Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Monday, April 08, 2019

Boras: Young stars getting trapped, lowballed with ‘snuff contracts’

Super agent Scott Boras has chimed in on a contract extension trend that has swept across MLB, one he doesn’t think is good for players - especially young stars.

Boras believes that contracts - like ones that Alex Bregman, Eloy Jimenez, and Ronald Acuna signed over the last few weeks - belie players’ value and won’t allow them to test free agency until they’re in their 30s, at which point they won’t be able to get long-term deals.

“Great, young players are getting what I call ‘snuff contracts,’” Boras told Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times. “And a snuff contract is that they’re trying to snuff out the market. They know the player is a great player, and he’s exhibited very little performance.

I thought MLB was campaigning against smokeless tobacco usage….

 

QLE Posted: April 08, 2019 at 09:48 AM | 57 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: contracts, scott boras

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. JRVJ Posted: April 08, 2019 at 01:29 PM (#5829620)
Gee willikers, what a surprise that the three players that Boras makes reference to are not his clients.


   2. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: April 08, 2019 at 01:36 PM (#5829625)
Better than snuff films!
   3. SoSH U at work Posted: April 08, 2019 at 01:37 PM (#5829627)

Better than snuff films!


I'm not sure Boras would agree.
   4. KronicFatigue Posted: April 08, 2019 at 01:40 PM (#5829629)
I like these contracts. The players are getting "lifetime" amounts of money, eliminating all risk, and staying with their original teams longer. In a perfect world, the majority of players would spend the majority of their careers with one team, by choice. This gets us closer to it.

I might consider lowering the amount of arb years it takes to being a free agent, so that players have more power in these contracts.
   5. JRVJ Posted: April 08, 2019 at 02:16 PM (#5829654)
4, I think that there's a disengage in this discussion between many reporters / commenters and players.

A significant number of reporters and commenters seem to have an axe to grind in regards how much each players is making from these extensions, arguing that they are leaving significant money on the table by virtue of signing away Arb years (and in many cases, FA years). A valid point has been made that the way players are valued right now (in the post-PED era) is hurting players in their 30s which means that players are playing some of their best years (years of service 1 through 3) while only getting league minimum salaries.


Players, OTOH, seem to be willing to cash-in when they are still young, ensuring guaranteed payouts that entail less money for them in the long run, but assure them of financial security many decades into the future. Since MLB has guaranteed contracts, players are willing to walk away from potential payouts in exchange for lesser, assured amounts.


What ticks me off is having Boras criticize young players who are making this type of decision. Yes, the system is somewhat stacked against young players, but 6 years of team control has been the norm since Marvin Miller's initial FA efforts in the 1970s.

Boras the agent will have to change his strategies going forward (his big distinguishing feature has long been taking clients to the FA market and getting them huge payoffs). Most markets work like that, and while it's pretty clear that the next CBA will (almost certainly) include a big fight regarding team control/years of service prior to arbitration, that fight depends on MLBPA, not Boras.
   6. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 08, 2019 at 03:13 PM (#5829678)
The Royals did the right thing by banning their team from looking at snuff contracts.
   7. base ball chick Posted: April 08, 2019 at 03:17 PM (#5829682)
the players are looking at top nontch FA like kimbrel and keuchel not getting a job and they are freaking out, understandably
and the teams keeping them a year longer by playing horsepoopoo service time games

so they are giving up a huge chunk of money

if it is true that eloy jiminez was strong armed into signing, well, the players should do something about it

and they better get someone a HECK of a lot better than tony eff clark to do their negotiations
   8. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 08, 2019 at 03:57 PM (#5829699)
Players, OTOH, seem to be willing to cash-in when they are still young, ensuring guaranteed payouts that entail less money for them in the long run, but assure them of financial security many decades into the future. Since MLB has guaranteed contracts, players are willing to walk away from potential payouts in exchange for lesser, assured amounts.


What ticks me off is having Boras criticize young players who are making this type of decision. Yes, the system is somewhat stacked against young players, but 6 years of team control has been the norm since Marvin Miller's initial FA efforts in the 1970s.


I don't criticize the decision by individual players, but if young guys are signing away arb/FA years at low values, and older free agents aren't getting paid for past performance, we are going to see the portion of revenues that gets paid to players continue to decline. That's an ok thing -- I'd rather see players earn only 40% of the revenues and have the guys actually producing the value make that money rather than 50% but a disproportionate amount of that money going to over-the-hill vets on 8+ year deals. But if the owners try to flex their negotiating leverage too much we'll begin to see more pushback.
   9. JRVJ Posted: April 08, 2019 at 04:24 PM (#5829708)
8, I agree that the pendulum seems to have shifted to owners.

