Means the gravy train is still flowing.
MLB Free Agency Is Genuinely Broken”
Personally, I don’t think owners have an obligation to spend stupidly today just because they did in the past. But I’m sure someone will use WAR to show Russell Martin is worth $85 million even if he batted 0.000 over the final three years of his contract. And Jeff Samardzija is a bargain for the Giants at $40 million over the next two seasons.
Partial text from SI.com
Grandal’s deal is another sign that baseball’s economic model is fundamentally broken. Rewind to the last major catcher signing: Russell Martin’s $82-million, five-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015. Martin was two years older than Grandal is now. In the three seasons leading up to his free agency, Martin was just a step behind Grandal, both at the plate (108 OPS+ versus 113) and behind it (54 Adjusted Framing Runs Above Average versus 71.7). If baseball’s free agency worked in 2019 as it did four years ago, Grandal’s contract would have exceeded Martin’s. Grandal is a little bit better, a little bit younger, and everything’s a little more expensive than it was four years ago.
But baseball’s free agency doesn’t work like that—not anymore. Martin’s deal exemplifies that.
After a solid performance in his first two years in Toronto, Martin has struggled in the seasons since. If you’re looking at the last few years in a vacuum, the contract looks like an overpay. It might even look like a reason not to give such a hefty contract to any catcher in free agency.
But the old model of free agency wasn’t built on that vacuum view. It was built on a view that saw top players underpaid, often wildly so, for the first six years of their career before they became free agents. And then they got to make up for that in free agency, where they might be seen as overpaid—particularly on long deals, in which teams understood that they’d have to eat some cost on the last few years of a contract in order to get premium talent on the first few years. The balance was precarious, but it was, for the most part, there until the last two offseasons.
he got $97 million after a simply awful season where he posted a 4.96 ERA, including over 7 in the first inning, the worst for any starter in baseball that year.
Is this a great country or what?
The Cubs would love to get rid of Hayward. He seemed like a safe signing. All he needed to do was hit .275 with a decent OBP and play great defense.
It is too early to give up on Darvich but he looks like he is mentally weak and the pressure of the high expectations was bothering him before the injuries.
Some writer said on the radio today that the Yankees would love to get rid of Stanton and he hit 38 home runs woth a .268 average.
What's really driving the issue in player compensation here is that 1. players are being paid the least when their aging curve suggests they are at their peak performance, and 2. owners are no dummies and are paying players based on future results and not past performance. This means that, as players are freed from the shackles of team control, their skills are in decline, and they're being compensated as such.
The issue here is that those with power within the MLBPA are older players who still want to get paid, but their windows are already closing. The solution looks something like arbitration eligibility upon placement on the 40-man roster, for 3-4 years, and a subsequent restricted free agency period where teams can match offers extended to their own players by other teams. However, those are big concessions by the owners, and veteran players are unlikely to horse trade and/or skip paychecks to pursue those concessions.
We're more likely to see changes at the margins - higher tax threshold with lower penalties, removal of super-two status, and maybe a year flipped from team control to arbitration. Free agents will continue to see shorter deals for less money, because their skills will not justify anything more.
As a Brewers fan I'm thrilled to be taking advantage in this environment. FAs are an actual, affordable option for small market teams. Of the six best acquisitions Stearns has made, four (Cain, Grandal, Aguilar, Chacin) have been market signings. Make hay while the sun is shining, Mr. Stearns.
Buster Olney used the Grandal signing as an opportunity to write about Stearns:
"He's never been condescending to me," reported another. "I like talking with him. I look forward to that phone call."
But as some agents do their lobbying -- making the case for their clients -- they believe there's little to no chance that they will dent Stearns' imagination. Some agents think he cements a price in his mind about what he's willing to pay for any player, either in a contract or in trade, and Stearns won't deviate from his own mental math.
Stearns' reputation for finding good deals is so well established that when Milwaukee concluded its history-changing deal for Christian Yelich last winter, one of Stearns' peers suggested the trade was a steal for the Brewers even before the entirety of the swap was revealed. Stearns, the rival executive said, wouldn't make a big move unless the deal was stacked in his favor. He's that disciplined.
