Why Are MLB Teams Treating $246M Like A Hard Barrier?

jon abbey

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I don't have time to really do this topic justice at the moment, but I wanted to get it started.

The obvious answer is collusion, but if it's not that (and BOS did go over the top line midseason last year), I really don't get it. The penalties just don't seem that harsh as compared to the possible upside. In BOS's case, I think it is more about trying not to add additional salary in 2020 and beyond, but I still don't fully get it.

I'll add more later, but in the meantime, please have at it.
 

jon abbey

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FWIW, right now there are only three teams over the $206M line, BOS around $237M or so and NYY and CHC around $220M, very roughly. Everyone else is below $206M, including the Dodgers and Nats.
 

crow216

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For New York, in order to go over $246, it may mean signing contracts today that make it much harder to sign their younger players in 3 years. For Boston, I don't understand why they would stay under this year.
 

RIrooter09

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For New York, in order to go over $246, it may mean signing contracts today that make it much harder to sign their younger players in 3 years. For Boston, I don't understand why they would stay under this year.
For the exact same reason? And let's be clear, the Yankees could re-sign all of their home grown free agents to mega-deals and still turn a profit. It's all about how much ownership wants to pocket at the end of the year (for every team).
 

jon abbey

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For the exact same reason? And let's be clear, the Yankees could re-sign all of their home grown free agents to mega-deals and still turn a profit. It's all about how much ownership wants to pocket at the end of the year (for every team).
So then it is collusion and not the penalties.
 

Danny_Darwin

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RIrooter09

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This is a pretty good look at that exact topic from someone who'd know:
https://deadspin.com/baseball-doesnt-need-collusion-to-turn-off-the-hot-stov-1831644811

Among other thoughts, it's interesting to me that the Red Sox won the World Series with the highest payroll and are getting praised for doing so. Would this reaction have happened in any other season?
With revenues ~$170m less than the Yankees. And yet Yankees' fans seem to cheer every time their insanely rich ownership signs/trades for a lesser player who also happens to cost less.
 

jon abbey

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And yet Yankees' fans seem to cheer every time their insanely rich ownership signs/trades for a lesser player who also happens to cost less.
Has this happened even once yet? Machado is still a FA, LeMahieu was signed as a utility infielder.

Anyway, obviously we're mostly focused on BOS and NY, but let's try to make this sport-wide. The Cubs are taking tons of flak for not doing anything this winter, Dodgers fans are similarly frustrated, etc.
 

RIrooter09

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Has this happened even once yet? Machado is still a FA, LeMahieu was signed as a utility infielder.

Anyway, obviously we're mostly focused on BOS and NY, but let's try to make this sport-wide. The Cubs are taking tons of flak for not doing anything this winter, Dodgers fans are similarly frustrated, etc.
Not signing Max Scherzer and not trading for Justin Verlander. Those moves were explained away under the guise of resetting the luxury tax threshold for this year. Signing Gardner over Harper and LeMahieu/Tulo over Machado would be two glaring examples if they do come to pass. Trading for a cost controlled James Paxton over Corbin who only costs money is the same deal in my opinion.
 

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Among other thoughts, it's interesting to me that the Red Sox won the World Series with the highest payroll and are getting praised for doing so. Would this reaction have happened in any other season?
I'm not happy the Sox won, but I'm glad the nonsense chatter about teams 'buying' a championship will diminish a bit around here. Or should anyway.
 

jon abbey

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Not signing Max Scherzer and not trading for Justin Verlander. Those moves were explained away under the guise of resetting the luxury tax threshold for this year. Signing Gardner over Harper and LeMahieu/Tulo over Machado would be two glaring examples if they do come to pass. Trading for a cost controlled James Paxton over Corbin who only costs money is the same deal in my opinion.
That's a lot of different situations lumped together, I will answer them quickly but none of this is the point of the thread (I'm aware I asked).

Scherzer: This was 4 years ago now, but I don't remember them ever being in on him, a lot of teams wish they'd signed him.

Verlander: No one wanted his full salary, he passed through waivers and the Tigers paid some of it in the deal. Also he got a lot better in HOU with the help of their analytics, high-speed camera.

Gardner over Harper: This didn't happen, Gardner is their 4th OF if guys are healthy. Stanton at $22M AAV versus Harper at whatever was essentially the choice they made here.

