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mlb logoThere is actual, it-really-counts baseball about to be played! The opening series in Australia between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks kicks off at 4am tomorrow morning (which, if my calculations are right, is 7pm last Tuesday in Australia – wait! who won?).

  • The biggest news is some pretty scary news, as Reds closer Aroldis Chapman took a line drive off of the face earlier this week. It was a grim scene, but the good news is that testing yesterday showed he has no brain damage, and mostly just has some facial injuries. It’ll take him six to eight weeks to recover, and, assuming that goes all right, he’ll be able to pitch a little while after that. There’s no real rumor-y impact here, just baseball impact, and, well, human impact. Glad to hear that he’s going to be OK.
  • Ken Rosenthal reports that the Astros last year offered prospect George Springer – the studly-but-swing-and-miss-prone AAA center fielder – a seven-year, $23 million contract. That would have been a pretty significant deal, the first Evan Longoria-like extension since the Rays gave their third baseman $17.5 million after just a week in the big leagues. It’s a huge risk/reward deal, both for the team and the player, and it makes you wonder if these kind of pre-debut extensions are on the way. (You’d think, by the way, that someone like Javier Baez – and a team like the Cubs – would be a prime candidate.) Rosenthal’s main point is that it’s silly that the Astros won’t open the season with Springer in the big leagues if they were willing to make him that offer (which he declined), and he criticizes the service time games that teams play. Shrug. That’s the system, though.
  • Jonah Keri writes a fantastic piece on the men in charge of the A’s and changing nature of baseball. In it – and this is a relatively minor point, considering the scope of the article – Billy Beane offered an interesting, and unlikely, suggestion: “I ultimately think what replaces the draft should be based on revenue, and that you shouldn’t be rewarded for poor performance. If you think about it, the draft is the only time that a team like Tampa, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, or us, the draft is the only time these teams have access to the really star-caliber players. Because the industry is much better now at selecting the star players. They come at the top of the draft. We win the division, but it would be nice to still be in the top 10, to draft where the Lincecums come, and the Poseys come.” You don’t need me to tell you that, until the Cubs are better able to leverage their market financially, such a system would be a disaster for the Cubs.
  • An absolutely crazy read on the Mets and stud Matt Harvey, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery and isn’t exactly feeling the love from his organization. The main thrust is that Harvey wants to be able to rehab in New York this year, with his teammates, rather than staying in Florida at the Mets’ Spring Training complex. It also sounds like the Mets don’t want Harvey talking to the media about the issue, but he decided to do it anyway. Like I said … crazy read.
  • Ben Lindbergh with a wrap-up from the recent SABR Conference. Far more interesting nuggets than I could even try to list here.
  • Jeff Passan on the blight of pitcher injuries, and the mysteries we may never solve.
  • Lip-reading and GIF’ing umpire arguments from last year? Holy yes please, BP.
  • The Diamondbacks will be serving an 18″ corn dog stuffed with cheddar, bacon, and jalapeños. Hope you got yourself some Obamacare before digging in to one of these bad boys:

  • ssckelley

    I don’t like the service time games organizations play with prospects either. First of all it keeps young players from well deserved free agent money and secondly it is not fair to the team when you cannot start the season with your best players.

    • Edwin

      Plus, these younger players are being forced to play under these contract rules when they have had absolutely zero chance to negotiate on their own behalf.

    • CubChymyst

      I saw a suggestion (I believe Cameron on Fangraphs) that the super 2 might be what is lost to get rid of the qualifying offers. It would allow clubs to bring up rookies earlier (still not at the start of the season) and get rid of the QO for free agents. It that does happen rookies will still get screwed over.

      • ssckelley

        Interesting, I wonder how that would be changed. They would have to adjust the amount of days or percentage where the player gets a full year of service time.

    • itzscott

      Agree….

      The bigger joke is how teams never admit that they’re holding a prospect back so they can milk an extra year of control out of them and use excuses like “needs more seasoning” (what the hell does is that supposed to mean???) or “needs to work on a few things” or “he’ll need to earn his way onto the team”…. etc, etc.

      • Fishin Phil

        More pepper, maybe a little garlic salt.

        • itzscott

          One would assume, no?

      • Funn Dave

        Yeah, I agree with ssc’s point and with yours. There are times when you know your team’s holding a player or players back for service time reasons, and it’s infuriating that they aren’t upfront about it. Fans aren’t going to blame them for being smart.

        • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

          The problem is that if you openly do it, the MLBPA takes issue with it so you have to issue those statements.

          • Funn Dave

            Well that blows. The MLBPA should be able to tell when a team is full of shit, lol.

            • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

              Eh…it’s a tradeoff. Teams don’t dick prospects over just to dick them over (had Baez mashed AAA last year like he did AA, he’d be on the Opening Day roster) and the MLBPA doesn’t get too excited when the teams play the game.

  • Dales Fired Ear

    Damn, that interview with Harvey was tense. “If somebody needs to talk to the Players’ Association, I have a right to have him writing about me.” Jeeze he felt like he had to go straight for the throat, I feel bad for the kid.

  • ssckelley

    These small market franchises are driving me nuts. Baseball has catered to them enough!

    • Edwin

      How?

      • ssckelley

        The draft pool, the IFA pool, oh and they get extra first round picks…..isn’t that enough?

        • Edwin

          Draft pool and IFA pool is based on where you pick, not your market size.

          Those extra first round picks don’t do much to close the gap between a team like Milwaukee and a team like Chicago.

          It’s gotten even worse since the new CBA, because now small market teams who were able spend more efficiently in the draft are now stuck having to spend more in FA, where they are easilyoutclassed by the large market teams.

          • ssckelley

            But they did it to take away the advantage the large market teams had.

            • Edwin

              They did it to lower spending on minor league players and to shift spending to MLB FA.

              • ssckelley

                Sure it did a little of that as well, but a big reason why they did it was to close the loophole where large market teams like the Red Sox and Yankees could keep their farm systems stocked by over spending in the draft.

                • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                  No…it failed miserably at that. Draft spending is down somewhere well south of $50M and most of that came in the 2012 draft when all bonuses were severely capped.

                  The big thing that hurt the big market teams was the loss of mid-season trade pickups compensation and the loss of Type-A compensation.

                  Although, it could be argued that it hurt small market teams equally because they can no longer get as much at the deadline.

                  • ssckelley

                    So your saying that the overall amount of spending being down in the draft hurts the small market teams? When before teams could draft those high school studs, offer them however much it took to get them to sign, and be able to restock their farm system. The Cubs did this themselves in 2011 by drafting Maples and Dunston and giving them a huge signing bonus.

                    But now the amount of pool money is divided up by where you are drafting and the amount of picks you have. Which again, is an advantage to the small market teams since you are handing them extra first round picks every year.

                    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                      The hurt to the big markets via mid-season trade compensation also hurt the small markets.

                      If you wanted it to be more fair. Base the draft on revenue but then don’t allow players in their first 6 years to sign contracts that exceed those years of control. Or mandate teams have to pay players a base salary of those first 6 years of X (determined on draft position) plus arbitration raises or something.

                      This way, the small markets get cost controlled guys, and generally the better players but the big markets still can get guys in their prime but have to pay for it.

                      There are a lot of details I glossed over but you could, in theory, do both. Or, force free agency at age 27 or 28 or something like that.

                    • ssckelley

                      “If you wanted it to be more fair.”

                      It doesn’t need to be more fair. If Oakland is at a disadvantage because they are in an area that has less people then why in the hell do they have a team in Oakland in the first place.

                      You know what isn’t “fair” hans? They can put a team in Oakland where nobody cares about it yet you and I are forced to watch AAA in Des Moines. Hell if they can subsidize the large market teams in order for there to have MLB in Oakland then let’s do it for Des Moines!

                    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                      Isn’t that what the Cubs did this year?

                      BAZINGA!

                    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                      Furthermore…I am as much a free-market guy as anyone; however, I think some sort of parity in a monopoly is good for MLB as a whole.

                      It gives fans in smaller markets a competative team and more interest in the sport if/when they (or their kids) move to a larger market.

                    • ssckelley

                      So we need to give teams like Oakland and St Louis a top 10 pick every year?

                      I think what MLB has done is fine, they share revenues, limit the spending in IFA’s and the draft, and even given the small markets an extra 1st round pick. Let’s not keep trying to fix what is not broken.

    • fossilhippie

      I agree! Beane said “I ultimately think what replaces the draft should be based on revenue, and that you shouldn’t be rewarded for poor performance”.

      The competitive balance lottery addresses that, as well as the revenue sharing. There is no longer a real advantage to being a big market team.

      • Funn Dave

        So the Yankees had no advantage at all when they signed Tanaka?

        • ssckelley

          Sure, an advantage that also helped the small markets since the Yankees will be paying luxury tax again at the highest rate.

