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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) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: free agency

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   1. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: January 09, 2018 at 11:07 AM (#5603307)
Is the slow off-season really anything more than guys trying to get more than they probably are worth? Martinez has a 5 year offer, Hosmer a 7 year offer, what are they waiting for? The issue here is that as good as these players are they aren't superstars. Last year's big names;

Encarnacion - 3/60
Cespedes - 4/110
Turner - 4/64

are not materially different than those guys and I suspect if JDM or Hoz were willing to take those types of offers they'd be signed. Darvish and Arrieta are a bit less clear what the market is but I think both guys are being hurt by the performances of Greinke and Price. Teams are shying away from pitchers a bit.
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 09, 2018 at 12:16 PM (#5603382)
I think the much bigger issue is that long term cable deals, MLBAM, and other centralized revenue, has divorced team revenue from team success more than at any point in history.
   3. Walt Davis Posted: January 09, 2018 at 03:56 PM (#5603561)
Both good points. (1) Add the lux tax/salary cap which now seems highly effective and has no effective corresponding salary floor; (2) there seem to be at least six teams in "rebuild" mode (a couple of which might be about to start spending again ... and which relates to Snapper's point), plus Oakland plus Baltimore seems to be flying the white flag for a rebuild next year; (3) Yanks and Dodgers (and Cubs and Red Sox) trying to stay under the cap this year to reset for next offseason.

Lots of factors why this should be a terrible offseason for player contracts.

If Hosmer really has offers in the 7/$140-150 range, I recommend he take one ... unless he would prefer a contender like the Cards in which case he should offer them 5/$110 or something.

JD Martinez -- this might be a sign that teams do view him as a DH or at least a near-DH. NL teams would shy away and AL teams wouldn't want to commit more than a few years. I see statcast catch probability stuff has added "outs above average" to the leaderboard (probably been there a while) and JDM comes in at -5 which isn't too bad but is also about as bad as it gets by statcast numbers (only 5 players were worse than -8, "led" by Matt Kemp's -17). Last year, JD was one of those guys at -10 (and Kemp was so bad that his number is shaded so dark I can't even read it).

Anyway, if his near-future is as a DH, I recommend he take that juicy 5-year deal because I doubt a better one is coming along (if the Red Sox offer is "juicy" ... have we seen a rumored amount?)

I'm pretty clueless on what I would offer Arrieta. Familiarity breeds ... not contempt as I'm quite fond of everything he did for the Cubs but I guess familiarity breeds over-familiarity in that I've seen Jake behind just his numbers and fear more of the not-so-good Jake is on the way while Darvish is pretty much just numbers to me so I can pretend there's less risk there. I suppose I'd be willing to go 5/$125 on either of them and can see an argument for 5/$140. In the current HR environment, it might be wise to stick Jake in a FB-friendly park.

Lots of red flags with Jake actually -- ERA, FIP and H/9 all took a big jump relative to previous years.
   4. geonose Posted: January 09, 2018 at 05:43 PM (#5603669)
Good lord, did the Mets really give Cespedes 4/$110? I guess I hadn't realized that. That's absurd. Only Miggy has a higher AAV among position players, and Cespedes doesn't really breathe in that rarified air.

So if he's not materially different from Hosmer or Martinez, should they also hold out for $27.5 AAV? That would imply $192.5 million for Hosmer's 7 year offer and $137.5 million for Martinez over 5 years, substantially higher offers than I believe either of them has received.
   5. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 09, 2018 at 05:58 PM (#5603684)
I think the biggest reason for the slow off-season is that LAD & NYY are both trying to stay below $197M. So not only are the two biggest spenders not bidding on these guys, but other teams aren't falling for it when agents try to spread rumors that they are.
   6. John Northey Posted: January 09, 2018 at 07:29 PM (#5603727)
The players union failed players on the last contract. The luxury tax should be in effect at a much higher level, more like $250 million, rather than sub $200 million. Then it would be the old 'Yankee tax' except now for NYY and LAD. Instead it is at a level that any team in the top 10 for payroll has to factor in now (as mid-season additions could push them over).
   7. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: January 09, 2018 at 07:57 PM (#5603738)
Good lord, did the Mets really give Cespedes 4/$110? I guess I hadn't realized that. That's absurd. Only Miggy has a higher AAV among position players, and Cespedes doesn't really breathe in that rarified air.

