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Wireless Dugout to Bullpen System Finally Coming to Major League Baseball PDF Print E-mail
Mobile Devices
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 09 January 2013 02:15

For several years now in the NFL coaches have gone wireless on the sidelines, and quarterbacks have plays called into their helmets. But, for Major League Baseball, the old-fashion landline handset from the dugout to the bullpen has remained a constant and technologically outdated. But on Tuesday, at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, that changed.

That’s because the league announced that T-Mobile is now the Official Wireless Sponsor of MLB as the two entered into a multi-year, multi-million dollar partnership. With it, ballparks are going to begin being outfitted with new wireless systems.

Under the agreement, T-Mobile will provide MLB with a new On-Field Communication System, powered by T-Mobile’s nationwide network technology. The first use of this technology will be in a wireless voice system connecting managers in select Major League dugouts to coaches in bullpens. This dugout-to-bullpen system will start to roll out in 2013 and the new On-Field Communication System solution will offer greater mobility as well as options for future innovation within the game.

To add, the agreement will have T-Mobile also tapping its nationwide 4G network, currently available in 229 metro areas, reaching more than 220 million people, to further enhance and broaden network coverage and connectivity for fans in MLB ballparks.

Here’s how the new system will work:


Click to see in larger view

Click to see in larger view

Click to see in larger view

Source: Major League Baseball, T-Mobile


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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Bobby Valentine Hired by NBC Sports Radio PDF Print E-mail
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Radio
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 08 January 2013 01:36

Bobby Valentine, who lasted just the 2012 season managing with the Boston Red Sox, has found a a new home, this time on radio.

The former manager will be coming to NBC Sports Radio doing call-ins weekly to affiliated stations and NBC Sports Radio talk hosts. In addition, Valentine will become a part-time co-host of a soon-to-be-announced daily Monday-Friday talk show that will debut in April, 2013, as the network expands its programming lineup.

"I can't wait to get started on NBC Sports Radio,” said Valentine of the new gig. “I'm looking forward to talking to our affiliates and network shows, and to being a major contributor to the network. I always state my honest opinion and I can't wait to share it with NBC Sports Radio listeners."

NBC Sports Radio launched its new, full weekend lineup of programming this past Saturday and Sunday. Launched last September, the joint venture of NBC Sports Group and Dial Global launched NBC Sports Radio. The fledgling effort offers sports talk programming to radio stations nationwide and distributed by Dial Global.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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Biz of Baseball Releases Comprehensive MLB Final Player Payroll Figures for Last 14 Years PDF Print E-mail
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Maury Brown Article Archive
Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 03 January 2013 00:00

Each and every year at the beginning of the season, fans and media take stock in how rosters are designed. Debates will rage on how this team or that team has improved or regressed on the field, while some will gauge value in terms of the salaries that a club opens with.

But, a larger, and in some ways, more important look at salaries occurs at the end of the year. Just before the Holidays, MLB releases the final payrolls for each of the 30 clubs that encompasses the 40 man roster, and other costs that factor into a figure that is measured against the Competitive Balance Tax threshold, or as it’s more commonly known as the Luxury Tax.

This past year was significant in that for the first time ever, final payrolls exceeded $3 billion. To place that in perspective, when accounting for inflation in the last decade, MLB final payrolls have increased 7%. The final player payrolls can also show changes in mid-season strategy. As an example, the Miami Marlins 2012 Opening Day payroll was $128,078,000. After clearing house over the course of the season their final player payroll for the 40-man roster was $89,875,132, a drop of24%.

When you start to pull more than one-year’s worth of data together, you get some eye-popping numbers.

  • From 1999 to 2012, clubs have spent a total of $33,942,203,596 on final payrolls. The Yankees account for 7% of that.
  • Since the sale of the Texas Rangers from Tom Hicks to the current ownership group, final player payroll has increased 69%, thus showing the power that television revenues can offer.
  • In 2004 the Brewers had final player payroll just under $30 million. In 2012, they were just under $100 million.

There’s more… lot’s more. In fact, since I began collecting data, it has become an incredible wash of data. Much of it I will sift through and provide over the coming days, but before then, I want to give baseball researchers a late Holiday gift.

