Baseball Is Broken (off the field/labor relations etc.)

Plympton91

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No, it just shouldn't expand any further. Whether you're doing it gradually or all at once doesn't change the fact that there isn't enough talent or viable markets to carry 36 teams and systems without diluting the product.
Focusing on talent, Doesn’t 30 teams dilute the product relative to 26? Why is 30 teams the optimal level of dilution?

Focusing on economics, Why is Kansas City or Cincinnati a more viable market than Nashville or Las Vegas?

Papelbon’s Poutine said:
Maybe down the road we start to see more athletes opt for baseball over football due to the injury concerns and CTE, but until then, it's not really debatable.
Japanese stars are coming with increasing frequency, Cuba has just opened, Korean baseball is improving. The travel-industrial complex is preparing kids for quicker transition to the majors. I don’t see a problem at all.

Papelbon’s Poutine said:
Also, you decry tanking, but you want to make the pool of teams that have no shot bigger? And maybe you could extrapolate on why they "should" have made those incremental expansions you suggest.
Tanking is a separate problem that can be addressed by penalizing teams that do it.

They expanded in 1977, then again in 1993 and then in 1998. It’s been 21 years since then, and at this point you’d be looking at 24 years before it realistically could happen. This is a pure power-play by the monopoly owners. They should be regulated like a public utility.

Papelbin’s Poutine said:
Why is this a bonus to me or any fan?
It’s a bonus for baseball players and a boost to the economy in 6 major league cities and the addition 36 minor league cities that would need to be created. Fans will come no matter what.
 

Cesar Crespo

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I'm not for expansion but teams rely far less on gate revenue than ever before. I'm not sure it matters much if Nashville only drew 13,000 fans a game.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Focusing on talent, Doesn’t 30 teams dilute the product relative to 26? Why is 30 teams the optimal level of dilution?

Focusing on economics, Why is Kansas City or Cincinnati a more viable market than Nashville or Las Vegas?



Japanese stars are coming with increasing frequency, Cuba has just opened, Korean baseball is improving. The travel-industrial complex is preparing kids for quicker transition to the majors. I don’t see a problem at all.



Tanking is a separate problem that can be addressed by penalizing teams that do it.

They expanded in 1977, then again in 1993 and then in 1998. It’s been 21 years since then, and at this point you’d be looking at 24 years before it realistically could happen. This is a pure power-play by the monopoly owners. They should be regulated like a public utility.



It’s a bonus for baseball players and a boost to the economy in 6 major league cities and the addition 36 minor league cities that would need to be created. Fans will come no matter what.
You’re resorting toy ‘boost the local economy’? Seriously?
 

crow216

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How does an argument exist that there isn’t enough talent in a sport where every team has 3+ levels of minor league rosters plus their main 25? Tack on experienced players not getting signed, young kids being forced to stay in the minors, and smarter teams casting wider nets for talent.

There are reasons to oppose expansion, dilution doesn’t hold water. (No pun intended?)
 

Joe Sixpack

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Yeah, it's hard to really see any argument against further expansion at this point. The talent pool is bigger than ever and cities like Portland, Raleigh, Nashville, Vegas, could absolutely support teams.

I go to Richmond fairly often for work and it just makes me sad that people there have to root for the Baltimore Orioles. The freaking Orioles. I mean come on, don't they deserve a better option?
 

jon abbey

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Dunno, to me more teams just likely means more bad teams, teams maybe even worse than the Orioles. BAL is awful now (well, not this week), but they made the playoffs three times between 2012-2016, one ALCS (lost to KC), one ALDS (lost to NY in 5), and one wild card loss (good job bringing in Britton, Buck).

That being said, I don't feel too strongly either way, but it should be either 28 (my preference) or 32 teams so that we don't have to have constant interleague games, especially in late September.
 

keninten

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Nov 24, 2005
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I really don`t understand how people think Nashville can support a team. Sure alot of people have moved here and maybe they will support them but baseball is not big down here with the locals.
 

singaporesoxfan

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Yeah, it's hard to really see any argument against further expansion at this point. The talent pool is bigger than ever and cities like Portland, Raleigh, Nashville, Vegas, could absolutely support teams.