Having said that, I do believe in the law of unintended consequences, and I have to believe that a BIG reason why young players are excelling and older ones aren't is the prohibition of PEDs in MLB.

It's a pity that today's 30 and over players are the ones paying the price for baseball cleaning its act. It's up to MLBPA to push for changes in the next CBA.
   10. BrianBrianson Posted: April 08, 2019 at 04:27 PM (#5829709)
Pretty much all of our evaluation of what's going on with unsigned players is driven by what we initial guess their offers might look like. I wonder if the players have a better idea. If you know Keuchel is turning down 6 years/$150 offers left and right, you'd be a lot less worried as a young player than if you hear he hasn't gotten anything better than a qualifying offer.
   11. TDF, trained monkey Posted: April 08, 2019 at 04:55 PM (#5829722)
That's an ok thing -- I'd rather see players earn only 40% of the revenues and have the guys actually producing the value make that money rather than 50% but a disproportionate amount of that money going to over-the-hill vets on 8+ year deals.
This is mostly true, but remember that most such contracts underpay players in their early years.
Having said that, I do believe in the law of unintended consequences, and I have to believe that a BIG reason why young players are excelling and older ones aren't is the prohibition of PEDs in MLB.
Young players have always excelled. In MLB history baseball, only 110 hitters have been worth 30+ bWAR after turning 30; twice as many (207) did so before turning 30 - and that includes lots of guys who didn't premier until they were 21, 22 or even older.
   12. TDF, trained monkey Posted: April 08, 2019 at 05:01 PM (#5829723)
It's a pity that today's 30 and over players are the ones paying the price for baseball cleaning its act.
What's the pity - that older, unproductive players aren't being paid like they're still productive? Or that they're not being paid like they're a better option than a younger player EDIT: when it's clear that many aren't? That seems odd.
and they better get someone a HECK of a lot better than tony eff clark to do their negotiations
I agree wholeheartedly to this. From a higher minimum, to fewer years of control, to a hard % of defined revenues - there are a number of areas I think they need to address.

But it shouldn't stop there. MLBPA needs to do something to help the MiLB players, too - whether it's accepting them into the union or helping them form their own union - so that they get paid a decent wage.
   13. SoSH U at work Posted: April 08, 2019 at 05:10 PM (#5829726)
What's the pity - that older, unproductive players aren't being paid like they're still productive? Or that they're not being paid like they're a better option than a younger player


Wouldn't it be a pith that they had to endure the underpayment typical of young players without the overpayment that traditionally occurred with veterans? Previous generations of players got to cash in (to a greater extent) once they reached the FA stage.

   14. Brian C Posted: April 08, 2019 at 06:11 PM (#5829748)
Boras really thrived back in the day when circumstances were different, but I'd be really hesitant to hire him as my agent if I were a ballplayer right now. The game seems to have passed him by, and his response - at least publicly - seems to be limited to yelling at clouds and pretending that it would still be just like it was in 2000 if only everyone else wasn't crazy.

Whether he's right or wrong on the merits, he just doesn't seem very effective anymore.
   15. Howie Menckel Posted: April 08, 2019 at 06:26 PM (#5829752)
98 percent of people under age 30 who are offered a guaranteed $10 million+ would be hardpressed to turn it down.

IF they invest wisely, you're talking in the neighborhood of $500K a year available without event touching the principle. how many households make $500K a year?

sure, it's possible this is the last money they'll ever make for playing baseball - but so what?

this reminds me of that "Deal or No Deal" game show which is back on the air. if you want to see American innumeracy at work - holy crap are these people stupid. now, they only tend to piss away somewhere from $25 grand to $125 grand in a couple of minutes. but it sure seems like most of them could tangibly improve their lives with that - down payment on a home, pay off all debt, send the kid to college, and so on.

but no, that briefcase resting next to them is there because the numbered case they chose is LUCKY!

(in one side game, a high school principal was asked to name the capital of Canada. she said "Ontario." um, that's a province. but that's probably a 'better' guess than most Americans would make. apologies to the many Canadians here. we know not what we do.)
   16. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 08, 2019 at 06:52 PM (#5829756)

This is mostly true, but remember that most such contracts underpay players in their early years.

