The Nats are going to break the revenue sharing system

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The big teams like the Yankees and Dodgers bite their tongues and pay their revenue sharing money out to the Pirates and Royals of the world because, well, that’s the system we have.  They may not bite their tongues much longer, though, because they really, really don’t like paying a large-market team like the Nationals — which Forbes Magazine rates as the second most profitable team in baseball — that kind of scratch. Tom Boswell:

As Washington’s obvious promise has been thwarted by its gruesome
won-lost reality, resentment toward the way the Nats do business,
already prevalent in Washington, is now spreading through the game . . . “You’re probably going to see revenue-sharing reform pretty soon,” an
American League executive said. “It’s usually small-market teams like
Pittsburgh that are the issue” . . . But the Bucs have an excuse: Their metropolitan market — like Denver,
Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City and Milwaukee — is less
than half Washington’s size (No. 9 in the United States).

Given the financial disparities in the game, some form of revenue sharing is essential. But a system that rewards a team with huge welfare checks for keeping its payroll lower than its market and revenue would rationally dictate (and losing tons of ballgames in the process) is not a sustainable one.

I suspect that the “revenue-sharing reform” Boswell’s source is talking about would take the form of requiring any teams receiving checks to spend the money on players as opposed to simply pocketing it and declaring a profit like the Nats and Pirates do every year. Such a thing might be hard to implement and could lead to a huge battle between baseball’s high payroll and low payroll teams.  It’s a battle worth fighting, however. Because if the high payroll teams win it, more teams will be putting more resources into their product on the field. In that case, we as fans win too.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.

Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.

President Obama pardons Willie McCovey

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 06:  San Francisco Giants legend Willie McCovey  waves to the crowd while seating between Jeff Kent (L) and Willie Mays during a ceremony honoring Buster Posey for winning the 2012 National League MVP before the Giants game against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on April 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.

Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.

President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.