Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Free Agent Rankings/Jays Buy Skydome

There are 2 things that I want to talk about today. The first is that the Benitez deal is evidently official. And as promised, I've looked up the 2005 draft ramifications from the deal.

Benitez is ranked higher than Vizquel (the highest FA to sign thus far as a matter of fact), which means that the Marlins get the Giants first round pick and the Indians pick slides to the second round.

Here are the draft changes thus far. I'll keep this updated throughout the winter.

First Round: 22nd overall pick goes from SF to Florida for Benitez

Compensatory First Round: 31st overall pick goes to Florida for Benitez
32nd pick goes to Colorado for Vinny Castilla
33rd pick goes to Oakland for Damian Miller
34th pick goes to Cleveland for Omar Vizquel
35th pick goes to Baltimore for Wade Townsend

Second Round: 39th Overall pick goes from Washington to Colorado for Vinny Castilla
40th pick goes from Milwaukee to Oakland for Damian Miller
51st pick goes from San Francisco to Cleveland for Omar Vizquel

Third Round: 69th Overall pick goes from Washington to Minnesota for Christian Guzman

Miller and Castilla are all Type A free agents and would have resulted in first round picks changing hands, but the first 15 picks in the draft are protected, so the team gets a second round pick instead.

Thanks go out to our friends over at the Indians Compendium, who had the foresight to post links to the Elias NL and AL free agent rankings. I'll toss those up the next time I revise my links section.

The other thing that should be discussed is the fact that Blue Jays recently purchased the Skydome from Sportsco International for $25 million dollars, US. This is really interesting because while MLB has spent the last few decades trying to get local municipalities to build taxpayer funded stadiums for teams, owning your own stadium is really a solid business decision since the team has complete control of that revenue stream instead of being beholden to a third party. The Blue Jays had a bad lease that siphoned off revenue from the team. This improves their revenue base, and greatly increases the team's value. Should the current owners sell the team, they should get a lot more than what they would have before the deal.

The reasons why MLB are discouraging teams from paying for their own stadiums is pretty easy to see. Teams like the Astros and Mariners have sweetheart leases, where they hold almost all the cards, control almost all the revenue streams, and pay almost nothing for the use of the stadium. You just can't beat that. The one team that has recently built a stadium of its own, the Giants, do have the advantages of controlling the revenue streams, but also carry around a mortgage where they'll be writing annual 8 figure checks for the next quarter century. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free. It isn't admirable, and I wish the practice would stop because these teams ARE wealthy enough to pay their own way into a stadium. But cities will continue to hand out generous subsidies to these private businesses because that is the cost of having a major pro sports team in your city. I hope beyond hope that owners grow the backbone to put their own fortunes on the line for the greater good, but I'm pretty skeptical that this will ever be the case.

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