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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

New MLB CBA should include amnesty clause

In the absence of new rumors on CBA negotiations, allow us to add a new proposal: the introduction of an amnesty clause. To be clear, this is not a report, simply something that would be good for the health of the sport.

The NBA introduced an amnesty clause in December of 2011, which allowed teams to take a bad contract off their books, sort of. Whatever player the team used the amnesty clause on would still be paid the full compensation owed to them in their current contract. However, said player would no longer be part of their current team, and their often gigantic salary wouldn’t count towards the salary cap anymore.

There, of course, is no MLB salary cap, and to this point there isn’t a suggestion that one is coming. With that said, the Los Angeles Dodgers are the only team currently believed to have a luxury tax payroll of over $210 million, which is when the first penalty kicks in. To their credit, the Dodgers have blown past that number in pursuit of their second consecutive World Series title. Spotrac currently estimates that the Dodgers—who acquired Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, among others, before the trade deadline—have a $253.5 million luxury tax payroll.

Yet, virtually the rest of the league views the luxury tax as some sort of salary cap, some a hard one and others soft. Even those who are willing to go over the luxury tax in a given year, often make sure to dip back under it the next year as the rate climbs to 30% on all overages between $210 and $230 million in a second consecutive year and to 50% for three or more consecutive years. There are also draft pick-related penalties for teams that are more than $40 million over the first luxury tax threshold.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 20, 2021 at 01:07 PM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: collective bargaining agreement

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   1. JRVJ Posted: October 20, 2021 at 02:23 PM (#6047814)
I just saw this article and was about to post it.

I don't follow the NBA, and did not know about this amnesty. It's obviously not something that can be evaluated in a vacuum (in the sense that this idea could be good or bad, depending on the rest of the content of the rest of the CBA).

The one short-term advantage that I could see for teams close or above the luxury tax (*) is that by being able to take contracts off-the-books, such teams could in theory go after FAs without the fear of going over the tax (or going over the tax a second or third time) and being punished in future drafts.

That in theory should also benefit players who become FAs in the near future (it's probably too late for players who become FAs during the 2021-2022 off-season, but it could benefit players who become FAs during the 2022-2023 off-season).


(*) And by extension, players.
   2. JJ1986 Posted: October 20, 2021 at 02:38 PM (#6047819)
In the NBA, an amnesty theoretically helps every team since even the low payroll ones are often over the salary cap. In MLB, it wouldn't help most teams one bit.
   3. Rally Posted: October 20, 2021 at 02:50 PM (#6047826)
You can accomplish the same thing by just raising the luxury tax number.
   4. JRVJ Posted: October 20, 2021 at 03:09 PM (#6047830)
2, It wouldn't help some teams, but others (e.g., the Phillies) would definitely benefit from it, because it gives them much more of a cushion in re: the salary cap (I specifically mention the Phillies, because they have been reticent to cross the luxury tax, but certainly have the means to do so).

3, "It's obviously not something that can be evaluated in a vacuum (in the sense that this idea could be good or bad, depending on the rest of the content of the rest of the CBA)."
   5. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 20, 2021 at 03:22 PM (#6047834)
The NBA introduced an amnesty clause in December of 2011, which allowed teams to take a bad contract off their books, sort of. Whatever player the team used the amnesty clause on would still be paid the full compensation owed to them in their current contract. However, said player would no longer be part of their current team, and their often gigantic salary wouldn’t count towards the salary cap anymore.
So how does the amnesty ceremony work? They call the player to mid-court, hand him a box with the contents of his locker, and present him an oversized cardboard check? Could be entertaining, especially if the collective bargaining agreement provides that no advance notice may be given to the player.
   6. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 20, 2021 at 03:38 PM (#6047845)
Worst contract on each team, from lowest payroll to highest payroll, IMO (correct me if I'm wrong, I may have missed some dead contract guys):

