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Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Get ready for another cold offseason

It’s pretty early in the offseason. Teams can’t even sign free agents yet. But they are signaling to the public that, haha, no way do they plan to spend much money this winter.

First the Cardinals who, based on their far-from-impressive NLCS showing strike pretty much everyone as a club that, while good, needs to make some additions to take things to the next level. Will they be spending? From the Athletic:

The Cardinals have practically no financial flexibility, if history is a guide . . . The only way the Cardinals take on significant salary is to trade a major league player or two — and most of their highest-paid players are virtually unmovable — or convince the owners to spend well beyond what they have spent before . . . Does that seem in character for this team? I’ll answer that. No, it does not.

The team’s owner, Bill DeWitt Jr., was asked about that, couched in a question or two about the team’s real estate development, Ballpark Village, next to Busch Stadium. As we have chronicled in the past, teams are increasingly getting into the real estate business and such developments can be pretty massive cash cows for them. The question, though, is whether the real estate money is going to be used to subsidize spending on the baseball team or, rather, if the baseball team is primarily a promotional tool — maybe even a loss leader — for the real estate development.

Something to post now, then check back on in a few months’ time to see how accurate it was.

QLE Posted: November 06, 2019 at 12:51 AM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals, dodgers, gerrit cole, hot stove, real estate

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. The Duke Posted: November 06, 2019 at 07:29 AM (#5899011)
Cards, Red Sox, Yankees and cubs not spending. Dodgers probably not spending. But you have Phillies, Padres, Nats, angels and white Sox spending. Still it doesn’t look good
   2. Nasty Nate Posted: November 06, 2019 at 08:17 AM (#5899014)
The Cardinals added a big contract just last offseason, right?
   3. Bote Man Posted: November 06, 2019 at 08:18 AM (#5899016)
The Cardinals have practically no financial flexibility

Read: "we're cheap bastards"
   4. always extremely 57i66135, but never enough Posted: November 06, 2019 at 08:25 AM (#5899019)
fun fact:
this is also evidence of collusion.
   5. Nasty Nate Posted: November 06, 2019 at 09:55 AM (#5899045)
In a thread recently, someone brought up the old Bill James idea that lousy organizations blame their best players for their losing ways.

Somebody should craft a witty version about the highest-spending teams getting blamed for players not getting big contracts.
   6. filihok Posted: November 06, 2019 at 09:55 AM (#5899046)
fun fact:
this is also evidence of collusion.

Recent goings on have led me to a hypothesis of "many people are unconcerned about evidence of collusion"

The players' union should investigate
   7. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: November 06, 2019 at 10:22 AM (#5899052)
The question, though, is whether the real estate money is going to be used to subsidize spending on the baseball team or, rather, if the baseball team is primarily a promotional tool — maybe even a loss leader — for the real estate development.


I thought this sentence a little weird. Surely, the baseball team being a 'loss leader' would mean that - by definition - the real estate money is being used to subsidize spending on the baseball team that it would not otherwise warrant? In other words:

a) Spend more money on the baseball team than it makes on its own because it helps boost the appeal of the real estate holdings, or
b) Spend only as much money on the baseball team as you need to in order to ensure that it's as profitable as possible in its own stead

The quoted sentence seems to be suggesting "a) or, rather, maybe a)". Am I misreading?
   8. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Fred Posted: November 06, 2019 at 10:31 AM (#5899056)
It's a little awkward, but I think the author is going for:

a) Ownership isn't particularly interested in the baseball team, or how it performs, so long as it generates interest in the real estate holdings, or
b) The real estate holdings will give ownership even more money to invest in the team's performance
   9. Zonk. Person. Man. Camera. TV. Posted: November 06, 2019 at 12:33 PM (#5899130)
Much as I'd love to see the Cubs take a run at Cole -

Their needs around the diamond simply don't match up well with this FA class otherwise.... barring a trade, there's just no reason to pursue Rendon/Donaldson/Grandal/etc.

Everybody always needs pitching and the Cubs rotation has a pretty glaring lack of an ace (Hendricks, 2nd half Darvish occasionally *pitch* like a stopper) - but ever since Lester 5 years ago, the Cubs have had just horrible luck with FA pitching... If they were to give Cole 10/300 - I feel like he probably turn into Rick Mahler.

Other than - the big bats don't play positions where the Cubs have a need. Can Ozuna play CF? Maybe that's worth kicking the tires on...
   10. Walt Davis Posted: November 06, 2019 at 04:03 PM (#5899211)
Can Ozuna play CF?

Probably not well but probably not terribly. He seemed solid enough out there when young but the Marlins decided they were better off with Yelich in CF and Ozuna in LF. The Cards haven't played him there at all while they have at times continued to play Fowler there which is not a good sign. In short, he's probably not as good there as Heyward ... and I assume he doesn't have the arm for right.

Weren't you the one with the idea of signing the Japanese CF? That's probably a better idea than Ozuna as starting CF.
   11. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: November 06, 2019 at 04:05 PM (#5899212)
Can Ozuna play CF? Maybe that's worth kicking the tires on...


