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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Red Sox exec Chaim Bloom says team will be competitive in 2020 without Mookie Betts

The Mookie Betts trade is finally, no-backsies official after a week of protracted negotiations.

The former MVP will join the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have solidified their place as the superpower of the National League in 2020. The Boston Red Sox will receive young outfielder Alex Verdugo, shortstop prospect Jeter Downs and catching prospect Connor Wong, then ... hope for the best in 2020.

Trading players like Betts and high-priced starting pitcher David Price while getting just one major leaguer in return usually comes with the expectation that the team will be worse the next year, but Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said Monday he expects the team to at least be competitive.

Bloom somewhat clarified his proclamation in a statement tweeted by the Red Sox, saying “we fully expect to compete for the postseason in 2020.”

Well, it’s not like he’d last long if he were honest…..

 

QLE Posted: February 11, 2020 at 12:41 AM | 173 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bullshit, chaim bloom, mookie betts

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   101. villageidiom Posted: February 11, 2020 at 02:57 PM (#5923614)
It's not a matter of necessarily caring about a team maximizing its return - it's a matter of understanding their reasons and not getting upset about it.

But he's saying their reasons are stupid and only supportable by saber fanaticism and pretend GMing. Which is true -- that is in fact the only way they can be supported.
I mean, I'm one of the few people in Red Sox Nation saying I can see baseball reasons why the trade made sense, AND I'm also upset that it happened. It's not an either/or.

I've been proven right a bunch of times when people get upset in the moment over a team trading short-term value for long-term value. Red Sox fans don't have utility in rooting for the 2024 Red Sox, in 2020. They only have utility in rooting for the 2020 Red Sox in 2020. And this trade hurts the Red Sox in 2020, no doubt. I think everyone agrees on that.

The conferring to Mookie Betts the title of Special Player Who Shall Not Be Traded is about as anti-Moneyball as it gets. And even I, the guy who's at least trying to see if there's a baseball reason to justify the trade, am on the anti-Moneyball side of that.
   102. jmurph Posted: February 11, 2020 at 02:58 PM (#5923616)
You can likewise acknowledge that you weren't motivated to make the same statement to people saying the Red Sox had plenty of options for getting under the line, but were motivated to say it when supporting evidence was questioned. Your concerns have been noted.

Oh, in addition to 98, my post was also in response to this, from you:
But they need to fill the 4 roster spots vacated by the four you said to drop, which will cost $2.3 million at the minimum salary.

So, my response was on topic?
   103. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:01 PM (#5923617)
The conferring to Mookie Betts the title of Special Player Who Shall Not Be Traded is about as anti-Moneyball as it gets.

True, but Moneyball has done a shitty job of building team loyalty and franchise value for the A's and Rays. Fans don't just want to watch a rotating cast of anonymous players.

The idea that you keep home-grown potential Hall of Famers (at least through their productive years), because they are crucial to fan enjoyment/loyalty is not inconsistent with a Moneyball approach.
   104. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:01 PM (#5923618)
Red Sox fans don't have utility in rooting for the 2024 Red Sox, in 2020. They only have utility in rooting for the 2020 Red Sox in 2020.
That strikes me as an odd statement, at least to the extent that it's categorical. Don't/shouldn't fans have utility in both? Obviously the relative weight would vary, but to say that "there is no future, there is only the present" in terms of utility doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
   105. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:05 PM (#5923621)
True, but Moneyball has done a shitty job of building team loyalty and franchise value for the A's and Rays. Fans don't just want to watch a rotating cast of anonymous players.

The idea that you keep home-grown potential Hall of Famers (at least through their productive years), because they are crucial to fan enjoyment/loyalty is not inconsistent with a Moneyball approach.
Totally valid point. Taking it to the other extreme isn't optimal, although it's probably the best strategy for those specific teams given their finances.
   106. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:13 PM (#5923625)
Totally valid point. Taking it to the other extreme isn't optimal, although it's probably the best strategy for those specific teams given their finances.

As with most things, the best path is probably somewhere in the middle.
   107. . Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:17 PM (#5923628)
The notion that you might be able to *theoretically* get more baseball value from the players you could sign with the money you don't pay your home grown star in free agency is another thing that has been equally true from Day 1 of the free agency era. The only thing that has changed is people's willingness to get gulled and enthralled by the theoretical possibility.
   108. karlmagnus Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:18 PM (#5923631)
Betts himself didn't make it easy. Insisting that he was going to test the market as a FA made it impossible for the Sox to have any financial certainty; they were going into the 2020-21 offseason playing a $400mm game of Russian Roulette.

Even from Betts' POV, it would have made more sense to sign an extension after 2018, before Sale/Eovaldi/Bogaerts. That way, he may have left a little money on the table, but he would have assured his financial security without the risk of a lousy/injured 2019/20, and would have made sure that he, not Sale/Eovaldi/Bogaerts, got first dibs on the Sox' long term contract gold.

Overall, I blame it on Dombrowski being useless. I shall however miss Betts less than I would have missed the 2000 Nomar (by 2004 he was already diminished, through no fault of his own, but we could not have forecast his decline after his magnificent 2000, which I regard as better than Betts' 2018, and I don't care what WaR says.)

I was MORE besotted by the Sox in 2000 than today; 2001, after we added Manny, was the year we should have won 108 and the WS. At that point, we had/appeared to have the three best players in the game. PLUS Wakefield!
   109. . Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:22 PM (#5923633)
That strikes me as an odd statement, at least to the extent that it's categorical. Don't/shouldn't fans have utility in both?


It's impossible to even project what the 2024 team will look like, so how can a fan have real "utility" in "rooting for" that team? It's impossible to really even accurately project the relative brightness of the future teams when you're sitting in the stands in 2020. You can have something of an idea in some instances, but who really gets that much utility out of daydreaming about 2024 when you're watching a crap team -- or even a good team -- in 2020?

Honestly, I doubt the number of fans who even engage in the exercise is more than like 1 in 100. You have to be of a certain age to even get the concept. When I was 16 in Tiger Stadium in 1980, I didn't give an iota of thought to what the 1984 team would be like. That kind of thing is a product of age and temperament and type of fanhood. The vast majority of fans aren't GM-as-auteur fans, like BTF is. It's a small niche exercise.
   110. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:22 PM (#5923634)
The notion that you might be able to *theoretically* get more baseball value from the players you could sign with the money you don't pay your home grown star in free agency is another thing that has been equally true from Day 1 of the free agency era. The only thing that has changed is people's willingness to get gulled and enthralled by the theoretical possibility.
No, two things have changed: 1) the relative expense of top-tier FA contracts, which I'm fairly certain has gone up quite a bit vis-a-vis other potential sources of baseball value, and 2) the institution of consequences to disincentivize massive payrolls.
   111. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:23 PM (#5923635)
It's impossible to even project what the 2024 team will look like, so how can a fan have real "utility" in "rooting for" that team?
Because if you're a fan of a team, you want that team to be good in 2024 just like you want it to be good in 2020? Isn't that kind of a definitional thing?
   112. . Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:28 PM (#5923638)
The 1992 Pirates are a good case study. A really good team with a nucleus that had been around for awhile, where pretty much everyone knew Bonds and several other core pieces would be gone in 1993 and that there would be real retrenchment. How much do we think that impacted the fanbase and what they thought about when they were watching the games in person or on TV? For a variety of reasons, I was a pretty big fan of the team and it really didn't impact the playoff or regular season watching other than adding a bit of poignancy once the soul-crush finish hit. There was no sense whatever of missing out on the utility of rooting for the 1996 team.
   113. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:38 PM (#5923643)
Betts himself didn't make it easy. Insisting that he was going to test the market as a FA made it impossible for the Sox to have any financial certainty; they were going into the 2020-21 offseason playing a $400mm game of Russian Roulette.

Didn't Betts offer to sign for 12/$420M? Seems like the Red Sox had an opportunity to have financial certainty, but not at a number they found enticing.
   114. . Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:42 PM (#5923646)
Because if you're a fan of a team, you want that team to be good in 2024 just like you want it to be good in 2020? Isn't that kind of a definitional thing?


Sure, and even tautological. I'm just having a hard time seeing any substantive content in the utility gained from rooting for the 2024 team. In a general sense, yeah, you want them to be good -- but is there meat on that bone?

That's the theory/philosophy, the empirical reality for Sox fans is that Mookie Betts is 27 years old and will be 31 in 2024. Maybe the theory has a bit more meaning if the free-agent-to-be is like 33 or something, but that isn't this particular case.
   115. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:44 PM (#5923647)
The 1992 Pirates are a good case study. A really good team with a nucleus that had been around for awhile, where pretty much everyone knew Bonds and several other core pieces would be gone in 1993 and that there would be real retrenchment.
And how much do you think Pirates fans enjoyed the next what, 20 years? Would that disaster have been rescued by a hypothetical trade return for Bonds instead of just letting him go? Probably not by itself, but it certainly would have been mitigated by having a front office that had an eye toward the future as a general rule.
   116. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:46 PM (#5923648)
That's the theory/philosophy, the empirical reality for Sox fans is that Mookie Betts is 27 years old and will be 31 in 2024.
And was reportedly asking for a contract that would pay him top-of-market value through age 39.
   117. Fancy Pants Handle on Altuve's Buzzer Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:48 PM (#5923650)
No, two things have changed: 1) the relative expense of top-tier FA contracts, which I'm fairly certain has gone up quite a bit vis-a-vis other potential sources of baseball value

Really? Because in the reality we live in, it has gone way down. MLB revenue and payrolls are way, way up over the last 20 years or so. Significantly outpacing inflation. But the topline contracts are not that much more.

Fangraphs adjusted the mega contracts for inflation last offseasion. And what they found was that the equivalent of ARods deal in 2001, adjusted for inflation after the 2018 season, would be 10/$592m.
   118. . Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:55 PM (#5923655)
No, two things have changed: 1) the relative expense of top-tier FA contracts, which I'm fairly certain has gone up quite a bit vis-a-vis other potential sources of baseball value, and 2) the institution of consequences to disincentivize massive payrolls.


That doesn't really change anything though; at most it makes the value return slightly less likely. In the 1989-90 offseason, the Sox signed Clemens to a 7 year deal paying him about $4.6 million per year, or 46 times the minimum salary. (BB-Ref) At $35M per year, Betts would make 62 times the minimum salary -- a bit more, but certainly not enough to change the calculus. And of course, the minimum salary isn't really the full measurement; we'd also have to look at relative arb salaries and remember that teams didn't tie up pre-free agent players on multi-year deals in 1990 like they do now, so "replacement" talent was more freely available.

The disincentivization of massive payrolls cuts in favor of my point. If you can't really replace Betts's money, even the theoretically replacement of Betts's value becomes far less likely.

So I'll stick with the observation. The 1990 Red Sox could have, in essentially the same if not higher degree as with Betts, not paid Clemens and theoretically replaced his value with the money saved. Had someone suggested that approach in 1990 they would have rightly been laughed off their barstool.

   119. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:55 PM (#5923656)
Really? Because in the reality we live in, it has gone way down. MLB revenue and payrolls are way, way up over the last 20 years or so. Significantly outpacing inflation. But the topline contracts are not that much more.

Fangraphs adjusted the mega contracts for inflation last offseasion. And what they found was that the equivalent of ARods deal in 2001, adjusted for inflation after the 2018 season, would be 10/$592m.
Point taken with respect to the last 20 years or so - I should clarify that I meant over the course of the free agency era as a whole.
   120. Nasty Nate Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:55 PM (#5923657)
edit
   121. . Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:56 PM (#5923658)
And how much do you think Pirates fans enjoyed the next what, 20 years?


That's only an ex post lookback though. The question under consideration is what they thought without that knowledge in 1992. They knew they were watching a team who was going to lose Bonds and Drabek and others, and had just lost Bonilla. What do we suppose their thinking was about 1996 and how do we think that impacted their enjoyment/perspective on the games they watched in 1992?

My answer would be: very little, if at all. As I understand the utility idea, they would have negative utility from contemplating the future, which would bleed into the utility they got from watching the contemporary team and subtract from it. Can't really see that one.
   122. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 11, 2020 at 04:06 PM (#5923661)
What do we suppose their thinking was about 1996 and how do we think that impacted their enjoyment/perspective on the games they watched in 1992?
Well, their enjoyment of the games they watched (or didn't) in 1996 is certainly a relevant part of that analysis as well.
   123. . Posted: February 11, 2020 at 04:07 PM (#5923662)
Well, their enjoyment of the games they watched (or didn't) in 1996 is certainly part of that equation as well.


Right -- once they got to 1996, they didn't enjoy the 1996 games as much as they enjoyed the 1992 games. But that doesn't mean the 1996 thoughts in 1992 detracted from their enjoyment of the 1992 games.
   124. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 11, 2020 at 04:12 PM (#5923664)
Right -- once they got to 1996, they didn't enjoy the 1996 games as much as they enjoyed the 1992 games. But that doesn't mean the 1996 thoughts in 1992 detracted from their enjoyment of the 1992 games.
Probably not much, true - although I will say that a decent part of my enjoyment of the 2015-16 Cubs was that not only were they winning, they appeared to be well positioned to continue winning in the future. And as the future started appearing more and more precarious in 2017-18, my enjoyment of the current seasons was diminished even though they were still relatively successful. So there's at least one anecdote.

But regardless, you can't isolate the good years from the miserable years when you're talking about the fan experience. You can't just say 1992 had a lot of utility for Pirates fans without also factoring in the 1996 that resulted.
   125. . Posted: February 11, 2020 at 04:43 PM (#5923674)
So I got a bit curious and decided to explore a little bit. At the end of the aforementioned 1992 season Greg Maddux, Barry Bonds, and Doug Drabek (and I'm sure other good players) were free agents. In the entire 1991-92 offseason, there were two trades total of decent free agents. One was Greg Swindell from the Indians to the Reds for Scott Scudder and Jack Armstrong who each had three major league years already, plus a minor leaguer who never made it (no idea whether he was a prospect, though I doubt it). The other was the Pirates trading John Smiley, also in his walk year, to the Twins for Midre Cummings and Denny Neagle, both prospects. The Pittsburgh baseball press and community went apeshit over this trade, even though it was kind of what is now the quintessential free agent for prospects trade, and Neagle turned out to be a pretty good major league pitcher and Cummings, if memory serves, was a decent-to-good prospect. The reaction was nothing like what it would be today with the "oh, but think of the future wins" chin-stroking and pretend GMing and what about payroll flexibility -- even though it could reasonably be said to have started the "rebuild" that would have to continue once Bonds and Drabek left on the heels of Bonilla.

But in any event, two trades total of pending free agents, only one really for a pure prospect package, no other good veteran for prospect trades as are coin of the realm today. I know there wasn't even a hint of an iota of thought given to trading Bonds or Drabek for prospects and I doubt there was any discussion of the Cubs trading Maddux -- and the Cubs weren't really even any good then.

The idea of a "rebuild" was a complete no-sale to fanbases then, and it's still pretty much a con today. Not entirely a con, but 95%+ a con. Teams competed every year then. They didn't really punt years, as teams routinely do now. Sure, teams sucked sometimes, but they always tried not to suck. It would obviously have been an affront to competition if the Pirates had moved Bonilla for prospects sometime in 1990 and then Bonds, Drabek, and Smiley in 1991, even though they assuredly would have walked away with a top three (probably number 1) Baseball America farm system and greatly "accelerated their rebuild."

What's changed since then? Moneyball and the internet. Those, and the combination of the two, are the culprits.
   126. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 11, 2020 at 04:57 PM (#5923677)
The idea of a "rebuild" was a complete no-sale to fanbases then, and it's still pretty much a con today. Not entirely a con, but 95%+ a con. Teams competed every year then. They didn't really punt years, as teams routinely do now. Sure, teams sucked sometimes, but they always tried not to suck. It would have obviously have been an absurdity to competition if the Pirates had moved Bonilla for prospects sometime in 1990 and then Bonds, Drabek, and Smiley in 1991, even though they assuredly would have walked away with a top three (probably number 1) Baseball America farm system and "accelerated their rebuild."

What's changed since then? Moneyball and the internet. Those, and the combination of the two, are the culprits.


Nope, that's not the change that matters.

20+ years ago teams relied far more on local revenue, especially ticket sales. Tear downs cause local revenues to tank, and were therefore unacceptable to owners.

