MLB: "Scott Boras is living in fantasy land"

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Not that you didn’t know that already (remember how Oliver Perez was the next Sandy Koufax?).  But now MLB brass is coming right out and saying it:

Major League Baseball executive vice president Rob Manfred responded strongly to revenue sharing figures thrown out by Scott Boras at last week’s general managers’ meetings indicating that Boras’s numbers “have no basis in reality” and that Boras is living in “fantasy land.”

Here Manfred is referring to Boras’ comments last week that there are Major League teams who receive $80 million from a baseball central fund and just pocket it rather than put it into payroll to make the teams better.

Given his penchant for exaggeration, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Boras’ actual numbers are off.  But the thing is, he’s not wrong about the dynamic. Teams do take revenue sharing money and stash it or use it to pay down debt from their initial purchase of the team.  There really is a strategy among some owners to maximize franchise value — which is where their money comes from — as opposed to maximizing wins and season-to-season revenue.  Running a losing team with low gate is still a great deal as long as the team is low on debt, there’s a nice, owner-friendly stadium deal in place, and as long as MLB central will never let a franchise truly crater.

So maybe Boras’ $80 million figure is “fantasy land.”  But even if were, say, $40 million, it doesn’t make him wrong.

The Cubs live for another day, but death will come soon

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The Cubs had a nice night last night. Javier Baez finally broke his hitless streak with not one but two homers. Willson Contreras hit a nearly 500-foot homer. Jake Arrieta, possibly pitching for the last time as a Cub, dug down for a gutsy performance, pitching into the seventh inning, working around some walks to allow only one run while striking out nine.

After the game, Cubs players sounded hopeful notes about believing in themselves, taking them one game at a time, getting the series back to L.A. for a Game 6 and Game 7. They’re professional athletes who know better than any of us that to achieve a thing you have to believe you can achieve that thing, so it’d be dumb to expect anything else from them in this situation. Ballplayers, quite admirably, don’t sound a note of defeat until they are actually defeated.

But let’s be realistic there: they’re still a dead team walking.

  • They’re dead because, as we have been reminded oh so many times, only once in 35 tries has a team come back to win a seven game series in which they’ve found themselves down 0-3. That team did so because Dave Roberts worked some magic. Dave Roberts is working for the other team now.
  • They’re dead because their biggest weakness this postseason — their bullpen — is not going to have its best pitcher, Wade Davis, available today in Game 5 after throwing 48 pitches in Game 4.
  • They’re dead because while the Dodgers used five relievers last night, none of them were worked particularly hard and neither Brandon Morrow nor Kenley Jansen were used at all, allowing them to come in and work hard and heavy tonight if need be.
  • They’re dead because the man on the mound to start tonight’s game is Clayton Edward Kershaw. Yes, he has had some less-than-glory-filled moments in the postseason in recent years, but all of those have come at the tail end of starts, when his managers have left him in perhaps an inning too long. See the above bullet point — and Dave Roberts’ early hook in Game 1 — if you think that’ll be a problem tonight.

The Dodgers lost last night, yes, but it was their first loss in the postseason. All teams have lost at least one postseason game since it went to the three-round format, so it was likely inevitable that L.A. would drop one. Heck, maybe they’ll drop two before the NLCS is over, but they’re not going to drop the next three in a row.

Last night’s Cubs win was nice for them, but it only delayed the inevitable.