Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Padres Are A Living Argument For Relegation

Found Footage
So in case you weren't still paying attention to baseball -- and honestly, outside of Cub Fan, who could blame you? -- the Padres completed a massive talent dump this weekend by passing off OF Matt Kemp to Atlanta for 3B/OF Hector Olivera.

Which would be utterly unworthy of comment, if it weren't for the fact that:

1) Kemp is still something of a tolerable player, given that home run power is still relatively rare, and while he isn't quick enough to be very good at defense any more, he's not a butcher out there.

2) The Padres are just going to release Olivera, who has PR issues, and pocket the extra 8 figures of salary that they are able to skirt, between what is owed to Kemp and what is owed to Olivera.

Why Atlanta wants Kemp is left to debate -- maybe they've got a better line on an American League team that could actually use him as the RH DH that he's probably best suited to be now -- but that's neither here nor there. What is germane is the fact that the Pods have parted with nearly a dozen men this year who can play major league baseball to some proficiency, for not all that much in return... mostly so they can pay as little as humanly possible in salary.

This is where you can feel OK about the sport, because whenever an MLB team undergoes a massive salary dump, they issue refunds to season ticket holders, cut the cost of concessions and parking, and refuse to cash in those checks from national television contracts and revenue sharing.

Oh, wait, sorry -- they don't do anything of the sort. Instead, they will turn the money into liquid assets, then fill pools with it, and take a Scrooge McDuck style bath. (Which is probably painful, given that gold coins are cold and hard, but maybe when you are a giant greed bucket and perpetrator of fraud, perhaps the normal rules of physics and skincare do not apply.)

Modern life being what it is, with increasingly short attention spans, Trumpian inability to succumb to public shaming, and the recent example of Houston ripping off fans for years before drafting their way into prominence, it's unlikely that the Pods are going to suffer any great PR drop from these actions. Kemp's not that good of a player, or a guy that's likely to still be in the league in five years. Maybe some of the flotsam and jetsam they get back from these trades work out, or the draft picks from sucking turn into real assets.

But what's being missed here is that teams are becoming more and more cavalier about not trying to win games. In other countries and other leagues, this is fixed with relegation and promotion. In the U.S., it's fixed... not at all.

And the first league that actually does this will stop the bottom feeders from cashing in on revenue sharing, increase ratings and interest for the bottom quartile of the league that now has no reason at all to watch games...

And give themselves the perfect out from the moron owners and bad actors that they've been propping up for no good reason at all.

So... relegation now? Please?

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