UPDATE: MLB issues a statement denying the Yankees sale rumors

41 Comments

UPDATE: Apparently the “Yankees could be sold” thing is a rumor so baseless that even MLB has issued a statement on the thing:

  “Major League Baseball has received no indications from any representatives of the New York Yankees or anyone else that the Club is for sale.”

So, in addition to the owners calling the news story “fiction,” there being no practical way for the team to be sold due to tax consequences and one of the writers of the article itself all but admitting it’s bull, the league has called it nonsense.

Good work, Daily News!  Please remember this the next time one of the people who work for you point at some internet writer and accuse them of ruining journalism.

9:01 AM: I tell ya, if George Steinbrenner were alive he’d be so mad at how the Yankees have been playing he’d get rid of the team! THE ENTIRE TEAM!

Rumors are flying in Major League Baseball and New York banking circles that the family that has owned Major League Baseball’s premiere franchise since Cleveland shipbuilder George Steinbrenner purchased the club for $8.8 million in 1973 is exploring the possibility of selling the Yankees.

Multiple baseball and finance sources told the Daily News they are hearing that the team the Steinbrenner family has led to seven World Series titles could be put on the block in the wake of the record sale price of $2.175 billion the Los Angeles Dodgers went for in April.

While it would seem to make decent financial sense to at least consider the possibility — if the Dodgers are worth a couple of billion the Yankees have to be worth more and, really, how much higher can franchise values go? — team president Randy Levine denied the rumors, saying that “there is absolutely, positively nothing to this.” Hal Steinbrenner called it “complete fiction.”

What’s more, the speculation in the article about it being a good time because the team is aging should probably be ignored. Because really, the value of the Yankees is not something that is going to crater or peak based on a ten-game swing of wins from one year to the rest. If they are ever sold it will be because someone is valuing them as an enduring entertainment and marketing brand, not as a team that, in a given year, may contend in the AL East.

That said, (a) if I was thinking of selling the team I wouldn’t admit it either; and (b) again, how much higher can franchise values climb?  If someone wanted to give you, I dunno, three billion for the Yankees, wouldn’t you be an idiot not to take it? That’s the likely source of this stuff — banker speculation and out-of-the-loop figurin’, not any real interest on the Yankees part to sell.

UPDATE: This seems to have less meat to it than a vegan cookout:

But hey, it’s fun to make stuff up too.  Also: Bill Madden of the Daily News is apparently on New York radio this morning being asked about it and people who are listening are saying that he’s all but saying it’s a b.s. story but is stopping just short given that, you know, his colleagues wrote it.  Oh, wait, his name is second on the byline.  Great job, Spink Award Winning Writer Bill Madden!

If the Tigers are sub-.500 at the end of June it’ll be fire sale time

Getty Images
3 Comments

Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.

This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.

So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.

The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.

Must-Click Link: Remembering Eddie Grant the first major leaguer to die in combat

9 Comments

As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.

The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.

Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.

Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.