As another MLB season is set to begin, the Houston Astros are set to make their AL debut while sporting a payroll less than the salary that will be received by Alex Rodriguez.
Predictably, the boo-birds have come out in full force, as this presents yet another opportunity to criticize both A-Rod’s ridiculous salary and MLB’s disparate financial issues. Really, how can a sport justify an entire team being paid less than an injury-prone third baseman who is no longer an All-Star when healthy?
Nobody is arguing that Alex Rodriguez is overpaid; it’s been a running theme (fair or not) with A-Rod ever since he signed that $252 million contract with Texas prior to the 2001 season. At this stage of his career, A-Rod’s contract issues are low-hanging fruit for sportswriters that specialize in outrage.
But does Alex Rodriguez really deserve to be the source of anger on this issue?
Let’s face it: there are a lot of career records in Major League Baseball are unlikely to be touched any time soon.
But the one mark that stands head-and-shoulders above all the others on the unbreakability scale often tends to get overlooked.
This record has been in place for more than a century without being challenged, and all indications are that it is getting tougher and tougher to approach with each passing year.
It’s not Nolan Ryan’s records for strikeouts or no-hitters, nor is it Pete Rose’s hits mark. Tris Speaker’s record for doubles has been approached in recent years, while all of Barry Bonds’ recent marks could be vulnerable should the game move back toward slugging.
If you walked through the stands at Chase Field in Phoenix this past week you saw what the vision was for the World Baseball Classic. Lines formed at concession stands where fans of every ethnic background purchased hats, T-shirts, and other fan apparel, not of the hometown Diamondbacks, but of Mexico, USA, Italy and Canada. Want a Ryan Braun shirt? Get Team USA on the front. While sitting in the stands you heard people conversing in French, Italian, Spanish, and other languages. Is baseball America’s pastime or the world’s? If you are MLB, maybe a little of both.
Ever since the Chicago Cubs signed Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa, the fate of 2012 closer Carlos Marmol has been a topic of rampant speculation. Marmol is still a Cub, but that situation may not hold for much longer.
According to ESPN, the trade market for Marmol is a solid one, with the Detroit Tigers among multiple teams who have expressed interest. Marmol has a limited no-trade clause, but it’s expected that he would waive even that with the provision that he was heading to a contending team.
In fact, a potential trade is apparently close enough that the righthander may not make it to the end of spring training in a Chicago uniform.
It’s no secret that the Cubs are looking to increase financial flexibility and add long-term prospects. Dealing Marmol and his not-quite-$10 million contract—assuming they can get a reasonable package for him—would serve both purposes admirably.
Marmol’s trade value is never going to be higher than it is right now. He’s coming off a stellar second half in 2012, but his chances of maintaining that level of play this season are slim.
In perhaps the most stunning development of the spring, news broke over the weekend that Nolan Ryan could be on his way out as CEO of the Texas Rangers.
Ryan, who is also part-owner of the club, joined the Rangers’ front office as team president in 2008 and has also served as the team CEO for the past couple of seasons. But a power struggle within the organization resulted in general manager Jon Daniels taking on the mantle of team president, which may lead to Ryan’s departure from the organization and a major PR blunder for the Texas Rangers.