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Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Red Sox don’t deserve No. 1 pick in draft, and here’s hoping Rob Manfred doesn’t give it to them

Considering the owners barely wanted to play this 60-game lice infestation of a season to begin with, it hardly seems fair to award the top pick based solely on 2020. That’s especially true of the Red Sox, who have reached deep into the recesses of baseball-reference for pitchers like Mike Kickham, Robinson Leyer, Mitchell Godfrey, Andrew Triggs, and James Conyers, and yes, I made two of those names up, and no, I don’t expect you to know which.

Even accepting that no one anticipated Eduardo Rodriguez missing the season to a COVID-related heart condition, the Red Sox never approached this season with anything resembling a will to win. Ownership tied the hands of chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom all winter, which is how Martin Perez and Jose Peraza end up being the big splashes in free agency.

The entire purpose of the last 11 months has been to cut salary, primarily by trading Mookie Betts and David Price. Had J.D. Martinez opted out, he’d be gone, too. Trying to compete in 2020 never entered the equation.

And yet the Red Sox could be rewarded for it. Manfred, baseball’s commissioner, holds the power to order the 2021 draft however he sees fit, but he’s yet to reveal his intentions. If the order is based simply on 2020 record, the 12-25 Red Sox would currently pick third behind the 10-24 Pirates and 12-25 Angels, losing a tiebreaker with L.A. thanks to a better 2019 record.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 08, 2020 at 02:17 PM | 58 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: coronavirus, draft, red sox

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   1. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 08, 2020 at 03:09 PM (#5975082)
I am not expecting the draft order to be based on this year's record. As Tomase writes this season probably doesn't warrant that and some kind of blend of last year mixed in makes sense. But having said that this is a lot of nonsense. Effectively what some kind of change would do is punish the Sox for getting under the Luxury Tax and the owners sure as hell don't want to do that. Given where they were on October 1, 2019 and the events outside their control since it is hard to see a scenario where the Sox could have gotten under the LT and competed. They still wouldn't have had Sale (injury), they still wouldn't have had Price (opt out), they still wouldn't have had EdRod (COVID) and they only would have Rick (1-4, 5.54) Porcello if they'd decided to spend the $10 million on him which wouldn't look like much of a deal. Basically they'd have Mookie instead of Verdugo which long term is obviously great but so far Mookie is 1.5 wins better than Verdugo so the Sox are what, 16-26 instead?

As a Sox fan I'm pissed about the Mookie trade. But this article reads like everything people hate about Sox fans/media "oh no, the Sox are bad this must not be allowed to stand!" We don't have some diving right to be one of the best teams in baseball.
   2. SandyRiver Posted: September 08, 2020 at 03:42 PM (#5975087)
Blending 2019 and 2020 for assigning draft order has logic given the short (and weird) 2020 season. However, not "trying to compete" has a long history and I don't know if any teams have been penalized for doing it. Exhibit A is the early teens Astros, and they thereby "earned" 3 first overall picks and a #2 in 4 years. (Half of picks worked really well.)
   3. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 08, 2020 at 04:52 PM (#5975098)
Given where they were on October 1, 2019 and the events outside their control since it is hard to see a scenario where the Sox could have gotten under the LT and competed.
Most often, going over & getting under the Luxury Tax threshold are multi-year processes. For reasons that still remain rather fuzzy, the Red Sox did a complete 180 turn and elected to get under the threshold in a single offseason, even if it meant trading away their best player. That may have been the best option for the owner’s short-term bottom line, but a multi-year approach would have produced better teams for years ahead, which normally helps the bottom line, too, at least in normal times.

Using the 2019 standings as part of the formula for the 2021 draft order rewards teams that have already been rewarded for sucking that year. I wouldn’t do it. If a 60-game, geographically-limited season is too flukey to be used, do some type of lottery among the non-playoff teams, or the worst of them.
   4. Answer Guy. Posted: September 08, 2020 at 05:02 PM (#5975102)
1. If you think it means that much, implement a draft lottery.

2. If you decided that the Cubs and Astros, who play in bigger media markets than Boston, weren't where you drew the line as far as tanking goes, then why is this case so different?

