Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Yankees & the Cubs New Television Network

This isn't really New York Yankees news per se but this has all the makings of affecting the Yankees and their ability to acquire players down the line. The Chicago Cubs are looking to start their own television network by the 2020 season, if not sooner. Currently the Cubs are part of an agreement with Comcast and that deal expires after the 2019 season with an opt-out clause written into the contract. How does this affect the Yankees though? Remember what happened when the Yankees started the YES Network? They became the cash cow that they were during the mid-2000's and the network allowed George Steinbrenner to sign anyone and everyone he wanted. The Cubs network will begin right around the time the Yankees have all their money coming off the books and right around the time, if all things work out the way Chicago hopes, a certain someone named Bryce Harper becomes a free agent.

The Cubs Network is projected to be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 billion. That likely makes the organization more valuable than most clubs in Major League Baseball, maybe even the New York Yankees. Chicago has also signed John Lackey and Jason Heyward this offseason after signing Jon Lester last offseason showing the fans that the team is not afraid to spend money. Add another $300 billion into the pockets of the Cubs organization and no free agent would be out of their grasps potentially. Even Bryce Harper who could receive the first ever $400 million salary  when he hits free agency after the 2018 season. Even if Chicago doesn't have their network up and running by then they will want a big name and face to sell that network and Harper is that guy which could be bad news for the New York Yankees.

The Yankees are no longer 100% reliant on the free agency market which is encouraging for the franchise. The team is finally producing prospects who can compete at the Major League level and their GM Brian Cashman remains heavily active in the trade market in his search for young, cheap and controllable players but when free agents like Harper come around, which is about once or twice in a lifetime, you bid and you bid heavy. Yankees fans are not used to being outbid by other teams when they want a guy but they may be outbid for Harper, and it may be all because of the Chicago Cubs television network.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)