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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Francisco Liriano gets seven minor league contract offers on same day

We have been loath to throw out the c-word — collusion — when discussing the current labor strife in Major League Baseball. It is a claim that’s very hard to prove, even though there are multiple examples of teams colluding against players throughout baseball history.

However, as players have spoken up about their experiences in the free agent market, several have made observations that seem more than coincidental. Earlier this month, Cubs reliever Brad Brach said, “We talked to certain teams and they told us that, ‘We have an algorithm and here’s where you fall.’ … It’s just kind of weird that all offers are the same, they come around the same time. Everybody tells you there’s an algorithm.” Brach ultimately inked a one-year, $4.35 million contract with the Cubs which includes a 2020 club option.

Two days later, Rockies infielder Mark Reynolds said he went without a contract offer for weeks. One day, while he was out playing golf, he got a call from his agent who said he had four teams offering minor league deals on the same day. Reynolds ended up picking the Rockies.

Would that I could get seven job offers in a day, even if collusion is involved….


QLE Posted: February 27, 2019 at 07:24 AM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: collusion, contracts, francisco liriano

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   1. Rennie's Tenet Posted: February 27, 2019 at 10:11 AM (#5818623)
Reynolds signed on 1/30, minor league deal for $1 million plus $1 million incentives. Neil Walker had signed on 1/29, major league deal for $2 million. That's pretty much what the union wants, right, except that the stars aren't signing to establish the high end of the market?
   2. JRVJ Posted: February 27, 2019 at 11:28 AM (#5818663)
Doesn't really take an algorithm to see that Liriano has been crappy the last 3 years, with a BRef War of essentially…. 0.0.

(Kudos to whomever wrote that in reply to a Rob Neyer Tweet yesterday).
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 27, 2019 at 11:39 AM (#5818665)
Would that I could get seven job offers in a day, even if collusion is involved….

7 crappy offers are no better than zero.
   4. bbmck Posted: February 27, 2019 at 11:41 AM (#5818667)
“They all came the same week, seven on them on the same day, and they were all were minor league deals, pretty much the same money.”

That week probably came right after Greg Genske realized that doing his job involved letting teams know that Liriano would consider minor league deals and passing them along even if his client rejects them all and says MLB contract or I retire. Or maybe the Ballengee Group withheld minor league offers from Reynolds which pay no commission until they were pretty sure no one was going to offer an MLB contract. Before you assume collusion, maybe talk to the person who got 3 offers in one day and still didn't bother calling you for some reason.
   5. aberg Posted: February 27, 2019 at 01:17 PM (#5818712)
The baseball calendar is also designed such that certain things are likely to happen around the same time. The article doesn't say when Liriano started getting these offers, but it's not surprising that teams who go to spring training at the same time would send out spring training invites around the same time. Maybe it followed the rule 5 draft when teams started to figure out what their spring rosters were going to look like and whether they'd have room on the 40-man. Maybe it followed other lefty relievers signing deals and teams getting a better idea of what their need would be.

If player salaries as a percentage of revenue are down (and it appears that they are), then I think that's a very valid concern for the union. Minor players getting similar offers at around the same time is not a big deal and follows what I would expect.
   6. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 27, 2019 at 01:43 PM (#5818725)
Receiving seven on one day, after not receiving any, stinks of collusion.

   7. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 27, 2019 at 01:47 PM (#5818727)
Receiving seven on one day, after not receiving any, stinks of collusion.
You really think that if the teams were actually colluding, they wouldn’t make sure stuff like that didn’t happen?
   8. BillWallace Posted: February 27, 2019 at 02:09 PM (#5818741)
I also think this could be an agent issue.

I don't think there's hard collusion, just a bad CBA and maximally exploitative behavior. There COULD be outright collusion, it's certainly right in the owner's moral wheelhouse. I also don't put it beyond their hubris/stupidity. But it isn't the most straightforward explanation for all observed evidence.
   9. BrianBrianson Posted: February 27, 2019 at 02:47 PM (#5818762)
The idea that the owners are colluding - to offer minor league contracts and spring training invites to a guy who has averaged 0 WAR over the last three years is ... interesting.

But I don't want to subscribe to your newsletter, thanks.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 27, 2019 at 03:00 PM (#5818764)
You really think that if the teams were actually colluding, they wouldn’t make sure stuff like that didn’t happen?

They didn't manage to the last two times they got busted. Given past behavior, the default assumption should be that the owners ARE colluding, as much as they can get away with.
   11. PreservedFish Posted: February 27, 2019 at 04:15 PM (#5818788)
To: All 30 GMs
From: Collusion Coordinator

As of tomorrow noon, I will allow bids on the following pitchers:

Miguel Gonzalez
Jorge de la Rosa
Francisco Liriano
Jordan Lyles
Yovani Gallardo

As a reminder, all of these pitchers project for less than 0.5 WAR in a full season. As such, the highest allowable contract is a minor league deal.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: February 27, 2019 at 06:37 PM (#5818867)
Minor players getting similar offers at around the same time is not a big deal and follows what I would expect.

Except this too is in the collusion history book. There were a couple of years when magically every borderline starter/bench player got a 2/$6 or 3/$9 offer (this was a while ago ... and human memory and such). This was commented on, never taken to a grievance hearing but was followed fairly soon by one of those mystery payments from MLB to MLBPA. If there's ever any compensation for the guys who were Bryanted, it's more likely to come through one of those payments as part of the next CBA than it is through an official arbitrator collusion finding or some other legal "violated the spirit of the CBA" finding.

C'mon, these are the same folks who mysteriously all decide their prospects aren't ready until a few days after they are likely to qualify for super-2 (and now certainly not ready for Aug-Sept call-ups and really need an extra 10 days in the minors to work on their defense). They're the same folks who will take a case to arb over a $500,000 difference (as will the players sometimes). Saving $1 M a year every year on your #5-6 SPs is the same as bargaining Machado down from 10/$310 to 10/$300. It's what these guys are paid to do now.

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