So if he's not materially different from Hosmer or Martinez, should they also hold out for $27.5 AAV? That would imply $192.5 million for Hosmer's 7 year offer and $137.5 million for Martinez over 5 years, substantially higher offers than I believe either of them has received.

Years and AAV are not independent of each other. If Cespedes had demanded 5+ years, he surely wouldn't be getting paid 27.5/year. I assume Martinez could get a little better than 4/110 if he were willing to settle for 4 years. Maybe even Hosmer, too. The idea that he'd hold out for 7/192 is just laughable though.


   8. Walt Davis Posted: January 09, 2018 at 08:04 PM (#5603740)
I agree with #6. I'm not sure pushing it to $250 M was ever feasible but the boosts in the new contract were trivial, especially when coupled with a big boost in the penalties for going over. It's pretty much a real salary cap now, at least in that teams will "need" to reset it every few years. Yanks, Dodgers, Cubs, Red Sox and maybe Angels, Phillies and Mets if they ever get their act together will be bumping up against it with regularity.
   9. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: January 09, 2018 at 08:12 PM (#5603742)
It's pretty much a real salary cap now, at least in that teams will "need" to reset it every few years... and Mets if they ever get their act together will be bumping up against it with regularity.

Good one.
   10. ptodd Posted: January 09, 2018 at 08:59 PM (#5603771)
Dodgers and Yankees have not been big players in the FA market since 2013. Them sitting out this year should not be a big issue although getting them back in the game would help players

Its really the other 28 teams most of whom are nowhere near the threshold and sitting on 50 million each. Seems there is no real incentive to winning. Attendance revenue is not as important with all the shared revenue and long term RSN deals, and playoff revenue seems not significant enough to risk millions on salary and then get punished with a low pick should they succeed

Obviously the LT threshold increases are a joke, as are MLB minimum increases. Tony C must be on the MLB payroll or they have pictures.
   11. Zonk, Genius of the Stables Posted: January 10, 2018 at 08:29 AM (#5603861)
The players union failed players on the last contract. The luxury tax should be in effect at a much higher level, more like $250 million, rather than sub $200 million. Then it would be the old 'Yankee tax' except now for NYY and LAD. Instead it is at a level that any team in the top 10 for payroll has to factor in now (as mid-season additions could push them over).


Cosign Walt's cosign...

Though, if the MLBPA actually wanted to best represent its ENTIRE membership - insisting on a some manner of a salary floor would have been better... though, I'm not keen on a hard "true salary" floor - it would annoy the crap out of me if fungible replacement players were getting 2-3 million a pop just to meet a floor. Instead, were I the MLBPA, I had worked it the inverse of the cap tax -- but with teams below the threshold paying a portion to some sort of general revenue sharing fund.... They're a union representing their members only - but if they really wanted to be awesome, they'd have also agreed to divvy up such a 'players tax' among prospective members/apprentices (read: minor leaugers).

No idea what that floor is/should be - and what portion would go to this proposed fund - but does 20 million total sound outrageous? If so - and my guesstimate of total minor leaguers is right - that's a nice 4 to 5 grand bonus for the apprentices, a veritable windfall for the majority of them.
   12. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: January 10, 2018 at 08:34 AM (#5603863)
Am I the only one annoyed at the concept of "ruining the offseason?" The hot stove league is not an entertainment process. Free agents negotiating new contracts are not part of the spectacle designed to entertain you. The "offseason" is not "ruined" because free agent signings lag. Get another hobby for the winter, you schmuck.
   13. Zonk, Genius of the Stables Posted: January 10, 2018 at 08:37 AM (#5603866)
Am I the only one annoyed at the concept of "ruining the offseason?" The hot stove league is not an entertainment process. Free agents negotiating new contracts are not part of the spectacle designed to entertain you. The "offseason" is not "ruined" because free agent signings lag. Get another hobby for the winter, you schmuck.