While it’s taking me years to collect the data, and due to that, I’m not going to provide the data sheet that took many hours to collect, I am going to give away all the data from 1999 to 2012 in the form of an image view. Those hearty enough to extract the data from within, please be kind enough to cite. This has more data and is done in a view more forgiving for those looking to get data by club rather than year that I have presented here.

Happy New Year.
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2012 Ends with 104 Minor League Baseball Drug Suspensions PDF Print E-mail
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Maury Brown Article Archive
Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 31 December 2012 13:57

Drugs in baseballWhen it comes to performance-enhancing substances in MLB, 2012 will likely be remembered in the press as the “Year of Elevated Testosterone.” Between the overturned suspensions of Ryan Braun and Eliezer Alfonzo or the suspensions of Bartolo Colon, Yasmani Grandal, and certainly Melky Cabrera, “testosterone” was the PED that grabbed the headlines.

But, what about Minor League Baseball? While suspensions there rarely register as anything more than a blip in the media, it is where the overwhelming volume of them occur. Based on data collected over the past year (see the complete history of drug suspensions in MLB and MiLB), which includes off-season testing, there were 104 suspensions in MiLB due to being in violation of the drug policy, the highest number since testing has taken place. At the same time, according to sources, there were over 10,000 drug tests in 2012, an increase from the year prior. How does 2012 stack up to 2011? By comparison there were a total of 69 suspensions last year.

Not all suspensions in the minors were for PEDs. Of the 104 suspensions, 26 of them—more than a quarter of the total—were for “drug of abuse” such as marijuana, cocaine and hallucinogens. The data also shows an interesting pattern in which those struggling to get into the minors are using drugs to performance enhance. A total of 27 suspensions, or 26 percent of the total, were by players designated as free agents. One free agent, Dustin Richardson, had what may be the largest collection of substances that an individual has tested positive for in the history of the game. On Jan 25 of 2012, he tested positive for Amphetamine, Letrozole and metabolite, Methandienone metabolite, Methenelone and metabolite, and Trenbolone and metabolite.

SEE THE MAJOR LEAGUE JOINT DRUG AGREEMENT

So, what about steroids? Are they still prevalent within baseball? A total of 41 players, or 39 percent of the total, were suspended for substances such as  Boldenone, Stanozolol, and Nandrolone all classified as anabolic steroids.

There was also an oddity in 2012 that created some interest. Four players tested positive for Methamphetamine, something that had not occurred prior. All four players were on the Rays’ Single-A Bowling Green Hot Rods of the Midwest League.

In terms of amphetamines, there were a total of 12 suspensions compared to 5 last year. When compared to the large increase of total suspensions in 2012, amphetamines account for 12 percent of the total compared to 7 percent in 2011.

So, which MLB clubs saw the most minor league player drug suspensions? The aforementioned Rays were far and away the “winner” with 8, followed by the Mets at 5, and several clubs at 4 (Cardinals, Cubs, Orioles, Reds, and Twins).

The looming question is, does baseball have an increasing PED problem? That depends on your point of view. A solid argument can be made that with the increases in total testing along with adjustments in the amount of a substance a player can have in their system, the increase in suspensions shows the system is catching more of the “bad guys,” and therefore, drug testing in the minors continues to improve.

As to Major League Baseball and that issue of elevated testosterone, both MLB and the MLBPA have said that it is an issue that is being addressed. While it has been reported that we’re on the cusp of seeing an update to the drug policy that will allow for in-season hGH testing, it should not surprise anyone if some changes come about to address elevated testosterone.

What is certain is the game of cat and mouse will continue. Whether it has been “greenies”, scuffing balls, corked bats, etc., players are always trying to gain competitive advantage. In terms of performance-enhancing substances, there is a chemist out there working to beat the system. With that, MLB is likely not far behind.

SELECT READ MORE TO SEE BREAKDOWN BY CLUB

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Why Massive TV Deals for MLB May Be Hitting the Glass Ceiling PDF Print E-mail
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Maury Brown Article Archive
Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 28 December 2012 15:47

If there was one storyline for baseball outside the lines that’s picked up steam the last few years, it’s been the explosion of media rights. Starting with the Texas Rangers, and cascading across the Angels, Padres, Astros, and certainly, the Dodgers, a new form of economic disparity has gripped the league through lucrative television rights deals. Its effects have been felt across the free agency landscape. Whether it was the signing of Albert Pujols, Zack Greinke, and Josh Hamilton by the Angels the last two seasons, the “grab almost every warm body” moves the Dodgers have done in this offseason, or moving from being a doormat to contender by the Rangers, TV money has been at the center of how those deals happened.