          • Funn Dave

            So they’ll be operating under their normal restrictions, then? :P

  • Edwin

    Beane makes an interesting point.

    • ssckelley

      If the teams cannot produce enough revenue to be competitive then close shop or move. Isn’t this the way most other business’s work?

      • Edwin

        But most revenue is related to things like TV contracts, which is almost soley dependant on geographical area. Is it fair to penalize a team simply for not playing in a large media market?

        • ssckelley

          Yes, life is not fair and if you don’t like the place where you set up shop then move. Don’t penalize the big business just because they were smart enough to open business in a large one. Not to mention baseball already does that by assessing a luxury tax on them that gets distributed to the small market teams.

          • Edwin

            Being smart has nothing to do with it. It’s about the natural advantage that teams in big markets have over teams in smaller markets.

            • ssckelley

              Then don’t put a friggin team in Oakland!

              Honestly I think baseball could chop about 2-4 teams.

              • Funn Dave

                Geez, ssc, your posts today seem pretty harsh. Baseball is $-driven enough as it is. If you had things your way, teams would be moving all the time, only the people in the biggest cities would be able to watch baseball, and every action by every player and manager would be overwhelmingly finincially motivated. I mean, are you saying the Tigers should have up and moved when Detroit self-destructed? The city has lost lots of money and lots of citizens, but that doesn’t have to mean the baseball team can’t be both lucrative and entertaining.

                • ssckelley

                  I believe in free enterprise and I am getting tired of baseball catering to the small markets. If we think the rebuild of the Cubs is long and horrible now imagine what it would have been like without the ability for the Cubs to draft top 10 talent. The last time I seen a standings the small market teams are doing quite well, why do we need to keep trying to fix what is not broken? I look at the teams that have been in the playoffs and the World Series the past 20 years and I see small market teams that are winning. How am I supposed to feel sorry for the A’s when they are one of the more successful baseball franchises in baseball, especially after they moved to Oakland? OMG the friggin Cardinals have not won a WS since 2011!!!! Let’s all get together and try to figure out a way to give them an even BIGGER advantage.

                  • Edwin

                    There’s a difference between having an advantage due to being a well run organization, and having a natural advantage due simply to having the ability to play in one of the largest TV markets in the country.

                    • ssckelley

                      Again, then don’t put a baseball team in Oakland! Why do teams in LA, Chicago, Boston, or New York have to subsidize in order for there to be baseball in Oakland?

                    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                      At some point, I think it has more to do with the anti-trust exemption. If baseball makes it more fair, the powers that be look elsewhere.

                      If NY, Chicago, LA were dominating the standings every year, you’d still cater to a dominate segment of the American public but that leaves a lot of representaives and senators with angry voters.

                    • bbmoney

                      Well….they’re trying to move. MLB / San Francisco Giants wont’ let them.

                    • Edwin

                      Because if baseball was only teams in LA, Chciago, Boston, and New York, baseball would be pretty boring.

                    • ssckelley

                      Yep Edwin if baseball was only in 4 cities it probably would be boring. But that isn’t what we are proposing here is it?

                    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                      “Because if baseball was only teams in LA, Chciago, Boston, and New York, baseball would be pretty boring.”

                      Eh, each city would have 3-4 teams and fans of the game would just gravitate to one of those teams. Plus you’d get a few mid-market teams, like the Cardinals, that would be good enough to beat up on the giants.

                    • brainiac

                      count on hansman to take the devil’s advocate role simply because the devil told him to

                    • Funn Dave

                      But there are fans in Oakland that want baseball. NY has enough teams as it is. Let’s share the wealth a little.

                    • Funn Dave

                      “But that isn’t what we are proposing here is it?”

                      Idk, that does sound like what you’re proposing. If you consider cities like Milwaukee, St. Louis, etc. to be too small to feasibly field a baseball team in an “open market,” that doesn’t leave us with too many options….

                    • ssckelley

                      lmao, I doubt baseball will ever be closing shop in St Louis anytime soon. Or Philadelphia, Detroit, Dallas area, Houston, Atlanta…..ect ect.

                      I love how some of you take a minor detail in a debate and beat the hell out of it and take it to the extreme. Hell yeah, let’s only have baseball in 4 cities!

                      Damn, where the heck is that goal post anyway?

