Every-Thing Sports

How to fix MLB's "broken" system

Rob Carr/Getty Images

My affinity for the game of baseball goes back to the late '80s. Most of my fondest sports memories and obsessions trace themselves back to that time. I was the kid who wanted to know everything about anything I was interested in, and sports was at the forefront of my inquisitive beginnings.

I remember the Bash Brothers in Oakland, Orel Hershiser's '88 season, and the Reds ending the A's dynasty (as well as Rob Dibble and Chris Sabo's speeches at their celebration). My favorite team back then were those Braves' teams of the '90s. We moved to Atlanta the summer of '91 in the midst of them going worst to first and beginning their run.

As I grew older, I began to look into the business side of things in sports. Contracts, their structure, salary caps, team revenue streams, etc. Whatever I could read about or research, I found fascinating. Keep in mind, this was just before and during the internet boom. I didn't have quality internet access until I was a freshman in college.

One thing that has stood out to me is the fact that baseball players have the highest average salaries of all major pro sports in this country. They play a 162-game schedule, plus playoffs, over a seven month period. Playing almost everyday is tough, but it isn't as physically demanding as football, or as fast-paced as basketball.

Over the last few offseasons, baseball has seen a switch in philosophy. No longer are teams backing up the Brinks truck and giving free agents a blank check. Top stars like J.T. Martinez, Jake Arrieta, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado have all found themselves without the deals they were expecting heading into spring training. Part of the reason is that baseball is no longer as popular, therefore no longer as profitable, as it was years ago when guys like Alex Rodriguez could get multiple $200 million-dollar plus contracts.

Another reason is the obviously more team-favorable system when it comes to players under team control. I have a proposal to help fix baseball's broken system:

Players are placed under team control for at least six years on an active 25-man roster. Teams will often hold players down in the minors, or stashed on the 40-man roster, until they feel they're ready to start their six year clock in the big leagues. Prime example locally is George Springer. He won't be a true free agent until he's 31. I propose teams sign their drafted rookies to similar deals like the NBA and NFL have. A simple four or five year deal, with team options for the fifth or sixth year seems logical. However, if the player is still in the minors or not, the team would have to resign him to a new deal. This eliminates the team from stashing the player and holding off his 25-man roster clock. This also rewards the player for working hard and getting to the big leagues sooner rather than later.

Teams will benefit under this system if they're able to sign a player to a long term extension before or after his rookie deal is up, but before he prices himself out of their budget. Smaller market teams would have a better chance to retain their players, rather than losing them upon hitting free agency. An example of this is when the Rays signed Evan Longoria to a six-year deal a few years before he was set to be a free agent instead of going to arbitration. Many were shocked he took the deal, but he bet on himself and the team bet on him living up to an early deal.

This was a mere conversation starter about a sport I feel that could be on the verge of losing its place in our sporting pantheon. Baseball is a game that needs more help that it's willing to admit. Soccer is itching to take baseball's place. It's growing like weeds and prone to take over if baseball doesn't weed and feed it's lawn.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

McCullers Jr. out-pitched friend and former teammate Dallas Keuchel on Father's Day. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With three impressive wins to start this series against the once AL-leading Chicago White Sox, Houston tried to extend their winning streak to seven games and finish a four-game sweep on Father's Day. Thanks to a big inning against former-Astro Dallas Keuchel, they would win to keep their hot streak going.

Final Score: Astros 8, White Sox 2

Astros' Record: 43-28, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (4-1)

Losing Pitcher: Dallas Keuchel (6-2)

Rough return to Houston for Keuchel

In his first game against his old squad, Dallas Keuchel would not have a memorable start on the mound for Chicago. Houston made him labor in the first inning, loading the bases though they only came away with one run on an RBI single by Abraham Toro, grabbing the early 1-0 lead. After going down 1-2-3 in the second, they got after Keuchel again in the third.

They ended up batting around against him that inning, including a two-RBI single by Yordan Alvarez, RBI double by Taylor Jones, and bases-loaded RBI-walk by Jose Altuve, which would end Keuchel's day very early and leave the bases juiced. Chicago's bullpen would walk another batter to give Keuchel another earned run, making it a 6-2 game, with all six going against the former Houston ace. Carlos Correa extended the lead to five runs in the next inning, hitting a leadoff solo home run to make it 7-2.

McCullers Jr. gives up two over six

That gave Lance McCullers Jr. a nice lead to work with, and he managed it well. He had one big mistake in the early goings of the game, giving up a one-out single in the second to set up a two-run home run, which at the time put Chicago in front 2-1 before Houston's offense came alive. He followed that up with four scoreless innings, erasing a walk in each with some tremendous defense behind him—his final line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 94 P.

Astros complete the sweep to jump on top of the standings

Still a six-run game in the top of the seventh, Blake Taylor entered as the first reliever out of Houston's bullpen, tossing a 1-2-3 frame. He continued in the top of the eighth, getting two strikeouts in another scoreless inning. The 8-2 score would go final as Ralph Garza Jr. would enter as the third pitcher of the day to wrap things up with a scoreless top of the ninth to finish the four-game sweep. The win, their seventh straight, paired with an Oakland loss earlier in the afternoon, moves Houston into the top spot in the AL West based on winning percentage.

Up Next: This long stretch of consecutive games continues on Monday in Baltimore, as the Astros pick up a seven-game road trip starting with a three-game set against Baltimore getting underway at 6:05 PM Central. Jake Odorizzi (1-3, 5.68 ERA) will get the start for Houston, going opposite of Keegan Akin (0-2, 5.76 ERA) for the Orioles.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome