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Sunday, November 27, 2022

Why MLB needs to fix its interminable slog of an offseason

Here’s how the offseason should work: Free agents are wooed in November amid rampant speculation. Some sign. Some hold out for more. It all comes to a head in early December at the winter meetings, which become a bona fide event as the race to build rosters reaches a frenzy.

When the winter meetings end, the offseason ends. Phillies president Dave Dombrowski has advocated a signing deadline for years, in part because front offices need a break, but also because let’s get on with it already.

“Only our sport is like this,” he said during his Red Sox tenure.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 27, 2022 at 11:16 PM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hot stove

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   1. JRVJ Posted: November 28, 2022 at 08:49 AM (#6106997)
I would certainly prefer for MLB's hot stove season to go much faster than it currently goes.

However, this is only a problem for certain media types. And I've learned in life not to care too much about the gripes of certain media types.
   2. DL from MN Posted: November 28, 2022 at 10:03 AM (#6107000)
I think a holiday dead period from one week after the winter meetings until New Year's Day would be helpful. The Hall of Fame announcements can carry the baseball news cycle for that period of time.
   3. cookiedabookie Posted: November 28, 2022 at 12:07 PM (#6107016)
If there's a deadline, it means players can't sign until when? Beginning of spring training? End of it? Does signing after deadline erase QO penalty?
   4. John Reynard Posted: November 28, 2022 at 01:20 PM (#6107033)
The is a solution looking for a non-problem. It'll work out in the owners' favor probably too. So, I expect it'll happen eventually.
   5. Darren Posted: November 28, 2022 at 01:29 PM (#6107035)
I think a holiday dead period from one week after the winter meetings until New Year's Day would be helpful. The Hall of Fame announcements can carry the baseball news cycle for that period of time.


This is a much better solution. Or you could make it the last week of December and the first week of January. You know teams would likely still want to work on stuff, but perhaps they'd allow themselves that week in December knowing they can catch up during the week in January.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: November 28, 2022 at 01:30 PM (#6107037)
Let's make Dec 15 to Feb 15 more boring!!

And surely the bookies' over/under action is livelier without a fixed deadline.

I can't see any particular advantage for owners and players with, say, a mid-Dec deadline. I can see why FOs would want it (rosters settled, a nice month off at the holidays), not entirely sure why the media would want it (what else do they have to write about?).

What about trades and waiver transactions?

“Only our sport is like this,”

Is this true? If it is true, is that because of "franchise player" type rules? "NBA signing deadline" and "NFL signing deadline" turn up nothing in google except the NFL has a mid-July date when teams and franchise players have to agree to a multi-year deal, otherwise they can't until the season is over ... and even this deadline is (give or take) the start of training camps. So I assume Dombrowski means "it takes us forever but not the other sports so we need a draconian rule."

Jesus -- LeBron got a 2/$97 extension with a player option for a 3rd year ... that starts next season (he'll be 52!) Ohtani must be worth about 2/$150 then. :-)
   7. villageidiom Posted: November 28, 2022 at 01:39 PM (#6107038)
If a team would be willing to pay high enough that a player would lose interest in shopping around then this would not be an issue. I mean, seriously, if Aaron Judge gets an offer on Tuesday from a team that is so lucrative that 29 other teams bidding on him immediately react with "Daaaaamn! I'm out," then Aaron Judge will be signed by Wednesday, and 29 teams will immediately move on to other plans and try to lock in great players to lucrative contracts that are more affordable than the Judge one, lest they find themselves having to sign Jose Iglesias for the same money with which they'd hoped to land Carlos Correa. As long as the view of the "top of the market" is consistent among teams, players have incentive to wait it out.

I'm of the opinion that a signing deadline in MLB would provide greater incentive for owners to collude, but I'm willing to hear arguments that it doesn't.
   8. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 28, 2022 at 01:43 PM (#6107039)
The NBA and NFL have nailed it. NFL free agency is basically over in a weekend and merits wall-to-wall coverage.

The NFL is over in a weekend because barely anyone of any consequence makes it to free agency, so yeah, the media focuses on it for 48 hours.

I would like to see a deadline before spring training starts, instead of reading about guys hoping for a job to materialize because their agent was a little too smart to get them signed.

