While the Miami Marlins took on more than $200 million in total player payroll less than a year ago at the Baseball Winter Meetings, they ended the season moving Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante (Tigers), and Hanley Ramirez (Dodgers). On Tuesday evening they made that look like child’s play by moving Jose Reyes (2013:$10M, 2014:$16M, 2015:$22M, 2016:$22M, 2017:$22M, 2018:$22M club option - $4M buyout), Josh Johnson (2013:$13.75M), Mark Buehrle (2013:$11M, 2014:$18M, 2015:$19M, plus a $4M deferred signing bonus), John Buck (2013:$6M), and Emilio Bonifacio who is arbitration eligible this year and (get this) $4 million in cash to the Blue Jays for Yunel Escobar, Henderson Alvarez, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jeff Mathis, minor league pitchers Justin Nicolino and Anthony Desclafani and minor league outfielder Jake Marisnick. All told, the Marlins stripped $163.75 million off the books and that doesn’t include the option year or buyout on for Reyes, plus what Bonifacio will get in salary arbitration this year.
That deal was approved, but the conversation lingers.
Today on 790AM/FM 104.3 The Ticket in Miami, Maury Brown talked about the deal, the Marlins finances, and some personal history with one of their execs. Take a listen.
CLICK TO LISTEN TO THE RADIO SEGMENT WITH MAURY BROWN BELOW
When market for media rights exploded, beginning with the Big Ten and then eventually making its way to MLB via the Texas Rangers and Angels (both $3 billion deals), questions surfaced asking, what would YES Network be worth? Today, that answer became closer to reach.
News Corporation (NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA; ASX: NWS, NWSLV) and Yankee Global Enterprises today announced an agreement that calls for News Corporation to acquire a 49 percent equity stake in the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network (YES), which launched in 2002. Reports around the deal prior to the announcement set YES’ value at $3 billion. The YES Network delivers exclusive live local television coverage of New York Yankees baseball and Brooklyn Nets basketball, as well as sports-related programming.
The media rights agreement is subject to Major League Baseball approval. With News Corp saying that the investment is expected to close by the end of the calendar year.
“We've long been a believer in the unique appeal of sports entertainment. Partnering upstream with rights holders is even more important today in the dynamic media marketplace in which we compete. This is a tremendous opportunity to enhance News Corporation’s industry-leading portfolio of sports properties, while also strategically re-entering the New York market,” said James Murdoch, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, News Corporation. “The YES Network represents the gold standard for regional sports networks and is a pioneer in sports media. We look forward to working with Yankee Global Enterprises, the network’s management team, and all of our partners to build on a decade of success and take the YES Network to even greater heights.”
Hal Steinbrenner, Chairman of Yankee Global Enterprises, said, “This transaction underscores the great value we and our partners created in establishing the YES Network and sets the network on the path for even greater achievements in the future. We are excited to have News Corporation as a partner. Its stature and acumen in sports broadcasting on a global scale is unmatched. We look forward to the many opportunities for growth and development that this investment by News Corporation will bring to YES. The Steinbrenner family expects to have a continuing, long-term ownership stake in the YES Network and we will continue our yearly commitment of fielding a championship caliber team for decades to come.”
The announcement of the minority purchase of YES ties in with news that FOX, which is owned by News Corp, is looking to launch an all-sports network that would compete with ESPN. As first reported by Bloomberg, News Corp. last year secured rights to the Pac-12 Conference and Big-12 Conference games and owns 20 regional sports networks. The company in October won TV rights to soccer’s World Cup in 2018 and 2022. FOX Sports is also working to secure a mega-deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers which could eclipse any of the sports media deals that have been recently brokered in baseball.
For those wondering if Yankees games would become part of any FOX cable network to take on ESPN, think again. The YES Network also announced a media rights agreement that will keep Yankees baseball on the YES Network through 2042.