With the increase in national and shared revenue (remember every team gets $200M from shared sources now, and only keep 52% of local revenue), and long-term TV deals, tear downs have become immensely profitable. If you run a $50M payroll, it doesn't matter if a single fan comes to the park or watches a game. Your owner just made $100M.

In the short term, winning 50 games with a minimal payroll is much more profitable than winning the World Series with a $200M payroll.
   127. . Posted: February 11, 2020 at 05:07 PM (#5923681)
Tear downs cause local revenues to tank, and were therefore unacceptable to owners.


Sure, but the cause precedent to that is that the fans couldn't be conned into accepting the "rebuild" idea and that caused them not to go to the games, and ultimately local revenues to tank. If you could have conned the fans into the idea of the "rebuild" you wouldn't get the local revenue tanking. Fans are simply much, much, much more into following and mentally masturbating over "rebuilds" and fake GMing now than they were then.(**)

The Pirate fans couldn't have been talked into punting 1992 even if the payoff had been a top 3 BA farm system.(*) Today, that sale is far, far easier. In fact, today, you'd have wide swaths of commentators demanding that the Pirates trade Bonilla at the 1990 deadline while he still had a year and a half to go on his deal and you'd have people saying the same about Bonds, et al. at the 1991 deadline. Wide swaths of people would be cheering the Smiley trade. It was nothing like that then. It was the opposite.

(*) Again, probably number 1 as they had a good system already which made up the backbone of the 1993 team.

(**) Primarily for the reasons I mentioned upthread about the ability to "know" prospects more intimately, and because the internet gives people an outlet in which to play fake GM. It's kind of strange; rotissirie baseball was a big thing then, but fake GMing and auteur criticism of GMs wasn't really a thing at all.
   128. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: February 11, 2020 at 05:14 PM (#5923683)
but the fact that, other than Buehrle and Garland, most of the main players weren't lifetime Sox players didn't make it any less fun.


Rowand and Crede too. And Jenks. And no Sox fan remembers Konerko's 1/2 a season with the Dodgers and Reds.
   129. Howie Menckel Posted: February 11, 2020 at 05:15 PM (#5923684)
Obviously the relative weight would vary, but to say that "there is no future, there is only the present" in terms of utility doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

some of you guys would have loved the 1970s and 1980s Redskins starting with coach George "The Future Is Now" Allen.

from 1969-90, the Redskins had only 3 first-round picks - none of them in the 1970s. often they would trade second-rounders and beyond as well.

btw the 3 picks were HOFers Art Monk at 18th in 1980 and Darrell Green at 28th in 1983, plus Mark May - who is in HOF conversations - at 20th in 1981. pretty good.

meanwhile, the Skins had only 2 losing seasons from 1971-90 while reaching 4 Super Bowls and winning 2 of them (and another in 1991, after the first-round pick phobia ended). The Future Was Now, indeed.

   130. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: February 11, 2020 at 05:20 PM (#5923685)
some of you guys would have loved the 1970s and 1980s Redskins starting with coach George "The Future Is Now" Allen.

from 1969-90, the Redskins had only 3 first-round picks - none of them in the 1970s. often they would trade second-rounders and beyond as well.


twice he traded the same first round pick to two different teams
   131. RJ in TO Posted: February 11, 2020 at 05:34 PM (#5923686)
And no Sox fan remembers Konerko's 1/2 a season with the Dodgers and Reds.
The massive majority of non-Sox fans don't remember it either.
   132. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: February 11, 2020 at 05:35 PM (#5923688)
120. Nasty Nate Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:55 PM (#5923657)
edit


This is the best post in this thread by a considerable amount.
   133. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 11, 2020 at 05:36 PM (#5923689)
Fans are simply much, much, much more into following and mentally masturbating over "rebuilds" and fake GMing now than they were then
Or, alternatively, fans are much, much, much more aware that more, and more frequent, overall success is likely to come when you are thinking both of the present and the future and have some sort of overall plan rather than just going balls-out (to whatever extent you can) every year with no longer-term thinking.
   134. . Posted: February 11, 2020 at 05:42 PM (#5923691)
Or, alternatively, fans are much, much, much more aware that more, and more frequent, overall success is likely to come when you are thinking both of the present and the future and have some sort of overall plan rather than just going balls-out (to whatever extent you can) every year with no longer-term thinking.


I've thought of that, of course, and rejected it. I haven't rejected it as the underlying premise of all the fake GMing and cooing over "rebuilds" but I've rejected it as having any real empirical support. There's no real tie between success and "planning." It's a premise in search of a philosophical school and it's found one in the GM cultists. Needless to say, it's extremely odd to believe strongly that "planned success" is somehow more worthy than simply ... success. Why do those people have such a psychic need to have success proceed step-by-step according to a plan rather than just happen?

As is my wont, I'm wondering if that psychic need has little or nothing to do with baseball. We've seen the phenomenon any number of times. It does kind of reduce to "You're consuming too much in the present and harming future generations." Were the 1992 Pirates like a gas-guzzling SUV or something?
   135. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 11, 2020 at 05:52 PM (#5923692)
it's extremely odd to believe strongly that "planned success" is somehow more worthy than simply ... success.
No, it's not about the "relative quality" of the success - it's about the total amount of success, or lack thereof.

But this is now in danger of spiraling up into abstract, general philosophizing. I'm not particularly interest in that, so let's just leave it at having reached a basic impasse.
   136. . Posted: February 11, 2020 at 06:03 PM (#5923695)
No, it's not about the "relative quality" of the success - it's about the total amount of success, or lack thereof.


Well, it absolutely is about the "relative quality" of the success, which is why for example Brian Sabean gets little credit even though he was a fantastically successful GM. His successes are deemed unplanned.