I go to Richmond fairly often for work and it just makes me sad that people there have to root for the Baltimore Orioles. The freaking Orioles. I mean come on, don't they deserve a better option?
If people in Richmond are rooting for the Orioles instead of the Nats, who are closer, that’s by choice no?

That said, not far away, the whole Carolinas region is probably the most underserved region by MLB.
 

Joe Sixpack

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It was a bit of a joke but in any case, I suspect there are more Orioles fans than Nats fans in Richmond (by my completely unscientific, anecdotal count) due to longevity in the area.
 

Gdiguy

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I haven't fully worked out the exact mechanism of this, but... what about tying revenue sharing $ to total attendance #s?

I fully admit there's a lot you'd have to do to avoid extreme gaming of this, but the basic thesis is - right now a team (Marlins) can easily turn a profit just from an even mediocre TV deal and revenue sharing $, and just ignore the fact that they're getting 10k fans per game (that's the official #, I'm sure it's lower). But that has the double whammy problem - not only is it bad for the competitiveness in the short term, but it's also bad for MLB in general as you'll lose a generation of fans in that area who don't want to spend decent $ to go to the ballpark to see a tanking team.

So instead, force them to do whatever to get people to come to the ballpark - $1 tickets, events, free t-shirts, parking, whatever. At least then even if a team is going to tank, it'll give people an opportunity to go to a baseball game (and I would certainly go to more games, even to see random opposing teams, if the cost was minimal - hell, I did that in Oakland when I was in the Bay Area, there's something fun about paying $8 for field level seats).
 

The Gray Eagle

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I love this idea (though I'd use percentage of tickets sold, rather than total tickets sold.)
It'd be better for the long term future of MLB if they can to get more people to go to the games, and it should be a priority. If you plan to not even try to win and your own fans don't care about your team, then you shouldn't get as big a piece of the pie as the teams that are trying to win. Each franchise in the cartel should be trying to get customers in the house and building the audience for now and the future.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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I haven't fully worked out the exact mechanism of this, but... what about tying revenue sharing $ to total attendance #s?

I fully admit there's a lot you'd have to do to avoid extreme gaming of this, but the basic thesis is - right now a team (Marlins) can easily turn a profit just from an even mediocre TV deal and revenue sharing $, and just ignore the fact that they're getting 10k fans per game (that's the official #, I'm sure it's lower). But that has the double whammy problem - not only is it bad for the competitiveness in the short term, but it's also bad for MLB in general as you'll lose a generation of fans in that area who don't want to spend decent $ to go to the ballpark to see a tanking team.

So instead, force them to do whatever to get people to come to the ballpark - $1 tickets, events, free t-shirts, parking, whatever. At least then even if a team is going to tank, it'll give people an opportunity to go to a baseball game (and I would certainly go to more games, even to see random opposing teams, if the cost was minimal - hell, I did that in Oakland when I was in the Bay Area, there's something fun about paying $8 for field level seats).
Most teams that aren’t gold standards already do this kind of thing. There’s an entire industry based on even going door to door with packages of ‘buy four tickets, get a hot dog and soda, for $10!’ I remember applying to a job listing in DC shortly after the Nats moved to town, was labeled as ‘sports marketing’ and it was basically a pyramid scheme doing this that the team hired.

You can go on Marlins website and get $10 bleacher seats of $18 baseline seats right now if you want them.
 

uncannymanny

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Boston --> NYC --> LA --> NYC
I love this idea (though I'd use percentage of tickets sold, rather than total tickets sold.)
It'd be better for the long term future of MLB if they can to get more people to go to the games, and it should be a priority. If you plan to not even try to win and your own fans don't care about your team, then you shouldn't get as big a piece of the pie as the teams that are trying to win. Each franchise in the cartel should be trying to get customers in the house and building the audience for now and the future.
Given posts in the other thread about the viewing experience being better at home, is live viewing even the best place to attract younger viewers?
 