But, while the agreement is to keep the Yankees on YES, there’s nothing to say that eventually News Corp could not eventually become a majority owner. According to today’s announcement after three years, News Corp may acquire an additional stake in the YES Network that could bring its ownership to 80 percent, at which time Yankee Global Enterprises would retain a significant minority stake in the network.
Currently, YES Network airs live Yankees and Nets games to approximately 9 million households in the teams’ television territory in the New York area. Outside of the New York area, the YES Network also distributes a variety of national programming to millions of homes across the country.
It shouldn’t be surprising that on Monday, Commissioner Selig approved the blockbuster trade between the Marlins and the Blue Jays (see details on why at the bottom of the article here on Baseball Prospectus). The move by the Marlins, widely panned as it is seen a salary dump after their new ballpark just opened, has taken longer than most to approve. While Selig approved the deal, he did make it clear that he was mindful of how the deal would affect the Miami fan base. It should also be noted that while he was given assurances from the Marlins that they will be committed to a “long-term winning team”, they also had verbal agreements with Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Giancarlo Stanton. But, it’s not only the league that paid close attention to the trade. Certainly the MLB Players Association did, as well, even though they did not release a statement on the trade.
The problem is, Jeffrey Loria, David Samson and others in the organization have ostensibly poisoned the well in Miami, and in less than their second season in the new market. That’s because they’ve not exactly been the best stewards of an MLB club during their time in baseball. What’s occurred is lowering future value of the club, but the problem is, there’s really nothing that Selig could have done to stop the deal… other than to never let them own a club in the first place.
Here’s Selig’s statement on the trade:
"Since Tuesday, I have carefully reviewed the proposed transaction between the Miami Marlins and the Toronto Blue Jays. I asked our Baseball Operations Department and our Labor Relations Department to compare this proposed transaction with similar deals. I also consulted with experienced baseball operations executives to get their input regarding the talent involved in this transaction.
“After a thorough examination of this information, it is my conclusion that this transaction, involving established Major Leaguers and highly regarded young players and prospects, represents the exercise of plausible baseball judgment on the part of both Clubs, does not violate any express rule of Major League Baseball and does not otherwise warrant the exercise of any of my powers to prevent its completion. It is, of course, up to the Clubs involved to make the case to their respective fans that this transaction makes sense and enhances the competitive position of each, now or in the future.
“I am sensitive to the concerns of the fans of Miami regarding this trade, and I understand the reactions I have heard since Tuesday. Baseball is a social institution with important social responsibilities and I fully understand that the Miami community has done its part to put the Marlins into a position to succeed with beautiful new Marlins Park. Going forward, I will continue to monitor this situation with the expectation that the Marlins will take into account the sentiments of their fans, who deserve the best efforts and considered judgment of their Club. I have received assurances from the ownership of the Marlins that they share these beliefs and are fully committed to build a long-term winning team that their fans can be proud of.”
After the deal was finalized, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria certainly played up how losing 93 games factored into his thinking, even though the club had been gutting players off the roster prior to the fire sale with the Blue Jays.
“We've finished in last place the past two years, and that is unacceptable to our fans, to us as an organization, and to me,” said Loria. “We want to get back to our winning ways, and we want a winning baseball team for our fans. It's incumbent on us to make the changes necessary to make us a winner again.”
“It may not happen overnight,” he added. “But with the players we acquired in the second half of last season, coupled with the infusion of players we are acquiring now, we will be returning to Marlins Baseball: high energy and hungry.”
“It may not happen overnight.” That ought to go over well with season ticket holders and fans. It’s going to be a long, cold winter for Marlins fans… again.
UPDATE: Commissioner Selig and Major League Baseball have approved the trade between the Marlins and the Blue Jays Unless there’s a dramatic turn of events, the likelihood that the blockbuster trade that sees the likes of Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and others going from the Miami Marlins to the Toronto Blue Jays is going to go through.
If you were looking at just this deal and nothing else, it might raise high interest, but not ire, the latter of which has been in high doses regarding the Marlins since news of the deal got out last Tuesday. The reason is the history of Jeffrey Loria and David Samson in Major League Baseball.