Orioles: No one signed in 2022
Rangers: Jose Leclerc ($5.25M in 2022)
Pirates: No one signed in 2022
Marlins: Anthony Bass ($3M in 2022)
Guardians: Only Jose Ramirez is signed in 2022
Diamodnbacks: Madison Bumgarner ($60M from 2022-24)
Rays: Kevin Kiermaier ($12.167M in 2022)
Tigers: Miguel Cabrera ($72M from 2022-24)
Royals: Hunter Dozier ($22M from 2022-24)
Mariners: Ken Giles ($5.75M in 2022)
Twins: Josh Donaldson ($51M from 2022-24)
A's: Elvis Andrus ($14.25M in 2022, although Texas is paying $7.25M of that)
Nationals: Stephen Strasburg ($175M through 2026)
Giants: Evan Longoria ($24.667M in 2022 with TB paying $2M)
Rockies: Charlie Blackmon ($31M in 2022-23)
Blue Jays: Randal Grichuk ($20.6M in 2022-23)
Brewers: Lorenzo Cain ($18M in 2022)
Angels: Anthony Rendon ($113M through 2024)
Astros: Jake Odorizzi ($11.25M through 2022)
Braves: Marcell Ozuna ($53M through 2024) although that could be taken care of. Not sure who else you'd target.
Reds: Mike Moustakas ($38M through 2023) or Eugenio Suarez ($35M through 2024)
Mets: Robinson Cano ($48M through 2023). Dont' think they're gonna give up on Lindor yet.
White Sox: Dallas Keuchel ($19.5M through 2022)
Cardinals: Miles Mikolas ($34M through 2023)
Phillies: Didi Gregorius ($15.25M in 2022)
Red Sox: Chris Sale ($85M through 2024)
Padres: Eric Hosmer ($59M through 2025)
Dodgers: David Price ($32M in 2022 with Boston paying $16M)
Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton ($179M through 2027)
   7. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: October 20, 2021 at 03:46 PM (#6047848)
Aka the Dodgers/Yankees/Red Sox avoid the tax clause.
   8. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 20, 2021 at 04:25 PM (#6047856)
Worst contract on each team, from lowest payroll to highest payroll, IMO
Heyward goes without saying, I take it?
   9. DCA Posted: October 20, 2021 at 04:48 PM (#6047867)
There's not a lot of bad money in #6.

Obviously, Strasburg is a disaster and so is Rendon if he doesn't bounce back (and I think it's $170m through 2026). Stanton is similar money and overpaid but he is still a really good hitter and adds value on the field.

Cabrera and MadBum are toast but it's only $60m and those teams are nowhere near the tax line. Hosmer's bad, but he's about to get cheaper. Nobody else is clearly more than $10m overpaid, assuming health/suspension is resolved, and plenty of them are likely to be worth their contract.
   10. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 20, 2021 at 04:58 PM (#6047871)
The Giants look particularly good in that list - Longoria's no longer a superstar but he's still an asset, as long as he can stay on the field. I guess that's how you win 107 games.
   11. Darren Posted: October 20, 2021 at 05:00 PM (#6047872)
Not clicking through but why does the author think this is a good idea?

ETA: It seems to reward the teams that gave out the worst contracts, which is, not great.
   12. John Northey Posted: October 20, 2021 at 05:09 PM (#6047875)
I can't see any point at this stage for MLB. Unless a hard cap comes in or more than 1 or 2 teams cross the threshold annually it is meaningless. Teams and players wouldn't see much benefit outside of the Dodgers who'd dump Bauers deal in a second.

Far more valuable to owners would be a hard cap, to players a hard floor. Neither will happen though.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: October 22, 2021 at 02:27 AM (#6048265)
Not clicking through but why does the author think this is a good idea?

I didn't click through either but I gather the author wants to see teams spend more on productive players which, if they are at the cap and payroll is wasted, they can't currently do. But #12 and #4 are right, there just aren't many teams for which this would make much difference because they are well below the threshold anyway. So rarely is it "gee, we'd pay somebody the same as Jason Heyward if only Heyward didn't count against the cap", it's usually at best "we'd pay somebody the same as Jason Heyward if we didn't have to pay Jason Heyward."

