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Friday, January 11, 2019

MLB free agency is broken, and desperately needs to be fixed

Another glacial Major League Baseball offseason was briefly interrupted by a glimmer of hope Wednesday. One of the premier free agents had signed. Perhaps this would be the thing that finally opened the floodgates.

That joy faded the instant the contract terms were announced. One of the most coveted players on the free-agent market — a 30-year-old standout at a scarce position — took a one-year deal. It was yet another sign that baseball’s economy is broken, and desperately needs to be fixed.

Yasmani Grandal had plenty of reasons to be optimistic about hitting the free-agent market. Productive catchers rarely reach free agency. They are such rare assets that teams spring on any opportunity to lock them up to long-term extensions before they ever have a chance to leave. While he struggled in the postseason, Grandal did enough during his four seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers to prove he was easily a top-5 catcher in baseball. Given the dearth at the catching position across the league, teams should have been lining up to sign him.

A discussion of the subject of free agency- really curious to see what your collective take on this is.

QLE Posted: January 11, 2019 at 06:09 AM | 87 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: free agency, yasmani grandal

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   1. bfan Posted: January 11, 2019 at 07:30 AM (#5804442)
It is my understanding he took a higher 1 year salary deal instead of a 4 year deal at lower average annual salary. That is a perfectly rational choice of both parties in this relationship, and I do not see any reason to fret or anguish.
   2. The Duke Posted: January 11, 2019 at 07:37 AM (#5804444)
I don’t know how taxes work but I have to assume $18 million in Milwaukee is a lot more money than $18 million in LA. And he will not travel to California as much now. I would think players signing in CA need a 20% higher AAV given the state and local taxes and property values there.
   3. DanG Posted: January 11, 2019 at 08:02 AM (#5804446)
Top catchers 2016-18

Player           WARWAAOPSRfield   PA   Age   BA  OBP  SLG  Tm
Buster Posey     11.9  6.8  118   23.0 1630 29
-31 .298 .374 .429 SFG
J
.TRealmuto    10.5  5.3  116  -13.0 1655 25-27 .286 .338 .454 MIA
Willson Contreras 8.4  4.5  108   16.0 1255 24
-26 .266 .349 .450 CHC
Gary Sanchez      8.2  4.4  121    4.0 1128 23
-25 .252 .333 .516 NYY
Yasmani Grandal   8.1  3.5  113    4.0 1457 27
-29 .239 .332 .467 LAD
Salvador Perez    7.7  2.2   96   26.0 1589 26
-28 .249 .286 .456 KCR
Mike Zunino       7.0  3.5  106   13.0 1032 25
-27 .223 .300 .462 SEA
Yadier Molina     6.8  1.6  103    0.0 1627 33
-35 .282 .330 .434 STL 
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 11, 2019 at 08:50 AM (#5804458)
It is my understanding he took a higher 1 year salary deal instead of a 4 year deal at lower average annual salary. That is a perfectly rational choice of both parties in this relationship, and I do not see any reason to fret or anguish.

$18M vs. $14M really isn't enough to give up $40M guaranteed.

The players are getting screwed. There's at least soft collusion going on.
   5. Jose is an Absurd Kahuna Posted: January 11, 2019 at 09:09 AM (#5804467)
I don't know if it's fair to say free agency is "broken." I think teams are getting a lot smarter about how they value veterans. I think the true problem is that teams are following the process of fantasy leaguers more often and deciding not to try if they aren't expecting to win 90 games. I believe that is idiotic, in the real world there is value having an 80 win team instead of a 65 win team and of course with two Wild Cards now any team that projects as a .500 team can be a playoff team with a little good fortune.

All of which isn't to say players aren't getting screwed. What the MLBPA "leadership" should be absolutely hammering is the increases in ticket prices and the corresponding DECREASES in salary. The majority of fans still see a direct relationship there which doesn't exist and if MLBPA can get fans to understand that pressure can come to bear on teams. I don't know this website but it indicates the Royals* have increased their average ticket about 25% in two years. I'd want to know where that money was going were I a Royal fan.

* just a team not spending money I picked at random.
   6. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: January 11, 2019 at 09:12 AM (#5804471)
I'd like to see a deadline set for FA signings that's pretty early, maybe a couple of weeks after the winter meetings. That would create a finite period where the hot stove dominated the sports media and it would give players and teams some certainty well before ST. I'm not sure if it would result in higher or lower contracts for players - I can see the desperation of the deadline cutting both ways. But it would at least make for better FA theater, like the NBA has.
   7. Adam Starblind Recommends SportSpyder.com Posted: January 11, 2019 at 09:28 AM (#5804483)
It is my understanding he took a higher 1 year salary deal instead of a 4 year deal at lower average annual salary. That is a perfectly rational choice of both parties in this relationship, and I do not see any reason to fret or anguish.


It's not clear to me that this was a conscious choice. The Mets offered him $50-$60MM/4 years. He turned it down for one reason or other -- expecting a competing bid seems likely, though perhaps he doesn't like the Mets. Either way, the Mets moved on and signed Ramos--on December 17. It was almost four more weeks before Grandal signed with the Brewers. That suggests the music simply stopped before he was ready.

The difference in annual salary means that this season he gets about $4 million more in exchange for giving up about $40 million more guaranteed. For a catcher who at 30 is reaching the danger zone of potential collapse, that is not a good tradeoff. So it's either evidence that this wasn't intended or that he miscalculated. Neither possibility precludes the possibility of collusion.
   8. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 11, 2019 at 09:35 AM (#5804490)
For a catcher who at 30 is reaching the danger zone of potential collapse, that is not a good tradeoff.
And yet you expect teams to line up to make the opposite trade off...for a player you yourself accurately describe as reaching the danger zone of potential collapse? And who put up all of 8.1 WAR over the last 3 years?
   9. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: January 11, 2019 at 09:38 AM (#5804491)
For years and years most of us Primates, along with all the prominent sabermetricians, spoke long and loud about how buying free agents at market rate was for all but the wealthiest few teams a waste of resources, resources much better invested in younger players who can give you similar production as that 30-year-old free agent for a fraction of the cost.

Now, in the past few years, almost all of the people running major league front offices have caught on to that fact, and begun to act accordingly. And now we... believe there must be soft collusion going on to screw free agent veterans out of their God-given right to a fat contract?

