Hot Stove Report: You can't blame the Mets for being cautious
It has been a quiet holiday week in baseball. Of course, sometimes nothing happening is almost as significant as something happening. Take the Mets, a rich, lousy team that has made an ostentatious show of being willing to spend a lot to improve. With more than $90 million committed for next year before figuring arbitration awards for several young players, the team lacks a catcher, a first baseman, two outfielders and the semblance of dignity. Every one of their starters is inexperienced, terrible, coming off an injury or some combination of the three. They might be able to get better by signing the owners of Shea Stadium, the Brooklyn
The Mets, their money sweating in vaults, have managed not to do much of anything this winter. They have
Is this proof of the incompetence of widely mocked general manager
For all the frenzy attending the winter player market, no one can buy what's not for sale. Any club with money to spend would want great players at a tolerable cost. If there are none to be had, so be it. Think of the market as a greasy street at the ash end of Las Vegas at a quarter to five in the morning, and Minaya and his rivals as the sad lot slumping along the sidewalk. Should they really listen to the sharps and touts sidling up to them, making offers? One supposes that they could catch some luck. They could catch something else just as easily. You can't blame anyone for being cautious.
There is a direct correlation between how much time a person has spent in the home clubhouse at Wrigley Field and how obvious they thought it was that the Cubs had to be rid of
Wrigley Field's home clubhouse is terribly small, so much so that
One can argue that
From Seattle's perspective, however,
As Yankees fans and executives will rightly remind you, when the team adds expensive players like Vazquez, they're not just playing fairly, they're doing so within rules designed to constrain them. Nearly all of the penalties that baseball collects from teams whose payrolls exceed the luxury tax threshold, for example, comes from the Yankees. That doesn't change the fact that they and the Mets have an inherent and unfair advantage over even other teams in huge, rich cities.
According to the
As we learned a decade ago, baseball at large is quite willing to jury-rig a silly tax system that only works against the Yankees, because everyone else benefits, be it poor teams getting handouts or rich teams who see the Yankees ever so slightly chastened in their spending. With the collective bargaining agreement coming up for renegotiation, a bad economy and a Yankees team that looks like it will be ferociously good over the next few years even if the likes of
The better solution would be to place a third team in New York. That would bring the town's population:team ratio down to the level of Los Angeles or Philadelphia, and with the same number of people and dollars chasing more baseball, would quite likely bring Yankee spending down a hair without doing anything punitive or unfair. The main holdup is baseball's archaic territorial rights system, which has also trapped the A's in Oakland when they should really be in San Jose. Anyone who cried foul last week on hearing that the Yankees had snared yet another great player would be far better served writing a letter to the commissioner about how stupid that rights system is than they would be to grouse about it over a beer. The address is: Commissioner Bud Selig, 245 Park Ave., New York, NY 10167.
• The most puzzling move of the week had to be the Angels'
• Less puzzling, but still odd, was Oakland's
• The best minor moves of the week came in Washington, which signed average starter