It's the trade stuff that bothers me more --

This wasn't a stellar FA market by any stretch, so the glacial pace of signings bothers me not in the least... I suppose Longoria going to the Giants was a big deal - but the lack of wheeling and dealing has disappointed me.... especially considering that there seem to be MULTIPLE teams that fancy themselves contenders AND have surpluses/needs that should have made this offseason a real sizzler of a hot stove, trade-wise.
   14. Lassus Posted: January 10, 2018 at 08:40 AM (#5603870)
   15. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: January 10, 2018 at 08:51 AM (#5603876)
I suppose Longoria going to the Giants was a big deal - but the lack of wheeling and dealing has disappointed me.... especially considering that there seem to be MULTIPLE teams that fancy themselves contenders AND have surpluses/needs that should have made this offseason a real sizzler of a hot stove, trade-wise.


Trades are actually pretty hard to make. Teams want things in return for the players that would make moderate contenders real top tier contenders. Those teams don't want to give up those long term assets, etc. Sure, it's interesting to critique and analyze trades after they happen, or free agent signings. To discuss and debate who is getting better, who is a contender, who isn't. But for the most part, there are no truly, horrifically stupid front offices any more, and very few of them are going to just punt three near-term super prospects for one year of a closer. What I take issue is the idea that fans are *owed* some sort of sleek, fast and exciting "hot stove league" at all. It's the off season. Watch football. Watch basketball. Go skiing with your kids. Baseball will be back in a couple of months. (This is the same thing I hate about "mock drafts" and Mel Kiper being a name "fans" actually know from ESPN.)
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 10, 2018 at 08:54 AM (#5603878)
Am I the only one annoyed at the concept of "ruining the offseason?" The hot stove league is not an entertainment process. Free agents negotiating new contracts are not part of the spectacle designed to entertain you. The "offseason" is not "ruined" because free agent signings lag. Get another hobby for the winter, you schmuck.

The whole existence of MLB, and the billions it generates for players, owners, and other employees, is to entertain us. Without fans being entertained, it goes away.

It's ALL about entertainment. The business aspects exist only because of, and to support, the entertainment value.

Hell, they should turn the off-season into a big, fantasy-baseball style, auction, held over a weekend. It would get good ratings, like the NFL draft.
   17. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: January 10, 2018 at 11:31 AM (#5603964)
Hell, they should turn the off-season into a big, fantasy-baseball style, auction, held over a weekend.


No, son. The negotiations of other men's work contracts and agreements should not be turned into a circus for your pea brain to drool over.

It would get good ratings, like the NFL draft.


Ah yes. The NFL Draft. Where young men with exceptional and rare talents worth millions and millions of dollars are told where and who they may play for.
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 10, 2018 at 11:38 AM (#5603972)
The negotiations of other men's work contracts and agreements should not be turned into a circus for your pea brain to drool over.

Then they can go work for an accounting firm. No one forces anyone to play baseball for a living. And the players and their agents do as much to turn it into a circus, with leaks about mystery teams, and outlandish demands, as anyone else.

Complaining about baseball fans deriving entertainment from the hot stove season is as dumb as complaining about movie fans caring what starlets wear on the red carpet, or who they're dating. That's the industry you chose. This is how you make your money.
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 10, 2018 at 11:39 AM (#5603975)
Ah yes. The NFL Draft. Where young men with exceptional and rare talents worth millions and millions of dollars are told where and who they may play for.

"Exceptional and rare" only because a bunch of fans care about silly sports. Absent the wholly artificial and trivial world of professional sports these "young men" would mostly be working for minimum wage.
   20. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: January 10, 2018 at 11:56 AM (#5603991)
"Exceptional and rare" only because a bunch of fans care about silly sports. Absent the wholly artificial and trivial world of professional sports these "young men" would mostly be working for minimum wage.


Gosh. Supply and demand, how does it work. There's no excuse for not having amateur talent signed via a free market like everyone else.
   21. Adam Starblind Posted: January 10, 2018 at 12:03 PM (#5604005)

Gosh. Supply and demand, how does it work. There's no excuse for not having amateur talent signed via a free market like everyone else.


