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Report: MLB sets new record for revenues at $10.3 billion in 2018

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Once again, Major League Baseball has set a new record for revenues at $10.3 billion for 2018, Maury Brown of Forbes reports. It’s the 16th consecutive year in which MLB has topped its previous record.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, however. As Brown notes, revenue growth was slower compared to previous years as a result of a decline in attendance, which also negatively impacted concessions and parking. Still, $10.3 billion is a pretty hefty sum.

Despite team owners largely making money hand over fist, we are once again twiddling our thumbs during baseball’s offseason as the free agent market has grinded to a halt, just like last year. On Twitter, Matt Winkelman of Phillies Minor Thoughts said, “It is January 7 and 6 teams have not signed a major league free agent, and 5 more teams have [spent] less than $10M. That is over a third of the sport just not participating in free agency.”

Along with that, there has been no progress made on addressing the issue of paying minor leaguers a livable wage. In fact, MLB lobbied extensively over the last handful of years in order for language in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to be amended, classifying minor leaguers as seasonal workers and thus depriving them of a minimum wage and overtime pay.

So, that’s where we’re at. There’s really no reason for these issues to persist, given record revenues, aside from avarice.

Report: Gerrit Cole has seven-year, $245 million offer from Yankees

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Bob Klapisch of The New York Times reports that free agent starter Gerrit Cole has a seven-year, $245 million contract offer on the table from the Yankees. As Klapisch also notes, the deal would set a record for total value and average annual value for a pitcher, besting Zack Greinke‘s $34.4 million AAV and David Price‘s $217 million total.

While it is possible that Cole signs before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday, clients of Scott Boras have tended to sign later in the offseason, so this may be a protracted process with today’s report as a jumping-off point. Both the Yankees’ and Angels’ front offices have received clearance from ownership to break the bank to sign Cole.

Cole, 29, could not have timed having a career year any better. During the regular season, he led all of baseball with 326 strikeouts and led the American League with a 2.50 ERA while also posting a 20-5 record and walking only 48 batters across 212 1/3 innings. He performed brilliantly in the playoffs as well, holding the opposition to seven runs on 21 hits and 11 walks with 47 strikeouts over 36 2/3 innings of work as the Astros narrowly missed out on winning another championship.

Cole is entering his age-29 season, so a deal of at least seven years would take him well into his mid-30’s. Teams, especially lately, have been hesitant to commit to pitchers, but as the Nationals showed with Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin, sometimes it leads to a championship.

For what it’s worth, Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports says the Yankees haven’t made a formal offer to Cole yet, though the club plans to make one this week. During this time of year, both sides — front office personnel and player agents — leak details to the press to help establish leverage. What we can generally take from this is that the Yankees are hot for Cole and he’s going to get a record-setting contract from some team, even if it’s not the Yankees.