Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tip Not Included

The Yanks got the bill for making (and dishing out) lots of money earlier this week. They're getting charged $25MM in luxury taxes (for having a total payroll over $120.5MM) and they're donating another $60MM to MLB's central fund as revenue sharing on their reported 2004 revenues of $315MM.

Given that there'll be another luxury tax uptick next year (it's almost physically impossible that the Yanks could get under the salary threshhold in 2005, given their long-term commitments) they'll probably give baseball $100MM or more next year.

I just hope that some of these teams start spending this bounty. I'm lookin' at you, Pittsburgh! Cincinnatti's doing their part, signing Eric Milton to three years, $25.5MM. Given that Cincy's stadium is a homerun derby heaven, and that Milton was extremely tateriffic in 2004, this could be dangerous to fans seating in the outfield bleachers.

Still, it's the willingness to spend, and not the wisdom of the expenditure, that we're looking at here. Carl Pohlad pockets the Twins' revenue sharing money, and the Royals ain't spending a dime, no matter how much in subsidies they get from New York, Boston, or Anaheim.

The Diamondbacks have a pleasant history of crying poverty, turning their pockets inside out, and then giving out big contracts like they were lollypops. They feel Troy Glaus and Russ Ortiz are worth a combined $78MM over the next four years, and all I can say is, good for them!

Still, I hope that the next time we have the "the Yankees are ruining the game" conversation (given the Randy Johnson and Carlos Beltran rumors, this'll probably be any minute now), people will remember the $85 Million the Yanks are giving baseball, and the $78 Million the maxed-out credit card folks in Arizona are doling out to free agents. Or the Reds passing out $33MM to two pitchers who didn't even pitch league average last season (Milton and Paul Wilson posted identical 92's in ERA+ last year).

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