                    • Funn Dave

                      We’re not debating a minor detail here. Whether small-to-medium markets can afford to field a profitable and competitive baseball team is at the core of our discussion. Part of the reason why none of those teams will be closing up shop anytime soon is because of the concessions given to them to encourage competitive balance. In your world of an absolute free market, where there is no attempt at competitive balance, who’s to say that all of those teams would be able to remain profitable?

                    • ssckelley

                      I never once did I suggested that baseball should be played in 4 cities. Nor did I say anything about “absolute free market”, there are plenty of comments around here where I have said the revenue sharing, extra picks are good.

                      If Billy Beane cannot make a go of it in Oakland then move or find another job. He really needs to stop whining about how baseball is unfair.

              • brainiac

                there’s clearly a racialized/class distinction between san fran and oakland fandom. there’s tons of money out there, but it’s like two separate worlds. one by the docs, the other on the bay. you put a team in oakland because they have a great organization, players, and fans. and you “subsidize” because baseball is a reciprocal sport in which each team benefits from another team, through competition.

                i’ve given up on the notion that there will ever be equity among baseball teams, but i don’t think we should retract teams simply because they’re not in white neighborhoods.

                • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                  “i’ve given up on the notion that there will ever be equity among baseball teams, but i don’t think we should retract teams simply because they’re not in white neighborhoods.”

                  Um…ok.

                • mjhurdle

                  this might be the single dumbest post you have ever made, which in and of itself is quite the accomplishment.

                  • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                    Idk there are sooooo many of them

                • brainiac

                  i’m starting to wonder if you guys even have opinions about baseball or if you just go wherever the wind is blowing that day. today’s big idea: destroy baseball history and only have stadiums near your houses. and then attack brainiac again. :)

                  • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                    Who are you? Why would anyone attack someone that is useless to a site?

                    • brainiac

                      because mountaingoat has nothing better to do but “attack someone that is useless to a site”. such attacks of course make that person useful, so thank you for extending my relevance.

                    • Jason P

                      You should change your name. I don’t think braniac suits you very well.

                      I’ve got an idea: diehardthesecond.

                • Funn Dave

                  “organization, players, and fans. and you “subsidize” because baseball is a reciprocal sport in which each team benefits from another team, through competition. ”

                  yes. Exactly.

          • Funn Dave

            Life is not fair, but games should be, and baseball is a game.

            • ssckelley

              Baseball is a game but MLB is a business.

              • Edwin

                And in this case, we’re discussing the rules of the game.

                • ssckelley

                  I do not see any discussion about the rules of the game.

                  • Edwin

                    The draft is included in the rules. It’s the rule 4 draft.

                    • Funn Dave

                      Yeah, the draft definitely affects the baseball end of things more than the business end. Although, of course, baseball activities have an unavoidable effect on business.

                    • ssckelley

                      lmao, oh ok….whatever

                      MLB, along with their player entry rules, is a business.

                  • Funn Dave

                    Weren’t you just talking about moving the goalposts? MLB is a business. There aren’t any “business rules.” Baseball is a game. Games have rules. The draft, and its limitations, fall into the category of rules of the game.

                    • ssckelley

                      My word, you are the only one moving goalposts. You are trying to say that MLB is just a game. The sport of baseball, itself is a game, any of us can play it and we do not have to have a player entry draft in order to play it. MLB is more than just a game, it is a business. Games are something we play for fun, these guys do it for a living it is their jobs. If it was something we were doing just for fun then heck yeah, make sure it is fair and equal all around. Also, make sure everyone gets a participation ribbon!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      The point is interesting, but right now I think it would be a disaster to do that.

      The draft is the gateway for talent to enter the league. If that talent is artificially gated to the lowest revenue teams via the draft, then I’d argue it’s going to tip the competitive balance completely in that direction.

      Under Beane’s system, Tampa and St. Louis would draft in or near the Top 10 every year, and then would have the chance to extend the best of those picks through their prime years (which has become the new trend), then QA them at the end of the contract as they are starting their decline, receive a bonus pick when they sign with another (likely high revenue) team, and would see that higher revenue competition forfeit a pick as a result.

      That doesn’t sound like balance to me. Forcing the high revenue teams to try to compete with 30 year old free agents that cost them draft picks because they are artificially restricted from ever drafting at the top of the draft seems like a good way to ensure that higher revenue teams don’t make the playoffs very often.