   137. Walt Davis Posted: February 11, 2020 at 07:12 PM (#5923709)
Not the major issue but I agree that "home-grown" matters little or not at all. "Debuted with team", "got here when young" mixed with excellent performance probably matters. But you love a Sandberg as much as a Javy. I don't think Grace is loved more than Fergie. I will add a caveat for fans who really follow the minors, go see players in the minors, etc. -- which is really just saying they took the opportunity to start their love affair with that player even earlier than the rest of us. The majority of Sox fans were unaware of Mookie's existence before his debut; even serious fans weren't really aware of him before the 2013-14 offseason; he was only #75 and #62 on the prospect lists pre-2014 and of course he'd been a 5th round pick.

So watching one of your team's young players become (or arrive as) a star is something special. Such players are nearly always loved more than big FA signings. But I don't think who drafted him matters to more than a tiny handful.
   138. Cleveland (need new name) fan Posted: February 11, 2020 at 08:36 PM (#5923720)
As my handle indicates, I root for a team where this type of trade is SOP. I will be upset when they finally sell ("trade") Lindor, so I sympathize with Boston fans. One issue that I don't understand though is why people are talking about the trade in isolation. As someone said earlier, there were other moves they could have made. So looking at the Red Sox 2020 winning potential is really about whether the full set of moves (assuming that the GM was told that he had to get under the tax threshold) created a better team then keeping Betts, Price and not making the other moves. So are the Red Sox better with the people they signed and the return from the Betts trade minus Betts, Price, and the players not on the roster because of the roster crunch created by the (assumed better players) they signed or the opposite. Same question for 2021 forward.

Since I am not a RS fan, someone who knows the players please speak to the question.

Edit for small correction
   139. Walt Davis Posted: February 11, 2020 at 09:28 PM (#5923729)
#138: I don't think there's much question they are worse off for 2020. The benefits come in 2021 and beyond from (a) being out from under half of Price's contract; (b) the continued return from Verdugo and the prospects (relative to Price and no Betts); (c) whatever flexibility getting under the threshold buys them for future purchases. (On your more meta question, it's the classic "would you prefer 3 2-WAR players or 1 6-WAR player and two replacement level players?" Picking the former probably puts more faith in WAR estimation and not enough faith in your own minor-leaguers and funglible players than is warranted.)

Unfortunately none of those benefits can be estimated all that accurately (much less "known"). Saving money on Price only helps the team win if they spend those savings wisely -- and there's a good chance all they can buy with those savings is about the same number of wins that Price would have given them. (b) Verdugo looks solid** and if he develops further, he could be a very nice pickup. The prospects could give them anything from 0 (reasonably likely) to 30 WAR (very unlikely). (c) Again, to help this extra flexibility needs to be "spent" wisely. It's really only substantially beneficial (to the owners pockets) if they plan on going way over the first threshold for 2021-23. It is sort of ironic (in a Morrissettian sense at least) that trading Betts puts them in a slightly better financial position for signing Betts.

All told I doubt they get much out of (a) and (c). As I hint, paying $16 M to the Dodgers then spending $16 M on a 2-WAR SP is not likely to improve on just paying Price $32 and finding out if he's still at least a 2-WAR pitcher. The chances for a "good" return are all in (b) and even that is under an assumption that either there was almost no chance Betts would sign or that it would cost so much it would hamper even the Red Sox.

On the $400 M front ... the first threshold is $208; the draft pick threshold is $248. That gap is basically what the AAV for Mookie's contract would be. If the concern is the financial albatross of the Mookie contract, that's essentially saying you think the Red Sox should/will be operating at the lower threshold not the upper ... or that there's a much better way to spend $40 M out there. Under the first threshold (or the central/shared revenue), a Mookie, 2 $30-35 SPs, 2 $25 M position players and now you've only got $50-55 M to fill out another 21 roster spots and a sizable chunk of that could be eaten up by a blossoming Devers; under the upper threshold you've still got $90-95. That extra $40 M can be a big difference.

** I had thought that Verdugo's limited time was because he was young and semi-platooned (which were both partly true) but it's mainly due to being on the IL from early August. And apparently with a back problem which gives me pause. Still, a very nice 377 PAs last year, let's hope he can keep it up.
   140. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 11, 2020 at 09:56 PM (#5923743)
Still, a very nice 377 PAs last year, let's hope he can keep it up.

Since he appears to be an awful human being, I hope he doesn't and is out of baseball as soon as possible. Let some non-sociopath have the job.
   141. Snowboy Posted: February 11, 2020 at 10:47 PM (#5923750)
108. karlmagnus Posted: February 11, 2020 at 03:18 PM (#5923631)
Betts himself didn't make it easy. Insisting that he was going to test the market as a FA made it impossible for the Sox to have any financial certainty; they were going into the 2020-21 offseason playing a $400mm game of Russian Roulette.


