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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) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: free agency

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   1. The Ghost of Logan Schafer Posted: December 30, 2017 at 10:48 PM (#5598973)
Prince Fielder wasn't attracting much interest as a free agent in the 2011-12 offseason, then Victor Martinez got hurt and the
Tigers gave the big man 9 years / $214 million. He ended up making $248,914,500 in his career.
If Ryan Braun's career is through after 2020, he will finish at $144,562,500. He signed a VERY team-friendly extension early in his career.
   2. TomH Posted: December 31, 2017 at 08:07 AM (#5599022)
I hate it as a fan when my team's management is methodical and rational. I prefer whimsical, irrational, and with a dead certainty that they are so much smarter than everyone else. Where are Dave Stewart and Maury Wills to run my team?
   3. Captain Supporter Posted: December 31, 2017 at 08:51 AM (#5599023)
They study and evaluate everything to the point where emotion is basically dead.


Yes, they don't do as many stupid things as they used to do. Since I hate it when my team does stupid things that have bad long term consequences like signing Jacoby Ellsbury to a 7 year, $150M contract, I view this as a major positive.

"Win at all cost" owners and "gunslinger GM's" don't help you win; they make sure you lose.
   4. McCoy Posted: December 31, 2017 at 08:55 AM (#5599024)
Well, Theo still occasionally signs some good glove guy to giant arse contracts so we still have that to look forward to.
   5. BDC Posted: December 31, 2017 at 09:10 AM (#5599027)
In his rundown today, Heyman notes that the Rangers like Carlos Gomez. Liking is an emotion, for sure.
   6. bookbook Posted: December 31, 2017 at 10:25 AM (#5599035)
#6, the power has shifted firmly from the players to the teams.

And both sides know it.
   7. shoewizard Posted: December 31, 2017 at 10:46 AM (#5599038)
The comment about next year's free agent class being the best of all time is an interesting one. Is it true ?
   8. BDC Posted: December 31, 2017 at 10:48 AM (#5599039)
Yes, I think that #5 ("Next year’s market. Some teams may be waiting for the greatest free-agent class of all-time – the 2018-19 group"), hype or not, is as strong a reason as any. It's a not-that-subtle way of saying that the 2017-18 guys aren't really very good. Some of the relief pitchers have done quite well. Carlos Santana got $60M for three years of his early thirties; I like Santana, everybody likes him, but you can't say that he's going to be underpaid.

Meanwhile the best position player available is JD Martinez, who has played 150 games just once in his career. Eric F. Hosmer is ranked first in a number of the lists. I don't know why any team would be rushing to break the piggy bank for those guys.
   9. shoewizard Posted: December 31, 2017 at 11:30 AM (#5599044)
Just spent the last 40 minutes taking another look at the remaining free agent hitters and pitchers

BTW the way I sort them is to first sort by PA or IP, and then click the age column heading. That puts them in ascending order of career playing time but grouped within age. Just a way I like to look at them.

I couldn't really identify a guy I would even like the Diamondbacks to make lowball offer to, just to see if they'd bite. Maybe Lance Lynn ? But his Periphs scary last year.
   10. Mike Webber Posted: December 31, 2017 at 12:26 PM (#5599053)
Those are great lists Shoe. I know Cashner's FIP was bad, but I'd certainly take a flier on him - unless his velocity was way off last year and that's why his K rate plummeted. If his K's are back at career where they were in 2015-2016 that is a solid inning eater.
   11. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 31, 2017 at 12:27 PM (#5599054)
Since I hate it when my team does stupid things that have bad long term consequences like signing Jacoby Ellsbury to a 7 year, $150M contract,

That actually hasn't had any bad long term consequences to date. There's no evidence Ellsbury has stopped the Yankees from acquiring anyone. They just added Mike freaking Stanton for pete's sake.
   12. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: December 31, 2017 at 01:08 PM (#5599066)
The comment about next year's free agent class being the best of all time is an interesting one. Is it true ?

'92-93 had Bonds to the Giants, Maddux to the Braves, Cone to the Royals, Molitor to the Blue Jays, Drabek to the Astros, Boggs and Key to the Yankees, and Henke to the Rangers. Probably a bunch of others I don't remember because they re-signed with their old teams.
   13. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: December 31, 2017 at 01:15 PM (#5599067)
'92-93 had Bonds to the Giants, Maddux to the Braves, Cone to the Royals, Molitor to the Blue Jays, Drabek to the Astros, Boggs and Key to the Yankees, and Henke to the Rangers. Probably a bunch of others I don't remember because they re-signed with their old teams.

Burks to the White Sox on a one year deal (would sign multiyear deal with Colorado the following offseason).

