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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


Free Agency Newsbeat

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Under fire, baseball union may add legal firepower | NBC Sports Boston

This. The MLBPA has sold out younger players (including amateur, minor leaguers, and 1-3 year players) and made them even cheaper and more valuable. The middle class is now paying the price for their greedy, short-sighted, and simplistic thinking.

So the union surrendered the extra year. And then . . .

“Starting in the 1986 offseason, I started getting calls from all of these mid-level free agents,” said Orza. “[Guys] who aren’t getting offers, who aren’t getting jobs. Who eventually left the game. And they couldn’t understand why.

“And I had to explain to them: That what we had done in ’85 is, we made people who had two to three years of service much more valuable to the clubs. Because they could get the same [type of] player, but much cheaper now, ‘cause the [two- to three-year guys] didn’t have any [arbitration] rights.

“The number of players from zero years of service to three years of service in 1987 was 28.4 percent higher than the numbers of players in that same category in 1985. Where did those additional players come from? The guys whose jobs they were taking were the very guys who didn’t see how [the] fate of the salary-arbitration eligibles [affected] them.”

Orza sees a similarity today.

“What’s happening now is the Players Association has made young players, very young players, extremely attractive to clubs.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 07, 2018 at 04:54 PM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: cba, free agency, mlbpa

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Eric Hosmer says lots of ‘red flags’ during grim offseason: ‘Something is wrong with it’

He got paid. Maybe the other guys aren’t really worth their asking prices.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 06, 2018 at 06:42 AM | 106 comment(s)
  Beats: eric hosmer, free agency, padres

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Opening Bell | FanGraphs Baseball

I want them contending as often as possible. To that end I want to see them make smart decisions. Going “for broke” every year is not a sustainable model.

You may be reading this and thinking, “Well, yes. But so what?” (You might also think I’m an idiot, but I hope not.) The “so what” is this: I’ve spent too much of the last three years valorizing losing in order to win and praising teams for making marginal improvements when wholesale advances were appropriate. Some of it has been good writing, but too much of it has been far too incautious.

As I start this new chapter at FanGraphs, I’d like to change that — to reexamine the way I write about teams and what they do, and the frames I use to judge them. I’m honored and delighted to join this wonderful community of writers and readers (I was one of you for a very long time), and I am confident that spending time with you will make me a better thinker and analyst. Perhaps it’ll even provide some moments of interest for you, too…

For now, here we are, just a few short weeks away from beginning again. Life is too often lived balanced on the edge of a knife, in moments far too precarious to allow us the time to gather our footing and swing for the fences. But baseball doesn’t have to be played that way. Enough. The opening bell is about to ring. Wouldn’t you rather all 30 teams be out there going for broke?

Jim Furtado Posted: February 13, 2018 at 08:39 AM | 58 comment(s)
  Beats: cba, free agency

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Inside Baseball | No End In Sight To Baseball’s Messy Winter

$500 million is a complete fantasy.

Speculation is, maybe MLB doesn’t want talk of a $500 million contract, which first appeared on FanRag about Bryce Harper, who along with Manny Machado heads next year’s once-in-a-generation free-agent class (for now). Maybe they want Giancarlo Stanton to remain the record-holder, the agents suggest.

Edit: Didn’t Frazier say he wanted to stay in New York? If that was truly his preference, this would explain why the Mets got a hometown discount.

Many GMs would also tell you how smart they have become about analytics, some even aloud. But how does analytics explain a very good starting third baseman like Todd Frazier getting $17 million over two years when Frazier has been a pretty consistent three-win player in terms of WAR, which would generally suggest he is much more valuable than that, and middle relievers with not a fraction of his impact make as much or more? Is that because they are all so smart?

Jim Furtado Posted: February 11, 2018 at 09:56 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: cba, free agency

Sunday, February 04, 2018

The MLBPA’s Indifference Toward International Amateurs is Coming Back to Bite It | The Hardball Times

It’s not just the international signing limits and cap numbers in the last CBA. The amateur slotting system made building through the draft even cheaper. The decision not to push for higher minimum MLB contracts and the continued refusal to push for higher minor league compensation helps make “going young” an even more attractive proposition for teams.

Baseball is no different. International amateurs are not part of the MLBPA — it’s not obligated to advocate for their interests. Indeed, the Players’ Association has repeatedly compromised the negotiating position of minor leaguers and amateurs in exchange for short-term gains for veterans. But what this offseason shows is that the interests of the different groups of major league baseball laborers cannot be so neatly divided from one another. If the MLBPA wants this offseason to be an outlier and not the new norm, it has to broaden its focus, and start protecting the rights of international amateurs, domestic amateurs, and minor leaguers too. Undoing the recent changes to the international market would be a good start.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 04, 2018 at 11:23 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: cba, free agency

Monday, January 29, 2018

Agent Scott Boras wants change: ‘Non-competitive cancer’ ruining baseball

This is a stupid idea. The MLBPA helped make young players even cheaper than they were. It then went along with increased penalties and low thresholds for Luxury Taxes. It shouldn’t be shocking that smarter front offices figured out they’d be better off playing more young, cheap players instead of older, more expensive ones.

