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Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Report indicates Brewers plan on cutting payroll in 2020, but David Stearns says team will remain competitive

David Stearns is articulating intention to be competitive and an intention to fill up the 40-man roster with quality players. While Milwaukee was liberal in non tendering players, they are not the only team to use the non-tender deadline to pare down their roster. Per Jeff Passan, 13 more players were non-tendered on deadline day across MLB than were in 2018.

In failing to re-sign their biggest free agents, non-tendering five players from the roster, trading away long-term rotational cogs Chase Anderson and Zach Davies, and declining Eric Thames’ 2020 option, the Milwaukee Brewers are in jeopardy of having a vastly different team on the field for Opening Day next spring. But that does not necessarily mean they will have a bad team or embark on another rebuild. With so much room to play with in the payroll, might Stearns and Company be preparing for something substantial? On the other hand, will the front office brain trust try to put together a “competitive” team on the cheap?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 04, 2019 at 03:55 PM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: brewers

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   1. morineko Posted: December 04, 2019 at 04:22 PM (#5905685)
It's becoming harder and harder to stay a fan of major league baseball. I can't believe teams when they say they're "competitive" when they let so many players go.
   2. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: December 04, 2019 at 04:25 PM (#5905686)
jj cooper noted that most non-tenders this offseason make sense for baseball reasons and i agree. i'm a bit less charitable toward the brewers' moves.
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 04, 2019 at 04:31 PM (#5905689)
It's becoming harder and harder to stay a fan of major league baseball. I can't believe teams when they say they're "competitive" when they let so many players go.
Dramatic much? Of all those players, only two - Grandal and Moustakas - could reasonably be considered key contributors. The rest are fungible players getting funged. A team losing two good players to free agency isn't exactly unprecedented. And in terms of "staying a fan of major league baseball," two other teams in major league baseball signed those players. So how does that not even out?
   4. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: December 04, 2019 at 05:24 PM (#5905708)
Dramatic much? Of all those players, only two - Grandal and Moustakas - could reasonably be considered key contributors.

And the Brewers got both of them pretty late in FA to pretty team friendly deals. IOW, I think I'd trust the Brewers evaluation of their own players *and* their ability to get good to excellent production out of the players they do sign. I bet the Brewers are able to get at least similar, and more likely better, production about of their replacements for guys like Thames, Shaw, Anderson, Nelson and pay them less than those guys would have cost. Grandal is harder to replace, but also it's not that difficult to think the Brewers were right not to pay him as much as he got. This is coming from a Cubs fan who would love to think all of these moves are just about money and that they'll be worse next year.
   5. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 04, 2019 at 05:30 PM (#5905712)
I think I'd trust the Brewers evaluation of their own players *and* their ability to get good to excellent production out of the players they do sign. I bet the Brewers are able to get at least similar, and more likely better, production about of their replacements for guys like Thames, Shaw, Anderson, Nelson and pay them less than those guys would have cost.
Exactly. What teams have realized is that those sorts of players pretty much do grow on trees - or I suppose are the trees the other players grow on, if they're built like Thames.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: December 04, 2019 at 06:32 PM (#5905729)
I'd have to be a lot more familiar with the Brewers system than I will ever want to be to assess these moves but it's clear these moves shouldn't be dumped into a single pile.

Zach Davies is out the door -- in return for the promising Urias and a guy I'd never heard of but seems a Davies peripheral clone who's cheaper and with 3 more years of team control ... so unless Grisham turns into something, that just looks like an excellent trade for the Brewers. The trade of Anderson looks more about money and that he's an FA at end of the year ... they don't seem to have gotten much back so maybe they should have kept him then traded at midseason if things not working out. The FAs were FAs; this is exactly why the Thames contract was structured the way it was structured and he's a better fit in the AL; Shaw was just a classic non-tender quandary -- do you take the chance he's the guy from 2017-18?

The worst I can say about this is that, other than the Urias trade, none of these are slam-dunk decisions and it's a bit suspicious that a series of 50/50 type moves all came down on the "save money" side. But pretty much all of them will be forgotten by year's end or marvelled at if Urias is a star.

   7. Bhaakon Posted: December 04, 2019 at 06:52 PM (#5905732)
The worst I can say about this is that, other than the Urias trade, none of these are slam-dunk decisions and it's a bit suspicious that a series of 50/50 type moves all came down on the "save money" side. But pretty much all of them will be forgotten by year's end or marvelled at if Urias is a star.


I wonder if this is part of a larger trend in the market. With more teams willing to cut bait on borderline cases, the market become flooded--or at least more liquid--which makes further bait cutting easier. The more teams decide to play musical chairs with middling talents, the more incentive there is for the rest of the teams to follow suit.
   8. The Duke Posted: December 04, 2019 at 09:39 PM (#5905761)
Clearly the brew crew is throttling back a bit. They had a Chance to lockup Grandal and moose and passed. Replacing all that WAR for minimum wage will be hard.