Isn't it possible that front offices have just come to understand that the free agent veterans aren't worth the money they've grown accustomed to getting? That all that's happened here is that we won the argument we started 30 years ago?
   10. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: January 11, 2019 at 09:54 AM (#5804513)
9 - that can all be true at the same time as the compensation system being broken. All the MLBPA has to do is point out revenue increasing while player salaries are decreasing; if the CBA included some sort of revenue split like the NBAs it'd be less of a problem. The guys now who aren't getting the golden parachute type deals are getting screwed just like the pre-arb guys always have been. So I'm starting to agree with people predicting a pretty major work stoppage next time around.
   11. Nasty Nate Posted: January 11, 2019 at 10:11 AM (#5804528)
The guys now who aren't getting the golden parachute type deals are getting screwed just like the pre-arb guys always have been.
Who are you referring to? I'd guess that someone like Grandal is getting more than similar guys did in the past, with inflation factored in.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 11, 2019 at 10:16 AM (#5804536)
Who are you referring to? I'd guess that someone like Grandal is getting more than similar guys did in the past, with inflation factored in.

CPI inflation or MLB inflation? Salaries have not nearly kept up with revenue growth.
   13. Nasty Nate Posted: January 11, 2019 at 10:24 AM (#5804544)
Salaries have not nearly kept up with revenue growth.
Right, and the relationship between salaries and revenue is important. But the absolute value of the money is also important. So I'm not sure it makes sense to say that Grandal is getting screwed compared to players in the recent past if he is getting better contracts than those players. How much would Ivan Rodriguez's 1/$10m deal be worth in 2019 dollars?
   14. crict Posted: January 11, 2019 at 10:29 AM (#5804552)
9 - As pointed out in 5, more teams tanking and two more wild card spots should increase the marginal benefit of signing free agents. Looks to me that the pendulum as swung back too far.
   15. Bote Man Posted: January 11, 2019 at 10:34 AM (#5804557)
When the media golden goose dies the teams will will no longer be able to pay the high prices demanded by free agents. Fox has formally declared that it will not be bidding on the regional sports networks that Disney is spinning off. So the non-stop rise in team revenue might stop before you know it. Then where will player salaries lie in relation to team revenues?
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 11, 2019 at 10:37 AM (#5804561)
When the media golden goose dies

What makes you think this is going to happen? Baseball ratings are still super strong.
   17. Adam Starblind Recommends SportSpyder.com Posted: January 11, 2019 at 10:46 AM (#5804569)
And yet you expect teams to line up to make the opposite trade off...for a player you yourself accurately describe as reaching the danger zone of potential collapse? And who put up all of 8.1 WAR over the last 3 years?


No, I am saying Grandal expected that.
   18. Ziggy's screen name Posted: January 11, 2019 at 10:50 AM (#5804574)
"Broken" doesn't mean much here. The players don't like it. And, I presume, the owners do. One side will say it's broken, the other will say that it's finally fixed. (Until the Harper contract comes through. I fully expect it to break again.)

And besides, 8 and 9 have it right. Older players have degrading skill sets and command more money. That's a bad combination.
   19. bfan Posted: January 11, 2019 at 10:55 AM (#5804580)
It's not clear to me that this was a conscious choice. The Mets offered him $50-$60MM/4 years. He turned it down for one reason or other -- expecting a competing bid seems likely, though perhaps he doesn't like the Mets. Either way, the Mets moved on and signed Ramos--on December 17. It was almost four more weeks before Grandal signed with the Brewers. That suggests the music simply stopped before he was ready.


If he turned it down, why would that not be a conscious choice? If he thought he would get a better deal later, and circumstances changed as personnel needs were filled, than he may have taken a chance and lost. Again, that doesn't mean a darn thing is broken and needs to be fixed. Teams have needs to fill and players have skills to feed those needs, and the situation can evolve moment by moment, based upon player's health and team's perceived needs.

An example: if the Phillies sign Machado and Harper, the Braves might rationally see a need to pay AJ Pollock his current, public demands, for fear of losing out on a RF they would need to compete in the division. He may cost them more than what he might of cost them, immediately before those (hypothetical) signings. So what?

I think what has happened is that as high-level baseball metrics have become more in the public domain, GMs have cover not to sign high end contracts that will not hold up in value, at the end. The extra years at the back-end of contracts that nearly always are not worth it are being published and GMs are getting beat over the head with them (Albert Pujols, anyone?). When I see articles that say the Diamondbacks have to throw an extra $50 million in to off-load their Zach Greinke contract, it focuses my thoughts on how well that GM has done his job. In many (most?) jobs in America, a $50 million mistake gets you fired.
   20. Adam Starblind Recommends SportSpyder.com Posted: January 11, 2019 at 11:02 AM (#5804585)

If he turned it down, why would that not be a conscious choice? If he thought he would get a better deal later, and circumstances changed as personnel needs were filled, than he may have taken a chance and lost. Again, that doesn't mean a darn thing is broken and needs to be fixed.


I'm saying it was probably not a conscious choice of a 1-year deal over a 4-year deal. Obviously he turned down the Mets consciously. It's not at all obvious that he turned them down because he preferred a higher AAV 1-year deal.
   21. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 11, 2019 at 11:15 AM (#5804595)
The free agent system used to be broken. Everyone knew that for any long term contract, you were going to lose money on the deal, particularly on the backend. The entire world just KNEW that there were years on the end of the contract that were just an utter waste of money.

Every huge free agent was a money loser. Pujols, ARod, Crawford, the list goes on and on. Even the super stars ended up being a huge anchor on their team payroll. Which huge contracts worked out well? Very few.

Look at this article. The big data point it uses is Russell Martin. Toronto had to overpay for him, and the article basically admits he is grossly overpaid at $20M now, but it somehow doesn't matter since the Blue Jays aren't contenders this year.

The free agent system used to be broken. Now it is fixed. Rational has replaced irrational.

   22. Davo cant be eatin thirty hot dogs every day Posted: January 11, 2019 at 11:15 AM (#5804596)
Free agency is fine. The part that’s broken is the abysmal pay the “cost-controlled” players get.
   23. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 11, 2019 at 11:24 AM (#5804605)
The free agent system used to be broken. Now it is fixed. Rational has replaced irrational.

Free agency is fine. The part that’s broken is the abysmal pay the “cost-controlled” players get.