Right, but then veterans used to get overpaid which kind of made up for it. However, there was a certain unfairness in the fact that a guy like Brandon Webb who blew out his arm pre-FA "only" got paid $31 million for 33 WAR, whereas a late bloomer like Jeff Samardzija will make more than three times that much for about 1/3 the value (unless he rebounds this year). And sure, Webb could have made more by signing a long-term deal early, but as we're seeing with the pre-FA deals being signed now, those are at a significant discount to free agency prices, and as a result teams are saving a lot of money. That seems like a fair trade-off within reason, but we'll have to see how the market continues to evolve over the next season or two.
   17. Greg Pope Posted: April 08, 2019 at 08:21 PM (#5829777)
this reminds me of that "Deal or No Deal" game show which is back on the air. if you want to see American innumeracy at work - holy crap are these people stupid. now, they only tend to piss away somewhere from $25 grand to $125 grand in a couple of minutes.

The problem with using math when you're on a game show is that you only get to be on the game show once. If there is a $5 briefcase and a $1M briefcase left, and you're offered $250K, mathematically you're dumb to take the deal. And if you got to play the show 20 times, then sure, reject the deal. But you don't. It's your turn. Take the $250K.

The players are getting the same offer. Play well and you'll earn $50M before FA. Play poorly and you might earn only $500K. Probably somewhere in between, but most likely less than $5M. Sign this contract and you're guaranteed $30M. You should take the deal.
   18. Brian C Posted: April 08, 2019 at 08:40 PM (#5829784)
(in one side game, a high school principal was asked to name the capital of Canada. she said "Ontario." um, that's a province. but that's probably a 'better' guess than most Americans would make. apologies to the many Canadians here. we know not what we do.)

This seems defensible to me. In fact, it's easy to believe that the contestant knew the right answer, but under the spotlight and with the adrenaline and the pressure, the synapses in her brain just misfired and she said the wrong 'O' place. Especially since Ottawa is in Ontario in the first place.

I mean, it's not like she said "Vermont."
   19. Brian C Posted: April 08, 2019 at 08:46 PM (#5829788)
The problem with using math when you're on a game show is that you only get to be on the game show once. If there is a $5 briefcase and a $1M briefcase left, and you're offered $250K, mathematically you're dumb to take the deal. And if you got to play the show 20 times, then sure, reject the deal. But you don't. It's your turn. Take the $250K.

I agree with this too. People sometimes talk like if you play the odds, you never lose, and then they excoriate others for being mathematically illiterate while ignoring the ones who lost that bet. In practical day-to-day life terms, there's tremendous, life-changing upside to walking away with a substantial amount of cash in hand.
   20. bobm Posted: April 08, 2019 at 09:23 PM (#5829796)
I have to believe that a BIG reason why young players are excelling and older ones aren't is the prohibition of PEDs in MLB.

IMO this reason should read young "hitters" are excelling. Older pitchers seem less affected by this early contract trend.

I also think it's less about PEDs and more about the ban on greenies making the grind of a 6-month schedule tougher for older players playing every day. (Older starting pitchers would seem less affected by this, if true.)

Finally, this is better for MLB and fans if it means that home-grown stars stay with their original teams longer.
   21. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: April 09, 2019 at 12:16 AM (#5829819)
In terms of the "Deal or No Deal" thoughts above, I totally agree that these contestants walk away from guaranteed money that would almost certainly transform their life in order to chase long odds of an even bigger payout.

So, here are my questions:

1) What is the lowest amount of money (after taxes) that would fundamentally improve your life, and why? What would that amount of money allow you to do that would be transformative?

2) What is the largest amount of money your household has ever received at one time, and what did you do with that "windfall" (it could have been an inheritance, or a gambling or lottery winning, or a one-time bonus from work that you did not budget for, etc.)?
   22. BrianBrianson Posted: April 09, 2019 at 07:21 AM (#5829833)
1) is a hard question. Something like $25k-$50k is "down payment on a house" money, but the thing really holding me back is the moving to a new country every few years issue. I could borrow some of the money from my Granny to make that happen if I had a permanent job.

2) Technically my graduate stipend was $19k/year, and came in one big dump. I'd buy all kinds of stuff with it - rent, food, clothes, soap, bus tickets ... I suppose if you're talking about unexpected, I got a $5k inheritance from my great aunt when she died, which I used to repay my parents the $5k I had borrowed off them so I could squeak through my last year of undergrad.
   23. bunyon Posted: April 09, 2019 at 07:32 AM (#5829834)
The question in 21 definitely varies over one's life. I was at a charity event a few weeks ago that had a $15K raffle. When it got down to the final 10, they called them all up to the front. They would pull a ticket and that person was eliminated. Last person in the bowl won. However, at any point the remaining contestants could agree to split the pot. Three of the ten refused to split. Two were eliminated before the final six but the last remained steadfast, refusing to split even when it was down to two. The other person looked pissed. The person who refused won.

