David Pinto posts George Southrey's thoughts about competitive balance, leading to a suggestion of a very odd-sounding proposal for MLB:
Suppose MLB did something similar? After all, few Latin players want to live and play in a city like Milwaukee, or Denver. Those cities are not attractive from a weather standpoint, from a cultural diversity standpoint or from an endorsement $$ standpoint. Most Free Agents won't go there unless they are fringe players or the money is irresistable. This puts the Brewers at a competitive disadvantage, having to overpay for FA, which can lead to a vicious cycle of being a losing team that no one wants to play for, and having to overpay more, and so on.
I'm not sure that location matters much at all. Players are always willing to go to, say, Atlanta, despite the fact that it's hardly the mecca of the advertising industry, and there isn't obsessive love from the fanbase there. Why? Of course free agents sign with the Braves because they want to win. And for every player who wants the big spotlight, there's another like Brian Giles, who just took a WAY below-market contract to stay under the radar in San Diego.
So, the problem is making it desirable for free agents to go to losing teams. I don't know that a salary "adjustment" funded by MLB has a shot at solving that problem. Sure, the Tigers coaxed I-Rod and Magglio Ordonez to come to Detroit last year, but they probably drastically overpaid for each. (Certainly they did for Magglio.) The Royals had money to spend, but Rafael Furcal's agent said he just wasn't interested. Jacque Jones looks ready to take an offer for less money and fewer years rather than go to KC.
The only way to improve the competitive balance is to get the stupid GMs out of baseball. Not gonna happen--and it would be ridiculous to suggest that some MLB official should be making that kind of decision. And the public seems incapable of identifying good executive talent--I mean, outside of Milwaukee, Oakland, and maybe Atlanta, where do you read newspaper columnists discussing a long-term "plan" for the team? In L.A., it's "DePodesta sucked because we were under .500 last year," and now it's "Coletti rocks because we signed Bill Mueller." Yeah, dude, good long-term plan. Until some combination of sensible punditry and thinking fans create a situation where it is simply too unpopular to keep a bad GM on the books, some teams will be hopeless, no matter what MLB tries to do about it.
Now you know much more than I intend to write about what I think...what do you think?