You're both right. The FA system used to be "broken" to compensate for the fact that the reserve clause is "broken".

The grand bargain was the MLBPA allowed young players to be underpaid, and in exchange the owners over-spent on older FAs. Now that the owners have stopped over spending, the situation becomes untenable.
   24. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 11, 2019 at 11:26 AM (#5804607)
The FA system used to be "broken" to compensate for the fact that the reserve clause is "broken".


That is a great way to look at it.
   25. dejarouehg Posted: January 11, 2019 at 11:32 AM (#5804611)
The players have not been able to overcome the catastrophe of Weiner dying and putting Clark to take his current role.

I really don't understand the players whining - except their beefs with their own MLBPA leadership. They have engaged in a big boy game of chicken and now very often lose because of the obvious problems that Stevie Wonder could see. (For saber folks to take credit they uncovered some hidden fact that contracts to older players or overly long contracts were absurd financial commitments is completely narcissistic.) So next CBA they will fight for compensation in the productive years of 23-30 and I'd assume walk out over it.

If you're the Cubs and your genius leadership has made a string of nearly a half-billion dollars in horrific signings, and you are facing a futures that will likely include paying big bucks to Bryant and Baez (boy did they - to Theo's credit- make a great deal on Rizzo), why would you entertain either Machado or Harper?

Sometimes the golden goose dies......or is hanging out with Ted Williams until the next CBA comes around. (Putting my money on the players for that one, especially once they have new leadership in place. Oh Don, would you please leave the NHLPA for a bit and come back to lead us to the promised land?)

(I don't agree that there's absolutely no relationship between ticket prices and player salaries. I do agree that for fans to expect prices to come down with a reduction in team payroll is wishful thinking and the very few times that ticket prices come down are very rare exceptions and not precedents.)
   26. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 11, 2019 at 11:38 AM (#5804616)
MLBPA leadership has been bad for a while. They need to stop focusing on huge contracts for a handful of players and make strides to increase compensation for the 80% of their membership who have little shot at a huge contract.

I think higher salaries lead to higher ticket prices because fans think the players are more important and more worthy of seeing. Higher salaries basically increase ticket demand.


   27. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 11, 2019 at 11:40 AM (#5804620)
The free agent system used to be broken. Everyone knew that for any long term contract, you were going to lose money on the deal, particularly on the backend. The entire world just KNEW that there were years on the end of the contract that were just an utter waste of money.


Which is why the league's push to penalize teams for signing free agent players at fair market rates was so misguided and dishonest. THAT'S at the crux of the "broken" free agent system - the increasingly onerous and punitive measures gleefully endorsed by the Budshoviks and their fellow travelers, always under the guise of reigning in those mean old Yankees who want to pay sweaty jocks more money than the owners think they deserve.
   28. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 11, 2019 at 11:46 AM (#5804624)
The players have not been able to overcome the catastrophe of Weiner dying and putting Clark to take his current role.


That's certainly part of it, but the decades-long PR effort to demonize the Yankees and frame the overhaul of baseball's economic structure in that dishonest light was well underway before Tony Clark bumbled his way into even more unrequited concessions.
   29. Rally Posted: January 11, 2019 at 11:53 AM (#5804630)
Look at this article. The big data point it uses is Russell Martin. Toronto had to overpay for him, and the article basically admits he is grossly overpaid at $20M now


True, but he was also vastly underpaid for the first year of that deal, when he was only paid 7 million.
   30. bobm Posted: January 11, 2019 at 12:04 PM (#5804638)
I think higher salaries lead to higher ticket prices because fans think the players are more important and more worthy of seeing.

There is a diminished importance of ticket sales versus television, internet, and other revenue streams. (See
"Nobody’s Going to Sports in Person Anymore. And No One Seems to Care.")

This trend has greatly affected free agency IMO.

Free agent signings were and are a big part of the PR effort to sign up season ticket holders and lock in ticket revenue. (See "Mets salesperson has no idea why a fan would drop their season ticket plan” for an extreme example.)

When ticket sales are less critical, so is the value to teams of spending to make a free agent splash. Free agency becomes less about PR and more about finding less-risky talent to fill holes at affordable prices.
   31. Davo cant be eatin thirty hot dogs every day Posted: January 11, 2019 at 12:56 PM (#5804669)
The Yankees have filled the whole in their infield by signing....nope, not Manny Machado. They’re going with DJ LaMehieu.

That’s not gonna help the “collusion” cries.
   32. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 11, 2019 at 12:59 PM (#5804674)
The Yankees have filled the whole in their infield by signing....nope, not Manny Machado. They’re going with DJ LaMehieu.

That make no sense at all. And they're giving him 2/24.

So, $25M for Britton and LeMahieu, but you can't swing $30M for Harper or Machado? Screw this team.
   33. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 11, 2019 at 01:05 PM (#5804678)
So, $25M for Britton and LeMahieu, but you can't swing $30M for Harper or Machado? Screw this team.
Come on, Snapper, you have to know that it's not limited to this year. Britton and LeMahieu aren't going to be on the payroll for $30M 8-10 years from now.
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 11, 2019 at 01:06 PM (#5804679)
Come on, Snapper, you have to know that it's not limited to this year. Britton and LeMahieu aren't going to be on the payroll for $30M 8-10 years from now.

Machado will probably still be worth $30M 8-10 years from now. He's worth $45-50M right now.

A 6 WAR 25 y.o. player is cheap as chips at $30M.
   35. JL72 Posted: January 11, 2019 at 01:12 PM (#5804681)
When ticket sales are less critical, so is the value to teams of spending to make a free agent splash. Free agency becomes less about PR and more about finding less-risky talent to fill holes at affordable prices.


Is that true? I don't see why PR would not be an important part of these other revenue streams. Getting viewers to watch the team is an important part of getting TV revenue.
   36. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 11, 2019 at 01:12 PM (#5804685)
Machado will probably still be worth $30M 8-10 years from now. He's worth $45-50M right now.


With the confiscatory Yankee Tax he'd cost $45-50 million right now. Separating out the player's salary from the associated punitive cash-grab by the league office is foolish.
   37. formerly dp Posted: January 11, 2019 at 01:16 PM (#5804688)
Dozier for $9M continues to look like a steal...but he probably didn't want to sign for longer than that, on the assumption that 2019 will be a rebound year for him.
   38. GregD Posted: January 11, 2019 at 01:21 PM (#5804693)
I wonder what the balance of power in the players' association is now; in the past it seemed to lie heavily with the stars, with an interest in making concession to long-term middling players (who really benefited for a while from the system).

But one would think that a significant increase in the salaries for pre-arbitration players would be the most equitable way to solve this (with the expectation those increases would in turn fuel higher arbitration awards.) But the first- and second- year players are the least powerful. As snapper and others have said, the problem is not the salary to particular free agents; the problem is the overall expenditures.

How would one devise a functional system for allocating a certain percentage of revenue for player salaries? My sense is that it's much more complex than in the NBA or NFL because of the relative unimportance of national television deals in baseball, but maybe someone has an idea I don't see.
   39. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 11, 2019 at 01:33 PM (#5804704)
I can't devise a system for a certain percentage of revenue. And I completely don't trust owners to honestly disclose revenue.

They need to negotiate higher minimum salaries and higher arb awards.
   40. . Posted: January 11, 2019 at 01:34 PM (#5804705)
he grand bargain was the MLBPA allowed young players to be underpaid, and in exchange the owners over-spent on older FAs.


All of that was St. Martin's doing, and he did it when he had the owners by the short hairs. To have conceded in the immediate aftermath of Messersmith/McNally that a player couldn't pick his employer for 9-10 years was borderline malpractice.

I've made this argument about Miller all along and it's good to be vindicated. Took awhile, but vindication was inevitable.
   41. JL72 Posted: January 11, 2019 at 01:40 PM (#5804711)
How would one devise a functional system for allocating a certain percentage of revenue for player salaries? My sense is that it's much more complex than in the NBA or NFL because of the relative unimportance of national television deals in baseball, but maybe someone has an idea I don't see.


Hockey might be a place to look as a starting point (for the mechanics as opposed to the end result), as the national TV deals are relatively minor.
   42. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 11, 2019 at 01:50 PM (#5804717)
I can't devise a system for a certain percentage of revenue. And I completely don't trust owners to honestly disclose revenue.

There are audited financial statements and tax returns that the players can be given access too. The owners can lie to the MLBPA, but lying to the IRS is a bit riskier.
   43. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: January 11, 2019 at 01:57 PM (#5804723)
All of that was St. Martin's doing, and he did it when he had the owners by the short hairs. To have conceded in the immediate aftermath of Messersmith/McNally that a player couldn't pick his employer for 9-10 years was borderline malpractice.

That has always struck me as well. Either (1) the reserve clause was safer than many thought despite Messersmith/McNally, and Miller struck the best deal he could while at a temporary position of strength, or (2) he didn't recognize that most players would never play long enough to reap the benefits of free agency. I can't believe he'd be thick enough to go along with (2).
   44. Ginger Nut Posted: January 11, 2019 at 02:17 PM (#5804734)
Every huge free agent was a money loser. Pujols, ARod, Crawford, the list goes on and on. Even the super stars ended up being a huge anchor on their team payroll. Which huge contracts worked out well? Very few.


It's not that hard to think of some really famous, big signings that worked out really well for the teams:

A-Rod's original FA contract--not including the extension--provided good value for both Texas and the Yankees. If the Yankees had let him opt out instead of resigning him, that contract would have been great for the teams.

Barry Bonds' 1993 FA contract with San Francisco worked out amazingly well for the team.

Vlad with the Angels. Adrian Beltre with Texas. Maddux with the Braves. Randy Johnson with Arizona. Clemens was a good signing for both Toronto and NYY.

Okay, you will say, what about more recent examples? I think Robinson's Cano's contract with Seattle (10 years, $240M) looks pretty good for the team so far. Scherzer has pitched well for the Nationals--two CYA in four years is not bad. But if you look at the listings of free agents by year on BB Ref, it seems evident that there have not been that many true star players in their primes hitting free agency in recent years. There's not been a Barry or Vlad out there to sign. So I think with Harper and Machado available this year, we might get some good data about whether the huge FA contracts can still pay off.
   45. bobm Posted: January 11, 2019 at 02:22 PM (#5804735)
I don't see why PR would not be an important part of these other revenue streams. Getting viewers to watch the team is an important part of getting TV revenue.

Season tickets are a large annual purchase, ideally sold prior to the start of the season. Watching a game on TV is not even a purchase in the short run, since most teams are on cable channels sold to subscriber customers as part of a bundle that customers stay subscribed to as a recurring item month-in and month-out, year-in and year-out. (Declining audiences take several years to affect rights fees from carriers.) When cord-cutting and internet viewing really make inroads, this may change, but the teams now do not get paid for TV viewing directly by the fans as a result of annual decisions, unlike season ticket sales.
   46. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 11, 2019 at 02:30 PM (#5804741)
Carlos Beltran signing worked out pretty well for the Mets even though he missed some time. 31 WAR for $119m plus they flipped him for Zach Wheeler at the end.
   47. JL72 Posted: January 11, 2019 at 03:02 PM (#5804754)
(Declining audiences take several years to affect rights fees from carriers.)


But they do have that effect. Good PR can help prevent that. It may be a fuzzier connection, but if signings were about PR to sell tickets, that same PR will help in gaining (or keeping) viewers.
   48. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 11, 2019 at 03:08 PM (#5804759)

But they do have that effect. Good PR can help prevent that. It may be a fuzzier connection, but if signings were about PR to sell tickets, that same PR will help in gaining (or keeping) viewers.

But the signings help drive season ticket purchases before you see the results. As noted above, you have to make a commitment when you purchase season tickets before the season starts. Whereas if the guy ends up sucking TV viewers can just stop watching.
   49. JL72 Posted: January 11, 2019 at 03:20 PM (#5804766)
Whereas if the guy ends up sucking TV viewers can just stop watching.


Sure. But when a guy is signed, people become interested, which leads to more watching (and buy jearseys, etc.).

The idea that signings have some massive effect on ticket sales but no effect on viewership makes no sense.
   50. akrasian Posted: January 11, 2019 at 03:42 PM (#5804774)
The idea that signings have some massive effect on ticket sales but no effect on viewership makes no sense.