3. As Jose says, even in a timeline where the Red Sox made the "honest" effort this author thinks they "should" have made, where are they in the standings? Yeah, it'd be nice to have Mookie Betts on the team, but it's not like Alex Verdugo has been bad. I suppose Porcello, bad as he's been for the Mets, would be better than [name not worth knowing or remembering] in the rotation, but it's not like he'd be helping all *that* much, especially not considering his price tag. Sale would still be injured, Price would have still opted out, EdRod would still be sick, the pitching would still be awful.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: September 08, 2020 at 05:36 PM (#5975112)
The Cubs have tried no harder the last two seasons than the Red Sox did this one. For 2018-19, our biggest offseason transaction was signing Daniel Descalso (for two years for no known reason). The only other transaction that had any impact was the minors deal for Rowan Wick. (We did make some deadline deals.) Our big acquisitions this offseason were Souza Jr, Jeffress and Kipnis (the latter two have been godsends).
   6. villageidiom Posted: September 08, 2020 at 05:45 PM (#5975120)
The entire purpose of the last 11 months has been to cut salary, primarily by trading Mookie Betts and David Price. Had J.D. Martinez opted out, he’d be gone, too.
Had J.D. Martinez opted out, they might not have needed to trade Betts this year.

For reasons that still remain rather fuzzy, the Red Sox did a complete 180 turn and elected to get under the threshold in a single offseason, even if it meant trading away their best player. That may have been the best option for the owner’s short-term bottom line, but a multi-year approach would have produced better teams for years ahead, which normally helps the bottom line, too, at least in normal times.
Had they taken a multi-year approach they would have started it a few years ago by not signing Martinez in the first place, and then not signing Eovaldi, and maybe not extending Sale. Doing what they did produced better teams for prior years, including a championship. Whether it would have been better to be not much better in 2020 than they are now, and not to have won in 2018, in the interest of being better down the road, we won't know.

I've been critical of Dombrowski in that he set them up for this with his choices. But he's the flip side of someone like Ben Cherington, who was excellent at lining the team up for the future and less good at win-now mode. I still think Cherington as PBO would have been better at developing and executing a great long term plan (even better than he was as GM with Lucchino as President), but I don't know that the last few years would have turned out better.

Red Sox don’t deserve No. 1 pick in draft
Deserve's got nothing to do with it. No team deserves the #1 pick in the draft.
   7. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 08, 2020 at 06:32 PM (#5975136)
Had they taken a multi-year approach they would have started it a few years ago by not signing Martinez in the first place, and then not signing Eovaldi, and maybe not extending Sale.
No, that might have been the approach if the Red Sox had decided not to go over the Luxury Tax threshold in the first place. Boston knowingly committed to player acquisition & retention moves that put them over, while certainly being aware of Betts future earning potential via arbitration & free agency. That was consistent with the thinking that financially successful, large-market teams can afford to go over the LT threshold for a few years, even if it may be too costly (in $$ & draft picks) to remain there for the long haul. When the Red Sox decided to go over the Luxury Tax threshold, they should have planned for how get back under, and how long it would take. Instead, they seemingly shifted gears suddenly and opted for a 1-offseason crash program that cost them their best player, a perennial MVP contender who appears headed for Cooperstown.
   8. Dr. Vaux Posted: September 08, 2020 at 06:57 PM (#5975140)
Betts was going to be a free-agent after this season, remember. They might not have been the highest bidder, and even if they had been, it would have been a whole lot of money. That doesn't mean keeping him and trying to sign him would necessarily have been a bad plan, but the idea that he was "their best player" is disingenuous (or presumptuous, if predicated on the assumption that the Red Sox would have offered, and he would have signed, the extension he now has with the Dodgers). At the time of the trade, he wasn't anybody's player, best or otherwise, past October.
   9. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 08, 2020 at 07:09 PM (#5975145)
Instead, they seemingly shifted gears suddenly and opted for a 1-offseason crash program that cost them their best player, a perennial MVP contender who appears headed for Cooperstown.


Huh. Funny when teams go cheap. I seem to recall NY had a 2B who is most likely headed to Cooperstown that they try to low-ball on a contract awhile back.
   10. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 08, 2020 at 07:49 PM (#5975152)
The Sox didn’t do a 180. I suspect the plan for this year was;

1. Trade Betts and/or Price to get under the LT
2. Compete with a rotation anchored by 6 time All Star Chris Sale, 19 game winner Eduardo Rodriguez and perpetual tease Nathan Eovaldi
3. Bash the hell out of the ball with a lineup anchored by guys like Andrew Benintendi and JD Martinez among others.
4. Integrate young players like Michael Chavis, Bobby Dalbec and Darwinzon Hernandez under the guidance of well respected manager Alex Cora.

Last off-season that looked like a pretty good plan for the then-reigning World Series champions. Since then;

Sale had TJS
Rodriguez and Darwinzon fell under COVID
Mata Hari Cora got busted
Benintendi forgot how to hit
JDM kinda went in the tank
Eovaldi got hurt

Now, there’s all kinds of stuff in there that to some degree probably could have been forecasted. On top of that Matt Barnes has backslid and some of the guys they felt would be useful contributors from the bullpen have not performed.