LeMahieu/Tulo over Machado: This is combining a few things IMO, Tulo is their plan for SS while Didi is out, LeMahieu bumps Tyler Wade as utility infielder and their 3B spot is still open currently (Andujar to DH). Machado is a much better defender at 3B, that's where his value is.

Paxton over Corbin: Shit, I'll take Paxton all day there, even at equal money.
 

RIrooter09

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https://www.mlb.com/yankees/news/yankees-never-in-on-max-scherzer-sweepstakes/c-106918570

"It's obvious that when you know you have a certain amount of payroll each year that's not coming off the books, it gets more difficult," Steinbrenner said. "Having said that, most of those players have been great for us. Two or three years from now, there is going to be some more flexibility."

Hal crying poor in 2015 was a joke, and it's a joke now if they don't sign at least one of the 26 year old superstars who are desperate to play there. Maybe they do sign Machado, but I have my doubts. Preferring Paxton over Corbin who was top 5 in fWAR last year is simply your opinion which I disagree with.
 

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I read an article on Fangraphs recently explaining that under the most recent CBA, in addition to the luxury tax itself, there is an additional penalty in that teams that do not exceed the threshold receive more revenue sharing funds. I don’t believe this aspect has been widely reported.

I’m not excusing the reluctance of teams to spend but this is certainly a factor in their calculus.

Link: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/as-revenue-sharing-money-heads-back-to-the-yankees/
 

jon abbey

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Hal crying poor in 2015 was a joke, and it's a joke now if they don't sign at least one of the 26 year old superstars who are desperate to play there. Maybe they do sign Machado, but I doubt it.
Harper makes no sense for NY given the presence of Judge and Stanton, he is the worst defensive player of the three by far and has basically no experience at 1B. You'd essentially be adding a $300M+ DH when you already have Andujar to do that job.

Machado they're still in on, but it would certainly be understandable if they preferred to wait a year and go after Rendon or Arenado instead. You can make numerical arguments that Machado is the best of those three (and he is the youngest) but the dirty play and lack of leadership (just not his personality) could certainly be factors.
 

jon abbey

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But the point of this thread is every single team in baseball is behaving this way, the Cubs and Dodgers have plenty of money too and have done much much less to improve themselves this winter than NY.
 

jon abbey

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Also I just want to address this quickly...

Or simple greed. Rich dudes don't need to collude to want to stay rich.
Certainly true, but then all of the 'rich' franchises wouldn't draw their payroll lines in precisely the same places. The penalties certainly factor in, but they're just not enough on their own to explain this collective behavior IMO.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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Also I just want to address this quickly...



Certainly true, but then all of the 'rich' franchises wouldn't draw their payroll lines in precisely the same places. The penalties certainly factor in, but they're just not enough on their own to explain this collective behavior IMO.
One school of thought is that it’s a convenient excuse.
 

RIrooter09

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Here's how I see it.

1. There are some teams who will never run a high payroll (small markets and bottom feeding leaches like the Marlins).
2. There are 'rich' teams who need to retain the appearance of a competitive franchise to remain rich.
3. These franchises are pumping huge sums into developing their minor league infrastructure/analytics in order to develop cost controlled talent.
4. Once they develop said talent, they have the opportunity to be competitive without running a huge payroll. Loading up on under priced bullpen arms is another way to accomplish this (the two in conjunction is even better).
5. 'Rich' teams who have a relatively cheap, cost controlled core can choose to "go for it" by signing a few highly paid superstars to compliment their core.
6. The other option is to identify under valued assets to fill out the rest of your roster, hoping that the crap shoot of the playoffs ends up in your favor. This allows ownership to pocket massive profits while maintaining the veneer of winning at all costs.
7. I feel the Red Sox are currently in the "go for it" camp (where the Dodgers were a few years ago), while the Yankees, Cubs, and Dodgers are content to be talented and very profitable, hoping for a championship but not willing to spend enough to increase their odds dramatically.
 