If the rumors are true that Hader and Cain are going as well then it’s clearly a reboot which imo is the right thing to do. Reds look to be making a run. The cubs have two years left in their window and the cards have two years with the current team (Molina, carp, wainwright, Miller and Wong will all likely be gone by 2022) but have a pretty good second string developing.

So I can see the brew crew doing a d-backs move. Try to stay relevant but focus on 2022
   9. Walt Davis Posted: December 04, 2019 at 10:55 PM (#5905783)
Well, if they're going to rebuild, the Cubs would be happy to take Yelich and Cain off their hands. We could probably find some use for Hader as well.
   10. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 04, 2019 at 11:25 PM (#5905787)
Eh, I'd be wary of Cain. Massive dropoff last year at age 33. The Cubs do need a CF, but maybe not one with an 81 OPS+ and falling.
   11. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: December 05, 2019 at 08:55 AM (#5905821)
Brewers supposedly about to land Omar Narvaez from SEA. Cost controlled, good hitter, huge platoon split (he’s lefty), terrible defender. Interesting contrast with Grandal.
   12. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: December 05, 2019 at 10:21 AM (#5905852)
Cost reportedly Adam Hill (a low level starting pitcher toward the bottom of Mil's top 30 prospects who wouldn't make such a list for most teams) and a comp draft pick. The pick is the key, I presume.
   13. Nasty Nate Posted: December 05, 2019 at 10:29 AM (#5905857)
The #Brewers will undoubtedly have a smaller payroll this year, which several rival executives acknowledged during GM meetings
Am I the only one who finds this phrasing a little bit odd? Why would we trust anonymous sources from one team about the spending plans of a different team?
   14. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: December 05, 2019 at 11:19 AM (#5905876)
Yes, I admit it. My competitor is shrinking their operations.
   15. . Posted: December 05, 2019 at 11:35 AM (#5905885)
Saber fanaticism and its attendant prospect fetishization has enabled this kind of thing, which really doesn't happen in any of the other sports. It's really weird.
   16. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: December 05, 2019 at 11:53 AM (#5905897)
Pretty hilarious that anyone thinks a team that has been competitive the last two seasons with one of the five best players in baseball is going to tank for 2020. Whatever. Stearns has already worked to addressed infield with Padres trade and Mark A has always stated and showed in action that dude wants to win.

   17. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: December 05, 2019 at 11:58 AM (#5905900)
10--Cain was fine in the second half and according to this MLB article super unlucky in 2019 Meanwhile, still awesome in center.
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 05, 2019 at 11:59 AM (#5905902)
Saber fanaticism and its attendant prospect fetishization has enabled this kind of thing, which really doesn't happen in any of the other sports. It's really weird.

Isn't tanking a huge thing in the NBA?
   19. . Posted: December 05, 2019 at 12:05 PM (#5905906)
I wouldn't call tanking a huge thing in the NBA, no, and to the extent teams do it, it's for a payoff that actually makes sense. A top 3 pick in the NBA draft is typically far, far more needle moving than the same in the MLB draft and a zillion times more than "payroll flexibility" or a top ten farm system as denominated by Baseball America or Keith Law.

NBA basketball isn't really a game of plucky surprises or crapshoot playoffs, like baseball routinely is. With the pythag play and the crapshoot playoffs, tanking makes no sense in baseball. GMs and owners like it because it buys them time and saves them money, and saber fanaticism has stupidly given the whole thing an "intellectual" edifice -- but saber fanaticism is stupid.
   20. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: December 05, 2019 at 12:08 PM (#5905909)
Isn't tanking a huge thing in the NBA?


Yes -- much more than in baseball. Only an idiot would maintain otherwise.
   21. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 05, 2019 at 12:19 PM (#5905916)
Only an idiot would maintain otherwise.


An idiot or an attention-seeking troll who takes contrarian positions purely in order to be able to argue about them.
   22. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: December 05, 2019 at 12:34 PM (#5905924)
An idiot or an attention-seeking troll


Why can't he be both?
   23. . Posted: December 05, 2019 at 12:38 PM (#5905929)
An idiot or an attention-seeking troll who takes contrarian positions purely in order to be able to argue about them.


I said nothing about "tanking" in 15, nor is the Brewers story even tangentially about tanking. Snapper asked a question about tanking, to be sure, which I proceeded to generously answer and explain -- but nothing in anything I said initially had the least bit to do with tanking.

   24. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: December 05, 2019 at 01:49 PM (#5905967)
Doesn't anyone get the flawed connection by the writer of this article

Crabby Tom posts the obvious math of player salaries eliminated due to guys being let go or signed by others. And the dude assumes that now the Brewers will spend less in 2020 and confirms his statement because other GMs agree.

