Monday, March 09, 2009

The Heck With Economics

Sometimes the financial wizards in baseball front offices go counter to the desire of the fans of baseball. Matt Wieters is a great example. Every scout, prognosticator and even PECOTA project him to have All Star numbers this year IF he gets the chance to start the year with the Orioles.

The catcher, who looks like the biggest thing since Johnny Bench, has started Spring Training with a bang. His current OPS is 1.324. Sure, it's only in 17 at bats, but in those 17 at bats, he already has 8 hits and has walked once and not struck out. He sure looks like the real deal.

But the odds are that he will start the year in the minors. Why? Because if he is not called up until June, he would have to wait one more year before he is eligible for arbitration and puts off eventual free agency one more year down the line. So, in other words, this won't be a baseball decision. It will be a financial decision meant to save the team some coin at the fans' expense. And that hardly seems right.

We all understand that baseball executives have to be good stewards and save money where they can. If only our elected officials could take a few lessens. But those decisions should always correspond to baseball decisions and what is in the best interest for the fans.

Yeah, yeah. It's just a few months. But why prolong the inevitable? Why deprive us of two months of checking the box scores every day to see what the kid is doing? The Fan will be surprised if the Orioles let him make the team. But, this lessen in business could backfire by telling the kid his interests are secondary to the team's bottom line. And with Scott Boras as the kid's agent, that lessen will not be forgotten.

If the Fan owned the Orioles, not only would the kid start the year, but after he won Rookie of the Year honors, he would be offered an A-Rod like contract to wrap him up in an Oriole uniform for ten years. If this Wieters is as good as he looks, the fans in the seats to see him play will more than offset the cost.

1 comment:

Josh Borenstein said...

Exactly, why delay the inevitable? A serviceable catcher is hard to come by. A great catcher is almost impossible to find. The bottom line is they're depriving the fans. And that's not good business.