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Certainly true, but then all of the 'rich' franchises wouldn't draw their payroll lines in precisely the same places. The penalties certainly factor in, but they're just not enough on their own to explain this collective behavior IMO.
Collusion is certainly possible, but I think growing trust in analytics is more likely. Young players are often better and almost always cheaper. I think your quotes state it plainly, and those were a few years ago:

"I want young, cost-controlled everything. It doesn't matter the position."-Brian Cashman, 12/6/15

"The correlation between spending and wins has been declining for many years now -- to the point of almost zero last year. Young players provide more WAR than ever before."-Dave Dombrowski, 8/22/16

7. I feel the Red Sox are currently in the "go for it" camp (where the Dodgers were a few years ago), while the Yankees, Cubs, and Dodgers are content to be talented and very profitable, hoping for a championship but not willing to spend enough to increase their odds dramatically.
With regard to the bolded, I think it entirely possible that teams' internal analytics suggest that spending a lot more does not increase their odds dramatically and that roster flexibility can be more valuable than a longterm contract that doesn't pan out (hi Ellsbury).
 

RIrooter09

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I would agree with that if a contract like Ellsbury's was in any way prohibitive for a team with ~$620-$650m in yearly revenues to eat. It simply is not. Hell, the Blue Jay's just paid $38m over two years to free up Tulo's roster spot.
 

Danny_Darwin

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The Cubs you could come up with a tortuous explanation for why they're not really in on anything - specifically, they paid a ton to Heyward and Darvish, and both have disappointed. They're a fit for Kimbrel, though. I would say I expect them to be in on Xander and Anthony Rendon next year with Zobrist and Hamels coming off the payroll, but who can even predict these things anymore.

The Dodgers, on the other hand, are tougher to figure, because they traded away three players who were at worst useful for no other apparent reason than moving some money around, and they haven't reallocated those savings into anything, and this is after they made a similar trade last year to get under the tax line. (Watch them swoop in as the Mystery Team on Harper and sign him out from under the Phillies and Nationals.)

It's just very weird because, as someone said elsewhere (in reference to the Yankees, but it applies to the Dodgers and probably some other teams just as much), if you're not going to spend on these guys, who are you ever going to spend on?
 

DeadlySplitter

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is it hard to believe the penalties are really bad? International pool money is a huge deal for big market teams. Where did Devers and Andujar come from, for example.
 

Danny_Darwin

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is it hard to believe the penalties are really bad? International pool money is a huge deal for big market teams. Where did Devers and Andujar come from, for example.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this only for repeat offenders? Couldn't a team (like the Cubs) go over for a year if they know they've got some significant deals expiring?
 

jon abbey

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is it hard to believe the penalties are really bad? International pool money is a huge deal for big market teams. Where did Devers and Andujar come from, for example.
You lose 500K in international slot money if you go over $246M, NY last year had about $5M to start with and traded for an additional $3.75M, so $8.75M total in the end. They traded Caleb Frare to the White Sox for $1.5M in international slot money at the deadline, and while Frare is a promising lefty reliever with full team control, he wasn't even in NY's top 30 prospects.
 

jon abbey

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And actually I'm not even sure you lose the 500K of international slot money, that might only be if you sign a top FA and you were previously over the tax limit. If you're over $246M, your marginal tax rate goes up but I think the only additional penalty is your first round pick drops 10 spots, which really is not that big of a deal IMO. Does someone know the definitive answer here?

(Also this thread is already coming up near the top on all my related google searches, so we should try to keep the info to noise ratio high.)
 

JimBoSox9

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Collusion is certainly possible, but I think growing trust in analytics is more likely. Young players are often better and almost always cheaper. I think your quotes state it plainly, and those were a few years ago:

"I want young, cost-controlled everything. It doesn't matter the position."-Brian Cashman, 12/6/15

"The correlation between spending and wins has been declining for many years now -- to the point of almost zero last year. Young players provide more WAR than ever before."-Dave Dombrowski, 8/22/16



With regard to the bolded, I think it entirely possible that teams' internal analytics suggest that spending a lot more does not increase their odds dramatically and that roster flexibility can be more valuable than a longterm contract that doesn't pan out (hi Ellsbury).
I think you're spot-on. It's not the penalties, it's the decline in marginal value of spending the top dollars. There's been a collision between three factors:

(1) The status quo - a market rigged to reward veterans over younger players (free agency)
(2) A radical inversion of where the bulk of WAR comes from, away from the vets & towards the kids (a result of banning greenies), just in time for...
(3) Advanced analytics spreading far enough across baseball that even the dumb teams understand the impact of the first two points.

