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Thursday, September 26, 2019

Quit slamming superstars for their teams’ failures

Fans have long loved to criticize players who sign big contracts. The media has long encouraged and aided this effort to greater or lesser degrees. Players who rake in the big bucks have long had a target on their back and probably always will.

Which is not totally unfair, of course. They’re supposed to be good. They’re supposed to help the team win. That, as the old saying goes, is why they’re paid the big bucks.

But there are limits to that right? A baseball team has 25 guys on it, not just one, and any one baseball player has way less power to carry one’s team to victory himself than, say, the quarterback of a football team or any single basketball player, each of which can make a huge difference. As such, while it’s fair to hold star players to a higher standard, it’s less fair to blame them when their teams fare poorly through no fault of their own.


QLE Posted: September 26, 2019 at 12:26 AM | 2 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bryce harper, manny machado, mike trout, nolan arenado, superstars

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   1. Bhaakon Posted: September 26, 2019 at 05:10 PM (#5883438)
The whole article is in response to a tweet:

All four players who signed big contracts this season will not be in the 2019 postseason…

— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) September 24, 2019

Which can just as easily be read as slamming management, the whole free agency system, or just an idle observation on how little one big signing matters in baseball relative to the attention they get in the offseason.
   2. Dr. Vaux Posted: September 26, 2019 at 06:11 PM (#5883449)
Yes, observing that no matter how well one player plays, he can't get his team to the playoffs by himself doesn't imply that the player didn't perform.

The main critical reason to make that observation would be to counsel against thinking that a single big free-agent signing will put a team in the playoffs. It doesn't necessarily counsel against big free-agent signings, because three or four of them in one off-season and you could be in business. If the Phillies had signed Harper and Machado and Patrick Corbin, they'd probably be making the playoffs, or at least they'd have come closer. They'd also be getting their first round draft pick knocked down 10 spots, which is why they didn't do it.

But actually, I hadn't thought of this before, but does the salary cap, in addition to keeping teams from going past $247 million also keep them from getting particularly near it, because veteran free-agents aren't really something that it often makes sense to sign one of? A lot of teams might increase payroll from $150 million to $300 million, because that would move the needle, but increasing to $200 million just won't move it enough to be worth it.

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