In that USA Today salary piece I linked yesterday, Brewers’ owner Mark Attanasio complained thusly:
“We’re struggling to sign (first baseman Prince Fielder) and the Yankees infield is making
more than our team.”
Yankees’ President Randy Levine fired back today:
“I’m sorry that my friend Mark continues to whine about his running
the Brewers. We play by all the rules and there doesn’t seem to be any
complaints when teams such as the Brewers receive hundreds of millions
of dollars that they get from us in revenue sharing the last few years.
Take some of that money that you get from us and use that to sign your
players. The question that should be asked is: Where has
the hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue sharing gone?”
Seems like a rather prickly and, well, downright mean comment from Levine, doesn’t it? I mean, Attansio may have been a bit whiney, sure, but he was merely describing a reality in payroll disparity, not indicting the Yankees. At least from what I can tell.
And to be fair: the Brewers do take revenue sharing money — reportedly about $30 million this past year — but they also have an $85 million payroll, so it’s not like they’re pocketing the money, which is the implication of Levine’s comment. The Brewers also play in a market with a population less than one-tenth the size the Yankees do, and a decent chunk of that is lousy with Cubs fans. I think the Brewers do a pretty good job all things considered. Seems like it would call for a more politic response from Levine than the rebop he gave.
In other news, what happened to the idea of Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman doing all the talking for the Yankees and the rest of the royal court keeping the heck out of things? That has seemed to work pretty well these past couple of years.
On Monday we passed along a report that Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are negotiating over an international draft. That report — from ESPN’s Buster Olney — cited competitive balance and the well-being of international free agents as the reasons why they’re pushing for the draft.
We have long doubted those stated motivations and said so again in our post on Monday. But we’re just armchair skeptics when it comes to this. Ben Badler of Baseball America is an expert. Perhaps the foremost expert on international baseball, international signings and the like. Today he writes about a would-be international draft and he tears MLB, the MLBPA and their surrogates in the media to shreds with respect to their talking points.
Of course Badler is a nice guy so “tearing to shreds” is probably putting it too harshly. Maybe it’s better to say that he systematically dismantles the stated rationale for the international draft and makes plan what’s really going on: MLB is looking to save money and the players are looking to sell out non-union members to further their own bargaining position:
Major League Baseball has long wanted an international draft. The driving force behind implementing an international draft is for owners to control their labor costs by paying less money to international amateur players, allowing owners to keep more of that money . . . the players’ association doesn’t care about international amateur players as anything more than a bargaining chip. It’s nothing discriminatory against foreign players, it’s just that the union looks out for players on 40-man rosters. So international players, draft picks in the United States and minor leaguers who make less than $10,000 in annual salary get their rights sold out by the union, which in exchange can negotiate items like a higher major league minimum salary, adjustments to the Super 2 rules or modifying draft pick compensation attached to free agent signings.
Badler then walks through the process of how players are discovered, scouted and signed in Latin America and explains, quite convincingly, how MLB’s international draft and, indeed, its fundamental approach to amateurs in Latin America is lacking.
Read this. Then, every time a U.S.-based writer with MLB sources talks about the international draft, ask whether they know something Ben Badler doesn’t or, alternatively, whether they’re carrying water for either the league or the union.
I don’t know why Bill Murray is in Washington today. I don’t know why he’s at the White House. But I do know that he was there in Chicago Cubs gear, standing at the lectern in the press briefing room, voicing his full confidence in the Cubs prevailing in the NLCS, despite the fact that Clayton Kershaw is going for the Dodgers tomorrow night.
“Too many sticks,” president Murray said of the Cubs lineup. And something about better trees in Illinois.
Four. More. Years.