Basically, if they wanted to ban PEDs, they should have made sure teams stayed backwards enough to keep building up long-term ballast in Pujolsian-contract form. They didn't, so here we are.

I actually think you could see this work itself out organically in a decade - if athlete aging trends continue to benefit from modern science, we could easily see the Harpers/Trouts/Bettses of the world bend the projection baselines for age 33-40 players back up to where it used to be, at least for stars, making those 10-year contracts palatable again. However, it's much more likely the MLBPA will attempt to fix it directly in the next CBA (badly, probably).
 

Plympton91

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I'm not happy the Sox won, but I'm glad the nonsense chatter about teams 'buying' a championship will diminish a bit around here. Or should anyway.
Betts, Bradley, Benintendi, Devers, Bogaerts, Vazquez, Holt.

The league should be throwing Ben Cherington a party in every city. Had he not wasted $300 million on Sandoval, Ramirez, Craig, and Castillo, and completely botched the trades of Lester and Lackey the Red Sox May have won 120 games last year and would be reloading this offseason instead of pinching pennies on the bullpen.
 
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j-man

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i think the yankees had a A++ offseason only Bos scares me and that if they get craig k if Craig K goes evesewhere the yankees are the fav

there needs to be a cap floor not a cap

here is what i wouild do to make baseball FA close to the nfl
each team has to spend 123 mil in payroll that is haif of 246
i wouild delete 3 teams tb oak and mia and try to move tampa to montal or north car

here is how i wouild speed signings up if u dont sign after jan 2 u can only get a 2 year deal at most but if u try to break the rules lowball the player u lose your top 2 picks
after jan 15 its 1-year deals only

there wouild be a gag order on trades after dec22 to jan 30th this wouild give gm's a break

oh every 5 years u can wipe a bad contact off your books contact has to be 3 years or more with at least 50 mil left
 

crow216

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oh every 5 years u can wipe a bad contact off your books contact has to be 3 years or more with at least 50 mil left
I don't think this is all that insane. The exception rules in the NBA are ridiculous but I wonder if some form of a contract exception in the MLB would work. No reason why players and owners wouldn't both want it.

For the record, I don't mean that the player's money is not guaranteed. I mean that it wouldn't count toward luxury tax spending.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Isn't the simple answer that FAs almost never give appropriate value since teams are trying to gauge future production?

So to me here's the relevant question: why don't the MFYs spend $300MM to win next year's championship? Without crunching the numbers, it seems to me that it should be revenue positive.

Does that mean that winning isn't necessarily in the best financial interests of clubs?

MLB needs to copy NFL and incentivize signing veterans.
 

mwonow

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i think the yankees had a A++ offseason only Bos scares me and that if they get craig k if Craig K goes evesewhere the yankees are the fav

there needs to be a cap floor not a cap

here is what i wouild do to make baseball FA close to the nfl
each team has to spend 123 mil in payroll that is haif of 246
i wouild delete 3 teams tb oak and mia and try to move tampa to montal or north car

here is how i wouild speed signings up if u dont sign after jan 2 u can only get a 2 year deal at most but if u try to break the rules lowball the player u lose your top 2 picks
after jan 15 its 1-year deals only

there wouild be a gag order on trades after dec22 to jan 30th this wouild give gm's a break

oh every 5 years u can wipe a bad contact off your books contact has to be 3 years or more with at least 50 mil left
I don't think this is all that insane. The exception rules in the NBA are ridiculous but I wonder if some form of a contract exception in the MLB would work. No reason why players and owners wouldn't both want it.

For the record, I don't mean that the player's money is not guaranteed. I mean that it wouldn't count toward luxury tax spending.
Agreed. J-man, I thought you were just a football dude!

As to the reason(s) for the lack of spending by top clubs - isn't there a 10 slot draft penalty, too? Not that a team couldn't work around this by trading subsidized vets for young talent, but eventually, teams with no prospects will be unable to make trades or promote mlers to the big club, and will slip regardless of what they blow in FA
 

jon abbey

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So to me here's the relevant question: why don't the MFYs spend $300MM to win next year's championship? Without crunching the numbers, it seems to me that it should be revenue positive.

Does that mean that winning isn't necessarily in the best financial interests of clubs?

