Let's put a third team in New York

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While we all grouse about how much money the Yankees have, Sports Illustrated’s Tim Marchman reminds us why, exactly, they have so much money:

According to the measure used by the Office of Management and Budget, the New York metropolitan
region numbers about 19 million people. In other words, New York has
one MLB team for every 9.5 million people. Chicago, by this measure,
has one for every five million people, just as Miami and Atlanta do.
Los Angeles has one for every 6.5 million people, as do Dallas and
Philadelphia.

So, with such an inherent advantage in eyes, which gives their cable outlet an inherent advantage in revenue, which gives the team so much more money, the obvious solution is to impose a salary cap, right? No, silly. That’s hard. This is much easier, at least theoretically-speaking:

The better solution would be to place a third team in New York. That
would bring the town’s population:team ratio down to the level of Los
Angeles or Philadelphia, and with the same number of people and dollars
chasing more baseball, would quite likely bring Yankee spending down a
hair without doing anything punitive or unfair.

Easier in that the territorial rights system which keeps a third team out of Gotham could be cast aside by the owners themselves, whereas a salary cap would require a labor battle that the owners could never win.

Not that getting the owners to roll over for that would be easy — both New York teams and their affiliated interests would go crazy, and the teams in Los Angeles and Chicago could fear that they’d be next.  Plus, you have the small problem of where specifically a third New York team would play and who would pay the billion dollars+ for the building.  New Jersey, in a ballpark paid for buy an eccentric billionaire?  OK, we’ll work on it.

The point is that a third team in New York is merely hard, not impossible.  It worked for nearly sixty years, so it could work again.  At any rate, it seems more realistic to agitate for that than it would to agitate for a salary cap.

Orioles sign Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar
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The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.

Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.

Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.