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Baseball; Big Markets vs. Small Markets

In all sports, there are the "haves" and the "have nots". Moneyball was well beyond its time and has proven to be a major part in the continued success of the Tampa Bay Rays and obviously the Oakland Athletics. They are small markets and are among the poorest teams in the landscape that is Major League Baseball. Their outlook on player evaluation has now become just about standard across the sport, which is kind of unfortunate because the "nerds" making decisions for the small market teams used to be the only advantage those organizations had against the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers.. Now those organizations have adopted this way of thinking and it has made the sport very top heavy. The Rays were able to appear in the World Series in 2020, but they had to trade their best pitcher Blake Snell (a Washington native) this offseason, because that is simply the way they do business. A valuable player on a relatively cheap contract can be flipped for a valuable package of prospects or even younger, cheaper major leaguers and provide a team with just a bit more payroll flexibility, which is how a team like Tampa Bay has to operate. Sustained periods of winning are extremely hard for small markets because the model of "drafting and developing" eventually meets a crossroads when the players they develop get their bite at the apple (free agency), and the team that gave them a chance by drafting said player almost always loses out when it comes to that players ensuing payday. This year, Trevor Bauer who just signed with the Dodgers will make more money himself than the entire Baltimore Orioles payroll.. (Bauer will earn $45 million) The Orioles are in the middle of a brutal rebuild sure but the optics of this fact are not a good thing for the state of baseball. Perhaps a salary "floor" would solve this problem, but the owners would very likely never sign off on such a rule, who are ultimately the ones running the league. I could go on forever about the problems in baseball, but I frankly don't have the energy nor interest in writing for that long. I would consume this sport no matter what I think is wrong with it.

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