MLB needs to copy NFL and incentivize signing veterans.
Yes, this is it exactly. One thing is the options rules are designed to protect veterans but I think that has pivoted to hurting them. TB is an extreme example in most things, but they couldn't run the pitching staff the way they'd like if most or all of their pitchers didn't have options remaining.

What makes me really afraid for the game when the CBA expires is that I think somehow we are at a point where to fix things, both the owners and the veteran players need to give up ground to the younger players, and either of those are hard to imagine happening in reality, let alone both.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Yes, this is it exactly. One thing is the options rules are designed to protect veterans but I think that has pivoted to hurting them. TB is an extreme example in most things, but they couldn't run the pitching staff the way they'd like if most or all of their pitchers didn't have options remaining.

What makes me really afraid for the game when the CBA expires is that I think somehow we are at a point where to fix things, both the owners and the veteran players need to give up ground to the younger players, and either of those are hard to imagine happening in reality, let alone both.
Maybe this is better in the "baseball is Broken" thread but here's an article that discusses baseball's lack of spending: https://deadspin.com/baseball-doesnt-need-collusion-to-turn-off-the-hot-stov-1831644811. One snippet:

More than a decade ago, I crunched some numbers on this, and then returned to it a few years later, this time consulting the work of actual economists who’d done more robust math. And the numbers were eye-opening: Just about every baseball free agent was being paid more than he was actually worth to his team in terms of the added revenue it would see thanks to extra wins. According to one researcher, Graham Tyler—then an undergrad econ student at Brown, and until recently the Rays’ director of player operations thanks in part to his pioneering studies in this area—teams only earn an extra $1.5 million from each additional win, meaning that a truly rational profit-maximizing owner (more on this in a minute) wouldn’t spend more than $6.75 million a year on a Machado-level talent. Anything more than that, and you’re better off staging a Marlins-style teardown—sure, you won’t win many games, but the money you save by skimping on salaries, it turns out, will dwarf any losses from nobody actually showing up at the ballpark.
 

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Maybe this is better in the "baseball is Broken" thread but here's an article that discusses baseball's lack of spending: https://deadspin.com/baseball-doesnt-need-collusion-to-turn-off-the-hot-stov-1831644811. One snippet:

More than a decade ago, I crunched some numbers on this, and then returned to it a few years later, this time consulting the work of actual economists who’d done more robust math. And the numbers were eye-opening: Just about every baseball free agent was being paid more than he was actually worth to his team in terms of the added revenue it would see thanks to extra wins. According to one researcher, Graham Tyler—then an undergrad econ student at Brown, and until recently the Rays’ director of player operations thanks in part to his pioneering studies in this area—teams only earn an extra $1.5 million from each additional win, meaning that a truly rational profit-maximizing owner (more on this in a minute) wouldn’t spend more than $6.75 million a year on a Machado-level talent. Anything more than that, and you’re better off staging a Marlins-style teardown—sure, you won’t win many games, but the money you save by skimping on salaries, it turns out, will dwarf any losses from nobody actually showing up at the ballpark.
Of course the Ivy League scholar who conducted groundbreaking research into some esoteric aspect of the baseball economy went to work in the Rays front office. That tells you all you need to know about why we’re seeing the changes in the approach to free agency. Creative destruction. Data-driven modern management techniques. Over the last couple of years, even the dumb teams are catching on.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Of course the Ivy League scholar who conducted groundbreaking research into some esoteric aspect of the baseball economy went to work in the Rays front office. That tells you all you need to know about why we’re seeing the changes in the approach to free agency. Creative destruction. Data-driven modern management techniques. Over the last couple of years, even the dumb teams are catching on.
Yes but how groundbreaking is the research that FAs don't provide the value of, for example, Mookie Betts?

The problem is that for almost every team, it seems like they are emphasizing "value" over wins. I can undersatnd teams not wanting to be in the "85 win trap" - not good enough to contend but too good to get draft picks to matter - but it seems like owners have figured out that there is no downside to losing 100 games.

The Os are going to test this theory though. They are going to lose a lot of games over the next four or five years. Wonder how their fans are going to react.
 

