Perhaps the biggest thing holding back a new collective bargaining agreement from happening is the luxury tax threshold. It has not at all grown with the increased revenues in the game and teams by-and-large use it as a de factor salary cap, with only two teams topping it last season while another handful of teams were within a few million of it. The players have been asking for it to go up quite a bit. On the ownership side they’ve basically been asking for it to remain the same as it was.

On Thursday it was reported by Andy Martino of SNY that four owners didn’t want the luxury tax number to go up even a penny. Major League Baseball, however, offered to raise it by $10M to $220,000,000. Evan Drellich of The Athletic reported overnight who those four owners were – Bob Castellini, Chris Ilitch (Tigers), Ken Kendrick (Diamondbacks), and Arte Moreno (Angels).

In order to get to an agreement the owners need 23 of the 30 to vote yes. While we can’t know for sure if these four would actually vote no on a deal if it did include a higher than $210,000,000 luxury tax number, the signs certainly point to it that they would. And if that’s correct, that means that the deal that gets baseball back is going to have to mean the ownership side of things can only lose three more owners over all other topics being discussed and included.

That’s a pretty big ask. And it shows that this isn’t just owners versus players in this negotiation. It’s owners versus owners versus players. While the players probably have some differences in the ranks about what is important and what’s far less important, there seems to be a much stronger collective idea of what they want than what it appears the owners want. Baseball can get by with no votes from those four owners, but if they are truly hardlined on a no vote on any rise to the luxury tax threshold it severely complicates making a deal with the players.

79 Responses

  1. CI3J

    You mean to tell me Skinflint Bob is against giving players more money? Bob “Payroll Align To Resources” Castellini? Say it ain’t so!

    But honestly, why does Bob care? It’s not like he’ll ever spend anything close to approaching the luxury tax threshold. And obviously he doesn’t care how much money players make, as he’ll just cut anyone who is too expensive. And he obviously doesn’t care about competing.

    So seriously, what reason would Bob have to oppose this other than just pure spite toward the players?

    • SultanofSwaff

      Agreed. He’ll never approve a payroll that large and the resistance to adding significant salary/talent at the trade deadlines shows he’s unserious about competing, so what does it matter? I guess his franchise quadrupling in value is too precious to take a single year payroll hit of a few million. The result–all we Reds fans can do is hope to catch lightning in a bottle.

      Like I’ve said before, the price of poker. Ante up or sell the team.

      • Tom Reeves

        Sell to who?

        Maybe the next owner is far worse.

        He’s making the best decision for the long term sustainability of the reds.

      • greenmtred

        He’s making, possibly, the best decisions for his own comfort level. The best decisions for the long-term sustainability of the Reds would involve making the team more competitive. That would almost certainly involve spending more money.

    • BK

      There pretty good explanations in yesterday’s post of why the CBT Threshold drives a lot of the behaviors we all complain about. In short, if gives a structural advantage to larger market teams by allowing them to essentially corner the market on the best free agents.

      A very casual look at the top contracts in MLB will show you the vast majority on just a few teams–the players are becoming increasingly unaffordable to smaller market teams.

      This is also why 75% of the World Series teams come from the top 12 franchises in terms of revenues–we could just let the large market teams play with 4 outfielders or 5 infielders if we all like a rigged system.

      It’s also pretty clear that the CBT levels largely help only the elite players AND they are still doing great. MLB players DOMINATE the top contracts in sports in terms of total value and average annual value. As the top contracts have continued to get better and better, teams have learned that the second tier free agents may not be worth close to what the elite players are.

      The current thresholds are WAY HIGHER than the salary thresholds in the NBA and NFL. (see yesterday’s thread for the data).

      The CBT is a big reason why a few teams have cut their payrolls to the bare bones which in turn hurst mid-level free agents and mid-level players during the arbitrations years.

      Read the article where Ryan Zimmerman explains why a $300M+ contract offer to Juan Soto made as we entered his arbitration window was unattractive (see the link in yesterday’s thread). The reason, Soto might earn up to $400M or $500M if he waits 3 years. Those ever-growing contracts are the holy grail for MLBPA. Seven of the 8 players on MLBPA’s negotiating team have contracts in the top 10 percent of MLB. Five of the 8 are Scott Boras clients who reps a big swath of the largest contract players and directly benefits from a system that allows him to collect ever-increasing commissions.

      The NHL, NFL and NBA have a different model that yields more competition AND a larger share of their league’s revenue pie than MLB players get AND promotes collaboration between players and owners as they all benefit by growing revenues.