My wife and I discussed it after and agreed we would have refused. It was a $100 ticket to enter (to charity, of course) and $2.5K, $5K, $7.5K and $15K struck us as all about the same. Any of those sums would be nice but not life changing.

However, had the pot been $150K, we'd have split it. Definitely at 2, maybe at 3 or 4. If the pot had been $1.5 million, we'd have definitely split at 10.

When I was in college or grad school? I'd have split at 10 on the pot as it was. Of course, I'd never have been in such a raffle to start with.


In the end, I think any lump sum would "improve my life". I mean, I have bills. An extra hundred bucks would be nice. But "transformative"? A million? If you are currently financially secure, I kind of think the answer to the question is: How much do you expect to earn the rest of your life? If you could get that in a lump sum, you could change the direction of your life, if desired. Maybe half that amount would let you change important aspects of your life?

If you aren't already to secure, the number goes down a lot.

   24. Lassus Posted: April 09, 2019 at 07:46 AM (#5829836)
My wife and I discussed it after and agreed we would have refused. It was a $100 ticket to enter (to charity, of course) and $2.5K, $5K, $7.5K and $15K struck us as all about the same. Any of those sums would be nice but not life changing.

This is sad. Isn't the reason you gave exactly why you WOULD split?
   25. bunyon Posted: April 09, 2019 at 08:11 AM (#5829838)
I'd already given. If it was give it all to the charity, I'd have been up for that. But it was to split with a bunch of others, all of whom were better off than we with the exception of the lady who won. I was thrilled for her. A friend said she'd gone through a rough divorce recently and really needed the money. The others, even the two who wanted to split, probably lose more than the total pot routinely in Vegas.

Events like this do make me wonder about "charity". Most people want something. I'd have much rather given my buddy a hundred bucks and gone to dinner with two or three friends. But folks who work in non-profit have convinced me that not providing "events" and swag would lead to donations evaporating.
   26. Greg Pope Posted: April 09, 2019 at 08:55 AM (#5829845)
I totally agree that these contestants walk away from guaranteed money that would almost certainly transform their life in order to chase long odds of an even bigger payout.

I'm sure there's a term for this, but it seems to me that it's a positive vs. negative way of looking at it. If you took those same people, and offered them the chance to bet their house (let's say worth $250k) on a 50/50 chance to win $1M, they'd say no. Now, that's a security thing probably. I don't know what odds I'd have to get in order to bet my house. More than 10-1 certainly.

If the same person won $250K in a lottery and used that to start a retirement fund. Then 4 years later you offered them the same bet, 50/50 to win $1M, but you lose your retirement fund... Again, they probably don't do it. But on the game show they're only thinking about adding money, not the fact that the $250K is theirs if they take it.


   27. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: April 09, 2019 at 09:12 AM (#5829848)
1) What is the lowest amount of money (after taxes) that would fundamentally improve your life, and why? What would that amount of money allow you to do that would be transformative?

"Transformative" is tricky. Another 50K would help buy a better home or fund my two kids' college funds to a degree where I'd be more comfortable than now. Beyond that, I'm reasonably satisfied with my job and salary. Doing something wild like moving abroad is off the table because of my kids. I think the least amount I'd need to quit my job and explore other opportunities is 500K.

2) What is the largest amount of money your household has ever received at one time, and what did you do with that "windfall" (it could have been an inheritance, or a gambling or lottery winning, or a one-time bonus from work that you did not budget for, etc.)?

80K when we sold our last house. But almost all of it went to my ex :/
   28. jmurph Posted: April 09, 2019 at 09:25 AM (#5829854)
My wife and I discussed it after and agreed we would have refused. It was a $100 ticket to enter (to charity, of course) and $2.5K, $5K, $7.5K and $15K struck us as all about the same. Any of those sums would be nice but not life changing.

I say this neutrally, not as a piece of praise or criticism, but you have to be exceptionally wealthy for $7.5 or $15K (honestly the other two levels, too, but I'm just limiting this to the obvious) to not be life changing money. EXCEPTIONALLY. Even if that just goes straight into the vacation fund, it's a tremendous amount of money.
   29. BrianBrianson Posted: April 09, 2019 at 09:36 AM (#5829857)
Globally that's true, but pretty much everyone on this site lives in Canada or the States, where the median household income is somewhere between $50k and $60k (USD, converted for the Canucks). So, $7.5k or $15k is a lot of money, but calling it life-changing is probably a really small definition of life changing (which I say as someone with a household income somewhere in that median range).
   30. bunyon Posted: April 09, 2019 at 09:36 AM (#5829859)
We are very fortunate, yes. And it would be great. I really wanted to win. But, mostly, it was a good cause and was happy to give the hundred bucks.

