$140 million for Jon Lester??
$325 million for Giancarlo Stanton???
We are seeing teams throw some silly dollars at free agents this offseason...and we can expect the madness to continue for a long time.
Actually, it's not so mad considering how flush the league has become with television money. As I've been saying for years, television dollars are surging for sports teams and everyone is getting rich off it.
You'll notice there haven't been any teams claiming "losses" in recent years - instead, they've changed the messaging on new stadiums to "the rich teams are demanding we make more profit...or else."
So the big problem isn't a lack of profits - it's that the league isn't sharing them like its counterparts in the NFL, for instance.
Which is why Bud Selig's real lasting legacy is competitive imbalance. The money is pouring in, but it's not getting distributed equitably. And the discrepancies will only get worse as the league - and its biggest owners - get richer.
Joe Henderson just wrote about the impact of salary inflation on the Rays:
It won’t be long before a player who costs $7 million a year now will cost $12 million or more. It doesn’t take too many of those to eat into the profits.The Providence Journal also addressed the issue this weekend, actually suggesting great parity across the league, with television contracts as an equalizer. Not sure I believe any of it, but Cubs GM Theo Epstein was quoted as saying Chicago's next TV deal in 2019 would be "the magic bullet, the paradigm-shifter."
The brightest light at the end of the tunnel for the Rays is that Selig's successor, MLB C.O.O. Rob Manfred, is intimately familiar with the revenue sharing problem and could take steps in future bargaining sessions to close the gap. It won't fix the plight of the middle-market team, but it certainly will help.