Of hot stoves and warm good-byes

Torii Hunter is gone and Johan Santana’s bags, while they aren’t packed, have been brought up from the basement. As a Twins fan I should be sad but, while I’ll miss the lads, I think the Twins are doing the right thing. The market is speaking and you don’t have to be clairvoyant to get the message. The Twins have no business paying the kind of money these players can command – not now, and not even three years from now when the new stadium opens.

This is not a case of large market vs. small market. At least, not in any way that implies there’s a kind of balance between the number of teams on each side of that equation. This is huge market vs. everyone else and there are only a couple of teams that can handle the kind of dollars we’re talking about. Without going to Forbes magazine, or looking up TV contracts, I’d hazard that less than a handful of teams have the revenue to pay top dollar and beyond that has been established for the elite players.

Think of it, before last season the Red Sox paid some $52 million to Dice-K’s Japanese League team just to get the young man out of his contract; after that they still had to pay him another $50 mil or so. There were teams last year who’s entire payroll didn’t approach $50 million. I’d like to think someone in Massachusetts rubbed his neck pretty hard before writing those checks, but the Red Sox did win the World Series. Ask their accountants, not me, if it was worth it.

And ask the Yankees front office now if they’d wished they’d gone a little higher in the bidding.

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