The 2012 baseball season is approaching, if ever so slowly, and at this festive time of year there is something on everyone’s Christmas list. This is especially true for the 30 general managers who run Major League Baseball. Some have long lists with not much money to spend, others have short lists with lots of money to spend and some have already finished their shopping. There are also three franchise problems which would be a nice Christmas gift for the respective fans this year. Here’s what should be on their lists.
Ownership situations need to be resolved. Franchise locations need to be resolved. It can’t be business as usual without a solution, a solution which, while it didn’t come in time for Christmas, might get done during the holidays or early in the New Year.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, a once storied franchise, need to find responsible ownership. It continues to be unresolved, and no doubt court cases might still be pending. Baseball needs to ensure that any new ownership is financially sound, morally focused and free from past restrictions. Commissioner Selig and former owner Frank McCourt need to step aside and let those not quite so emotionally involved find a solution which would be good for baseball and everyone involved. Los Angeles needs to be restored as a storied franchise. Let’s bury the hatchet but learn from past mistakes.
The New York Mets ownership needs to step aside finally. Fred Wilpon doesn’t have the money or is unwilling to sell his various other financial interests to make the Mets a solid franchise again. Baseball needs to force his hand and not allow this situation to drag out any longer. While the dodgers have received most of the negative publicity while the Mets have been largely given a free ride by the press, push now has to come to shove. There must be more than qualified potential owners out there. Let’s insist that one of them be allowed to take over this franchise. Baseball doesn’t need the distraction.
It seems that the Oakland A’s situation is moving closer to resolution. San Jose is ready and willing and some financial consideration for the San Francisco Giants to get them to drop their objections to territorial rights is likely all that is standing in the way. GM Billy Beane has been tearing apart the A’s with his recent fire sale, (although he is getting a good return for his veterans), and not moving this franchise would negate all of his plans and further drive Oakland attendance downward. It is the obvious solution and one which would appear to have all the makings of a successful franchise. While I feel for those loyal A’s fans, they would still have a team. San Jose isn’t that far away.
Someone needs to find Prince Fielder nicely wrapped under the tree. Use the Christmas layaway plan if necessary but sign on the dotted line. Max out those credit cards. The Marlins, Nationals or Blue Jays have the money and have the need. Time is running out and there are not many star free agents left on the shelf. You know you’ve always wanted to own a high performance machine. Think of how envious all your friends will be despite what they might be telling their friends. They will all be jealous, trust me. There are approximately 24 other free agents out there, none in ultra premium category, but they all could fill a need somewhere.
The Los Angeles Angels have finished their Christmas shopping. It appears that the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have finished theirs. Tampa Bay needs a first baseman, The Chicago Cubs need everyone but a number one starting pitcher and teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, Baltimore Orioles and San Diego Padres need a lot of everything can’t attract or perhaps afford the big ticket items. Their Christmas lists go, for the most part, unfilled. They can’t, or won’t shop in the big stores but keep scouring the local corner stores, hoping that something good is still on the shelf, it ever was.
Major League Baseball: My advice is to wrap up any remaining shopping and relax in front of the tree with a nice glass of wine and a warm fire. Merry Christmas everyone and have a great New Year. The countdown to Spring Training will begin tomorrow.