Boras has proposed draft bonuses for winning games. If a small-market team wins at least 78 games, it receives $2 million more to spend in the draft while the other teams get $1 million. It doubles if you win 80 games, with $2 million increments for every two victories, providing an extra $10 million in draft dollars to small-market clubs, and $5 million to large-market clubs, who win at least 86 games in a season.

“It enhances the game, rewards competition,’’ Boras says, “and still allows teams to also invest in the future. It will end all of these excuses not to compete.

“Then, we can have true competitive balance.’’

And hope and faith.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 29, 2018 at 11:18 PM | 63 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, scott boras

Inside Baseball | Will Big Moves Thursday Spark Slow Market?

Heyman with a pretty good break down.

One thing he didn’t note, teams are paying more for relievers. If starters aren’t pitching as many innings it makes sense to reapportion where they are spending money. Of course, relievers aren’t complaining about this shift.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 29, 2018 at 04:46 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: economics, free agency

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Castrovince: Modern prospects playing key role

I can understand how individual players could miss this trend. How the MLBPA didn’t grasp the importance of this change is beyond me? Marvin Miller and Donald Fehr would have grasped the importance of macro movement on this level.

“Basically,” wrote an AL executive in an e-mail, “the gap between Major League veterans being a ‘known commodity’ and Minor League players being ‘unknowns’ may be shrinking due to a greater ability to study and analyze the Minor League game.”

Another executive, who also preferred to speak anonymously, said the costs of arbitration and free agency are a driving factor.

“The current volume of productivity among rookies or young players in general is a result of a significant uptick in real opportunity, stemming from mostly financially-driven strategies by front offices that are getting smarter and smarter,” the exec said. “The fact that these players have generally proven quite capable at an early stage in their careers is likely to be a large contributing factor to the current market malaise.”

Jim Furtado Posted: January 27, 2018 at 05:48 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, mlbpa

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A frozen market has Scott Boras talking . . . but not to the right people – The Athletic

It’s all about integrity.

“I do my job. I care for my clients. I am spending every waking hour trying to bring attention to owners so they act with integrity,” Boras says. “Certainly I want them to sign my clients. But I’m trying to get them to act with integrity. Winning is the cement of baseball integrity.”

“We kicked people out of the game when they tried to not win,” Boras continued, referring to the Black Sox scandal, in which baseball banned eight members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox after they were accused of intentionally losing the World Series. “We have to get rid of the non-competitive cancer. We can’t go to our fan bases and sell the promise of losing to win later. That is destructive to our sport because it has removed one-third of the competition.”

Boras cites 10 teams with payrolls currently projected to be $110 million or less — the Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds and Kansas City Royals; Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers and Oakland Athletics; Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres and Tampa Bay Rays. An 11th club, the Atlanta Braves, projects to more than $110 million only because it is paying virtually all of Adrian Gonzalez’s $22 million salary with the New York Mets.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 24, 2018 at 06:43 AM | 57 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, pay site, scott boras

Monday, January 22, 2018

Is Scott Boras Working on Another End-Around? | FanGraphs Baseball

The greater question might be: how long is this a viable tactic for an agent?

At some point, I suspect, front-office executives will advise their bosses (club owners) — or already have — about this page from the agent playbook and note how it worked out with Fielder, Pujols, and Wieters. But the play might still be working for now, and agents certainly would have a motivation to employ it with so many players still looking for work with less than a month before camps open.

With logic and reason winning out thus far this offseason, it might be time to appeal to emotion and the owner’s suite.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2018 at 01:47 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, padres, scott boras

Monday, January 15, 2018

Source: Kendrick returning to Nats on two-year deal - Nationals Pastime

Open the floodgates!!

Kendrick and the Nationals have agreed to a two-year, $7 million contract, a source familiar with the deal confirmed, ensuring the club has a valuable bench piece - not to mention a backup plan at both second base and in the outfield - returning for 2018 and 2019. Completion of the contract, which was first reported by USA Today, is pending a physical, the source said.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 15, 2018 at 12:00 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, howie kendrick, nationals

Saturday, January 13, 2018

MLB Hot Stove storylines to watch this week |

Wishful thinking.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 13, 2018 at 07:59 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: arbitration, free agency

Thursday, January 11, 2018


It’s not collusion. It’s sanity. It’s also the MLBPA making a very bad deal. Instead of focusing on a very small part of its membership, it should have been focusing on increasing money for a majority of its members.