But, I said it before--not once, but twice--and I’ll say it again, these deals aren’t going to be the same for club, and a current deal is an indicator, the glass ceiling on lucrative media rights contracts may have been hit.

Today, FOX Sports Media Group completed their purchase of SportsTime Ohio, who is owned by the Cleveland Indians. The deal is reportedly worth an approx. $235 million, and along the way, the Indians could see rights fees jump $10 million annually from $30 million to $40 million. FOX had been in a bidding war with Time Warner Cable. Besides the Indians, SportsTime Ohio also offers Cleveland Browns programming, OHSAA football and basketball playoffs and championships, and Mid-American Conference events.

When put up against some of the other deals that have been reached, this one looks more like the “pre-boom” media rights sale we had been seeing. It also shows that you don’t paint media rights deals with the same brush. The Los Angeles area is not Cleveland any more than the Indians are a brand on the same level as the Dodgers, or even the Angels.

But, the Astros deal, and to a lesser extent, the Padres deal, might be within closer proximity. The Astros deal is worth approx. $1 billion and sees that split between Comcast SportsNet, the Houston Rockets, and the Astros. The two sports franchises get just over 77 percent ownership in the deal, which gives them ownership equity. The Indians are foregoing ownership equity, taking the $230 million, and are getting a modest rights fee bump, or at least modest by comparison to the rest of the market these days. For the Padres, the deal with FOX Sports is worth between $1-$1.2 billion with $50 million annually and $200 million up-front. The rights deal sees the Padres with a 20 percent ownership equity.

So, the scales in baseball, from an economic perspective, are tipping further in favor of the clubs that reached these eye-popping deals. Where the likes of the Red Sox and Yankees used to be the sole focus, the economic disparity issue has bloomed elsewhere.

But, with some exceptions, sports TV deals are likely topping out. The reason for the ceiling being hit speaks to a larger more looming issue than just rights deals in MLB, but rather sports league as a whole.

There is a cumulative effect going on which render the explosion of media rights fees unsustainable. When you throw in the massive colligate conference sports network deals cropping up, the NFL’s massive rights deals, and regional agreements such as the Lakers with Time Warner Cable, it begins to add up. Where does the money to pay for these lucrative media rights deals come from? Subscribers. And, when you get subscription fees going through the roof, the carriers of the content, and ultimately, consumers begin to make noise. A prime example is Michael Powell, the former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission who now serves as the chief lobbyist for the cable industry. His comments on the cost of sports programming will send alarms through the industry as he cites consumer protection through the government.

"We all ought to wake up and be careful ... so we don't blow this into smithereens at some point and invite the government to do it for you, which I think nobody would be a winner in," Powell said in an interview earlier this month on C-SPAN's "The Communicators."

Powell isn’t the only one. In early November, John Malone, the CEO of Liberty Media, which owns DirecTV echoed Powell’s comments saying, "The only way it is going to change in the short run is for government to intervene.” The point being, the costs trickle down to those paying for cable and satellite access at home and in small business.

"We’ve got runaway sports rights, runaway sports salaries and what is essentially a high tax on a lot of households that don’t have a lot of interest in sports," Malone said in an interview. "The consumer is really getting squeezed, as is the cable operator."

What makes Malone’s comments all the more interesting is that Liberty Media is involved in Major League Baseball. As part of the massive purchase of Time Warner in May of 2007, Liberty Media now owns the Atlanta Braves.

The effect within clubs around Major League Baseball is likely pronounced; get media rights deals done before the window of opportunity closes. The Phillies, for example, have their rights deal expiring in 2015. In the #4 designated media market and nearly 3 million homes to tap, the club could be one of those few potential big deals left that are difference makers. For the Phillies, reaching a deal well in advance of 2015 might be prudent.

The bottom line is, don’t expect too many more of these massive deals to be reached. Whether pressure from carriers, consumers, or worse, the government, cracks in the glass ceiling are becoming more obvious.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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MLB Revenue-Sharing for 2012 Approx. $400 Million PDF Print E-mail
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MLB News
Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 21 December 2012 11:58

MLBWhen the figure came out that MLB’s league-wide revenues were approx. $7.5 billion for 2012, a question that came up afterwards was, “How much was revenue-sharing, and how much did each club getting revenue-sharing receive?” The latter may never be known (for those wondering, the last time that figures came out in the media was 2002 and 2003, which can be see here), but the total figure, is.