It’s probably worth pointing out that they are 7th in payroll according to BBRef. If MLB wants to punish a team for paying the kind of money the Sox have I suspect one of three things will happen;

1. MLBPA will lose their ####
2. The big market teams will say “punished for spending, punished for not spending #### you no revenue sharing next CBA and tell the Marlins team al to go #### themselves.”
3. Both

Look, the Sox have done things I didn’t particularly care for but I think where they were at the end of last season not going hog wild in free agency or trading whatever prospects they might have (not many) for a short term fix wasn’t the right call. Had things gone the way they were expected they were forecasted as about a .500 team this year. Add in a bunch of #### going tits up and this is what happens, particularly in a 60 game season where everything is magnified.
   11. villageidiom Posted: September 08, 2020 at 07:56 PM (#5975154)
No, that might have been the approach if the Red Sox had decided not to go over the Luxury Tax threshold in the first place.
Boston would have been over the threshold in 2018 even if they didn't sign J.D. Martinez. Whether the Eovaldi contract and Sale extension put them over in 2019 depends on what else they would have done with the money otherwise. Point is, they were already over, and would still be able to surf above the threshold a couple years and reset with small roster moves instead of needing drastic measures to make it happen, had they not signed Martinez. Not saying they should have done so, although I said at the time that signing Martinez was going to make it unsustainably costly to maintain the roster down the road, and I didn't think Martinez was the player for whom that made sense.

When the Red Sox decided to go over the Luxury Tax threshold, they should have planned for how get back under, and how long it would take.
I believe their PBO was fired for failing to have done that.
   12. flournoy Posted: September 08, 2020 at 08:10 PM (#5975159)
So is the method for determining the 2021 draft order really still up in the air? That seems terrible. That should be set before it's known which teams the various options will benefit.
   13. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 08, 2020 at 08:12 PM (#5975161)
Huh. Funny when teams go cheap. I seem to recall NY had a 2B who is most likely headed to Cooperstown that they try to low-ball on a contract awhile back.
The Yankees did their best to retain Robinson Cano, until they were outbid by the Mariners offering him $240M/10 years for his age 31-40 seasons. The Yankees reportedly offered Cano more per year, $175M/7 years, but weren’t willing to go 10 years to reach the Seattle number. That seems a bit different from the Betts situation, where the team suddenly ‘went cheap’ to remedy years of showering largesse on lesser players.
   14. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 08, 2020 at 08:16 PM (#5975165)
YC - Again, what should the Sox have done to better themselves this year. If you were a Sox fan what moves would you have wanted them to make? Sign Mookie obviously, I’m on record saying they should have held onto him and even if he walked that’s OK. In all likelihood any scenario where they keep Mookie means they don’t resign JBJ which is fine but center field looks pretty bleak without him. They probably still deal Price but get basically nothing for him.
   15. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 08, 2020 at 08:36 PM (#5975168)
When the Red Sox decided to go over the Luxury Tax threshold, they should have planned for how get back under, and how long it would take.
I believe their PBO was fired for failing to have done that.
You don’t think that when the Red Sox were doling out dollars to Price, Sale, Eovaldi & Martinez, among others, there were discussions, including ownership, on how that would impact the team in future years? I find that difficult to believe, especially in this era. It seems more likely that ownership originally went along with the plan, believing that a few years above the LT threshold were worth the potential benefits. A bad 2019 season seems to have changed that plan, hence my reference to the Red Sox sudenly making a 180° turn. Or do folks think that the plan was always to let Betts go to compensate for the moves that put Boston over the LT threshold?
   16. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: September 08, 2020 at 08:41 PM (#5975169)
YC - Again, what should the Sox have done to better themselves this year. If you were a Sox fan what moves would you have wanted them to make? Sign Mookie obviously, I’m on record saying they should have held onto him and even if he walked that’s OK.
You've seen me ##### enough about this already I'm sure, but to me, that was it, everything else followed from that decision. They traded Mookie (with Price) because they cared more about the luxury tax than they did about competing this year.

There was no logical path to competing hard for the 2020 playoffs that starts with taking an 84-78 team (87-75 Pythag if you prefer), and removing the 27 year old guy who had averaged 7.8 bWAR over his 5 full seasons, while simultaneously announcing to the world through that deal that you're committed to slashing salary. At best, maybe everything breaks right and they have a good run. But they had already determined that for 2020, that was just a "nice to have," not any kind of primary goal. And the infamous "reset" tweet is the final proof of that.

