Jeff Passan has a column up today chronicling the recent run-ins between players and umpires and talking about how replay would solve so much of it. In the course of his argument, he drops this as a means of explaining one of the reasons Bud Selig is against replay:
There’s the financial factor, too. A football source said the NFL spends about $4 million a year on instant replay. With almost 10 times as many games, new equipment and a fifth umpire with each crew to monitor the replay booth, MLB’s annual costs could go well into eight figures.
Wow. That is somewhat shocking. I’d be curious to see a breakdown of this. I mean, even if you added 15 umpires at max salary, that would be less than $4 million a year in salary. Entry-level umps would cost less than $1.5 million a year. If the recently-reported idea of a centrally-located replay bunker were to be implemented the personnel costs would even lower than that.
Beyond people, where does the rest of the cost come from? All of the games are televised now, and rare is it the case that at least some existing camera angle doesn’t capture the disputed play clearly. Can’t we just use the existing TV feeds? What else has to happen here?
These are not rhetorical questions, by the way. I’m (for once) not trying to be cute. I really don’t know what replay would entail financially and how it would all break down. Anyone have an idea about this?
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.