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Tuesday, December 04, 2018

MLB to blame for Seattle fire sale

Ah, yes. Exactly what the American League needed: Another team that isn’t going to be competitive.

It’s a shame to see the Mariners hitting the self-destruct button.

Seattle’s fire sale has sent Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano to the Mets, James Paxton to the Yankees, Alex Colome to the White Sox, Mike Zunino to the Rays, and now, Jean Segura to the Phillies.

Talk about a total teardown. In a little over a month, they’ve gone from an 89-win team to one that looks like the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers.

On the one hand, I get why so many teams are trying this approach. On the other, it’s hard not to cynically note that a lot of the people who shout about the glories of this sort of thing follow teams that don’t have to do it, and that, by cutting the number of competitive teams, this helps certain high-spending teams that MLB might want to have win the World Series more often than, say, the Royals.

QLE Posted: December 04, 2018 at 07:48 AM | 121 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: fire sale, mariners, mlb, the process

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   1. Paul d mobile Posted: December 04, 2018 at 09:02 AM (#5793660)
What's the solution thought? Eliminate the draft? Or maybe increase compensation for players in their early years, so the incentive isn't as strong to dump all your vets?
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2018 at 09:20 AM (#5793665)
What's the solution thought? Eliminate the draft? Or maybe increase compensation for players in their early years, so the incentive isn't as strong to dump all your vets?

I would eliminate the draft. Set fixed pools of bonus money to acquire amateurs (like in the Int'l market) and give small markets a larger pool. But don't penalize them for winning.
   3. Greg Pope Posted: December 04, 2018 at 09:34 AM (#5793673)
I would do what my fantasy football league does. The best team that doesn't make the playoffs gets the first pick, then second, etc. So if you're the worst team in my league, you get the 6th pick.

I don't know if I'd do it exactly that way since a full 20 teams in MLB don't make the playoffs. But something along those lines so that even if you're a bad team playing out the string, there's incentive for you to win games.
   4. Paul d mobile Posted: December 04, 2018 at 09:35 AM (#5793675)
That's an interesting idea - I've always thought that eliminating the draft would punish small markets too much, but I like your possible solution.
   5. Paul d mobile Posted: December 04, 2018 at 09:37 AM (#5793676)
Greg, there's also the idea that your draft position is based on how many wins you get after you're eliminated from the playoffs. Which is sort of fun, as it gives you an incentive to start winning once you're eliminated. It's easy to imagine ways that teams could try to manipulate this system, but to my mind, it's hard to imagine teams actually implementing those ideas.
   6. McCoy Posted: December 04, 2018 at 09:40 AM (#5793677)
Perhaps a lottery. Every team that loses 90 or more games gets three balls. Lose between 86 and 89 games get four balls. Lose between 85 and 79 and get 5 balls. after all those teams get slotted the rest get sorted based on record.
   7. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 04, 2018 at 10:03 AM (#5793692)
Meh... I still think people overstate draft implications for 'tear-downs'.

Yeah, Kris Bryant... but Schwarber, Almora, and Happ have been useful 3/4 regulars - not more, and they went 4th (and was considered a reach at 4th), 6th, and 9th.

The Astros landed Correa and Bregman.

Neither of those alone is enough to build a winner.

The Cubs needed the Rizzo trade, Baez to develop (he was drafted via the prior regime, pre-tear down), and hit big on some trades (Arrieta, Hendricks), a FA ace (Lester), plus some INTL development (Contreras).

The Astros had Altuve (INTL), hit on a 9th rounder who predates their tanking (Keuchel), plus a few nice pickups like Marwin Gonzalez, Reddick, Verlander, Cole, etc.

Neither the Cubs nor the Astros are successful if they don't add in plenty of player development success stories outsides of the draft cream, make some good and timely trades, and wise (well...) FA signings.

Make the draft completely random and teams will still tank because if you're old(er) and not very good - the goal is to get younger and better. Teams will still do that by shedding veterans for prospects or even lottery tickets.
   8. McCoy Posted: December 04, 2018 at 10:07 AM (#5793694)
It isn’t just the draft but mlb has little control over the rest. We don’t want mlb to decline a rizzo for marshal trade because the cubs should keep the veteran. So people want mlb to use what they can control, like draft position, to encourage competitiveness.
   9. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 04, 2018 at 10:09 AM (#5793695)
The only thing MLB needs to do - and I don't think they need to do anything - but for the sake of "doing something" is create some mechanism whereby tanking teams aren't rolling in the cash during that period.

Let teams run a 25 mil salaried roster if they want... but anything below whatever (50? 70? Whatever) - the team has to donate to charity or make it into a bonus pool for minor leaguers or pay their cities a nice bonus for the stadiums or whatever.
   10. PreservedFish Posted: December 04, 2018 at 10:09 AM (#5793696)
Meh... I still think people overstate draft implications for 'tear-downs'.


I agree, but Greg Pope's idea - which actually incentives winning for bad teams - would change things.
   11. Buck Coats Posted: December 04, 2018 at 10:12 AM (#5793698)
One answer is to increase the marginal revenue of a win - if you give teams more revenue sharing money for each win they get, the economic incentives of a tear-down change. Bad teams become incentivized to try to win - they'll get more money!
   12. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 04, 2018 at 10:16 AM (#5793701)
One answer is to increase the marginal revenue of a win - if you give teams more revenue sharing money for each win they get, the economic incentives of a tear-down change. Bad teams become incentivized to try to win - they'll get more money!


That's fine, too.

Play with the money however people want, but I see no need for structural changes.... although, one thing that I think I would do is allow draft pick trading (and eliminate the stupid year of service time that teams already flaunt anyway).
   13. PreservedFish Posted: December 04, 2018 at 10:18 AM (#5793702)
although, one thing that I think I would do is allow draft pick trading


I think this would hugely, hugely amplify the boom/bust cycles that teams go through. Terrible idea.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2018 at 10:47 AM (#5793711)
The Astros landed Correa and Bregman.

Neither of those alone is enough to build a winner.


Both of them playing for $1M combined is a great way to start.
   15. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 04, 2018 at 10:57 AM (#5793730)
Both of them playing for $1M combined is a great way to start.


So is paying Mike Trout (22nd overall) 500K.... or Giancarlo Stanton (2nd rounder) Realmuto (3rd rounder) 1m....

Paying Jeff Hoffman and Phil Bickman 1m -- not so much.

   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2018 at 11:08 AM (#5793735)
So is paying Mike Trout (22nd overall) 500K.... or Giancarlo Stanton (2nd rounder) Realmuto (3rd rounder) 1m....


C'mon, you know the likelihood of a 1:1 pick, or a 1:2 pick becoming a star is multiples of that of a #20+ pick. A top 5 pick is something like three times as valuable as a pick in the 20's, and a #1 pick is probably twice as valuable as a #3.
   17. Rally Posted: December 04, 2018 at 11:38 AM (#5793755)
Players missed a good opportunity to get on board with a salary cap. NBA style, one that comes with a salary minimum and is tied to league revenue. Maybe they were thinking about being the guy the Yankees would want in free agency, but oh no, Yankees would not be allowed to bid if they were capped out.

If they had something tied to league revenues, the total compensation for players would be significantly higher than it is now. And probably better even for the top guys, as Basketball has entered the 40 million dollar player range while MLB is (so far) stuck in the low 30s.
   18. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 04, 2018 at 11:48 AM (#5793760)
C'mon, you know the likelihood of a 1:1 pick, or a 1:2 pick becoming a star is multiples of that of a #20+ pick. A top 5 pick is something like three times as valuable as a pick in the 20's, and a #1 pick is probably twice as valuable as a #3.


You should probably show your math....

