And to the MLBPA, too, for signing away draftees rights in the last CBA.
There’s a good chance this is all just posturing ahead of the Friday 5 p.m. deadline, but several sources are reporting that the Marlins have ended negotiations with No. 9 overall pick Andrew Heaney out of Oklahoma State. The reasoning; Heaney appears to be holding out for the MLB produced slot value of his pick, $2.8 million, while the Marlins are offering less.
So, Heaney is left with the choice of taking less money than MLB decided he was worth where he was picked or going back to school or pitching in indy ball and risking losing a couple of million dollars if he gets hurt.
And this is where major league teams have way too much leverage right now; the Marlins can lowball Heaney knowing that they’ll be compensated with the 10th (or 11th or 12th) pick in next year’s draft if they don’t sign him.
The Marlins aren’t lacking for funds, and what they’re doing now is probably all part of the negotiating process. But if the reports are true, Heaney isn’t asking for anything excessive. This isn’t a Mark Appel situation, where the pitcher wants more than the team can offer. It’s simply a team wielding more power than it should have been given in the first place.
On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”
There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.
It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:
On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.
“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”
One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.
None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”