The Gray Eagle

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I would think so-- going to a game in a crowded ballpark (assuming the revenue sharing idea worked.) surrounded by loud fans is a much more exciting and memorable event (especially for a kid) than just putting the game on TV, where you watch a bunch of other stuff, most of which is faster paced.
 

uncannymanny

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Is it really for “kids these days” though? I think it’s presumptuous to assume that kids who are growing up glued to screens and know nothing but HD+ love watching a game from 100 yards away like we did. I think they need to figure out how to bring some of the home experience to the ballpark. iPads in every seat back maybe that play the broadcast and have some DVR capabilities.
 

charlieoscar

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Sep 28, 2014
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Isn't a major thing being that kids just don't play ball like they once did? The NFL season was shorter and New England did not have a team after 1936 until the American Football League formed and the Patriots began; the NBA was not that popular until the Celtics dynasty began with Cousy and Russell; the Bruins needed Orr and Esposito before they caught on. TV broadcasts were line-of-sight, not cable or satellite. In the fall you had college football on Saturdays, professional on Sundays. The NHL and NBA seasons started after baseball season ended. New England had a lot of small towns, most of which had their own grade schools. You'd have softball games with students from the 3rd-4th grade through the 8th, boys and girls together, as soon as the field dried out in the spring until it was snowed over. In bigger towns, there might be more variety, but baseball was THE national sport. I don't think you can say the same any more.
 

Sandwich Pick

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Sep 9, 2017
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All sports need to have 2 sets of standings, one for the draft and one for the playoffs.

For the draft a small step would be, in an event of a tie, the team with the better head to head record gets the higher pick. If they didn't play each other, they would need to find another tiebreaker (Run differential?)
 

Boggs26

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All sports need to have 2 sets of standings, one for the draft and one for the playoffs.

For the draft a small step would be, in an event of a tie, the team with the better head to head record gets the higher pick. If they didn't play each other, they would need to find another tiebreaker (Run differential?)
Someone mentioned it earlier, but if the goal is to stop intentional tanking, running the draft by giving the 1st pick to say the 20th best record, then 21st, 22nd, etc. Then after the worst team going to the 19th and running too the best team. In theory this would give the best pick to a team that was at least trying to win or legitimately rebuild. That would give the Mets the first pick this year - a team that want tanking intentionally (unless they're as bad at that as they are in general haha). Of course the cutoff could be anywhere, not necessarily 20th.

Example

20
21
22
23
24
...
29
30
19
18
...
12
11
...
2
1
 

Sandwich Pick

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Sep 9, 2017
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Someone mentioned it earlier, but if the goal is to stop intentional tanking, running the draft by giving the 1st pick to say the 20th best record, then 21st, 22nd, etc. Then after the worst team going to the 19th and running too the best team. In theory this would give the best pick to a team that was at least trying to win or legitimately rebuild. That would give the Mets the first pick this year - a team that want tanking intentionally (unless they're as bad at that as they are in general haha). Of course the cutoff could be anywhere, not necessarily 20th.

Example

20
21
22
23
24
...
29
30
19
18
...
12
11
...
2
1
That way can work, but I think the best way to do that is to give the 5 teams that miss the playoffs each a 20% chance at the 1st overall pick (or even stagger the odds in favor of the team that just misses). They can hold a draft lottery like the other sports.

Then, the worst team gets the 6th overall pick, 2nd-worst gets 7, etc.

6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15

1-5 via lottery

21-30 playoff teams

In the event of a tie, I would still go with the better H2H record getting the higher pick.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Draft lotteries don't discourage tanking - see the NBA.

And while giving the #1 pick to the 20th best team would be interesting, I don't think any small market team would go for that. It would probably also relegate teams to perpetual cellar dwelling, which may mean those teams eventually fold.

MLB has to figure out how to incentivize winning beyond just the playoffs.
 

Boggs26

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And while giving the #1 pick to the 20th best team would be interesting, I don't think any small market team would go for that. It would probably also relegate teams to perpetual cellar dwelling, which may mean those teams eventually fold.
Do you think that Baltimore, CHW, KC, and Miami are incapable of staying in business if they sign players like Corbin, Machado, Harper, etc? What about the next tier down? Because the whole reason to tank is that in the current system the top couple picks cost enough less than FAs that the risk of a bust is worth the savings+loses. The only reason a team would sit in the bottom 3-5 teams for multiple consecutive seasons is if they aren't trying to win (see Hou 2007ish-2015ish). Will Miami be terrible again this year? Probably, but who did they go out and sign to make them better? Would Dallas Keuchel not make them a better team?

