[credit provider=”AP Images”]
A month ago I speculated that if the Wilpons were forced to sell the Mets, Stuart Sternberg, owner of the Rays, could emerge as the next owner.Now Joel Sherman of the New York Post has a source that says Major League Baseball has actually discussed the idea.
Sherman suggested a scenario with a source “involved in baseball labour” in which the Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays would be contracted. Stuart Sternberg, owner of the Rays would then buy the Mets, and Lew Wolff, owner of the A’s, would take over the Dodgers.
The source was clear that despite being good moves for MLB, contraction would cause a labour war in a time of peace. (Which is why it has only be “discussed.”) However, the source did not rule out the idea of finding other ways to get Sternberg and Wolff in control of two of baseball’s marquis franchises.
Sternberg has said that he has “no intention” of buying the Mets. But as I stated previously, Sherman argues that the moves make sense for Major League Baseball. Having the Mets and Dodgers under the control of Sternberg and Wolff, gives MLB two owners in their biggest markets that: a) have a proven track record; b) are not likely to spend excessively on player salaries; and c) are close to Bud Selig and unlikely to rock the baseball boat.
But if contraction is off the table, then what happens to the A’s and Rays? Moving the teams is certainly an option. But where would they go? The A’s could move locally in California, but MLB will have a hard time finding a market that is guaranteed to be better than the Tampa-St. Pete area which still has a lot of upside.
The best solution might be to import new owners with deep pockets. It makes much more sense for baseball to put an owner willing to spend money in the smaller markets that need the infusion. For the sake of competitive balance, it makes more sense to get owners that will raise the payrolls of the A’s and Rays than it does to have owners that will raise the payrolls of the Dodgers and Mets.
Hmm, there is that Mark Cuban guy.