ESPN’s Buster Olney chatted with WFAN’s Mike Francesca and Chris Russo today and predicted that unless Barry Bonds returns to San Francisco, he’s done. Olney insisted that no one else is willing to absorb the headache Bonds is likely to bring to a clubhouse and few, if any franchises are keen to go down in history as the organization that gave the Sultan a chance to break Hank Aaron’s HR mark, regardless of the box office boost.
I keep hearing the Orioles will have difficulty signing elite free agents and whaddya know, Baltimore has snared the highly coveted Roger Cedeno. I think that’s the missing piece to the puzzle in Charm City.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman is blunt regarding the Yankees’ 2007 expectations for Randy Johnson and Carl Pavano — the Bombers are on the hook for $36 million.
Asking “would Microsoft pay an overseas competitor $26 billion just for the right to talk to one of its software engineers about a job?”, Forbes’ Tom Van Riper suggests MLB purchasing Japan’s NPB rather than paying for posting rights (link swiped from The Griddle)
Since 2000, Japanese teams have collected $75 million or so in posting fees for players like Kazuhia Ishii and Ichiro Suzuki. But the money, while helping the bottom line, can’t stop the larger trend of talent-loss and declining attendance. For the U.S. teams, it has been an expensive way to snag talent. A merger helps fix both, in theory.
Fan interest in Japan is still passionate, even though attendance has suffered since stars began parading to the U.S. in 1995. Many flock to their television sets during the wee hours to see their countrymen playing in America. Young kids are constantly seen playing pickup games and carrying their baseball gloves around, pastimes that have mostly gone the way of the10-cent bubble gum card in the U.S. In short, Japanese pro baseball is a gem that’s lost some luster in recent years, due to bad positioning in the global marketplace. They are a net exporter of talent that also lacks a sophisticated global media platform. Not a great place to be. For would-be suitors, now is a good time to buy.
Integrating the league into the Majors’ sophisticated television, radio and Web strategy would undoubtedly bring in more revenue from broadcast rights and merchandise, especially with the plethora of cable channels looking for programming. A cash infusion would also upgrade minor league and player-development operations, currently much smaller than what the U.S. has. Players on both sides would have more freedom to come and go as the marketplace dictates.
Essentially, MLB could step in and run the Japanese league as a business, rather than the expensive tax write-off the teams are currently treated as under their corporate owners.