      I think the system can be further improved and balanced, and I also don’t like the current incentives to tank, but what Beane outlined sounds far, far worse than what we have now.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        QA = QO

        • Dales Fired Ear

          I agree, to make that balanced you would have to eliminate the spending restrictions on the draft and probably change/eliminate the draft pick compensation. I mean the way the system is now seems to benefit small market teams and really hamstrings teams like the Yankees into banking all of their funds on 30 year old free agents past their prime. Not sure what Beane is bitching about but I mean if I were him I guess I would want the system to be in my favor as much as possible too.

      • Darth Ivy

        bingo. You sunk my battleship.

      • Edwin

        I think it depends how they tweak things.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          They could set up a revenue based system, but it would take a fundamental overhaul to keep it balanced. Tweaking the current system around that would almost certainly end badly.

          • Edwin

            Then maybe it’s not a pure revenue based system. Maybe it’s something similar to what they’ve done with the cometatvie balance lottery.

            Look, I don’t really care what they do with the current system, because right now it heavily benefits a team like the Cubs, so to be perfectly self-serving, hopefully they don’t change anything in the next couple seasons.

    • Sandberg

      Beane’s point is that all the star players should filter through the low revenue teams until they are over the hill. If by interesting, you mean self-serving, then I’d agree.

      • Edwin

        His point is that the draft rewards teams for failure, while penalizing teams for success. Since the draft is really the only place where Oakland has a fair chance to get star quality talent on their team, the penalty is much harsher for his team. Is it self serving? Sure. But it doesn’t automatically make him wrong.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          It also doesn’t mean that the draft is correct place to solve the problem. Stepping up revenue sharing so that Oakland is not at a financial disadvantage, for example, should then allow Oakland to have a fair chance at star talent.

          • Edwin

            Revenue sharing could be one way to fix it, but it’d have to be some extreme revenue sharing. Even then it still depends on the relative difference in purchasing power between teams.

            I’m not asking for a perfectly fair system. It’s doubtful one exists. But I don’t think it’s that crazy to try and take a step back and see if there are ways to make the current system better.

            • ssckelley

              Can we do that across the board? This way doctors, lawyers, and CEO’s have to share their money with construction workers, teachers, and food service works?

              • Funn Dave

                Not under our current form of government, but it’s an interesting idea, even though you’re joking.

              • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                I thought that is what a progressive tax system did.

          • ssckelley

            Tell us Cub fans, or Yankee fans, Dodger fans, ect ect why in the heck we care about Oakland, Kansas City, or Milwaukee? Why is it so damn important that baseball has to even out the playing field and dilute the product by making it fair for everyone?

            Let’s make it where every other year a small market team automatically goes to the World Series, to even everything out and all. I’m sure everyone would much rather watch a Brewers vs A’s World Series than a Yankees vs Dodgers one (/sarcasm font).

            • Funn Dave

              How does that dilute the product? Wouldn’t it improve the product to make smaller-markety teams less crappy and not have talented players riding the bench on teams that have too much talent to play them every day? All your posts today have objectively been pretty selfish–not saying you’re selfish; just that your points today have been. Other people have altruistic motivations, too. Despite your sarcasm, I would much rather see teams like the Brewers and A’s in the WS than the Cards, Yankees, etc. year in and year out. More teams getting a chance to reach the postseason makes more fans happy. Yes, the massive markety teams have more fans than the small-to-medium market teams, but there are more small-to-medium teams than there are massive market teams.

              • ssckelley

                You personally might enjoy a small market World Series, you strike me as someone who is a strong baseball fan. I am just guessing but I would think a Dodger vs Yankees World Series is more interesting across the board than a A’s vs Brewers matchup. Imagine the ratings on a Yankees vs Cubs World Series.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                  The Anyone v Cubs World Series would be hugely watched because of the history of the Cubs.

                  Same story with the Red Sox first modern WS. And I think even the White Sox did pretty well.

                  It would be interesting, though, to see what the worst ratings on a World Series over the past 20 years were.

        • Sandberg

          Sure, I agree on not rewarding losing. Make every round of the draft a random draw. Also get rid of free agent compensation. Rewarding teams for being terrible businesses is worse than rewarding losing.

          Explain how large market clubs will get star players through their prime years under Beane’s system?

          • Edwin

            Beane didn’t really flesh out a detailed system. Just a desire for system that doesn’t penalize him so much for being so much better at his job than everyone else.

            Maybe they change the number of years of control a team has over a player so that more players are able to enter FA at a younger age. Who knows.

  • https://twitter.com/LouHemp beerhelps

    Did I see correctly too that those Arizona corn dogs are like $25??? That’s like at least 4 beers.

