So: While the Cincinnati Reds try to win one against the St. Louis Cardinals today, the bigger news remains their contract extension with Brandon Phillips, who now has six years and $72 million to look forward to. Conventionally speaking, this deal looks anywhere from extremely ridiculous to kind of crazy, depending on how you value Phillips's defense. But recent contracts, including the Cardinals' big Yadier Molina extension, suggest something else is at work:
Salary inflation. Specifically, salary inflation in the form of the enormous cable TV-rights bubble that emerged fully-formed with the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers for all of the money in the universe.
That bubble popping would leave the Cardinals victims too, though they're not nearly so exposed as the Reds, but given the sleazy, rent-seeking nature of baseball's average TV partners I can't wait for it to happen. Eventually Major League Baseball is going to figure that it doesn't need all these regional sports networks airing Best Damned reruns to make a ton of money on its own product. When that happens, somebody's going to get hurt. Now we know it won't be Brandon Phillips.