As to life-changing, it may be semantics. It would, as you say, go into the vacation fund. If I take a longer, nicer vacation, is that life-changing? If I pay off my car or make a year's worth of mortgage payments, is that life-changing? I don't think so. Life-changing, to me, means, you can change the direction of your life. Quit your job and do something you care more about but that doesn't pay well. That sort of thing. I can't do that for $15K. For $150K, maybe. For $1.5MM, certainly.

Believe me, even a $2.5K windfall would have been super. I'd have been over the moon. It just wouldn't have changed my life. I'd have the same job. Live in the same house. Eat, more or less, the same food. I'd do it all from a more secure financial footing but I would be doing the same things.


EDIT: Or what, Brian said. A very expensive coke.
   31. PreservedFish Posted: April 09, 2019 at 09:44 AM (#5829861)
Right, I take "life-changing" to mean that I can do something that will permanently improve my life - buy a home, pursue a new career, take an entire year off work, that sort of thing.

I'm blessed to live in the first world, and blessed to be fairly well off even among first-worlders. I'm aware that $15k would be life-changing for many Americans, and would be an almost incomprehensible windfall for billions worldwide.
   32. Baldrick Posted: April 09, 2019 at 09:50 AM (#5829865)
I'm sure there's a term for this, but it seems to me that it's a positive vs. negative way of looking at it. If you took those same people, and offered them the chance to bet their house (let's say worth $250k) on a 50/50 chance to win $1M, they'd say no. Now, that's a security thing probably. I don't know what odds I'd have to get in order to bet my house. More than 10-1 certainly.

If the same person won $250K in a lottery and used that to start a retirement fund. Then 4 years later you offered them the same bet, 50/50 to win $1M, but you lose your retirement fund... Again, they probably don't do it. But on the game show they're only thinking about adding money, not the fact that the $250K is theirs if they take it.

This is a weird thread, where everyone is talking about people like they're idiots for choosing the path that maximizes their potential gain.

Like, I'm a pretty risk averse person so I would want to go into a game show like that with a clear sense of what kind of offer I would take, but it's clearly not irrational to go in saying 'never take the deal' since the deal is always just an average of the expected remaining value with a huge cut taken out.
   33. bunyon Posted: April 09, 2019 at 09:54 AM (#5829868)
I'm blessed to live in the first world, and blessed to be fairly well off even among first-worlders. I'm aware that $15k would be life-changing for many Americans, and would be an almost incomprehensible windfall for billions worldwide.

Right. Like I said, we're doing well even by American standards. By world standards, we're gods. I'm aware of it. But it's still my situation. There really isn't much difference between $15K and $2.5K for us, in terms of a windfall. I guess Lassus meant that should imply we should be happy with the $2.5K. I would have been. But, since it's all gravy anyway, why not hold out for the bigger pot? A $15K vacation is nicer than a $2.5K one and neither gets us to retirement.

But, yeah, it's a sign of prosperity that I can say that.
   34. BrianBrianson Posted: April 09, 2019 at 09:58 AM (#5829871)
Yeah, of course, there's some threshold. I buy a lottery ticket about once a month - the expectation value is clearly negative, but the loss of $3 is inconsequential, while the gain of $50 million or $500 million would be highly consequential.
   35. jmurph Posted: April 09, 2019 at 10:03 AM (#5829876)
I'm roughly in the same boat as everyone but I guess I would just encourage you to think of life-changing differently! My family and I (kids are 3 and 5) just took a trip to London for a week. It was great, our second international trip with the kids. We would definitely take many more trips with an additional $15K, but as of now we kind of have to pace it to every other year to accumulate credit card miles/a savings cushion. With just a straight 15K we could do that, or some house things, or mostly pay off the car, etc. So yeah I would agree with PF's take that it wouldn't totally alter the direction, but I guess my main point, Bunyon, is next time this happens call me up and cut me in.
   36. Greg Pope Posted: April 09, 2019 at 10:08 AM (#5829878)
This is a weird thread, where everyone is talking about people like they're idiots for choosing the path that maximizes their potential gain.

My point is that you only get one shot at this. So it changes the calculation from what's mathematically the best to include all sorts of other things.