But somebody's gotta pay Jason Heyward so unless MLB is going to step in and take over these amnestied contracts, the money still comes out of the team's pockets. Sure, if a team is going to run a $225 M payroll, they'd rather not have to pay the tax but it's not often the tax that is keeping a team from running a $225 M payroll.

Anybody know how insured contracts work with the tax? If for example Strasburg can't pitch again due to his injury and if that contract is at least partially covered by insurance, does the (insured) amount come off the lux tax calculation or does the insurance just end up in the owners' pockets?
   14. Walt Davis Posted: October 22, 2021 at 02:35 AM (#6048266)
I suppose you could allow teams to amortize Heyward. Something like giving them an option where the league will pay the remainder of Heyward's contract (and it won't count against the tax) but the team has to pay that back through reduced revenue payouts over the next X years. That creates agency problems of course where the win-now GM or the GM on his last legs does this figuring he won't be GM when the bill comes due. Those agency problems already exist in any big FA contract of course so a plan like that would just be making those problems a bit worse. And it's still true that only teams bumping up against the cap would get any benefit from something like that.

#8: Maybe the Cubs were relegated to AAA.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: October 22, 2021 at 03:05 AM (#6048267)
Not a big deal but $7.5 of the $48 owed Cano is paid by the Ms according to Cots. The total money sent to NY was $20 M (spread out over 5 years) but the Ms also ate the contracts of Jay Bruce (2/$26 I think) and Swarzak (1/$9 I think). All up the Ms paid about half of Cano's remaining 5/$120. How it all ended up working out between suspensions and covid I have no idea.

Way early still but Kelenic was terrible this year but at least a bit better in his second stint (209/291/402 with 25 HR power) but boy does Rfield HATE his defense at -17 in just 675 innings. TZ isn't nearly so bad at -2. UZR splits the difference at -9 runs. Statcast agrees with TZ so there may be hope yet. It's really hard to see how DRS got to that number ... RF9 ain't much but he made 0.2 more plays per 9 innings than the average CF so it's really hard to see how he could be that bad. DRS ascribes most of this to terrible range (-12) which, again, theoretically possible he could make about 14 more plays than the average CF while making 12+ fewer than he should have but that seems really, really unlikely.

For comparison, Kelenic made 0.4 more plays per 9 than Kiermaier did yet Rfield puts Kiermaier 30 runs ahead (in about 200 more innings). Statcast has Kiermaier way in front too with a 13 run (14 play) edge.
   16. sunday silence (again) Posted: October 22, 2021 at 06:50 AM (#6048269)
I think discretionary chances would explain a lot of what you're seeing there, Walt. CF seems to be one position where statcast shows a lot less than nominal range factor would suggest and correspondingly corner OF seems to be not as bad as Range Factor would make it out to be. Looking at say Mays and McCovey range factors in '62 and '64 might be a good illustration of that. Its hard to believe McCovey could be 50 runs below average out there (per range factor), Mays must be picking up a lot of the FB that are routine and in between them.

BUt how many balls is that? perhaps 30 over a full season. if McCovey was only 25 runs to the bad, that might be a reasonable guess at outer limit of bad from on what we've seen from Statcast and its also a level at which you would have to consider moving him. At say 15 runs bad you might not even need to move him; at say 35 runs bad well that sort of at odds with statcast.

I wish we could get primates to keep a check list of discretionary chances during the playoffs we might get a better idea.
   17. villageidiom Posted: October 22, 2021 at 07:42 AM (#6048271)
Anybody know how insured contracts work with the tax? If for example Strasburg can't pitch again due to his injury and if that contract is at least partially covered by insurance, does the (insured) amount come off the lux tax calculation or does the insurance just end up in the owners' pockets?
It is not part of the calculation. Nor are the insurance premiums.
   18. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: October 22, 2021 at 08:22 AM (#6048273)
[6] So you’re taking it as a given that the Dodgers will be able to void the alleged rapist’s contract? Or that MLB will suspend him for all of 2022 without pay? Getting out of contracts has been historically very difficult for teams regardless of a player’s behavior.

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