A few ideas, reading through this thread, and considering the situation:
a) the Red Sox didn't understand the depth of love for Mookie, and the amount of venom that would spew from from this trade (from a PR perspective, if they keep him half the year and fall out of it, with a trade to a contender (with the player saying he endorses it, as he becomes a FA in NOV a la Roy Halladay) then the anger is diluted; if they keep him the whole year, then make him an offer, but he signs elsewhere, the anger is also diluted, away from the FO/Bloom)
b) Bett's FA contract demands (desires!) were unreasonable to them, and weren't going to be met by them, so they traded him to get what they thought was the best they could (a full year of Betts, with time to negotiate a contract, may have netted more than a mid-season trade, or a better result than the first round pick they may have gotten as compensation had he signed elsewhere after 2020 - they're betting on Verdugo, this seems to be the current running explanation)
c) Red Sox baseball operations was really, really down on David Price - to the point that they would pay half of his salary to have him pitch out his contract elsewhere, and convinced another part of the team (the ones that control the budget) that packaging him off with the excellent but possibly unsignable post-2020 Betts was worth it. All the talk is about Betts, but if they really figured he was unsignable...a bad Price may be the elephant in the room.
   142. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 11, 2020 at 11:19 PM (#5923752)
Since he appears to be an awful human being, I hope he doesn't and is out of baseball as soon as possible. Let some non-sociopath have the job.
I know, right? You’d have to be a real schmuck to support an awful, raging sociopath having such a prominent, important job as...outfielder for the Red Sox, amirite?
   143. Eddo Posted: February 12, 2020 at 08:26 AM (#5923770)
Since [Verdugo] appears to be an awful human being, I hope he doesn't and is out of baseball as soon as possible. Let some non-sociopath have the job.

What is this in reference to? I'm finding nothing beyond him missing some team meetings via Google.
   144. SoSH U at work Posted: February 12, 2020 at 08:35 AM (#5923772)

What is this in reference to? I'm finding nothing beyond him missing some team meetings via Google.



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   145. Eddo Posted: February 12, 2020 at 08:47 AM (#5923773)
Yikes. Thanks for the link, SoSH (and thanks for answering my question from yesterday, too).
   146. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 12, 2020 at 09:05 AM (#5923774)
I know, right? You’d have to be a real schmuck to support an awful, raging sociopath having such a prominent, important job as...outfielder for the Red Sox, amirite?

Why do I want this schmuck (who at the very least has a callous disregard to human suffering, and at the worst is cool with sexual assault) to succeed instead of an actual decent person? He stands to make many millions if he is good, so I'd rather he suck or get hurt, and someone else get the millions. Is wishing good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people a character flaw now? Because I missed that memo.
   147. jmurph Posted: February 12, 2020 at 09:14 AM (#5923781)
As my handle indicates, I root for a team where this type of trade is SOP.

For the record this type of trade isn't SOP for any team, because there's a pretty solid case that he's the best and youngest player to ever get traded. This is one of the many factors contributing to the backlash.
   148. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 12, 2020 at 09:14 AM (#5923782)
Is wishing good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people a character flaw now?
Far from it!
Why do I want this schmuck (who at the very least has a callous disregard to human suffering, and at the worst is cool with sexual assault) to succeed instead of an actual decent person?
An excellent question. Keep it in mind...who knows, you just might find yourself in a position of choosing whether or not to help a raging sociopath with those very same characteristics succeed at some point in the near future!
   149. . Posted: February 12, 2020 at 09:42 AM (#5923798)
The benefits come in 2021 and beyond from (a) being out from under half of Price's contract; (b) the continued return from Verdugo and the prospects (relative to Price and no Betts); (c) whatever flexibility getting under the threshold buys them for future purchases.


If we're going to do this kind of bean counting -- and we shouldn't -- we should at least do it right. The first step in that is netting out the 2021 "benefits" that would have come naturally, i.e., through 2021 and forward draft picks and trades. Which is kind of to say, every team has future "benefits" and access to future "benefits" that they get just for doing nothing. That has to be netted against the so-called "flexibility" the trade allegedly provides.
   150. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 12, 2020 at 10:30 AM (#5923813)
An excellent question. Keep it in mind...who knows, you just might find yourself in a position of choosing whether or not to help a raging sociopath with those very same characteristics succeed at some point in the near future!

There are hundreds and hundred of baseball players that I don't find morally repellent who can play RF for the Red Sox. There's no one competing for the other job that fits that bill.
   151. John DiFool2 Posted: February 12, 2020 at 10:41 AM (#5923821)
"...there's a pretty solid case that he's the best and youngest player to ever get traded."

Rickey Henderson likely has a better argument. [3 weeks before his 26th birthday]
   152. jmurph Posted: February 12, 2020 at 10:46 AM (#5923822)
Rickey Henderson likely has a better argument. [3 weeks before his 26th birthday]

Yeah we went through a few potential options last week, Betts's previous two years were better, but it's definitely an argument.

But to underscore the point, that trade took place prior to the 1985 season, which was (I regret to acknowledge) 35 years ago. These types of trades are very much not standard operating procedure!
   153. DCA Posted: February 12, 2020 at 10:53 AM (#5923825)
Why do I want this schmuck (who at the very least has a callous disregard to human suffering, and at the worst is cool with sexual assault) to succeed instead of an actual decent person?

You may be correct. Probably are.

But this assumes facts very much in dispute. It is not clear that Verdugo even witnessed the alleged assault. And he's a teenager in a new country, may not be fully comfortable or familiar with the language or the culture.

It would certainly be possible and understandable that, even witnessing everything and not being cool with any of it, that he did nothing because he didn't know what to do. Or didn't feel comfortable speaking against his peers.

   154. jmurph Posted: February 12, 2020 at 11:02 AM (#5923826)
And he's a teenager in a new country, may not be fully comfortable or familiar with the language or the culture.

Isn't he from Arizona? It's a weird place, but definitely the U.S.
   155. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: February 12, 2020 at 11:08 AM (#5923829)
Verdugo is from Tucson and doesn’t really speak much Spanish.
   156. PreservedFish Posted: February 12, 2020 at 11:28 AM (#5923833)
I'm interested in the idea that Betts is overrated. His dWAR contributes so much to his reputation as a super-elite player.

