Alex Rodriguez: 10 years/$275 million
C.C. Sabathia: seven years/$161 million
Mark Teixeira: eight years/$180 million
What do these players have in common?
If you said that they now play for the New York Yankees, you would be correct. You would also be correct if your answer was that they are all represented by agent Scott Boras. But the number one answer has to be, that they are instruments in the demise of Major League Baseball.
Scott Boras has a long history of driving up the prices and getting top dollar for his clients, which is why he has so many players on his client roster. The New York Yankees have a long history of paying whatever it takes to obtain the best players possible, but at what point is enough enough?
It is becoming more and more difficult for smaller market teams to have any shot at all, to sign super-star caliber players. Why go play for the Pittsburgh Pirates, or Baltimore Orioles, or Kansas City Royals when you can go and make three times the money and play for a year in year out contender? The answer is simple. You don't.
These teams can not be expected to be competitive organizations when the three of them combined, have payrolls half as small as the Yankees. Sure the argument can be made that the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, 2003 Florida Marlins, and 2002 Anaheim Angels all won without massive payrolls but let's be honest.
All three of these teams were total flukes. Neither the Marlins or Angels even made the playoffs in the year following their championships and now that the Yankees have the top three highest paid players in the league and the two best free agents on the market, 2009 isn't looking so good for the Rays.
Something needs to be done that can somehow make the small market teams competitive. Sure the revenue sharing idea is fine, but it just isn't enough. The only thing that can right the ship, is a salary cap.
It has worked well for the NBA and the NFL, so why can't it work for Major League Baseball? It can work, but Bud Selig doesn't want it to work. Unless the Yankees are in the World Series, there is no interest and the television ratings plummet and when the ratings go down, the league doesn't make as much money.
Players, agents, and even MLB executives are under the spell of the all mighty dollar and as sad as it is, this will never change. So congratulations to Scott Boras on his multi-million dollar commission check, congratulations to the New York Yankees and the Steinbrenner family on buying yet another string of championships, and congratulations Bud Selig on your October 2009 World Series ratings, and a collective congratulations to all of you for ruining the "sport" that we love so much.