If a team can't get out of the bottom ten regularly, then the team should be sold out moved because the ownership is simply milking revenue sharing while helping suppress player salaries.
 

Was (Not Wasdin)

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Draft lotteries don't discourage tanking - see the NBA.

And while giving the #1 pick to the 20th best team would be interesting, I don't think any small market team would go for that. It would probably also relegate teams to perpetual cellar dwelling, which may mean those teams eventually fold.

MLB has to figure out how to incentivize winning beyond just the playoffs.
I wouldnt give the top pick to the 20th best team-I'd give it to the team (s) that just miss the playoffs. So say teams 11-15. Then go to the reverse order of record. Reward the teams that are trying but just miss out.
 

OurF'ingCity

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I wouldnt give the top pick to the 20th best team-I'd give it to the team (s) that just miss the playoffs. So say teams 11-15. Then go to the reverse order of record. Reward the teams that are trying but just miss out.
A variation on this would be to set some sort of low wins target - call it 65 wins or something. If you're above that line, draft order goes as normal, but if you fall below that line you get moved behind all the non-playoff teams that surpassed the threshold. There would still be gaming, since teams would play hard until they reached that mark and then, once they hit it, would fold up shop, and occasionally teams would get screwed over if they just happened to have a really bad year due to injuries, etc., but this would at least minimize some of the extreme tanking we've seen in places like Miami recently.

Of course, this whole discussion is irrelevant as the small market teams would never agree to any rules that prevented their ability to tank if they so choose.
 

Sandwich Pick

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Sep 9, 2017
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Draft lotteries don't discourage tanking - see the NBA.

And while giving the #1 pick to the 20th best team would be interesting, I don't think any small market team would go for that. It would probably also relegate teams to perpetual cellar dwelling, which may mean those teams eventually fold.

MLB has to figure out how to incentivize winning beyond just the playoffs.
Maybe the same system but with the top 3 teams? The worst (read: tanking) team won't be horribly punished with the 4th overall pick. It discourages tanking but doesn't outright punish it. And that may need to be the starting point.

I have a feeling that this is something that is going to happen a little bit at a time.
 

Ford Frick's Asterisk

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Shuffling teams only 3 slots or so isn't going to have any impact on tanking. This isn't the NBA or NFL where the top pick is a pretty safe bet and is going to reap immediate rewards. With the exception of the rare draft or two, like the Nationals fortuitous tanking that landed them Strasburg and Harper, teams aren't tanking to get the top overall pick so much as they're attempting to collect the group of highest picks possible throughout the draft.

*
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Do you think that Baltimore, CHW, KC, and Miami are incapable of staying in business if they sign players like Corbin, Machado, Harper, etc? What about the next tier down? Because the whole reason to tank is that in the current system the top couple picks cost enough less than FAs that the risk of a bust is worth the savings+loses. The only reason a team would sit in the bottom 3-5 teams for multiple consecutive seasons is if they aren't trying to win (see Hou 2007ish-2015ish). Will Miami be terrible again this year? Probably, but who did they go out and sign to make them better? Would Dallas Keuchel not make them a better team?

If a team can't get out of the bottom ten regularly, then the team should be sold out moved because the ownership is simply milking revenue sharing while helping suppress player salaries.
I'm saying that given the current system - but allocating the #1 draft pick to the #20 worst team - means that teams at the bottom don't really have a way to get enough talent to get out of the bottom.

Seems to me that the playoff teams would already have the talent; the teams that just missed would be adding premium talent; and the teams at the bottom would be relegated to not having enough talent - or, in the case of a small market team - enough cash to compete with the foregoing.

