We have to talk about the World Series, because there’s something about it that’s really bothering me.
But first I have to throw out a question …
Do you really think money does not win in Major League Baseball?
In that case …
I’m here to prove you wrong.
Yes, yes, you may want to argue and tell me about the Tampa Bay Rays, which pay just a little more per hour than McDonald’s, but are still regular playoffs – and made a World Series appearance last year.
The Rays lost to Boston in this year’s division series, but to be fair, their payroll for a 40-man list was $ 67.3 million (23rd among MLB’s 30 teams).
Tampa came just a little below the Red Sox ‘$ 159.2 million (fourth).
Honestly, the only instances you can do for low-budget teams that have consistent success are the Rays and Oakland, and that is a caveat to the A results from year to year.
They can not win in the postseason.
EVEN A’S guru Billy Beane, who was the subject of the movie “Moneyball”, has been forced to shrug his shoulders and admit that the club’s analytical approach seems to have limitations.
“I’m starting to think Moneyball is not working in the playoffs,” Beane told Sports Illustrated.
To put these Oakland problems in perspective, Beane – who has run athletics for 24 seasons – was actually a utility outfielder on the last A-team to win a World Series (1989).
There are a few, very few, exceptions to this low-money equation, and they usually occur when a team sends a large group of super-rookies and low-paid young people out into the world at the same time.
That kind of team exceeds their budget.
A classic example would be the 2016 Cubs, who won the Fall Classic despite having a payroll that ranked 25th.
However, it can be an ultimate price for the sudden stardom.
The Cubs had to pay $ 71.9 million in retained salary this season – for players they had released or traded – and the dead money cost them (for a bad team) $ 144.3 million.
It’s pretty easy to look at team salaries every year, and match it with playoff qualifiers.
However, that is not the particular advantage I want today.
No, I want to talk about trades, and the opportunity to do them.
BASEBALL has been destroyed due to the trading deadline of 31 July.
Teams with a realistic chance of playing in the off-season become buyers (they are usually the clubs that have money to spend, of course), while teams that are buried in the position get caught up in becoming sellers.
The plan for these poor teams is to get rid of big contracts that have been paid to their few stars – especially if they want to be free players at the end of that season, or the next.
Teams with money AND playoff ambitions are the buyers.
What did the super-rich Dodgers care about paying big bucks for the contracts of Max Scherzer or Trea Turner?
So at the end of July, good teams generally get better, and struggling teams get worse.
It’s awful, and if I were commissioner for a week, I would have convinced the owners to eliminate a trading period in the middle of the season.
WE ARE COMING TO THE WORLD SERIES YOU WATCH.
Houston mostly has the team that opened the season with – plus some young pitchers who needed to replace some starters who were injured or ineffective.
Atlanta, for its part, replaced an entire outfield by the trade deadline.
With star Marcell Ozuna (alleged abuse of spouse) suspended and trusted Ronald Acuna Jr. (knee) finished for the year, GM Alex Anthopoulos went out and ran with some salesmen.
The Braves did not need to exchange much talent, because they took on unwanted salaries – and quickly got Joc Pederson (Chicago Cubs), Eddie Rosario (Cleveland), Jorge Soler (Kansas City) and Adam Duvall (Miami).
Suddenly, the Braves had a whole new away field – a group that ran in 17 of the team’s 24 races in their NLCS victory over the Dodgers.
I’m sorry, but that’s wrong.
Atlanta had the money to take on these contracts. Tampa Bay did not – and would not if it could.
Do you see what I mean by money affecting the game beyond just base salaries and free-agent shopping?
Take away trades in the middle of the season, and many more teams will have a chance to throw themselves into the World Series.
That, my friends, would be a lot more fun.
Steve Cameron’s “Cheap Seats” columns appear in The Press on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
He also writes Zags Tracker, a commentary on Gonzaga basketball that is published weekly during the season.