Reasonable people can disagree about whether or not it was in the best interests of the club's competitiveness in the medium to long term. But it was a white flag move for 2020.
   17. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 08, 2020 at 08:50 PM (#5975171)
YC - Again, what should the Sox have done to better themselves this year. If you were a Sox fan what moves would you have wanted them to make? Sign Mookie obviously, I’m on record saying they should have held onto him and even if he walked that’s OK.
I think they should have stuck with their apparent original plan to pay luxury taxes for a few years while doing their best to retain Betts. Try to save money elsewhere. Maybe Martinez opts out or can be traded. Perhaps Price and/or Eovaldi can be moved (probably by absorbing some of the cost). Not saying it would be easy, and it would likely be a multi-year process, but if ownership was so traumatized by being over the LT threshold that they had to punt on Betts, they never should have approved going over the threshold in the first place.
   18. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 08, 2020 at 08:57 PM (#5975173)
OK, that’s fine. But as noted above by many, keeping Mookie for 2020 doesn’t change the current situation in any kind of meaningful way.
   19. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: September 08, 2020 at 09:12 PM (#5975179)
Sure, and that's understood.

I'm just continuing to judge them based not on the crazy shitshow that this season turned into, but on the information they had available at the time*, when they could reasonably have anticipated a healthy EdRod and Darwinzon, Price hopefully giving them cromulent innings unless they chose to deal him rather than having opted out of the season, etc.

*Unless, of course, anyone thinks Henry and his hedge fund quants saw this coming in late January/early Feb. The trade was done only about a month before the NBA suspended their season.
   20. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 08, 2020 at 09:21 PM (#5975181)
Oh yeah, but I’m referring to YC’s comments about the Sox doing a “180” and tanking this year. I don’t think they made a big change, I think the plan was they wanted to get under the LT and as villageidiom notes fired Dombrowski for the lack of a plan. This was a .500 team in February based on projections and the mess that is is largely down to COVID I think (depending on how much you put things like Benny’s struggles on that).

Keeping Mookie obviously was a move that should have been made. They deserve and have received criticism for that. I don’t feel like revisiting that too much because it is what it is.
   21. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: September 08, 2020 at 09:41 PM (#5975191)
2. The big market teams will say “punished for spending, punished for not spending #### you no revenue sharing next CBA and tell the Marlins team al to go #### themselves.”


Big market teams should be in favor of revenue sharing. It means that they don't have to actually compete against the Marlins (et al). And it also drives down the prices that they have to pay for free agents, since the Marlins and friends aren't going to bid on them.
   22. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: September 08, 2020 at 10:06 PM (#5975214)
@Jose, got it, I misunderstood.
   23. Walt Davis Posted: September 08, 2020 at 11:37 PM (#5975235)
The Red Sox should have their children taken away! So not only should Manfred not award them the #1 pick, he should take away their first 5 picks (and give them to the Cubs who are clearly deserving).
   24. villageidiom Posted: September 09, 2020 at 12:14 AM (#5975241)
You don’t think that when the Red Sox were doling out dollars to Price, Sale, Eovaldi & Martinez, among others, there were discussions, including ownership, on how that would impact the team in future years?
I mean, I've been arguing all along that those discussions happened. I've been making the argument since before the Martinez contract that without signing Martinez or anyone else the roster was going to get prohibitively expensive to keep together. I've made the argument that Henry, who has been clear for decades that he doesn't want to stay above the threshold, gave Dombrowski latitude for how he'd get there, and then cut him loose when it became obvious that Dombrowski had no plan other than to keep promising to do it later. I see it less as a change in direction as a change in latitude, but that might be a difference only of semantics.
Or do folks think that the plan was always to let Betts go to compensate for the moves that put Boston over the LT threshold?
I believe Boston was always going to let Betts go. I believe a lot of what Dombrowski did made it more likely.

Keep in mind that Dombrowski's pitching staff entering 2020, absent other moves, would have been Sale (injured), Price (opted out), Rodriguez (COVID), Eovaldi (injured), and Brian Johnson as the starters, with a bullpen of Workman, Barnes, Hembree, Weber, Brewer, Walden, and Taylor. With arbitration awards and existing contracts, they were going to be way over the threshold... with that pitching staff. Martinez's contract was effectively untradeable; Price's contract was effectively untradeable; Pedroia is untradeable. If they wanted to compete in 2020 they needed to replace Sale and have a backup plan for Eovaldi and an upgrade on Johnson, and upgrade the bullpen a ton. That would put them way way over. And in that plan they still would have been hit with Rodriguez and Price not playing, and they still wouldn't have extended Betts.