I will say that if MLB did give the #1 pick to the #20 (or similar team), the immediate beneficiaries of this system would be guys like Adam Jones - productive veterans who would take one year contracts. Teams would load up on these players so that they could be #20 - until, of course, they got enough talent to compete for the playoffs, in which they wouldn't necessarily need the older players anymore.

Also, can you imagine how bad it would be if a playoff contending team decide that it had no chance in the playoffs and would rather have the #1 pick so they sat all of their starters for the last week of the season?

Of course it will never happen so this is just (hopefully) fun speculation.
 

Plympton91

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A variation on this would be to set some sort of low wins target - call it 65 wins or something. If you're above that line, draft order goes as normal, but if you fall below that line you get moved behind all the non-playoff teams that surpassed the threshold. There would still be gaming, since teams would play hard until they reached that mark and then, once they hit it, would fold up shop, and occasionally teams would get screwed over if they just happened to have a really bad year due to injuries, etc., but this would at least minimize some of the extreme tanking we've seen in places like Miami recently.

Of course, this whole discussion is irrelevant as the small market teams would never agree to any rules that prevented their ability to tank if they so choose.
For every game you lose after 95, your pick drops by 1.
 

dhappy42

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Oct 27, 2013
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Simplest solution is to disconnect the draft from where teams finish in the standings. Removes the incentive to tank. Make the draft order random.

Slightly more complicated: make the draft order random for all the teams that didn’t make the playoffs. Then, reverse order of finish for playoff teams, with the WS winner going last.
 

jon abbey

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Good tweet, I don't think anyone thinks they should be equal since baseball players take a few years to be ready to contribute, but the difference here is too big:


Years of Control:

Zion Williamson: 4 years
Kyler Murray: 5 years
⚾️
Adley Rutschman: 13 years


4 years to be Rule-5 eligible
3 option years
6 full years in the show
 

Cesar Crespo

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What should it be? Of course another difference is Bryce Harper signed for 13 years. Those contracts don't exist in other sports.

Give up some years of control in trade for max contracts of 5 years.
 

HowBoutDemSox

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Good tweet, I don't think anyone thinks they should be equal since baseball players take a few years to be ready to contribute, but the difference here is too big:


Years of Control:

Zion Williamson: 4 years
Kyler Murray: 5 years
⚾️
Adley Rutschman: 13 years


4 years to be Rule-5 eligible
3 option years
6 full years in the show
Zion is at least 5 years, probably more like 9, depending on if he takes the qualified offer after his rookie contract (which he won’t) or signs a longer extension.
 

jon abbey

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Another difference is NBA and NFL teams can't manipulate service time to get an extra year or two of control. What should it be? I feel like we've discussed that a lot already in this thread.
 

crow216

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Another difference is NBA and NFL teams can't manipulate service time to get an extra year or two of control. What should it be? I feel like we've discussed that a lot already in this thread.
It starts with fewer years of major league control. Service time manipulation is diminished when you only have 3 years of control over a player once they reach the majors.

For the time itself, there’s no perfect answer but I think it should be easy to make some adjustments that improve the system. I think service time arbitration should be a thing under any system. If a player feels they were kept down for manipulation purposes, they can have an arbiter intervene and decide when to start the clock.
 

jon abbey

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It starts with fewer years of major league control. Service time manipulation is diminished when you only have 3 years of control over a player once they reach the majors.

For the time itself, there’s no perfect answer but I think it should be easy to make some adjustments that improve the system. I think service time arbitration should be a thing under any system. If a player feels they were kept down for manipulation purposes, they can have an arbiter intervene and decide when to start the clock.
I think it should work both ways, something like TJS should give the team an extra year of control, but from the player's side, I think it needs to be both, fewer years of team control and a set date that that control expires, regardless of when they make the bigs (this would make the sport better instantly, no longer any reason to hold guys down who deserve to be up).

Off the top of my head, I would say maybe 9-10 seasons of control for MLB draftees and maybe a year or two longer for international players who sign before 17 would be a very positive and healthy step forward for the sport. If teams are (pretty much correctly) not going to pay most players big bucks past 30 or 31 anymore, then more players need to get to FA younger and earn what they deserve at least closer to their peak.
 

nvalvo

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How much of this would be solved just by sharply raising the major league minimum, to smooth out the value premium of young players?
 