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According to one researcher, Graham Tyler—then an undergrad econ student at Brown, and until recently the Rays’ director of player operations thanks in part to his pioneering studies in this area—teams only earn an extra $1.5 million from each additional win, meaning that a truly rational profit-maximizing owner (more on this in a minute) wouldn’t spend more than $6.75 million a year on a Machado-level talent.
So do you think ownership of the NYY wouldn't have spent $30 million more on salaries last year if it meant 9 more victories? That doubles the $1.5 million per win figure.

I bet it would have resulted in more than $30 million in additional revenue
 

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So do you think ownership of the NYY wouldn't have spent $30 million more on salaries last year if it meant 9 more victories? That doubles the $1.5 million per win figure.

I bet it would have resulted in more than $30 million in additional revenue
It actually might have meant less, no wild card game ticket revenues and losing in 4 in the ALDS anyway. It's a good point in the abstract, though (seriously).
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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So do you think ownership of the NYY wouldn't have spent $30 million more on salaries last year if it meant 9 more victories? That doubles the $1.5 million per win figure.

I bet it would have resulted in more than $30 million in additional revenue
I didn't mean last year; I meant this year. Last year they needed to reset the cap plus there looked to be (and were) at least a couple of juggernaut teams.

But the question was rhetorical and I don't have an answer. I understand that it's not just that easy to increase payroll from $224MM (current projections) to $300+MM but as the OP says, the non-financial penalties for going over the second line isn't really that onerous.

So if I had to answer my own question, I would guess that the issue is that the MFYs would spend $300MM if they knew they would win a championship but if they spend $300MM and don't win a championship, the downside is so much greater than the potential upside that they're willing to stay under the $246MM line.

Which is something the MLB players really need to look closely at.
 

shaggydog2000

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Isn't the simple answer that FAs almost never give appropriate value since teams are trying to gauge future production?

So to me here's the relevant question: why don't the MFYs spend $300MM to win next year's championship? Without crunching the numbers, it seems to me that it should be revenue positive.

Does that mean that winning isn't necessarily in the best financial interests of clubs?

MLB needs to copy NFL and incentivize signing veterans.
NFL Vets get jobs because most of them are cheap, the most barebones one year contracts can be structured so that only the equivalent of a second year minimum player contract counts against the cap, and you can cut anybody anytime for any reason in the NFL. I don't think MLB vets want to make 850k and only count 600k against the cap. And I don't think they want to be offered bonus free one year contracts in order to get that amount of money. There is also no way they go to cut contracts.

The cap levels work because, as has been pointed out above, free agent contracts are almost never worth their straight cost. Adding in taxes on top of those costs and they become even worse deals. Free agents are going to get cheaper in the near future as teams and players adjust to the reality that steroid induced aging curves are gone, and young players are back to being the best source of wins. If I were any but the richest few teams, I'd dump all my money into scouting and development, domestic and international, and forget about free agents until my team was a contender.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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NFL Vets get jobs because most of them are cheap, the most barebones one year contracts can be structured so that only the equivalent of a second year minimum player contract counts against the cap, and you can cut anybody anytime for any reason in the NFL. I don't think MLB vets want to make 850k and only count 600k against the cap. And I don't think they want to be offered bonus free one year contracts in order to get that amount of money. There is also no way they go to cut contracts.

The cap levels work because, as has been pointed out above, free agent contracts are almost never worth their straight cost. Adding in taxes on top of those costs and they become even worse deals. Free agents are going to get cheaper in the near future as teams and players adjust to the reality that steroid induced aging curves are gone, and young players are back to being the best source of wins. If I were any but the richest few teams, I'd dump all my money into scouting and development, domestic and international, and forget about free agents until my team was a contender.
You post is correct and I particularly agree that the current system is set up to do what you describe in the bolded but I thought the underlying question is whether the current system is good for a majority of MLB players and baseball in general.

Which I think it is pretty clear that the answer to both those questions are no.

(As a short aside, I heard someone on the radio note that one big side effect of the cooling on signing FAs is that it's really destroyed the "hot stove" league part of the off-season. Particularly when compared, for example, to the NBA.)

