A conversation about MLB, on the field, off the field.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

From the Basement Feb 08 07

Shannon Stewart signs with the A's. If healthy, he'll be a great addition to the top of the A's lineup. Getting off the turf of the Metrodome should help him healthwise. Billy Beane has the reputation of finding the undervalued players on the market. Stewart could be Beane's 07 version of Frank Thomas, who nobody wanted prior to the 06 season.

Maruy Brown from bizofbaseball.com answered my following question yesterday on a Baseball Prospectus chat.

PeterToms (Ottawa Canada): The impending sale of the Braves to Liberty Media, what sort of impact will it have on payroll? Is Mr. Malone a hobbyist who wants to win a ring or will the payroll be determined solely by concern for the bottom line? Why has the Braves payroll been in decline under Time Warner ownership? Thanks a lot. Pete Ottawa

Maury Brown: Hi, Pete. Thanks for the question… On the latter, I think this is still an unknown. If McGuirk is still at the helm as president, (which is whatMLB would prefer and is pushing for) and it’s simply a matter of setting player payroll, you may not see much of a difference from Time Warner’s ownership (emphasis on MIGHT). That said, I don’t feel Malone and Liberty have much interest in owning the club. It’s part of a larger deal with the Braves simply being a cog within it. As for why the payroll has declined… Such is the way of some ownership. The question isn’t about the decline in payroll, it’s how well the money that is available is spent. Scholholz, for the most part, has done as good a job as any in that respect over the Time Warner tenure.

Before Mr. Steinbrenner's health started to fail him, he was a vocal critic of small market teams NOT using their revenue sharing loot to improve their on the field product. In that vein, Maury speculates that there is a POSSIBILITY that the Pirates are using their revenue sharing gains to pay down team debt. Hadn't read that one before.

More of the same, Maury has a link to a St Petes Times article where it is noted that the D Rays have a projected 07 payroll of 24 million, lowest in MLB. In 06 the D Rays rec'd 36 million in revenue sharing, I don't foresee the 07 figure being significantly different. This is an example of a small market team being awful because being awful is what's best for the bottom line. If the D Rays much hyped young talent flourishes ( Young, Baldelli, Crawford, Upton, Kazmir, Longoria, Dukes ) maybe they will jack the payroll to acquire some pitching. Also in this piece, Joe Maddon says newcomer Akinori Iwamura will "most likely" play third base. By extension we assume that Cantu will play second, Zobrist short and Upton will be a Chone Figgins type player ( they hope ).

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