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Baseball Is Broken

Discussion in 'MLB Discussion' started by jon abbey, Jan 29, 2018.

  1. Comfortably Lomb

    Comfortably Lomb Koko the Monkey SoSH Member

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    That’s what happens when you have a side like the MLBPA that a) negotiated a bad deal that doesn’t work in the current environment, b) have a leader who looks like he is totally in over his head, and c) are now posturing in bad faith because they don’t like the world they created for themselves.
     
  2. MikeM

    MikeM Member SoSH Member

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    I don't know if it would helped the bottom line here in preserving FA Valhalla, but in an alternative universe where MLB doesn't sell the Marlins to an ownership that was going into immediate deep debt mode you'd have to think there would be at least decent chance that some of the bigger free agents in Darvish (MIL), JDM (STL), and Moustakas (NYY) are already off the board. Which in turn could have helped to push the market forward on some of the other surrounding FA.
     
  3. tonyarmasjr

    tonyarmasjr Member SoSH Member

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    Has anybody put numbers together on whether more players are being extended past their arb years? My sense is there are, and that further dilutes both the need for FAs and the pool of players. If that's the case, teams have fewer holes to fill via FA and players are getting there later in their careers, while players' decline years are starting earlier in the post-steroid era.
     
  4. santadevil

    santadevil Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I'd really hope not, but who knows.

    They negotiated a 5 year deal and have only completed one full season under it.
    I'm not feeling to sorry for the players here in this instance.

    The strike in '94 was bad, but they were playing under no official agreement at that point, as the previous bargaining agreement expired on December 31, 1993.
    If the players strike now on behalf of free agents who aren't signing their current offers on the table because they aren't big enough or long enough, I have no sympathy.
    Get a new agent, or adjust your expectations
     
  5. grimshaw

    grimshaw the new rudy SoSH Member

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    The only major sport strike that wiped out an entire season was the NHL, and it took them years to recover. Baseball didn't miss a beat mostly (IMO) because of the PED aided home run surge but it is a way more vulnerable sport now.

    With the worries about tv ratings, the aging fan base, and difficulties in attracting younger viewers, I would be really surprised if a month of games at most were wiped out. Baseball hasn't had a bad PR hit in a long time and it's the last thing the sport needs. I do think the owners would cave first for the above reasons though.

    There are so many things on the horizon aside from the free agent debacle too that are going to be bones of contention down the line.

    If there is radical realignment to go along with expansion, some teams may have to change leagues. The DH could be added to the NL. Fewer regular season games and more playoff games could be on the table.

    Over the next 5 years there are going to be some serious changes but I think they will all make the sport better in the long run.
     
    #55 grimshaw, Feb 7, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2018
  6. trekfan55

    trekfan55 Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    I agree with you but IMO the game has changed. Players accepted the 6 year control system and have done so for a while because they expect to get a bug payday after year 6. Now the game has changed. Teams have grown to realize that giving these long term contracts after year 6 are crippling them in the end.

    Very few players reach free agency at an age where a long term contract is warranted (how many besides Arod, whose original contract, not the one he signed after opting out, may have been worth it till the end?) and teams have thus changed their approach, Even the Yankees have done so and done it well.

    What players needed to change was the 6 year system, or get higher salaries during those six years. Will they now strike to change this?

    BTW, they may charge collusion, and this worked way back when but this case is different. Players simply want more than what is being offered.
     
  7. Snodgrass'Muff

    Snodgrass'Muff oppresses WARmongers Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    There's no collusion because there's no need for collusion. The owners have everything they want in the CBA. If the players strike, it should be to get things like a salary floor, the CBT threshold tied to revenues, earlier access to arbitration for young players, a removal of the loophole that allows teams 7 seasons of control by waiting until May to promote top prospects, etc.

    Striking or threatening to strike to get Moustaka, Hosmer and Martinez their mega deals is a non-starter. Of course, even with all the barking, Tony Clark isn't talking about anyone except the unsigned free agents sitting out spring training, so I don't think there is even a remote chance of a strike this season.
     