Yes, but building the right way, with young players instead of aging players who may not be good for very long might (and presumably does) mean that the team has more long term success, which presumably helps tv ratings. Season ticket sales have a one time boost with a big free agent signing, whether the signing actually helps the team win or not. Smart team building, even if not flashy, has more of an effect on long term success.
   51. bobm Posted: January 11, 2019 at 05:06 PM (#5804806)
Smart team building, even if not flashy, has more of an effect on long term success

Just to be clear, I am not advocating signing expensive free agents as effective PR, or saying it is irrelevant to viewing ratings.

All I am saying is that FA signings drive season ticket sales in the pre-season. Thus, as ticket sales become less significant to revenue, the PR justification for an expensive FA signing becomes substantially less. That factor may be helping to depress the FA market.
   52. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 11, 2019 at 10:39 PM (#5804868)
Which huge contracts worked out well?

Jeter's 10-year/$189M deal worked out pretty well for all concerned.
   53. greenback slays lewks Posted: January 12, 2019 at 12:03 AM (#5804875)
There are audited financial statements and tax returns that the players can be given access too. The owners can lie to the MLBPA, but lying to the IRS is a bit riskier.

Lying to your fellow owners (as in the Steinbrenners lying to limited partners of the Yankees) is riskier than lying to the IRS.
   54. Walt Davis Posted: January 13, 2019 at 10:19 PM (#5805185)
For years and years most of us Primates, along with all the prominent sabermetricians, spoke long and loud about how buying free agents at market rate was for all but the wealthiest few teams a waste of resources, resources much better invested in younger players who can give you similar production as that 30-year-old free agent for a fraction of the cost.

Except this was always a fallacy because there is no way to "invest in younger players." Sure, if you're the Rays, in theory you face a choice between, say, tendering 6 arb-eligible guys who will cost you $25 M or, releasing all of them and signing one $25 M player -- an nobody ever advocated for that or would consider that an option even worth considering.

You only have access to the young players in your own organization and they're under a system of indentured servitude already working to your financial advantage and there's really no additional investment you can possibly make in them. The only players you can buy are FAs and they're (nearly) all old. At least in the old days a team could pretend that they weren't going after big ticket FAs so they could afford the one-time international FA or #1/#2 draft pick bonus -- but even these aren't remotely close to a comparable investment and, in recent years, all those costs are now pretty tightly controlled.

Teams aren't refusing to pay high salaries to vets so they can pay bigger draft bonuses, they're doing it to pocket more cash.

Regardless, advice like "you should spend 5/$125 on Josh Hamilton because you'd be better off spending that money on young players" was always silly because there was and is almost no rational way to spend $125 over 5 years on young players.** Advice like "you shouldn't spend 5/$125 on Josh Hamilton because his age, recent peformance, etc. suggests he won't be worth it" is fine and particuarly useful if followed by "here are two lesser-regarded FAs you could have for that money who would be better..."

** The closest thing really is the decision to sign an early extension with Christian Yelich that buys out a couple of FA years. Even those deals would rarely get to anything close to $125 total, especially over 5 years. And there you're really making a decision based on which FAs you wildly guess might be available when Yelich would reach FA.
   55. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 13, 2019 at 10:41 PM (#5805187)
EDIT: Nevermind.
   56. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 14, 2019 at 10:12 AM (#5805234)

Except this was always a fallacy because there is no way to "invest in younger players." Sure, if you're the Rays, in theory you face a choice between, say, tendering 6 arb-eligible guys who will cost you $25 M or, releasing all of them and signing one $25 M player -- an nobody ever advocated for that or would consider that an option even worth considering.

Or you can trade your good players for younger prospects as soon as they become expensive. For a while certain teams seemed predisposed to take the other side of that trade. The Mets just traded a bunch of prospects for the privilege of paying for Robinson Cano's decline, when they had a decent cost-controlled option at the position already -- the inclusion of Edwin Diaz and cash in the deal makes it on balance a good deal for them but 10 years ago they probably would have done the deal without the cash.

But I don't think the sabermetric argument was really about whether to spend 5/$125 on Josh Hamilton -- it was more about whether to spend 2/$10 on some mediocre veteran when you had perfectly decent cost-controlled options in-house. And I think those mediocre-to-average vets are the ones who are probably hurt most here, not the stars like Hamilton.
   57. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 14, 2019 at 11:17 AM (#5805270)
But I don't think the sabermetric argument was really about whether to spend 5/$125 on Josh Hamilton
It should have been, as it turned out in Hamilton's case. And most others. That's the thing, the majority of huge contracts turn out badly, even for the stars.
   58. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 14, 2019 at 01:09 PM (#5805370)
It should have been, as it turned out in Hamilton's case. And most others. That's the thing, the majority of huge contracts turn out badly, even for the stars.

Is that true? Just looking at Wikipedia's list of the top sports contracts, here are the MLB contracts over $200M:

Stanton - $325/13 - too early to tell
A-Rod Yanks - $275/10 - 23.3 WAR but didn't pay all the salary due to suspension/buyout. Still a negative for the team I think
A-Rod Rangers - $250/10 - 56.4 WAR over 7 years before signing an extension - good deal
Cabrera - $247/8 - not looking good
Cano - $240/10 - 23.6 WAR over the first 5 years - looks pretty good
Pujols - $240/10 - 13.3 WAR over the first 7 years - not good
Votto - $225/10 - 24.5 WAR over the first 5 years - looks pretty good
Price - $217/7 - 9.0 WAR over the first 3 years - not looking great but the 2018 WS worked out all right
Kershaw - $215/7 - 29.1 WAR over the first 5 years - looks good
Fielder - $214/9 - 6.8 WAR in 5 years, retired - not so good
Scherzer - $210/7 - 29.0 WAR over the first 4 years - good deal
Greinke - $206.5/6 - 12.5 WAR over the first 3 years - too early to tell but probably not great

So out of 12 deals, you've got 5 that worked out well, 5 that haven't, and two that are too early to tell. The risk does seem a bit asymmetric -- more deals that massively underperform than massively overperform expectations. But that's just eyeballing it -- plus we can identify the horrible deals already (some would say we could identify them the day they were signed), while it's too early to tell whether some of the good ones will turn out great.

