Posted tagged ‘money’

Texas Rangers bolster pitching rotation by adding Roy Oswalt

May 29, 2012

Free agent pitcher Roy Oswalt has signed with the Texas Rangers.

The sources said that if Oswalt is called up by July 1, he gets $8 million pro-rated — 4 million in his pocket. He can also earn an extra $1 million in incentives if he makes 10 starts.

Oswalt, who had previously auditioned for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox and the Rangers, had given teams indications that Texas was his destination of choice. He has a close relationship with club president Nolan Ryan, and he apparently likes the thought of pitching for a contending team that’s close to his Mississippi home.

Oswalt, 34, has a career record of 159-93 in 11 seasons with Houston and Philadelphia. He is a three-time All-Star who has finished among the top five in National League Cy Young Award balloting five times in his career.

After waiting until spring training and failing to land a job to his satisfaction, Oswalt told major league clubs in late February that he planned to wait until midseason to return.

This is a big move by the Rangers. Their main problem this season has been the rotation and by adding the veteran Oswalt, it gives them much-needed depth. The amount of money they spent on him is a little pricy but this reminds me of the same deal the Phillies made with Pedro Martinez back in 2009. Martinez became a big part of the Phils run in October bringing them all the way to the World Series and staying healthy to last through two months. If the Rangers want to win, they need to pitch. It is as simple as that baseball fans and Oswalt provides that stability to try for a ring three years in a row…

New York Mets projected to have salary drop more than 50 million dollars

January 31, 2012

I have to post this whole article from Adam Rubin because it is just so perfectly written. I can’t tell you how bad this is going to be for Mets fans around the nation…

Via ESPN NewYork:

The largest one-year payroll slashing in Major League Baseball history might not belong to the then-Florida Marlins, whose offseason fire sale six years ago landed Carlos Delgado and Paul Lo Duca with the New York Metsand gutted the team’s payroll from $60 million to $15 million.

The distinction, it turns out, soon may belong to the 2012 Mets.

After general manager Sandy Alderson revealed the organization lost $70 million last year, the Mets appear poised to have the biggest one-year payroll drop in MLB history — roughly $52 million. That would surpass the former record: $48.4 million by the Texas Rangers from 2003 to 2004, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The Marlins from 2005 to 2006 had the biggest reduction by percentage, trimming nearly 75 percent of their payroll, but the total was $45.4 million.

The Mets’ payroll, which stood at roughly $143 million last season, is expected to swoon to less than $91 million this Opening Day.

Reigning National League batting champion Jose Reyes signed a six-year, $106 million contract with the Marlins — without the Mets mustering a bid. In fact, the biggest-ticket acquisition the Mets made this offseason was signing free-agent closer Frank Francisco to a two-year, $12 million deal. He will earn $5.5 million in 2012.

As a result of the departures of Carlos Beltran, Francisco Rodriguez and Reyes from last year’s Opening Day roster, as well as upgrades by other National League East clubs, the Mets are widely projected to have their fourth straight losing season and finish in last place in the division.

And if Fred Wilpon and family are to survive as Mets owners — which is their intent — the austerity likely will continue into future offseasons, meaning fans bear the brunt of the payroll constraints with a less-than-optimal product.

“I think we have to get the fans back at the stadium. That’s a necessity. That’s the lifeblood,” Wilpon told reporters at this month’s quarterly owners meetings in Paradise Valley, Ariz. “And to do that, we have to have a good team. … I think we’re going to be better than you think. We would hope that Mets fans enjoy going to the ballpark and give this team a try.”

The Mets cut ticket prices for the third consecutive season, this time between 5 and 30 percent depending on the location. The paradox the Wilpons are facing is that they need the revenue generated by fans in order to continue meeting their debt payments. Yet the lack of big-ticket signings and excitement about what’s forecast to be a last-place team likely will keep fans away.

To put it simply, the Mets have a chance to be the 2002 Oakland A’s by playing the Money ball approach. They have power, a bullpen, and youth to win 80 games this season. However, how many mistakes will they make this year and who will they have to get rid of come Trade Deadline time. Oh it should be an interesting season in Flushing…

The Sports Cycle Video: College programs changing conferences with special guest Derek Hudgin

September 22, 2011

Donnie Dwyer interviews MUTV production director Derek Hudgin about the college conferences and whether Marquette should stay or go in the Big East like when Pitt and Syracuse went to the ACC…

The NBA expects no 2011-2012 season

August 8, 2011

Via ESPN:

Players Association executive director Billy Hunter says the 2011-12 NBA season will likely be canceled entirely because the commissioner’s negotiating leeway is in danger of being undermined by a group of hard-line owners.

“The circumstances have changed among [David Stern’s] constituency,” Hunter told a group of lawyers Wednesday, as quoted in the Baltimore Sun. “In the last six or seven years, there is a new group of owners to come in who paid a premium for their franchises, and what they’re doing is kind of holding his feet to the fire.”

Hunter told an American Bar Association conference that if he “had to bet on it”, he would wager that there will be no NBA season.