According to a source with direct knowledge of the figure, the amount of revenue-sharing that funneled from the haves to the have-nots in MLB this year was approx. $400 million. While the money is not distributed evenly across the clubs, if the 15 lowest revenue-makers were given an equal portion it would equal approx. $27 million for each of those clubs.

The amount of revenue-sharing in Major League Baseball should stymie any talk that clubs can’t—at the very least—be able to compete selectively in the free agency space from time to time. It also affords club opportunity to wrap up talent on their rosters to avoid them leaving once they hit free agency. While it’s clear that the amount of revenue-sharing they received this year is not enough to cover the entire amount, the Rays likely covered a lot of the annual salary increase needed to ink Evan Longoria to his $100 million extension with revenue-sharing proceeds. That’s the purpose of revenue-sharing.

Finally, there's this to consider. With the skyrocketing growth of regional sports network revenues, plus the continued robust nature of baseball as an entertainment option, it seems that in the very near future we'll see revenue-sharing in MLB surpass a half-a-billion dollars. With it, let's hope clubs are using the gifted money from their large revenue-making brethren wisely.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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After Adjustments, Yankees 2012 Luxury Tax Bill Exceeds $19.3 Million PDF Print E-mail
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MLB News
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 15:21

Adjusted numbers released today for the New York Yankees end of year payrolls just made their wallet hurt that much more. Late last week the Yankees were said to have been hit with a Luxury Tax bill of $18,917,994 on an end of year player payroll of $222,512,928.

SEE ALL-TIME MLB LUXURY TAX DATA

But, today, after accounting adjustments, that player payroll figure that accounts for the 40-man roster and other costs, increased to $223,302,212 and with it, so increased their Luxury Tax bill to $19,311,642. All told, the Yankees have paid $224,558,161 or 91.44% of the total $245,568,176 paid since 2003.

The $224,558,161 end of year payroll for the Yankees is the highest since 2009 when it was $226,222,933. It is the second-highest in the last decade.

The Bronx Bombers paid $13,896,069 in Luxury Tax payments last year on EOY player payroll of $212,740,172. The reason that the penalty is higher this year in comparison to the player payroll is a higher tax rate of 42.5 percent for breaking the Luxury Tax threshold consecutively. Since this Luxury Tax system was put in place in 2002, the Yankees have broken the ceiling every year it’s been in place. Below is a breakdown:

Yankeess

Year

Payroll

Tax

Tax Rate

2012

$223,439,158

$19,311,642

42.5

2011

$212,740,172

$13,896,069

40

2010

$215,074,134

$18,029,654

40

2009

$226,222,933

$25,689,173

40

2008

$222,156,756

$26,862,702

40

2007

$207,703,464

$23,881,386

40

2006

$201,522,596

$26,009,039

40

2005

$213,134,467

$34,053,787

40

2004

$203,921,174

$25,026,352

30

2003

$184,419,181

$11,798,357

17.5

TOTALS

$2,110,334,035

$224,558,161

 

Data by way of The Associated Press. Figures based on payrolls for the 40-man rosters and include averages of multiyear contracts plus a 1-30th of Major League Baseball's costs of health and pension benefits; clubs medical costs; insurance; workman's compensation, payroll, unemployment and Social Security taxes; spring training allowances; meal and tip money; All-Star game expenses; travel and moving expenses; postseason pay; and college scholarships.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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Dodgers Will Knock Yankees Off Top Salary Spot Held Since 1998 PDF Print E-mail
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Maury Brown Article Archive
Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 13 December 2012 13:33

Step aside, New York Yankees, you’re about to be passed up in the amount of money you spend of player salaries.

When the 2013 MLB season begins, the Los Angeles Dodgers will have the highest player payroll in the league. You have to go back to 1998 when the Orioles had the top Opening Day player payroll total of $70,408,134 while the Yankees were at #2 with $63,159,898 to find a club other than the Yankees at the top of the heap.

