For your Friday afternoon …
- The New York Yankees are reportedly set to pay $29.1 million *in luxury tax alone* this year, which is a record. The Dodgers will also be paying luxury tax (just about $10 million, since they are a first time “offender,” and the rate at which you’re taxed escalates for each successive year of overage). That Yankees figure is truly staggering when you consider that it could top the final payroll figure of the Houston Astros. Just imagine the free agent talent you could get for $29 million in a single season – that’s what the Yankees are paying in tax. Hell, that’s more than what the Cubs spent in 2013 for their Edwin Jackson, Scott Feldman, Scott Baker, and Nate Schierholtz signings. Must be nice.
- Alex Rodriguez is “the face of baseball,” according to 22% of fans surveyed for the purposes of allocating such a designation. Without getting into the problems of surveys like this (to ESPN’s credit, they did try to break down “casual” fans versus “avid” fans), we’re left to wonder just what each respondent meant by “face of baseball.” Is selecting Rodriguez the product of media attention? Is the response meant to be a shot at MLB for the continued steroid issues? Is it just a Yankee thing? For his part, Jayson Stark turns the conversation into one about baseball’s failure to effectively market its young stars. It’s a good read.
- Jeff Passan with 32 things about baseball.
- Minnesota Twins center field prospect Byron Buxton is Baseball America’s Prospect of the Year. He’s quite awesome, so it’s deserved.
- Wladimir Balentien is doing ridiculous things in Japan right now, including hitting a homer on a 93mph fastball (off a guy believed to be MLB-caliber) at eye-level. Like, legit eye-level. FanGraphs being FanGraphs digs into whether that’s something that’s ever really happened before. Spoiler Alert: Corey Patterson sighting!
- Also, yesterday, Balentien tied the single season homer record in Japan with his 55th blast, a record currently held jointly by Sadaharu Oh, Alex Cabrera, and (yes!) Tuffy Rhodes. With 21 games left in the season, the new record will be his. Apparently there is a new baseball being used in Japan this year, which has dramatically increased home runs.
- If I’m understanding the argument correctly, MLB has an issue with a federal law that allows cable providers and satellite providers to import local TV signals without consent from the original copyright holder (i.e., a cable company could import and broadcast a Fox MLB game on your “cable” version of FOX without paying MLB or FOX for those rights). In other words, MLB wants to be able to charge cable providers for including broadcasts of MLB games that are otherwise being shown over-the-air (think antennae) on a local channel like FOX. I guess they’re probably right, since cable companies/satellite providers are profiting from being able to include for users their local channels. Interesting issue. I’d need to do some thinking on this one.