Originally created 08/31/02

Winners and losers in baseball's new labor agreement



Winners and losers in baseball's labor agreement reached Friday: WINNERS:

-Well-run teams in small markets. While no labor deal could make up for poor management decisions that have plagued small-market teams in Kansas City, Milwaukee and Detroit, this agreement does help the well-run teams compete with the big spenders. Increased revenue sharing will help shrewd general managers like Oakland's Billy Beane, Minnesota's Terry Ryan and Cincinnati's Jim Bowden keep more of their young talented players and upgrade their teams with deals they might not have been able to afford under the old agreement.

-This year's contenders. Instead of suffering the fate of the 1994 Expos - whose first-place season was cut short by a strike - this year's contenders will get a chance to finish what they started. Atlanta hopes an 11th straight playoff berth turns into a second World Series title before Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux can leave as free agents. Anaheim tries to end a 16-year postseason drought, the Yankees shoot for their fifth straight AL pennant, Arizona hopes to become the first NL team to repeat as World Series champs since Cincinnati in 1975-76, and Oakland and Minnesota hope to outplay the big spenders in October.

-Cities of Washington and Minnesota. Management agreed not to eliminate any teams through the 2006 season. That means the Twins will probably stay in Minnesota, and the Expos might be able to move to Washington as early as next season, giving the nation's capital a team for the first time since 1971.

-Fans. Instead of hearing more doom and gloom from Bud Selig, fans can concentrate on what's good about baseball: Barry Bonds going for the career home run record; Alex Rodriguez's day-to-day brilliance, Curt Schilling's unmatched control and Alfonso Soriano's explosiveness.

LOSERS:

-New York Yankees. George Steinbrenner's bill for the revenue sharing and luxury tax will probably be between $50 million and $55 million next year, almost twice last year's revenue-sharing total. The Boss will still be able to outspend the competition but he'll have to think twice before adding an $11 million outfielder.

-Fans in large markets. Fans of the big-spenders can no longer count on their teams to add whatever player necessary to fill their needs. Then again, those fans could save money if they don't have to buy $175 World Series tickets every year.

-Average players looking to go to big markets. The big spenders, like the Yankees, still will go after the superstars but might think twice before paying $12 million for a sixth starter (Sterling Hitchcock) or $22.25 million for a set-up reliever (Steve Karsay).

-Mets and Rangers fans. Instead of having a strike mercifully end miserable seasons, fans in Queens and Texas will have to endure another month of watching an overpaid, underperforming team.