The Best Pennant Race Nobody Saw

Baseball, particularly National League baseball, on the west coast seems awfully far away from New York and Boston which continue to dominate the baseball media and thus receives little national attention. The Giants and Padres did not come to Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park this season, nor have they dominated recent off-seasone headlines with big trades and bidding wars over free agents, so it seems that few fans were aware of the race. Instead, the Giants and Padres spent the last twelve months bringing along top rookies such as Buster Posey and Mat Latos, giving a second life to veterans on whom most teams had given up like Aubrey Huff and Miguel Tejada and playing a very different king of baseball than the AL East.

What Happens When Teams Stop Paying for Past Accomplishments?

One of the major exploitable market inefficiencies in baseball is that teams pay so heavily for past accomplishments. No team does this more than the Yankees who have evolved into something of a straw man in this debate. The long contract which they gave to Alex Rodriguez means that the team will be playing Rodriguez more than $20 million a year in 2015-2017. Nobody can seriously think Rodriguez will still be an elite player by that time. Even if his current season is viewed as an off-year, it is not realistic to expect him to still be a top star during the last three years of his contract when he will make a total of $61 million.