Absent other moves Boston's upside in 2020 was that they would be mediocre and insanely expensive. The high-priced players were not producing, and because the farm system wasn't cranking out players good enough to replace Jackie Bradley, Jr., let alone Mookie Betts, to compete they'd have to spend a ton more. They couldn't afford to fix all that in the long term AND retain Betts AND have any hope of ducking the threshold. They could choose at most any two of those, and I stipulate that Henry was going to choose a chance to duck the threshold. So they can fix the crap roster in the long term, or they can retain Betts, but not both.
   25. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 09, 2020 at 10:17 AM (#5975284)
1) When MLB has a luxury tax structure, rather than a hard cap, then they should expect teams' behavior will reflect the incentive structure that's been put in place. In the NBA, teams that have an expensive, underperforming player entering their final year of a contract often find that player's "expiring contract" to actually be a valuable trading chip for teams looking to create cap room a year from now. Who knew crappy players making $14 million in their final year would suddenly look attractive to crappy team looking to go big in the free agent market the next year? But that's the kind of behavior incentivized by their cap structure. Same thing here with the Red Sox.

2) Of course, the Red Sox could not have seen a pandemic blowing up 2020 when they traded Betts and Price, so let's not give them credit for clairvoyance. However, how can anybody say this didn't work out optimally well? They wanted to unload Price's contract, they thought it was unlikely they could resign Betts, and they want some young players. The fact they could solve all three problems at the same time in one trade...and then find out Price wouldn't have even played for them in 2020 if they had kept him...and that the 2020 season ends up being a 60-game farce without fans even being allowed to attend...is crazy. Imagine if they had *not* made the trade, and then had Price sitting at home, no ERod, no Sale, Benintendi crapping the bed, Eovaldi hurt again...no chances to enjoy the additional gate receipts that come with having Betts on the field every day. How would they not have kicked themselves for not making the trade?!

Now, they have a 24-year-old right fielder under team control for five more years making no money, and is their best hitter with a 134 OPS+; their second-best prospect at the moment (Jeter Downs) acquired from the trade; they are under the luxury tax threshold; and because they are awful, they've acquired prospects that are currently ranked 11th, 12th, and 15th in their system for players that have nothing to do with Boston's next good team, anyway.

As far as I'm concerned, this has worked out about as well as anyone could have imagined, especially once 2020 became a dumpster fire for the entire country in virtually every way. Seriously: the economy tanked, 190K people have died from a pandemic, my kids can't go back to school for much of 2020, fires are going crazy on the West Coast, we've got a presidential election where the results may be disputed for weeks afterwards by *either* nominee...if there's ever a year I want my team to tank so they can get prospects and load up in a few years - for the love of God, 2020 is the year to do it!
   26. Darren Posted: September 09, 2020 at 10:32 AM (#5975293)
2020 MLB Season: Legitimate enough to determine a world champion, but not legitimate enough to determine the draft order.
   27. Darren Posted: September 09, 2020 at 10:38 AM (#5975294)
By all means though, let's punish the Red Sox and their minuscule $200 million payroll (edit: actually $83 million due to the short season) for not trying to win.
   28. Darren Posted: September 09, 2020 at 10:40 AM (#5975297)
And does anyone want to explain why 2019 should be more important than other years when determining draft order?
   29. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 09, 2020 at 10:43 AM (#5975300)
Since the whole thing is being decided on the fly, why not just say that we're doing the order based on millions spent per win - if you spend $200 million to have one of the worst teams in baseball, then you clearly need all the help you can get.

(I am kidding.) This should be based on record, in reverse order, like every year. Either this year is legitimate, and we're going to treat the winner of the World Series like they actually won the World Series...or we are not. 2020 is either legit or it is not.
   30. Darren Posted: September 09, 2020 at 10:56 AM (#5975304)
There was no logical path to competing hard for the 2020 playoffs that starts with taking an 84-78 team (87-75 Pythag if you prefer), and removing the 27 year old guy who had averaged 7.8 bWAR over his 5 full seasons, while simultaneously announcing to the world through that deal that you're committed to slashing salary.


By the same token, every single competitive team should have been in on Cole and Rendon. But they weren't, because teams have budgets.
   31. Darren Posted: September 09, 2020 at 11:06 AM (#5975307)
You know who deserves the #1 pick? Those plucky Orioles, with the lowest payroll in the league. Or maybe the Marlins as a sort of lifetime non-achievement award.
   32. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 09, 2020 at 11:07 AM (#5975308)
And does anyone want to explain why 2019 should be more important than other years when determining draft order?