Very few teams are approaching the luxury tax and those that do are winning, but for the most part those teams can afford that. Nearly everyone else has seen that they can make money no matter what sort of team they field and how high or low their payroll is. Sure there are more than a few of these teams that catch fire at the right time that they can bump spending for some post season success, but that is few and far between for most clubs. All of the owners are making money hand over fist and they've figured out that if they don't compete to run up these mega contracts they all benefit with more affordable, shorter term deals.
I wouldn't mind if congress decided to re-open the anti-trust bit to force the owners to all open their books.
What I would really really like to see is to force ticket and concession prices be used to match the payroll/expenses on a team. If you have a stingy owner who refuses to sink a lot of money for even a .500 team (Pitt and Miami are examples here), then the fans should enjoy lower prices at the gate.
I'm annoyed that baseball has fallen so far as a national pastime. Some of it is the players fault, but I put a lot of blame of this on the owners.
The profitable teams make a shit load. MLB is mainly made up of local TV contracts, with the national contract only a drop in the bucket. For some teams (Like Oakland and Tampa bay) the TV money is only a few million, hardly enough to sustain a major sports franchise. Teams like the Yankees and Dodgers have TV contracts in the hundreds of millions, and can afford 200 million dollar payrolls.
Revenue sharing is going away for the small market teams, so its going to get worse for them. MLB may have to consider contraction, because the big money teams have no plans to profit share.
The NFL is in much better shape overall. Their national contracts are in the billions and get distributed evenly so every team is making a shitload of money. No so in baseball.
If any single one went to sell they'd make a tidy profit. Are there that many stupid super rich people that would buy a losing business just to own it? They're making money or they would've sold out by now.
This is not an apples-to-apples comparison, but the house I own is appreciating in value but the rents I generate from my tenant don't cover all the costs. Net worth is increasing but cash flow is not. That lack of / negative cash flow may encourage me to sell the house, or it may not. The income I make from my full-time job is enough to cover the monthly shortfall...
Similar to housing, there are a lot of emotional and irrational decisions that drive certain individuals to purchase and maintain ownership of professional sports teams.
Starts at "only" $50 million in 2019, but averages $82 million over the life of the deal. I can't find a recent link, but they received almost $35 million per year in revenue sharing from 2012-2015. Last season they spent $95 million on payroll. They currently have $13 million in committed payroll for this season, $2 million of which is old deferred comp for Evan Longoria. If the MLB contracts Tampa, it'll be because they never bothered to pony up for a real stadium, not because you can't make money fielding a baseball team in Tampa.
Signed a Mets fan with a dogshit owner
Seriously though, I think MLB owners benefit quite a bit from the fact that they have 81 home games a year. The revenue numbers are silly from tickets and concessions. MLB is number 2 in revenue only behind the NFL (and that's mostly because the NFL's sponsorship revenue dwarves everyone else by a country mile).
The MLB owners are indeed fat and happy.
It is readily available, even to the average fan. Paying players monster deals well into their 30s are going to be few and far between.
No team wants to be saddled with another Pujols, Cabrera, etc. contract. Harper and Machado will get high annual value deals, but I bet neither will be super lengthy.
There is so much information out there, they can all measure the return, and it's just not there.
The advanced statistics have been an amazing development, but it's screwing over the players.
Relief pitchers, strikeouts, and incredible defensive positioning might be great for winning but they ain't great for watching...
The pitching has to be the biggest opportunity for improvement. Instead of mound visits, limit a team's warmup pitches, to be exceeded only in the event of extra innings or a trip to the DL.
Strikeouts will wane - some teams, Milwaukee included, are actively divesting of high-strikeout players and acquiring low-strikeout players (the Yelich trade was a prime example). Milwaukee has also targeted pitchers with modest strikeout totals and put great defense behind them, Braun and Thames notwithstanding. Other teams will follow suit if it proves successful.
Shifting takes away balls in play, but it's not going to go away. Even if you have to have two on each side of second, with both feet on the dirt, the players will still be placed in the most optimized defensive positioning. The current shifting, especially against lefties, is begging for a meaningful return of bunt base hits. I'm sure advanced analytics is still telling sluggers to swing away, but it's hard to turn down a free 1.000 OBP.
Mid-inning pitching changes get only three warmups instead of eight.
Bring back bullpen golf carts to deliver pitchers to the mound from the pen.
