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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Bill Madden: As Yankees-Astros look ahead to inevitable October clash, MLB’s competitive balance is in the spotlight again

We’ve come to the traditional turning point of the baseball season on July 4th and besides our best start in Yankees history and the potential for 4-5 time-poor teams, one more thing has become abundantly clear:

Houston, you’re creating a problem.

As the Yankees were running rough through one of the softest events in baseball, which included a series against two teams, the A and Royals were on target to lose 100 games, and two others, the Tigers and Cubs, were on target to lose 100 games. They weren’t behind, it saw big dreams for the first World Series at Yankee Stadium since 2009. Similarly, the Mets, to make the third-fastest start in their history, have their fans thinking of a World Series for the first time in some time. Hell, maybe even a Subway series with the Yankees! How cool would that be?

And then, starting on June 21, through to the end of the month, they both ran smack dab at Dusty Baker’s unhurried but fairly formidable Houston Astros and went a joint 2-7. Although the Yankees remain on track for their greatest regular season to date, better than 1998 or 1927, it would appear the Astros—who went 3-2 against them in those first five meetings, included a win. In which he no-hits him and is right behind him in leading the majors in the ERA – that has a big say in who goes into the World Series this year. After watching those compelling five games, most fans probably agreed that the Yankees and Astros could skip the rest of the season and report directly to the ALCS. One thing that is blatantly clear is that the Yankees and the Astros are in a class of their own and the gap between them and many other teams is embarrassingly huge.

Which brings up another problem: the age-old baseball dilemma—competitive balance—which, thanks mostly to tanking (Nationals, A, Reds and Cubs), is worse than ever this year. Currently, you have four teams – the Yankees, Astros, Dodgers and Mets on pace for 100 wins and four others, the Blue Jays, Brewers, Padres and Braves, with a win percentage of .570 or better. After that you have a slew of teams – the Twins, Guardians, Cardinals, Giants and Red Sox – with good records that will mostly win spots in the extended 12-team postseason, but don’t appear to have the pedigree of a potential World Series team.

And then you have the Tigers, A, Royals, Nationals, Cubs and Reds, all of which are monumentally terrible and an embarrassment to baseball. In the first three months, the Yankees collectively won 14-1 against the Tigers, Royals, A and Cubs to draw three home games against the equally terrifying Reds in two weeks thanks to a friendly schedule builder.

How bad are these teams? Seven players in the Tigers’ starting lineup bat under .230, three of them under .200, while their 12 home runs in June were equaled by Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber alone. A also has seven starters under .230 and three under .200. (To be sure, the batting is all down in baseball, with a league average of .237 being the lowest since 1968, the pitcher’s year.) The Royals, surrounded by major injuries to two of their best players, Salvador Pérez and Adalberto Mondesi Has happened. , and are set to trade their key hitter, Andrew Benintendi, 27th in the majors in runs, 29th in homers and 28th in ERAs, with no starter under 4.00. In the National League, the Reds and the National Team are ranked 29th and 30th in the ERA, while the Cubs will continue their tanking in the 26th ERA in the Majors by trading soon-to-be All-Star catcher Wilson Contreras and switch-hitting left fielder Ian Happ.

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred will undoubtedly be overjoyed to have both New York teams post-season for the first time since 2015, but he couldn’t be happier with the huge disparity that exists between the three highest payroll teams — the Mets, the Yankees, and the New Yorkers. Along with the Dodgers, the Astros – and six bottom-ranked Drags, A, Tigers, Nationals, Reds, Royals and Cubs, neither of whom will be getting better any time soon.

It’s a crazy, crazy world

In case you were wondering if there has ever been a complete uninterrupted season before, when the Yankees were closed on both Memorial Day and July 4th, according to Elias Burroughs you have to go all the way back to 1915 and 1909 — and even That even those two years was a fluke in that both times, the two holidays fell on Sundays when most teams did not play baseball on Sundays. So there it is…

When Freddy Freeman Returning to Atlanta last weekend for the first time since his unofficial departure as a free agent in March, he hung up on it all. Tears and emotions flowed after Braves fans saluted him with a consistent standing ovation as Braves manager Brian Snitker Presented him his World Series ring. But Freeman’s new Dodgers teammate was somewhat baffled when he praised his former Braves teammates and Atlanta management, making it clear that he wished he was still there. and then a few days later Freeman fired his agent how off, What happened here was a clear case of failure to communicate. During their talks last winter, the Braves held onto a five-year offer for their 32-year-old franchise first baseman, while Klose insisted on another 6-7 years. When it was clear to them, Close and Freeman weren’t going to settle for a five-year deal (ultimately bumping it up from $135M to $140M), the Braves pivoted and traded for an A. Matt Olson And Freeman later signed a six-year/$162 million deal with the Dodgers. The miscommunication was that Close was acting as an agent trying to get the most money for his client, and Freeman let him do so, neglecting to tell him: “I don’t care. How much money do you give me, at the end of the day, I’m still a brave one.” …

There were shockwaves throughout baseball last week when wes johnson, the much-acclaimed Twins pitching coach, announced that he was leaving the team to take the position of pitching coach at LSU – shockwaves because no one could believe he could land the first-place team in the middle of the season for a college job. Why would you leave , There had to be money, right? And, if so, how embarrassing was it for baseball to pay college teams more than the coaches? In its initial story, The Athletic reported that LSU would pay Johnson $750,000 a year as opposed to $400,000 with the twins. It seemed that Johnson had lured his team to almost double his salary in the middle of the season. But as it turned out, that wasn’t the case at all and Johnson, so determined in his insistence that it was a move based on family considerations, released the terms of his LSU deal that included a $380,000 deal with a vehicle. There was a call for basic pay. Allowance of $800 per month and transfer incentive of $25,000. When Johnson was elected to the U.K. of Arkansas in 2019. When hired by the Se Twins, he was the first college pitching coach to jump directly into the major leagues in nearly four decades. For the record, it’s worth noting that college baseball has become really big business, with many of its coaches earning as much or more than major league coaches. Johnson’s boss, head coach at LSU Jay JohnsonFor example, $1.2 million is paid per year, and at least four other SEC head coaches earn more than $600,000…

It’s starting to look like MLB’s decision to sign 40 minor league teams last winter could bite them back as Congress prepares to strip them of their anti-trust exemptions they’ve enjoyed since 1922. a bipartisan effort led by senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), dick durbin (D-IL), mike lee (R-UT) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) is investigating how baseball’s antitrust exemptions are affecting the salaries and jobs of minor league players. As Durbin tweeted back in March: “It is time to reconsider baseball’s antitrust exemption”, while Lee said on introducing a bill called Competition in the Professional Baseball Act: “There is no reason why Major League Baseball would should be treated differently from the NFL, the NBA. or any other professional athletic organization. The Senators’ attention was outrage in many of their communities after the MLB stripped them of their minor league teams. Grassley, for one, had two Iowa teams. Seen, Clinton and Burlington finished in a Class A Midwest League purge, Durbin lost a team to Kane County, while Blumenthal’s Norwich team in Connecticut is a part of a four-team trial (including Staten Island) to eliminate. was filed against MLB, seeking reinstatement.

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