Cheap Seats

Cardinals once again fall victim to a rich, freespending fool

The St. Louis Cardinals’ narrow miss in their bid for ace starting pitcher David Price is stomach turning in more ways than one.

First, and most obviously, the numbers tied to this deal are absolutely sickening to average fans who have to scrape together their hard-earned dollars just to be able to afford to go to games.

Price will “earn” $217 million over the next seven years to throw a little ball. It makes no sense how salaries continue to escalate. I’ve never been a salary cap person. But it seems like some sort of artificial cap -- and likely an ugly fight between players and owners is inevitable.

It context, Price’s deal is WELL past double the amount the highest-paid pitcher in Cardinals history, Adam Wainwright, got in 2014: $95 million.

Remember when some folks threw a fit back then because it was waaaay too much? Sort of in the same way some people though Matt Holliday’s $120 million pact was outrageous six years ago but later it began to seem like a bargain.

I have no doubt that someday soon Price’s deal won’t even be a blip on the radar.

By all accounts, Price wanted to pitch in St. Louis and the Cardinals wanted him. Reports indicate the Redbirds stepped up and bid near or at $200 million for the top pitcher on the 2015-16 free agent market. But the Boston Red Sox publicly declared that they were willing to beat any other team’s offer by $30 million, no matter what the final cost added up to be.

How can a team like the Cardinals, so often lauded by opposing GM’s as a “model franchise” for the way they build and manage their roster remain competitive when they carefully consider how much money they can offer a player based on that guy’s talent, age and other abilities only to have their offer be nuked at the last minute by a rogue club determined to blow up the market in effort to buy a championship?

It’s not good for the game. It’s not good for the fans because it not only escalates prices but it takes away players beloved by their fans. Basically, the clubs with the worst business practices are ruining the game for those who show any sort of restraint.

Boston blew up the market for Hanley Ramirez and also for Pablo Sandoval a year ago. Did that lead to a championship? Hardly. Now they’re reportedly trying to dump the stupid deals they gave those players.

And God help David Price if he doesn’t win the Cy Young Award his first year in Boston. Red Sox fans are notorious for turning on high-dollar acquisitions who don’t perform both immediately and perfectly.

It’s a shame because Price was just what the Cardinals needed. He’s a co-ace to not only bolster a very good pitching staff hurt by the loss of Lance Lynn to injury and John Lackey to likely free agent defection. With Price, the Cardinals are the favorite team in the National League to win the World Series. Without him, they have too many question marks to even be favored to win the highly competitive National League Central race.

And fans here would have loved Price. He’s an affable guy described as the ultimate teammate. It would have been awesome to see the three-year courtship between him and the Cardinals come to fruition.

Instead baseball, the fans and sanity lost out again. And it seems like that’s always the way it’s going to be.