Gdiguy

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That probably wouldn't do anything to the tier of players where service time games are happening, but would certainly help overall
(edit - there's an interesting question there for the kind of fungible players - how much of the 'service time' games are about salary, how much is team control in general, and how much is having options specifically. It seems like in many cases the real value is the ability to option someone to the minors for a few weeks to deal with roster issues, which maybe has different solutions than the Vlad Jr ones that really have to do strictly with ramping of salary)

Here's a couple thoughts I've been ruminating on (with the background that I dislike the draft system in general, I find it really odd that in every other aspect the US is 'capitalism yay! socialism boo!' and then has like the most socialist system possible for sport leagues). In general it's always going to be bandages around the edges, because I think the actual fixes aren't going to happen (the problem is that there's an unsolvable gulf between 'fans want teams to be essentially equally competitive' and 'owners of teams in large markets want their team to be more valuable than crappy teams in poor markets')

1) Remove draft slotting and spending caps entirely; instead, draft spending counts towards your luxury tax / revenue sharing calculation for that year. This to me is a no-brainer - I don't think the luxury tax (or similar soft salary caps) are going to ever go away as there's just too big of a gulf between the big-market and small-market teams, but I think the biggest issue with the draft system right now is that it's decoupled from that system and so there's no market force that pushes spending upwards (and indeed an explicit cap that doesn't connect, giving no reason to challenge it). The slot system creates too many perverse incentives (like the Mets this year, drafting a bunch of college seniors they can pressure into lower $ deals so they can spend over-slot in another place, which as a Mets fan I like, but as a fan generally of young players not getting screwed I think is crazy).

2) I know this won't happen, but I would honestly prefer that drafting essentially gives restricted free agent status (i.e., drafting team gets right to match, maybe gets the ability to offer something that other teams can't) as opposed to exclusive rights. The current draft system by default gives all of the power to the team (by choice, obviously), which drives nearly every other problem. At least if you do #1 first, then you put a cap on 'Yankees buy every top draftee' type problems by making it prohibitively expensive to do that at scale along with free agent signings.
 

jon abbey

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Also the option system needs to be changed drastically if not dropped totally, because it is meant as protection for veterans but it is costing them jobs. Maybe once you are out of options, the team can still send you to AAA but you don't have to report if you would rather not, but the team can replace you on the 25 man roster. The players need to bargain this away in exchange for rights that would actually help them.
 

Boggs26

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Also the option system needs to be changed drastically if not dropped totally, because it is meant as protection for veterans but it is costing them jobs. Maybe once you are out of options, the team can still send you to AAA but you don't have to report if you would rather not, but the team can replace you on the 25 man roster. The players need to bargain this away in exchange for rights that would actually help them.
I think this is a logical step. Something like: teams have the 3 unrestricted options they have now, then after that they can option a player (at full salary - though maybe only some percentage of it counts toward the luxury tax?) But the player has the right to elect free agency instead. The only issue would be manipulation of the starting rotation so maybe some sort of rule that you can't be optioned for at least 4 days after pitching 4 or more innings or something like that.
 

jon abbey

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Tonight the MLB HR derby and the AAA HR derby were held at the same time:

MLB's featured two of the biggest young stars of the game, Vlad Guerrero Jr (20) and Pete Alonso (24). They each make about a half million in salary this year.

AAA's featured two guys who have hit a ton in AAA but have been unable to stick in the bigs, Yasmany Tomas (28) and Mike Ford (just turned 27). Ford also I think makes around $500K, although it might be pro-rated for being in the minors for a lot of the season, and Tomas makes $15.5M (!!!).
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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How much of this would be solved just by sharply raising the major league minimum, to smooth out the value premium of young players?
Actually, I think it would have the opposite effect - teams would keep prospects in the minors until they had no other choice.

The issue is that, for example, Mookie Betts has outearned what he has been paid exponentially. Until that is leveled off - by reducing the time these players get to FA - the overwhelmingly correct strategy is to do whatever a team can to get as many top 10 picks as possible.