    • Darth Ivy

      1 guy 1 corndog

      • Sandberg

        You win the internet for today, sir!

    • JB88

      4 beers? What, are you partying with Prince in 1999 or something?

      • https://twitter.com/LouHemp beerhelps

        Maybe I am….

        • Darth Ivy

          Is someone about to get served?

          • https://twitter.com/LouHemp beerhelps

            Like as in “served a tall cold delicious malt beverage” or “Damn son you just got served!!!”

            Because no to both. Unfortunately.

  • bbmoney

    How about we just get rid of the draft and artificial spending caps?

    Let market forces dictate pricing…novel idea I know. Sure people are going to worry about big market teams just outspending everyone, but I’m really not convinced that would be the case. A lot of small market teams were the ones spending the most money in the draft before the current cap system (although some of that was because they drafted near the top, but only some of that).

    I’m a lot more concerned about the amateur players making their money and it not being restricted to less than what it should be getting anyway. I guess more than the draft, I have an issue with what they’re doing with the international market right now, of course changing that to a draft wouldn’t be any better for most of those kids either. They’re the ones we should be concerned about financially…not the owners.

    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

      The fact that the Royals spent so much for years before this cap was put in place always make the “competitive disadvantage” arguement moot. The previous system was fine just some owners want their money to be restricted in the draft.

  • ssckelley

    Could you imagine how bad it would be for the Cubs right now if Baez, Almora, and Bryant were all in small market teams farm systems right now simply because baseball said large market teams cannot have top 10 picks?

    • Funn Dave

      Ssc, your perspective on this subject seems to be very, very limited to that of a Cubs fan. Try putting yourself in the shoes of another teams fans. Oh wait, you don’t care about them.

      • ssckelley

        I feel this way even though I am a Cubs fan and I see the advantages that teams like the Dodgers and the Yankees have with seemingly endless revenue streams. I live in Iowa where I see my favorite college team have to beg out of state kids to come here since there is not enough D1 in state talent to go around while playing against teams that do have advantages in revenues. My favorite AL team has always been the Royals, if the A’s made the WS I would root for them as I enjoy the under dog story. So don’t tell me that I cannot see the other side.

        I am fine with some of the revenue sharing they have done and they give extra draft picks to the smaller markets but when I see a small market GM go as far to suggest that the small revenue teams need to get top 10 picks every year then that is enough. These small market teams exist because the large market ones are making money across the board, let’s not go as far as to penalize them for being in a large market. Part of what made me a Cub fan was rooting for Shawon Dunston, later on guys like Sosa, Prior, Grace, Wood…ect ect players that were drafted (except Sosa) or played the better part of their careers as a Cub. Now I am excited as heck about guys like Baez, Bryant, and Almora being Cubs for a long time. Now you are telling me I have to root for 30 year old free agents, that the only way the Cubs can get this talent is by signing them through free agency? All because we gotta make it fair for the baseball team in Oakland?

        • Funn Dave

          No one is telling you that. Beane’s idea was very cursory & not fleshed out; you have extrapolated those conclusions from his brief suggestion, but they are not necessarily what his idea would entail. As for your limited perspective, your posts today make it pretty darn clear that you cannot see the other side, or that you can but choose to ignore it. I’m sorry if I seem a bit harsh here, but that’s really the only interpretation I see for what you’ve said here today, both here and in the article we were both posting on earlier. And talk about moving the goalposts–first you said “these small market teams are driving me nuts,” and now it’s specifically Beane & the A’s with whom you have a problem, and you’re fine with the present concessions? Then what was driving you nuts in the first place?

          • Funn Dave

            Regardless, we’re pretty far removed from actually talking about baseball at this point. Let’s agree to disagree.

          • ssckelley

            That is because I have been responding to quite a few different threads. We have went from geological disadvantages, to rules of the game, to free enterprise, to this question I asked (I might have missed some).

            Bottom line for me is this. I disagree that MLB needs to give additional advantages to small market teams, especially giving them the top 10 picks every year.

            But ok, agree to disagree.

  • Norm

    The draft should be abolished, everyone a free agent.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Actually, I wouldn’t seeing this tried. Every team has the same hard budget with extremely severe penalties for over spending that budget, and every player is a free agent.

      Need pitching? Allocate your budget for college arms.

      Farm system in good shape? Look to snipe high ceiling, under valued high school players.

      Got a mega-star in the draft? Everyone gets a bid, if they want one. Want to give him the entire budget? Go for it.

