But is this good for baseball?
According to multiple sources, the Chicago Cubs and free agent RHP Yu Darvish agreed on a 6 year / $126 million contract, with additional incentives, a no-trade clause, and an opt-out.
So the rich get richer. Gerrit Cole to the Astros. Stanton to the Yankees. Now Darvish to the Cubs. Throw in the Dodgers and Nationals and what do you get?
The risk of nationwide apathy. Nobody wants to see this become what the NBA has on their hands: a long regular season rendered meaningless by too much assurance that only a small handful of teams, roughly the same handful, can compete for a title. That leaves three-quarters of the other fan bases left in the lurch, wondering why do they bother. No single threat to the sports is greater than the risk of not enough parity.
MLB has enjoyed a healthy amount of parity for the last two decades. Are things heading down-hill?
While yes, there appears to be a lack of wide-open divisional races coming in to the 2018 season, I happily want to attest that we can pump the breaks on the idea that baseball is going the way of the NBA. Luckily for baseball, there are inherent traits of the game that protect it from such an outcome.
First, assemble three of the top ten players on an NBA team, which rotates 7-10 players on the floor total per game. That’s a Super Team. Now, take say, Mike Trout, Justin Upton, and Shohei Otani and put them on the same MLB team. Middle of the pack.
Syndergaard, Degrom, and Cespedes? .500 projection.
Bumgarner, Posey, and McCutchen? Wild-card contender?
There are just too many roster spots, too many bodies contributing in a baseball game to create the competitive monopolies that can exist in other sports.
Do we have Super Teams right now? You can sure argue that. But the Dodgers and Yankees are not doing it soley through financial resources. They also tout two of the very best player scouting and development systems in MLB. Ditto for the mid-budget Astros. The Cubs created a window and are now taking on some risk, by the signing a 31 year old surgically repaired elbow to over $100 million, in order to capitalize. And let’s not forget, (Mets fans I’m talking to you), that even when a team like the Nationals look as dominant as they seem to, that 2015’s can happen in baseball. Injuries happen. Pitchers break. Hitters inexplicably fall off a cliff.
Baseball has a funny way of creating unexpected outcomes. Even if the rich just got richer.