Meanwhile the Brewers have spent and dealed throughout Stearns being in charge because I seriously doubt he would have joined the Brewers if Mark had said please come join my organization but don't expect to be able to compete in the market


Anyway, pointing out the flaw in the reasoning which really isn't any reasoning. It's dumbness put out for public viewing
   25. Stevey Posted: December 05, 2019 at 03:22 PM (#5906002)
Dramatic much? Of all those players, only two - Grandal and Moustakas - could reasonably be considered key contributors. The rest are fungible players getting funged. A team losing two good players to free agency isn't exactly unprecedented. And in terms of "staying a fan of major league baseball," two other teams in major league baseball signed those players. So how does that not even out?


Total leaguewide payroll hasn't just declined as a percentage of revenue, it declined in total over the last two years. It's not dramatic at all to notice that teams all just happen to be valuing players less at the same time. I think there's a very specific word for that, even.
   26. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 05, 2019 at 03:27 PM (#5906004)
It's not dramatic at all to notice that teams all just happen to be valuing players less at the same time. I think there's a very specific word for that, even.
Yes there is: Rationality.
   27. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 05, 2019 at 04:09 PM (#5906026)
Yes there is: Rationality.

Collusion is very rational, until you get caught.
   28. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: December 05, 2019 at 04:27 PM (#5906039)
I wouldn't call tanking a huge thing in the NBA, no, and to the extent teams do it, it's for a payoff that actually makes sense. A top 3 pick in the NBA draft is typically far, far more needle moving than the same in the MLB draft and a zillion times more than "payroll flexibility" or a top ten farm system as denominated by Baseball America or Keith Law.


This conveniently ignores the much more significant aspect of tanking: trading veterans for prospects. During the Cubs taking period, they drafted well (Baez, Almora, Bryant, Schwarber), but they also acquired Rizzo, Hendricks, Arrieta, Strop, Eloy Jimenez, Russell and Carl Edwards for a handful of fungible, journeymen pitchers.
   29. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 05, 2019 at 04:53 PM (#5906059)
Unfortunately, the Brewers are well-run, so they'll probably back fill these spots pretty wisely.

They already landed the catcher from the Mariners.
   30. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: December 05, 2019 at 04:57 PM (#5906063)
The natural tendency for competitors in a business is to form a cartel to hold down wages, make prices stable, limit unpredictable innovation, etc. It's one of the maxims of Adam Smith. "Seldom do businessmen of the same trade get together but that it results in some detriment to the general public."

What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? insists that collusion is a wild idea that requires extraordinary evidence and I just don't buy it. We should expect that they want to collude and need to be forced not to.
   31. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: December 05, 2019 at 05:01 PM (#5906064)
29--Someone on Twitter said the guy is a catcher if you count being a catcher putting on the gear and positioning yourself behind home plate. Because he really sucks at the actual requirements of the job.
   32. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 05, 2019 at 05:15 PM (#5906072)
What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? insists that collusion is a wild idea that requires extraordinary evidence and I just don't buy it. We should expect that they want to collude and need to be forced not to.
I just think it's pretty ridiculous that (some in the) the very same "analytical" community that spent the better part of a couple decades railing about how it's stupid for teams to pay a premium for fungible veterans then turns around and says "It must be collusion!!" when teams stop paying a premium for fungible veterans. Are they colluding not to bunt too?
   33. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 05, 2019 at 05:26 PM (#5906077)
The natural tendency for competitors in a business is to form a cartel to hold down wages, make prices stable, limit unpredictable innovation, etc. It's one of the maxims of Adam Smith. "Seldom do businessmen of the same trade get together but that it results in some detriment to the general public."
Of course the owners do all kinds of things that are detrimental to the general public. But they don't need to collude in this instance - independent, fairly obviously rational decision making will produce these results.
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 05, 2019 at 06:32 PM (#5906090)
Of course the owners do all kinds of things that are detrimental to the general public. But they don't need to collude in this instance - independent, fairly obviously rational decision making will produce these results.

Independent analysis could very well lead them to shift who they spend money on, but it wouldn't cause them to spend less in total, in a competitive industry.

If this was really analysis driven you'd see people offering much higher AAVs on shorter contracts. We don't see that.
   35. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 05, 2019 at 06:39 PM (#5906091)
Independent analysis could very well lead them to shift who they spend money on, but it wouldn't cause them to spend less in total, in a competitive industry.

If this was really analysis driven you'd see people offering much higher AAVs on shorter contracts. We don't see that.
(a) It's far from a perfectly competitive industry. As we're well aware, many teams aren't competing for the same goals each year. You can criticize that, of course, but it's not collusion.

(b) The competitive balance tax has proven to be an effective disincentive for offering much higher AAVs. Again, hate it all you want, but it's not collusion.

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