It would be an upset if the Os did not win a WS in the next eight years.
 

jon abbey

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It would be an upset if the Os did not win a WS in the next eight years.
I strongly disagree about this, although a lot depends on just how good their new management team is. But they've got so much to go to catch up in terms of building a system, here are the number of teenage (only teenager) prospects right now on the 5 AL East teams according to Fangraphs (this is updated through last week's July 2 signings, including the recent draft too):

NYY: 25
TB: 14 (they are loaded above this too)
TOR: 11
BOS: 9
BAL: 5 (1 from this year's draft, 3 from last year's draft, and a 2016 international signing)

That is a long way to go to catch up, and the teams ahead of them will not be standing still.

But I'm not sure either about raising minimums, that might hurt fringe players who would then never be called up. Clearly a lot more money needs to be funnelled to younger players, but it needs to be connected to performance somehow.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Mar 26, 2005
17,383
I strongly disagree about this, although a lot depends on just how good their new management team is. But they've got so much to go to catch up in terms of building a system, here are the number of teenage (only teenager) prospects right now on the 5 AL East teams according to Fangraphs (this is updated through last week's July 2 signings, including the recent draft too):

NYY: 25
TB: 14 (they are loaded above this too)
TOR: 11
BOS: 9
BAL: 5 (1 from this year's draft, 3 from last year's draft, and a 2016 international signing)

That is a long way to go to catch up, and the teams ahead of them will not be standing still.

But I'm not sure either about raising minimums, that might hurt fringe players who would then never be called up. Clearly a lot more money needs to be funnelled to younger players, but it needs to be connected to performance somehow.
Well that can't be right since the Os signed what I understand to be 24 16-year-olds on July 2. https://www.pressboxonline.com/2019/07/03/orioles-launch-new-direction-internationally-with-july-2-haul.

The Os had the #11 pick in 2018, the #1 pick in 2019, and what I suspect to be top 5 picks in at least the next 2 drafts. They should be able to find 2-4 superstars picking that high and if they do, they will be in prime position. There is no surer way to build a team in today's system than picking in the top 10 of the draft over and over and over and over.
 

jon abbey

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Jul 15, 2005
47,172
Well that can't be right since the Os signed what I understand to be 24 16-year-olds on July 2. https://www.pressboxonline.com/2019/07/03/orioles-launch-new-direction-internationally-with-july-2-haul.
Yep, quantity, not quality. By the time the current management took over, all of the top guys in this July 2 class were committed elsewhere. The Fangraphs list doesn't include all teenagers under contract, just the ones that they think meet a minimum requirement to be a prospect (I think it's 35+?). None of the BAL signings made that cut (it was only the top 30 or so from this class, I think). That doesn't mean they won't develop into prospects, and it's certainly better than what they've done in previous years, but not an impact haul as of now, despite the photo op.

The Os had the #11 pick in 2018, the #1 pick in 2019, and what I suspect to be top 5 picks in at least the next 2 drafts. They should be able to find 2-4 superstars picking that high and if they do, they will be in prime position. There is no surer way to build a team in today's system than picking in the top 10 of the draft over and over and over and over.
Maybe, but it's still pretty far from a lock, and it's a long way from there to building a genuine contender in this era. FWIW, BAL actually picked 10 times in the top 10 from 2002-2012:

2002: Adam Loewen (4)
2003: Nick Markakis (7)
2004: Wade Townsend (8)
2006: Billy Rowell (9)
2007: Matt Wieters (5)
2008: Brian Matusz (4)
2009: Matthew Hobgood (5)
2010: Manny Machado (3)
2011: Dylan Bundy (4)
2012: Kevin Gausman (4)

One superstar in there (Machado) and a bunch of other solid players, which helped lead to three playoff berths from 2012-2016 (and two misses). One AL East title, two wild cards, one wild card game loss, one ALDS loss (thank you Raul Ibanez) and one ALCS loss (swept by KC in 2014). I think it will be decidedly harder for them to even do that again this time.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Yep, quantity, not quality. By the time the current management took over, all of the top guys in this July 2 class were committed elsewhere. The Fangraphs list doesn't include all teenagers under contract, just the ones that they think meet a minimum requirement to be a prospect (I think it's 35+?). None of the BAL signings made that cut (it was only the top 30 or so from this class, I think). That doesn't mean they won't develop into prospects, and it's certainly better than what they've done in previous years, but not an impact haul as of now, despite the photo op.