Just looking at the 2018 top 10 in WAR:

Betts (5th rounder)
Trout (25th overall)
Chapman (25th overall)
Lindor (8th overall)
Rameriz (INTL)
Yelich (23rd overall)
Cain (17th rounder)
Bregman (2nd overall)
Martinez (20th rounder)
Baez (9th overall)

Going back a year to 2017 -- add four more 2nd rounders (Arrenado, Votto, Simmons, Stanton)... a 32nd overall (Judge), an INTL (Altuve), and Correa (1st overall)
   19. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 04, 2018 at 11:49 AM (#5793762)
Players missed a good opportunity to get on board with a salary cap. NBA style, one that comes with a salary minimum and is tied to league revenue. Maybe they were thinking about being the guy the Yankees would want in free agency, but oh no, Yankees would not be allowed to bid if they were capped out.
Wait for it...wait for it...
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2018 at 11:51 AM (#5793764)
You should probably show your math....


https://www.fangraphs.com/tht/the-net-value-of-draft-picks/

Here you go. A top 5 pick is worth ~$55M, a 21-25 ~$16M, 46-50 ~11M.
   21. Rough Carrigan Posted: December 04, 2018 at 11:54 AM (#5793766)
The Mariners were outscored by 30 runs last year. Despite this they won 89 games. Great. But the idea that they were just about to overtake the Astros seems very unrealistic. The Astros outscored opponents by more than the Red Sox last year!
   22. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 04, 2018 at 11:56 AM (#5793768)
Here's a FG analysis on 1st rounders since 2000....

Picks 1-5 certainly have a higher success rate - this is to be expected.

But "multiple times"? Well.... only if you consider a multiplier of 1.25 to 1.5 to be "multiple times" - at least, compared to 6-10 and 11-15.
   23. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 04, 2018 at 11:56 AM (#5793769)
Here you go. A top 5 pick is worth ~$55M, a 21-25 ~$16M, 46-50 ~11M.


I notice you conveniently left out some numbers.
   24. JRVJ Posted: December 04, 2018 at 12:06 PM (#5793776)
This article is deeply flawed, in that it glazes over WHY the Mariners are doing this tear down.

The fact of the matter (as pretty much all primates know), is that the Mariners just weren't that good (their performance just wasn't that of an 89-Win team), and had two teams ahead of them in the NL West plus whomever doesn't win the AL East out of the Red Sox and Yankees.

So the Mariners could have done three things: (a) Spent even more money to try to get into the playoffs, while mortgaging their future even more than they already have (since they have a mediocre farm system);

(b) Stayed the course as they were, as a cromulent, mid-tier team, that may out win its Pythagorean record in a specific year, but doesn't really have much of a chance of getting in the playoffs and has a mediocre farm system;

(c) Tear the darn thing down and try to get some young talent (which they really didn't have), to make a run at the playoffs in a few years time.


Again, its not that the Mariners did a tear down when they were a genuine playoff contender. They went into tear down mode because they didn't get into the playoffs, had little chance of getting into the playoffs and could actually get something NOW for some of their players (which they weren't about to get in a few years time).


At some point, baseball's commentariat has to understand that not every tear down is the same. Yes, they are terrible for the fans, but it's not like the future was looking super bright over in Seattle.
   25. DCA Posted: December 04, 2018 at 12:13 PM (#5793780)
I'm not sure this should count as a fire sale. The Mariners are cutting payroll, and acquiring assets.

But they are adding legit major league talent: Narvaez, Smith, Bruce, Santana, and Swarzak are established vets and all project to be averagish regulars. Crawford was a consensus top 10 prospect and hasn't flopped yet. Sheffield and Swanson are MLB ready and legitimate prospects. They aren't replacing the traded guys with rushed prospects or AAAA fodder.
   26. PreservedFish Posted: December 04, 2018 at 12:19 PM (#5793782)
(b) Stayed the course as they were, as a cromulent, mid-tier team, that may out win its Pythagorean record in a specific year, but doesn't really have much of a chance of getting in the playoffs and has a mediocre farm system;


The A's did this last year, and made the playoffs. So did the Rockies. More importantly, it also describes the Indians of a few years ago (Lindor was their only big prospect), and the Brewers of the past decade. Then you've got the scorched earth rebuilders - Chicago, Houston, Atlanta - and the huge payroll teams, Boston, NYY, LAD. There's more than one way of making the playoffs.
   27. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: December 04, 2018 at 12:21 PM (#5793784)
Again, its not that the Mariners did a tear down when they were a genuine playoff contender. They went into tear down mode because they didn't get into the playoffs, had little chance of getting into the playoffs and could actually get something NOW for some of their players (which they weren't about to get in a few years time).
Yep. The first half of the year masked the team's flaws, primarily a lack of pitching depth. It was pretty obvious that the starters would run out of steam by mid-August, and sure enough, they did, with injuries and a general lack of effectiveness.

The Astros are going to win 90+ for the next two or three years at least, and the M's weren't. So it was hope and pray for a wild card game, probably not at home, or do this. Might as well do this.
   28. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2018 at 12:27 PM (#5793786)
Here's a FG analysis on 1st rounders since 2000....

Picks 1-5 certainly have a higher success rate - this is to be expected.

But "multiple times"? Well.... only if you consider a multiplier of 1.25 to 1.5 to be "multiple times" - at least, compared to 6-10 and 11-15.


From your own source #1-5 picks have twice the WAR of #21-25, almost 3 times that of 25-30.

And #1-2 are much higher than #3-5.

This shows #1 picks average about 20 WAR vs. 14 for #2, and 6.2 for #10.

http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2009/06/draft_picks_and.php

The regression formula they come up with is 19.8 x (pick number)^-0.5. So, #5 is worth ~9 WAR, less than half #1.

   29. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2018 at 12:30 PM (#5793787)
The A's did this last year, and made the playoffs. So did the Rockies. More importantly, it also describes the Indians of a few years ago (Lindor was their only big prospect), and the Brewers of the past decade. Then you've got the scorched earth rebuilders - Chicago, Houston, Atlanta - and the huge payroll teams, Boston, NYY, LAD. There's more than one way of making the playoffs.

Yup. You don't have to tank in order to improve your drafting and development. Seattle's issue is that they can't develop talent at all. Fixing that does not require trading off all your good players.

The Astros are going to win 90+ for the next two or three years at least, and the M's weren't. So it was hope and pray for a wild card game, probably not at home, or do this. Might as well do this.

You don't know that.
   30. Nasty Nate Posted: December 04, 2018 at 12:34 PM (#5793791)
You don't know that.
Exactly. I'm sure people said the Nationals were locks for a certain amount of wins last offseason.
   31. JRVJ Posted: December 04, 2018 at 12:43 PM (#5793794)
29,

The Mariners had a much worse farm system than any of the other teams you cite. The option wasn't to have the big league club stay in contention until reinforcements could come up from the minors. It's that there weren't reinforcements coming.


Admittedly, Seattle's future would have been very different if they'd managed to sign Ohtani last off-season, but regrettably for the Mariners, Othani chose Anaheim.
   32. Khrushin it bro Posted: December 04, 2018 at 01:01 PM (#5793796)
Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano to the Mets, James Paxton to the Yankees, Alex Colome to the White Sox, Mike Zunino to the Rays, and now, Jean Segura


I see 2 quality relief pitchers (hard to trust year to year let alone 2 or 3 years out), an older HOF caliber 2B on a big contract (coming off a 80 game PED suspension), a talented yet injury prone starter and a league averagish catcher. Jean Segura is the only real building block and he returned his own replacement in a younger cheaper version.