      And so forth.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Read that as “wouldn’t mind seeing this tried.”

      • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

        Wouldn’t that just benefit the Yanks & Dodgers? They can eat whatever penalty thrown at them (even if it’s draft picks the next year). So in years where a Harper is available wouldn’t every team off him thier entire budget? Then the Yanks come in and just outbid everyone and live with the penalties. Now if the budgets are similar to the slot money we have now it gets better but teams will take the penalty to get that one player. It also diminishes the glory of the 2nd tier picks and dimishes thier potential bonus because everyone spent the majority in one player. Just sounds like a really bad system.

        • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

          Offer him not “off him”

          • Edwin

            When teams start offing players that they can’t draft, I think baseball will have grown too violent.

            • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

              So turn the draft into the Hunger Games (or Running Man for our generation) right?

        • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

          Could do something like IFA:

          Each team has a $10M budget for all amateur players under 24. Amateurs signed older than 23 to a contract have 10% of their AAV count against the cap for the following year. Major League contracts count as a total of the contract value including non-guarranteed options (performance bonuses, option years) but non-monetary bonuses do not (scholarships).

          Teams over the luxury tax threshold have that budget reduced by X% as related to the overage. Teams that lost a qualifying free agent have their budget increased by X%. Teams that signed a qualifying free agent can’t spend over $3M on one amateur. Teams are eligible to carry over up to 10% of their cap for 1 year.

          Overspend the budget by 5%, you can’t sign anyone for more than $1M for 2 years
          Overspend the budget by 10%, you can’t sign anyone for more than $1M for 3 years

          Teams have the overspend % adjusted upward according to the average of the previous three years revenue so that the lowest revenue team would be given an extra 2% to each figure (or something really small but still somewhat significant).

          Players are free agent when they have 5.122 of service time or more at the end of the year (pushes the extra year of control to June 1 which would restrict the games played on those prospects) and cannot sign a contract that would give them between 6.121 and 12 years of service time with the team they played their first MLB game with (or something that would release players drafted by small markets either early or allow them to extend them through an age that would make for only a few players on these teams to be extended entirely through their prime (this way, teams can hold on to occasional special players))

          No super-two status. Players are guarranteed a salary through their first 6 years of service time. Each year, players receive a raise (something similar to arbitration but mandated by MLB so as to reduce the time spent dealing contracts with non-quality players) according to their stats/value/WAR/stat XYZ.

          Sure, you will have the Harpers and Strasburgs and Priors that get a team to blow the whole wad on one player but this should spread everything out, benefit the small markets while still allowing the big markets to get prime-year talent they miss out on in the draft.

          • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

            And cap space is tradable.

        • D.G.Lang

          Since the problem is with the draft PENALTIES and the ability of the wealthy clubs to pay them the penalty needs to be something greater such as a hard cap on the bonus and exceeding the limit results in those players being permanently prohibited from playing for the teams that attempted to break the limit.

          Once a team reaches it’s limit it would be prohibited from signing any other players in that draft other than for a smaller set amount. Each team could then sign as many of the “lesser” players it wants without penalty while the weaker clubs still get the higher draft choices and in the long run create a much better balanced league.

          At least that way every team would be limited to the same amount and there would be no value to exceeding those limits.

      • JB88

        I actually think it is a pretty terrible idea. Why would a player ever choose a mid- or small-market team? Fine, the signing bonus might be larger, but the potential for more money during their career is far more likely from signing with a big market team.

        I actually think that the draft is about the only way to level the playing field. I hate the spending cap (and if you really wanted to make things fair, teams selecting in the top 10 would have no spending cap), but think of the anarchy that would take place if the top team could never sign the best player because that player could decide if he wanted to play in that particular city or not.

        Why wouldn’t every top player sign with the Dodgers or Yankees? It happens in Free Agency now, what would exist to stop it in a draft?

        • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

          That’s my thought as well

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          All the top players don’t just sign with a few big market teams now. Cano to Seattle? The Miami stockup of a few years back? Braun extending in Milwaukee? Examples of elite players signing anywhere but New York and Los Angels are all over the place.

          If teams are willing to eat the penalties, then strengthen the penalties. Fine teams 100x every dollar over the cap spent. Make them forfeit wins. Ban them from signing any amateur talent for five years. Whatever. Make the penalty harsh enough, and teams will play by the rules. The current draft slot rules in the current CBA effectively prove that.

