John Henry, regretting that the Red Sox are raising ticket prices again:
“I am concerned with how expensive it is for four people to attend a game these days . . . Unfortunately virtually all contracts in baseball go up each year for on-field and off-field members of the organization.”
As Baseball Prospectus’ Joe Sheehan so eloquently put it nearly eight years ago “The price of tickets is not set to recoup costs, but to maximize revenue.” Indeed, this is how the price of just about every item in the stream of commerce is set (the price of razor blades and printer ink is apparently set by the Russian mob, however). Supply and demand you know.
If you don’t believe it, ask yourself why it costs so much to go to a Notre Dame or Ohio State game. They don’t have any salary expenses to recoup. Or the NFL, NHL and NBA, where salary caps have kept overall costs basically constant and certainly predictable, yet ticket prices have spiraled in ways wholly unrelated to expenses.
A smart organization sets ticket prices at the absolutely highest level they can be set without negatively impacting demand. The Red Sox sold out their games at last year’s prices. They will likely sell out their games at 2010’s prices. Those prices will continue to be raised until the exact moment people decide they are not worth the price and cease to buy Red Sox tickets. John Henry’s suggestions to the contrary are exercises in public relations.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.
With the Braves on the cusp of formalizing their one-year deal with Kurt Suzuki, the market for free agent catcher Matt Wieters is dwindling. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick references an inside source that lists the Angels, Rockies and Reds as potential suitors for the 30-year-old’s services.
Wieters is coming off of an eight-year career with the Orioles. In 2016, he played through his first full year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014 and batted .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and a .711 OPS in 464 PA. A return to Baltimore in 2017 isn’t out of the question, Crasnick writes, citing some within the team that would be open to Wieters stepping into a DH role and catching platoon with Wellington Castillo. However, he also points out that the front office appears divided on the veteran catcher, and sees the Orioles as a long shot for the foreseeable future.
The Angels have already been tied to Wieters this offseason, while the Rockies and Reds don’t appear to have made any formal inquiries so far. Both could use a veteran presence behind the dish, as the Rockies are planning to platoon rookie catcher Tom Murphy with 24-year-old Tony Wolters in the spring. The Reds, meanwhile, are banking on a quick recovery for 28-year-old Devin Mesoraco, who missed most of the 2016 season after undergoing shoulder and hip surgery and forced the club to rely almost exclusively on back-up backstop Tucker Barnhart.