SBD/December 8, 2011/Franchises

MLB Franchise Notes: Giants Quiet In Offseason With Eye Toward Future Spending

In San Jose, Tim Kawakami noted the Giants have "failed to add a truly significant bat up to this point of the winter," which is "not what fans want to hear from a franchise that sold out every seat in the house last season." One could "argue that the Giants are rolling in dough and that ownership surely can afford to lift the payroll above $130M without too much sweat." But ownership could "point out that $130M is a lift over last year, and that last year was a major lift over the almost $100M World Series payroll, which even then was in the top third of baseball’s financial tier." In three years, the Giants "will have gone from a payroll of about $97M to $130M -- a 25% jump, which is no small change by any measurement." The team's ownership group "is dedicated to keeping the Giants’ pitching core together, and it knows that this will take a lot of money for now and for the future" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 12/7).

FOR THE BIRDS: The GLOBE & MAIL's James Christie noted the Blue Jays "have said they will spend dollars -- big dollars -- when the time is right." But for now, they are "playing financial small-ball and have gone into baseball’s winter meetings with a miserly mindset." They have a payroll "reported at $70-million, and it could rise -- but probably not enough to sign" free agent 1B Prince Fielder. If he reached a deal with the Jays, Fielder "would have to boost attendance beyond the average of 22,500 where it sits now to make it financially palatable." GM Alex Anthopoulos must "convince the Jays to pry open the purse strings or agent Scott Boras has to ease up his contact demands for Fielder." Christie: "Neither looks likely to happen" (THEGLOBEANDMAIL.com, 12/7).

NEW ERA IN NEW YORK: SportsNet N.Y.'s Chris Carlin said of the Mets, "What message does it send if they start shopping David Wright? It doesn't [send] a good one to your fans. ... When you really go ahead and think about trading David Wright, then you are just completely and publicly packing it in. That's not something the Mets are doing right now, and that's not something that you can sell to the fans" ("Loud Mouths," SportsNet N.Y., 12/6). The N.Y. Daily News' Frank Isola said of the Mets' losing SS Jose Reyes to the Marlins, "There is no salvaging the off-season when you let your best player just walk. They clearly didn't want him. They clearly want to rebuild." The N.Y. Daily News' Anthony McCarron said Mets GM Sandy Alderson "has to sell some tickets to everyone out there. ... He's got to make sure that it doesn't go back to the '70s when there were 5,000 people in the stands" ("Daily News Live," SportsNet New York, 12/6).

BATTLE OF THE BAY: In San Jose, Mark Purdy notes two "recent developments -- a pointed comment by a powerful baseball owner and a lawsuit filed by a front group for the San Francisco Giants' interests -- seem to indicate that [MLB Commissioner Bud] Selig and MLB are leaning toward a San Jose solution to the A's" ballpark problem. White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf said he was "totally supportive" of A's Owner Lew Wolff pursuing a new ballpark in San Jose. Purdy notes Reinsdorf is "not only one of MLB's longest-tenured proprietors but also one of the most powerful, known to have Selig's ear" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 12/8).
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