   9. Buck Coats Posted: November 28, 2022 at 02:56 PM (#6107055)
Yeah, I'm with those people who can't see the point of this at all. Who would this help?
   10. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 28, 2022 at 03:19 PM (#6107061)
Who would this help?
It’s small-scale collusion from the same folks who tried the large-scale version. Temporal limits on the free agent market negatively impact the players by restricting their ability to play teams against each other. Teams could hold back on their offers, in the hope at least some players would settle quickly rather than risk being left out when the music stops.

Seems like this would have to be negotiated with the MLBPA, which probably means nothing happens.
   11. Karl from NY Posted: November 28, 2022 at 04:36 PM (#6107074)
Jesus -- LeBron got a 2/$97 extension with a player option for a 3rd year ... that starts next season (he'll be 52!)


I don't know if you're exaggerating or if you got the math wrong, but for the record, the extension is just 2 years (the second is the option year), during which season he turns 40 (in Dec 2024.)
   12. Walt Davis Posted: November 28, 2022 at 04:53 PM (#6107077)
As #3 notes, a signing deadline just raises the question of "and then what?" Unsigned guys can't sign until the start of spring training? Start of the season? May 1? The draft? A draconian deadline would clearly be about creating a "game of chicken" deadline that owners probably think they'll win more often that not. The lower-tier guys might be screwed most of all -- are you gonna raise your 1/$6 offer to 1/$8 if you know the guy has to sign by Dec 15 or miss half the season? Are you going to turn down 1/$6 out of principle?

I'm fine with the idea of taking 2-4 weeks off around xmas so everybody can have a break, plus you've got the HoF voting to debate. I think this used to happen informally and things still slow down around the holidays but it seems to me it's common now to get some reasonably big deal announced shortly after xmas. But "no announcements between Dec 21 and Jan 8" doesn't mean people wouldn't still be working so I'm not sure a quiet period would make much actual difference.

And as #7 notes, if teams saw some real value in getting things settled early, they'd increase the offer a bit to get the guy to sign quickly. (Which maybe they do for the low/mid-tier guys.)

Now that I think of it, in theory it would work better if there was a strict moratorium until, say, Jan 15 -- no signings/extensions announced until then. There'd be a big reveal day -- nobody would even notice the Santana signing. Nov is a month of wild speculation, everything calms down for the holidays, you get the HoF thing going then there's a final week of new/revised/redundant wild speculation then the reveal day. Of course in practice, there'd be a million leaks.

Anyway, if the hot stove gets turned off on Dec 15, it's gonna be a cold winter.
   13. cHiEf iMpaCt oFfiCEr JE Posted: November 28, 2022 at 04:54 PM (#6107078)
It’s small-scale collusion from the same folks who tried the large-scale version. Temporal limits on the free agent market negatively impact the players by restricting their ability to play teams against each other. Teams could hold back on their offers, in the hope at least some players would settle quickly rather than risk being left out when the music stops.
Does Tomase have a reputation for being a shill for the owners?

I'm guessing JRVJ is correct and this has more to do with the feelings of certain media personalities.
   14. Buck Coats Posted: November 28, 2022 at 05:01 PM (#6107079)
There'd be a big reveal day -- nobody would even notice the Santana signing.


Wouldn't this actually be a flaw in that plan? Presumably a large part of the reason some teams sign guys is to get that PR boost - if the Pirates don't even get a headline for signing Santana, would they still do it?
   15. Walt Davis Posted: November 28, 2022 at 05:03 PM (#6107080)
LeBron: Yes, confusing headlines, etc. One has the 2/$97, extending through 2024-25 with a player option which sounds like the 2/$97 starts next year with the option in season 3. ESPN's headline looks similar but the story clarifies that 2024-25 is the option year. Some report it as 2/$85 or some such.

And yes, I thought 52 was sufficiently out there to be obvious hyperbole but it did later occur to me that somebody might think it was a typo for 42 which isn't far off.

Regardless, the notion of signing a late 30s baseball player for whatever the baseball equivalent of 2/$97 is would be ludicrous (although Verlander for, say, 2/$80 wouldn't be absurd).
   16. villageidiom Posted: November 28, 2022 at 05:28 PM (#6107084)
Does Tomase have a reputation for being a shill for the owners?
Tomase came from the world of sports talk radio in Boston, so his thing is absolutely "Talking with nothing to say is hard, give me something to talk about now."
   17. Buck Coats Posted: November 28, 2022 at 05:32 PM (#6107085)
Even beyond all the dumb parts of this idea - what "interminable slog"? The interminable slog of a few things happening all the time rather than everything at once and then nothing at all? It's not like this makes April come any faster, if anything it just makes the baseball off-season deader for a long stretch

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