It's a 60 game season under weird circumstances. Your point in 26 (and other points you and SBPT made) are valid though. But I have no problem saying "wait a minute, this #### is all weird so let's balance it out some." Maybe the best example is the 2005 NHL Draft. In theory the draft order should have been based on the record of the previous season but the "previous" season had ended in 2004, the 2004-2005 season was wiped out by the work stoppage. So they had a modified lottery to avoid just handing the Capitals back to back #1 picks. Of course this did (or didn't depending on your POV) work out because the Penguins who had picked second the year before won the lottery in 2005 and wound up with Malkin and Crosby (rather than the Caps landing Ovechkin and Crosby).

And yes, there are ample conspiracy theories out there.
   33. Darren Posted: September 09, 2020 at 11:12 AM (#5975311)
But the results of 2019 already determined the 2020 draft order. Why use them again?
   34. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 09, 2020 at 11:21 AM (#5975318)
One thing about 2020's draft is that it was only five rounds. So there is an argument that the poor teams in 2019 were not "properly" compensated for their record in the draft with only five selections early in each round this year and twenty next year. So a hybrid addresses that.

I think recognizing that this year is ###### up has some logic. 60 games is effectively nothing on the MLB schedule. The Washington Nationals would have picked 7th if the 2019 season had ended after 60 games.

Hmmm...thinking about it, one possible hybrid option is to mix the last 102 games of 2019 with the 60 games this year, that way you are using a "single season" of data.

I get your point, this is a season so count it like a season and if that's what Manfred does so be it. At the same time I won't have a problem if there is some kind of hybrid model. What I HATE about what is happening is the lack of knowledge. Whatever Manfred does is now going to be seen as favoring or opposing teams. It's creating the appearance of conflict.
   35. Darren Posted: September 09, 2020 at 11:28 AM (#5975319)
That's fair, I guess, but the first 5 rounds are where you get 99 percent of the value of having high picks.
   36. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: September 09, 2020 at 11:47 AM (#5975322)
At the time of the trade, he wasn't anybody's player, best or otherwise, past October.


That's just another way of saying he was the Red Sox' best player, this season, and they traded him away. So what if he's gone next year? That doesn't generate an existential need to get rid of the player this year.
   37. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 09, 2020 at 01:47 PM (#5975352)
. . . if there's ever a year I want my team to tank so they can get prospects and load up in a few years - for the love of God, 2020 is the year to do it!
We don’t really know what the 2021 college & high school seasons will look like. Potential 2021 draftees have already lost one season, and they might lose all or part of another. Teams could be making 2021 picks with far less information than normal, so those picks may be less valuable than normal.
   38. Darren Posted: September 09, 2020 at 02:42 PM (#5975372)
If Manfred could find a way to determine the draft order in 2021 and going forward that punished tanking--even if it hurt the Red Sox in the 2021 draft--I'd be all for it.
   39. Darren Posted: September 09, 2020 at 02:43 PM (#5975373)
What this discussion really reinforces for me is that Covid has really messed up the world and baseball is the least of our concerns. Maybe a good lesson in general.
   40. Karl from NY Posted: September 09, 2020 at 02:54 PM (#5975375)
I agree that being bad in 2019 shouldn't be double-rewarded. Particularly considering that being bad in 2020 is already less bad than usual since it's not like losing is turning fans away from the games.

2020 MLB Season: Legitimate enough to determine a world champion, but not legitimate enough to determine the draft order.

Because the world champion goes through a playoff bracket that's mostly the same as usual.
   41. Bhaakon Posted: September 09, 2020 at 03:19 PM (#5975376)
Using the 2019 standings as part of the formula for the 2021 draft order rewards teams that have already been rewarded for sucking that year. I wouldn’t do it. If a 60-game, geographically-limited season is too flukey to be used, do some type of lottery among the non-playoff teams, or the worst of them.


I would argue that the pandemic-related issues with the 2020 draft diminished those rewards.
   42. Walt Davis Posted: September 09, 2020 at 06:37 PM (#5975419)
#36 (and YC to start with): There is no existential need as you put it but it's also even more obviously not trading away the rest of Mookie's career. There are no circumstances in which it would make sense to trade away the rest of Mookie's career. There are circumstances (at least in theory) where trading away the next year of Mookie's career (which is all the Red Sox had) makes sense. #25 runs down all the benefits the Red Sox gained out of this trade -- those may still not compensate for the loss of one season of Mookie but it is a lot of potential baseball benefit along with the known financial benefit of not paying about $60 M to Betts and Price.