  8. The Gray Eagle

    The Gray Eagle Member SoSH Member

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    Instead of crying about collusion and hinting about a strike that won't happen, maybe the players union should try to approach the owners with an offer to accept the changes the owners want to speed up the game in exchange for increasing the luxury tax limits at least a little.

    The owners wouldn't have to even listen to them, much less accept, but the union needs to try whatever they can to get the luxury tax limits increased if at all possible. Maybe something could be worked out if both sides get something they want.
     
  9. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    I think they need to start by firing Tony Clark and hiring someone much more experienced in labor negotiations.
     
  10. santadevil

    santadevil Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    This I also agree with. I'm never been impressed with him and always wondered why the players chose him, other than the fact the he was there and involved.

    Marvin Miller, Donald Fehr, Michael Weiner and then Tony Clark?
    Didn't make any sense to me.
     
  11. soxhop411

    soxhop411 Member SoSH Member

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    So yah. This is going to get ugly

    Sources: MLBPA preparing to conduct spring training camps for free agents

    https://sports.yahoo.com/sources-ml...s-010746795.html?soc_src=social-sh&soc_trk=tw
     
  12. soxhop411

    soxhop411 Member SoSH Member

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    How sports media handles/covers an MLBPA hosted spring training will be interesting.
     
  13. edoug

    edoug Member SoSH Member

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    I'm not sure how many would find it worth it financially to cover it. How the MLB Network covers it that will be real interesting.
     
  14. lexrageorge

    lexrageorge Member SoSH Member

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    There is one immutable truth when it comes to work stoppages in major league sports: the owners have a lot more staying power than the players. The lockouts in the NHL, NBA, and NFL a few years back resulted in the owners pretty much getting 90% of what they were looking for. That season long lockout in the NHL really changed things.

    Separately, tanking in baseball is really bad for the sport long term. NBA and NFL teams can get away with it, because draft picks play right away. Fans are less excited about prospects that are 3-5 years away and have a high failure rate even among the highest draft picks. Just randomize the order in each draft round and be done with it. And add a salary floor.
     
  15. wade boggs chicken dinner

    wade boggs chicken dinner Member SoSH Member

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    Why is talking bad? I think the fans of HOU and CHC are thrilled that their teams lost and got high draft picks. I know a lot of BAL fans wish BAL would start a true rebuild? Isn't the worst thing watching your team win 75-80 games every year?

    Randomizing the draft order is going to mean that some teams will have no shot at winning for decades. That's bad for sports.
     
  16. Awesome Fossum

    Awesome Fossum Member SoSH Member

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    Because the teams that have been tanking would be screwed? They could just wait a few years to implement a wheel to accommodate those teams, no? Or is there another reason?
     
  17. Mueller's Twin Grannies

    Mueller's Twin Grannies Member SoSH Member

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    Do the players, et al, realize that another strike could and likely would destroy any rebuilt credibility and good will with the fans? The strike-shortened season over 20 years ago all but killed the game and it took some 'roided-up sluggers hitting balls a mile to renew fan interest a couple seasons later. Baseball has come back to earth a bit lately but I recall that some recent World Series have had really good ratings and the sport always has a strong and dedicated following across the board. A season-long strike might kill not only any chance of expansion but also revenue streams from fans buying tickets, merch, subscriptions to the MLB Extra Innings packages, etc. I understand where they're coming from to a large degree but the phrase "cutting off your nose to spite your face" comes to mind a bit with these threats of a strike.

    Hell, there are some fans who STILL haven't forgiven the NHL players for the lockout over a decade ago even though it wasn't the players who made the call. Perception is reality (as the anthem protests flap has demonstrated) and increasingly so in the dumbed-down society we're living in nowadays. They need to think long and hard before they make the call to refuse to play or they might risk killing the golden goose.
     