The talent returned can be easily argued against but it's not like they are trading guys entering their prime. Sheffield and Crawford could easily provide the most future value but have higher risk and likely won't this year. The money saved on the whole deal can be used to bring in free agents without sacrificing prospects. I don't think they are doing this solely for a higher draft pick, that's just a bonus.
   33. PreservedFish Posted: December 04, 2018 at 01:05 PM (#5793797)
Seattle might've had the worst farm system in the game. Not sure I'd realized that.
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2018 at 01:06 PM (#5793798)
The Mariners had a much worse farm system than any of the other teams you cite. The option wasn't to have the big league club stay in contention until reinforcements could come up from the minors. It's that there weren't reinforcements coming.

And if they don't fix that problem, these trades will achieve nothing.

They could have just as easily tried to address the minor league issue while still trying to compete.
   35. JJ1986 Posted: December 04, 2018 at 01:06 PM (#5793800)
DiPoto has destroyed their farm system trying to win immediately. I don't think I'd want him to be the guy rebuilding it.
   36. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2018 at 01:09 PM (#5793801)
DiPoto has destroyed their farm system trying to win immediately. I don't think I'd want him to be the guy rebuilding it.

I agree. He's not doing too great in these trades either.
   37. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 04, 2018 at 01:12 PM (#5793802)
From your own source #1-5 picks have twice the WAR of #21-25, almost 3 times that of 25-30.


Which is pretty meaningless in terms of "tanking".... I mean - if your whole problem is "tanking", it's complete nonsense to compare the bottom 5 team to the top 5 teams. I mean, FFS, if it were purely a 'choice' to either finish as one of the 5 worst or 5 best teams - nobody would tank because everyone would just 'choose' to be a top 5 team.

It's a far better comparison to look at 1-5 vs 6-10 or 6-15 or 6-19.... because almost any team considering tanking is probably a pretty damn mediocre team, likely to be -- at best -- .500... probably a shade under. Meaning the "not good, but not 'tanking'" team is otherwise likely to be picking somewhere in the teens if they get lucky. Somewhere in the bottom of the top 10 if they're not.
   38. Greg Pope Posted: December 04, 2018 at 01:13 PM (#5793803)
Meh... I still think people overstate draft implications for 'tear-downs'.

I think you're right, but as of right now, dumping all veterans for lottery tickets does have two benefits. Get the lottery tickets and get a high draft position. We can at least put those two things at odds.

You want to trade 4 mediocre veterans for 8 players that each have a 1 in 10 chance of being an all star? Fine, but you get the 18th overall pick in the draft. You think that getting a top 5 pick is really important? Fine, sign some useful players and hold onto them.
   39. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2018 at 01:17 PM (#5793806)
It's a far better comparison to look at 1-5 vs 6-10 or 6-15 or 6-19.... because almost any team considering tanking is probably a pretty damn mediocre team, likely to be -- at best -- .500... probably a shade under.

I did. See [28]. #1 is almost 50% more valuable than #2. More than twice as valuable as #5, and three times as valuable as #10.

I think you're right, but as of right now, dumping all veterans for lottery tickets does have two benefits. Get the lottery tickets and get a high draft position. We can at least put those two things at odds.

You want to trade 4 mediocre veterans for 8 players that each have a 1 in 10 chance of being an all star? Fine, but you get the 18th overall pick in the draft. You think that getting a top 5 pick is really important? Fine, sign some useful players and hold onto them.


Concur.
   40. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 04, 2018 at 01:19 PM (#5793807)
I think you're right, but as of right now, dumping all veterans for lottery tickets does have two benefits. Get the lottery tickets and get a high draft position. We can at least put those two things at odds.

You want to trade 4 mediocre veterans for 8 players that each have a 1 in 10 chance of being an all star? Fine, but you get the 18th overall pick in the draft. You think that getting a top 5 pick is really important? Fine, sign some useful players and hold onto them.


I'm not at all big on the whole "poor small markets" or "competitive balance is a problem" -- but I think such a setup WOULD create exactly such a problem. There are about half a dozen or so teams who could certainly buy their way to 75-80 wins every year, probably with ease.
   41. JRVJ Posted: December 04, 2018 at 01:19 PM (#5793809)
34,

How quickly can you fix a farm system?

YMMV, but I don't think you can achieve that in less than 4 years time when you have so little to work with to begin with (and it's not like the Mariners are going to be picking 1:1 or 1:2 in the 2019 draft), so let's say that the Mariners would have a decent farm system in 2023.

The question then is whether they should have kept running out a mid-tier, highish budget team with a low chance of actually getting to the playoffs. In fact, MOST OF THE TIME I prefer teams to retool on the fly, but I really don't see it with the Mariners (phrased differently, they already got a bunch of good rolls this year, and they only got to 89 wins).



   42. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2018 at 01:23 PM (#5793811)
I'm not at all big on the whole "poor small markets" or "competitive balance is a problem" -- but I think such a setup WOULD create exactly such a problem. There are about half a dozen or so teams who could certainly buy their way to 75-80 wins every year, probably with ease.

Give the small markets extra resources (draft budget, lottery balls, whatever) that are based on them being small market, not on them being bad.

Huge market teams have benefit from tanking seasons to get top picks too.
   43. bbmck Posted: December 04, 2018 at 01:23 PM (#5793812)
2011 Red Sox Draft, signing bonus in millions

1-19: Matt Barnes 4yr, 1.5
1-26: Blake Swihart HS, 2.5
1-36: Henry Owens HS, 1.5
1-40: Jackie Bradley Jr 4yr, 1.1
2-81: Williams Jerez HS, 0.44
3-111: Jordan Weems HS, 0.05
4-142: Noe Ramirez 4yr, 0.63
5-172: Mookie Betts HS, 0.7
6-202: Miguel Pena JC, 0.09
7-232: Cody Kukuk HS, 0.8
8-262: Senquez Golson HS, did not sign
9-292: Travis Shaw 4yr, 0.11
10-322: Cody Koback 4yr, 0.09

12 lottery tickets for $9.5mil and three of them hit. The reward for the Red Sox spending money on Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre is four 1st round picks, spending money on Carl Crawford costs them one 1st round pick. The same draft the Mariners spend $6.35mil on the signing bonus for 1-2 Danny Hultzen the reward for having the 2nd worst record in 2010 and they pick 5-153 Tyler Marlette and give him a $650k signing bonus and like every other team picked a player who doesn't currently have 3+ career WAR in the 5th round of the 2011 draft.

If you want the draft to equalize things you need to give the worst teams a bunch of lottery tickets, beyond better scouting/luck by spending money the Red Sox have a better set of draft picks, a high draft pick is somewhere around a coin flip to get an impact player most years. Looking backwards you can claim that some years a high pick is really valuable and BJ Surhoff, Will Clark, Bobby Witt, Barry Larkin and Barry Bonds aren't can't miss prospects and the White Sox were crazy to draft Kurt Brown 5th but especially with High School players the benefit of the draft would revolve around something like.

2nd, 5th, 8th round - Teams 21-30 pick twice, Teams 1-10 don't pick
3rd, 6th, 9th round - Teams 26-30 pick twice, Teams 11-15 don't pick
4th, 7th, 10th round - Teams 21-25 pick twice, Teams 16-20 don't pick
   44. Baldrick Posted: December 04, 2018 at 01:26 PM (#5793815)
Yeah, Kris Bryant... but Schwarber, Almora, and Happ have been useful 3/4 regulars - not more, and they went 4th (and was considered a reach at 4th), 6th, and 9th.

The Astros landed Correa and Bregman.

Neither of those alone is enough to build a winner.

No one thinks that tanking will produce the single surefire draft picks that will guarantee a pennant. But 'only' getting one (or two) perennial MVP candidates sure seems like a pretty big haul. As a Mariners fan, I would be THRILLED to get a guy like that.
   45. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 04, 2018 at 01:29 PM (#5793817)
This is all just amounting to a lot of solutioning in search of a problem.