Anyway, sure, DD's decisions seem at odds with the subsequent decisions. DD's decisions (Sale, JDM, X extension, etc. ... was he the one that signed Price?) are consistent with either (a) we're gonna win championships, screw the CBT or (b) we know there's no way Mookie is staying so we're gonna do our best to remain a top team anyway. Somebody decided (a) was no longer the way to go -- either because Henry didn't want to spend the money or they decided this team wasn't gonna win championships. If the reason was cheapness then you might as well get under ASAP and you certainly aren't going to add to your already hefty non-Mookie,non-Price expenses. If the reason was you didn't think the team was good enough in 2020 with Mookie or good enough after 2020 without Mookie to compete, then you've got some serious rebuilding to do and you might as well get started on it right away.

But you know, if you realize you made a wrong turn back there somewhere, there's no point driving on in the wrong direction, you try to get back on track ASAP. Or if you followed the map but found that Orlando wasn't as fabulous as you expected, no reason to stick around. So the "sudden" change isn't surprising, it all comes down to whether they did actually make a wrong turn or whether Orlando really is fabulous ... or whether you're rather have Verdugo, Downs and $60 M or another week in fabulous Orlando.

It was now or never for the Sox. And they were lucky in a sense that they had the option of making a "dramatic" turn. Most teams in this situation don't have an asset as valuable as Betts. Rizzo, Bryant, Scwharber and Baez are all FA after next season with no real prospects coming through so the whole thing is about to come crashing down (or payroll is gonna go through the roof with no guarantee of continued winning). But right now none of those 4 is doing particularly well and one year of their services will not bring much return.
   43. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 09, 2020 at 11:52 PM (#5975520)
That’s especially true of the Red Sox, who have reached deep into the recesses of baseball-reference for pitchers like Mike Kickham, Robinson Leyer, Mitchell Godfrey, Andrew Triggs, and James Conyers, and yes, I made two of those names up, and no, I don’t expect you to know which.


Kickham and Leyer are kind of obscure, I guess, but what kind of baseball fan hasn't heard of Andrew Triggs? He was in the rotation for a playoff team as recently as two years ago.
   44. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 10, 2020 at 08:06 AM (#5975531)
Triggs pitched 9 games and 41 innings for a team that lost the Wild Card game. His last appearance that year was May 17. He was hardly some anchor of the staff.
   45. SandyRiver Posted: September 10, 2020 at 09:10 AM (#5975535)
Six or so years back, the Boston farms system was one of the top ranking. Now it's been sucked nearly dry by promotions and trades, and the luxury tax situation would've had them losing high draft picks had they not reset this year, virtually guaranteeing many more years of suckage. Maybe that possibility was a concern as big or bigger than the bucks?
   46. villageidiom Posted: September 10, 2020 at 11:51 AM (#5975577)
was he the one that signed Price?
Yes. It was his first really big signing. (Kimbrel was the first big move, but he arrived via trade.)

Six or so years back, the Boston farms system was one of the top ranking. Now it's been sucked nearly dry by promotions and trades, and the luxury tax situation would've had them losing high draft picks had they not reset this year, virtually guaranteeing many more years of suckage.
Oh, I'm sure. We've said in this space before that DD was very good at identifying who to hang on to (and promote) and who to trade, so I don't want to sound like I'm being critical of his draining of the minors by "promotions and trades". But your point is right, in that he didn't replace them through the minors - either through draft-and-develop or through acquisition of prospects.

My earlier speculation of Dombrowski kicking the can down the road every year, if I want to be more charitable to him, could be amended to suggest he was counting on player development to provide cheap talent, and it took time for it to become clear that it wasn't going to happen. That's still on him, mind you, but it paints him at failing at a particular aspect of his job which painted him into a very expensive corner, instead of saying he was actively avoiding responsibility for getting under the threshold.
   47. CFBF's Results are Certified Posted: September 10, 2020 at 11:57 AM (#5975580)
The headline does make me imagine Manfred awarding the first overall draft pick ever year to a "deserving" team based on a totally arbitrary and opaque set of factors that have nothing to do with on-field performance.

"I'm proud to announce that the number one overall pick in the 2022 draft will go to...the San Francisco Giants!"

"Um, why?"

"Have you seen the photos of the sky in San Francisco? Scary stuff. They need a break. Plus, sourdough is awesome."
   48. Rally Posted: September 10, 2020 at 12:01 PM (#5975581)
Whatever they do to determine draft order, they need to do it immediately so that the powers deciding draft order do not do so knowing who they are giving the #1 pick to.

