This is an excerpt from the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for more than 20 years.
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"There’s a strain of thinking that these large-market teams can afford the taxes and should accept these relatively small amounts -- approximately one win’s worth -- as a cost of doing business, but the costs are higher than they seem. There are monies not collected, kickbacks for large-market teams being under the tax threshold. There are the draft-pick penalties. The money itself may seem a pittance, but MLB tax dollars aren’t like your tax dollars, going to roads and schools and the military. There’s no greater good being financed, just additional cash being distributed first to players, then to teams under the threshold.
"So I can understand Boston’s quiet winter. It helps to have won the World Series, which tends to deflect fan and media criticism for a few months. That explains why Sox fans have been mostly quiet and those long-suffering Dodger fans so loud. Mostly, though, the Sox have explored the outer reaches of what a club can be expected to pay for a baseball team under the current rule set."