Ultimately, I'm fine with financial penalties (in the form of reduced revenue sharing) or salary floors... but I just do not see anything necessary on the other fronts.

I certainly wouldn't start with the draft IAC.
   46. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: December 04, 2018 at 01:29 PM (#5793818)
And it's not just that the M's farm system was bad; it was #30 in the league. The cupboard wasn't just bare, there was no cupboard. One local "insider" was quoted as saying that the #29 team was closer to #1 than #30, which strikes me as a tad hyperbolic, but not much.

It's true, though, that Dipoto is the guy that drafted the last couple years, and is at least partly to blame. But they did *try* to win by paying Cano and Felix half a billion dollars, and shoring up everything around them, and it didn't work out. I'd much rather let a group of young guys experience some pain together for a season and make a run at 2020 or 2021. 2019 will suck, though...
   47. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 04, 2018 at 01:31 PM (#5793819)
No one thinks that tanking will produce the single surefire draft picks that will guarantee a pennant. But 'only' getting one (or two) perennial MVP candidates sure seems like a pretty big haul. As a Mariners fan, I would be THRILLED to get a guy like that.


Should have passed on Dustin Ackley and taken Mike Trout #2 overall.... though, I suppose you could have been the Padres and taken Donavan Tate #3 instead and been even worse off.
   48. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2018 at 01:44 PM (#5793823)
If you want the draft to equalize things you need to give the worst teams a bunch of lottery tickets,

We don't want to equalize based on "worst", we should equalize somewhat based on market size.

If the Yankees or Red Sox or Dodgers finish last, they shouldn't be rewarded for their futility with the best draft pick. It's laughable.

Make the first 10 picks a lottery of the non playoff teams. Give substantial extra ping pong balls for small markets. The remaining 10 draft 11-20 in order of best record.
   49. bfan Posted: December 04, 2018 at 01:49 PM (#5793827)
the draft is a straw man here; Seattle is (if they are smart) trading wins in the next couple of years when they will not matter for wins when they will, when their younger talent coalesces-why is that such a problem?

Evan Gattis would have been more helpful to the Braves than Folty the first 2 years after that trade, but those Gattis wins would have taken the Braves from 70 to 73 wins. Folty was more important last year, when the talent coalesced, and will be more valuable going forward.

Although the talent judgment didn't work, the Newcomb-Simmons trade worked the same way. Newcomb is coming into the prime of his career, Simmons is on the back-end of his (or middle to back-end).

I am sure the diamondbacks thought Shelby Miller 2016 would be better than Ender + Dansby in 2016, but by 2018, Ender + Dansby would be better than Miller. (Arizona misjudged the talent in that one).
   50. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2018 at 01:51 PM (#5793828)
the draft is a straw man here; Seattle is (if they are smart) trading wins in the next couple of years when they will not matter for wins when they will, when their younger talent coalesces-why is that such a problem?

They shouldn't be rewarded twice for those trade with better draft picks. Why should a large market Seattle team get a better pick than Cleveland or Pittsburgh or Milwaukee when those teams are competing with much fewer resources? Seattle is choosing to be bad. That should not be rewarded.
   51. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 04, 2018 at 01:53 PM (#5793832)
Make the first 10 picks a lottery of the non playoff teams. Give substantial extra ping pong balls for small markets. The remaining 10 draft 11-20 in order of best record.


I thought you wanted to stop tanking.

This isn't going to stop tanking... if anything, it will probably be an inducement of peripherally mediocre small market team TO tank.
   52. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 04, 2018 at 01:59 PM (#5793834)
They shouldn't be rewarded twice for those trade with better draft picks. Why should a large market Seattle team get a better pick than Cleveland or Pittsburgh or Milwaukee when those teams are competing with much fewer resources? Seattle is choosing to be bad. That should not be rewarded.


This would be the same Cleveland who is rumored to be shopping almost everyone just traded their modestly priced starting catcher for a prospect? And the same Pittsburgh who traded their ace in the offseason -- before hitting a hot streak before the deadline and trading for the Rays' ace... those same Rays who then went on a hot streak of their own and ultimately, made some noise in the WC race late after THEY traded their (nominal, pre-2018 at least) ace while the Pirates fell back to .500?

You might as well just wander about all 30 MLB major league teams with a billy club and randomly smack any non-Yankees/Cubs/Dodgers/Red Sox GM in the balls as incentive.
   53. Dr. Vaux Posted: December 04, 2018 at 02:01 PM (#5793837)
Why should small markets get an adantage either? If it should be even, it should be even--a lottery where every team has the same odds. Smaller payroll teams getting more of the top prospects disadvantages larger payroll teams by forcing them to spend on free agency whether it's a good idea or not. And it's almost never a good idea, so small payroll teams don't really have as much of a disadvantage as the media narrative pushes. To be sure, it's a disadvantage, but does it really warrant overhauling the system and causing the high payroll teams to decide to tank more often (which would almost surely be the unintended consequence of ensuring that they're always carrying even larger amounts of dead money)? (That is, fewer prospects leads to more free-agent signings which leads to more dead money which leads to more tanking.)

Abolishing the draft and replacing it with bonus pools for all amateur signings seems like the way to go. Players would have freedom of where to sign, and nobody would be able to just hoard everybody. It would possibly even encourage more diversity of playing styles, because organizations might need to become specialists in certain areas of instruction in order to attract prospects; once New York and Los Angeles have spent their whole pools, Cleveland has to try to be more attractive to sign with tham Milwaukee, and vice versa.
   54. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 04, 2018 at 02:13 PM (#5793844)
Abolishing the draft and replacing it with bonus pools for all amateur signings seems like the way to go. Players would have freedom of where to sign, and nobody would be able to just hoard everybody. It would possibly even encourage more diversity of playing styles, because organizations might need to become specialists in certain areas of instruction in order to attract prospects; once New York and Los Angeles have spent their whole pools, Cleveland has to try to be more attractive to sign with tham Milwaukee, and vice versa.


Ugh no.

You just ensured that NY/LA/CHI get what amounts to the 1st pick every year.

They blow their pools on the top 3-5 players, then take a bunch of 10K fliers on a bunch of college players.... and their agents would be morons not to encourage them to do so.
   55. BillWallace Posted: December 04, 2018 at 02:31 PM (#5793855)
This article is deeply flawed


JRVJ covered this already, but I want to echo it.

In the 'teardown' vs 'compete' argument, I've usually been in favor of compete . I think IN GENERAL if a team projects to 78+ wins they should be looking to fill holes and do the best they can, maybe things break right for them this year (what was the Brewers preseason projection? As? Braves? Rockies?). I've said several times I think the Giants would be crazy to teardown this offseason (and they aren't). I also think it's crazy to justify a rebuild because of some supposed other juggernaut team like the Astros... baseball just doesn't work that way.

But you have to look at each situation. The Mariners looked like a 75 win team even before the teardown, and headed in the wrong direction and with a bad farm system. In this case they were right to begin the process now.
   56. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: December 04, 2018 at 02:37 PM (#5793860)
Seattle might've had the worst farm system in the game. Not sure I'd realized that.

Are you sure they weren't 6th worst?
   57. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 04, 2018 at 02:52 PM (#5793871)
In the 'teardown' vs 'compete' argument, I've usually been in favor of compete . I think IN GENERAL if a team projects to 78+ wins they should be looking to fill holes and do the best they can, maybe things break right for them this year (what was the Brewers preseason projection? As? Braves? Rockies?). I've said several times I think the Giants would be crazy to teardown this offseason (and they aren't). I also think it's crazy to justify a rebuild because of some supposed other juggernaut team like the Astros... baseball just doesn't work that way.


I get this... but I suppose the lifetime of Cub fandom to this point makes me look in the opposite direction.

