Thursday, December 19, 2013

Japan won't play ball with MLB's spending caps, and the Yankee season goes up in smoke

For years, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - that is, the lordship owners of American baseball - lived by simple rules for importing Japanese players: free market capitalism.

They would bid for the rights to negotiate with Japanese players. The owners, with far too much money in their pantaloons, often peed themselves in pursuit of Asian talent. They overspent. It wasn't right. So they did what all top-down, old-money power brokers do: They changed the rules. They installed a nice, tidy cap. That's how billionaire communists react, when capitalism doesn't work their way.

Next time you call a plumber to fix a leak, tell him you've decided to cap spending at $20 per visit. See what happens.

Aww... shoot. Today, I'm guess I'm just down on baseball's bloated, poor-mouthing, human airbags because news reports say the Japanese team that owns Masahiro Tanaka - in reaction to MLB's new bid-rigging rules - won't let him come to America. Some would say it's coincidental that Tanaka is the first major Japanese free agent in years that the Yankees intended to pursue. (As a juju proponent, I don't believe in coincidences.) The Steinbrothers graciously held the door for other teams to sign Cubans, Koreans, Inuits, whatever - without a peep. This year, in deep disarray, they intended to chase Tanaka - thus, the rules were tossed.

The old system would let them slap down a humungous bid, buy the rights and pay Tanaka a truckload, without affecting the salary cap. That's how Texas did it with Yu Darvish. But at the November GM meetings, teams saw the Yankees preparing to strike, and so from now on, the plumber only gets $20.

Hey, that's how billionaires become billionaires.

If Tanaka isn't coming, the 2014 Yankees just suffered a sledge hammer to the groin. It's like General Custer hearing the cavalry is NOT en route. The team's free agent pitching options just plummeted to the likes of Ibaldo Jimenez (with loss of another draft pick - damn, we're practically the Knicks.) And we're suddenly back in Fairy Land, thinking Michael Pineda and Manny Banuelos will become stars, delusions painfully reminiscent of the days of Whitson and Shirley, of Joba and Hughes.

We have a hopelessly old and lopsided roster - a team of DHs, and not one of them a certainty to hit .300 - which must be balanced by trades. Goodbye Brett Gardner, the homegrown Yankee. And the iron rule of baseball is that no team trades with the hated Bombers unless it's a slam dunk. Between now and April 1, we might watch Gards and our best prospects walk out the door - (of course, we'll assure the press box courtiers they were never all that good) - in exchange for a Rick Rhoden or a Jared Wright.

I don't know what Brian Cashman can do today, other than sign up for another parachute jump, and hope the cords are frayed. If Cash had the luxury of one year to rebuild - one stinking season in which the organization could start righting itself from the bottom up, instead of slapping old men onto its tower of crapola - who knows? He might prove his worth. But that won't happen until he's with another team. Years from now, he'll be running Kansas City or Colorado, and he'll actually be able to build something. But not here. The Yankees will never let hm. We are a big, teetering tower, constantly adding weight at the top.

If the reports are true, our 2014 season just suffered a massive coronary. We're an old, craggy, tired, third place team - and I blame those stinking commies. Call the plumber. We just sprang a leak.


The Sayonara Kid said...

“And they are dancing, the conference table slamming under the leather attach├ęs and the owners grinning hideously at their stacks of money. Towering over them all is the Commissioner and he is naked and dancing, his small feet lively and quick and now in doubletime and bowing to the Gammonites, gaunt and pale and beady-eyed, like a sickly crypt keeper. He never sleeps, he says. He says he will never retire. He bows to the billionaires and sashays backwards and produces reports and affidavits and laughs deep in his throat and he is a great favorite, the Commissioner. He wafts his cap and his horrible chin reflects palely in the mahogany moldings and he swings about and takes possession of several franchises and he pirouettes and makes a pass, two passes, dancing and juggling at once. His feet are light and nimble. He never sleeps. He says that he will never retire. He dances in the large and small markets and he is a great favorite. He never sleeps, the Commissioner. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never retire.”

Blood Selig or the Malingering Madness in the MLB

Anonymous said...

What makes you think Cashman wants to build from the ground up or would know how to do it even if he wanted to?