Something is wrong in baseball. There is no doubt about it. Does the economy alone explain the players that are still available after the new year?
Useful parts like Eric Hinske, Joe Crede, and Jim Edmonds often have to wait until spring training to get a job. They are used to waiting around until teams decide they have a need and have a chance to compete and need to fill a spot with a veteran. The fact that these guys are still available doesn’t seem to really point to any core problem with the system.
“Stars” like Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Derek Lowe, Bobby Abreu, and Oliver Perez are also often out of work at this time of the year. It’s not that they can’t get a job. No, this class of player has a highly disputed value. The player and their agent are steadily manipulating general managers and the media, trying to get the offers in line with what they feel is commensurate with the production of the player. Manny already had a 2-year, $45 million dollar offer, and Lowe has turned down 3 years and $36 million from the Mets. Those numbers still represent raises over what the player earned last year, so inflation in the steady rise of veteran’s pay is still in effect.
So why is there obviously a problem?
In a word, Orlando Cabrera.
Okay, not quite million dollar arms, but a California sports marketing group has found a $100,000 arm. And a $2,500 left-handed arm as well.
Confused? Seems like equal parts Hail Mary and brilliant strategy, but an Indian reality show joined the marketing group in trying to find major league arms in India, a country with no baseball infrastructure whatsoever. The idea was that one man in a country of a billion would own the natural ability to throw a baseball 85 miles per hour (roughly the speed of Greg Maddux’s fastball - last year).
Seems like a reasonable idea, doesn’t it? I mean, the overall talent level in baseball has taken a huge leap forward ever since the doors were opened and talent was cultivated throughout Latin America and South America and Japan. Baseball talent has found its way to the top in countries around the world and slowly crept towards America, and they’ve broken stereotypes along the way. We’ve had all sorts of hitters and pitchers from around the world. The World Baseball Classic is opening further doors around the world. And in a country of 1 billion, you’d think there be all sorts of baseball talent teeming just under the surface in India.
Read More | ESPN.com
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