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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Evan Longoria is latest MLB player to speak out against this year’s slow free-agent market

The rumblings of a potential major labor fight seem to be growing by the day. We’re less than a month from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, and we’ve still got plenty of big free agent names left on the board (including Bryce Harper and Manny Machado).

San Francisco Giants third baseman Evan Longoria took to Instagram on Friday to lament the current state of free agency. The 33 year old (who will be a free agent himself in 2022) said it’s “such a shame” that so many top players are still available.

 

QLE Posted: January 19, 2019 at 06:43 AM | 46 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: evan longoria, free agency, instagram

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   1. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: January 19, 2019 at 09:08 AM (#5806744)
From Longoria's post:
It's seems every day now someone is making up a new analytical tool to devalue players, especially free agents. As fans, why should "value" for your team even be a consideration? It's not your money, it's money that players have worked their whole lives to get to that level and be deserving of".


Take it easy, Champ. Maybe you should stop talking for a while.
   2. McCoy Posted: January 19, 2019 at 09:21 AM (#5806746)
I would think players would be for value per dollars. The problem is not value but winning value per dollars battl which is leading teams to focus on cost controlled youth instead of high cost high risk veterans.

Without steroids virtually no veteran is worth a mega long term contract. Without stores virtually no middling free agent is worth a mid range year mid range dollar contract.
   3. Rennie's Tenet Posted: January 19, 2019 at 09:52 AM (#5806748)
High comedy from Jake Arrieta:

All of you 1-3 yr players out there better be paying attention to what’s going on in our game. You’re next.
   4. McCoy Posted: January 19, 2019 at 10:08 AM (#5806753)
In the next CBA the union should be focusing on the rules governing the cost controlled years. Arbitration after two years. Free agency after four years.
   5. bigglou115 is not an Illuminati agent Posted: January 19, 2019 at 10:08 AM (#5806754)
The excerpt bugs me. I know what he's getting at, but I've known and played with and watched future MLB players. They were among the hardest workers out there, but every team had one guy work just as hard but turn out to be 5'9" or got near-sighted as he aged. They worked hard for their money, but they also every one of them got lucky to some extent or another and they should remember that.

And honestly they can blame their own union for a lot of this. Selling out arbitration ages is the whole problem. Stats aren't saying that there's less wins. Stats are saying those wins are concentrated in young players. But salary can't go up to young players because the collectively bargained agreement says so. Fix the arbitration process and earnings will fix themselves.
   6. MHS Posted: January 19, 2019 at 10:20 AM (#5806758)
Is the issue here distribution of dollars among players or the amount of dollars to players? I’m not really sure based on the comments I’ve seen.

I think it’s very important for the players to determine which they are upset about because the “fix” is different for each.
   7. McCoy Posted: January 19, 2019 at 10:26 AM (#5806760)
If everybody hits free agency sooner the players share of money will go up and individuals will get more money as well. Now a 32 year old probably won't get a 7 year contract like they did back in the day but they'll get multiyeared contracts.

For the most part the over 30 year old player is not going to get those mega contracts anymore and nothing can really be done to get them back outside of steroids.
   8. BrianBrianson Posted: January 19, 2019 at 10:33 AM (#5806763)
One must consider the possibility that the agents' analytic departments have figured out waiting 'til spring training results in the largest contracts.
   9. Swoboda is freedom Posted: January 19, 2019 at 10:57 AM (#5806767)
In the next CBA the union should be focusing on the rules governing the cost controlled years. Arbitration after two years. Free agency after four years.

Raising the minimum as well for first 2 years. Also get rid of the partial year for arbitration (like for Bryant). I counts as a year as long as you are not part of the September call ups.
   10. The Duke Posted: January 19, 2019 at 12:08 PM (#5806779)
All those 1-3 year players would be happy to be paid like Jake Arrieta. The issue in baseball is that the talent gets paid a pittance in the minor leagues and through their first few years minimal money. Then a handful of guys make millions upon millions.
   11. JRVJ Posted: January 19, 2019 at 12:12 PM (#5806780)
The second part of Longoria's excerpt makes no sense, but the first one actually does, and I think Saber-savvy, super pro labor writers don't seem to acknowledge it.