For example, take Brian's comment 34. If the $3 is inconsequential, then it's not stupid to play the lottery even with a negative expectation. But for the reverse, let's say I offered you the chance to bet me $100K on a coin flip* and if you win you get $300K. But you have to sell your house and cash out all of your retirement, savings, etc. to come up with the $100K. I would call anyone stupid to make that bet even with the positive expectation.

That's why I'm making the distinction between positive and negative. Maybe addition vs subtraction is a better way of putting it. You shouldn't make that bet. But if you're on Deal or No Deal and there's a $5 case and a $300K case left, and you get offered $100K, then it's the same thing.

EDIT: I mean, it's not really the same thing since in the first case you have no place to live and in the second case you just don't have more money than you started with. But I think that if you have the choice between doubleing your net worth or quadrupling/stay the same, the smart play is to double it.

*Let's say that there's some sort of guarantee that it's 50/50.
   37. bunyon Posted: April 09, 2019 at 10:13 AM (#5829884)
but I guess my main point, Bunyon, is next time this happens call me up and cut me in.

Deal. Next one of us to win $15K buys in London.


Also, with kids, I think "life-changing" IS different. Your life really didn't change much but having experiences like that while young does change the direction moving forward. For the next 10-15 years, there is a very good chance a few thousand bucks changes your children's lives a lot.

I'm going to be a cynical bastard no matter which case I choose.
   38. PreservedFish Posted: April 09, 2019 at 10:16 AM (#5829886)
Travel is one of the most important things in the world to me, and I strongly, strongly believe that even a single vacation can yield benefits for decades in the form of happy memories, enhanced perspective, etc. So I suppose I'd agree that $7.5k spent on a trip could be potentially "life-changing," in a minor way. But the phrase just seems like it calls for a higher standard.

In the last five years, I moved across the country, which was life-changing. I bought a house. I had a child. I received a significant medical diagnosis. Those things were all life-changing. I also spent between $7.5k and $15k on a new roof for said house. I spent as much on a used minivan. I have contributed at least that much to a Roth IRA. None of those were life-changing.


One of my dreams is to take the kids out of school for 1 year and travel the world with them. That would be life-changing for all of us. But that would cost more than $15k.

A shorter trip - say 2 weeks in Italy - could be life-changing for the kids, because they're young enough to have a high frequency of foundational experiences. For me, it would be awesome, but unlikely to be life-changing.
   39. BrianBrianson Posted: April 09, 2019 at 10:18 AM (#5829889)
Well, then if a trip to London is life changing, so is climbing a mountain and spending a picnic afternoon watching eagles fly over. Or a road trip to Nashville when I have to go there for work that thus costs nothing. Maybe doesn't change it in quite the same way. But in a "you only live once" sense, they don't strike me as all that different (even if I have taken a few vacations that have cost a couple thousand, that logically I should've substituted a cheap canoeing trip for).

Or maybe others value it more. I dunno - travelling can be fun (though, it can also be a fearsome pain), but important? Like, I don't think I'm somehow better off from having travelled to one or two dozen countries than my uncle who hasn't travelled to that many counties. You can only even see a very tiny fraction of the world.
   40. PreservedFish Posted: April 09, 2019 at 10:20 AM (#5829891)
Agreed.

Edit> You edited. I agreed with the first paragraph. The hike and canoe trip can also be life-changing. I don't agree with the second paragraph. At least, not for myself. Travel is important to me. It just is.
   41. BrianBrianson Posted: April 09, 2019 at 10:37 AM (#5829898)
Oh, yeah, sometimes I read what I wrote and feel compelled to edit it. Sorry.

As for travel being important 'because', there's not much to take from that. When I was a kid, budgets meant travel was either to my grandparents', or to one of two nearby parks for camping. I don't think my son is better off, moving to a new country every other year.
   42. jmurph Posted: April 09, 2019 at 10:38 AM (#5829899)
I have contributed at least that much to a Roth IRA. None of those were life-changing.

I think it's clear this is all in good faith and good spirit, so know I'm not really arguing with you, just talking. But I guess I would argue that 10ish thousand in an IRA is pretty substantially going to improve your old-age years in comparison to the average person who will rely on social security alone.

I'm with you on that ####### roof, though. We had to do that last year and it's completely depressing, it was practically 6 months worth of savings for us.
   43. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: April 09, 2019 at 10:39 AM (#5829901)
This is a weird thread, where everyone is talking about people like they're idiots for choosing the path that maximizes their potential gain.

