Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Paying for the Future

Hope you enjoyed a large victory margin for the first time in a long time- all those runs we had scored in recent games were going to waste behind truly horrifying pitching performances. Luckily last night Radhames Liz hung on just long enough, and the bullpen played like it was April to give us the win. Tonight’s starter Garrett Olson has an ugly history in 2 starts against the Blue Jays. Let’s hope that’s an aberration. In the mean time, here is one issue that O's fans should keep an ear to...

The Sun is reporting that Nick Markakis and the Orioles were recently discussing a long-term deal but have for now cut off conversations on a new deal until after the season. Ownership needs to tangibly show a dedication not only to developing young players, but keeping them in Baltimore, even if it costs the $65-$70 million necessary to keep Markakis for another 5 years. As the Rays have done with Evan Longoria, the O’s should lock up their young players and save that payroll for the future. However, I am not too upset- I understand that the Orioles have years to resign Markakis and they need to be careful. What bothers me is that I still doubt whether Angelos will open up the purse in order to invest for the future.

He has allowed Andy MacPhail to make baseball decisions, but what about when it comes to his pocketbook? Angelos will very likely keep that "MASN money" we have been promised for years in his back pocket, and let the Orioles scuffle along trying to make due with his table scraps. The Twins and the Athletics are two teams that have a strong farm system and can make the playoffs most years but almost never win the World Series because they aren’t willing to pay their players when they need to. Teams can success on a miserly payroll- see Marlins and Rays. But when a player is as important on the field symbolicly important to the franchise as Nick Markakis is, you need to be able to "step up to the plate". Who is the face of the Rays? Evan Longoria, the young player they locked up for the future. Nick Markakis can be that face (and a more talented one) if the O's don't let him slip away.

It has yet to be seen whether Peter Angelos will sacrifice his own wealth to produce a winning product in the long run. So far, Angelos has been all about increasing his own wealth- he brought MacPhail on board only after fans stopped coming to the park and his own money was at risk. He hasn't cared about wins, only attendance and revenue. What reason do we have to think that when it comes time to pay all of these young players it will be any different? The players might be MacPhail's, but the money still belongs to the little man behind the curtain.
(Photo Credit: Doug Kapustin, Baltimore Sun)

No comments: