Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 1/9/13

Darin Ruf could get the opportunity of a lifetime with the Philadelphia Phillies, which is one benefit in today’s baseball.  Do you think he’ll make the cut, or be the right-handed solution behind Ryan Howard?   TAL’S HANDY CAPS WELCOME, NEWCOMERS:  My articles are designed to represent a baseball man’s thinking, the view from the dugout and the GM’s box. Most fans do not consider the budget, prospects on the radar, the team’s weaknesses, the track record, the competition and the other intangibles. Please go to my author archives or Phillies page for my most recent coverage. Scroll down to Tal’s Handy Links at the bottom. Thank you.   Check out:  Philadelphia Phillies storyline: Ruf is ready   Baseball-Fix Schedule When the stove is hot, I will continue the process of the previous Monday’s approach, if appropriate.  For early birds Sunday evening is post time. Due to a strong response and a complicated off-season, my reviews will be weekly until spring training ends. The new summer schedule will allow me to publish the best 3 storylines each week, but there will be an updated calendar included with each feature:  Posts involving commentary, polls and stats will be listed for the upcoming 7 days.  This review is a 2nd posting. TIMEFRAMEFORMATPUBLISHING December to AprilBaseball-Fix MondayWeekly December to AprilSuds or Studs2-4 Times a Month April to Season's EndNitecap Insight3 Times a Week April to Season's EndSuds or Studs2 Times per 10 Days April to Season's EndTal's Handy Stats2 Times per 10 Days     Magic Was in the Air   1ST JANUARY  BASEBALL-FIX MONDAY          The New Normal:   The Phillies are not in transition, and the Yankees are not trimming payroll to sell the franchise. For years many have claimed that there is no level playing field in the sport.  Well, it has arrived with some new hiccups. And this is what it looks like; however, it didn’t start only weeks ago.  Even before the dollar considerations, this shift has occurred during 3 completed phases. Is it worth it to spend $220 million for 1 championship in 10 seasons? April 9 of Last Season In many industries–like the media and entertainment ones–New York is the money maker for your career. The cream of the talent pool earns their way to this destination. In baseball, the Yankees had the 1st choice of Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays or Hank Aaron. With this extreme advantage, the Bronx Bombers went to 29 of 44 Fall Classics from 1921 to 1964. They were triumphant in 20 of those 29. For 1965, the amateur entry draft was initiated with the 1st selection in the hands of the lowliest basement dweller. The concept was that New York would grow old and drop in the standings. It worked until free agency tipped the scales in 1976 to favor the Yankees and a few others. They have recorded their other 7 titles out of 11 more World Series in the last 48 campaigns. Beginning in 2003, the luxury tax was established. The Red Sox, Tigers and Angels have lightly exceeded the threshold for the competitive-balance maximum. However, after doling out $224.47 million since ‘03, New York has decided it is not worth their annual postseason shot. Other organizational payouts: Boston has coughed up $18.64 million for six 162‘s. Los Angeles (AL) was assessed $1.3 million in 2008. Detroit was charged $.927 million in 2004.   The draft and the luxury tax were established solely to achieve parity with the New York Yankees in mind.   The Championship Ledger of the New York Yankees: ERAFROM - TOYEARSWS NO.TO WS PCT.TITLESWS W PCT. Lively Ball1921 - 1964442965.9%2069.0% The Draft1965 - 1975110000.0%0000.0% Free Agency1976 - 2002260934.6%0666.7% Luxury Tax2003 - 2012100220.0%0150.0%     Hamels, Dialing Up a Circle Change, Was the Big Free Agent Signing for 2013 New York (AL) wants to reset the threshold clock by sliding under the bar. If they do not succeed, their rate will be 50% of every penny above $189 million in 2014. All clubs are allowed one do-over under the current CBA. The policy of the Phils is that the tax equals empty payroll. They will only cross that boundary for an extremely special player, or a game-changing acquisition at the trading deadline they feel will win the trophy. In other words, it is possible but not likely any time soon.   The new CBA penalties: The 1st time yields a 17.5% rate for amounts exceeding the threshold of $178 million now and $189 million in 2014. The 2nd occurrence is 30%. The 3rd situation is 40%. The 4th offense plus is 50%.   Adams during his Introduction on December 20 Was the Best Setup Man on the Market The one wrinkle in the competitive-balance limit belongs to the new owners of the Dodgers. They took on the burdensome contracts of the Red Sox and signed Zack Greinke. However, their thinking is to top the division and avoid the playoff possibility of a 9-frame elimination. Meanwhile, Toronto has absorbed Miami’s purge of its 2012 payroll, while Boston has cautiously reallocated their financial resources to last year’s level. Parity doesn’t exist only due to the draft and the luxury tax. There are three tiers to be navigated for all the marbles, which are the division series, the league pennant and the Fall Classic. Did you see the 2012 NLDS and ALDS? Serious October baseball featured four 5-contest decisions. However, the wild-card playoff means a hot team can derail an expensive summer in one game, like Texas last year. There are 14 franchises from a big market or with deep pockets and 16 other organizations. Over the last 3 postseasons, 15 of the 26 participants (57.8%) were from the 16 less fortunate clubs. Of those 15, three captured the flag and were victorious in the World Series. The locals and 6 other favored squads made it to their LCS, but 3 took home only a league pennant. The top franchise in sports won’t be sold, and the red pinstripes will retool until Father Time decides otherwise.   LINK-UP BELOW: A link for specific email notification is provided below. Any holdups that may occur will be posted at Tal’s Handy Caps on Facebook. This is the 10th storyline for 2013. Check out my recent publication (The Moving Parts) on the Phillies page or my author archives, where there is an excerpt photo. Also, my new feature is Suds or Studs.  I will periodically publish the 2013 ERA for the NL East and the 2013 ERA for the MLB 5. Thank you, to all who bookmarked my page. TAL’S HANDY LINKS   Email Notifications TAL’S HANDY CAPS on Facebook  Philadelphia Phillies storyline: What happens to that $7 million? Philadelphia Phillies news: Suds or studs, the boss Phillies Tal Venada (Author Archives) Philadelphia Phillies: 2012 ERA for the NL East at final game 162 Philadelphia Phillies: 2012 ERA for the MLB 5 at final game 162

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