Face it baseball, you need the yankees. It is not just that you need the yankees to be
good for ratings so the greedy little owners can turn profits with empty stadiums, though that is one reason. Baseball needs the Yankees to be the villains. For so many reasons, MLB must have its yin.
This has been the worst year ever for free agents. Everyone has signed for less than
expected. With news that the Red Sox just signed JD Martinez to a 5 year $110 million contract, far less than anyone expected for the 4th best hitter since 2014 by OPS+, is just the icing on the crapfuge cake the MLBPA has been eating since December. Baseballs career leader in K/9 signed a 6 year $126m with the cubs. Sure it seems like alot, but it not good for the players.
Kurt Cousins may make $35m next year. JJ Redick of all people makes $23m. For those
keeping track at home, JJ Redick makes more on average over the lifetime of the salary than JD Martinez, who again, is the 4th best hitter in baseball since 2014. This despite MLB almost doubling the NBA in terms of revenue ($10.16b to $5.9b). This is an even bigger problem in baseball since a player wont reach the majors until he is older and will be even older when he reaches free agency. The average MLB rookie is 24 years old. With 6 years of team control that means the average MLB player wont reach be a free agent until he is 30; already an old man as we learned this offseason.
So how does this lead back to the winningest franchise in sports? The MLBPA is pissed, and rightfully so. With no one setting an upper tier in the market, teams waited out until players got desperate and signed for relative peanuts. When the yankees throw their money around, the market gets set, and teams react accordingly. The yankees are the cause of labor peace. This has always been true. Baseball’s defeat in the courts lead to free agency first being established. The Yankees signed catfish hunter as the first free agent in the history of baseball. Yankees have always been key to labor peace.
But now, with the tax penalties so severe that it serves as a de facto salary cap, Yankees are cutting back, and the player market feels the effect. I have no evidence, but there is the air of collusion hanging over this offseason. How could NO one offer Martinez a better deal that the one he got? Had George Steinbrenner still been alive, collusion wouldn’t work, since he would just go on and do what he pleased, other owners be damned. This isn’t a cry for the days of Steinbrenner. But right now the Yankees aren’t throwing their money around. Much as Twins fans may moan about the Yankees “buying championships” baseball is healthier when they do.