What I would lean towards is record in the last 162 games, this year plus final 102 from 2019. But whatever you do, do it now.

If baseball sits on their hands for the next 3 weeks then the only fair thing left to do is make it a draft lottery.
   49. Dr. Vaux Posted: September 10, 2020 at 12:52 PM (#5975596)
That's a very good point. If they wait to see what the final standings are, there will be no avoiding accusations that they chose the method to deliver the pick to a team on purpose.
   50. Darren Posted: September 11, 2020 at 01:00 PM (#5975762)
What I would lean towards is record in the last 162 games, this year plus final 102 from 2019. But whatever you do, do it now.


But whhhhhyyyyy? Those 102 games already determined who got the top picks in last year's draft.
   51. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 11, 2020 at 01:04 PM (#5975765)
Because a season is typically 162 games and for a hundred plus years has been a hell of a lot more than 60 games. We are dealing with a small sample size this year so some accounting for that makes sense.

Rally is 100% correct that they need to make this decision now. As a practical matter they are too late to avoid some complaints whatever they do but no reason to wait at this point.
   52. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 11, 2020 at 01:20 PM (#5975771)
What I would lean towards is record in the last 162 games, this year plus final 102 from 2019. But whatever you do, do it now.
Not fair. If teams knew that the last 102 games in 2019 would count toward two drafts, more would have tanked. The hardcore tankers have already been rewarded.
   53. Darren Posted: September 11, 2020 at 02:47 PM (#5975799)
Other shortened seasons followed the same rules as full seasons.


Rally is 100% correct that they need to make this decision now. As a practical matter they are too late to avoid some complaints whatever they do but no reason to wait at this point.


Have they announced that they are considering changing it?
   54. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 11, 2020 at 02:51 PM (#5975802)
I haven't seen anything definitive. It was part of the agreement from the spring though that if Manfred had to do the unilateral thing to get the season started that he would be responsible for determining draft order. At the very least he has NOT said "we are keeping it as is" so until something gets said we know nothing.
   55. villageidiom Posted: September 11, 2020 at 03:14 PM (#5975809)
We are dealing with a small sample size this year so some accounting for that makes sense.
The smaller sample size will mess with the precision of who deserves* which pick. But what we've accepted over the years for draft order is plenty imprecise already. Teams' rosters change throughout the year due to trades and injuries; schedules reflect what they did with the talent they have that could play, and not necessarily the talent they have. Schedules in 2019 and prior were significantly unbalanced, and final record was reflective of quality of play against that unbalanced schedule. To wit, of the top 6 picks last year only one was by a NL team. Was the 7th pick team (Pirates) better than the 6th pick team (Mariners) or even the 5th pick team (Jays), or did they just face an easier schedule than the other teams? The answer to that question is, and always has been for the sake of the draft, "we don't care". We've never cared about the precision of it, as long as it's generally accurate.

If we look at the schedule after 7/25 last year (which is around 60 games for most teams):

- 4 of the 5 worst teams in that span were among the 5 worst teams for the whole season
- 8 of the 10 worst teams in that span were among the 10 worst teams for the whole season
- 4 of the 5 best teams in that span were among the 5 best teams for the whole season
- 8 of the 10 best teams in that span were among the 10 best teams for the whole season
(In each case, "best" and "worst" was defined based on winning percentage.)

That's still a generally accurate sorting of teams for 2019. I see absolutely no reason to change that for the shortened season. It's not as precise as last year's draft order. But precision wasn't the system's strong suit to begin with.

* Again, "deserve" has nothing to do with who gets what pick.
   56. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 11, 2020 at 03:38 PM (#5975815)
Yeah, I'd have no problem just using the regular system but they've said they might change it and haven't backed off that.
   57. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 11, 2020 at 04:08 PM (#5975821)
Have they announced that they are considering changing it?
It's Manfred. I think it goes without saying that he's in a general state of perpetual consideration.
   58. Rally Posted: September 11, 2020 at 04:10 PM (#5975822)
Because a season is typically 162 games and for a hundred plus years has been a hell of a lot more than 60 games. We are dealing with a small sample size this year so some accounting for that makes sense.

Rally is 100% correct that they need to make this decision now. As a practical matter they are too late to avoid some complaints whatever they do but no reason to wait at this point.


I threw the idea of last 162 games out there, but it's not something I feel strongly about. Use the 60 game records, or 2019+2020, or whatever. The point I feel strongly about is that some decision, any decision, needs to have been made a month and a half ago, and since it didn't, absolutely needs to be made now.

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