Manny Machado and free agency

After reading Tom Verducci’s drivel about how baseball’s free agency system isn’t broken because Manny Machado is (insert Jesse Pinkman voice) “counting mad fat stacks”, I wanted to review a few themes that we’ve gone over here at My Baseball Page.

But before I get to that, I’ve made it a policy not to share drivel, so if you want to read the dullard Verducci’s take you’re going to have to do it yourself.  Trust me, it’s the usual nonsense from someone who is great at spewing nonsense.  Seriously, Bryce Harper, Craig Kimbrel and Marwin Gonzalez say hello, Tom.  Writer Jay Jaffe had the best response so far:  Saying there’s no problem with free agency because of Machado’s contract is like saying the globe is not getting warmer because it’s snowing today.

But back to my original point…

Check out some of these numbers:

  • The largest free agent contracts in the history of the Pittsburgh Pirates were $39 million for three years, $26 million for three years and $17 million for 2 years*.  I’ll pause so you can re-read that.  Those are the biggest free agent contracts in the team’s history.  The Yankees just gave $40 million for four years to a guy who wouldn’t have been eligible for free agency for another 2 years.
  • The Pirates are worth $1.25 billion.
  • They play in one of the nicest parks in baseball, which was predominantly tax-payer funded.  They’re also receiving approximately $40 from PNC Bank for the naming rights, instead of “Roberto Clemente Park” which won a fans poll.
  • Pirates owner Bob Nutting is personally worth $1.1 billion.

The bottom line is that there are many owners who are sitting on mad fat stacks and don’t want to spend any of it.  They’d rather turn a profit and lose than spend and win.  It’s been going on for over one hundred years with baseball ownership so it isn’t going to change.

But we need to call it what it is.  The “woe is us because poverty” line is total bullshit.  And I’m fine with picking on Bob Nutting but we all know there are dozens of other owners who operate in the same manner.

I wonder if they’d like to ask John Henry if the $11 million he paid in luxury taxes last year were worth the Sox winning a championship?

PS: As a slightly tangential note, despite the above miserly crap from Pirate’s ownership, Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington has as many post-season and World Series appearances as the Yankees and Brian Cashman over the past six years.

*The players were Francisco Liriano, Ivan Nova, and Russell Martin respectively.  Thanks to Travis Sawchik for the find.

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