So, when we see explicit reports by establishment voices like Ken Rosenthal assert that “teams are using a new playbook” when it comes to free agency, we should not be shy to critique such a system and those who perpetuate it. The evidence of collusion, or something functionally the same, is there. It’s just more artfully obfuscated than it used to be.

Most of the article is pretty silly. He doesn’t seem to understand collective bargaining. The players *agreed* to the luxury cap changes. The players *agreed* to keep salary minimums essentially where they were. The players also don’t really care about the plight of their minor league brethren. Blaming the owners for working to increase profits and make smarter decisions is misguided. The MLBPA is the most powerful labor union in the country. Unfortunately, their priorities are misplaced.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 11, 2018 at 05:58 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Maybe “Super Teams” Are Ruining the Offseason | FanGraphs Baseball

He’s trivializing the wild card format.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 09, 2018 at 10:38 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency

Dave Dombrowski’s reputation, autonomy and the pursuit of JD Martinez

What’s your team’s goal? Do you want short bursts of success or do you want sustained success? Do you want to be the Braves of the 90s or Royals of the recent past?

Small markets may be forced to think of smaller windows of opportunity. Big markets can plan for sustained success. I’d rather have the Red Sox working similarly to the current Dodgers than Ilitch’s Tigers. I like J.D. Martinez. I don’t like him enough to see the Sox go beyond five years. (I’d prefer four with a higher AAV actually.)

Jim Furtado Posted: January 09, 2018 at 06:49 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, red sox

Rosenthal: Many factors contributing to historically slow free agent market – The Athletic

Ken, Ken, Ken. Teams will spend money. The players will get signed. Maybe, though, the Players Association might want some new leadership. The Luxury Tax system they agreed to gives the big markets good reason to be frugal this year. Smart management is only a problem for agents who depend on emotionally-charged decision-making.

An MLB official dismissed any suggestion of collusion, saying clubs are so secretive, they barely communicate with the commissioner’s office during free agency, much less each other. Perhaps the more pressing issue is that most clubs now think alike, relying heavily on advanced statistical analysis and making decisions based on similar data. Such groupthink, while not illegal, is not conducive to competition. At times, the entire sport seems to suffer from an advanced case of paralysis by analysis.

It’s a culture of fear — many GMs are reluctant to trade prospects and sign free agents, terrified of facing criticism if they make a mistake. The GMs become too process-oriented, passing on opportunities to improve, protecting their long-term plans. There is no incentive for them to act with greater urgency; few face an immediate threat to their job security. Twelve teams have changed GMs since Aug. 2015, but of the current group, perhaps only the Seattle Mariners’ Jerry Dipoto and the San Francisco Giants’ Bobby Evans will be in trouble if their teams disappoint in 2018. In too many cases, the goal is to win tomorrow, not today.

Many fans tolerate such thinking, applauding management for fiscal restraint, muttering, “trust the process,” as if they are zombies. The increased emphasis on payroll efficiency, stemming in part from the rise of data-driven analysis, is hardly a bad thing, often leading to better decision-making. But in the current climate, GMs draw more praise for saving money than spending it. The Yankees under Brian Cashman have made the playoffs 16 times in 20 seasons and won the World Series four times. Yet only now, with the Yankees transitioning to a younger, less expensive club, is Cashman receiving his just due.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 09, 2018 at 06:13 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, pay site

Friday, January 05, 2018

Rosenthal: Boras faces a tough market (or does he?); Darvish can do better; Brewers interested in Cain; more notes – The Athletic

“We’ve got more than 100 employees,” Boras told The Athletic on Wednesday night. “We’re in constant contact with every team every five to seven days. We’ve got over 30 people working on free agency year-round.

“The majority of our work has been completed. This is just a narrowing of negotiations for a number of players in the process. We’ve had this number of free agents and more in past years. And we have over double the number of employees of any agency in baseball.”

Boras is correct—this is not the first time he has represented a large number of high-profile free agents. His 2004-5 class was particularly star-studded, featuring Jason Varitek, Derek Lowe, Carlos Beltran, Adrian Beltre, Magglio Ordonez and J.D. Drew. Of that group, only Beltre signed before Jan. 6.

Beyond Hosmer, Martinez and Arrieta, Boras’ class this off-season includes third baseman Mike Moustakas and closer Greg Holland, as well as outfielders Carlos Gonzalez and Carlos Gomez, designated hitter Matt Holliday and left-handed reliever Tony Watson.

Every winter, rival agents eagerly await Boras’ comeuppance, anticipating he will negotiate at least one disappointing contract, whispering, “this is the year he gets caught.” Occasionally, it happens. More often, especially with star players, it does not. This off-season, though, represents a particular challenge.