      • Alex

        Funny how the smart teams like the rays and A’s aren’t on that list. Just some dumb teams like the reds and angels and d bags. As if Bob would ever spend that amount of money anyway. As if he’d ever spend it correctly if he did. Base your problems soley on money if you want. The reds are run poorly from a baseball perspective, as are many of these suppose ‘poor’ teams that can’t compete cause of market size.

      • BK

        @Alex, I don’t think it’s realistic for the CBT to stay fixed, even if I do believe it would actually help both sides. I just don’t think MLBPA could stand the “optics”. The big free agent contracts in MLB are their calling card.

        I wouldn’t read into this vote that other teams like the Rays or A’s like the CBT at its current level. Whether the team is run well or not doesn’t change the structural advantage the CBT at its current or higher level gives to larger market teams.

        I agree that the Reds have made some strategic blunders–entered their last rebuilding phase later than optimal (hosting the All-star game likely had an impact on that decision), falling in love with fun but unproductive players (Billy Hamilton), etc. The fact is even if optimally run, the Reds will run through cycles of competitiveness because they are at a resource disadvantage that is real and sizeable.

    • AllTheHype

      No CI3J, Castellini is against the disparity in baseball that allows large market teams to spend EVEN MORE than they do currently. At what break point of spending do teams like the Reds just throw in the towel and say, forget it, we can’t compete in this environment so we’ll just focus on making a profit? I mean, we’re already there with a lot of small market teams.

      • RedBB

        This…..MLB needs a hard cap just like every other sport has.

      • VegasRed

        Maybe this explains why the reds brought back the perfect field manager for a tank job—David bell folks!

        The king of “happy talk.”

    • Tar Heel Red

      The CBT that baseball has now ($214M) already heavily favors large market teams. If the players get their way and the CBT goes up by a minimum of $24M it makes it easier for the large market teams to spend basically whatever they want to sign a premium player. A small market team doesn’t have the same financial means that a large market team does, meaning they cannot spend on a level playing field as a large market team. No surprise the players want to widen the gap because it means a huge difference to their contracts.

      • Grand Salami

        Exactly. When they were talking about raising thresholds that at least three teams in the reds division could never hope to hit, even if they wanted to – then that’s a problem.

        NFL cap model breeds competition and raise the floor to help all players in the league. A league that allows teams to range in spending from $45 million to $250 million isn’t much a league at all!

    • Still a Red

      I’m not sure that’s the logic at play. If the luxury tax is increased, more teams are free to out-payroll the Reds w/o getting taxed. The tax goes to benefit the Reds. It’s not that he’s afraid of being taxed.

    • MuddyCleats

      Great Article – thanks!

      So again while the Millionaire Players and Millionaire Owners argue over their share of known Millions, what R the players, Owners and MLB doing to promote baseball at the local level where most people who attend and watch MLB games work, live and play? To b fair, they help make Minor League Baseball possible and have developed several youth academies in large Metro areas. However, much more is needed and all those groups should be able to help more IF those groups still want FANS to watch and support their sport. If sides were smart, I think they would consider how to accomplish this. Why not take a % of known revenue and place it in a Baseball Tomorrow Fund? Then again, it may be one strike too many; it may be too late for a lot of FANS who will no longer support MLB?

      • Droslovinia

        Not to debate your great point, but it’s “billionaire owners.” They’re depending on us not knowing the difference.

      • Tom Reeves

        Dro, Bob C is very rich but he isn’t a billionaire. He’s not really even half a billionaire.

  2. LeRoy

    People don’t seen to understand. The more rich teams can spend mean they have a great advantage over teams that simply can’t even come close to spending what the limit is now. It’s stupid that anyone can’t see that a higher ceiling will cause even less parity among teams. The players don’t care about a more competitive league only more money that can be used to spend on the highly elite players.

    • AllTheHype

      Yes Leroy. even this website proprietor, who is normally a good analyst for things baseball, wants to blame owners for everything. I don’t think he can see it either. I’ve been skipping the biased articles and going straight to the comments, where BK and others provide actual quality and informative commentary.

    • Old Big Ed

      A non-competitive league does not help the players, either, especially in the long run. Without some governor on how much teams can spend — and there is plenty of room for debate on what the governor needs to be — there will be a very limited market for players like Sonny Gray or for non-elite players who are over 30.

      The low-revenue teams won’t pay $12 million for a starting pitcher. They will instead settle for a younger pitcher who will cost them $1 million pre-arb, and maybe $6-8 million in their 2nd year of arbitration. If he gets real good, then the low-revenue team would always trade him before free agency to the Yankees or other big team, and in return would get a decent prospect who they can plug in as a starter at the low, low price.