In essence, if all front offices Moneyball up, and there are no more Ruben Amaro's out there, the FA market is going to reflect this.
   12. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 19, 2019 at 12:18 PM (#5806781)
Pssst....hey Evan....you know whose declining performance in his 30s is a great example of why teams don’t want to give out huge long-term contracts anymore?
   13. #6bid turns frustration into motivation and muscle Posted: January 19, 2019 at 12:31 PM (#5806787)
Pssst....hey Evan....you know who’s a great example of why teams don’t want to give out huge long-term contracts anymore?


I did a double-take because Longoria's 7/$50M contract was so team-friendly ... but after some research realized that he'd signed another contract, which was not so team-friendly.
   14. Posada Posse Posted: January 19, 2019 at 01:20 PM (#5806794)
Pssst....hey Evan....you know whose declining performance in his 30s is a great example of why teams don’t want to give out huge long-term contracts anymore?


And Arrieta's performance last year isn't exactly an endorsement for his (presumable) desire to sign a 5+ year contract last offseason.
   15. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: January 19, 2019 at 01:27 PM (#5806797)
All of the above is quite true. But I can understand the frustration on the part of veteran players. Their attitude is "when I was in my twenties I was paid much, much, MUCH less than my performance was worth because I had no alternative. I did my time, and now you refuse to pay me because you're worried that in my thirties I might perform less? #### you."

My baseline sympathy for millionaires is near zero... but I get why they're frustrated.
   16. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 19, 2019 at 01:35 PM (#5806798)
Yeah, I get it too, although in Longoria’s case he signed an extension that paid him better for some of his younger years than he might have otherwise made. But there is of course going to be a group of players whose FA years happens to coincide with the smartening up of front offices, and for the most part they’ll get the worst of both worlds. But that isn’t an argument for perpetuating the irrationality. It’s an argument for paying younger players more going forward.
   17. Lars6788 Posted: January 19, 2019 at 01:50 PM (#5806801)
Longoria is right - why should fans be concerned about the money - good players should get paid and not have to settle for waiting it out in uncertainty or having to get only a one year deal.

Not all these free agents are on the wrong side of 30 - yet there is contract for them yet, notably Harper and Machado.
   18. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 19, 2019 at 01:55 PM (#5806805)
Not all these free agents are on the wrong side of 30 - yet there is contract for them yet, notably Harper and Machado.
Because they're demanding contracts that pay them a ton of money well after they are on the wrong side of 30.
   19. McCoy Posted: January 19, 2019 at 02:07 PM (#5806808)
Up the pension and call it even.
   20. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 19, 2019 at 02:08 PM (#5806809)
And honestly they can blame their own union for a lot of this. Selling out arbitration ages is the whole problem.

Worth remembering that it is the owners who dug in their heels on compensation for players at the early stages of their career. Granted, they long wanted to reduce the cost of labor for all players, but when they lost the free agency battle they had to be more selective in who was getting stiffed. Perhaps the players should have made more of an effort to get early-career players more compensation, but it's not like the owners would have rolled over for them, as I expect the next CBA negotiations will make clear. The players may have to strike to obtain what some are suggesting they should have obtained in the current CBA.
   21. McCoy Posted: January 19, 2019 at 02:47 PM (#5806817)
The players also wanted young players locked up and to not have access to the FA dollars. Like all coalitions you have to make compromises and sacrifices in order to build them. How do you get veterans nearing the end of their career to go along with your Union organizing attempts? How do you get players in the prime of their career to go along? You tell them if this works you'll immediately be in line to make big bucks. Fast forward 40 years and obviously there are no veteran players left standing who would benefit from an immediate unshackling from the reserve system. Thus the union should be convincing the players to unshackle themselves from the service time rules that stall their big buck opportunities.
   22. Rough Carrigan Posted: January 19, 2019 at 06:42 PM (#5806844)
At the outset of free agency, Charlie Finley's idea of how to keep player salaries from exploding was to multiply the number of free agents. He suggested no restrictions. Everyone's a possible free agent at any time. A guy just played his rookie year but hasn't signed a contract for year 2? He's a free agent.
   23. PreservedFish Posted: January 20, 2019 at 07:41 AM (#5806884)
At the outset of free agency, Charlie Finley's idea of how to keep player salaries from exploding was to multiply the number of free agents. He suggested no restrictions. Everyone's a possible free agent at any time. A guy just played his rookie year but hasn't signed a contract for year 2? He's a free agent.


