Let's put a third team in New York

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While we all grouse about how much money the Yankees have, Sports Illustrated’s Tim Marchman reminds us why, exactly, they have so much money:

According to the measure used by the Office of Management and Budget, the New York metropolitan
region numbers about 19 million people. In other words, New York has
one MLB team for every 9.5 million people. Chicago, by this measure,
has one for every five million people, just as Miami and Atlanta do.
Los Angeles has one for every 6.5 million people, as do Dallas and
Philadelphia.

So, with such an inherent advantage in eyes, which gives their cable outlet an inherent advantage in revenue, which gives the team so much more money, the obvious solution is to impose a salary cap, right? No, silly. That’s hard. This is much easier, at least theoretically-speaking:

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.

Easier in that the territorial rights system which keeps a third team out of Gotham could be cast aside by the owners themselves, whereas a salary cap would require a labor battle that the owners could never win.

Not that getting the owners to roll over for that would be easy — both New York teams and their affiliated interests would go crazy, and the teams in Los Angeles and Chicago could fear that they’d be next.  Plus, you have the small problem of where specifically a third New York team would play and who would pay the billion dollars+ for the building.  New Jersey, in a ballpark paid for buy an eccentric billionaire?  OK, we’ll work on it.

The point is that a third team in New York is merely hard, not impossible.  It worked for nearly sixty years, so it could work again.  At any rate, it seems more realistic to agitate for that than it would to agitate for a salary cap.

Angels ink Javy Guerra to minor league deal

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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.

The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.

Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.

Braves sign reliever Carlos Torres

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As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.

Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.

If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

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Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.

But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.

Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.

There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.

Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.