Someone could do a more systematic study here and produce some interesting results.
   59. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 14, 2019 at 01:18 PM (#5805375)
It's not just the player's performance, though - even when players perform well, having a huge salary on the payroll often creates problems for the team in terms of roster flexibility, ability to add new players or extend your young players, etc. Teams are eating huge amounts of money to get out from under the contracts of even decent/good performers like Cano, Stanton, and probably Greinke.
   60. bobm Posted: January 14, 2019 at 02:41 PM (#5805403)
[58]

[...]Here is a list of every ten-year, $100+ million contract signed in Major League Baseball history. This includes both free agent signings and extensions. [...]

Across these eight contracts alone, Major League Baseball teams have spent $1.904 billion, for an average of $237.97 million per deal across 10.38 years. In this dataset, there are no outliers by the statistical definition, so you can’t point to one contract (like Stanton’s or Tulowitzki’s) and argue that the mean is thrown off. The median contract here is a 10-year, $240 million deal, so it’s quite close to the overall average. [...]

Six of the eight contracts have resulted in a surplus thus far, with only Albert Pujols’ and Alex Rodriguez’s No. 2 contracts resulting in net negatives to date. [...]

Even if we assume that Stanton’s deal doesn’t pay off (which seems unlikely), that still leaves us with five of these eight ten-year deals working out in financial terms:

*Alex Rodriguez’s ten-year, $252 million deal
*Robinson Cano’s ten-year, $240 million deal
*Joey Votto’s ten-year, $225 million deal
*Derek Jeter’s ten-year, $189 million deal
*Troy Tulowitzki’s ten-year, $157.75 million deal [...]



Beyond the Box Score: It’s time to stop the stigma around ten-year contracts
   61. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 14, 2019 at 03:00 PM (#5805406)

How are the $/WAR numbers calculated in articles like the above that assess the "surplus value" in FA contracts? Is it based on somehow measuring the actual value an additional win brings to a franchise, or is it just an aggregate of contracts and the WAR those players ended up producing?
   62. Master of the Horse Posted: January 14, 2019 at 03:10 PM (#5805411)
   63. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 14, 2019 at 03:14 PM (#5805415)

It's not just the player's performance, though - even when players perform well, having a huge salary on the payroll often creates problems for the team in terms of roster flexibility, ability to add new players or extend your young players, etc. Teams are eating huge amounts of money to get out from under the contracts of even decent/good performers like Cano, Stanton, and probably Greinke.

Yes but in Cano's case they got significant excess value (24 WAR for $108M) in the first 5 years. They sent $20M to the Mets to complete the deal but they still got 24 WAR for $128M That's how these contracts work if they're structured right -- you get more of the performance up front and you pay more of the compensation later. Greinke provided 12.5 WAR for $102M, which is about $8M/WAR so not a bad deal so far. He will probably decline a bit over the remainder of the contract and not be worth another $104M but even then I would only expect it to be a mild overpay.
   64. . Posted: January 14, 2019 at 03:29 PM (#5805426)
Yes but in Cano's case they got significant excess value (24 WAR for $108M) in the first 5 years.


Sure, but that's looking backward. When you sign a guy, you have to project forward and there's risk in the projection. (In the sense of financial risk -- unpredictability of returns.) So the salary offered would be less than the ex post $/WAR just based on that.

There's also another kind of risk we rarely see discussed. Let's call it "Pythagorean risk." The "give" in how many wins a team can expect even if it has perfect insight into how many runs it will score and how many it will allow is at least as high as the projected WAR of a premium free agent. (*) I can sign a 7 WAR guy that I know will give me 7 WAR, and still wind up flat at the end of the day, simply because I go 78-84 scoring as many runs as I allow, as opposed to 85-77.

(*) The vast majority anyway.
   65. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 14, 2019 at 03:42 PM (#5805429)

Sure, but that's looking backward.

Sure, but that's what we're doing. I was merely explaining that just because a team pays money to get out of the back years of a contract, it does not mean that the contract was a bad one.
   66. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: January 14, 2019 at 05:51 PM (#5805484)
What Explains Labor's Declining Share of Revenue in Major League Baseball?

Answer: Revenue is wholly untethered from on-field performance. There is simply no economic incentive for a baseball club to spend money in free agency. I'd say that's a state of affairs that needs fixing.
   67. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: January 14, 2019 at 06:54 PM (#5805488)
Pre-arbitration players who perform well are worth ridiculous amounts of money; high-performing players, even in their arbitration years, are still a great deal for the teams. And if a player suffers a long-term injury, or simply becomes ineffective, the team is not on the hook beyond that season, if they don't want him anymore.

The value proposition is so high, and the ability to avoid risk so attractive, that most teams are simply not willing to overpay for mid-range veteran talent. It has been well-reported that salaries are declining, even as revenues are increasing - but that is largely because pre-free agency talent is so underpaid relative to the value they collectively deliver.

Part of the solution to the problem described in this story is likely to elevate the pay for pre-FA players.

I still wish baseball had a cap the same way the other major team sports do. It is great, as a football and basketball fan, to not hear about "small market" and "large market" teams in the context of being able to pay players.
   68. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 14, 2019 at 07:25 PM (#5805493)
Baseball has a salary cap. The Yankees and Dodgers have made that clear for two years in a row, and the Cubs are this year.
   69. TDF, trained monkey Posted: January 14, 2019 at 07:35 PM (#5805495)
All the MLBPA has to do is point out revenue increasing while player salaries are decreasing; if the CBA included some sort of revenue split like the NBAs it'd be less of a problem.
A point to remember: MLB spends a higher percentage of revenue on salaries (54.2%) than the NFL (48.5%) or NBA (50%).
I completely don't trust owners to honestly disclose revenue.
I could be wrong, but I believe they do have to "honestly disclose" it to the MLBPA; the players just can't talk about it.
   70. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 14, 2019 at 08:16 PM (#5805506)
The risk does seem a bit asymmetric -- more deals that massively underperform than massively overperform expectations.
This is important - the risk is not "a bit" asymmetric, it's pretty massively asymmetric. When you're talking about that amount of money, there's just not much room for surplus value to begin with. And teams have a limited window to extract any surplus value there is to be had before aging takes its toll. If the player gets hurt, or if the decline happens sooner than expected (which, AFAICT, happens a lot more frequently than declining later than expected), the team is screwed.
   71. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 14, 2019 at 09:40 PM (#5805529)

There’s used to always be the question of whether the teams were accurately reporting revenue or profitability when they had to do so. I think this was a more valid concern when teams were part of large media conglomerates. The idea was that those companies were not pricing the tv rights on an arm’s length basis and were therefore “hiding” some of the profitability of the team in other parts of the company. Now that most teams are simply owned by rich people and even the RSNs have partners who are true third parties, that seems like a lower risk.

