Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees have claimed David Robertson off revocable waivers. Though Heyman says that no trade talks have taken place, the Yankees and White Sox have until 2 p.m. today to work something out if they choose to. Otherwise, the Sox will pull Robertson back.
The Yankees would likely love a reunion with Robertson, at least if they don’t have to give up much for him. Their former closer has a 2.60 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and 71/11 K/BB ratio in 52 innings this season for Chicago and he’d bolster a Yankees pen that has been greatly taxed due to injuries and some ineffectiveness with the rotation. Robertson is not cheap given that he signed a four-year, $46 million free agent contract last winter, so the Sox might at least think about it for a second.
Ultimately, though, it seems unlikely that Chicago would give him up given comments from team brass earlier this season about them continuing to think of themselves as being in the middle of a competitive window that will last a few years rather than being in “aw shucks, time to sell” mode.
The Blue Jays won’t have a press conference or an official statement from Mark Shapiro until after the season because they don’t want to distract from the playoff push. But this morning the Indians and Shapiro made it official from their end of things, with each party releasing a statement about Shapiro moving on:
Mark Shapiro’s statement:
Through my twenty four years as part of the Cleveland Indians, I have developed a deep emotional and civic attachment to the Indians organization and the Cleveland community. The root of those ties is in the personal relationships that my family and I have built. While weighing those bonds carefully and seriously, I feel the unique and compelling nature of the Blue Jays President/CEO position warranted my consideration. This position represents a unique opportunity for me and one that I felt was the right new challenge to undertake. With mixed emotions, I will assume the Toronto Blue Jays CEO position upon the conclusion of the 2015 season. As the Indians organization moves forward, I am confident the current leadership represents a strong foundation to field a championship caliber team moving forward. The relationships we have enjoyed here will be lifelong bonds and will ensure that I will always be a fan of the city of Cleveland and the Cleveland Indians organization.
Owner Paul Dolan’s statement:
Given the person that Mark is, the significant leadership and values that he has brought to the organization and with everything he has helped us accomplish, it will be extremely difficult to see him leave. However, I hope that this new challenge brings happiness and fulfillment for Mark and his family. As we move forward, I will not be seeking an external replacement for Mark and will continue to rely on the existing strong leadership group to guide us forward. Mark and I are confident that moving forward through this transition, we have a very strong foundation in place to build championship level success on and off the field.
Dolan not seeking a new President to replace Shapiro and, instead, taking over Shapiro’s duties himself is a good way to save a few bucks at least, right?
Mark Shapiro bolting to Toronto is not the most surprising thing on the planet given the competitive positions of his old employer, the Indians, and his new one, the Jays. But it likely also makes sense given the financial position of the two clubs as well.
The New York Post reports that Indians owner Paul Dolan is trying to sell a significant minority chunk of the team in order to raise money. The only problem is that he’s probably overvaluing that chunk:
Dolan believes the franchise is worth around $800 million, which is rich considering the team is just breaking even . . . Without a big TV contract, sports industry sources say, the Indians are worth about $600 million.
The value of sports teams has skyrocketed in recent years, driven by TV money for the most part. As that Post story notes, however, the Indians don’t have big TV money nor the prospect to get it in the near future. Between that, low gate and underachieving play the Indians really aren’t all that attractive as an investment. I don’t know if franchise values are the product of a bubble poised to burst, but I will say that the Indians are among the teams most likely to challenge the notion that franchise values shall climb precipitously and in perpetuity.
Besides, as we’ve discussed here before, owning a minority stake in a closely-held family company like a baseball team is nothing but a vanity play, at least until the team is ultimately sold and you cash out. You have no power to make decisions and you are far more restricted from liquidating your investment than you would be in almost any other conceivable setting. You’re basically giving a guy like Paul Dolan $100 million or whatever for nice seats in a luxury box.
I can think of way cooler things to do with $100 million than buy Indians season tickets with it. Can’t you?