This would obviously reduce individual salaries, but not the total payroll outlay.
   24. McCoy Posted: January 20, 2019 at 07:58 AM (#5806885)
It would absolutely increase the total outlay. The only way it wouldn't is if they increased the salary penalties tremendously while also lowering the ceiling.
   25. bfan Posted: January 20, 2019 at 08:31 AM (#5806886)
The point of the article makes no sense. Even if Harper had a 10 year 350 million offer last November, he would still be out there if he were interested in maximizing his take (which he should be doing and which he is), as offers go up as teams bid against one another. Timing of signing is not an issue until whenever players report to spring training and I will bet all of the high profile guys will be signed by then. The players that are not signed by then are just collateral to where the best players land, so they are being held up by the best players waiting for the best offers.

Second, as I recall the fangraphs article, AAV is right where crowd-sourcing had predicted it. That dollar value is down relates to the years of the contract, but not salary per year. I feel like most of the current gap between the crowd source number relates to one contract where one player decided to bet on his skill and take a higher 1 year deal than a lower per year 4 year deal. We cannot know how that turns out for 3 years, so we ought to settle down on that becoming a trend or a fact.

This all seems to be falling into a Seinfeld-like episode; the news is that we do not have enough news, so that becomes the topic.

Let me put it another way; when it all settles for 2019, player salaries will be flat over a 2 year period, as owners, looking at the huge cable-cutting trends by consumers and actual attendance at events dropping are not signing huge long-term deals because they feel that added revenue sources will not support their 10 year personeel decisions.
   26. PreservedFish Posted: January 20, 2019 at 09:47 AM (#5806888)
It would absolutely increase the total outlay. The only way it wouldn't is if they increased the salary penalties tremendously while also lowering the ceiling.


If you're an owner, and your payroll budget is $150 million, why would you all of a sudden increase it? The $/WAR price would plummet overnight.

   27. Jack Sommers Posted: January 20, 2019 at 09:49 AM (#5806889)
Wouldn't Finley's idea hurt competitive balance even more though ?
   28. McCoy Posted: January 20, 2019 at 09:54 AM (#5806891)
You'd increase it because your costs have gone up. Teams payroll budgets are not hitting their ceilings.

When free agency came along payrolls went up and owners who could not afford the new realities sold out to owners who could.
   29. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 20, 2019 at 10:01 AM (#5806893)
MLBPA game plan:

1. Treat minor leaguers as usurpers and enemies
2. Treat first six year players like bus boys
3. Put entire CBA negotiating focus on landing mega contracts in free agency
4. Complain when mega contracts aren't handed out
   30. McCoy Posted: January 20, 2019 at 10:06 AM (#5806894)
The model worked for almost 40 years. The large contracts increased the cost for mediocre free agents, arbitration salaries, and finally minimum wages.

Teams finally got wise to it. Stopped giving old players mega contracts, avoided arbitration, and manipulated service time to increase cost controlled years and pressure players to sign team friendly contracts.
   31. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 20, 2019 at 10:09 AM (#5806895)
Some Solutions:

Higher minimum salaries for all players, including minors (yes, they have to accept them as brothers and not enemies)
Higher arb awards
Quicker free agency (but I expect owners to fit this tooth and nail and will be the toughest to accomplish)
Higher pension payouts

   32. McCoy Posted: January 20, 2019 at 10:19 AM (#5806897)
You accept minor leaguers as brothers and you're accepting new overlords with different goals and needs than yours.

You're not going to get 25 year olds to care about pensions. Higher arb awards happen through higher salaries.
   33. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: January 20, 2019 at 10:36 AM (#5806899)
Also, should have the luxury tax threshold rise automatically each year proportional to the rise in income. E.g. league income increases 10% one year, then the next year’s luxury tax threshold also rises 10%.
   34. McCoy Posted: January 20, 2019 at 11:01 AM (#5806905)
I think the luxury tax is there to prevent salary inflation so to do what you propose would render the tax pointless
   35. Styles P. Deadball Posted: January 20, 2019 at 11:22 AM (#5806910)
Some Solutions:

Higher minimum salaries for all players, including minors (yes, they have to accept them as brothers and not enemies)
Higher arb awards
Quicker free agency (but I expect owners to fit this tooth and nail and will be the toughest to accomplish)
Higher pension payouts


What can the MLBPA give up to get all or even some of that? Wouldn't it almost have to be a hard salary cap instead of the soft one that the luxury tax has turned into?