      The same would happen with hitters. The Reds would keep Jonathan India as long as he is cheap, and then would almost always let him go in year 5 or 6, in exchange for a good prospect. The exception to “almost always” is when a team like the Reds has all the stars align, and has enough good young players at the same time, when they would have a shot to compete for a championship.

      That won’t happen often enough, as we are seeing even now in Cincinnati, and eventually only the diehard fans in Cincinnati, etc. pay any attention. The overall salary structure will become tons of minimum-wage type guys, and a few dozen elite players making the real money. The Dodgers won 8 straight NL West titles, then finished second last year by a game with 106 wins; there is no reason to think this won’t continue, and the Rockies and D-Backs have no way of consistently competing.

      The players will make a lot more money in 2026 if league revenues are $12 billion, instead of $8 billion. The players, to me, don’t seem to grasp that a collapse in baseball revenue is a distinct possibility, not only because the leagues are becoming noncompetitive, but because the fan demographic is aging rapidly, because the rampant cord-cutting is devaluing local revenue streams, because the modern game is becoming duller, and because sports in general and baseball in particular do not have the same cache as they did a generation ago.

      Ownership needs to move, but the players need a come-to-Jesus moment, as well.

  3. Tom Mitsoff

    I won’t rehash all of the background information that we all know. Clearly this is another sign that the Reds won’t spend on proven talent. I know that I, as a diehard fan of nearly 50 years, won’t walk away completely, no matter what they (don’t) do. But it is an absolute letdown to know that the efforts at trying to be competitive of the past couple of seasons are now over.

    Hopefully they can become an organization that consistently produces top-flight talent from their farm system and remains competitive that way. But just because you want to do that doesn’t mean it will work out that way.

    I’ve been down the baseball-work-stoppage road too many times as a fan to believe that this will be much different than the others. If the team wins, the fans will come back. If it doesn’t, GABP will be a cavern except when the Cubs fans come to town.

    • AllTheHype

      It’s not a sign of Reds spending at all. It has nothing to do with it. The Reds will never approach the tax limit whatever the limit is, and they shouldn’t.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        I would suggest that the willingness to let a stalwart of their rotation who is still under contract, Wade Miley, go for zero return is a sign that they want to limit spending.

      • AllTheHype

        @Tom, my response was to your statement “Clearly this is another sign that the Reds won’t spend on proven talent”.

    • Alan Horn

      I agree Tom, it is disappointing. Just retaining or adequately replacing Castellanos would be a huge step forward but they aren’t even willing to do either. To make a sale, you have to have a product people want. The Reds are several key players away from being a contender. RF/OF, bench and maybe a reliever or two.

      • Tom Reeves

        How do we know. There’s a lockout and there are no signings. We also don’t know what the Reds offered to Castellanos to stay.

  4. Old Big Ed

    I just posted this on the prior thread, before I saw this post, but it belongs here:

    The Reds and Angels don’t at first blush seem to have a lot in common. Angel’s owner Arte Moreno was one of 11 children, growing up in Tucson. He fought in Vietnam out of high school, then after college worked his way up to an ownership interest in a billboard company, which they sold in the late 90s for $8 billion. Moreno is a billionaire, but no silver-spooner.

    The Angels are in a big market and have several high-dollar contracts — Trout, Rondon, Syndergaard, Justin Upton, Iglesias, for example — and of course will need to spend bigly to retain Ohtani. Plus, the Angels need to buy some starting pitching, else the money they’ve spent on Trout, Rendon etc. is wasted. So, I could see where Moreno believes that the Angels payroll will be over $220 million for the foreseeable future and where he doesn’t want to pay the tax, especially as a the B-team in the Los Angeles market.

    On the other hand, Moreno’s woes are self-inflicted. Rendon was a bad signing. Perhaps the Angels should have traded Trout a year from free agency. The farm system hasn’t produced much of anything since Trout 10 years ago. And they clearly have some clubhouse issues, given the testimony in the Tyler Skaggs trial that at least 4 players were getting some type of illegal drugs from an Angels’ front-office employee. Moreno just needs to run his business better. (I have no doubt that Moreno is good with losing a month of the season, in his circumstances. I don’t think many owners are in that boat, though.)

    The Reds, on the other hand, are the prototypical “small market” team, that doesn’t want teams in LA, Chicago, New York, etc. paying so much that the Reds can compete only when the stars align just right. (I understand that some will argue that the Reds COULD spend more if an owner wanted to. The point here is what current ownership believes it can do with its payroll.)

