Economist who is paid to consult for MLB offers pro-MLB opinions in a newspaper report

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Andrew Zimbalist is probably the best known sports economist around.  Recently he gave an interview to the Tampa Bay Times about the viability of the Rays in St. Pete vs. in Tampa and offered some solutions to the Rays’ current quandary. Those solutions were basically in line with what MLB most wishes for the Rays. Strikingly in line, actually, with what Rays owner Stuart Sternberg was saying as he made the rounds last week arguing about the problems the Rays face, including the argument that the Rays may be eventually contracted.

Which is fine. Everyone has an opinion, and Zimbalist is an authority on the subject. But here’s the kicker: Zimbalist is currently being paid as an MLB consultant and didn’t disclose that when he was interviewed.

Noah Pransky made this discovery and susses it all out over at his Shadow of the Stadium blog.  It’s worth reading. And it’s worth remembering to be very mindful of your source, however respectable his credentials happen to be, when listening to anyone holding forth on matters relating to stadiums and economics.

Maybe most especially Andrew Zimbalist.

(thanks to Jonah Keri for finding the Pransky post and Dan Lewis for finding that last little nugget on Zimbalist)

Report: Pirates sign Felipe Rivero to four-year contract extension

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.

Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.

Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.

Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”