This is almost certainly going to have to require the MLBPA to reverse course on some of their bedrock principles since Messersmith. I'm just not sure what form it will take.
   36. cardsfanboy Posted: January 20, 2019 at 11:33 AM (#5806912)
I think at a minimum, mlb needs to have a penalty for teams who have a low team payroll and aren't winning. If you are below a certain payroll, and you finish with a sub .500 record, you lose a portion of your revenue sharing income, and it increases percentage wise the more games you lose. It won't prevent tanking, but it might convince these teams to 1. sign a one or two year free agent to get over the minimum threshold 2. negotiate with their young and upcoming players a year or two earlier.

I have no idea what the mlbpa would have to give up to make that happen though, and a hard salary cap is not a viable option in my opinion. (although I imagine that teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals, Dodgers etc would support that type of plan)
   37. cardsfanboy Posted: January 20, 2019 at 11:34 AM (#5806913)
Also, should have the luxury tax threshold rise automatically each year proportional to the rise in income. E.g. league income increases 10% one year, then the next year’s luxury tax threshold also rises 10%.


quoted for truth.
   38. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: January 20, 2019 at 11:39 AM (#5806915)
What the MLBPA absolutely positively NEEDS to do is start drawing lines from salary to ticket prices. Salaries aren’t going up, ticket prices are. Destroy that old strawman and get fans on your side. Right now fans are going to look at this kind of thing (or an impending strike) and say “look, I work for a living so I can go to one game a year it’s so expensive. Quit whining.” That salaries have effective stayed flat for several years but ticket prices have been climbing is the easiest winning argument the MLBPA could possibly have.
   39. McCoy Posted: January 20, 2019 at 11:47 AM (#5806919)
That nobody will understand or listen to.
   40. Styles P. Deadball Posted: January 20, 2019 at 12:08 PM (#5806925)
That nobody will understand or listen to.


Yeah, probably true. It took "Mike from Mt Greenwood" 11 years to come back to Sox Park after the strike in '94... and he's still mad as hell the Sox got rid of Scott Podsednik. Economic nuance might be lost on him.
   41. McCoy Posted: January 20, 2019 at 12:42 PM (#5806930)
Prices of everything have gone up while salaries have remained flat. Nobody had done a dang thing about it. Why would we suddenly care about ballplayers?
   42. dejarouehg Posted: January 20, 2019 at 01:32 PM (#5806946)
Why would we suddenly care about ballplayers?


The real question is, Why should we suddenly care about ballplayers? or owners finances for that matter?

And, everyone should be so fortunate to enjoy the same "flat" salaries:

https://www.statista.com/statistics/236213/mean-salaray-of-players-in-majpr-league-baseball/
   43. Rennie's Tenet Posted: January 20, 2019 at 02:14 PM (#5806949)
Introduce a mid-tier price support. If a team signs Josh Harrison for $4 million, the first $2 million is paid by MLB. So if one club spends $15 million for five bench players, their actual cost would be $9 million, plus 1/30 of the remaining $6 million. If another club spends $3 million for its five bench players, its actual cost is $3 million plus 1/30 of what the first team spent. Take the subsidy off the top of revenue sharing funds, and you're seriously restricting a club's ability to avoid spending shared revenue on players - it's just going to someone else's players.

You should increase the minimum a bit, and also put a cap on so that huge contracts don't get the subsidy.
   44. Jack Sommers Posted: January 21, 2019 at 03:13 PM (#5807397)
Average Operating Income per franchise is an interesting graph. Step post recession declines, followed by big jump in 2014 and by 2017 blowing away pre recession numbers even after inflation adjustment.
   45. snowles Posted: January 21, 2019 at 03:29 PM (#5807407)
Smack dab during the longest government shutdown in history (where many people are working without compensation) seems like a bold time for an article bemoaning millionaire's salaries.

The quote from Evan about putting any blame on fans and their perception of value, when they're not the ones dictating salaries seems to miss the mark entirely...
   46. BrianBrianson Posted: January 21, 2019 at 03:32 PM (#5807410)
I think at a minimum, mlb needs to have a penalty for teams who have a low team payroll and aren't winning. If you are below a certain payroll, and you finish with a sub .500 record, you lose a portion of your revenue sharing income, and it increases percentage wise the more games you lose. It won't prevent tanking, but it might convince these teams to 1. sign a one or two year free agent to get over the minimum threshold 2. negotiate with their young and upcoming players a year or two earlier.


Or, you could forbid teams with low payrolls and bad records from signing free agents. Maybe force them to forfeit games next season so it's impossible for them to make the playoffs. Why not just contract every team with a losing record? The possibilities are endless ....

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