michael bourn bravesIn what will hopefully be the final Taylor Family Illness 2013 introduction, it’s looking like The Wife and The Little Girl are going to recover well from their bouts of nastiness, and I have tentatively escaped its evil (and gross) grasp. The BN Podcast was not so lucky, however, as the familial illness torpedoed Sahadev’s and my reasonable recording options. So we’ll have to punt until early next week. Many apologies to the loyal listeners among you. And, for those who haven’t started listening yet, use this lull to get started. BOOM: I just used a family sickness to promote the podcast. Synergy! (And, since everyone seems to be OK now, I don’t feel bad about it.)

  • Who owns Chicago? Well, if a sample of sales from a particular official retailer is to be trusted, it’s the Bears, and it isn’t particularly close. Crain’s looked at sales from Thanksgiving to Christmas, Da Bears claimed five of the top ten selling pieces of Chicago sports gear, including the top two and three of the top five. The Bulls were next at numbers three and six, and the Cubs were next at four and ten. Maybe Cubs fans just don’t like apparel all that much? The two Cubs entries were the Cubs’ away batting practice tee-shirt and the Cubs’ basic hat.
  • Jeff Passan writes about one of the many unintended consequences of MLB’s new CBA: serious trouble for free agents who received qualifying offers. In the past, top free agents were offered arbitration by their former teams, and only the elite free agents who declined that offer would cost their new team a draft pick. Now, the players who’ve received “qualifying offers” (one year, $13.3 million) – mostly it is the upper level free agents – and sign with a new team will cost their new team a draft pick in either the first or second round. Sounds pretty much the same, yes? It sure hasn’t played out that way, as the Michael Bourns, Rafael Sorianos, Adam LaRoches, and Kyle Lohses have had troubled finding a large market for their services. So, what changed? The Draft changed. In the past, if a team lost its first rounder to sign Michael Bourn, they could still spend as much as they wanted in the later rounds to get talent that slipped, and even things out for themselves. Now, picks are assigned a slot value as part of the team’s Draft bonus pool – and if you lose the pick, you lose the money. In other words, signing a top free agent is now much more costly than it was in the past for clubs who didn’t mind spending way overslot later in the Draft. Now they can’t do that, and the first and second round draft picks are much more valuable. It’s a crappy situation for those free agents, and for teams that are willing to spend heavily on the amateur side (which includes both large and small market clubs).
  • Derrick Goold takes on the same topic, and it’s a good read, too. All very informative, and very relevant to the Cubs as they project to be a team considering some bigger name free agents next year.
  • A side effect of that unintended consequence? Players who project to receive qualifying offers are going to love being traded in the final year of their contract, because then their next team isn’t subject to losing a draft pick/bonus pool money. And the player will receive the benefit of that with a healthier contract than he might otherwise have received.
  • The Cleveland Indians just got a new TV deal: 10 years, $400 million. By most estimates, the Cubs’ TV take is around $50 million per year. Once again, you see how hamstrung the Cubs are if they are to be considered a “large market” team.
  • Terence Moore touches on the reason the Steroid Era has always bothered me so much: the numbers. More than any other sport, baseball is all about the numbers.
  • The progeny of Tinkers.


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