“We’re $800 million apart per year,” Hunter said Wednesday, adding, “something has to happen that both of us can use as leverage to save face.”

NBA owners and players held a formal collective bargaining session for the first high-level negotiations in a month Monday but after nearly three hours of discussions the sides emerged as far apart as they were when the day began. Stern said the sides were “at the same place” as they were when the lockout began July 1 just before the old collective bargaining agreement ran out.

Owners are seeking significant changes to the league’s salary structure, claiming $300 million in losses last season and hundreds of millions more in each year of the previous agreement, which was ratified in 2005. Players have acknowledged the losses but disputed their size, and they’ve balked at the league’s push for a hard salary cap and reduction in salaries and maximum contract lengths.

The union has encouraged players to find work rather than give in to the owners’ economic demands, with the hope that owners would offer better proposals if they see their players have other options. Hunter recently sent a memo to all players endorsing locked-out players to consider playing overseas.

Nets All-Star Deron Williams agreed to an overseas deal with Besiktas of Turkey, the only superstar with an overseas deal thus far, though some lesser players have one. Many elite players say they are keeping it as an option.

…While this is some big news, I am not surprised. This lockout is going to be ridiculous because it could be even worse than the year 1999. The NBA makes so much money and now that this news was announced I am sure more and more players are going to sign overseas to play in other countries for the season. That is depressing to hear but at the same time it means that college basketball will be the most loved sport this winter and I think that is going to be a lot of fun because they won’t talk about contracts or money but play for the name on their shirt. I am excited to watch that style of basketball than one that cares about money more than success. Let’s see how far this goes…

Fear the Deer??? Maybe not in such a small market

April 9, 2011

Via ESPN’s J.A. Adande:

When John Hammond really gets going he talks as rapidly as an auctioneer. He’s at the podium and he’s cranked up right now. What he’s selling is the concept of the Milwaukee Bucks.

“We still like our team,” the Bucks’ general manager tells a group of season-ticket holders before a game at the Bradley Center. It’s been a season filled with injuries, yet Hammond continues to find reason to believe. The more he talks, the more animated he gets.

He starts describing how effective Corey Maggette is on isolation plays, then he drops into triple-threat position and imitates Maggette’s jab step.

Hammond’s a salesman, all right, but he’s also an honest man. He tells the truth about his product.

“We’re not built around a star, per se,” he says.

In other words, the Bucks aren’t championship contenders. Because in the NBA, championship teams are built around stars. And does anyone believe a marquee free agent will ever come to Milwaukee?

“I think it is feasible,” Hammond says in an interview later. “But more than likely, it’s probably going to come to us through the draft. Maybe we make a right move and hit the jackpot. It could maybe come through a trade … probably — honestly and realistically — less likely through free agency. But why not through the draft?”

It’s what they cling to, hoping that the draft can deliver once again the way it did in 1969, when the No. 1 overall pick brought them Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor) fresh out of his dominant tour at UCLA. (The same draft also netted Bobby Dandridge, who went on to become a four-time All-Star.)

But the Abdul-Jabbar saga in Milwaukee is bittersweet. Yes, he commenced his run to the NBA all-time scoring record by averaging 28.8 points per game in his rookie season and won the league’s Most Valuable Player award three times with the Bucks. When Oscar Robertson arrived in a trade the next year they went on to win the championship. But Abdul-Jabbar also created the template for the migration of superstars from small markets. In 1975 he wanted to be in a bigger city, a more diverse city, a coastal city. He forced a trade that sent him to the Los Angeles Lakers.

There are some mitigating factors. It didn’t drag out as long or as publicly as Carmelo Anthony‘s longing for a trade to New York. Abdul-Jabbar’s departure didn’t create as much lingering resentment as LeBron James leaving Cleveland.

“While it was painful at the time, in retrospect what I remember is the class and integrity that both the franchise and Kareem showed in arriving at a solution,” said Bucks vice president of business operations John Steinmiller, who has worked for the team in various capacities for 40 years.

And you won’t hear any anti-Kareem sentiment from longtime fan Doug Dorrow.

“He gave us a championship,” Dorrow said. “He got us to the Finals in 1974. We could’ve won that one, too. We were there for like five or six years with that guy.”

And while they never quite got “there” again, at least the players the Bucks received in the trade (Brian Winters, Elmore Smith and draft picks Dave Meyers and Junior Bridgeman) helped them stay on a tier just below the Celtics and 76ers in the Eastern Conference during the early 1980s.

But Abdul-Jabbar stays with the franchise as the standard of excellence and the example of exodus. None of the three subsequent No. 1 overall picks the Bucks have drafted — Kent Benson, Glenn Robinson and Andrew Bogut — produced at a Hall of Fame level from the outset. And if they do land another player as transcendent as Abdul-Jabbar there’s a nagging doubt that they can keep him.

“Milwaukee isn’t No. 1 on a lot of guys’ hit parades, OK?” Dorrow said.

