Kirk Gibson’s 1988 home run bat sells for $575,912

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I can’t believe what I just saw!

Is it just me, or does over half a million bucks for a bat from 1988 seem excessive? Because that’s what the bat Kirk Gibson used to hit his famous walkoff homer in the 1988 World Series went for last night.  $575,912 to be exact.  Other items sold: the batting helmet he wore ($153,388.80), his MVP award ($110,293.20), his World Series trophy ($45,578.40) and his World Series road uniform ($9,664.80).

I was unaware that players got their own World Series trophy. I also find it neat that someone paid nearly ten grand for a road uniform that never saw game action (Gibson, you’ll recall, did not play in the 1988 Series apart from that famous plate appearance).  Of course, I stopped trying to find rationality in the prices people pay for sports memorabilia years ago.

Gibson is pocketing the money for the bat, the helmet and the  jersey.  Proceeds from the trophies are going towards his foundation. The guy who bought the bat can now show it to people who come over for parties and, ten seconds later, after they say wow and give some smiling nods, he can go refill their cocktails and wonder whether he’s getting his $575,000 worth.

There is a “one million percent” chance Aroldis Champan will opt-out of his deal

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that there is a “one million percent” chance Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will opt out once the season ends.

Just going by the math this makes perfect sense, of course.

Chapman signed a five-year, $86 million deal with the Yankees before the 2017 season. Pursuant to the terms of the deal he’ll make $15 million a year in 2020 and 2021 (he was given an $11 million signing bonus that was finished being paid out last year). This past season the qualifying offer was $17.9 million. Craig Kimbrel of the Cubs just signed a deal that will pay him $16 million in 2020, 2021, and 2022 (he’s making a prorated $16 million this year). Other top closer salaries at the moment include Kenley Jansen ($19,333,334); and Wade Davis ($18 million).

It’s fair to say that Chapman fits into that group and, I think it’s safe to say, more teams would take him than those guys if they were all freely available. As such, Chapman opting out to get more money makes all kinds of sense. Heck, opting out, getting slapped with a qualifying offer, accepting it and then hitting the market unencumbered after the 2020 season would stand him in better financial stead than if he didn’t opt-out in the first place.

The question is whether the Yankees will let it get that far or whether they’ll approach him to renegotiate the final couple of years on the deal or to add some years onto the back of it. If they’re smart they will.