The fans are more excited about youth than ever before, writes Grant Brisbee of SB Nation. That’s good news for the owners, as they’re getting rich off the youth movement flooding this era of baseball. Young players are cheap, and Brisbee points out why that matters in an example featuring the Astros’ World Series lineup. Their first five hitters were George Springer, Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel; the latter made about $5MM more in 2017 than the first four combined. Having elite young talent under control on relatively cheap salaries allows teams the financial flexibility to fill a few holes en route to a championship-caliber roster. As Brisbee notes, player salaries are determined more by circumstance than by talent nowadays, describing this fact as “the secret of baseball, the only part of Moneyball that really matters.” After seeing proof of concept from the Cubs and Astros in recent years, fans are actually getting excited about rebuilds and trades for prospects, which means ownership has less of a reason to spend money on players that Brisbee describes as “just a guy” types. This quote from his piece describes it best: “Prospects aren’t just future major leaguers; they’re memorable seasons and postseason runs that haven’t happened yet.”
A few more market-related items…
- Jim Bowden of The Athletic confirms in a tweet that the Braves, Diamondbacks and Cardinals have all checked in on free agent reliever Greg Holland. However, none of them feel as though they can be competitive financially based on the right-hander’s current asking price. Bowden suggests that Holland should take the best offer on the table. With less than a week left until opening day, it’s hard to argue that point.
- Jayson Werth is still looking to continue his career, as he tells Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The 38-year-old is currently working out and waiting for someone to give him an opportunity. He’s coming off a season in which he hit just .226/.322/.393 and missed nearly three months due to a toe injury, though he still managed double-digit homers in half a season’s worth of plate appearances. The fact that his walk rate has been above 10% in every season of his career could also make him worth a look.
- Werth could be a good fit in theory for the Rays. The club is still on the lookout for a right-handed hitter who can play the outfield, according Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Jose Bautista and Melky Cabrera represent the top remaining options on the free agent market. Players like Domingo Santana and Hunter Renfroe could potentially be had in a trade, though neither of them would come cheap.