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MLB Teams Letting Go of Homegrown Stars
Jan 6, 2020, 8:33:00 AM

MLB Teams Letting Go of Homegrown Stars

Due to cost-cutting reasons, some teams and their owners would rather let go of a star player they have developed over the years than keep him with the team for a long time.

The sole standout inductee in this year’s Hall of Fame ballot is Derek Jeter. He’s played with the New York Yankees from 1995 to 2014 - 19 seasons with one team. He will be inducted into Cooperstown in July with the chances of him being voted in unanimously. This year will be the fourth straight year where at least one player who spent his entire career with a single team was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

A single-team star player might be out-of-date, a kind of thing that screams ‘back in my day’. No matter how old it may be, it’s still a very cool story. Edgar Martinez never won a championship with the Seattle Mariners, the only team he’s ever played for - unlike Jeter, who won five titles with the Yankees. But just like Jeter, he’ll be loved and remembered in Seattle forever.

Getting a Jeter or Martinez is the absolute ideal for amateur scouts looking to make a name for themselves. Included in the list of players who played for a single team their entire career are fellow Yankee pitcher Mariano Rivera, Chipper Jones (who played 19 seasons for the Atlanta Braves), and Jeff Bagwell (who played 14 seasons with the Houston Astros).

All four of them have played for one team their entire careers, and those teams have helped then hone their talent. It’s the way baseball ought to be. However, just recently, some of baseball’s biggest stars - who are still in their prime - are included in trade rumours. Despite them being nothing but harmless rumours, there has been enough ‘smoke to be worried about a fire’.

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Mookie Bets is one of the top five players in baseball today. He won the American League MVP award in 2018 while helping lead the Red Sox to a World Series win in the same year. Based on the definition, he’s the kind of player that teams should look to secure for a long time.

For the Boston Red Sox, however, financial problems have made retaining Bets a problem. J.D. Martinez opted to remain in Boston than be a free agent, pushing the Red Sox payroll for 2020 to $226 million - way above the competitive balance tax threshold of $208 million.

Included in that is Bets’ $27.5 million who still has a single year with the team left before being a free agent. This is the reason why his name frequently comes up during trade talks, especially since Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy said that there is a way to keep both Bets and Martinez in the roster but ‘it will be difficult given the nature of the agreements and the contracts that we have in place’.

Another player included in trade rumours is former MVP Kris Bryant. He was the National League MVP back in 2016, where he helped the Chicago Cubs snap their 108-year championship drought. He’s also included in the talks for trades because ‘the Cubs are becoming too expensive in the eyes of their billionaire owners’.

He ended the season a day short of a full year of service time which would have delayed his free agency by a year. He filed a grievance against the team for service time manipulation. This has reportedly affected any trade talks concerning the Cubs since they are unsure if Bryant will be playing for them for one or two years.

There are more players included in the conversation including Nolan Arenado. These are all cost-cutting measures which also extends to the minor league. When an owner talks about how hard it is to keep a star in their roster but can’t afford it, know that they are lying.

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Words: Carlos Corpus

Images: PA