  18. shaggydog2000

    shaggydog2000 Member SoSH Member

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    You actually think a player strike has some non-zero chance of happening any time before this recently signed agreement ends? I don't. It's last chance posturing from the PA and the agents. They're desperate.
     
  19. Spacemans Bong

    Spacemans Bong chapeau rose SoSH Member

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    There's at least 9 teams tanking right now. They can't all succeed. And they aren't all run by Jeff Luhnow or Theo Epstein.
     
  20. Snodgrass'Muff

    Snodgrass'Muff oppresses WARmongers Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Yeah, this is a shitty position for the league to be in. They've basically created one path toward rebuilding well and since we are settling in with some super teams at the top, anyone in the middle is being nudged toward that hard reset. This is what happens when you put severe limits on spending for amateur talent on one end, and severe penalties for spending big on the free agent end while not tying that CBT threshold to revenues so that teams can have a little breathing room when choosing not to go the tank route.

    Living in the middle is the worst of all worlds. It's great for owners wallets, but it's going to hurt the sport as a whole in the long run. They need to tear the system down and rebuild it, ironically enough.
     
  21. wade boggs chicken dinner

    wade boggs chicken dinner Member SoSH Member

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    Funny, I heard some financial guy say that following a bear market, the stock market has hit new highs 100% of the time. Yes, it's interesting logic but it's technically true.

    So why can't every tanking team succeed? Yeah, maybe not every tanking team is going to win the WS, and not every tanking team will be back in contention in five years. But assuming ordinary management, if a team is bad enough for long enough, it will have a competitive advantage to build a contender. Isn't it better to do that than win 75-80 games for a decade?

    Not sure what you are trying to say. My view is that most good teams are built through the draft - either high picks (HOU, CHI, even BAL when they drafted Machado et al at the top of the draft) or used the signing rules to stockpile talent (BOS and NYY). Making the draft random is going to relegate a lot of small market teams to mediocrity for decades.

    If you make the process for obtaining amateur talent basically even among all of the teams, how are the small market teams going to compete? Scouting? Player Development? Brain typology? Is there really any evidence that teams can leverage those traits to build winners?
     
  22. Spacemans Bong

    Spacemans Bong chapeau rose SoSH Member

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    "assuming ordinary management"

    If your scouting sucks, because as Snodgrass notes there is now one and only one path to rebuilding successfully, you're looking at a minimum of a decade to rebuild. That's ten years where your fans won't give a shit about baseball. That's bad for baseball because it's a local market driven sport, and several local markets not caring for a decade deflates interest in baseball nationwide. It was not good for baseball that until a few years ago adults in KC and Pittsburgh had never seen a decent baseball team. It is not good for baseball that nobody in Miami, one of the 10 largest markets in the US IIRC, gives a shit about the Marlins.

    Retooling and the subsequent sag of interest is a natural part of sports. Teams get old, the effect of picking at the back of every round weighs on you, GMs will lose their touch. The problem now is you actively hurt the rebuilding effort by being out on the free agent market, since you can't compensate the loss of a draft pick by signing some tough to sign guys or going out in the international market. You get a pool and your free agents shrink the pool. So the rebuilding effort is going to take much longer than before.
     
  23. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar lurker

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    While I am not arguing against the game being a local market driven sport, I do think that the particular market matters. For example:

    In 2012 the Red Sox finished last in the division, 26 games out. The next season they finished first and won the World Series but their attendance dropped by almost 210,000. In 2014 they again finished last, this time 25 games out, but their attendance jumped nearly 123,000. In 2016 and 2017 they won their division but lost in the LDS. Their attendance? In both those seasons, slightly lower than 2014.

    I think baseball's problem is that they have too many teams. I think inter-league play was a terrible idea for more than one reason but in this case I believe it diminishes the natural rivalries that tended to exist before it came about. The All-Star Game once meant something to fans; The World Series had more meaning before all the play-off games got in the way.

    Perhaps if they were to expand to two more teams and then form four separate, regionally-oriented leagues without inter-league play before post-season, they could bring back some of what is now missing.