   72. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 14, 2019 at 10:02 PM (#5805534)
#70, perhaps, but I think you need to show your work. I mean, I don’t know what the $/win was during A-Rod’s first contract but he probably generated $100-150m of excess value. Even if Scherzer declines to 4 WAR per season for the next three years he’ll still generate $120m of excess value. Both of those are almost as positive as Pujols’ deal will be negative, for example.

   73. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 14, 2019 at 10:24 PM (#5805535)
Dave - see #61. Curious if you know the answer? What are we talking about when we say ‘surplus value?’ Relative to what?
   74. bobm Posted: January 14, 2019 at 11:49 PM (#5805547)
[61] How are the $/WAR numbers calculated in articles like the above that assess the "surplus value" in FA contracts? Is it based on somehow measuring the actual value an additional win brings to a franchise, or is it just an aggregate of contracts and the WAR those players ended up producing?


Fangraphs: Edwards: On $/WAR, Its Linearity, and Efficient Free-Agent Contracts

On the Calculation of $/WAR

The concept of $/WAR, or as it is otherwise known, “The Cost of a Win,” is simple enough to grasp: MLB teams treat players as bundles of WAR to be had in exchange for money. The unit price of 1 WAR is the cost of a win, or $/WAR.

That’s $/WAR in simplest terms, but the strict calculation of $/WAR is actually a little trickier, largely due to disagreements in the way people feel that it should be calculated. For example, Dave Cameron used a simple projection of true-talent WAR of free agents to calculate $/WAR in his series on Win Values, but Matt Swartz (who has written a wealth of articles on the topic of $/WAR that I highly recommend) prefers to use retrospective WAR values to determine the cost of a win. In other words, Cameron’s method for $/WAR measures how much production that teams thought that they were paying for, but Swartz’s looks at how much teams actually paid.

So which method to use? I personally prefer Cameron’s method, largely because I think teams are only paying for production that they assume they will get without 100% certainty.


Fangraphs: Swartz: The Recent History of Free-Agent Pricing

I first began estimating the average cost per WAR on the free-agent market after the 2009 season, but have not done so since my three–part series at the end of the 2013 season, leaving three extra seasons during which the market for free agents has evolved. In the first piece of my residency, I discussed the labor implications of using this framework. Many of my subsequent pieces in this series will look for which types of players are undervalued or overvalued by the free-agent market.

But first this piece will explain how I actually calculate average value — the reference point for whether players are undervalued or overvalued. It is also the appropriate reference point when considering the opportunity cost of any other number of baseball moves. For example, when a team is considering the value of acquiring a young player who will produce a large volume of team-controlled WAR, the reference point for valuing him is the cost of acquiring that amount of WAR on the free-agent market. This is an important concept for team construction.

The fundamental idea behind my approach to the free-agent market is that we need to consider the entire market for all free-agent-eligible players’ WAR rather than looking across a limited amount of players. This avoids any number of selection biases that come across when limiting the players under consideration. Specifically, this includes looking at those players who signed contracts buying out free-agent years in anticipation of reaching free agency and players past their first year of multi-year deals, since both such players signed their deals in the shadow of an expected market price for talent — which is not only a moving target leading up to the offseason, but also throughout the offseason free-agent market itself.

One key difference between the approach I take to Dollars per WAR analysis and that of other analysts is that I eschew individual projections. I only look at actual cost and actual WAR created by free agents collectively. This is because I have found in the past that projections tend to overshoot actual WAR on average. While I suspect that some of this may be corrected as public projection systems have improved over time, it would not account for the fact that players who reach free agency may be more likely to miss their projected WAR as compared with players who sign extensions in advance of free agency. This comes back to the idea of selection bias discussed earlier. Further, players age throughout the course of a multi-year deal, which is controlled for when using all players with six years of service time rather than just the ones who reached free agency in a given year.

Another important difference in my approach of estimating the cost of WAR in free agency is that I incorporate not only the dollar cost but the draft-pick cost, as well. This is especially important because draft-pick compensation has changed twice during the period of time over which I’ve analyzed free agency using this approach, a development that has (predictably) had consequences for player salaries. Any attempt to estimate the growth in the cost of free agents over time must include some consideration of what happens when the draft-pick portion of this cost changes.
   75. bbmck Posted: January 15, 2019 at 07:50 AM (#5805571)
[60]

Giancarlo shows profit for a 4/55 contract signed by one of the best players due to the leverage of team control and the incentive of long term security.
A-Rod's $275mil contract states $275mil paid which is false.
A-Rod's $252mil contract states $252mil paid which is false.
Pujol's contract the Angels didn't expect $87mil in value Age 39-41 as the table implies.
Cano's contract states $120mil paid which is false.
Votto's contract cannot have $125mil remaining as the table implies.
Jeter's contract value is derived from the Yankees guessing that A-Rod wasn't an outlier, the article uses $2.47mil per WAR for 2001 and $4.5mil for 2008, Jeter's health and productivity was a bonus.
Tulo was under contract for 4/38.75 by picking up an option, the contract is $123mil for 6.3 WAR or can use the theoretical $123mil for 2015-20 or $134mil for 2015-21

A-Rod 252, Cano, Votto and Jeter vs Pujols, A-Rod 275 and Tulo it's 4-3 in favor with Giancarlo pending and the asterisk that Jeter and Casey Close guessed wrong and would have made far more money reaching free agency and then signing a short term contract or including an opt-out so they could re-negotiate once his value had essentially doubled. Saying Tulo's ~$20mil per WAR is "working out in financial terms" is truly absurd.
   76. PreservedFish Posted: January 15, 2019 at 08:11 AM (#5805573)
How are the $/WAR numbers calculated in articles like the above that assess the "surplus value" in FA contracts? Is it based on somehow measuring the actual value an additional win brings to a franchise, or is it just an aggregate of contracts and the WAR those players ended up producing?


