Baseball Notebook

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Hot Stove News Update

Jason Bay has agreed with the New York Mets on a contract that could be worth as much as $80 million over five years.

It is likely that Jason Bay will be a New York Met on opening day depending on his pending physical and that Benjie Molina could be signed shortly.

The Mets could be improved offensively if Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes are healthy and return to their 2008 form. The possible addition of Bay and Molina make them an even stronger offensive force in 2010. Bay hit 36 homers and drove in 119 runs in 2009 while Molina hit 20 homers and drove in 80 runs. Only Brian McCann with 21 homers hit more homers than Molina among NL catchers in 2009.

Red Sox Offense Much Weaker

The Mets gain is the Red Sox loss as they have not only lost Manny Ramirez but have compounded that loss by letting his replacement Bay get away. The status of Mike Lowell is uncertain after his thumb injury canceled a trade with the Rangers.

If they start the season with Casey Kotchman at first base they will be even weaker. Kotchman has hit only 40 homers in six major league seasons. In addition he only hit one homer and drove in seven runs in 87 at bats after joining the Red Sox last season. He only hit .218 after being traded from the Braves to the Red Sox.

Must Sign Beltre

The departure of Bay makes it even more crucial that the Red Sox sign Adrian Beltre as their third baseman for the 2010 season. Beltre missed 51 games last season but he has hit well in past seasons when he was healthy.  He is only 30 years old and already has 250 homers and 906 runs batted in. He still has a chance at reaching 3000 hits with 1,700 hits exactly and if not for the injuries last season may have been a lock for 3,000 hits.

If he can hit like he has in the past for the Mariners and Dodgers he is capable of putting up numbers almost but not quite as good as those of Bay. He may never come close to his numbers of 2004 when he hit 48 homers and drove in 121 runs and slugged .629 for the Dodgers but he would still be a welcome addition to the Red Sox roster.

Bradley – Silva Trade

The Chicago Cubs may be happy to be rid of Milton Bradley but may have received an even worse player in return in Carlos Silva.

Silva walked only nine batters in 188 innings for the Twins in 2005 but walked 11 batters in 30 innings in 2009. He walked 0.4 batters per nine innings in 2005 but walked 3.3 batters per nine innings in 2009.

29-47 in Last Four Seasons

He was 31-17 in his first four major league seasons but has been 29-47 in his last four seasons. His main asset in the past was his control since he is not a strikeout pitcher having only 474 strikeouts in 1,128 major league innings but now his control is suspect. His 8.60 ERA is a cause for alarm as he gave up 29 runs in 30 innings.

Even though Bradley drove in only 40 runs for the Cubs in 2009 he probably will help the Mariners more than Silva will help the Cubs during the 2010 season.

Nationals Bolster Bullpen

The Nationals have bolstered their bullpen by adding Matt Capps, Brian Bruney and Eddie Guardado. Last season their closer Mike McDougal converted 20 of 21 saves but the other relievers on the Nationals blew 14 saves.

The Nationals have added Jason Marquis to their starting rotation and Ivan Rodriguez to their catching corps. The offensive numbers of Rodriguez don’t matter that much if he can work well with the pitching staff and improve their performance over the 2009 season.

DeRosa Signs With Giants

It is difficult to believe that Mark DeRosa signed a two year contract for $12 million a year after Edgar Renteria signed a two year contract for $18.5 million. DeRosa is clearly the better player but despite the Giants drawing only 21 fewer fans a game in 2009 they are paying DeRosa $6.5 million less over the two year contract.

Selig Calls 2009 Wonderful Year

My definition of a wonderful year doesn’t coincide with that of Bud Selig. He has called 2009 a wonderful year despite over 5,000,000 fewer fans attending major league games in 2009.

The Mets attendance fell by over 873 thousand fans and the Tigers lost over 635 thousand fans. Four other teams saw their attendance drop by over 500 thousand fans.

21 Teams Had Decline in Attendance

Attendance increased for only nine teams in 2009 while the attendance declined for the other 21 teams. The only encouraging sign was that the Kansas City Royals had an increase of 218,639 fans to lead the majors despite their last place finish in the AL Central.

This comment below the article about Selig proclaiming how wonderful a year it was tells me it wasn’t so wonderful:

I’m sure Selig is pretty pleased with himself…the average cost of a ticket was on the rise – again – as it has been for the last decade. While a family of four CAN afford to go see a game, the cost of lower level seats is becoming absurd and out of reach for the average fan. At Dodger Stadium, four field level seats will run you $ 200 – $ 500. At Citizens Bank Park, $ 250. Even in Toronto, a set of four can run you as much as $ 280. It’s one thing to pay those prices for premium games like Opening Day, or when the Yankees are in town. It’s another to pay them on a weeknight in May when the Orioles or Pirates are in town. So while Selig sits there talking about how ‘wonderful’ the year was, he should also be ashamed of himself for ensuring that the only seats many fans can afford are the worst ones in the house.

I can personally vouch that the cheaper seats are so far away from the action that it is hard to follow what is going on in a game. Last summer we attended an Astros-Cubs game in Minute Maid Park but we were so far from the field that the players looked like stickmen running around. The price of $7 a ticket may have been right but after not seeing a major league game since 1991 it would have been nice to be able to afford seats closer to the action.

The last time we attended a minor league baseball game for the Tennessee Smokies we sat a couple of rows behind the Smokies dugout for only $9 with my ticket being $8 for the senior discount. It has almost reached the point where it is more fun to be that close to the action at a minor league game than to attend a major league game and not see what is going on.

A-Rod Earns $800,000  a Home Run in 40 Home Run Season

Major league ticket prices will continue to escalate as long as players like Alex Rodriguez are making over $30 million a season. Rodriguez made $32 million in 2009 and will earn the same salary in 2010. He makes over $197,000 each game of a 162 game season and earns $64,000 each at bat in a 500 at bat season. I have worked three years to make as much as $64,000 yet he makes that much in a two or three minute at bat.

If he hits 40 home runs in a season he is being paid $800,000 per home run. The time has come to stop the insanity but as long as the owners pay these insane salaries and there are agents like Scott Boras negotiating these mega contracts we can expect more of the same.

So Selig can continue to put a positive spin on how well baseball performed in 2009 but anyone that has looked at the attendance figures and the escalating ticket prices knows better.


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2 thoughts on “Hot Stove News Update

  1. Ah, but you must remember, Selig lives in a world all his own.

  2. Very true…Selig lives in a different world from the rest of us.

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