Larry Granillo has an interesting item up over at Baseball Nation today: a look at the broadcast rights fees paid to teams in 1961. Those familiar with Larry’s work know that he’s great at finding old gems in old magazines and stuff, and his finding these rights fees — which he stumbled across in a March 1961 issue of Sponsor magazine — is one of his better finds.
The high end: the Yankees, who got a combined $900K for TV and radio. The low: the Senators, who got $300K. Adjusted for inflation that’s a tad over $7 million for the Yankees and a bit over $2.3 million for Washington. In contrast, the smallest TV rights deal today is probably the Royals who pull in around $20 million or so a year. Go read the article for the whole chart.
Of course, back in 1961 the teams didn’t have to pay their players much money as they were basically indentured servants thanks to the reserve clause, so the owners did just fine, thank you. They just got a lot more money from the turnstiles than they did from the rabbit ears.
The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.
Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.
Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.