Did you not see the play where he tried to make a catch by jumping up over the wall, only to have the ball land on the field of play? Thinking he is not the best defender in LF, how the heck would he handle center? Also, this is apparently the 2nd time in 2 seasons this has happened to him:

Ozuna climbs wall, ball lands on warning track.

Funniest play of the year.
   12. Tin Angel Posted: November 06, 2019 at 04:16 PM (#5899217)
Funniest play of the year.


The best part is the Dodgers bullpen not even trying to withhold their laughter.
   13. Zonk. Person. Man. Camera. TV. Posted: November 06, 2019 at 04:59 PM (#5899237)
Weren't you the one with the idea of signing the Japanese CF? That's probably a better idea than Ozuna as starting CF.


Fukudome?

Nope - not me...

I'm keeping most of my suggestion powder dry for purposes of complaining when Thed "does something big" (meaning trade) just to "do something big". I'm generally of the opinion that the Cubs just need to stop injecting pitchers with the SUCK virus as part of the physical.... at least, that's my working theory as to why virtually ever FA signing since Lester has gone so horribly wrong. Hopefully, the antibodies to the virus that Darvish seemed to develop in the 2nd half of this past season can lead to a cure.
   14. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: November 06, 2019 at 05:06 PM (#5899239)
#12

Agree. The pen is just besides themselves when Ozuna falls flat on his face. And you want to be my latex salesman!

Now ballplayers misjudge flyballs occasionally but this is epically bad. There is no way you'd want this guy patrolling CF for your team.
   15. bfan Posted: November 06, 2019 at 05:31 PM (#5899243)
fun fact:
this is also evidence of collusion


I honestly don't get that. If a reporter asks a question about the team's payroll, and if the correct answer from the GM is that they will not be taking on any major (Machado/Harper/Cole) contracts, is the GM supposed to lie?

A lie there is problematic for 2 reasons: it sets the fan base up for disappointment and too high expectations, if you suggest you are going to "spend stupidly" (Phillies' president's line, not mine), and you do not; and since when do we want our CEO's to lie (if he/she were the head of a public company, then would be slapped with a shareholder's derivative the at the first sign of share value loss, whether the statement and the stock movement were related or not)?

If your point is that he is signaling to the market (which I guess would be the theory of collusion here), he is answering a question put to him...so again, since when is lying or no comment seen as a virtue?

If he were to say "the 2 teams that lost the highest priced FA improved in the regular season, and the 2 teams that signed the highest price FA did not, and we will take our direction from that", would that be evidence of collusion?
   16. SoSH U at work Posted: November 06, 2019 at 06:31 PM (#5899252)
the 2 teams that lost the highest priced FA improved in the regular season


All three of them (if you count Manny for both teams he played with last year).

   17. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 06, 2019 at 07:06 PM (#5899258)
fun fact: this is also evidence of collusion.
Not as much as this is:
Tony Clark, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, announced Wednesday that the MLBPA has launched an investigation looking into recent comments from Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos. Specifically, the union took umbrage with the following comment Anthopoulos made during a recent conference call with Atlanta beat writers (link via The Athletic’s David O’Brien):

“Every day you get more information. And we’ve had time to connect with 27 of the clubs — obviously the Astros and (Nationals) being in the World Series, they were tied up — but we had a chance to get a sense of what the other clubs are going to look to do in free agency, who might be available in trades.”

The MLBPA’s issue stems from Anthopoulos’ acknowledgment of getting a feel for how other clubs plan to act in free agency. With regard to sharing intel in free agency, the collective bargaining agreement states: “Players shall not act in concert with other Players, and Clubs shall not act in concert with other Clubs.” In a press release, Clark expressed extreme displeasure with Anthopoulos’ assertion . . .
Seems a bit of a gaffe - in the sense that Anthopoulos unintentionally revealed something he shouldn’t.
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 06, 2019 at 07:32 PM (#5899262)
Seems a bit of a gaffe

That's not a gaffe, that's an admission of guilt.
   19. Cleveland (need new name) fan Posted: November 06, 2019 at 08:33 PM (#5899264)
“Every day you get more information. And we’ve had time to connect with 27 of the clubs — obviously the Astros and (Nationals) being in the World Series, they were tied up — but we had a chance to get a sense of what the other clubs are going to look to do in free agency, who might be available in trades.”


I think that this statement is more ambiguous than you are concluding. While it may indicate collusion, it could also just be a GM doing their job. I expect that every GM checks in with the other clubs after the season ends to start laying groundwork for later winter activities. While talking to the other clubs, it is hard not to get some basic sense of their plans for the winter just by the names that end up being discussed. If the other team isn't interested in your starting pitchers, even though they have a couple of holes in their starters and they don't have much in their farm system, then you can be pretty sure they are planning to acquire SP in FA. If they are offering you OFs and they don't have an obvious excess of OFs, then you can surmise they are planning to get one in FA.