    The negotiators ought to be able to thread the needle here to get this resolved. Why not (say) a smaller penalty of maybe 5-8% for being over $228, with larger penalties kicking in as the overage gets higher and higher. They already do this, with the initial penalty being 20%.

    Or, given that the whole idea of the CBT was to prevent a rogue owner from regularly spending 50% more than the other teams — which all sides agreed would disturb the competitive balance — maybe consider a one-year exemption for any team that goes over, which the priviso that if that team goes over again in either of the next two years, the exempted team would have to fork over the forgiven tax.

    Or anything. Revenues are going to lag again this year for a lot of teams, in part due to Covid and maybe more so to baseball’s malaise. No matter what they set the CBT for this year, there will be few teams that come close to it, and that will likely be true for next year, too. Losing games (and business momentum) over a nothing burger is insane.

    Try. To. Be. Creative.

    • CFD3000

      Aging Large Edward: A lot of what I read in these CBA threads is simply justification for a preconceived position on who’s to blame for the impasse. You, sir, have taken a different tack and I approve. Surely there is room for creative approaches to the CBT limits and penalties to thread that needle. Graduated penalties, retroactive charges, consequences tied to draft picks, and other more imaginative options can yield an acceptable compromise. I hate that this is somehow the key hurdle for any final agreement, and that if the Owners choose to end the lockout without a new CBA it’s the one issue that doesn’t flow forward and must still be renegotiated. But I’ve seen too many charts of limits proposed by Owners and Players to think that they’ll somehow magically agree if the only room for discussion is that set of five limits. That’s too limiting. Listen to Old Big Ed – he just might be onto something here.

      • Old Big Ed

        These things get too lawyerly sometimes. I’ve been around a lot of lawyers, and I have come to believe that law is a good job for a smart person who isn’t very original or creative. The lawyers who break that mold are extremely useful, though.

  5. SultanofSwaff

    Parity is what makes the other professional leagues superior to baseball. Truly astonishing that the player’s association is solely focused on the top end of the payroll situation when you have so many teams tanking. Think of how much money the owners save over the course of a 5 year rebuild…..and the fans have been conditioned to believe this is the only path to competitiveness in a mid and small market. I would argue a payroll floor would do nearly as much to get the rank and file paid year over year as increasing the luxury tax.

    • CI3J

      The way to prevent this is to implement the player’s luxury tax threshold, and ALSO implement a salary floor. And, like the luxury tax, the salary floor should be increasing each season to keep up with the expected revenue increases.

      I think a salary floor of about $110 million would be a good starting point. Incidentally, that’s where the Reds are now, and they are the median payroll in MLB. Yes, there are actually 15 teams spending LESS than the Reds.


      • David

        There are likely teams that spend less than the Reds because they are unsure of the actual return on gate, TV, etc. The last two seasons have been a mess.
        I have no idea about the financial internals of all the clubs, how they would appear in an audit. I don’t think it is a conspiracy to tank their teams and just pocket revenue sharing bucks, but going “all in” and getting free agents, signing players to big contracts may NOT be a guarantee of winning. Since the Reds signed Joey Votto to his big contract, how many winning seasons have they had, regardless of how good Votto was (particularly in 2015-2017 seasons)? And not to forget what a big failure the signing of Homer Bailey was; a lot of smart baseball people thought it was brilliant, at the time. And in retrospect, signing Barry Larkin to a big contract in 2000, and getting Ken Griffey Jr. were not good moves in terms of limited resources and making the Reds a winning team.
        The Tampa Bay Rays, in particular, seem to have a system for making a small market team competitive, with drafts, trades, etc. They have a very good player evaluation system. But their competitive cycle is likely every 5-6 years. Free agency and big contracts, which feed the desires of players and agents, prevent small and mid-market teams from retaining pitchers and players with “high WAR” value and staying constantly competitive. For a team to win, you have to have some players well above replacement value to win.
        Big market teams make plenty of contract mistakes, but have enough residual income/money to overcome their mistakes. The Dodgers and the Yankees have made some whopping contract mistakes, but somehow have the money to overcome them. Trevor Bauer and the Dodgers comes to mind in 2021. This is what small and mid-market teams like Cincinnati cannot afford; big contract mistakes (e.g. Mike Moustakas). Hence, Castellini’s opposition to raising the “salary cap”, ie, the luxury tax threshold. The Reds fumbling front office would make more “unforced” errors in free agent signing.
        In honesty, baseball is dying in America, because the game is too slow, not exciting, and too many teams have no real chance to compete. Revenue may not grow as much as people anticipate. Money (and the lack of) keeps the mid market and small market teams from being truly competitive.
        A better CBA agreement with a floor, a cap and more revenue sharing would likely make MLB more competitive and more attractive, but that does not seem to be what either the players or owners want. Which is, quite frankly, too, too bad for the fans.