Or, my favorite, require the relief pitcher to be in inserted in the game. Combine that with a three or five pitch warm-up, and time will be saved.
As a fan of a smaller market team, I know that any contract like that is a choke collar for the future of the organization. I wouldn't be excited at all if I saw him sign for that....unless of course I was a Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs fan where it doesn't matter what you spend, as baseball is set up to always have those teams thrive.
Resulting in longer productive player careers again and more money for players in their later years again.
I don’t think the owners gain much from that, so the MLBPA will probably compromise on pitch clock and other pace of play items, and give up another year of team control for younger players (screw over the next generation to get more money for themselves today).
I may walk away from the game given one more age of steroids with inflated BS performance. I’m not so naive as to think that there isn’t performance enhancement in the game now, but at least it’s held in check relative to the clownery of 15 years ago.
I’m also not sure if players collectively would be interested in returning to a system where individuals need to juice aggressively just to keep up, even if it means longer peaks and careers (which in a zero sums game in terms of roster spots, would mean for fewer players). I hope they wouldn’t want that, and I hope they would see the harm that would do to interest in the game, which is already an issue.
I think a better solution to moving $ to players, a reasonable concern given that the old system of big contracts for thirty+ year olds is in jeopardy, would be to address the market distortion created by restrictions on contracts for younger players. Unlock the value that is being suppressed in contracts for star players before they reach their late 20s. I can’t keep track of everyone here but I believe you’ve expressed this point previously. To me this seems like a better outcome and approach to bargaining than pushing for a return to the way things were in the early ‘00s.
they got played on this last round of negotiations.
minimum, fully guaranteed contracts, and no salary cap (the only major sports league with such rules).
For any concessions on free agency or roids, they would have to give up one of those three things. Doubtful.
and I know from speaking with a few guys involved in the process that they consider it a huge mistake, along with the salary floor.
A system that more closely aligns with the NFL contract structure, with free agent second contracts possible in 3-4 years would make much more sense.
Obviously the NFL has the franchise tag system, but that system will work fine for most players not named Trout and Harper.
A change to shorter periods of club control would likely cause a disinvestment from the minor league systems, but I don't know that that would necessarily be a bad thing. There is, arguably, too much minor league baseball under control of MLB right now.
And I think the main issue that will change is the fact that teams are keeping guys in the minors for a month to get a year of team control.
That one is going to go right out the window.
That said, I'm not sure what else the players can get.
I'm guessing the answer is a hard "no", but damn it would be nice.
the salary minimums and luxury taxes were a huge mistake for the MLBPA to agree to.
$60M guaranteed. "In excess of $50 million", which could be anything between 50 and 60.
The deal is interesting because Grandal was allowing passed balls left and right at Miller Park in the NLCS and now he's on the Brewers. For 2019, he will be the highest-paid Brewer.
Mets did make an offer to Grandal as the LA Times reported, but official bid is believed to have been for less than the 60M first suggested. Love Ramos though so set at catcher now.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 9, 2019
If he gets anything approaching that following 2019 in Milwaukee (and that's not to say he's going to suck in Milwaukee, but that the reality is, he's not worth that kind of money).
The Mets were willing to overspend to get a catcher this year, that's not the case going forward. He'll never get another offer like that.
He's gotta pull down $32 million over the subsequent 3 years to eclipse it. That's not nothing, but it's also only 170% of his 1-year deal with Milwaukee. There are spray charts floating around already, overlaying Grandal's 2018 with Miller Park.
I see 37 home runs. The Brewers love lefties, with good reason. There's a shorter porch with a low wall in right that plays nicely with lefties. If Grandal turns around with 30 home runs and defense that's anywhere near his historical capability, 16/yr over two years will be a cinch.
How many of those were in Coors and other places that aren't Milwaukee?