So yes, there might be collusion, but this statement isn't the smoking gun. It could be one of many pieces of evidence you use to show collusion.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: November 06, 2019 at 09:12 PM (#5899270)
the Cubs just need to stop injecting pitchers with the SUCK virus as part of the physical.... at least, that's my working theory as to why virtually ever FA signing since Lester has gone so horribly wrong.

This seems a bit unfair even with regard to pitchers. Lackey was a very good signing. Darvish got hurt (it happens) and was good in year 2 ... and of course 4 years to go so too soon to tell. Uehara was OK and was 100 years old (I'd completely forgotten about him). Chatwood not good. Morrow not good but not due to suckitude but due to the Cubs not having a magic formula to inject him with to keep him healthy. Cishek excellent, Duensing not. Kyle Ryan surprisingly good, Brach not surprisingly not good. Then there's Kimbrel who I'm hoping is too soon to tell. Given nobody (exc maybe Theo) expected much out of Duensing and Brach, that leaves Chatwood and Kimbrel as the ones infected with the suck virus. That's balanced off pretty well by Lackey, Cishek, Ryan and Darvish (not a suck issue yet).

Recall Hamels (very good for us) and Quintana (solid but not what I hoped for) weren't FAs.

since when is lying or no comment seen as a virtue?

When commenting is against the rules or would otherwise be detrimental to other parties. If, say, a reporter were to ask a GM if player X is gay, the GM should of course not share any knowledge that he has. So yes, if asked about what free agents they will be pursuing (or whether they will be pursuing any) then the on the record response should be "no comment" or some generic "we will look to improve our team while staying within our payroll parameters" or some such. You want to play nice with the press, you just leak it out to them off the record through "those familiar with the team's thinking."

A big payroll team publicly sharing that they won't go over the lux tax threshold is clearly sharing information with other bidders in the FA market. Similarly if a rebuilding team publicly states "we think we need to wait one more year before we start spending", they're sharing info with other teams. That the info is also being shared with the fans is neither here nor there.

AA's blunder is admitting that they are also holding these discussions in private directly between teams.

   21. vortex of dissipation Posted: November 06, 2019 at 09:25 PM (#5899272)
Weren't you the one with the idea of signing the Japanese CF? That's probably a better idea than Ozuna as starting CF.


Fukudome?

Nope - not me...


Seibu Lions Shogo Akiyama. He announced last week that he will file for free agency in order to seek a deal with a major league team. Lifetime .301/.376/.454 hitter, coming off a .303/.392/.471 year. Hit 20-25 HR each of last three seasons. Will be 32 years old; used to be a Gold Glove centerfielder, but his fielding has declined. Still average fielder, but not exceptional. He doesn't have to go through a posting system - he can sign with any team, including US ones.
   22. puck Posted: November 06, 2019 at 10:46 PM (#5899298)
The Rockies are not spending money. What will all those out of work relievers do this Christmas?
   23. always extremely 57i66135, but never enough Posted: November 06, 2019 at 11:24 PM (#5899305)
Seibu Lions Shogo Akiyama. He announced last week that he will file for free agency in order to seek a deal with a major league team. Lifetime .301/.376/.454 hitter, coming off a .303/.392/.471 year. Hit 20-25 HR each of last three seasons. Will be 32 years old; used to be a Gold Glove centerfielder, but his fielding has declined. Still average fielder, but not exceptional. He doesn't have to go through a posting system - he can sign with any team, including US ones.

that description sounds like a 4th OFer, at best. doesn't have the power to hit in a corner, nor the defense to play everyday in CF?


considering the squeeze that the FA market is already under, i'd be surprised if he got significant interest.
   24. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: November 07, 2019 at 09:13 AM (#5899330)
#12

Agree. The pen is just besides themselves when Ozuna falls flat on his face. And you want to be my latex salesman!


Yes, the pen's reaction is what makes this one timeless. :-)
   25. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 07, 2019 at 12:12 PM (#5899416)
that description sounds like a 4th OFer, at best. doesn't have the power to hit in a corner, nor the defense to play everyday in CF?
I would interpret the description as him being "still an average fielder" for a CF. I would be happy for the Cubs to take a fairly low-cost flier on him - even if the power doesn't translate, he's clearly got on-base skills, and a CF/leadoff hitter with a decent OBP would be a big help.
   26. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 07, 2019 at 12:27 PM (#5899423)
But you have Phillies, Padres, Nats, angels and white Sox spending. Still it doesn’t look good


The Nats are already fairly close to the luxury tax and have to try to bring back one of Rendon or Strasburg - I assume they can't bring back both - and they just won a ring so they could perhaps afford to be a bit complacent, so I'm not sure I'd expect them to be all that aggressive other than trying to keep the team together.

Angels and White Sox should be aggressive. What about the Jays? They have next to ZERO contract obligations, and one of the best collections of young hitters in baseball, isn't it time for them to add some real pitching?
   27. JJ1986 Posted: November 08, 2019 at 05:35 PM (#5899845)
I think this is the fourth day of free agency. So far three players have signed, all with the Braves and all were re-signings.

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