      • AllTheHype

        The owners did propose a salary floor. The MLBPA rejected it. The MLBPA is really not about parity….. rather the opposite…..They want to increase spending by the elite, big market teams.

      • David

        True, but look how hard the ownership fought for it. That got dropped early on. And yes, the MLBPA want Big Paydays to run forever for the elite players. But default or by design, baseball is going in the wrong direction. It started a while back, but even dull people like me can see it now.

  6. Old Big Ed

    The information about the dissenting owners had to have been leaked by somebody in ownership or the commissioner’s office, because nobody else had that information. It is interesting to speculate who did it and why it was leaked.

    It does clarify that there are major fissures on ownership’s side. That may include other owners pressuring Castellini to sell.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      If other owners know he’s not willing to compete, they probably don’t want him to sell. He becomes another team like Oakland that might piece together a competitive club now and then, but never enough to be a true threat. Or, he might become a team like Pittsburgh that has a good stretch every 10 or 15 years.

      • Old Big Ed

        True, but they also don’t want him screwing up a deal here, either. And for that matter, I don’t think the other teams truly want any moribund franchises. They may like mediocre franchises, but I don’t think that dead weight helps the business overall.

        Oakland and Tampa have truly bad stadium situations, primarily because they are located terribly within the area that they serve. Both are working on that. I understand that Tampa has good local TV ratings, so I think that a stadium in the right spot might prove the skeptics wrong about that market. The D-Backs’ stadium isn’t really very good, either, with a bit of dungeon feel to it, and they are looking at a new location.

        The Marlins have a long fight ahead of them in getting their fans back, because of two owners who betrayed them. Wayne Huizenga built and then dismanted two World Series teams, and then Jeffrey Loria followed up a painstakingly bad owner. Even the new ownership stripped the Marlins of Stanton, Yelich and Ozuna as they began to rebuild. The Marlins are near moribund, but it is not impossible to resurrect that franchise.

        The Pirates, Royals and Reds are similar, because the Reds already only have “a good stretch every 10 or 15 years.” (The truth can hurt.) But all three have good stadium situations, and the Reds could have more frequent “good stretches” if they were managed better, even without adding a whole lot of payroll. The Pirates are in a football town with a small fan base, and that franchise is a problem. The ballpark, though, is too magnificent to abandon.

      • BK

        I don’t buy the “owners aren’t willing to compete.” If this theory had merit, we should see similar behavior in other leagues. However, widespread tanking is a practice limited to MLB.

      • Old Big Ed

        BK, I think there is a distinction between “tanking” and what I will call “coasting.” Tanking connotes an effort to secure higher draft picks, and I don’t really think that many teams do that anymore, primarily because the first pick usually isn’t worth that much more than the 4th pick, else Mike Trout wouldn’t have fallen to the 25th pick.

        Another form of tanking, which would cover what the Astros did about 8 years ago and what the Tigers and Marlins did about 4 years ago, is to recognize that the team as constructed has no chance to compete and will lose a ton of money. These teams were dumping contracts, more than intentionally losing.

        Tanking with an eye to becoming competitive should not really be discouraged, as it is creative destruction. The Tigers looked pretty good last year, and will be interesting this year.

        Coasting is a separate problem, one that teams like the Reds, Rockies and Twins can be accused of. They can cash flow with $110mm payrolls, due in part to revenue sharing, but by June it becomes apparent that they aren’t really competitive. Teams will get in years-long ruts of coasting, like the White Sox, Jays and Mariners were in 2010s.

        Coasting seems to happen in other sports, although maybe it is more of an incompetence thing in the NFL for the likes of the Jaguars, Lions, Old Bengals, Jets, etc.

      • BK

        Big Ed, I think that’s a really good distinction between tanking and coasting. From a CBA perspective, I don’t think MLBPA would object to “tanking” teams if they traded for a bad contract to get a prospect. This would presumably allow the team that shed the bad contract to reallocate the newly available resources to other players.

      • TR

        Old Big Ed: Your comment is very informative and to the point about franchises that are the bedrock of MLB.

