MLB Week in Review (May 6-12)

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It is quite possibly the most debated topic in all of sports, the rate of pay for players that continues to go up.

Sport is a business and one that continues to grow lar4ger every year as the demand for more access continues.

TV deals are getting bigger as networks look to get their section of the relatively DVR-immune sports world.

Along with TV deals, there are more people buying tickets and apparel every year bringing plenty of money to every league.

Leagues and teams are enjoying the new income as owning a franchise is no longer just a money pit.

There is another big part of the equation though as there is no sport without the athletes there is no sport to watch.

Since the beginning of every league, there has been a fight between owners and players to get their share of any profits in running a team.

In the past, it was far tougher for the players as they were essentially owned by whoever was in charge of the team.

They weren’t allowed to leave unless the owner let them leave and if they disagreed a player could be kept out of the league forever.

After years of fighting, the players got unions and were able to be a lot freer in where they could go.

The establishment of free agency was a massive change in sports and brought about the bidding war that now defines most leagues.

Free agency was a massive movement for leagues but it also brought about a lot less loyalty and a lot bigger paychecks for the players.

Players no longer stay with a team just to stay with a team as they follow the money looking to get the most they can get before their careers end.

With athletes, there are a limited amount of years that they can play so they try to take as much money as possible.

That leaves teams bidding to try to find the best players and as the bidding process continues, the prices get bigger and bigger.

That was on display in the MLB this week when the Washington Nationals signed their prized pitcher, Stephen Strasburg, to a 7-year $175-million contract extension.

Strasburg was one of the few prospects that were can’t miss and after quickly making his way to the MLB he has been good.

The problem is that in his six years playing in the MBL he has hit the disabled list far more than most teams want to see.baseball-sidebar

In his first year, his elbow began to act up and eventually he had to undergo Tommy John Surgery that left him out of the league for most of his second year.

Worries about his arm limited him in the following years but he seems to have found a bit more consistency starting recently.

He was set to be a free agent at the end of the season and instead of seeing their biggest pitcher leave without getting anything for him the Nationals signed a big deal.

It is not considered to be the smartest deal but at the same time, it is a deal that another team likely would have given him in free agency.

Teams ae always looking for starters and the price is going up every year that a top free agent pitchers enters the market.

Strasburg would have been the biggest name on the market this year and there is little doubt that a team would have offered a similar if not better contract while they were trying to get his services.

The Nationals made a move and it might not pay off but the rising prices of players forced their hand as the team right now is better with him than without him.

It will also effect the future as the best pitchers in the game saw what Strasburg received and are now looking at that as the standard.

If they don’t get the same type of contract they will go to their teams and ask if they don’t think they are better than Strasburg.

Jake Arrieta has already shown the effect after seeing the contract and claiming that he deserves to be paid more than Strasburg, statistically it is hard to argue against him, and that he will not take a hometown discount to stay with the Cubs.

That means the Cubs will need to find close $30-million a year to pay Arrieta or someone else will.

It is the nature of the league as free agency has both had good and bad results.

The Strasburg contract is just the latest in the rising price of players that doesn’t seem to be ready to stop.

Extra Innings
(More on this week in baseball)

20K Club Membership
When the Nationals signed Max Scherzer they knew they were getting a great pitcher but maybe didn’t expect a record-tying pitcher which is what he is as of this week when he struck out 20 batters in one game-tying the MLB record

Cult Hero Continues
Bartolo Colon has become a cult hero for New York Mets fans and baseball fans in general as the big man on the hill who continues to play despite his age but this week his legend grew when he hit his first career home run

Harper’s Passion
Bryce Harper has been continually criticised for his passion that can sometimes get him in trouble and once again those who criticise him got more ammo when he was suspended a game for swearing a referee after a controversial call and a walk-off win

standings-w6.fw

 

Key Series:
Chicago Cubs 3-0 Washington Nationals
– The Cubs and the Nationals were two of the best teams so far this year rising to their top of their divisions but the Cubs proved that they were the better of the two taking a series sweep and dropping the Nationals from their division lead

Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 St. Louis Cardinals
– The Pirates and Cards have fought for a number of years to get the Central Division title but not heir fight is for second behind the Cubs as the Pirates came out on top, this time, taking two games and pulling closer to the lead

Texas Rangers 2-1 Chicago White Sox
– The White Sox have been on fire lately but in this series their great rotation couldn’t handle the offence of the Rangers who put up big runs to take two games in the three-game series as their battle for the West gets more intense

New York Yankees 3-1 Kansas City Royals
– Both the Yankees and the Royals both didn’t start their season’s as they had hoped and the Royals are still in that spin as they dropped three games to the Yankees who gained a little ground in the east

Upcoming Series:
Houston Astros vs. Boston Red Sox [May 13-15]
– The Astros did not start off their season too well but they are beginning to climb back into the hunt for the west while the Red Sox have fought since the beginning of the top spot and will try to calm the offence of the Astros to stay in that fight

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers [May 13-15]
– Two old school teams will face-off as the Dodgers are in the middle of a tougher battle than they thought in the West and the Cards have not been their dominant selves with both teams hoping to take the series and help their cause

Washington Nationals vs. New York Met [May 17-19]
– The Nationals seemed like they were never going to leave the top spot in the East but the Mets have put up a great fight and hope to take an advantage in their season series with a win in this series

Los Angeles Angels vs. Los Angeles Dodgers [May 16-19]
– Both teams will split home games in this four-game Freeway Series as the inter-league rivalry is renewed with both teams playing for more than a few wins but for bragging rights against one of their biggest rivals

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