The NL Central Isn’t Even Trying This Offseason

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Now that right-hander Taijuan Walker just inked a two-year, $20 million deal with the New York Mets, let’s check out how much money each division spent on free agents this offseason. If you’re a fan of any team in the NL central, you might want to duck for cover.

According to The Athletics’ Jason Stark, the NL East has now eclipsed the $400 million mark, while the NL Central spent south of $70 million. For context, the Los Angeles Dodgers spent almost twice as much money on Trevor Bauer as the entire NL Central division spent on the entire field. Are you kidding me?

Baseball wise, this is an embarrassment, and I’m personally not a fan of salary caps either. What this spending gap shows us is that commissioner Rob Manfred needs to implement a “salary floor.”

Why not a cap?

Regardless of what fans of small market teams tell you, major market organizations like the Yankees and Dodgers having the best players is objectively good for the sport. While the league would love “fairness” and “revenue” to go hand in hand—they don’t. An ideal World Series, ratings wise, is for the Dodgers and Yankees to play every year.

That’s why creating a salary cap that makes that super World Series less likely makes no sense for baseball.

What’s annoying is that a business model exists to spend nothing, suck for awhile, and then draft well. This shouldn’t be a way of life for baseball owners and executives. Manfred needs to deal with the tanking ASAP, or he risks owners punting on spending altogether. We have to keep in mind that Manfred is essentially a lawyer for baseball owners, so there’s no telling whether he will punt on the best possible business model for owners or opt to help this game.

Written by Gary Sheffield, Jr

Gary Sheffield Jr is the son of should-be MLB Hall of Famer, Gary Sheffield. He covers basketball and baseball for, chats with the Purple and Gold faithful on LakersNation, and shitposts on Twitter. You can follow him at GarySheffieldJr


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  1. Perhaps part of it is still the uncertainty if tyrannical governors are going to allow an economy in the spring and summer. Granted billionaire owners arent going to be hurting but they still have a business to run.

    I guess LA and NY are banking on their tyrants to give up their power trips.

    But this is no different than 20-30 years ago. The midwest teams outside of St. Louis or Chicago was the farm system for LA, NY, and Boston.

  2. “An ideal World Series, ratings wise, is for the Dodgers and Yankees to play every year.”

    So why bother with other teams at all? Oh, I suppose you could keep the Red Sox and the Cubs since they presumably also pull in good ratings, but the rest? Forget them.

    This is why the NBA sucked long before they went full woke. Most teams had no chance in any year. And even when they fielded a good team, the league would make sure their preferred teams made it to the finals. Because, you know, good for ratings.

    No thanks.

    • Baseball leaves more to chance, though, than the NBA and doesn’t have obvious refereeing corruption. I mean, do we really believe Donaghy was the ONLY NBA ref to ever be on the take? In baseball you have a chance for a smaller team with solid pitching, or consistent offense [or both] to get the better of a supposed better team. Slumps happen in the regular season to every baseball team. Sometimes those slumps come at the worst time.

  3. I’ve never been for a salary cap in baseball. Small market teams make the playoffs and get to the Series all the time. I mean the Rays were in the Series last year and they never spend squat. This year’s frugal spending has more to do with kung flu and last year’s losses than anything. The spending will come back, but it’s going to take a couple of years. A salary floor sounds good in theory and may be something they could implement in the upcoming cba.

  4. Tanking is horrendous in a sport like baseball with long, long seasons. Sucking enormous cock in the NFL is one thing; it’s 16 games, a few months and there is a history of teams going from ‘worst to first’, turning everything around in one offseason. Baseball? Three [weather] seasons, 162 games…that’s EXCRUCIATING. And there is very LITTLE precedent for MLB teams turning things aroud in one offseason, so we’re talking half a fucking DECADE of incompetence just to MAYBE field a good team, if your pitching prospects aren’t always injured or don’t pan out. It needs to stop.

  5. A big reason for the massive popularity of the NFL is the fact that it sells competition. Teams can go from losing to winning in a hurry, regardless of the size of the market. If small-market baseball teams have no chance to win, and there is no effort or desire to change this, it will be terrible for the long-term prospects of the sport.

  6. Psssh. I’m an “Indians” fan. We trade Cy Young winners and cornerstone players for players to be named and cheeseburgers. It’s bad enough that the Dolans don’t want to spend any money. Now we don’t even get to keep our name.

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