Today on Baseball Prospectus, I go over it from top to bottom (see Marlins Ownership and a History Lesson in Greed). Some of the story has been told before, but I personally recount a discuss a meeting with David Samson that speaks a lot to how the club functions. From the article:
Loria was the luckiest guy on the planet shortly after this situation unfolded. Following the purchase, the Marlins won the 2003 World Series. Prior to Loria—and really before Henry, when Wayne Huizenga had owned the club—the cries for a new, baseball-only ballpark had been sought. In 2005, Samson began what some called the “Great Relocation Tour,” going to places like San Antonio and Portland where there had been interest in relocating the Expos when they were up for relocation. I was part of Portland’s effort to land a team, and on a cold, rainy winter day, baseball boosters in the city and I hosted Samson in early January of 2006.
The club had begun dismantling the team that had won the 2003 World Series—yet again—citing the need for a new ballpark to allow them to retain players. Unable to sign Ugueth Urbina and Iván Rodríguez, they left in free agency. They traded Derrek Lee to the Cubs for Hee-Seop Choi and pitcher Mike Nannini. They did sign Mike Lowell to a four-year deal, but it had a provision within it where Lowell could opt out of the final two years of the deal if no new ballpark was built for the Marlins. As I walked over to Samson, who was sporting his gaudy new World Series ring, I mentioned (naively, it seems in retrospect given recent moves by the club) how the retention of talent must be difficult without their own ballpark. It was also here that I realized just how scary the Marlins’ brain-trust really was (and still is). Samson broadsided me, not by speaking of the Marlins directly but by disparaging a fellow club.
“Can you believe those [effing] Brewers?” Samson said, not hiding his disgust. “They're giving away tickets to the last game of the season because they finished over .500. How [effing] stupid is that? Giving away tickets for being ‘average.’ I tell you, we’ll build it up and tear it down year after year if that’s what it takes to win a World Series.”
I was stunned. First off, Brewers owner Mark Attanasio was doing something positive for the fans after not being above .500 for years under Selig’s tenure. It was a smart move that, as we’ve seen, has endeared him to the community, which in turn has allowed the Brewers to draw attendance totals over 3 million more than once now (2008: 3,068,458; 2009: 3,037,451; 2011: 3,071,373) and has helped them be competitive. In terms of the tearing down and building back up of the Marlins’ roster, it was then that I realized that only quick fixes would ever do for the organization. That the ballpark was not going to really be part of it. That what Wayne Huizenga had done with his fire sale after the 1997 World Series was not limited to just Wayne Huizenga. This was something that seemed to be embraced by Loria and Samson as well. But that was 2003. It was possible that if and when a new stadium did come about, things might change.
Set for the 2013 season, the new videoboard at Safeco Field will be the largest in MLB
The escalation of video display sizes has grown over the last few years, and with Safeco Field’s display falling behind since opening in July of 1999, it’s time for a change… a BIG change.
The Mariners today announced on Thursday that a new high definition video display system will be installed at Safeco Field for the 2013 baseball season, replacing the main scoreboard in centerfield. When completed (at least for now) it will be the largest in Major League Baseball and among the largest in all of sports.
The new video screen replaces the scoreboard that was built in 1999, the inaugural season of Safeco Field. Measuring 56.7-feet high by 201.5-feet wide and covering 11,425 square feet, the new video screen fills the same location and space as the old scoreboard, but because the entire thing is a high definition screen, the video space itself is nearly 10 times the size of the current video screen.
So, just how big is it? To put it in perspective the Mariners say that the viewing area will be equal to about 2,182 42-inch flat screen TVs.
“Northwest sports fans have never seen anything like this. From the high-resolution imagery to the dynamic presentation, this new video screen provides the flexibility to present real-time game information in a way we’ve never been able to do until now,” said Kevin Martinez, Seattle Mariners Vice President of Marketing.