    But as we all know, now that the players' union has the strength that it does, they are essentially in bed with the owners and it's all about money, so I doubt we will see any radical move like I suggested.
     
  24. wnyghost

    wnyghost lurker

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    Would JDM be signed by now if the Yankees had not traded for Stanton?

    It seems that free agency without the Yankees involvement as a potential destination reduces the urgency to bid against yourself.

    Edit.. Not saying the Yankees would have signed him. Just wondering if the Sox would have increased their number if the Yankees could have been involved versus Arizona.
     
  25. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    NY has been mostly out of the multi-year contract FA market for a few years now. They didn't sign anyone in 2015, they signed Chapman in 2016, and they haven't signed anyone this year, unless I'm forgetting someone.
     
  26. Sampo Gida

    Sampo Gida lurker

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    Heyman points out Jeff Passan back on Nov. 28 quoted multiple GMs saying they planned to try to wait out players to get bargain deals after players became nervous. In that article one GM even predicted that there’d be several relievers signed early, while stars would have to wait.

    That article quoted one GM suggesting they’d use the CBA, which has some salary depressors such as a barely-raised luxury-tax threshold, as an excuse not to sign players early.


    “Of course that’s what we’re saying,” the GM said of the threshold as a reason not to rush in. “We’d be stupid not to.”

    Reading this one can't help but see some collaboration at work here.

    You know hard evidence is not required to prove collusion. Evidence of conscious parallelism which reduces competition in the market in favor of the owners is enough, even if there is no formal agreement and even if participation is not 100%

    https://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4411&context=uclrev

    Now if redoing parts of the CBA to eliminate this conscious parallelism that is disrupting the market is needed then it needs to be done now and not wait for the the scheduled date. Tony C must be gone before this.

    I would suggest 6 very simple changes.

    1. Increase LT threshold to 230 million and keep it at 2.3% of MLB revenue.

    2. Players become FA after their age 28 season regardless of service time, or after 6 years, which ever comes first. This will get some players to MLB earlier and reduce service time manipulations

    3. Limit guaranteed contracts to a players age 34 season with additional years able to be bought out at 10%

    4. Playoff teams get the 11-20 picks. Middle tier teams get picks 21-30 (message - do more to win)

    5. 20% of revenue sharing going to small market teams get paid out to playoff teams

    6. Teams winning less than 75 games 5 years in a row lose revenue sharing dollars until they win more.

    Everyone gets something. More incentive to win. Penalties for losing too much and missing playoffs
     
  27. shaggydog2000

    shaggydog2000 Member SoSH Member

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    In the next CBA, I bet something like #1 does happen. The rest seem pretty impossible.
     
  28. Sampo Gida

    Sampo Gida lurker

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    With Tony C at the helm it is, but there is enough for everyone there J think its doable.

    No guarantees for players after age 34 is offset by guaranteed for all after age 28. Players on 40 man but not in MLB will like being able to get called up earlier.

    Revenue sharing penalties might require work stoppage but without incentivizing winning then conscious parallelism will be hard to stop
     
  29. MikeM

    MikeM Member SoSH Member

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    How would a salary floor even realistically work without being too messy and/or complicated?

    I keep trying to envision a scenario where you are either penalizing or forcing a team like the Pirates to spend and it just doesn't add up as feasible in my head.
     
  30. grimshaw

    grimshaw the new rudy SoSH Member

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    Ya, I don't think floors work either. That would artificially raise a lot of salaries for bottom tier players that no one else wants, or force those teams to take on undesirable Matt Kemp-like contracts just to avoid penalties. It is impossible to force free agents to sign for your team too. There just aren't enough to go around either.

    I'd rather watch a rebuilding team of prospects than a bunch of washed up, overpaid veterans and I'm sure fans would too.
     
  31. Joe Sixpack

    Joe Sixpack Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Didn't the NBA have a salary floor at one point? (or maybe still do) - the way I understood it there was if you don't meet the floor then all players on the roster just get more money to bring the payroll up to the floor. Seems like a decent enough way to encourage teams to spend even if it is slightly flawed.
     
