Sorry, been reading more of those “baseball is dying” columns, and they just force you to think that way. If you’re a glass-is-half-full guy, however, it was a pretty good year attendance wise for baseball:
Major League Baseball finished the 2013 regular season with an attendance of 74,026,895, the sixth highest total of all-time, it was announced today … In 2,426 dates this season, MLB averaged 30,514 fans per game. MLB’s 2013 total trails only the four-year span from 2005-2008 and last year’s total of 74,859,268.
There’s always spin to this sort of press release, of course. Here MLB talks about its second half surge and the fact that there were a lot of rainouts. Still, attendance was down a skinch, with pretty a precipitous decline in Miami helping drive things south.
That said, attendance is still strong, especially compared to historic levels. The worst draw was the Tampa Bay Rays, who drew 1.5 million. The days when multiple teams drew less than a million a year are long gone. At the gate, things are pretty good.
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.