ONE OF THOSE THEORIES I HATE
I hate conspiracy theories. Our history is rife with them and they serve no purpose. But, boy, have I got a conspiracy theory for you, guaranteed to make you the hit of the water cooler set.
Does major league baseball have it in for the New York Yankees? Is the effort to remove Alex Rodriquez from the game linked to the suspension of Francisco Cervelli and continous efforts to tie Robinson Cano, or his people, to the now closed Biogenis lab in Miami? We haven’t heard much about the Cano relationship with Biogenisis since he most likely became an ex-Yankee. On the other side of the spectrum are the Boston Red Sox, who’s management team pledged allegiance to Bud Selig before they were even approved, finally getting approval to purchase the team, despite presenting a lower bid than other parties, with fewer assurances, as they were still putting the pieces together after their purchase was approved.
In the opposite of the Cano scenario, we didn’t know (wink, wink) that Manny Ramirez was a steroid guy until he was an ex Red Socker, and, while A-Rod was hung out to dry when his name was illegally released from the “list of one hundred”, a full spin public relations effort went into action when David Ortiz’ name was released from the same list.
Now that the Yankees seem to have found their way in the unfamiliar, to them, world of baseball austerity, which, admittedly, they’d tripped on the path to a time or two, and found a way to meet the dual goal of staying under the salary cap, and not paying millions in luxury tax money to other teams, while building the team back to contender status, baseball tinkers with the system. While spending to improve their strength up the middle with the acquistions of catcher Brian McCann, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury and, from a defensive standpoint, even infielder Kelly Johnson, the Yanks had an ace in the hole they could play in rebuilding their pitching staff.
With Sabathia and Nova back, Michael Pineda finally expected to be ready and Hiroki Kuroda likely to accept a one year deal, the Yanks had the perfect trump to play in filling the mound staff. They still have more money than God, or anyone in Major League Baseball, and the perfect scenario was to outspend everyone without it counting against the salary cap. The “posting” system with Japan was perfect, the system that allowed the Red Sox to land Daisuke Matsuzaka with no luxury tax penalty. The Yankees could offer any posting fee they wanted for the sole rights to negotiate with 24-1 pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who also had an ERA south of two, a system in which the larger sum, the posting fee, doesn’t count against the cap, and the figure that does is artificially deflated by being negotiated against no other bids. The Yanks were in like flint.
Until baseball got down to negotiating a new posting deal with Japanese Baseball, one that would allow multiple teams to post the same bid, then negotiate against each other. The player’s Japanese team gets less money, the player gets more, the larger sum now counting against the cap, which could put the Yankees in one of two places, right back in luxury tax territory, or out of the Tanaka bidding, particularly now that Major League Baseball has decided to call another witness in the A-Rod case delaying the proceedings possibly into February, so the Yankees don’t know how much, if any, of A-Rod’s money they’ll have to deal with until late in the game.
It’s a nice power to have, the ability to shift the advantage. If you don’t like the way the game is going, change the rules. I hate conspiracy theories.
With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.