    • BK

      This was likely leaked to signal to there may be a lack of votes to go further on CBT. That said, I think it’s quite a stretch to think the other owners would pressure Castellini to sell. He outspends nearly all of the other small market owners and has never taken payroll to the bare bones like we’ve seen several other owners do. None of the owners will expect him to operate at a loss on an ongoing basis.

  7. MK

    Here is an out of the box idea, which will never happen. Alline the Divisions by market size. The largest 5 markets in one division, and so on down the line until you get to 6 divisions. this would allow all teams to be competitive in their division with an equal chance at the playoffs. You could raise the threshold. National and American

    League status really makes no difference any more since they will all be playing by the same rules with the same umpires.

    • Grand Salami

      Like English Premiere league where size and performance go hand in hand or strictly by payroll/market so that the Mets and in a division with Yankees and Sox regardless of their success (or lack thereof)?

  8. Brad

    I wonder how much of this new cheapness is coming from big Bob. I know the Reds have never been big spenders(no news there), but in the last couple of years its started to go to extremes. I had a conversation at a Reds fest with little Phil a few years ago and his answers made me think ” this guy is just like Marge, only way way cheaper”. I am saying he would give a bum a dollar and ask for change cheap. I am sure that he has taken over for his dad in most of the baseball operations and I am sure that this can’t be good for the Reds future.

    • Grand Salami

      There were MAJOR issues when Paul Brown was nearing the end and the family lacked the resources to cover the taxes and costs associated with inheriting the team.

      I know nothing about Bob’s estate planning but the costs of passing along his ownership stake must also be serious. Perhaps it’s a factor.

      • Tom Reeves

        It has to be. Bob has around $400m in net worth. He’s dead last in owner wealth in MLB. He doesn’t appear super liquid.

        He has the potential to make a lot of money when he sells the team but it doesn’t appear the team spins off any cash (and in 2020, it lost $47m).

        Sadly, Ohio doesn’t have many billionaire so there’s there’s a decent chance that who ever buys the team has no emotional connection to it.

      • Grand Salami

        I read a Forbes article that Wexner was among the wealthiest and he is all in at OSU and also very much out of the public eye any longer thanks to the Epstein association.

        A quick search yieded August Troendle, president and CEO of MedPace right here in Cincinnati, at $1.5 billion. He is a new money guy. Perhaps he’s looking to become more established . . .

        The team can’t take a back seat to his estate planning.

  9. JB

    I’m getting to the point where I seriously don’t care anymore about baseball. Billionaires fighting millionaires for my dollar. So much crap going on in this world and they could care less about the common person. Wait until this summer when gas is $6-7 a gallon. Food and household goods are expensive. Farmers are already being called here to lock in right now at $8 for a gallon of off road diesel because they are telling farmers it will be up to $15 a gallon this summer. That’s farmers and truckers that use off road diesel. Fuel surcharges will go through the roof to get food to your plate. Rich people fighting over money to play a game will seem quite rediculous in a few months. For me, after 50 years I’ve had my fill of baseball.

    • Alan Horn

      College football is heading down the drain at a much faster clip. It is going to get to the point the fans just say to heck with it all.

  10. Gonzo Reds

    At least the Reds owner is against raising the amount giving big market teams even more advantage. The Pirates owner isn’t even listed as opposing it.

    Hey Tom, you been in touch with Strat-O-Matic about whether they are going to let us set the lineups again this year while the strikes goes on?

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Haven’t heard anything about that unfortunately. They may decide to do something when it becomes clear that this might go on for awhile. But I have not asked.

      • Old Big Ed

        My first set of Strat cards was 1965. Am playing a shortened 10-team 1960 season on-line right now.

  11. ClevelandRedsFan

    Everyone loves to mention the Tampa Bay Rays and how they can be successful despite not spending as if that means the problem doesn’t exist.

    Yes, every now and then a small market team has an open window, but large market teams can at least field a winning team just about every year.

    So let’s compare the Rays to the Yankees. The last time the Yankees had a losing season was 1992. That was 30 years ago!

    Rays started in 1998 and have since had 14 losing seasons. In that same time span the Yankees have had 0 losing seasons and the Red Sox have had 4.

    Please tell me again how this isn’t a problem.

    • Grand Salami

      That is an insane stat.

      There are outliers. But money and market size are so correlated to records and post season success that it’s not funny.

      Meanwhile the NFL and the NHL annually demonstrate that market size is often incidental to clubs success

    • Old Big Ed

      Over the last 12 years, though, the Rays have won more games than the Red Sox.

