As we’ve seen recently, local TV revenue is the sweetest plum for ballclubs these days. If you’re up for a new TV deal right now, you’re rolling in dough.
But what if you’re not? What if, like the Nationals and Orioles, you’re sharing one? Then you run into the sort of thing Ken Rosenthal is reporting here:
Now, according to sources, a panel of baseball officials will decide what the two teams could not resolve in negotiations — the annual rights fee that the Nationals will receive from MASN.
The matter went to arbitration after talks between the Orioles and Nationals sputtered. While there is no known deadline for a decision, the panel is meeting regularly due to the urgency of the situation, sources say.
The problem, as Rosenthal reports, is that the fee the two teams share from MASN is to be re-set at market rates every five years. What market rates are right now is up for debate. And given that the Orioles have a way bigger piece of MASN than the Nats do, you can understand that they might have a much different opinion of exactly what those rates are.
Get used to this, folks. Not the sharing thing so much — it’s not that common — but the notion of teams going to war with someone, somewhere over just how much it’s worth to them to allow a network to broadcast their games.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.
Veteran Omar Infante has spent the overwhelming majority of his career as an infielder, but the Tigers plan to give him some playing time in center field this spring. The Tigers’ center field situation is still murky and adding more versatility would increase Infante’s odds of making the roster.
Infante, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Tigers in December. He played 39 games for the Royals last season, batting .239/.279/.321 in 149 plate appearances while playing second base exclusively. Infante last played in the outfield in 2010 with the Braves, and last played center field specifically in ’09 with the Braves.
The Tigers currently have Mikie Mahtook, Tyler Collins, and JaCoby Jones at the top of their center field depth chart. It is not what one would call “optimal.”