I.e., I grew up with the '84 Cubs - but they were a pretty veteran team (at least, they got a lot of key contributions from guys who were pretty obviously doing their swan songs) who patched some holes with trades. Then - they gave Sutcliffe the first 2 million dollar SP contract, kept everyone else (granted, this was during the collusion era), and the team pretty much fell apart. Gord Goldsberry did actually do some nice work building the farm system during that period, though - which led to the surprise '89 team (with a couple more nice trades/finds... i.e., Bielecki and a few others)... but also some single season for the future trades (i.e., Palmeiro). Then the 90s happened, which was basically a couple fun Sosa seasons and that was it.... followed by what LOOKED like the promised land in the aughts - but that didn't work out.... Followed by the 07-08 iterations, who were probably good enough to win it all, but fell short and then got old, expensive, and bad real quick (plus some more win now trades).

In short, my entire pre-Thed lifetime of Cub fandom felt like the Cubs actually did exactly this: Had a mediocre team - occasionally a bit better - relied on a lot of guys replicating career years/reaching new sustained levels (who obviously didn't), spent prospects like mad to patch holes, did spend some money.... and only made the LCS once (well, not counting '84).

Finally winning one certainly covers a lot of sins - but even if 2016 hadn't happened? They still went to three straight NLCSs.

More than even winning it all, though - I just truly liked the '16 team... It felt, IDK, more real or better knowing that iteration was made up of so many guys I remember the Cubs drafting or following in the minors following trades. Less... mercenary. Had they not gotten PED'ed by Manny in 2008 - I imagine I'd have fonder memories of that iteration - but Ted Lilly... Jason Marquis... Reed Johnson... Mark DeRosa... I just never felt the same attachment I do to KB, Rizz, Willy, the Professor, Javy, and the like. It just felt more... earned, I guess.
   58. BrianBrianson Posted: December 04, 2018 at 02:55 PM (#5793875)
Meh... I still think people overstate draft implications for 'tear-downs'.


Yes, you'd have to be a moron who knows nothing about baseball to think that it matters at all. #1 picks are helpful, but they add +3 wins/year to your team, 2-3 years from now, vs. finishing 1st overall. Versus. finishing with 75 wins, it's more like +1.5 wins/year for 6 years in ~3 years. It's not nothing, but it's not a foundation of a dynasty or anything. I get why people who like basketball (especially, but Hockey/Football too) think like this. Really, teams tear down because they're too old and expensive to be competitive, so it's the smart baseball decision.

If you wanted to eliminate tear downs - try to make ~half the league be aiming for 75 wins every year on patched together crumbling teams with no hope of ever seeing a playoffs, rather than ever trying to win their division, the World Series, etc., you'd need to actually punish losers - kill them, really, so people stop complaining. Either hold down the struggling franchises so they break, or use European soccer style relegation. But, of course, equilibrium MLB has 5-6 teams in NY, 3-4 in LA, and so on, so it's in everyone's interests to avoid it. Which is why you get a handful of angry fans*, but the teams and the leagues don't care, because it works best for everyone. Heck, teardowns even give sports columnists cheap dumb columns. Everybody wins!

*fans is a strong word, given they obviously know nothing about baseball.
   59. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2018 at 03:22 PM (#5793887)
I thought you wanted to stop tanking.

This isn't going to stop tanking... if anything, it will probably be an inducement of peripherally mediocre small market team TO tank.


No. Under my system any given team gets the same number of lottery balls whether they finish dead last in MLB, or 1 game out of the WC. There is zero chance losing more games improves your draft odd.

If the worst team doesn't win a lottery slot, they draft #20.
   60. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2018 at 03:25 PM (#5793888)
Yes, you'd have to be a moron who knows nothing about baseball to think that it matters at all. #1 picks are helpful, but they add +3 wins/year to your team,

Funny. Carlos Correa has added 18 WAR over 4 years, starting 3 years after he was drafted. Bregman added 13 WAR in 2.5 seasons starting 1.5 years after he was drafted.

The World Champion 2017 Astros got 10.4 WAR out of those two picks. And you're the one claiming people are "morons who know nothing about baseball?"
   61. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 04, 2018 at 03:33 PM (#5793892)
The World Champion 2017 Astros got 10.4 WAR out of those two picks. And you're the one claiming people are "morons who know nothing about baseball?"


And they won their division by 21 games.

...but - let's give them the 11th pick (Addison Russell) instead of the first in 2012 and the 9th pick (Ian Happ) in 2015.
   62. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2018 at 03:39 PM (#5793894)
And they won their division by 21 games.

And benched Correa and Bregman for the playoffs?
   63. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 04, 2018 at 03:44 PM (#5793897)
And benched Correa and Bregman for the playoffs?


OK, and replace them with who?

Notafirsty McMidfirstround and Wasntsecond de Tenthoveralle?
   64. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2018 at 03:54 PM (#5793904)
OK, and replace them with who?

Notafirsty McMidfirstround and Wasntsecond de Tenthoveralle?


I'm just pointing out the absurdity of you saying Correa and Bregman didn't contribute to the World Series.
   65. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 04, 2018 at 03:57 PM (#5793906)
I'm just pointing out the absurdity of you saying Correa and Bregman didn't contribute to the World Series.


No, see... you implied that. I said they won their division by 21 games. George Springer contributed, too - winning the WS MVP and all.... he was an 11th overall pick.
   66. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 04, 2018 at 04:09 PM (#5793911)
No, see... you implied that.
Actually...he inferred it.

Sorry, but you took the risk by using the italics.
   67. Walt Davis Posted: December 04, 2018 at 04:18 PM (#5793919)
How quickly can you fix a farm system?

Define "farm system." The Cubs farm system was highly productive primarily because they used their high first-round picks on near-ready players -- Bryant, Schwarber, Happ were all in the majors within 1.5 years, in Bryant's case .5 years later than he should have been -- and traded for Russell. But they also finished off the development of Hendricks (into something much better than expected) and developed Baez and Almora in a more "farm system-y" way.

The Astros already had Altuve, Springer and Keuchel either in or ready for the majors when the new regime came in. Bregman was in the majors within a year of drafting; Correa debuted at 20 despite missing half his age-19 season. Hou also fanned on Appel and Aiken. But they also have top prospects in Tucker (#5 overall) and Whitley who are being developed at a more normal pace.

As to the '85 Cubs and its aftermath ... the Cubs had a long dormant farm system, before Green got there, after he left. They had nothing parituclar coming in 84. The money was spent because most of those guys were now FAs ... not spending the money wouldn't have improved the farm system and they weren't players the Cubs could trade for talent. Possibly the could have sold high on a ocuple of vet players but that's about it.

Meanwhile, the 85 Cubs started the season started the season 35-19. There's almost always some fluke in a record that good but not too much this particular time (look 2-3 games over pythag which is stil 600). Then everybody got hurt -- some just for a few days, some longer, the entire rotation was on the DL at the sme time at one point -- they lost 13 in a row (still over 500) and everything spiraled from there.

The rotation missed a lot but Eck put up a 129 ERA+ in 25 starts; Trout a 117 in 24; Sut a 125 in 20 and Sanderson a 125 in 19. Hard to argue with the level of performance.

And I'm not sure what "pro-tanking" message we're supposed to draw from the post-84 Cubs. The Cubs had wasted two #7 and one #4 overall picks in the mid-70s. In 81 they had the #2 overall in Joe Carter -- which was the big decision of 1984, first acquiring Matthews in late spring, putting Carter back in the minors; then trading him for Sutcliffe. In 82 the #1 overall in Dunston who didn't exactly flop but didn't pay off. They had the #6 overall in 1983 (Jackie Davidson) and the #3 overall in 1984 (Drew Hall). The 1980-83 Cubs did tank, they got a #1, #2, #3 and #6 picks as a result and got pretty much nothing out of it.