“Maybe if a great player that we trade [for] comes in, we get him, he plays a couple of years here, but he’s from New York or the Philly area …

Dorrow shrugged, and offered a few understanding words.

“Heck, I came home after college,” he said. “It’s not for everybody.”

Believe it or not, Abdul-Jabbar also serves as an example for my belief that small markets should have the ability to overpay players. The only reason Kareem came to Milwaukee in the first place was because of money. He was also drafted by the New York Nets of the ABA, and the thought of playing within sight of the Manhattan skyline he grew up in appealed to him. But, surprisingly for an upstart league trying to snare talent from the established league, the Nets came in with a low offer, so Abdul-Jabbar chose the Bucks’ higher salary.

Now where’s the money going to come from? The Bucks remain at the absolute bottom of Forbes’ NBA franchise valuations, worth $258 million with annual revenues of $92 million, according to the magazine.

The Bucks’ arena, the Bradley Center, opened in 1988 — before the colossal, luxury-suite-laden modern NBA buildings. Steinmiller calls it a “middle-aged star.”

 “The bone structure’s fantastic,” he said. “But the revenue streams have changed.”

There’s no momentum for a new building, and Steinmiller isn’t waiting on another $90 million private donation similar to the one the state received from the Bradley family.

Steinmiller and Hammond cite the team’s high payroll (10th in the NBA at $69.7 million), despite its limited income, as evidence that owner Herb Kohl is committed to putting a winning team on the court. They’ll have payroll flexibility next year when Michael Redd‘s $18 million salary comes off their books. Hammond said he can get authorization to pay someone “an extraordinary number” if warranted. But who would take it?

“They’re never going to get a LeBron,” Bucks fan Joe Neuberger said. “Dwyane Wade went to school in town [at Marquette] and they’re never going to get him back. The one guy you’d think you’d have a chance at and you’re never going to get him back.”

Some teams merely have to wait for one of those players to arrive. Most, like Milwaukee, have to hope.

The harsh reality is, “They don’t have a shot to compete year-in and year-out,” Neuberger said. “In a given year they have a shot to compete, but not year in, year out.”

He hopes they can make a run once every three or four years.

“It turns out to be once every nine or 10 years,” he said.

Indeed, it’s been 10 seasons since the Bucks last made the Eastern Conference finals, and lost a Game 7 to the 76ers when Ray Allen‘s shot missed. Since then the Bucks haven’t advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs.

So why does Neuberger keep his season tickets? His kids love coming to the games. He still enjoys the athleticism of the NBA. And let’s face it …

“You’re in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,” Neuberger said. “You’re in the middle of winter. You come here on a Saturday night. Not a lot of options. I think that’s why people come here.”

And it doesn’t take a championship contender to get them in the building. That’s actually a hidden advantage to playing in a smaller market. In Los Angeles, the Lakers need to compete for a championship every year or they’ll quickly become an afterthought, no longer in favor with the in crowd.

“I think Milwaukee’s such a blue-collar town that they just want to see good, hard work,” season-ticket holder Dorrow said. “Trying all the time. Not giving up. If we get a 50-win season, man, we’re happy. We don’t need a championship; that’s icing on the cake for us. We just need a good, strong, competitive group that might stick around three-four years that we can relate to, that we can bond to.”

The Bucks turned last season’s playoff appearance into a 90 percent season-ticket renewal rate, in addition to about 2,000 new ticket packages, good enough to earn a commendation from the league. The Bucks are 22nd in attendance this season, averaging 15,303. You can still find large blocks of empty seats in the arena on a typical night. Most of the crowd’s enthusiasm comes from a rooting group Bogut started and funded known as Squad 6. Their cheers and taunts reverberate through the arena.

The Bucks try their best to involve and reward their fans. One promotion tries to turn the chilly weather into a benefit and sells selected tickets to an upcoming game based on the current temperature. On this night the chilly 16 degrees means $16 seats. Another promotion seems to summarize the plight of the team even as it attempts to create interest in the team. The winner of a contest gets a chance to see a Bucks game … in New York.

I feel bad for the Milwaukee Bucks. They are trying so hard to be competitive and win games for the present instead of the future or three years down the road. They locked up John Salmons last off-season and they were scared of losing Michael Redd back in the day, so they locked him up too and it has hurt them. Milwaukee Fans have to think, “Where is Brandon Jennings going after his contract is up?” Well let me just say that it is not Milwaukee. He is going to want to go to a bigger market with a better city and a better basketball team. You rarely see the Reggie Miller’s of the world or even the Durant’s of the world because they want to make superstar teams or try to make more money in a better town. That is why I respect those guys tremendously for their effort and love of the game of basketball and not the business that is the  NBA. Everyone knows that it is a big business and if the Bucks can’t even sell out a few games a season, then it is hard to keep your franchise competitive. I think the Milwaukee Bucks will be fine but I look more to the teams like the Charlotte Bobcats, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Minnesota Timberwolves of the world.  In the end, this gives every fan a reason to cheer on the small markets. They are not superstars, just a bunch of scrappy players playing to win championships not check books…