In MLB it's justified by the coaching, training, and exposure to the game they receive in the minor leagues free of charge. I don't know what the NFL's excuse is.
   22. BrianBrianson Posted: January 10, 2018 at 12:06 PM (#5604013)

Gosh. Supply and demand, how does it work. There's no excuse for not having amateur talent signed via a free market like everyone else.


This, like the also dumb kvetching about centralised revenue and luxery taxes, is based on the clearly false idea that teams are separate businesses. MLB is really a single business with a weird ownership structure, and so necessarily acts like it.
   23. Nasty Nate Posted: January 10, 2018 at 12:09 PM (#5604018)
If there are people whose entertainment of baseball hinges (even slightly) on early offseason vs late offseason free agent and trade activity, the powers that be shouldn't bother trying to cater to their whims.
   24. Zonk, Genius of the Stables Posted: January 10, 2018 at 12:16 PM (#5604025)
If there are people whose entertainment of baseball hinges (even slightly) on early offseason vs late offseason free agent and trade activity, the powers that be shouldn't bother trying to cater to their whims.


*raises hand*

OK, "hinges (even slightly)" may be too strong... but I dearly, dearly love the amateur draft, the rule 5 draft, non-tender deadlines, and the winter meetings.

Hey - don't get me wrong... I like the games, too :-)

But I'm very much a huge fan of the talent acquisition instances.

EDIT: Or to put it another way... most kids harbor dreams of playing at the MLB leve. I only mildly had those. I wanted to be a manager. And once early video games and fantasy baseball introduced me to the world drafting, trading, and managing the roster - then I wanted to be the GM
   25. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 10, 2018 at 12:23 PM (#5604034)
If there are people whose entertainment of baseball hinges (even slightly) on early offseason vs late offseason free agent and trade activity, the powers that be shouldn't bother trying to cater to their whims.

There are lots of people who like to talk baseball all year round. That's really good for MLB. Not catering to those people would be really dumb.
   26. Nasty Nate Posted: January 10, 2018 at 12:26 PM (#5604038)
Maybe my post was sloppy ... or you guys missed:
on early offseason vs late offseason

People (like us) who enjoy talking baseball year-round and pay attention to transactions aren't normally less entertained if the flurry of transactions happens in late January instead of late December.

This offseason will end up being as entertaining as others.
   27. Zonk, Genius of the Stables Posted: January 10, 2018 at 12:37 PM (#5604052)
There are lots of people who like to talk baseball all year round. That's really good for MLB. Not catering to those people would be really dumb.


Well, of course - there's the little problem that there's no real way to 'cater to us'... I suppose beyond a multi-week, multi-phase, fantasy style draft extravaganza. You can't exactly force teams to make trades.

I wouldn't mind the June amateur draft shifting to the offseason... though, I suspect it doesn't make a whole lot of sense given the timing of baseball seasons and the implications of moving it (especially at the college level). That said, the amateur draft used to have a January phase for mid-year (college/HS) graduates.

IDK... thinking it over... maybe we COULD move the June ammy to the offseason?

They could also move the INTL signing period to the offseason.

So let me amend it by saying... they could cater to "us".

CATER TO ME MLB!

June ammy in January. INTL FA period starts in February.
   28. Adam Starblind Posted: January 10, 2018 at 12:44 PM (#5604057)

People (like us) who like talking baseball year-round and pay attention to transactions aren't normally less entertained if the flurry of transactions happens in late January instead of late December.


Well, we're less entertained right now. For some of us that's always what matters.
   29. Hysterical & Useless Posted: January 10, 2018 at 04:16 PM (#5604216)
"Forty seconds! I wanted it NOW!"
   30. Nasty Nate Posted: January 10, 2018 at 04:29 PM (#5604223)
Col. Sandurz: NOW. You're looking at now, sir. Everything that happens now is happening now.
Lord Dark Helmet: Go back to then!
Col. Sandurz: What?
Lord Dark Helmet: THEN!
Col. Sandurz: I can't!
Lord Dark Helmet: Why not?
Col. Sandurz: We passed it!
Lord Dark Helmet: When?
Col. Sandurz: Just now!
Lord Dark Helmet: When will then be now?
Col. Sandurz: SOON!

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