Loaded episode of Starting 9 wrapping up the winter meetings with enough time to digest all the moves. In that spirit we have Chris Cotillo join the show to get into the Red Sox hellscape and disappointing free agency so far. It’s much deeper than I actually realized, like John Henry’s refusal to meet with the media. Or the front office’s reluctance to give out contracts tor basically anyone over the last 5 years. Chris rounds it up from Xander’s impact on Devers, starting pitching woes, prospect depth against the immediate future and the general pulse of the fanbase. For very obvious reasons, we like that kinda conversation especially this time of year.
Before and after our deep dive into the Boston Red Sox, we go behind the Willson Contreras deal and why it’s painful for me but makes sense to Jake. I definitely hate seeing him leave the Cubs but it’s clear they don’t want to commit to him for a number of reasons. Most of them are complete bullshit.
Some MLB owners are officially off the rails now and it’s all because of Steve Cohen. I quite literally mean ALL because of him. This is what Jerry Reinsforf wanted to prevent – some big swinging dick that would blow through the payroll structure. A guy that would run laps around the mid market while embarrassing the bigger teams that won’t take the same risk. That’s exactly what’s happening now as the Phillies and Padres seem to be on the short list of clubs that will attempt to match the deals. The Yankees and Rangers aren’t far behind either but then you get to a massive drop off and the gap will only grow.
For context – Steve Cohen will spend an extra $0.18 in excise tax for every $1.00 of payroll in 2023. Nearly 20% tax off the top of payroll because he’s blown through the luxury tax threshold. I think the next closest in history is like 2 or 3 cents per dollar. Steve is checking in this year at a whopping 18 and come this time next year, it’s probably closer to 30. Sincerely I don’t think he’ll ever give a fuck.
That’s bad news if your ownership doesn’t have the money or brains to build a winner. The game has plenty of inherent protection – but the overarching risk is a sincerely top heavy product. The last round of playoffs suggests that’s impossible, but we’re still in the very beginning of what very much resembles a new era of professional baseball. As such it would be categorically moronic to care too much about history when considering the future. Fact is some clubs are willing to go above and beyond relative to their peers, and that hierarchy always lends itself to extreme change. Whether it’s baseball or selling beef sandwiches or climbing a corporate ladder. You’re willing to give up more, you usually get more in the long-run.
In the meantime, sucks to be a fan of about 20 MLB teams right now. But take comfort. I’m here for you every Tuesday and Thursday to commiserate no Starting 9. Subscribe here to feel better about yourself and your baseball team.
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