Here's a comparison for Betts: Chet Lemon.

Chet Lemon, at age 27, had put up a 140 OPS+ in the previous 4 years; .304 batting average
Mookie Betts, at age 27, has put up a 139 OPS+ in the previous 4 years; 305 batting average

Chet Lemon was known to be a very good defensive centerfielder. I believe actually set the all-time record for putouts. He wasn't considered the best in the game though.
Betts is ... suspected to be a good defensive centerfielder. Let's say he's similar to Chet Lemon?
Betts is a much better basestealer and possibly baserunner than Lemon was. So Betts gets a little back there.

Just this quick look establishes that they were, at least superficially, remarkably similar players.

Lemon was a firmly established 5 WAR player. He was a stud. But without the +30 Rfield years, he was never getting close to the kind of legendary performances that Mookie has put up.

Is there reason to doubt Mookie's defensive numbers? Statcast says that he was 52 outs above average over the past 4 years. A mere 13 outs per season does not match up with BR's estimate of +98 runs over the same time period.

25 runs per season ... that's an awful lot.
   157. PreservedFish Posted: February 12, 2020 at 11:32 AM (#5923834)
I wonder if Bloom's own numbers show Betts to be less legendary than the publicly available numbers - lets say he's considered a ~6 WAR player instead of an ~8 WAR player. It makes a difference.

Putting everything together, I suspect that Chaim Bloom told Henry what every owner wants to hear: "I can save you money AND make you better at the same time." Bloom likely thinks that Betts will be overpaid, perhaps badly, and that he can use that money more effectively (he may be right about this, he may be wrong). Of course Henry was already terrified of the salary cap penalties and was already disinclined to meet Betts' contract demands, so this is exactly what he wants to hear.
   158. SoSH U at work Posted: February 12, 2020 at 11:49 AM (#5923844)
Betts is a much better basestealer and possibly baserunner than Lemon was. So Betts gets a little back there.


Mookie is unquestionably a better baserunner than Chester was. I believe James said something that he considered tweaking one of his formulas that accounted for guys who got hit by a lot of pitches, but he opted against it because all of them seem to also run into extra outs on the bases.

   159. . Posted: February 12, 2020 at 11:51 AM (#5923845)
Verdugo is from Tucson and doesn’t really speak much Spanish.


It's a racist idea anyway that if you're from Cuba and don't speak English that you'd have no idea what to do if a guy sexually assaults a woman in front of you.
   160. . Posted: February 12, 2020 at 11:53 AM (#5923846)
Chester, God bless him, was one of the worst baserunners the modern game has ever seen.
   161. . Posted: February 12, 2020 at 11:57 AM (#5923848)
"I can save you money AND make you better at the same time." Bloom likely thinks that Betts will be overpaid, perhaps badly, and that he can use that money more effectively (he may be right about this, he may be wrong).


He can't even use the money if Henry's issue is the tax thresholds because a big chunk or all of it will be saved to stay below the thresholds. That's the thing -- "payroll flexibility" was "worth" way more in the pre-luxury tax era, i.e. to teams like the aforementioned 1992 Pirates, than it is now, and still teams and front offices didn't blather on about it then like they do now.

It's a bullshit idea. Again, not entirely bullshit, but 95%+ bullshit.
   162. DCA Posted: February 12, 2020 at 01:47 PM (#5923892)
It's a racist idea anyway that if you're from Cuba and don't speak English that you'd have no idea what to do if a guy sexually assaults a woman in front of you.

Not what I was saying. I'm saying that if one is culturally and/or linguistically isolated it may be more difficult or uncomfortable to do so.
I certainly would be more likely to do nothing in that instance.

For some reason I thought Verdugo was an international signing. Obviously growing up in the States this wouldn't apply to him. I'm wondering now who I mixed him up with.
   163. villageidiom Posted: February 12, 2020 at 01:47 PM (#5923893)
? I've said it many, many times in other threads.
But not in this thread directed at other people who were saying things that are critical of the trade. When people in this thread were saying they could have gotten under the cap by other means, you weren't motivated to say it doesn't matter if they could. Your comment was directed specifically at me, and specifically when I was critical of the evidence that they could. You didn't say that anyone else in the discussion should acknowledge what you observed; no, just the one guy on a certain side of the discussion. And at a time when the evidence on the other side of the discussion was shown to be lacking.
   164. villageidiom Posted: February 12, 2020 at 01:54 PM (#5923895)
That strikes me as an odd statement, at least to the extent that it's categorical. Don't/shouldn't fans have utility in both? Obviously the relative weight would vary, but to say that "there is no future, there is only the present" in terms of utility doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
The amount of utility a Red Sox fan gets in rooting for the 2024 Red Sox is so much greater a concern in 2024 than it is in 2020 that the latter is effectively zero. It might give them utility in rooting for the Lowell Spinners in 2020, but that's a different team.
   165. villageidiom Posted: February 12, 2020 at 01:58 PM (#5923899)
The notion that you might be able to *theoretically* get more baseball value from the players you could sign with the money you don't pay your home grown star in free agency is another thing that has been equally true from Day 1 of the free agency era. The only thing that has changed is people's willingness to get gulled and enthralled by the theoretical possibility.
I get your shtick is to paint caricatures of "the others", but I'll entertain the possibility you have a point here. So, name some names. Who specifically is, in your words, gulled and enthralled?
   166. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: February 12, 2020 at 02:07 PM (#5923901)
Re Betts v Lemon - you've also got to account for Bett's durability. He played in 103 more games than Lemon in those 4 years. You can't just take similar rate stats then switch to counting stats without adding playing time into the discussion.
   167. . Posted: February 12, 2020 at 02:14 PM (#5923905)
The amount of utility a Red Sox fan gets in rooting for the 2024 Red Sox is so much greater a concern in 2024 than it is in 2020 that the latter is effectively zero.