I'm assuming the players' association didn't intend to destroy the value of veteran ballplayers but that's pretty much what has happened over the past couple of decades. I don't mean to turn this thread into the "Baseball is Broken" thread where we are discussing some fixes so I'll stop here but it seems to me an issue that in any given season, there are a significant number of teams who won't bat an eyelash if they lose 90+ games.
 

jon abbey

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Jul 15, 2005
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(As a short aside, I heard someone on the radio note that one big side effect of the cooling on signing FAs is that it's really destroyed the "hot stove" league part of the off-season. Particularly when compared, for example, to the NBA.)
People keep saying this and admittedly I am a fringe lunatic whose team was set up uniquely well going into this winter, but I have basically been refreshing Twitter non-stop since the World Series ended.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Mar 26, 2005
16,549
People keep saying this and admittedly I am a fringe lunatic whose team was set up uniquely well going into this winter, but I have basically been refreshing Twitter non-stop since the World Series ended.
You have probably refreshed twitter this offseason more than the entire fan base of the Os combined.

Compare baseball's FA season to the start of the NBA's FA season.
 

EvilEmpire

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Apr 9, 2007
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People keep saying this and admittedly I am a fringe lunatic whose team was set up uniquely well going into this winter, but I have basically been refreshing Twitter non-stop since the World Series ended.
And we love you for it. Seriously. It's a pain in the ass trying to keep track of all the reporters and publications that Yankees rumors flow through. Particularly true for those of us on the west coast or abroad who aren't exposed to as much east coast sports news anymore.
 

shaggydog2000

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Apr 5, 2007
5,569
You post is correct and I particularly agree that the current system is set up to do what you describe in the bolded but I thought the underlying question is whether the current system is good for a majority of MLB players and baseball in general.

Which I think it is pretty clear that the answer to both those questions are no.

(As a short aside, I heard someone on the radio note that one big side effect of the cooling on signing FAs is that it's really destroyed the "hot stove" league part of the off-season. Particularly when compared, for example, to the NBA.)

I'm assuming the players' association didn't intend to destroy the value of veteran ballplayers but that's pretty much what has happened over the past couple of decades. I don't mean to turn this thread into the "Baseball is Broken" thread where we are discussing some fixes so I'll stop here but it seems to me an issue that in any given season, there are a significant number of teams who won't bat an eyelash if they lose 90+ games.
The MLBPA has really screwed things up. They should have never accepted the tax thresholds without getting something significant in return, and they didn't. Now they have to adjust to the fact that most veteran (non-star) salaries are going to plummet in the near future, and teams will build around a few expensive stars, mostly young talent, and some cheap veteran position filler. The Steve Pearces of the world are not going to like it.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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NFL Vets get jobs because most of them are cheap, the most barebones one year contracts can be structured so that only the equivalent of a second year minimum player contract counts against the cap, and you can cut anybody anytime for any reason in the NFL. I don't think MLB vets want to make 850k and only count 600k against the cap. And I don't think they want to be offered bonus free one year contracts in order to get that amount of money. There is also no way they go to cut contracts.
Taking the bolded literally, you can do the same in MLB (see Ramirez, Hanley, or Sandoval, Pablo). Why do you think Antonio Brown is still on the Steelers, for instance? Because it creates salary havoc to cut him.
 

shaggydog2000

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Apr 5, 2007
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Taking the bolded literally, you can do the same in MLB (see Ramirez, Hanley, or Sandoval, Pablo). Why do you think Antonio Brown is still on the Steelers, for instance? Because it creates salary havoc to cut him.
I'm not sure on Antonio Brown's contract status, but I do know that cutting an NFL player puts all of his remaining signing bonus money on the next salary cap year. That can be more or less than the guys salary, depending on the signing bonus, how long you're into the contract, and how they staged it, but all of the salary just goes away and you never have to pay it. Often you see stuff like roster bonuses, etc so that the bonus money gets spread out in stages on the contract. They're pretty creative. But no matter what, it's a lot better than paying Hanley and Pablo the full rest of their contracts. I'm sure MLB owners would prefer that system if they could get it.
 

Plympton91

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Oct 19, 2008
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You have probably refreshed twitter this offseason more than the entire fan base of the Os combined.

Compare baseball's FA season to the start of the NBA's FA season.
What does NBA stand for again?

The salary structure of baseball seems ready to move toward the salary structure in the rest of the economy, plus a zero. In a mid sized bank, the CEO makes $3 million and the the loan officers make $75,000. Baseball is getting to where Bryce Harper will get his $30 million and everyone else will have to “settle” for $750,000.
 
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