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Friday, November 01, 2019

Report: MLB proposed deadline for multi-year free agent contracts

The Athletic’s Evan Drellich reports that Major League Baseball made a proposal to the MLB Players Association, suggesting a deadline for multi-year contracts for free agents. The deadline would have been set for the end of the Winter Meetings, which this year will take place December 8-12 in San Diego. Unsurprisingly, the union rejected the proposal.

At face value, MLB’s goal with the proposal would be to speed up the rate at which the bigger free agents sign contracts. Bruce Meyer, hired as the union’s chief negotiator last year, said, “After due consideration, we rejected their proposal as not being in the best interests of players. We asked if MLB was interested in discussing other, more direct and tangible ways of incentivizing early signings and they weren’t at this time.”

MLB suggested the deadline could create a bidding frenzy for free agents. The union didn’t see it that way, instead correctly surmising that teams would wait out the deadline and then make, as Drellich put it, take-it-or-leave-it offers.

As always, my apologies- the quoted source is behind a paywall for me.

 

QLE Posted: November 01, 2019 at 12:29 AM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: contracts, free agency

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   1. Bhaakon Posted: November 01, 2019 at 12:44 AM (#5897638)
We asked if MLB was interested in discussing other, more direct and tangible ways of incentivizing early signings and they weren’t at this time.


What, everyone who signs before the Winter Meetings gets a 10% bonus?
   2. never forget: the pee tape is 57i66135 Posted: November 01, 2019 at 01:49 AM (#5897647)
if MLB is interested in cutting down the length of free agency, waiting to open it at the winter meetings would be a better way to do it, imo. the NBA did something like this a few years ago, pushing free agency back from july 1 to july 10-ish. the NFL also puts 4-6 weeks between the super bowl and the start of their free agency.


MLB could also throw a bone to their clodding franchises by allowing teams to trade an impending free agent's exclusive negotiating rights during that newly created month. this is something the NHL does; both sides of those deals tend to be pretty happy with them.


and as long as i'm #hoopideaing it, i'd move the rule 5 draft to mid-august, and i'd move expanded rosters from september (when half the league is trying to tank) to april (when half the league is limiting their starters to 68 pitches).
   3. vortex of dissipation Posted: November 01, 2019 at 02:15 AM (#5897653)
i'd move expanded rosters from september (when half the league is trying to tank) to april (when half the league is limiting their starters to 68 pitches).


From 1957 to 1967, teams carried 28 players on their active roster from opening day until 30 days into the season, when they had to cut the active roster to 25.
   4. manchestermets Posted: November 01, 2019 at 05:45 AM (#5897658)
The Athletic article cites Boras raising an alternative suggestion to incentivise early signings - he doesn't go into too much detail but it's effectively top 15 teams (exactly how top 15 is defined isn't specified, but it's in terms of economics rather than performance) get to exempt a percentage of early signings' salaries from the CBT value of the payroll, the bottom 15 get bonus draft picks for early signings.
   5. spycake Posted: November 01, 2019 at 07:09 AM (#5897662)
What, everyone who signs before the Winter Meetings gets a 10% bonus?


Nope -- everyone who signs early gets a free mattress from "Mattress Mack."
   6. Bhaakon Posted: November 01, 2019 at 02:10 PM (#5897836)
if MLB is interested in cutting down the length of free agency, waiting to open it at the winter meetings would be a better way to do it, imo. the NBA did something like this a few years ago, pushing free agency back from july 1 to july 10-ish. the NFL also puts 4-6 weeks between the super bowl and the start of their free agency.


Both those leagues also have much harder caps. If you know you're getting a max contract wherever you sign, then holding out is pointless. If you know waiting means many teams will hard cap themselves out of your asking price, then waiting is much more of a gamble.

If MLB really wants to make free agents sign quicker, then have a couple high-profile holdouts backfire. But that probably won't happen.
   7. never forget: the pee tape is 57i66135 Posted: November 01, 2019 at 02:36 PM (#5897849)
If MLB really wants to make free agents sign quicker, then have a couple high-profile holdouts backfire. But that probably won't happen.
that's been happening for years already; kimbrel and kuechel couldn't get signed until june this year.



   8. winnipegwhip Posted: November 01, 2019 at 05:51 PM (#5897935)
Maybe its time to bring back the free agent draft that existed in the first post-plantation collective bargaining agreement?

If I remember correctly the teams were allowed to draft which players they could negotiate with. The player was limited to being drafted so many times. I believe this is what the players association didn't like. But if teams were only able to draft a certain amount of players to negotiate with they would be limited in their options to get free agents and it would be more difficult for a team to move to plan B.

So for example only 15 teams could list Gerrit Cole in their drafts. (A live draft of free agents negotiating rights would be awesome on MLB tv.) If teams were limited to naming only 10-15 players they wish to negotiate with there would be more strategy involved. Does a team waste using a pick on Cole if other big spenders have drafted Cole already? If the Cubs or Yankees draft him does the Red Sox or Cardinals have to use a draft pick to stay at least maintain negotiating possibilities for Cole?
   9. Walt Davis Posted: November 01, 2019 at 07:50 PM (#5897966)
It's not exactly clear whether the current delays in signings is because teams don't really care so they're waiting as long as possible to make their best offers or if it's players holding out because they're unhappy with the offers (or most likely some of both).

If you want to incentivize it for teams then something like what's in #4 should work; or a team that signs a QO'd FA before date X doesn't lose a pick. (I don't think there's much concern that non-QO'd players aren't getting signed.) If you want to incentivize it for players -- I really have no idea. You just have to hope the teams pass on (some of) their "savings" to the players and that's enough to meet their demands.

I think the MLBPA would be better served if they could get rid of the QO accept/decline deadline. The QO is in effect for the entire offseason or until the team withdraws it. The latter is the key bit -- a team doesn't want to sign some replacements then have their QO guy accept the offer. But this is left up to the team -- so the Giants put a QO on Bumgarner, assuming he won't accept; so they sign some guys; if they get to a point where they think it would be bad for them if Bumgarner accepted the QO, then they withdraw it and now Bumgarner becomes a bit more valuable in the market. Put in some mechanism (a 24-hour grace period?) to avoid cases where the Giants sign an FA only to be called 30 seconds later by Bumgarner accepting the QO.

You could try variants of that -- e.g. if a player isn't signed by Mar 1 then he gets another bite at the QO (or the team withdraws it) -- but that probably just means nobody is signed before Mar 1. I think they also need to get rid of the "draft pick penalty remains in effect until the draft" clause.

Basically it's just absurd that a FA player's current team gets to place a penalty on his value for a period of up to nearly 8 months (or a period of 7 months after the player rejected their gracious "offer"). Further, while I have no problem with (some) teams receiving a compensatory pick for losing a top FA, the penalty for the signing team should go.
   10. never forget: the pee tape is 57i66135 Posted: November 01, 2019 at 08:04 PM (#5897971)
It's not exactly clear whether the current delays in signings is because teams don't really care so they're waiting as long as possible to make their best offers or if it's players holding out because they're unhappy with the offers (or most likely some of both).

last year's machado/harper sagas proved that the free agent freeze has nothing to do with the quality or the desirability of any given free agent. every team knows what every other team is offering, and management has enough discipline to not get sucked into bidding wars.


the problem is the market itself, and if that sounds like collusion...correct.

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