      The Rays are maniacal about not overpaying for players, and they are the best in the business for development and amateur scouting. The small market teams formula is to avoid giving long-term contracts to players over 30.

      The first big-market team to develop the Rays’ discipline will be a dynasty.

      • Alan Horn

        I think avoiding long term contracts to players over 30 is a very smart move. Also, any bad contract over 3 years in length could drag a team down for quite a while(depending on the team).

      • Tom Reeves

        We’d had if the Reds treated players the way the Rays do. And so would the players association.

    • David

      At Cleveland Reds Fan:
      Of course, you are correct. The significant thing about the Rays (especially since they stopped being the Devil Rays, that was bad karma 🙂 ) is that they do run a cycle of winning, losing players or trading away before contracts get too big, and then re-setting with drafts, traded prospects, etc. They have a system, and it works, but you have to get buy-in from everybody in the team (Owner down through Minor Leagues) to stay on course.
      And yet, they still have losing seasons. I could accept losing seasons if I knew that my team was rebuilding and was going to be competitive again. There is not a clear signal from the Reds’ front office that this is the case. They certainly have some talent in the Minors, but whether these players actually become what’s projected, and will the Reds’ hire free agents to “get over the top” when the young talent arrives…if there are holes in the roster? I don’t know.
      I don’t get so mad at Castellini for not spending a ton of money, I get mad because their front office is frankly incompetent. Which has nothing to do the with the CBA, MLBPA or anything else discussed on this thread. The people running the team make a lot of unforced errors.

      • VegasRed

        Ditto. Given his past meddling and poor baseball decisions, I don’t think bob will ever get a proven winner as a FO executive, thus my lack of hope for the Reds.

  12. Private Gripweed

    I love the irony of an owner who refuses to invest in his team, and whose own payroll is nowhere near the luxury threshold, is holding up this part of the negotiation.

  13. Old-school

    Reds lost tons of money in 2020. No one can say they didnt.
    I went to a game in early April last year with limited attendance. 10000 or so. The Reds lost money last year too. Yeah, the Braves made a $100 million but they won the World Series and had 8 home playoff games sold out at $6 mil profit per game….apples and oranges.

    Players got full pay for 2021. Owners didnt.
    Everyone lost in 2020.
    But, I’m tired of players who wont accept risk for injury or performance. Bob Castellini has little in common with Steve Cohen. Labeling all owners as the same is absurd just like labeling Cincinnati and the Dodgers the same is.

    Jon India – who said 1 year ago this guy needs $30 million? No one Did he perform? Yes …who took the risk with his signing bonus? Reds
    Nick Senzel- who said 3 years ago this guy needs $30 mil? Me Did he perform? No . Who took the risk? Reds
    Amir Garrett – who said 2 years ago this guys needs $30 mil?no one Did he perform? No . Who took the risk? Reds
    Eugenio Suarez- who said this guy needed $ 67 million 4 years ago? A lot including me? Did he perform? Not the last 2 years. Who took the risk? Both
    Tejay Antone-who said this guy was a core guy and pay him? Me. Did that work out? No. Who took the risk? Reds
    Mike Moustakis- who said give this guy $60 mil way after 30? WHo took the risk? Reds- franchise changing fail
    Shogo Akiyama-who said give him 3 year and $24 mil? I was open to on base guy and .320 hitter except they were so wrong. Japan pitchers arent MLB pitchers. Who took the risk? Reds- franchise changing fail

    You cant have your cake and eat it too. Cherry pick India and ignore Senzel. Cherry pick Castellanos who got a player friendly deal and ignore Moose and Akiyama who are laughing every pay day. $84 million to those two.

    Let’s not even go to arbitration and Garrett’s guaranteed huge raise for a 5+ ERA.

    Why does Bob Castellini take all the risk on injuries and underperformance, yet the players cherry pick the few good and ignore the huge performance and injury guarantees. If you want to say this FO made bad decisions…IDK. Jon India was lambasted here as recently as June.

    • greenmtred

      I don’t know much about the Reds’ financial situation, but basing your assessment of it on attendance ignores the realities of modern MLB.

      • Redsvol

        Some really good back and forth in the comments on this subject. Thanks for posting Doug.

        The leaked teams opposed to cbt have to be just a fraction of those opposed. Of course the pirates, orioles, royals, guardians, marlins twins, rays and Rockies would be opposed too. A higher cbt makes all free agents – and eventually arbitration raises- higher for all teams. We can’t have fans of 20 or so teams believing they have no chance to compete in the playoffs each year. It’s bad for the sport. The players will make plenty of money in the last proposal.