  32. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

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    There wouldn't be anything preventing that rebuilding team from raising their payroll by giving their best young players early extensions to buy out arbitration and free agency.
     
  33. Snodgrass'Muff

    Snodgrass'Muff oppresses WARmongers Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Simple. You must meet the salary floor to be eligible for revenue sharing. Teams will spend to get there.
     
  34. kenneycb

    kenneycb Hates Goose Island Beer; Loves Backdoor Play SoSH Member

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    The NHL does. It only comes into play for teams like the Coyotes and previously the Panthers, which led them to trading for injured guys that were effectively retired. The Coyotes at one point had Savard, Pronger, and Datsyuk on their payroll even though none are actually playing and they are only paying a fraction of the salary due to insurance. So outside of a couple instances, many of which are ownership turmoil driven, it hasn’t been an issue. If a team is non-compliant they are subject to a fine and loss of future cap space.

    For the NBA, I think they just take the amount under the floor and pay it out to the players. Not sure about any other penalties.
     
  35. MikeM

    MikeM Member SoSH Member

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    Is it that simple though? Where do you put the floor cap? Plus how sure can you be that the money teams are being forced to spend doesn't just end up being detrimental to a small market in the long run, and which really only benefits an extremely small and isolated instance pool of players?

    To Plympton91's specific point, what happens when a team's best young players don't want to sign early? Do the Pirates just frantically go out and sign whoever to meet a salary quota, even if that contract might come back to haunt them?
     
  36. MikeM

    MikeM Member SoSH Member

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    That's all before even getting into the potentially complicated roster and upside opportunity sacrifices that might need to be made while forcing higher priced options on to a team's MLB payroll too, btw.

    Again, outside surface theory it just starts getting too messy imo.
     
  37. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

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    Let me just say that my first best solution to this would be expansion of baseball from 30 teams to 36 teams over the next decade, an end to the reserve clause and the first year player draft and international caps, but with full 50% revenue sharing across all teams. It takes two teams to play a game, all tv and stadium revenue should be shared equally between the home and road team. Baseball teams are franchises in the way that Burger King locations are or the way Wells Fargo has locations around the country, they aren’t independent businesses.

    I don’t like salary caps and floors. But I like it less when posers like Derek Jeter run teams into the ground for personal profit while giving handouts of superstars for pennies on the dollar to their former employers.

    To your point about unintended consequences, I don’t see them as that consequential. Teams like the Jeters will be fielding many innings of sub replacement level dreck. It’s not going to kill them to pay a 1 year $8 million contract or 3 for a few veteran innings at the back of the rotation and a versatile utility guy.

    Even in The example above where NHL teams just paid for injured players to sit around for a season, that frees up payroll for a team that is trying to win to go spend. If the salary floor had caused some team to pick up half of Pablo’s disaster from
    Boston in order to meet it, maybe the Red Sox would be out there bidding for Nunez to replace Holt or would be willing to go another couple mil a year and close the deal with Martinez.
     
  38. grimshaw

    grimshaw the new rudy SoSH Member

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    My point is that you can't force anyone to sign with your team. If you have a bunch of shitty drafts, you may not even have any good players worth extending. I mean, it would be unusual for that to happen, but overpaying terrible players just isn't good for any team.

    I am definitely in favor of expansion and ending the reserve clause though.
     
  39. Sampo Gida

    Sampo Gida lurker

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    Its interesting that of the top 13 FA signed 11 have went to NL teams. NL has outspent the AL 3 to 1.
     
  40. Sampo Gida

    Sampo Gida lurker

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    I dont see that as bad outcome. MLBPA main concern should be that its spent on players and not necessarily what class of players its spent on. As it is more mutually friendly extensions address some of the inequality among players

    I suspect more players are using insurance to eliminate the need to sign extensions .
     
