Major League Baseball is letting you pay them $10-20 — right now — for the right to buy playoff tickets for your team at face value. Beat the scalpers! Beat StubHub! What a deal!
And I guess if you’re a Yankees fan or something it may be a good deal. For one thing the Yankees are likely to make the playoffs. For another thing it’s not likely that a ton of tickets will be available at face value. A $10-20 markup (depending on which series it is) is less than you’ll get gouged on the secondary market if you’re so inclined. Unless you’re the sort who camps out on line for tickets, this probably makes sense.
But the Yankees are kind of the exception, are they not? Some playoff teams will go down to the wire simply to sell out a division series game. Happens every year. Even those who do sell out don’t do so immediately. If you wait a bit for, say, the Rangers to clinch and then act relatively quickly after they do, you’ll almost certainly be able to get face value seats without having to pay Bud Selig his vigorish.
But maybe the best part of this is the fact that MLB is opening up this fantastic opportunity for every single team. Really: check out the order page. You can, with a couple of clicks, pay Major League Baseball as much as $90* for tickets to see the Pirates in the Division Series, NLCS and World Series! Or the Orioles! Or the Astros!
I’m going to put a little reminder on my calendar, but to make sure I don’t forget, someone remind in September to ask Major League Baseball how much money they made on these playoff ticket licenses for crappy teams. I bet the number won’t be staggering, but I bet it won’t be zero either.
*The breakdown: $10 for each ticket for the Division Series, $15 for the League Championship Series and
$20 for the World Series with a maximum purchase of two tickets per series per household. So it would cost $90 now
if you wanted to reserve two tickets for one game of all three possible
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.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.