“The Mariners are committed to building a winner on the field and providing fans with a great experience at the ballpark. After 13-plus seasons, fans have been asking, ‘When are we going to replace the scoreboard?’ It’s time,” said Martinez.
The new Panasonic HD video screen will combine 1080p x 3840 screen resolution and Surface Mount LED technology, which uses more pixels and therefore produces higher quality images. Paired with the latest ANC Sports VisionSOFT operating system, Safeco Field’s new video screen will have image quality that is superior to broadcast HD signals. VisionSOFT is the first 64-bit operating system in large format live event display. ANC Sports is a long-time Mariners partner for signage operations and integration at Safeco Field.
“1080p live sports is an experience unavailable in ballparks or to home viewers until now. It’s like the difference between normal HD programming and a Blu-ray disc, except displayed on an enormous scale. You’ll be able to see details like blades of grass and the texture of the infield dirt. Fans will be amazed when they see it,” said Dave Curry, Seattle Mariners Vice President of Technology.
The entire board can be programmed for live action or video replays or split into sectors for graphics, animation and statistical data. “There is a growing desire among fans to delve more deeply into individual player statistics and the new board will let us present the stats, along with everything else, in a way that we think will improve the game experience,” said Martinez.
Although the new video screen will be state-of-the-art, “We’ve made a conscious effort to design the graphics to fit the overall design and architecture of Safeco Field. The presentation will be crisp and clean and will even incorporate some classic ballpark elements seen not only at Safeco Field, but in some of the game’s classic ballparks,” said Martinez.
This is the third of three steps to replace the old scoreboard system at Safeco Field. The LED Out-of-Town scoreboard was installed in left field before the 2010 season, and in 2011, LED ribbon boards were installed on the Terrace Club fascia. The in-house production, broadcast and entertainment systems are also being upgraded to high definition.
The video screen and production upgrades are part of an estimated $15 million maintenance and capital improvement plan for Safeco Field to be completed before the 2013 season. The Mariners, who are responsible for maintenance, capital improvements and operations of Safeco Field, have invested over $80 million in the ballpark since 1999. All current improvements to Safeco Field are scheduled to be completed in time for the home opener on April 8 vs. the Houston Astros.
Current CF Scoreboard ProStar Video Display 26'x46' SunSpot incandescent matrix board 34'x76' Total scoreboard dimensions 56'x200'
New Centerfield Video Screen Specifications Dimension: 56.7' high x 201.5' wide Total Viewing Area: 11,425 sq. ft. Resolution: 1080 x 3840 Total Pixels: 4,147,200 Manufacturer: Panasonic Operating System: ANC Sports VisionSOFT
Comparison to MLB Video Screens
Safeco Field, Seattle Mariners: 56.7' x 201.5' - 11,425 sq. ft.
Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City Royals: 105 x 84' - 8,820 sq. ft.
Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia Phillies: 76' x 97' - 7,372 sq. ft.
Minute Maid Park, Houston Astros: 124' x 54' - 6,696 sq. ft.
Comerica Park, Detroit Tigers: 94' x 65' - 6,110 sq. ft.
Bonus stat (Cowboys Stadium, Ft. Worth, Texas: 160' x 72' - 11,520 sq. ft.)
There are some articles where you just don’t know where to begin. The roots of this one stretch back to the Montreal Expos, touch on the Baltimore Orioles (he nearly owned them), and have their roots in ripping people off. I’m talking about Jeffery Loria, along with David Samson, and the Miami Marlins. They aren’t a dumb lot, these guys. They have been able to get a ballpark built on the public’s dime that will wind up when it’s all said and done with interest costing $2.4 billion. And, when season ticket money rolled in, they spent it like they meant it. Yes, it was as if they were a drunk sitting a slot machine, simply plugging money into the free agency machine, but then, that plays into the master plan. At the Winter Meetings, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Heath Bell, was signed and it seemed any high-powered FA with a pulse, was being courted. After all, they can always fall back and say that they “tried.”