  41. MikeM

    MikeM Member SoSH Member

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    So is everybody still betting that Harper and co "break" the previously established market next winter, or has this off-season's shift away from reckless spending helped put the preemptive kibosh on that?
     
  42. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    Harper and Machado will both get huge deals although maybe not as big as people were talking about before, but I think the days of non-superstar players getting 6-7 year deals are mostly done. Josh Donaldson will be a good test case if he has another great season, he will be 33 and hoping for a giant deal, but I will be surprised if it's more than 4 years.

    But if by 'break' you mean will Harper and Machado get bigger deals than Stanton's 13/325, I think Harper at least will, if he has a big season this year. Machado will be close also, especially if he is good defensively at SS this year.
     
  43. MikeM

    MikeM Member SoSH Member

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    Yeah, I was thinking Donaldson could end up feeling the squeeze a lot like JDM currently is.

    I'd also guess the expectations on Harper and Machado are going to have to be dialed down even more then you suggest. Higher scale in question obviously, but same surrounding and shifting concerns being in play. It wouldn't shock me if the 10 years+ without the player making a per/year concession contract model ends up in negotiating jeopordy as well, even for those 2.
     
  44. Spacemans Bong

    Spacemans Bong chapeau rose SoSH Member

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    I wouldn't be surprised if Harper got insane money per year, but not a long deal. Like, 7/300 versus 12/400. Pay out the nose, but strictly for their prime or near-prime, and not for their "110 games a year, OPS a little over .800, strictly DH" phase.
     
  45. BoSox Rule

    BoSox Rule Member SoSH Member

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    Donaldson will get a huge deal. Like $200m/6 or something like that. He’s way better than Martinez.
     
  46. MikeM

    MikeM Member SoSH Member

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    I like the under there on both the years as a 33yo and per/year money.

    Say what you want about JDM's defense but he's the best hitter to hit open FA in a long time, and that per/year Darvish (and to a somewhat lesser extent Cain) settled on isn't exactly hinting at the usual upward trend. The squeeze is real.
     
    #96 MikeM, Feb 13, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  47. moly99

    moly99 Member SoSH Member

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    The agents are obviously overlooking the issue of risk. Even if the expected value of a player is equal to the value of their mega-contract, a huge eight year contract can cripple a team for half a decade if that player goes into heavy decline. Meanwhile if a team misses on a draft pick they lose very little and can fix their mistake in the next draft.

    It's not surprising that owners are more wary of this than the GM's, since many of the GM's who have signed players to massive contracts won't be around for the worst years of an eight year contract.

    Because there would be no mechanism for bad teams to improve faster than good teams, resulting in many bad teams (especially those in smaller markets) being locked into awfulness until they get a a period of great luck in the draft.

    This is a morality vs practicality argument, though, and people on both sides won't change their minds. So it is best to leave that argument alone.
     
  48. Snodgrass'Muff

    Snodgrass'Muff oppresses WARmongers Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Isn't an agent's job to downplay the risk? Assuming they are overlooking it feels like quite a leap.
     
  49. Danny_Darwin

    Danny_Darwin Member SoSH Member

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    We keep focusing on the top-end of next year, but yeah, once you get past the absolute top end (and the relievers, because they seem to be doing all right this year), I'm not sure it will be any different than this year. I can easily imagine making it to February 2019 with McCutchen, Adam Jones, AJ Pollock, and Charlie Blackmon all unemployed.
     
  50. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

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    I really think it would be in the players' best interest overall to allow the CBA to be changed to allow all players to be sent to the minors if they are healthy and their performance isn't good enough to merit them staying on the 25 man. I think this would help more veterans get paid closer to what they think they deserve, as the guaranteeing of a 25 man roster spot hurts a team's potential flexibility if there is bad underperformance.

    For instance, Jacoby Ellsbury would probably be best served at this point to play every day in AAA and try to prove that he should be starting somewhere, but that's not possible under the current rules, so he will be a pinch-runner and emergency fill-in if he is not traded (which seems close to impossible at this point unless NY includes some serious prospects along with him).
     

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