Dawson to the Red Sox on a two year deal (they would have been much better off keeping Burks for half the AAV).
   14. Nasty Nate Posted: December 31, 2017 at 02:46 PM (#5599087)
That actually hasn't had any bad long term consequences to date. There's no evidence Ellsbury has stopped the Yankees from acquiring anyone.
"Stopped" might be the wrong word, but if they didn't already have a bunch of existing contracts, the Yankees would more likely have Arrieta or Darvish or both signed rather than Sabathia.
   15. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: December 31, 2017 at 02:53 PM (#5599089)
"Stopped" might be the wrong word, but if they didn't already have a bunch of existing contracts, the Yankees would more likely have Arrieta or Darvish or both signed rather than Sabathia.

So the benefit of not having Ellsbury signed to a bad contract is that it impedes their ability to do other bad contracts?
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 31, 2017 at 03:12 PM (#5599092)
"Stopped" might be the wrong word, but if they didn't already have a bunch of existing contracts, the Yankees would more likely have Arrieta or Darvish or both signed rather than Sabathia.


So the benefit of not having Ellsbury signed to a bad contract is that it impedes their ability to do other bad contracts?

My thoughts exactly. I MUCH, MUCH, MUCH rather have Sabathia at 1/$10M, than Darvish or Arrieta at even 4/100.
   17. Walt Davis Posted: December 31, 2017 at 03:34 PM (#5599105)
#1: Nitpick but a pretty important one -- Braun signed two deals. His first deal was signed after his first half-season when he won the RoY, covered his remaining 3 pre-arb years, his 3 arb years and his first two FA years for $45 M. That's a great deal from a player's perspective -- you might lose out (as Braun did) but to be guaranteed $45 M after 2/3 of a season (back in 2008 $) is some great risk-aversion. That contract took him through 2015.

Then, just 3 years into that deal, before his arb years have even started, they signed him to a 5-year extension covering 2016-20 for $105 M. Back in 2011, $21 M a year for an FA was pretty good (not great) money but he was being extended 5 years early.

The Brewers took big risks there, guaranteeing 6 years when they could have guaranteed none then extending him with 5 years of control left. That extension is for his age 32-36 seasons, not usually prime years. We generally jump on teams for extending guys early. And chances are good they could have had Fielder if they'd made a similar offer and they would have regretted it.

And it's possible the Brewers will end up regretting that extension. He put up a very nice 4.4 WAR in 2016 but was injured and average in 2017 at age 33. Maybe he'll bounce back but 33-34 are pretty common ages where a player declines substantially and permanently. That first season pretty much means the extension won't be a disaster but they may well end up getting only something like 8 WAR out of it.
   18. cardsfanboy Posted: December 31, 2017 at 03:44 PM (#5599107)
I couldn't really identify a guy I would even like the Diamondbacks to make lowball offer to, just to see if they'd bite. Maybe Lance Lynn ? But his Periphs scary last year.


I would be perfectly happy with Lance Lynn at 3 years 50 mil. I don't know if that is a lowball offer, but it's one that I would put out there in a heartbeat if I'm the Cardinals. I don't think that is what he is looking for though.
   19. Nasty Nate Posted: December 31, 2017 at 04:51 PM (#5599120)
My thoughts exactly. I MUCH, MUCH, MUCH rather have Sabathia at 1/$10M, than Darvish or Arrieta at even 4/100.
But if bad contracts don't hurt them, why wouldn't you just want the better players?
   20. shoewizard Posted: December 31, 2017 at 06:19 PM (#5599138)

I would be perfectly happy with Lance Lynn at 3 years 50 mil. I don't know if that is a lowball offer, but it's one that I would put out there in a heartbeat if I'm the Cardinals. I don't think that is what he is looking for though.


In a normal year, it would indeed seem a lowball offer considering what Wade Davis just got. But right now MLB feels like it has slipped into the upside down
   21. Rally Posted: January 01, 2018 at 08:54 AM (#5599202)
Didn’t 2001 have A-Rod, Manny, and Moose? I could be off a year on someone. Can’t remember who else was there.

Some of the 2018-19 free agents will probably sign extensions before we get that far.
   22. McCoy Posted: January 01, 2018 at 09:11 AM (#5599204)
Plus Mike Hampton and Juan Gonzalez. Even Darren Dreifort got a big contract that year.
   23. Nero Wolfe, Indeed Posted: January 01, 2018 at 10:39 AM (#5599214)
The comment about next year's free agent class being the best of all time is an interesting one. Is it true?


