Andrew Zimbalist has an article in The New York Sun (subscription required) today about the economics of the Rodriguez trade:
The Yankees’ financial clout had next to nothing to do with landing A-Rod. Over the past month, the Yanks have rid themselves of nearly $10 million in salary obligations to two of the organization’s former third basemen — Aaron Boone and Drew Henson — along with the $5.4 million they would have paid Alfonso Soriano in 2004.
Add it all up, and the team has saved roughly the $15 million they will need to pay A-Rod. There’s also a $1 million deferred payment, but the balance is being handled by Texas owner Tom Hicks, who will pick up $67 million of the remaining $179 million on the last seven years of A-Rod’s contract. The point being that any team could have afforded to trade for A-Rod under such financial circumstances.
Not only that, but Rodriguez is going to make the Yankees a good deal of money to boot:
A-Rod’s appeal for Mr. Steinbrenner is clear. It is impossible to know with any precision, but the above numbers suggest that Rodriguez’s arrival may boost the Yankees’ local revenues somewhere around $20 million, and perhaps more. That’s the good news for Mr. Steinbrenner. The bad news is that under MLB’s new revenue sharing system, he will have to give approximately $8 million of that back to MLB.
Overall, the Yanks probably will pay revenue sharing and payroll luxury taxes to MLB of between $70 and $75 million in 2004. Mr. Henry in Boston will likely make payments in excess of $40 million. No wonder he’d prefer a salary cap to the present system.
Tim Marchman also has his latest column in The Sun today. Marchman praises the Dodgers for hiring Paul DePodesta. And while he's duly impressed with rational thinkers like DePodesta, Marchman points out that you might not necessarily want to hang out with them:
If I were in a bar and I overheard the fresh-faced, clean-cut De-Podesta talking about “implementing” anything, I’d grimace and edge my way to the other side of the room. It’s fashionable right now to decry the leathery old scout, and I’ve done it myself because I think that for a team to win in the modern game, it needs to value someone like DePodesta at least as much as that scout, and probably a great deal more.
But with whom would you rather have a drink? Who’s more engaged in the world, who’s more vivacious, and, to be honest, who is more interesting? The man who plays by his instincts and his experience and sizes up young athletes like a horsebuyer on the Kazakh plain? Or someone in a suit using words like “leverage”? There doesn’t seem to me to be much doubt. It looks like baseball is getting a good deal more efficient, and a great deal more boring.
In order to get the best of both worlds, the answer seems obvious enough. You've got to go down to Florida and have a beer with Earl Weaver.