        Personally I would like the whole system thrown away and started from scratch – similar to what Bettman had to do in the NHL a few years ago. The MLB revenue model is broken. It would probably cause a lost season but I think it’s time.

      • Old-school

        The Reds has 1.8 mil in attendance in 2019 and were building back towards those 2-2.5 million years from 2010-2014. They had close to 2.5 million in attendance in 2013 and 2014.

        They “got the pitching” with Sonny Gray and traded for Bauer in -season 2019 with Castillo having arrived as an AS caliber SP and tremendous momentum was building for the 2020 season when the Reds spent money on Castellanos/Moose/Miley/ and Akiyama.

        It’s not unreasonable to think the Reds budgets for 2020 and 2021 were built on a forecast of attendance similar to the nearly 2.5 million number from ‘13 and ‘14. They had a young manager, a new pitching coach, some young talent , a deep SP rotation and also acquired some hitters.

        Then, Covid blew up everything up.

        Attendance in 2020 was 0 despite playing 60 games plus 2 playoffs.
        Attendance in 2021 was 1.5 million, the lowest since 1984. With the players getting 100% of their salaries in 2021 and the Reds having historically low attendance in 2021 on the heels of no fans in 2020, its fair to conclude that record low attendance figures were a significant strain on the overall financial health of the organization. Anticipating $5 million in attendance for the 2020/21 seasons and only getting 1.5 million is a huge financial hit at the same time you are paying record franchise payrolls.

      • BK

        @Old School … the impact of the pandemic is underappreciated. The larger market teams lost more (they typically have the highest attendance), but the long-term impact is less as they have the revenue streams to rebound more quickly.

        Based on the Forbes reported data, I would estimate the Reds lost $60M to $70M–that’s about 45% of the top payroll outlay in 2019. It will take a few years to rebound. It’s reasonable to assume 2021 underperformed 2019 as well which would push their recovery out longer. I believe this is why we saw Miley and Barnhart cut and why more cuts may be looming.

        There are likely at 6-8 other franchises in similar situations. The Rays and Pirates, for example, weren’t carrying big payroll commitments into the pandemic are likely less affected.

      • Old-school

        Im not a business financial guy but it does seem the media narrative ignores Covid and just bangs the gong of the players. Maybe covid impacts dont apply so much to some big markets with diverse and strong consistent revenues, but if it werent my team … the Cincinnati Reds… i wouldnt follow baseball

        I dont care about the Yankees dodgers or angels

        Fix baseball for the small markets or the bengals bearcats are doing pretty well

      • Tom Reeves

        BK and Old School, I’m absolutely hated on Reds Reporter for making the exact same points.

        We talk a lot about the greedy owners and greedy players but we don’t talk much about greedy fans who want other people to take on tons of risk for our entertainment. And when the risk doesn’t pan out, we call them stupid. And when they avoid the risk, we call them cheap. But, really, we want a result we’re not willing to pay for and then are actively critical of the very people who are trying to produce the result we want. That’s greedy.

  14. Steve D

    How awesome would it be if Elon Musk bought the Reds.

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      It would suck.

      Elon Musk is a union buster. He’s an ego maniac who believes he is the smartest person in the room (he’s not – he hires people far smarter than he is to do things for him).

      Nikola Tesla has probably rolled over in his grave ten thousand times over things Musk has done while using his name.

      • Steve D

        Not saying it isn’t true but I know he has a lot more $ than Cohen and we would be in the running to finally sign top FA. So I would take the ego I’m a heart beat if it meant getting top FAs.

      • Tom Reeves

        On of my friends works for Elon. It is definitely the smartest person in the world and he’s avoided unions by paying very well and treading people right. Unions would kill his business. His businesses need to be way too nimble and change way too quickly to be tangled up with unions.

        But he’ll never buy a team because it doesn’t meet his goals of helping people become an interplanetary species and to reduce the threat of climate change through electronic vehicles and tunneled hyper loops.

        Btw, did you know he attends every worker injury investigation on the production floor. No CEO in the Fortune 500 does that except him – doubtful any would even think to do that.

      • Tom Reeves

        *smartest person in the room. Not sure why it corrected to world. That is definitely not what I mean to say.

    • Ken

      It may not be as awesome as you think. Musk probably doesn’t care for companies that hemorrhage dollars.

  15. Frankie Tomatoes

    Has anyone else seen the story from Hal McCoy about how Bob Castellini tried to get him fired because he didn’t like what he wrote about the Reds?