Plus, I look at this, I don't see 30 HRs in his future
90 1 1 2018-04-02 LAD @ ARI Taijuan Walker ahead 1-0 t 1 1 1-- 4,(2-1) 2 4 2 0.151 75% Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep CF-RF); Seager Scores
91 91 2 1 2018-04-11 LAD OAK Daniel Mengden behind 1-7 b 4 1 --- 3,(1-1) 1 6 2 0.028 7% Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep RF Line)
92 92 3 1 2018-04-16 LAD @ SDP Kazuhisa Makita ahead 6-2 t 9 2 123 3,(0-2) 4 6 2 0.011 100% Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep LF-CF); Seager Scores; Bellinger Scores; Pederson Scores
93 93 4 1 2018-04-25 LAD MIA Brad Ziegler behind 4-8 b 9 2 -2- 4,(2-1) 2 3 2 0.009 1% Home Run (Line Drive to Deep RF); Seager Scores
94 94 5 1 2018-05-08 LAD ARI Zack Godley behind 1-3 b 3 2 --- 5,(2-2) 1 3 2 0.111 38% Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep RF)
95 95 6 1 2018-05-13 LAD CIN Luis Castillo behind 1-5 b 7 0 --- 5,(2-2) 1 3 2 0.053 12% Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep CF-RF)
96 96 7 1 2018-05-16 LAD @ MIA Elieser Hernandez behind 0-2 t 4 0 --- 6,(3-2) 1 4 2 0.114 36% Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep CF)
97 97 8 1 2018-05-20 LAD @ WSN Stephen Strasburg tied 0-0 t 2 0 --- 2,(0-1) 1 4 2 0.104 60% Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep CF-RF)
98 98 9 1 2018-06-03 LAD @ COL Wade Davis ahead 8-7 t 9 2 --3 2,(0-1) 2 3 2 0.139 95% Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep CF-RF); Taylor Scores
99 99 10 1 2018-06-08 LAD ATL Brandon McCarthy ahead 1-0 b 2 0 --- 1,(0-0) 1 6 2 0.095 76% Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep CF)
100 100 11 2 2018-06-08 LAD ATL Brandon McCarthy ahead 2-0 b 4 2 --- 2,(1-0) 1 6 2 0.083 85% Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep CF)
101 101 12 1 2018-07-03 LAD PIT Ivan Nova ahead 5-2 b 6 0 --- 5,(2-2) 1 6 2 0.038 96% Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep CF-RF)
102 102 13 1 2018-07-15 LAD LAA Deck McGuire tied 0-0 b 2 1 --- 6,(1-2) 1 5 2 0.114 64% Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep RF Line)
103 103 14 1 2018-07-23 LAD @ PHI Zach Eflin ahead 1-0 t 1 2 --- 4,(2-1) 1 4 2 0.097 66% Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep LF-CF)
104 104 15 1 2018-07-24 LAD @ PHI Aaron Nola ahead 1-0 t 4 0 --- 6,(3-2) 1 4 2 0.108 73% Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep CF-RF)
105 105 16 2 2018-07-24 LAD @ PHI Adam Morgan ahead 3-1 t 6 0 --- 6,(3-2) 1 4 2 0.083 87% Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep CF-RF)
106 106 17 1 2018-07-27 LAD @ ATL Mike Foltynewicz tied 1-1 t 4 0 --- 2,(0-1) 1 4 2 0.129 63% Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep LF-CF)
107 107 18 1 2018-08-01 LAD MIL Chase Anderson behind 0-2 b 5 0 --- 2,(0-1) 1 4 2 0.131 40% Home Run (Line Drive to Deep RF Line)
108 108 19 2 2018-08-01 LAD MIL Matt Albers tied 4-4 b 10 0 1-- 3,(1-1) 2 4 2 0.294 100% Walk-Off Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep RF Line); Kemp Scores
109 109 20 1 2018-08-08 LAD @ OAK Mike Fiers behind 0-2 t 5 0 --- 5,(2-2) 1 4 2 0.114 36% Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep RF Line)
110 110 21 1 2018-08-17 LAD @ SEA Wade LeBlanc tied 0-0 t 3 0 --- 2,(0-1) 1 8 2 0.117 62% Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep LF-CF)
111 111 22 1 2018-08-29 LAD @ TEX Alex Claudio ahead 2-0 t 8 1 --- 2,(1-0) 1 9 2 0.076 91% Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep LF-CF)
112 112 23 1 2018-09-10 LAD @ CIN Michael Lorenzen behind 3-7 t 6 0 --- 6,(3-2) 1 7 2 0.054 13% Home Run (Line Drive to Deep CF-RF)
113 113 24 1 2018-09-22 LAD SDP Brad Wieck ahead 6-1 b 6 1 --- 2,(0-1) 1 7 2 0.012 99% Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep LF Line)