I said it then, and I’ll say it now, when you throw all your chips in and let the free agency market dictate your decision making process, you’ve already failed. But then, it all backfired and in the midst of the Marlins losing, they're going to be coming out ahead while the fans are made to look like chumps.
Yes, Max Bialystock in The Producers may have best summed up the Marlins best when he said, “How did it begin? He walked into my office with his cockamamy scheme! You can make more money with a flop than with a hit!”
"The reality is, if you don't have a competitive team, the big stadium that's built publicly and privately becomes another disaster," Samson said in 2008.
Well, glad to see you pushed that whole disaster thing forward on Tuesday.
Yes, while the Marlins took on more than $200 million in total player payroll less than a year ago at the Baseball Winter Meetings, they ended the season moving Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante (Tigers), and Hanley Ramirez (Dodgers). On Tuesday evening they made that look like child’s play by moving Jose Reyes (2013:$10M, 2014:$16M, 2015:$22M, 2016:$22M, 2017:$22M, 2018:$22M club option - $4M buyout), Josh Johnson (2013:$13.75M), Mark Buehrle (2013:$11M, 2014:$18M, 2015:$19M, plus a $4M deferred signing bonus), John Buck (2013:$6M), and Emilio Bonifacio who is arbitration eligible this year and (get this) $4 million in cash to the Blue Jays for Yunel Escobar, Henderson Alvarez, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jeff Mathis, minor league pitchers Justin Nicolino and Anthony Desclafani and minor league outfielder Jake Marisnick. All told, the Marlins stripped $163.75 million off the books and that doesn’t include the option year or buyout on for Reyes, plus what Bonifacio will get in salary arbitration this year.
"The reality is, if you don't have a competitive team, the big stadium that's built publicly and privately becomes another disaster." Well, you said it, David.
Except, that’s not the talk out of Miami on this day. Nope, it’s all going as planned.
"This should be a positive change,” said Larry Beinfest. "After a disappointing 2012 this gives us clarity as we begin our offseason roster improvement."
Clarity. That’s rich.
So, you have to ask yourself when was “lack of clarity” fully consumed in the Marlins front office? Was it when they spent foolishly at the Winter Meetings in Dallas last December, or was it Tuesday night when they went with (another) fire sale?
Because, here’s the thing: the Marlins are still collecting revenue-sharing. The Marlins are no longer having to split revenues with the Dolphins when they were at Sun Life Stadium. The Marlins, while seeing poor attendance for a new stadium, still saw the largest attendance increase of all 30 clubs last season. And finally, the Marlins are enjoying all that sweet suite money they didn’t have before.
Maybe "clarity" works like this for the Marlins:
“Hmm…. You know, we just found out what it’s like to spend like other clubs that are competitive, and we’re not making as much as we did. Maybe we should rethink that. The Red Sox just dumped a ton of money on the Dodgers, and the Astros have been stripping payroll to the core. We can use those two as cover.”
Or, there’s another thought. One that could be far crazier than what’s happened in less than a year with the Marlins… Josh Hamilton (or worse), Alex Rodriguez. Yes, the Marlins could to take that freed-up that money that didn’t work, and use it to be flashy again. That way the Marlins could be the flavor of the week at the Winter Meetings again.