I can't possibly be the actual value of a win. Free agents have artificially inflated salaries because the youngsters are kept artificially low.
   77. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 15, 2019 at 10:17 AM (#5805610)

I believe it's the average value that teams pay for a win (above replacement value) on the free agent market. So when we say that a contract generated surplus value we mean that if the average cost of a win is $8m, that contract generated more wins (i.e. WAR at a lower price).

I could see an argument that this isn't the right way to look at it because it's only comparing free agent contracts to other free agent contracts, and that spending money in free agency in general is unproductive. But you can't build a winning team with only cost-controlled players, so I don't think it's an unfair way to look at things. But there may also be a broader study about teams spending a disproportionate amount of their payroll on free agents. But again, I don't think you should assume the conclusion.
   78. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 15, 2019 at 10:54 AM (#5805632)
I believe it's the average value that teams pay for a win (above replacement value) on the free agent market. So when we say that a contract generated surplus value we mean that if the average cost of a win is $8m, that contract generated more wins (i.e. WAR at a lower price).
OK, yeah, this is exactly what I was chewing over in my head yesterday. "Some FA contracts work out better than the average FA contract" doesn't exactly tell us much of use. Also thank you bobm for the info in 74 - it looks like Swartz's method is somewhat more helpful in that it calculates across a broader pool of similarly situated players/contracts.

I could see an argument that this isn't the right way to look at it because it's only comparing free agent contracts to other free agent contracts, and that spending money in free agency in general is unproductive.
This. Coincidentally enough, Neil DeMause made this point in an article linked here last night:

Most assessments of player value, then, have simply examined how other, similar players are being paid on the free agent market, and then applied basic long division.
...
More than a decade ago, I crunched some numbers on this, and then returned to it a few years later, this time consulting the work of actual economists who’d done more robust math. And the numbers were eye-opening: Just about every baseball free agent was being paid more than he was actually worth to his team in terms of the added revenue it would see thanks to extra wins. According to one researcher, Graham Tyler—then an undergrad econ student at Brown, and until recently the Rays’ director of player operations thanks in part to his pioneering studies in this area—teams only earn an extra $1.5 million from each additional win, meaning that a truly rational profit-maximizing owner (more on this in a minute) wouldn’t spend more than $6.75 million a year on a Machado-level talent.


I'm not sure it's impossible to win with only cost-controlled players, but I'll agree that it's significantly more difficult. And I'll also agree that owners cutting payroll to the bone and profiting from non-performance-related revenue is not a good thing for the game. But, that being said, talking about "surplus value" in FA contracts is a little disingenuous when all it really means is that "this FA contract ended up being somewhat less disastrous and irrational than the average FA contract, which of course includes Pujols et al in the calculation."


   79. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 15, 2019 at 11:50 AM (#5805668)

I'm not sure it's impossible to win with only cost-controlled players, but I'll agree that it's significantly more difficult. And I'll also agree that owners cutting payroll to the bone and profiting from non-performance-related revenue is not a good thing for the game. But, that being said, talking about "surplus value" in FA contracts is a little disingenuous when all it really means is that "this FA contract ended up being somewhat less disastrous and irrational than the average FA contract, which of course includes Pujols et al in the calculation."

It also includes Max Scherzer and A-Rod, etc.

Anyway, you made a comment about the majority of huge contracts not working out for the team. I assumed that was a comparison versus ordinary free agent contracts. If it was versus not spending on free agents at all (or spending much less on them in aggregate) then I think we're talking about two questions -- (1) is it worth spending in free agency in general (and the related question of what the right $/win is), and (2) is spending on blockbuster free agent contracts less efficient than ordinary free agent contracts.
   80. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 15, 2019 at 11:58 AM (#5805672)
Anyway, you made a comment about the majority of huge contracts not working out for the team. I assumed that was a comparison versus ordinary free agent contracts. If it was versus not spending on free agents at all (or spending much less on them in aggregate)
I guess it was both, right? In the sense that, if you're going spend money irrationally/inefficiently, the more and longer you do so, the worse it gets. So, shorter/smaller FA contracts (more "ordinary") work out better than the huge ones, and you'd also want to spend much less on them in the aggregate. Which is exactly what we're seeing in the actual marketplace.
   81. bobm Posted: January 15, 2019 at 02:52 PM (#5805756)
“I felt like part of my responsibility as a player was to respect the guys that went through this process before I did. Guys like Brian McCann and Russell Martin, Yadier Molina. These are guys who established markets and pay levels for upper-tier catchers like me. I felt like I was doing a disservice if I were to take some of the deals that were being thrown around,” he said, according to Ken Rosenthal.


NY Post: "Yasmani Grandal: Why I turned down Mets’ $60 million offer"
   82. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 15, 2019 at 03:19 PM (#5805770)
It will be interesting to see if Grandal ever makes up that money.
   83. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 15, 2019 at 03:26 PM (#5805775)
Brian McCann will now allow Grandal to stand and watch his home runs for as long as he wants to. Can't underestimate the value of that.
   84. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: January 16, 2019 at 09:19 AM (#5805927)
I think Grandal may have underestimated how much value he lost in October.
   85. Random Transaction Generator Posted: January 16, 2019 at 10:29 AM (#5805939)
Hockey might be a place to look as a starting point (for the mechanics as opposed to the end result), as the national TV deals are relatively minor.


The Rogers Cable package for the NHL rights is $5.2billion over 12 seasons.

TSN has signed regional deals with Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Montreal that are worth somewhere between $26million and $40million per season, per team (depending on which of those teams it is).

NBC's rights are $2billion/10yrs, expiring in 2021.

So, just from the league-wide deals, teams are getting about $20million/team, and then regional deals are added on to that.

The NHL salary cap is currently set at $79.5million.
The NHL salary FLOOR is currently set at $58.8million.

The NHL salary cap keeps growing with NHL revenue, at the rate of about $2-$3million each season.
   86. Davo cant be eatin thirty hot dogs every day Posted: January 16, 2019 at 12:27 PM (#5805994)
@Buster_ESPN
The White Sox offer to Machado is for $175 million, over seven years.

   87. Davo cant be eatin thirty hot dogs every day Posted: January 16, 2019 at 01:01 PM (#5806017)
The Yankees and Red Sox look to be pretty evenly matched for 2019, I would say. But if one of those teams signed Machado or Harper they would absolutely become the heavy favorites to win the AL East. And neither of them is gonna do it.

(You can do the exact same thing with Cubs/Brewers/Cardinals in the NL Central.)

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