The world has not ended
The announcement of the Daisuke posting bid sent columnists across the country to their keyboards, ready to crank out an easy day’s work wringing their hands about how this is the end of baseball.
It’s not. This is ridiculous.
He’s not an everyday player.
Starting pitchers don’t play everyday. But they’re involved in far more outcomes each game than position players. We might as well say that Alex Rodriguez doesn’t deserve his money because he only has a chance to affect the outcome of a game four or five times each day.
The Red Sox are paying more for the right to talk to Daisuke than great players make in a year
So what? The posting process is strange. MLB’s arrangement with Japanese baseball is weird, and it produces results like this. It results in crazy one-time payments that don’t have an equivalent in domestic baseball.
But this is a lot like the wailing about draft pick signing bonuses, or international signings of young undrafted players. “Oh, how can some Felix Hernandez kid get a million dollars when he hasn’t even thrown an inning of minor league baseball?”
Baseball is not a free market. Teams are constantly trying to keep their labor costs down and where they can’t control it, we get these kind of extremely strange values.
This changes everything
Dogs and cats living together!
No it doesn’t, any more than Ichiro’s posting did. It’s true this is unprecedented, but so was Ichiro’s posting, and that didn’t destroy baseball.
Teams are flush with cash and crazy!
Yup. Baseball’s been doing quite well for itself, and good teams spend that money improving the quality of their product. So be it. The fans win when baseball is a more lucrative option for athletes who have choices between sports.
Other athletes get paid far less!
Boo hoo. Football and basketball both broke their unions and, because they went through near-death experiences, are a lot more… socialist? in their structure, where revenue comes from national sources and gets evenly distributed (though, as always, this wavers).
Should we really be celebrating that Peyton Manning is underpaid in the NFL because their ownership groups control labor costs and are able to pocket more money?
We should be celebrating. That smart teams are willing to spend so much on a Japanese player, no matter what the circumstances or how foolish the system may be, is a sign of baseball’s great health, its increasing international reach. It’s an endorsement of the talent in NPB, and how far that league has come.
Yesterday was shocking, but if you’re a baseball fan it should also be a bit thrilling. How many people are going to follow Matsuzaka’s starts this year? How can that be a bad thing?