The Dodgers will also have the distinction in 2013 of having one of the highest total player payroll ever when we get back to play in April. The Yankees currently hold that position with the 2009 Opening Day player payroll of  $209,081,577 2009 ($217,712,913 when accounting for inflation). The Dodgers are currently projected to have an Opening Day payroll of nearly $208 million when adjusting for money coming over from the Red Sox. That figure will rise well over that mark as Ronald Belisario and A.J. Ellis reach arbitration settlements or rulings.

The following data comes by way of the Associated Press:

Dodgers 2013 projected player payroll

Adrian Gonzalez

$21,857,143

Zack Greinke

$21,000,000

Carl Crawford

$20,857,143

Matt Kemp

$20,250,000

Josh Beckett

$17,000,000

Hanley Ramirez

$15,500,000

Andre Ethier

$13,500,000

Ted Lilly

$13,166,667

Clayton Kershaw

$11,750,000

Chad Billingsley

$11,000,000

Juan Uribe

$7,295,910

Chris Capuano

$6,375,000

Aaron Harang

$6,000,000

Brandon League

$5,500,000

Mark Ellis

$5,250,000

Matt Guerrier

$4,711,499

Jerry Hairston Jr.

$3,750,000

Yasiel Puig

$3,714,286

Hyun-Jin Ryu

$3,333,333

Nick Punto

$1,500,000

Skip Schumaker

$1,500,000

Ronald Belisario

arbitration

A.J. Ellis

arbitration

Total

$214,810,981

Adjustment for Boston trade

$6,864,286

Adjusted total

$207,946,695

 

NOTE: Includes salaries and pro-rated shares of signing bonuses and other guaranteed income. For some players, parts of deferred signing bonuses and salaries are discounted to reflect present-day values. Does not include unsigned players on 40-man roster who are not eligible for salary arbitration


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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MLB Revenues $7.5B for 2012, Could Approach $9B by 2014 PDF Print E-mail
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MLB News
Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 10 December 2012 00:00

MLBWith local broadcast money and attendance for the league remaining strong, according to sources after two years of seeing revenues relatively flat at $7 billion, Major League Baseball will see revenues of $7.5 billion for 2012. To place this in perspective, when accounting for inflation, baseball’s revenues have increased 257 percent since 1995 when they were $1.4 billion.

And while the number is impressive, it’s just the beginning of what will likely be one of—if not the—largest spike in revenue growth in league history. That’s because starting in 2014 the new national broadcast deals with FOX, ESPN, and TBS kick in which will add an additional $788.3 million a year. That means if MLB’s revenues remained static, league revenues for 2014 would exceed $8.4 billion. That, of course, isn’t going to happen. Revenues will get a further hefty bounce when the Dodgers finalize their broadcast deal which is reportedly worth $6-$7 billion. Depending on when that kicks in, it’s very possible that MLB could flirt with, or surpass, the $9 billion gross revenue plateau in a couple of years.

Here’s MLB revenues from 1995 to the present

MLB revenues
Click to see full view

Source: Major League Baseball, Biz of Baseball research


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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From the Winter Meetings: The Official Player Transaction Summary PDF Print E-mail
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MLB News
Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 06 December 2012 20:20

Baseball Winter Meetings

Pack it up, and head ‘em out. The halls of Opryland in Nashville are clearing out as the 2012 Baseball Winter Meetings have officially come to an end. With it, there were a number of player transactions that were rumored, done in principle, or are just waiting to be fully announced. As to what MLB and the MLBPA declare as official, the following is the transaction summary for each day of the meetings from the league. Note that contract length and dollars based on Biz of Baseball research and does not come from MLB or the MLBPA.

MONDAY, DECEMBER 3RD

New York Yankees – Claimed C Eli Whiteside off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 4TH

Boston Red Sox – Signed free agent OF Jonny Gomes to a reported 2-year, $10 million deal that pays $5 million each year of the contract

Colorado Rockies – Acquired RHP Wilton Lopez from the Houston Astros in exchange for RHP Alex Gillingham and RHP Alex White.

Tampa Bay Rays – Acquired SS Yunel Escobar from the Miami Marlins in exchange for SS Derek Dietrich.

San Diego Padres – Signed free agent RHP Jason Marquis to a reported 1-year, $3 million deal.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5TH

Detroit Tigers – Acquired C Ramon Cabrera from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for LHP Andrew Oliver.

Source: Major League Baseball, Biz of Baseball research


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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