Thanks to the 85 collapse and its aftermath, they got 4 more top-10 picks at 4, 8, 9 and 9. So the 1980s Cubs had 8 top 10 picks including a 1, 2, 3 and 4 ... and those picks produced a total of 39 WAR -- half of that Joe Carter for other teams. The prized 1st round pick in those years was Palmeiro at #22. Note, they should have gotten more for Palmeiro but it was a choice between him and Grace at 1B so one of them was going to go.

Whatever that is, it's not a pro-tanking tale since, as noted, the 90s Cubs were pretty lackluster. at best, you can lay blame with a terrible FO; at worst, it shows the vagaries of relying on developing prospects.

Possibly if the Cubs had held onto Carter, done a better job with Dunston, made a better trade of Palmeiro and ... it's still hard to see how that makes a big enough difference for the 85-88 Cubs to get them to the playoffs ... and then we wouldn't have had those top 10 picks to "waste" in the late 80s and the 1990s Cubs look the same.
   68. Walt Davis Posted: December 04, 2018 at 04:33 PM (#5793925)
In isolation, any single rebuild usually looks sensible and is not an issue. It is clearly an issue when 5-6 teams are doing it at once -- possibly it's just an aberration not requiring a solution but you certainly have to look at it and make sure. The AL Central now has 4 pretty crappy teams; the AL West has two; the AL East has at least 1 (I'm not sure about Tor). Now somebody has to win games so 1-2 of those 7 teams will end up with a decent record but they are 7 bad teams. The White Sox may be on the verge of pulling a Braves but probably still a year away.

Beyond half the league being pathetic, my main problem with Seattle's teardown is that they seem to be doing a crappy job of it. They did have talent to trade -- unlike say the early Theo Cubs or the current O's. But they've gotten back no top 10 prospects while also eating payroll. This team was credited with about 36 WAR last year, they've traded away 15 of that, lost another 4 through FA (Cruz, Span), likely haven't gained any of it back. bWAR was probably being overly generous to their pitching in that 36 WAR (their WAR record about 6-7 games better than their pythag).

   69. Red Voodooin Posted: December 04, 2018 at 04:53 PM (#5793934)
Note, they should have gotten more for Palmeiro but it was a choice between him and Grace at 1B so one of them was going to go.


Hmmm... I wonder why they chose to deal Raffy? ;)
   70. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 04, 2018 at 05:05 PM (#5793940)
Grace chose wisely for the one woman in Chicago he didn't have sex with.
   71. BrianBrianson Posted: December 04, 2018 at 05:08 PM (#5793942)
The World Champion 2017 Astros got 10.4 WAR out of those two picks. And you're the one claiming people are "morons who know nothing about baseball?"


It's hard to know much about baseball if you understand nothing about statistics. Bregman was the #2 pick, and the #1 pick put up ... -0.3 WAR. Good thing they didn't tank any harder. But for any moronic idea, if you sift through enough data, you can find cherry picked instances that sort of match your half baked crackpot ideas. The Astros rebuilt very well, and their high draft picks were important (but as noted, not critical) to that. For every instance like that, there's a lot more that go nowhere. The typical #1 draft pick is good, but not remotely someone you can build a team around. And, of course, between Correa and Bregman, the Astros had two other #1 picks, that produced ... 0.0 WAR exactly.
   72. BrianBrianson Posted: December 04, 2018 at 05:09 PM (#5793944)
In isolation, any single rebuild usually looks sensible and is not an issue. It is clearly an issue when 5-6 teams are doing it at once


There are thirty teams in MLB, how many should be in a rebuild in any given year?
   73. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2018 at 05:13 PM (#5793946)
It's hard to know much about baseball if you understand nothing about statistics. Bregman was the #2 pick, and the #1 pick put up ... -0.3 WAR. Good thing they didn't tank any harder. But for any moronic idea, if you sift through enough data, you can find cherry picked instances that sort of match your half baked crackpot ideas. The Astros rebuilt very well, and their high draft picks were important (but as noted, not critical) to that. For every instance like that, there's a lot more that go nowhere. The typical #1 draft pick is good, but not remotely someone you can build a team around. And, of course, between Correa and Bregman, the Astros had two other #1 picks, that produced ... 0.0 WAR exactly.

Right, they tanked and got four high picks and two of them turned into stars. The fact they are who they are today, and already have a Championship, is impacted significantly by those two stars.

My point is simply that teams currently gain a major advantage by being really bad (The #1 and #2 picks are hugely more valuable than 10-15) and there is no reason a team should get any advantage from being bad.

The small market issue is a red herring. I'd give the small market teams advantages in amateur talent acquisition regardless of record.

The Yankees, or Dodgers, or Red Sox, or Astros, or Cubs, or Mariners should never get a top 5 pick merely b/c they stunk. It's a screwed up incentive.
   74. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2018 at 05:15 PM (#5793947)
There are thirty teams in MLB, how many should be in a rebuild in any given year?

We're not talking "rebuild". We're talking stripping the team of all major league talent.

There were 5 absolutely dreadful teams in the AL last year, not making even a token effort to compete. That's 33%, and bad for the sport.
   75. Zach Posted: December 04, 2018 at 05:25 PM (#5793951)
Here you go. A top 5 pick is worth ~$55M, a 21-25 ~$16M, 46-50 ~11M.

Ok, but $40 million payable over six years starting three or four years down the line is a terrible incentive for tanking. You're wasting two or three years of payroll for noncompetitive teams, foregoing revenue and hurting market development for the same amount of time, all to get one premium draft pick?

In basketball, that one premium draft pick can set you up for a decade. In baseball the returns are a lot lower.
   76. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 04, 2018 at 05:43 PM (#5793959)
development of Hendricks (into something much better than expected)


As usual, I owe Walt a longer response -- but I just want to say...

I was a Hendricks believer from waaaayyyy back and I demand my credit for it! Of course, when you basically take the top 30 list and say you're a believer in everyone on it, you're inevitably gonna have some good rolls, but still. I have a documented history of lauding Hendricks :-)

   77. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2018 at 05:56 PM (#5793963)

Ok, but $40 million payable over six years starting three or four years down the line is a terrible incentive for tanking. You're wasting two or three years of payroll for noncompetitive teams, foregoing revenue and hurting market development for the same amount of time, all to get one premium draft pick?


The don't get one premium draft pick; tanking teams are usually bad for 3-4 years. And, they get the top pick in every round, not just the 1st. And, they get more money to sign those players.

OH, and they make higher profits by slashing payroll, while still getting all their central abd shared revenue.

My basic point is why reward teams in any way for being bad? If you want to help small market teams, help teams directly based on market size. Don't make them lose to get that help.
   78. MikeinMI Posted: December 04, 2018 at 06:07 PM (#5793969)
At this point it seems that the Mariners will start Navarez, Santana, Gordon, Seager, Crawford, Bruce, Smith and Haninger plus a DH. It's not the 27 Yankees but they could still be ok. And they are out of the Cano deal that seemed likely to go south soon. Losing Paxton hurts but his value was never going to be higher and as referenced in an eriler coment, the Astros aren't going away soon.
   79. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 04, 2018 at 06:21 PM (#5793976)
My basic point is why reward teams in any way for being bad? If you want to help small market teams, help teams directly based on market size. Don't make them lose to get that help.


Nobody is 'making' them lose. It just doesn't make sense for a bad team to be shooting for 75 wins. They lose because they don't have good players at the major league level, but have roughly 250-300 spots in the farm system and are looking to hoard talent at that level.

You want teams to TRULY never go the tanking route? Completely disaffiliate or disband the minor leagues. Then, MLB can be like the NFL or the NBA where a single draft REALLY does matter and teams are very much all spending near parity on the roster.

