A sentence from Buster Olney’s column this morning stuck out like a glowing, radioactive thumb:
The Royals fully expect to open next season with Joakim Soria as their closer — which makes sense, because to offer up Soria now would be to try to extract value in the middle of a buyers’ market for relievers. There are many, many alternatives available.
I know there are a lot of relievers available, but in a world when Jonathan Papelbon and Heath Bell are landing a combined $77 million — at a minimum — it’s hard for me to fathom what things would look like if it was a seller’s market.
There’s an obvious supply/demand mismatch going on here. Olney is right that there are a lot of relievers floating around, but man, they are raking it in. If I was the Royals I’d see what crazy-sauce-drinking GM would be willing to offer me for Soria.
It used to be that the top dog in a team’s baseball operations department was the general manager. That has changed over the past several years with some combination of title inflation, a genuine addition of supervisory layers and, on some level, employe poaching insurance leading to the top dog now being called, usually, a “president of baseball operations.”
Brewers’ general manager David Stearns is the latest to assume that tile, as the club just announced that he has been promoted to Milwaukee’s president of baseball operations. He has also received a contract extension of unknown length.
Not a big shock given how well the Brewers did in 2018, winning the NL Central title and playing in the NLCS. It’s also worth noting — with a nod to that “employee poaching insurance” item above — that Stearns has drawn some interest from other organizations. It’s thus not unfair to see the promotion is both a thanks for a job well done and a means of keeping other teams’ hands off of him, as employees are generally not given permission to interview for lateral moves, but are given permission to interview for promotions.
The Mudville Nine may have wanted to steal him from Milwaukee, but for Stearns to get a promotion from where he is now would require the creation of some other lofty title.