-season.

 




peavy.jpg

4.    
 Jake Peavy – RHP (San Diego Padres – $6.5 million)

The reason
behind this pick is simple. Jake Peavy will step out on the mound on any given
day and absolutely hurl the ball at the plate. He’s a hurler; plain and simple.

 






b_backe.jpg

   5.    
Brandon
Backe – RHP (Houston Astros – $800,000)

I like
Brandon Backe because he has good stuff but he can also swing the bat. I like a
pitcher who will at least try to act like a batter and make an effort to get on
base.

 






                                               The greatest picture ever taken!

lidge.jpg

Closer – Brad Lidge – RHP (Philadelphia
Phillies – $6.35 million)

Two years
ago, Lidge would have been toward the bottom of my list for closers. In fact, I
would probably have said the same in April. But it’s hard to argue with
perfection, which is exactly what Brad “Lights Out” Lidge was this past season
from April all the way through to the last out of the World Series. What else
can you ask for?

 

Other Relief
Pitchers:

J.C. Romero – LHP (Philadelphia Phillies – $3.25 million)

Ryan Madson – RHP (Philadelphia Phillies – $1.4 million)

Ryan Rowland-Smith – LHP (Seattle Mariners – $395,000)

Carlos Marmol – RHP (Chicago Cubs – $430,000)

David Aardsma – RHP (Boston Red Sox – $403,250)

Boone Logan – LHP (Chicago White Sox – $405,000)

Ambiorix Burgos – RHP (New York Mets – $415,000)

 

Total
Team Salary:       $ 82,900,020.00

 

The team’s salary is good enough
to put the team in 15th place in Major League Baseball just ahead of
the Milwaukee Brewers. The one glaring hole I can see in the lineup is the lack
of a little balance. I have two players accustomed to being the #3 batter
hitting in different spots (Chase Utley and Josh Hamilton). I picked them
because I thought they are the types of players who can adapt to a new spot in
the lineup and hit different types of pitchers.

 

The next step in my plan is to
put this team in action on MLB 2K8 and see how they turn out. Yes, it’s just a
video game, but I can’t play GM in real life (not yet, anyway), so I have to
play GM virtually.

 

(SIDE NOTE – Coming in January
will be a PS3 game called ‘MLB Front Office Manager.’ A game that’s right up my
ally and good for anyone else who has aspirations of running a MLB team. I’ll
have a synopsis once I get a chance to play.)

 

Would this team win? I think so.
There is a lot of talent in the lineup from top to bottom so if one player
struggles, someone else can fill the void. Yes, there are more Phillies than
any other team but consider the source. This is based on 2008. If this was
based on 2007, you probably would see a few more Red Sox. If this was based on
1998, you’d see a bunch more Yankees. There are about a dozen and a half more
players I can think of that I could put in there and not lose any sleep., so
please, don’t think I’m snubbing anyone who isn’t deserving.

 

Any disputes? Please comment. I’d
love to hear your opinions.

P.S. The answer is 24.2%, in case you were wondering. Don’t ask me how I got the answer, because I really don’t know.

Everything Baseball Should Be: And Everything Baseball is Not

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wilbon.jpg

Michael Wilbon, co-host of ‘Pardon the
Interruption’ (ESPN – 5:30PM EST) is my favorite sports writer in the world. He
tells it like it is, doesn’t shy away from his north-side Chi-town allegiance
and he isn’t afraid to get to the heart of the issue. His opinions are justified
and he always seems to look at the big picture.

Most of the time, I agree with him.

This time, however, I do not.

Last week, when the Yankees signed CC
Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, a topic was brought up by the president of the
Florida Marlins, David Samson. He is quoted as saying that the Yankees’
offseason strategies are ridiculous and giving CC Sabathia a $161 million
contract is a bad move for the franchise. Both Michael Wilbon and his co-host,
Tony Kornheiser, bashed Samson for this statement and said that the Yankees’
duty (hehehe… duty) is to the fans, and as such, thir responsibility is to put
the best team on the field.

HOLD ON A MINUTE!

I may be a young man, but I have been around
baseball my whole life. Yes, the Yankees loyalty should be to the fans and to
some extent, it is; on the surface, at least. Yankess fans love it when they
sign a brand new all-star free agent who is romanticized as being the savior of
the franchise and will bring them back to their winning ways. From this
perspective, yes, the loyalty is to the fans.

But lets look at this from a different
perspective:

So far this off-season, the Yankees have
spent, let’s see: $161 million + $82.5 million รท 5, carry the…………….. = about
$242.5 million over the next 5 – 6 years. Couple that with the new stadium they
just build (which there was no real reason for except to bring more attention
to them) and you have something along the lines of $1.8 BILLION. That’s… a lotta
meatballs, some may say.

meatball.jpg

Where, pray tell, do you think this money is
coming from? The Steinbrenners? HA! They may tell you that, but where does it
really come from?

YANKEES FANS RAINOUT.jpg

You guessed it. YOU GUYS!

How, Michael, is this activity in loyalty to
the fans who filled the OLD Yankee Stadium for the last 80 years? While ticket
prices, hot dog prices, beer prices, foam finger prices, cotton candy prices,
and souvenir prices will certainly rise, where does this put your everyday fan
who just so happens to be in the middle of a recession right now?

In Philly, we’re sweating over ticket price increases of $10-$15. I would hate to see what’s going to happen in the Bronx.

Nice work, Hal… You too, Hank!

Give me a break. The Yankees care nothing
about the fans, only that they spend their money to come watch the team. What
the Steinbrenners care about is ego; nothing else.

If they really cared about the fans, they
wouldn’t have four players making an excess of $20 million a season. If they
really cared about the fans, they would hire someone who knows how to build a
TEAM. Any idiot can write big checks and offer the world to whoever happens to
be the best on the market that winter, but it takes a true baseball mind to
build a championship team. The Yankees front office collectively doesn’t have
half the baseball knowledge of this man.

VP2dkrei.jpg

Since 2000 (The last Yankee championship):
Arizona, Anaheim, Florida, Boston, Chicago, St. Louis, Boston and Philadelphia
have all won championships as a TEAM. A concept lost in New York City.

This is not a new concept, though. The Yankees just don’t want to learn. Just look at USA Basketball from 1999 – 2007. If you read down the roster, there was more talent on the Team USA Baseketball team than the rest of the world teams combined. They were all-stars, all of them. But they weren’t a team and thereby failed. They couldn’t play as a team until they were forced to at least practice together for three years, and even then, had to rally late against Spain to win the gold.

2008824132047397.jpg

I want to root for the Yankees. I really do.
For everything they were in the past and everything they meant to baseball.
They were America’s team back then, and made baseball fans out of a lot of
people.

Now, the Yankees represent everything wrong
with baseball and everything baseball shouldn’t be. As much of a fan of a
Yankees I want to be, I can’t. I can’t because I’m too much of a fan of the
sport of baseball, and everything baseball SHOULD be.