This overthinking of the draft is just silly - and while certainly, the #1 pick (or #1-3 or 1-5) are 'valuable'... of course - that's why the draft isn't just random - it's not the big deal people make it out to be. Hell - tanking teams don't even assure themselves the #1. The Cubs never got one during their tanking - they topped out at a #2 and a #4.... and there isn't even a Kris Bryant every year. To say nothing of the fact you still gotta pick the right guy - I mean, Bryant DID go #2. Mark Appel went #1 - and that turned out to be a pretty grievous error, despite the fact that Appel actually was the consensus #1.

Bad teams actually don't rewarded for tanking. Truly bad teams don't actually get much of an advantage. The Pirates picked in the top 4 from 2006 through 2011. They got #### value until Taillon (who's had one good season) in 2010 and Cole in 2011. Brad Lincoln, Daniel Moskos, Pedro Alvarez, and Tony Sanchez were flops.

Good teams get rewarded because they do smart things.

I oppose such changes - again, beyond any financial whatevers - because I don't want to reward dumb teams. I want to reward smart teams who do things well like make smart trades, plumb the waiver wire, and use their once-annual 1st round picks well.

I'm not an NFL hater per se, well... OK, I kind of am... but I look at the stupid Bears. Screw that "It's OK that you're terribly run because wheeeee! it's all random, so just this year - you win the division." Who cares? How can somebody even root for that? You might as well stare at a random number generator and root for 1 to come up or something.
   80. Zach Posted: December 04, 2018 at 06:40 PM (#5793980)
The don't get one premium draft pick; tanking teams are usually bad for 3-4 years. And, they get the top pick in every round, not just the 1st. And, they get more money to sign those players.

Yeah, but that's 3 or 4 years of foregone revenues and lost market development, too.

The premium for an early pick decays rapidly as you leave the top 10. Really, it decays rapidly as you leave the top 2.

Zonk talks about the Cubs, but I grew up as a Royals fan. I can testify that picking in the top 10 year in and year out is no guarantee of getting a star, but losing enough games to get those picks is a sure way to torpedo the fan base.

It's all too easy to tank for three years and get a bust, a promising youngster who gets hurt, and a guy who tops out as a solid regular. The Royals had 10 straight first round picks that never amounted to anything. Some of that was cheaping out on bonuses, but still.
   81. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 04, 2018 at 06:43 PM (#5793981)
At this point it seems that the Mariners will start Navarez, Santana, Gordon, Seager, Crawford, Bruce, Smith and Haninger plus a DH.


They still have Ryon Healy, and while he's not great (.277 OBP, because he never walks), he did hit 24 HR. He could DH if Cruz leaves.
   82. Zach Posted: December 04, 2018 at 06:47 PM (#5793984)
I suspect this is a sucker bet, but it's fun to think about.

Suppose you had two teams:

Team Tank gets the best player taken in the top 5 picks every year. These are the no doubt guys that you would be hoping to get by tanking.

Team Steady gets the best player taken out of the first round. These are the guys that everyone's had a shot at. You get these guys by scouting better than the next team.

My suspicion is that Team Steady would wipe the floor with Team Tank.

Does anybody with database skills want to give the results?
   83. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2018 at 06:50 PM (#5793985)
Nobody is 'making' them lose. It just doesn't make sense for a bad team to be shooting for 75 wins. They lose because they don't have good players at the major league level, but have roughly 250-300 spots in the farm system and are looking to hoard talent at that level.

To get the top picks, yes. They have to lose.

The Mets and Giants and Rangers and Tigers and White Sox are going to draft way ahead of Milwaukee and Cleve.
   84. bbmck Posted: December 04, 2018 at 06:53 PM (#5793987)
Team Tank and Steady both have great teams and then it depends on what happens past team control, does Chipper Jones stay on either team just because he stayed on the Braves and does A-Rod leave just because he left the Mariners?
   85. Zach Posted: December 04, 2018 at 08:04 PM (#5794009)
Yeah, I was probably too generous to Team Tank. It's a rare year when the entire top 5 are busts.

Limiting Team Tank to the first overall pick is too unbalanced. There are plenty of years where the first overall pick is disappointing. Maybe the best of the top two? Top three?

The point of the exercise is that tanking doesn't give you anything that you couldn't get just by scouting better.
   86. Hecubot Posted: December 04, 2018 at 08:12 PM (#5794010)
You can rebuild relatively quickly if you know what you're doing.

People think the A's came out of nowhere in 2012 and 2018, but they had built up certain assets and they kept moving pieces around until they got competitive teams on the field.

The A's mostly have been in that category of teams that try to hang around .500 and if you get some traction before the trading deadline then they add talent. But they usually look at short term free agent additions with an eye towards selling them off for prospects at the deadline if they are underwater. They rebuilt their minors on trading reclamations like Kazmir and Hill, and don't mind paying for a reliever like Madson because he can be packaged later. Also the A's aren't too sentimental about trading fan favorites like Gray, Reddick or Doolittle when their value is at the highest. (We don't speak of the Donaldson trade...)

That noted, 2017 was the only year of the recent losing stretch where they actively tanked the whole season. And even that made for a fairly entertaining season because they brought up Chapman and Olson and went on a tear to finish the year, looking like the offense could be for real. (It was!)

One reason the A's *were* able to compete this year was because so many other teams were tanking. So it was a market advantage to try to stay around .500 with more than 5 teams in the AL racing to the bottom. Wins were there for the taking. Also, with key players banged up on the Astros they were within reach.
   87. Baldrick Posted: December 04, 2018 at 09:17 PM (#5794024)
It's hard to know much about baseball if you understand nothing about statistics. Bregman was the #2 pick, and the #1 pick put up ... -0.3 WAR. Good thing they didn't tank any harder. But for any moronic idea, if you sift through enough data, you can find cherry picked instances that sort of match your half baked crackpot ideas.

No puppet, no puppet. You're the puppet.
   88. BillWallace Posted: December 04, 2018 at 10:22 PM (#5794041)
I get this... but I suppose the lifetime of Cub fandom to this point makes me look in the opposite direction.


Understood. It would be interesting to be able to armchair-GM those Cubs offseasons to see if there was a different path. As others have pointed out, the market was much different back then, so you probably couldn't tank on a dime the way you can now.


re:tanking
While I said I think teams should choose to compete more often, I agree that when they do rebuild, the full tank makes the most sense. But also agree it's a crappy fan experience and it would be nice if the league found a way to disincentivize it. I don't think the draft is the way to go.

To be honest I'm not even sure how much a high draft pick is even the incentive to strip the roster. I think it's mostly about getting value for your assets and playing younger guys than it is about preferring to lose games over winning them. The draft pick is just a side benefit.

I think financial incentives are the way to go, although I don't have any good ideas.
   89. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 04, 2018 at 11:31 PM (#5794047)

There were 5 absolutely dreadful teams in the AL last year, not making even a token effort to compete. That's 33%, and bad for the sport.
The Orioles were not "not making even a token effort to compete," at least not until the trade deadline when they traded away anyone who had a pulse, but they were already miserable before that point. The Orioles were simply awful; they were not tanking.
   90. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 05, 2018 at 09:51 AM (#5794085)
Understood. It would be interesting to be able to armchair-GM those Cubs offseasons to see if there was a different path. As others have pointed out, the market was much different back then, so you probably couldn't tank on a dime the way you can now.


I have about 50000 OOTP dynasties going back 17 versions sitting on a harddrive I could show you :-)

I was tanking before tanking was cool - I think OOTP5 (which aligned with the 2003 Cubs) and the more recent iterations (OOT17, which I think aligned with the 2015 iterations) are the only ones I didn't tank with.