          As for why a top player would want to sign with a smaller market… lots of reasons? A top first baseman would probably avoid the Cubs right now, as would a top shortstop, because they’d be blocked. A pitcher, though, could get to the majors in a hurry. That would be a factor. So would geography, coaches, teammates, fan-ness, and plenty of other things as well.

          At the end of the day, though, they’d take the largest contract offered (most likely). But if every team has the same hard amount of dollars to spend, no exceptions, then that largest contract could come from any team. Then it just comes down to who wants the player most.

          • Funn Dave

            “If teams are willing to eat the penalties, then strengthen the penalties. Fine teams 100x every dollar over the cap spent. Make them forfeit wins. Ban them from signing any amateur talent for five years. Whatever. Make the penalty harsh enough, and teams will play by the rules. The current draft slot rules in the current CBA effectively prove that.”

            Yes, yes, yes! Preach, Luke, preach!

        • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

          Teams’ hesitancy to blow and entire draft on 1 player would be the only thing to stop it.

  • Funn Dave

    As for Billy Beane’s suggestion: I thought there was no straightforward way to determine a team’s revenue. I mean, I like the idea a whole lot, but it seems like it would encourage franchise to fudge numbers, not report earnings, etc.

    • Edwin

      I think it’d be more based on tv market size, similar to the competative balance lottery.

    • bbmoney

      I also think the MLB get’s audited financials from all the teams. It’s just hard for us to determine exact revenues because we don’t have access to those reports.

  • fossilhippie

    Every team in the NL Central profits from being a small market city, and everyone of them finished ahead of the Cubs. The competitive lottery and revenue sharing already tilts the system enough. With every team hiding their real earnings, it’s all voodoo anyway.

    I’d say the system is dysfunctional and is unfairly biased against big city teams

    • Edwin

      Is that why the Yankees and Red Sox have struggled so much as of late?

    • Funn Dave

      They finish ahead of the Cubs because they’re smart, not because of the tiny perks that get thrown like a bone to small market teams.

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      “With every team hiding their real earnings, it’s all voodoo anyway.”

      They only hide earnings from fans. MLB is the benevolent dictator that threatens execution if they don’t play the game right.

  • MightyBear

    That is why baseball needs a hard salary cap (Yankees, Dodgers) and a salary minimum (Marlins) just like the NFL.

    • Edwin

      I’m actually not a fan of a salary cap. To me, the main function of a salary cap is to limit labor costs. “competative balance” might be a nice way to try and sell it, and it’s an ok side effect, but really things like salary caps, IFA spending caps, and draft spending caps are ways for owner’s to keep more money instead of paying players.

      I think there are better ways than a salary cap to encourage competative balance.

      • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

        This. And a salary minimum would just be an abject disaster.

        • Featherstone

          There already is a sort of salary minimum in place.

          Dave Cameron at FG mentions it in this article today

          http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/payroll-efficiency-by-playoff-odds/

          Basically, if a team doesnt spend a certain amount of dollars of players the MLBPA files a formal complaint and the league starts coming down on them.

          I seem to recall the Marlins (no surprise) drawing the ire of the league for violating this rule a few times.

          • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

            Huh…didn’t know that.

          • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

            Interesting line from that article:

            “Teams like the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Orioles have run up significant costs without moving their WS Odds needle very much at all, and while they can use their payroll to defend the idea that they’re trying to win, none of them look likely to succeed at that goal.”

            I didn’t think that was possible? I thought if you spent money it ALWAYS meant increased chances.

            • FFP

              Thanks for the Cameron article, Featherstone. I liked it for two reasons:
              1) It started from stuff I knew (or trusted to be true) and brought me through data to a deeper understanding– logically fulfilling.
              2) It gave me something to justify the Edwin Jackson signing (until he starts pitching better)–emotionally salving.

      • bbmoney

        Yes. This.

        For a salary cap, and for the current amateur acquisition system.

      • D.G.Lang

        The main reason teams have so much money is the television revenue which everyone including the non fans get stuck paying. The price of everything we buy from those who advertise on TV is greater than it would be if they didn’t advertise on TV.

        If that TV money wasn’t available them the owners wouldn’t be able to spend the excessive amounts on the players or take it as excessive profits.

        It is everyone who purchases those advertisers products who wind up paying those advertising fees whether they want to or not.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Harvey situation reminds of Prior and if so its not going to end well

  • Diehardthefirst

    Theo could resolve Jackson snafu by trading for Gausman which helps both teams but may need to eat salary

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