Exactly. It's one of those things people talk about as being true, but they themselves don't even think it's true. People don't sit at MLB stadiums in 2020 and daydream about 2024, especially if their team is competitive in 2020.

I get your shtick is to paint caricatures of "the others", but I'll entertain the possibility you have a point here. So, name some names. Who specifically is, in your words, gulled and enthralled?


Wide swaths of the baseball commentariat, dating from the beginning of the Baseball Prospectus era and dating to today. Plus all the civilian acolytes thereof. It's grown from essentially zero in 1992-93, to a massive majority today -- as I've expanded upon upthread. Name names? It would take all afternoon and more; it's essentially every baseball writer we talk about around here. There's barely a dissenting voice of any prominence.
   168. jmurph Posted: February 12, 2020 at 02:14 PM (#5923906)
vi, I responded directly to your post that included this:
But they need to fill the 4 roster spots vacated by the four you said to drop, which will cost $2.3 million at the minimum salary.

with this comment:
VI you should probably acknowledge that it absolutely doesn't matter to anyone other than John Henry's heirs if they're a few million above or below the line.

How is that not a directly on topic response to the exact words that you wrote?
   169. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 12, 2020 at 02:22 PM (#5923910)
The amount of utility a Red Sox fan gets in rooting for the 2024 Red Sox is so much greater a concern in 2024 than it is in 2020 that the latter is effectively zero.
The converse of that is that memories of a past winning season would have effectively zero utility in a subsequent season. Doesn't it make more sense to conceive of the fan experience as more holistic across time rather than divided into discrete yearly units?
   170. Walt Davis Posted: February 14, 2020 at 12:54 AM (#5924369)
Is there reason to doubt Mookie's defensive numbers? Statcast says that he was 52 outs above average over the past 4 years. A mere 13 outs per season does not match up with BR's estimate of +98 runs over the same time period.

It likely doesn't matter in this case but remember that statcast compares an OF to an average overall OF while Rfield compares them to an average player at their position(s). It likely doesn't matter here because Mookie has been mainly a RF and the "average overall OF' is probably pretty close to the average RF. But yeah, there's no way 13 outs can get you to 25 runs but the statcast numbers do support the idea that Mookie would be an above-average CF if he was put there.

Greatest young star traded in the modern era: ARod.

As to SOP, no matter what you think of Mookie, they didn't trade a great young star -- they traded one year of a great young star priced at $27 M (while unloading Price, etc.). It is S(but not U)OP to trade a pending star FA. Let's meander:

Trout: Agreed to a short then a long FA extension
ARod: Wasn't extended (don't recall if the Ms tried too hard), FA at 26, traded at 28
Griffey: Agreed to a long extension, traded at 30
Pujols: Agreed to a long extension (or was it 2?)
Andruw: Extended
Betts: Wasn't extended, traded at 27, possibly FA at 28
Machado: Wasn't extended, traded at 25, FA at 26
Harper: Wasn't extended, FA at 26
Pudge: Agreed to extension
Heyward: Wasn't extended, traded at 25, FA at 26

Those are the top 10 WARs through age 26 for the period of 1990+, also conveniently the ones with 30+ WAR. Mookie is the 3rd one traded before FA. Of the 5 that didn't sign longish extensions, 3 were traded.

What about the return? 2.5 months of Machado brought back Yusniel Diaz (a 50ish prospect) and 4 other minors guys. 1 year of Heyward brought back 4 years of the established young starter Shelby Miller who it turned out had one good season left in his arm. The "expensive" ARod plus many millions in cash brought back 3 years of Soriano. Mookie (Price, $48 M) has brought back 5 years of Verdugo, a #50ish prospect, another guy and $48 M in salary relief.
   171. ReggieThomasLives Posted: February 14, 2020 at 01:07 AM (#5924372)
Chaim is pronounced “Haim” as in Corey Haim.

That is all.
   172. Howie Menckel Posted: February 14, 2020 at 01:40 AM (#5924374)
Re Betts v Lemon - you've also got to account for Bett's durability. He played in 103 more games than Lemon in those 4 years. You can't just take similar rate stats then switch to counting stats without adding playing time into the discussion.
167. . Posted: February 12, 2020 at 02:14 PM (#5923905)

well, Lemon played in 94 out of 106 actual games played by his team in 1981 at his age 26. this cuts the issue roughly in half (plus tiny bonus for his 1979 and 1980 team only playing 160 games). You can't just take counting stats without adding playing time opportunity into the discussion.
   173. Fancy Pants Handle on Altuve's Buzzer Posted: February 14, 2020 at 09:00 AM (#5924383)
It likely doesn't matter in this case but remember that statcast compares an OF to an average overall OF while Rfield compares them to an average player at their position(s). It likely doesn't matter here because Mookie has been mainly a RF and the "average overall OF' is probably pretty close to the average RF. But yeah, there's no way 13 outs can get you to 25 runs

Back of the envelope math, according to bref, CF is 2.5, RF -7, and LF -7 (all per 650PA). So average OF is -3.83. So being compared to all OFers instead of Rfers, costs 3.17 runs per season. That gives us 24.5 - 3.17 = 21.33

You still aren't getting 13 outs to 21 runs (unless maybe you find that the extra outs Mookie is taking away are extremely likely to be triples or something). But it is considerably closer.
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