Monthly Archives: July 2016

Money Ball

moneyNBA owners played with house money last week and the results were astonishing.

Awash in new TV money, the league upped it’s salary cap from $70 million to $94.1 million for the coming year, and the money was burning a hole in the pockets of the owners.

In the first 96 hours of the free agency period, NBA teams committed close to $3 billion (yep, Billion, with a “B”) toward contracts with free agents. That’s nearly $9,000 a second spent. Every second. For four straight days.

It’s one thing for the Golden State Warriors to give big bucks to come to the bay area, but what about some of the other deals that were made. Timofey Mozgov got $64 mil over for years from the Lakers. Yes, that’s the same Timofey Mozgov who played a total of 25 minutes in the Cavaliers 7 game championship run. But Mozgov’s is not the only contract that raised eyebrows, and tax brackets.

Hassan Whiteside made a mere $980,000 this season. His new deal to stay in Miami: $98 million over 4 years. Undrafted guard, Tyler Johnson, went from the D League to signing a deal with the Heat for $50 million over 4 years. Nicholas Batum got 5 years, $120 million to go to Charlotte. Kent Bazemore  pocketed 4 years, $70 million to stay with Atlanta. And on it went.

SB Nation has a full rundown of the lunacy here: http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2016/6/30/12052290/nba-free-agent-signings-tracker-2016-rumors

Money was flying around like a monopoly game. The spending was like Imelda Marcos buying shoes. At some point you’d think someone would take away the credit card, wouldn’t you?

So when you follow your favorite NBA team in the coming season, you might feel for a guy like Festus Ezeli, who left the Warriors for Portland for the paltry sum of $15 million. Poor guy will only reel in $7.5 mil this season. That’s just $91K per game, or about $5K per minute… which is a little less than what the owners spent in their 4 days shopping spree.

Hope he knows how to stretch a dollar.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Independence Day Bobby Bonilla!

You may have missed it amidst all of the Fourth of July weekend activities, but did you know that the New York Mets sent a check for more than $1 million last Friday to a 53-year-old, who last played in the majors 15 years ago.

Yep, former slugger Bobby Bonilla was jettisoned by the Mets back in 2001. Yet, for Bobby Bo, every July 1 is his own personal independence day…. at least for the next 19 years.

All of this is the work of Bonilla’s agent, Dennis Gilbert, who negotiated a deal similar to an annuity payout in 2000. The Mets owed Bonilla $5.9 million for the 2000 season and no longer wanted him on the roster. So Gilbert negotiated an 8% annual interest rate to that money. With the clock starting in 2000, the total adds up to $29.8 million. The first installment came in 2011. Every July 1, through 2035, when he will be 72, Bonilla will go to his mailbox and find a check from the New York Mets for $1,193,248.20. Not a bad stroll.

bonilla

In fact, Bonilla is paid more annually than most of the Mets’ young stud pitchers. Noah Syndergaard, Jacob DeGrom and Steven Matz all make half of the check Bonilla deposited last week. Such is the economics of baseball.

And now we know why Bobby Bo is smiling.

 

A Simple Game of Pitch and Catch… or Catch and Pitch

Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Erik Kratz.

The journeyman major leaguer is now the answer to a baseball trivia question.

Ten days ago, Kratz became the first player since 1879 to pitch AND catch for two different major league teams in a single season.

On June 21, the Pirates catcher tossed a scoreless inning after being forced into relief in Pittsburgh’s 15-4 loss to the San Francisco Giants. He allowed two hits, but finished the inning unscathed, and even struck out Brandon Belt. Two months earlier, Kratz took the mound for the Houston Astros to finish out an 11-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners.  In that one,  he allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits. The Astros. The Astros released him in late May, and after a brief stop with the Angels, Kratz was on to Pittsburgh where he made baseball history. Anyone who is the first to do something in 137 years is, well, pretty cool, don’t you think?

usat-erik-kratz-pirates    Erik_Kratz_on_June_15,_2016

Baseball is chock full of Erik Kratzes. Nondescript players by most accounts who end up as historical footnotes. And, perhaps, like cerebral catchers who end up as big league managers (See Mike Scioscia, Mike Matheny, Bruce Bochy, Kevin Cash, John Gibbons, etal).

The moral of the story? If your son wants to be a big leaguer, tell him to be a catcher.