And, if somewhere in the back of your head, you’re thinking Loria is stripping the player payroll down so he can sell, think again. While Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami weren’t exactly the smartest with the deal (OK, it’s one of – if not the – worst stadium deals for the public in history), they did get a “Non-Relocation Agreement” in the mix (see here, in PDF) in which if a controlling interest is sold (more than 50 percent) over the early life of the ballpark, the earlier that controlling interest is sold, the higher percentage of that sale goes to the two. See below:
A possible sale would be speculation but what is known is this: the Marlins aren’t exactly being held up as the poster child for how a good MLB club should be run. Here’s a small sample via Twitter:
So Jeffrey Loria threw himself a cheap wedding, collected a ton of gifts, then got the marriage annulled the next day. Got it. – Molly Knight, ESPN the Magazine
Another consideration for MLB as it reviews this trade: the Marlins will be held up as cautionary tale for cities asked to build ballparks. – Buster Olney, ESPN
Last year at winter meetings the marlins felt like it was a mirage and this proves it was..is the ballpark still there? – Karl Ravich, ESPN
Decency would require Marlins to slash ticket prices for the public that helped fund new ballpark for "major league" team, no? – Bill Shaikin, LA Times
McCourt did well to sell #Dodgers, but too bad he didn't hold out & put Selig on the witness stand. Double standard w Loria is fascinating. – Bill Shaikin, LA Times
Loria vs. City of Miami. Cage Match. Hacksaw Jim Duggan Special Guest Referee. Book it Vince. #MLB meets #WWE #Marlins #OrganizationOfHeels – Casey Stern, MLB Network Radio
Huh? - RickeyNolasco, Marlins starting pitcher
Alright, I'm pissed off!!! Plain & Simple - Giancarlo "Mike" Stanton, outfielder for the Marlins
So, the Marlins have lost their marbles... if they ever had them to begin with in the Loria tenure.
You could say these players batted 1.000. A new system where clubs offer a “qualifying offer” of $13.3 million for the upcoming season to potential free agents got its first test, and with it, all nine players that were made the offers rejected them. In doing so, the clubs will now get a compensatory pick in the upcoming Rule 4 draft, and the players that rejected the offers are now free agents. This doesn’t mean a player can’t re-sign with their former club, it simply means that the player is now a free agent. Of the nine, one has already re-signed with their former club. Designated hitter, David Ortiz rejected the one-year, $13.3 million offer as he and the Red Sox reached a two-year, $26 million deal that with incentives, could push to $30 million.
The following are the nine players that rejected the qualifying offers, thus becoming free agents:
Of all the free agents this off-season, maybe Josh Hamilton is the most intriguing. He’s won an AL MVP, and been a powerhouse. He’s been on MLB’s restricted list for drug use, landed on the DL often, and was lackluster in the second half of 2012. Which Hamilton you’re going to get is where the debate starts.
Today on Baseball Prospectus, I look into how Hamilton would sit in terms of salary and performance if a reported 7-year, $175 million deal that he is seeking came to fruition. From the Baseball Prospectus article:
So let’s say it happens. Let’s say Hamilton lands a seven-year, $175 million deal. How would he stack up compared to the highest-paid players in the league? Based on total contract dollars, $175 million would rank Hamilton ninth, moving CC Sabathia down to 10th. Mark Teixeira, who would sit just ahead of Hamilton with his eight-year, $180 million deal that he reached with the Yankees for the 2009-16, is the only player beside Sabathia to have a lower WARP in his platform year leading up to their high-dollar contracts.
Hamilton would also be the second-oldest player to command a deal in the top 13 highest-paid contracts, behind only Alex Rodriguez, who signed a 10-year, $275 million deal with the Yankees (the highest in the history of the game). In 2007, the year before the deal kicked in, A-Rod posted an 8.3 WARP.
In terms of Average Annual Value (AAV), Hamilton’s $25 million annually would behind only Alex Rodriguez for the highest AAV in baseball.
Hamilton would become the highest-paid outfielder in the league. Matt Kemp, who recently reached an eight-year, $160 million extension with the Dodgers, would be $15 million back in total contract dollars with $160 million or $20 million by AAV. Kemp’s WARP was 8.3 in his platform year, and he was four years younger than Hamilton is today.
Make sure and hit the link as I provide a table showing the highest-paid players by total contract dollars, their AAV, age at the beginning and end of the contract, and what each player had as their WARP in the platform year before the contract was reached.