Maybe, but it's still pretty far from a lock, and it's a long way from there to building a genuine contender in this era. FWIW, BAL actually picked 10 times in the top 10 from 2002-2012:

2002: Adam Loewen (4)
2003: Nick Markakis (7)
2004: Wade Townsend (8)
2006: Billy Rowell (9)
2007: Matt Wieters (5)
2008: Brian Matusz (4)
2009: Matthew Hobgood (5)
2010: Manny Machado (3)
2011: Dylan Bundy (4)
2012: Kevin Gausman (4)

One superstar in there (Machado) and a bunch of other solid players, which helped lead to three playoff berths from 2012-2016 (and two misses). One AL East title, two wild cards, one wild card game loss, one ALDS loss (thank you Raul Ibanez) and one ALCS loss (swept by KC in 2014). I think it will be decidedly harder for them to even do that again this time.
The Os picked in the top 10 10 times, had 5 clear misses, never had a pick over #3, and still made it to the ALCS makes me feel that the odds of this regime - which has done it once before - getting it right is more likely than not.

The Os farm system a couple of years ago was the worst in baseball. They are now mid-teens, plus or minus. At this point as you say there is a ton of quantity but there's also some pretty decent prospects at the lower levels from what I understand. Plus another top 3 pick coming next year.

It's not a lock but if there was a way to make the bet in LV, I'd put some money down and I'm not a gambler.
 

BoSox Rule

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Jul 15, 2005
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You do understand how hard it is to identify, draft, and develop Major League superstars, right? 2-4 would be a wild success.
 

Plympton91

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Oct 19, 2008
12,114
I think it should work both ways, something like TJS should give the team an extra year of control, but from the player's side, I think it needs to be both, fewer years of team control and a set date that that control expires, regardless of when they make the bigs (this would make the sport better instantly, no longer any reason to hold guys down who deserve to be up).

Off the top of my head, I would say maybe 9-10 seasons of control for MLB draftees and maybe a year or two longer for international players who sign before 17 would be a very positive and healthy step forward for the sport. If teams are (pretty much correctly) not going to pay most players big bucks past 30 or 31 anymore, then more players need to get to FA younger and earn what they deserve at least closer to their peak.
I think you could simplify this by just saying it’s 6 years of major league service time or the winter after the regular season in which you turn 28 years old.

Everyone is a free agent at 29 or younger.

Another simple fix is to force teams to put a player who is drafted at age 21 or older on the 40 man or expose them to the rule 5 drafted after 2 years in the system and the get minor league free agency after 5 years.

Someone mentioned raising the major league minimum. You could also raise the minimum for players on the 40 man roster significantly. Right now, if you have no major league service time, it’s $40,000 and if you do have service time it’s $79,000. Those could be tripled.
 

jon abbey

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Jul 15, 2005
47,172
Players with opt-out possibilities like JDM and Strasburg who are still owed quite a bit really should think carefully about opting out into this marketplace, with so many FA deals these days ending up as bad mistakes. Both of those two would have qualifying offers attached, making it even tougher to top their current guarantee. .Mark Shapiro (who runs TOR) just now:

"Mark Shapiro: "We've got flexibility with both term and the amount of money we can offer." But Shapiro cautions that #BlueJays aren't looking to win the off-season. Mentions San Diego and Philadelphia as teams that have spent big without winning big."
 

Cesar Crespo

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Dec 22, 2002
10,538
I would love to see contracts maxed to 5-6 years. As trade off, let players reach FA after 4 years instead of 6. If a player debuts before August 1st, it counts as a year. That way if a player is ready at the beginning of the year, there's very little benefit to holding him back.

Players hit the Majors earlier, and hit FA earlier. Owners get contract lengths reduced to 5-6 years. The one thing I enjoy about the NBA is the 4 year contract. Player movement is good.