That according to SportsBusiness Daily, which surveyed oodles of sports business professionals. The list ended up breaking down thusly:
1. Derek Jeter
2. Albert Pujols
3. Joe Mauer
4. Stephen Strasburg
5. Ryan Howard
6. Evan Longoria
7. Tim Lincecum
8. David Wright
9. Alex Rodriguez
10. Dustin Pedroia/Torii Hunter
I’ll accept that list at face value, but I can’t help but think that determining which baseball players are the most “marketable” is not unlike determining which the best football team in Alaska. Maybe it’s important locally, but the winner of the poll is not exactly a national power in that particular arena.
The key concept here is “local,” which baseball has truly become. This is not a bad thing. Regional sports networks have been the engines that have shot baseball’s revenues up to the $7 billion range and which have have primed the pump that has led to labor peace for a very long time. And of course, if you ask any executive at a Silicon Valley or national media company they’ll tell you: local is where it’s at, baby.
But it does mean that baseball players really don’t rate as national ad men anymore. Beyond the outliers like Jeter and some blips here and there by guys like Ryan Howard, ballplayers aren’t nationally recognizable. Some that are have achieved that status by being more notorious than by being whatever it takes to be a good pitchman (see Rodriguez, Alex). If you had to launch a big product with an athlete as your pitchman, you’d go to the NFL(exclusively national platform) or the NBA (way more recognizable and demographically-friendly stars) before baseball every time. You’d probably hit golf and UFC figures before baseball players too.
Which doesn’t really bother me. I like my ballplayers playing ball. Not shilling for Mr. Coffee or whatever.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.