Even with the sport awash in revenue, including a reported, one-time $50 million payout to each club from the Disney purchase of BAMTech, many teams seem disinclined to spend. Boras might need to “settle” for suboptimal deals with certain clients—Moustakas’ market, for example, is particularly unclear. But the agent is not going to concede with any player on Jan. 4.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 05, 2018 at 08:33 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, pay site, scott boras

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Heyman | 5 Reasons Why MLB Free-Agent Market Is So Slow

Reason 6: agents and players are asking for too much money. More money than current evaluations support.

1. Math-odical GMs (and patient owners). The gunslinger GMs like Omar Minaya (who is back with the Mets, but as a special assistant) and Kevin Malone are no longer in those roles, and the win-at-all-costs owners George Steinbrenner and Mike Ilitch have passed on. What’s left are a lot of cautious young Ivy Leaguers who are heavy into analytics, study them from all angles, don’t want to make mistakes, and in perhaps in a couple cases, don’t want to risk their jobs. They study and evaluate everything to the point where emotion is basically dead.

Emotion is dead? Is that supposed to be a bad thing when spending millions of dollars?

Jim Furtado Posted: December 30, 2017 at 09:12 PM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency

Friday, December 29, 2017

Have these megadeals scared MLB into hot-stove freeze? | New York Post

If it doesn’t give them pause, they aren’t paying attention.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 29, 2017 at 07:20 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency

Friday, December 22, 2017

As teams cut costs this winter, middle-class free agents are left out in the cold - Buster Olney Blog- ESPN

An agent said that one of his players, starved for contract offers, asked him if it would be worthwhile if he sent out a tweet to remind teams he is available. “It’s a simple matter of supply and demand,” one agent said. “For a lot of these guys, it’s turning into a bloodbath.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 22, 2017 at 09:30 AM | 65 comment(s)
  Beats: cba, free agency

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Four reasons why MLB’s Hot Stove is lukewarm

Jeff Passan, former Hall of Fame voter, gives some reasons for the slow start to the free agent period.

“Shohei Ohtani,” one agent said, “is like the baseball version of the new Amazon headquarters.”

He is, according to people around the game, a lot of things. A staggering talent, capable of throwing a ball 102 mph from the right side and hitting it like a leviathan from the left side and running with the speed of Mike Trout despite standing 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds. A complete mystery, part of which is adding to executives’ agita, in that because they know so little about him, they aren’t certain how, exactly, to frame their answers to the questionnaire. A bargain, seeing as the largest signing bonus he’ll receive is $3.5 million and the fee owed his Japanese team, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, is only $20 million.

“This is a $200 million Powerball in a 30-person town,” one National League executive said. “You kind of have to buy a ticket.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 30, 2017 at 06:34 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency

Thursday, November 09, 2017

BA: Minor League Free Agents 2017

572 players, with a mix of names you know, names you knew, and unknown unknowns.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Arizona Diamondbacks expected to pursue J.D. Martinez, agent Scott Boras says

As for the why the Diamondbacks might not be involved, it likely will come down to money. They enter the offseason with a roster projected to earn around $115 million when factoring in guaranteed contracts, arbitration raises and minimum salaried players. Trades and/or non-tenders could free up cash, but it likely would take a big increase in spending or a major trade or two for the club to afford what Martinez seems likely to command on the open market.

Jerry Crasnick
Teams that have reached out early on J.D. Martinez have gotten the impression Scott Boras is looking for something in the $200 million range.

Ha !

shoewizard Posted: November 08, 2017 at 07:25 PM | 55 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks, free agency, j.d. martinez, scott boras

SI: How Are Teams Compensated for Losing a Free Agent?

MLB introduced the qualifying offer back in 2012 to replace its old free-agent compensation system in which teams were gifted draft picks based on a calculus that divided players into two pools, Type A (the top 20% available) and Type B (the top 21–40%). But in the latest CBA, the qualifying offer was overhauled. Before, signing teams would have to forfeit their highest draft pick (unless they were in the top 10 of the draft) to the player’s old club. Now, things are a little more complicated.

Apparently it only affects signing one of nine players. Plus there’s a luxury tax element that affects four teams.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Bluebird Banter: Bautista’s Service Time Trap

Seven Days in September:

With 5 years, 165 days of credited service, [Jose Bautista] was just one week - seven measly days - shy of the 172 days needed to qualify for a full season and hit the magical threshold of 6 years for free agency….

He did receive a call-up when rosters expanded, but at the unusually late date of September 16th. Why? In August he was promoted to AAA Indianapolis, who qualified for the International League playoffs as the wild card. Their playoff run ended September 15th, and he was up the next day.

Had Indianapolis lost a few more games that season, thereby missing the playoffs, Bautista is likely called up 10 days earlier, and ends up a free agent after 2010.


fra paolo Posted: November 06, 2017 at 10:46 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, free agency, service time




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