Like, I'm a pretty risk averse person so I would want to go into a game show like that with a clear sense of what kind of offer I would take, but it's clearly not irrational to go in saying 'never take the deal' since the deal is always just an average of the expected remaining value with a huge cut taken out.



It certainly can be irrational (and someone would be an idiot for) choosing the path that maximizes their potential gain. If the odds are long enough. What matters isn't potential gain it's expected gain. This is why it's a bad idea to, e.g., drop out of high school and start a band in the hopes of becoming a rock star.

And the main driver of the discussion of the contestants is that money has a (more or less) declining rate of marginal utility. The "gain" from the game isn't the money, it's what it does for you. The deal is the average of the remaining money, not the average of the remaining value.
   44. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: April 09, 2019 at 10:47 AM (#5829905)
I'm aware that $15k would be life-changing for many Americans


Half of the U.S. would quit their jobs if they won $15k.

3 months later, they'd realize they're a moron and start looking for a job.
   45. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: April 09, 2019 at 11:07 AM (#5829919)
1) What is the lowest amount of money (after taxes) that would fundamentally improve your life, and why? What would that amount of money allow you to do that would be transformative?


$3 million. I would make my nightmare neighbors across the street an offer they couldn't refuse for their house and get them out of my life forever.
   46. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 09, 2019 at 11:10 AM (#5829923)
I also spent between $7.5k and $15k on a new roof for said house. I spent as much on a used minivan. I have contributed at least that much to a Roth IRA. None of those were life-changing.
Sorry to say that's incorrect, at least for one of them. You are now a Minivan Guy.
   47. PreservedFish Posted: April 09, 2019 at 11:16 AM (#5829927)
My wife and I had a battle - I wanted to buy a huge Econoline and re-do the interior to facilitate camping and family vacations. She wanted a stupid minivan. She won.
   48. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 09, 2019 at 11:21 AM (#5829935)
Presumably because she somehow didn't translate it as "I'm a happily married family man and not at all creepy" when you said "Hey, honey, let's clear out a van and put a mattress in the back."
   49. Brian C Posted: April 09, 2019 at 01:42 PM (#5830011)
With $25K I could pay off debts. I don't know if it would be life-changing, but it's probably enough that I would turn down a shot at substantially more at the risk of losing it. So I guess that's kind of the figure I have in mind as "windfall money", for lack of a better term.

I mean, I'd still have to keep my job obviously, but if none of my paycheck went towards that, I'd be able to both save a substantial amount of money and live in a nicer place. Right now, after a pretty rough decade financially, I kind of have to choose one or the other, and right now I'm choosing saving.

So I guess it would be pretty life-changing in that respect.
   50. Hysterical & Useless Posted: April 09, 2019 at 01:44 PM (#5830012)
My wife and I have been extremely lucky (rent-stabilized apartment) and quite frugal, so in spite of the fact that we never made huge piles of money (my wife got into [very low] 6 figure territory 1 year, I think I did it twice, only really worked full-time for 11 years), we are quite well off. We never racked up much debt (mostly car loans, which we always paid off early), always made substantial retirement plan contributions, and now have a better than 90% chance of not outliving our money even if we reach age 100. Largest single unexpected windfall* was the roughly $38k I inherited from my mother--TOTALLY unexpected, both because her estate was split 5 ways (I have 4 brothers) and because she was not at all frugal, so how she'd managed to squirrel away that kind of cash remains a mystery. Didn't exactly change my life; it made it a little easier for me to feel comfortable about retiring the following year, but I had already made the decision.


*Not counting the severance I got from work as a "windfall" as I'd known the terms well in advance and had figured that into my calculations.


   51. Swoboda is freedom Posted: April 09, 2019 at 01:56 PM (#5830016)
This is kind of a variation of the prisoner's dilemma. The players would be better as a group if they held firm and didn't take the extensions to buy out their arb years. But as individuals, they take it, as it makes sense. The system is set up to screw the players. The early pay is was too low and 6 years (or 7) is way too long. They need to move it up a year, and raise the minimum salary to $1 million.

The problem is that Boras's interests don't line up with his clients 100% of the time. He takes 20 clients and tries to get the most. 90% of the time it works out great, but a small percent doesn't. Boras is better off with this arrangement, most of his clients are but some of his clients aren't.
   52. Dog on the sidewalk has an ugly bracelet Posted: April 09, 2019 at 02:10 PM (#5830025)
My largest unexpected windfall was $1 million (well, actually only about half that after various profit-sharing arrangements), in a poker tournament. At a time when I was basically broke. It was nice. With 2 left, we were essentially tied in chips. We were guaranteed "only" 600k each, and I offered to split the remaining money. He declined. Then I made him regret it.