As if anyone can tell how interesting it'll be 10 months from, after injuries and contract extensions.
   24. bobm Posted: January 01, 2018 at 03:16 PM (#5599316)
The Wilpons are patient owners, if by patient you mean players and a franchise in need of medical care. Unlike the NBA and the NFL, MLB's commissioners are apparently very happy to have an owner who cannot or will not spend in possession of a NYC franchise.
   25. Zonk did it for the children of Russia Posted: January 01, 2018 at 06:50 PM (#5599354)
I think it's still too early to pass any sort of judgment on this offseason - relievers (even/especially those with EXTREMELY spotty resumes) certainly seem to be getting paid.

On one hand, yeah - there are probably a good half dozen owners that are auditioning for Charlie O: The Reimaging.

OTOH, Alex Cobb looking for 4/80? Madness.

As a fan of a team needing another SP - I'm certainly down with the "You're rich! You're making money hand over fist! Open the checkbook!" But these price tags for flawed pitchers are just nuts.

If it were me, I think I'd start waiving around big "one year, then try again" deals...
   26. BDC Posted: January 01, 2018 at 07:28 PM (#5599362)
If it were me, I think I'd start waiving around big "one year, then try again" deals

My nominee for brilliant idea along those lines is Carlos Gonzalez. If he is healthy (huge unknown, I admit) I think a one-year return to form is a decent bet for him.
   27. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: January 01, 2018 at 09:44 PM (#5599399)
#1: Nitpick but a pretty important one -- Braun signed two deals. His first deal was signed after his first half-season when he won the RoY, covered his remaining 3 pre-arb years, his 3 arb years and his first two FA years for $45 M. That's a great deal from a player's perspective -- you might lose out (as Braun did) but to be guaranteed $45 M after 2/3 of a season (back in 2008 $) is some great risk-aversion. That contract took him through 2015.


This. I'm surprised more players and teams don't pursue this sort of arrangement quickly in a young player's career. Maybe it's because I do not come from money, but the idea of being something like 23-25 years old and knowing you have $45 million guaranteed no matter what happens to your body or your career would be uniquely freeing. You spend $3 million of it on fun stuff, then take the other $20-$25 million left after taxes to get yourself set for life. Then, if you have a decent career during that contract, you know you'll be at least doubling that money for your 30s.
   28. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 02, 2018 at 10:27 AM (#5599486)
But if bad contracts don't hurt them, why wouldn't you just want the better players?

I said Ellsbury's contract hasn't hurt them much. But, if you have enough bad deals, then sure it can hurt. When they had ARod, and Teixeira, and Sabathia, all making $25M+ and sucking, that was a problem.
   29. Walt Davis Posted: January 02, 2018 at 04:53 PM (#5599798)
#27 -- it does (or did) happen a fair amount. Longoria signed his first contract shortly after Braun, after the Rays essentially made it a condition of calling him up (per reports at the time). Jon Singleton sensibly signed a very cheap buyout contract. The Astros reportedly tried to pull a Longoria on Springer, he refused, they made him sit in the minors a couple of extra months, he still refused. I'm too lazy to look up exactly when, but Salvador Perez signed an extension very early, the Royals later tore up the last couple of years of it and gave him a second contract. The Angels moved fairly early on Trout, the Marlins tied up Yelich pretty quickly, the Pirates tied up Marte (hooray!) and Polanco (oops?) quickly. The A's were pretty aggressive with Sonny Gray, the Rays with Archer (and Wade Davis). I'm sure there are many others I can't recall. (Note, we need some definition of "early" -- signing a 5-year deal when guy is about to enter arb doesn't seem "early" to me, I propose something like less than 1.5 years service time as "early." I'm not sure all of those qualify.)

I can imagine there might be pressure from both the Union and MLB to limit this behavior. Unless it really is a good example of risk aversion for the player, the MLBPA would probably prefer to see them get at least as far as arb and/or to give away fewer FA years. These deals are mostly good for the owners so MLB probably doesn't mind but they have outlawed signing draftees to ML deals and they seem to have made it clear that they won't tolerate any such shenanigans with Ohtani (e.g. the Angels sign him for 7/$120 after 2018), so it's possible they discourage this unless there's real potential to rip off the player even more than usual.
   30. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: January 02, 2018 at 05:10 PM (#5599808)
I'm sure there are many others I can't recall. (Note, we need some definition of "early" -- signing a 5-year deal when guy is about to enter arb doesn't seem "early" to me, I propose something like less than 1.5 years service time as "early." I'm not sure all of those qualify.)


I think Rizzo qualifies. God his contract is ridiculously cheap. Here's a guy with two top 4 MVP finishes, has the service time to be arb-3, and will make $7 mil. He will make $12 mil next year, in what would otherwise be $25 mil in his first year of an 8/$200 mil FA contract.

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