Each year, I’ve written about the Baseball Winter Meetings, what they are and aren’t about, and with it, provided a sidebar to a career conference that takes place during them (read Inside the 2011 Baseball Winter Meetings in Dallas). This year, the meetings are in Nashville,TN from December 3-6 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. Instead of getting into the ins and outs of the Meetings, this year I want to focus on an aspect that is going on at the meetings, but isn’t a part of them.
As part of work that I do forSports Management Worldwide, I’ve been privileged to help with lining up speakers for their Baseball Career Conference. Over the past few years, the likes of Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, Stan Kasten (now part owner, CEO and President of the Dodgers), and John Mozeliak, the Vice President and General Manager of the St. Louis Cardinals have been keynote speakers. The conference, which runs this year on Dec. 2-3, has also featured Jayson Stark and Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, Rob Neyer with SBNation, Cory Schwartz with MLB Advanced Media, Harold Reynolds of MLB Network, Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports and Baseball America, Craig Calcaterra of NBCSports.com, and yes, yours truly from Baseball Prospectus, Forbes, and here at The Biz of Baseball along with a host of others. While I’m somewhat biased, it’s becoming clear that the conference is becoming of the go-to places for the Winter Meetings each year.
This year will be no different. Adding to the top-notch keynote speakers prior, this year SMWW has lined up Hall of Famer and former Phillies, Blue Jays, Orioles, and Mariners GM, Pat Gillick to this year’s conference.
What’s interesting is that something that started with mostly students looking to break into the world of sports attending has grown into an interest by those in the industry. Schwartz was one of those a while back, members of Baseball Prospectus will be there, as do others, such as consultant and former Manager of Statistical Analysis for the Cubs, Ari Kaplan. Last year, Kaplan paid to attend, and is doing so again this year citing the variety of conference.
"The SMWW event is the best learning experience of the year for understanding how the entire baseball market works,” said Kaplan, who has worked with Fred Claire, Andy MacPhail, Jim Hendry, Tal Smith, Tim Purpura, Phil Garner, Kevin Kennedy, Frank Robinson, Roland Hemond, Joe McIlvaine, Jim Beattie, Bill Stoneman, David Littlefield, Dan Duquette, Kevin Malone, and others. “I enjoy hearing from a broad spectrum of presenters including executives, Front Office workers, scouts, players, agents, marketing, media. I've worked in MLB for 20 years and find this event fresh and unique."
So, if you’re planning on attending the Baseball Winter Meetings, and are there on Monday, you might want to check it out. I will be there, once again, to speak and listen. Every year I attend, I seem to learn a whole lot more.
Oct 31, 3:37pm ET - Rays update Oct 31, 3:15pm ET: With the Hot Stove already in full swing, clubs and players are engaged in exercising contract options. Here’s an update
The New York Mets have exercised their club option on R.A. Dickey for 2013 at $5 million. The club continues to work on potential multi-year extensions for both Dickey and David Wright.
The Baltimore Orioles have exercised their club option on Luis Ayala for 2013 for $1 million
The Kansas City Royals have declined their club option on Joakim Soria, who now becomes a free agent. Soria had a $750,000 buyout clause as part of his deal on the option year.
Rafael Soriano has opted out of his final year with the New York Yankees and is now a free agent.
The Cleveland Indians exercised their club option on Ubaldo Jimenez for 2013 for $5.75 million
The Cleveland Indians have declined the club option for Travis Hafner who is now a free agent.
The Cleveland Indians have declined the club option for Roberto Hernandez who is now a free agent.
The Tampa Bay Rays have exercised their club option on RHP James Shields for the 2013 season for $9 million. The Rays have one more option year on Shields’ contract for 2014 that if exercised would be $7 million, or a $2 million buyout.
The Tampa Bay Rays have exercised their club option on RHP Fernando Rodney for the 2013 season for $2.5 million.
The Tampa Bay Rays have exercised their club option on C Jose Molina for the 2013 season for $1.8 million.
The Tampa Bay Rays have declined their $6 million club option on DH Luke Scott for the 2013 season. Scott has a $1 million buyout clause and is now a free agent.