Dick Monfort is good for a laugh, at least

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The owners of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams are quite the bunch, in the sense that the vast majority of them are capable of doing or saying something that will either raise my blood pressure or get me to start giggling at how much of a dingus they are. Rockies’ owner Dick Monfort could very well be king dingus in this group: a man who has won nothing ever, and yet is so publicly sure that the way he’s doing things is the right way. And to the point where he’s now openly criticizing the spending of fellow NL West club the Padres, as well as any of the Rockies’ fans who believe that the way San Diego is operating is the right way to go about building a successful team.

From Saturday’s Denver Post:

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John Henry lies about ticket prices, is booed

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It’s not exactly new information that there is no correlation between MLB ticket prices and player salaries. Baseball Prospectus ran an article on the subject in April of 2003, nearly 20 years ago now. Early 2003 is so long ago in analysis terms that it was two years before I made my own debut at Baseball Prospectus, and three years since I became a regular there. It’s so long ago that the author of that piece, Nate Silver, was years away from being a divisive figure. It’s been known for some time that ticket prices and salaries don’t align like that, is the point. Here’s Silver on the subject:

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MLB sets revenue record once again, despite exec fears from 2020

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Major League Baseball is back from the pandemic, and by that I mean MLB’s revenues are once again setting records. After a brief pandemic-related break in what had been 17 consecutive seasons of record revenues — first the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign and then 2021’s lower than usual attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic still, you know, existing — the league pulled in at least $10.8 billion in 2022, according to Forbes’ Maury Brown. That’s ahead of the previous record, set in 2019, of $10.7 billion in revenue.

Brown mentions that, “the business of baseball rebounded out of the pandemic faster than a ball off the Green Monster at Fenway Park,” and I want to focus on that for a moment. The reason being that MLB executives anonymously whined about how long it was going to take them to be able to recover from having to pay players what they eventually ended up paying them during the shortened 2020 campaign. Let’s rewind for a moment, to May of 2020:

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Steve Cohen probably doesn’t care about a possible grievance

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Don’t confuse the headline for the idea that Carlos Correa, his agent Scott Boras, and the MLB Players Association shouldn’t bother filing a grievance against Mets’ owner Steve Cohen for publicly commenting on an unfinished free agent contract that ended up never being consummated. If they feel that the public, on-the-record comments — which are not supposed to exist until a deal is done, which is why you see general managers and owners playing coy all the time while we wait for press conference time to roll around — harmed Correa’s market in any way, they not only have a right to file a grievance, but a case they could win.

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The Red Sox learned their lesson too late with Rafael Devers’ extension

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My dad has worked in the trades since he was in high school, so he knows quite a bit about not just the day-to-day of such operations but also the bigger picture, zoomed out standards and trends, as well. When we needed to side our house a couple of years ago — the siding was basically unpainted at this point, it had been so long since it got a fresh coat, it had dried and weakened, and also a combination of woodpeckers and squirrels were making holes in it with the latter trying to make residence in my attic — I kind of balked at the price we got, which had been inflated by the worldwide pandemic, supply chain issues, etc. Until a conversation with my dad who knows things taught me this important fact about the resources needed for completing construction projects: today is the cheapest they’ll ever be, because tomorrow, the price is going to go up.

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No one is ‘circumventing’ the luxury tax threshold

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Thanks to a rumor about the Padres considering a 14-year, $400 million contract to then-free agent Aaron Judge, there have been some rumblings about how Major League Baseball would have reacted to such a deal. Jon Heyman reported at the New York Post that, “sources say they would not have been allowed, as MLB would have seen the additional years as only an attempt to lower their official payroll to lessen the tax.” That’s just one side of any conversation on this, though: MLB might have tried to get rid of it, and are within their rights to given that circumventing the threshold goes against the collective bargaining agreement, but what are the chances that the Players Association would have allowed them to do so, and what are the chances MLB would have successfully erased the deal when challenged on it?

My guess is “not good,” and Ken Rosenthal’s own reporting echoes that:

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Rob Manfred made an empty threat against Oakland

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Well, I hope you’re sitting down for this. It’s some real heavy stuff. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has threatened the city of Oakland. Saying the team could move to Las Vegas wasn’t enough: now the league is preparing to impose sanctions. In addition to claiming the A’s won’t be forced to pay relocation fees should they need to move, now Manfred has said if Oakland doesn’t give in and hand the A’s the stadium deal they’re looking for, so help them MLB is going to take away the A’s revenue-sharing dollars in 2024. May God have mercy on their souls.

If you can’t tell by all the ham above, this is some real goofy, empty threatening here, even my MLB commissioner standards. Neil deMause already covered quite a bit of the emptiness of it all at Field of Schemes, so you should read that, but I’ll grab a choice quote all the same:

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Bryan Reynolds requested a trade out of Pittsburgh because why wouldn’t he?

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The news that Bryan Reynolds (a) requested a trade from the Pirates and (b) that it was initially unclear why he’d do that was, respectively, bound to happen, and very funny. Reynolds is a player who can make an all-star team, not a perennial MVP candidate, but he’s a poor fit for the Pirates and everyone involved knows it. As Ken Rosenthal put it, the Pirates should deal Reynolds as he asked, but because, “they cannot agree with him on an extension. They should trade him because they will not spend enough to build around him. And they should trade him because his value from this point will only decline.”

He’s going to be just 28 in 2023, but yes, the amount of time a new club would have control of Reynolds will only decline from here on out, so his value will most likely dip on that front. As of now, a new club would get three years out of him, and could extend him if both parties were amenable. That’s a thing that’s not going to happen in Pittsburgh: remember, Reynolds has three years left in town and already asked to be shipped out, so you can imagine how well the existing extension talks have gone.

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MLB investigating Mets, Yankees over Aaron Judge free agency story

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Major League Baseball is investigating whether or not “improper communication” occurred between the Yankees and the Mets regarding the free agency of slugger Aaron Judge, at the behest of the Players Association. The source of all of this was a story by Andy Martino, published on November 3, that discussed how Hal Steinbrenner and Steve Cohen had a “mutually beneficial” relationship, and therefore the Mets would not attempt to pry Judge away from the Yankees:

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Dusty Baker, James Click, and Jim Crane’s cruel efficiency

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Jeff Luhnow might not be with the Astros any longer, and hasn’t been for a few years, but the culture he fostered certainly still exists in some form. No, no, I’m not talking about the cheating scandal — you can put down those pitchforks and alt accounts, Astros fans — but instead the central conceit of the Luhnow-era team: everyone and everything is a tool to be used until it can be thrown away. The fast-acting poison that is McKinsey’s obsession with efficiency and dehumanization has not vanished from Houston, just because the man who introduced it has.

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