Major League Baseball bumbles long on path to strike

Major League Baseball has exposed itself.

Again.

How else do you explain the lack of movement in the big-money free-agent market this offseason?

Look at the list of remaining free agents.

This is a rock-solid lineup: Marwin Gonzalez 2B; Manny Machado SS; Mike Moustakas 3B; Adam Jones OF; Bryce Harper OF; Matt Weiters C; Dallas Keuchel SP; Gio Gonzalez SP; Craig Kimbrel RP. Yes, there’s a hole at first base, but this list is an absolute indictment of MLB teams and their front office focus.

Clearly, winning is not on the agenda. It certainly does not matter.

Cash. Money. Profits. Now you’re talking in MLB.

A ship that continues to take on water and is listing in all markets not named Boston, New York, LA or Chicago (North Side) must be called on for this egregious change in course.

I heard one Boston sports radio wag this week blame analytics for this phenomenon, that stat folks indicate that paying big money free agents does not make sense in this current era of big league baseball.

Apparently, these sabermetricians took the 2018 season off, perhaps on some special research assignment, trying to quantify the value of the left-legged punter in football or discussing whether the bars on a goalie’s mask should be widened by two millimeters, so to improve the goalie’s peripheral vision incrementally. But I digress.

I believe the most important statistic in the game remains constant, and no, it’s not WAR (wins above replacement for you laymen, god bless you).

The ones stat that matters most is wins.

And the greatest “winner” of 2018 was your Boston Red Sox, who bought, er won, a world championship with a payroll larger than the GDP of 26 third-world nations (sarcasm, for effect, not factual).

Spending cash should be in vogue. If the MLB needs to figure out how to do it, talk to my wife, although I’m pretty sure Machado can’t be purchased on Amazon.

It’s not just the Sox, who spent $230 million or so in winning the crown.

Baseball’s top four teams, the Sox, Astros ($164 million), Yankees ($180 million) and Dodgers ($200 million) had top-10 payrolls in 2018.

Sadly, winning isn’t important anymore. Baseball in the bigs has morphed into a giant cash cow with greedy owners stripping away from the product at the edges while milking profits from a grotesque TV contract.

Ticket sales don’t matter in four-fifths of the markets. Neither do beers guzzled or hot dogs consumed. Maximizing profits kicks, baby.

Don’t shed a tear for these players, currently sitting on the unemployment line.

At some point, Harper will find a home, just not at the $350 million he might have once expected, probably closer to somewhere between $150-200 million. Poor boy.

JD Martinez found out the brutal reality of a down market when the Sox pulled him off the street to the tune of three years, just $75 million last March.

Even your hero, “Everybody Loves” Mookie Betts. When his free-agent bonanza year hits after 2020, he’ll make $200 million, not the $400 million we all assumed would be the number.

Tough stones, eh? Mookie’s great-great-great-great-great grandchildren could seriously feel the ripple effects of the downswing, if global warming hasn’t scorched them to a crisp by then.

The baseball consumers, you and I, are again set to be the victims, brutalized by another summer of relentless Red Sox poundings over teams with a quarter of the payroll because ownership “can’t afford” the talent.

I know spring training has barely begun. Opening Day remains several weeks away. Do me a favor. Wake me in October when the only real baseball season left actually begins.

Contact Hector Longo at 594-1253 or hlongo@nashuatelegraph.com.