In any case, I think there are also a lot of stupid "gentlemen's rules" that have since gone by the wayside - these were always an OOTP tactic (i.e., keep constant watch on the waiver wire, claim and then trade the claim immediately). IIRC, I think Alex Anthrodopolopodolous (whatever) got some grumbling for doing the same thing... I think this is more common now - IIRC, the Cubs and (Dodgers? or maybe Padres?) swapped Justin Hancock several times in this manner.

IAC - getting a top draft pick is always nice, but it was never the goal or even a significant means to an end. The idea was always to hoard prospects. Early on, you don't have the chits with a bad team to get a lot of top shelf young/prospect talent.... so you do a lot of 1 for 5, where the 5 are sort of middling prospects in the 100-200+ range. Eventually (where eventually means by July if you're playing Trader Jack) - you get a critical mass of decent prospects, so you flip the script and start doing some 5 for 1 where 5 middling prospects get shipped out for a top 10 guy....
   91. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: December 05, 2018 at 10:03 AM (#5794092)
Bad teams actually don't rewarded for tanking. Truly bad teams don't actually get much of an advantage. The Pirates picked in the top 4 from 2006 through 2011. They got #### value until Taillon (who's had one good season) in 2010 and Cole in 2011. Brad Lincoln, Daniel Moskos, Pedro Alvarez, and Tony Sanchez were flops.


The Pirates were not just a bad team on the field, they were also a cheap penny-wise pound-foolish team, unlike teams whose tanking is part of an actual plan. Daniel Moskos and Tony Sanchez were nobody's consensus picks at the spots they were drafted, but they signed for less money.
   92. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 05, 2018 at 11:05 AM (#5794121)
The Pirates were not just a bad team on the field, they were also a cheap penny-wise pound-foolish team, unlike teams whose tanking is part of an actual plan. Daniel Moskos and Tony Sanchez were nobody's consensus picks at the spots they were drafted, but they signed for less money.


Sure - though, sometimes this makes sense.

The Cubs #4 in 2014 - Kyle Schwarber - was actually seen as a bit of a reach at the time, too. I think most boards had him further down near ~10 or so (2nd, if not 3rd tier program, nobody knew where he would play) - and he signed fairly underslot. The Cubs then used those savings to splurge on Dylan Cease (6th round) and Carson Sands (4th), both of whom were seen as potential fringey late first/sandwich rounders prior to the 2014 season, but both of whom blew out their arms but the Cubs were able to lure them in with sandwichy bonuses.

On the tanking topic, though - this is yet ANOTHER reason why it's really dumb to muck about with the draft to deal with 'tanking'. MLB drafts are fluid enough - and unsettled enough - that all any changes do is randomize. Brice Turang went 21st this past year - but he was being talked up as a potential 1:1 as a HS So./Jr.... he stagnated as a senior - and ultimately fell 20 spots (there was some question that he might not even sign, but go to college and try to rebuild his stock, though, the Brewers did end up inking him).

Even IN the season at hand - the draft board moves around quite a bit. Guys rise and fall all the time. Guys get hurt. Projecting 16-18 months out for the NEXT draft? Fuhgettaboutit. Even just 3-4 months out - we don't really have a great feel for how good the draft pool is.

No team - not even the dumbest ones - are realistically saying "Oh boy, I'm going to tank in 2019 so I get the #1 pick in 2020 because X will be available!!!!" Nobody has any friggin clue at this point - when our Mariners above are 'tanking' (if they are) - who the top pick will be in 2020. We don't even have a great feel for who the consensus #1 is in 2019.... much less whether it'll turn out to be a top heavy bumper crop like say, 2001, when Prior, Mauer, and Teixeira were all seen as pretty good #1s. The 2020 draft might feature a lusted after top pick. It might have 3-5 guys that most analysts feel are pretty interchangeable. It might be a deep, but not top-heavy, draft. It might be a pretty crappy pool.

Of course it's advantageous to be picking higher up the list... but there's so much variance that it's meaningless this far out.
   93. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 05, 2018 at 11:22 AM (#5794132)
Bad teams actually don't rewarded for tanking. Truly bad teams don't actually get much of an advantage. The Pirates picked in the top 4 from 2006 through 2011. They got #### value until Taillon (who's had one good season) in 2010 and Cole in 2011. Brad Lincoln, Daniel Moskos, Pedro Alvarez, and Tony Sanchez were flops.


I suspect it gets much harder to develop major league talent when you're not trying to win, and don't have anyone on the roster who can show the kids what it takes to be a successful big leaguer. People pooh-pooh veteran leadership, but when your team consists of a bunch of 30-year-old mediocrities just hanging around to collect a paycheck, and nobody cares whether you win or lose, you can't expect your young studs to develop much of a work ethic.

   94. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 05, 2018 at 11:35 AM (#5794137)
I suspect it gets much harder to develop major league talent when you're not trying to win, and don't have anyone on the roster who can show the kids what it takes to be a successful big leaguer. People pooh-pooh veteran leadership, but when your team consists of a bunch of 30-year-old mediocrities just hanging around to collect a paycheck, and nobody cares whether you win or lose, you can't expect your young studs to develop much of a work ethic.


IDK... during the Cubs "tank" - David DeJesus was brought in as much as a clubhouse guy and mentor as he was a potential trade chit. The 2013 Astros hauled in the corpse of Carlos Pena, who I recall from his Cub days as also being considered a "mentor" type guy. The 2017 and 2018 Braves had Kurt Suzuki, who I think also has a 'mentor' reputation.
   95. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 05, 2018 at 11:44 AM (#5794143)
Yeah, I'm saying it's worthwhile to pay attention to such things. The 2009 Pirates had some young talent there, but the veterans were people like Adam "Give My Kid a Locker" LaRoche.
   96. Zach Posted: December 05, 2018 at 12:03 PM (#5794150)
I suspect it gets much harder to develop major league talent when you're not trying to win, and don't have anyone on the roster who can show the kids what it takes to be a successful big leaguer.

It's probably worth noting that Dayton Moore, who has actually done a full prospect rebuild to a championship, is also infamous for signing mediocre veterans in hopes of hanging around .500 until the prospects arive.
   97. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: December 05, 2018 at 12:10 PM (#5794153)
The pre-2009 Pirates really were the epitome of signing veterans not for leadership but just for the sake of claiming they had signed someone, and it was always a veteran whose options were either "Pirates" or "retire". Just a deadening experience to watch Raul Mondesi and Joe Randa and Jeromy Burnitz and Jeff Reboulet standing out there waiting for the end to come.
   98. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 05, 2018 at 12:20 PM (#5794157)
Just a deadening experience to watch Raul Mondesi and Joe Randa and Jeromy Burnitz and Jeff Reboulet half-assing it out there waiting for the end to come.
Say what you will about Derek Bell, but he didn't half-ass it on the field.
   99. Zonk is One Individual Posted: December 05, 2018 at 12:38 PM (#5794170)
The pre-2009 Pirates really were the epitome of signing veterans not for leadership but just for the sake of claiming they had signed someone, and it was always a veteran whose options were either "Pirates" or "retire". Just a deadening experience to watch Raul Mondesi and Joe Randa and Jeromy Burnitz and Jeff Reboulet standing out there waiting for the end to come.


I would think the worst of that period was probably the Matt Morris trade... I remember the mockery of it at the time - the Pirates weren't going anywhere and traded FOR Morris, who was making a fair bit of coin for the time (and ended up ending his career with about 60 crappy innings in Pittsburgh).

That's the height of the folly of the stupid "always try to win as many games as possible!" thing... I suppose it was mostly just a waste of money - Rajai Davis ultimately had a decent career, though, the A's got him off waivers from the gIants.
   100. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: December 05, 2018 at 12:53 PM (#5794177)
They didn't even sign good enough free agents to trade for prospects, with the exception of the unusually successful Kenny Lofton / Reggie Sanders year.
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