The only other time I've been heads up for anywhere near that much money, I offered a chop, and the other guy (a WSOP main event winner) accepted, to my surprise. And then I lost. My attempts at deal-making have worked out well.

   53. BrianBrianson Posted: April 09, 2019 at 03:53 PM (#5830109)
It's not really like the prisoner's dilemma, because that's entirely about how you co-operate with your partner(s). But here, what the other players are doing doesn't really matter. You're taking a 100% chance of making $50 million over an 80% chance of making $100 million - sure, the expectation value is lower, but I'd definitely take the former deal. What the other players do don't matter.
   54. Nasty Nate Posted: April 09, 2019 at 04:09 PM (#5830122)
The only other time I've been heads up for anywhere near that much money, I offered a chop, and the other guy (a WSOP main event winner) accepted, to my surprise. And then I lost.
In this situation, did you play it out just for fun/pride, or did you only chop most of the prize so that there was still something to play for?

I thought one of the motivations for a chop there is to end the game (presumably it had been many many hours at that point).
   55. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 09, 2019 at 04:14 PM (#5830126)
It's not really like the prisoner's dilemma,
I'm sure Boras would enthusiastically support describing the players as prisoners.
   56. . Posted: April 09, 2019 at 05:24 PM (#5830173)
“Great, young players are getting what I call ‘snuff contracts,’”


With seemingly a little pet name for everything now, Boras has passed from semi-joke to mockable-by-Jackie Childs territory. What next -- Bryce Harper signed with the Phillies because Farhan Zaidi was a low talker?
   57. Dog on the sidewalk has an ugly bracelet Posted: April 09, 2019 at 06:04 PM (#5830192)
In this situation, did you play it out just for fun/pride, or did you only chop most of the prize so that there was still something to play for?

I thought one of the motivations for a chop there is to end the game (presumably it had been many many hours at that point).

We divvied up all the cash, but we were still playing for a trophy, a fairly prestigious title, and automatic entry into a tournament with a $15,000 buy-in. More than enough to keep us playing seriously, even though we could both relax a little after 4 long days.

And I got it in at 52% for 98% of the chips in play, and lost. Possibly the greatest injustice in the history of the universe.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
A triple short of the cycle
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogDOES DAVE STIEB DESERVE ANOTHER CHANCE AT THE HALL OF FAME?
(47 - 5:26pm, Sep 16)
Last: Rally

NewsblogTigers lose 104th game, move closer to first overall pick
(9 - 5:22pm, Sep 16)
Last: Buck Coats

NewsblogIs Diamondbacks pitcher Zac Gallen the latest star sent packing by Derek Jeter's Marlins?
(6 - 5:21pm, Sep 16)
Last: What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face?

NewsblogOT - NBA thread (Playoffs through off-season)
(6725 - 5:04pm, Sep 16)
Last: Der-K: at 10% emotional investment

NewsblogMLB: “Regret” over replay miscommunication in White Sox loss
(35 - 5:04pm, Sep 16)
Last: Never Give an Inge (Dave)

Gonfalon CubsApproaching the Finish Line
(21 - 5:03pm, Sep 16)
Last: Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington

NewsblogCiti Field duel shows why the NL Cy Young is a two-horse race
(22 - 4:56pm, Sep 16)
Last: Never Give an Inge (Dave)

NewsblogOT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (September 2019)
(162 - 4:54pm, Sep 16)
Last: snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster)

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-16-2019
(15 - 4:52pm, Sep 16)
Last: Der-K: at 10% emotional investment

NewsblogOT Soccer Thread - A New Season is Upon Baldrick
(791 - 4:43pm, Sep 16)
Last: Jose is Absurdly Unemployed

NewsblogOMNICHATTER is buying stock in weapons companies! for September 16, 2019
(1 - 4:35pm, Sep 16)
Last: Bote Man

NewsblogHail and farewell to football games played on baseball dirt
(66 - 4:21pm, Sep 16)
Last: Tom Nawrocki

NewsblogMike Trout will undergo season-ending foot surgery this week | LA Times
(21 - 3:35pm, Sep 16)
Last: Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques

NewsblogA’s rookie Jesús Luzardo earns save in another impressive outing - SFChronicle.com
(2 - 2:36pm, Sep 16)
Last: What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face?

NewsblogJustin Upton Done For Season | MLBT
(15 - 2:28pm, Sep 16)
Last: Sunday silence

Page rendered in 0.5970 seconds
46 querie(s) executed