As I thought I might, I missed the Cubs’ World Series film debut last night, as the kiddos’ holiday performance overlapped with the first half of the movie, and then transitioning back home made for just enough chaos that, by the time I was all settled, it was over. I’ll just wait for my copy to arrive.
Nobody tell me what happens.
- Speaking of which. Noted Clevelander and being-down-3-1 enthusiast LeBron James made a bet with his former Miami Heat teammate Dwyane Wade about the outcome of the World Series. As you know, the Cubs came roaring back, won the series, and James had to pay up on his bet – which he did last night:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) December 3, 2016
The Cubs' newest superfan. pic.twitter.com/2gniiQyoh5
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) December 2, 2016
I guess I didn't look close enough at LeBron during Game Seven. pic.twitter.com/0eDleIrMP9
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) December 3, 2016
- Buster Olney continues to shed light on CBA negotiation issues that may have led to a bad deal for the players (I’m not saying for sure that it *is* a bad deal for the players, but it is certainly being perceived that way, and the early analysis doesn’t look great). The one aspect that now seems fairly obvious to me is that the players union shot itself in the foot by allowing too much of the core issue negotiations to last until the final week, when it was going to be too difficult to ensure that downstream impact of complicated, intertwined issues would improve the players’ position. These owners have much more experience with these deals and a great deal more resources to ensure they are taking every advantageous position they can. Waiting too long to finalize things, then, probably works far more in their favor than the players.
- In sum, other than lifestyle changes that should make the experience of the season better for players, it’s hard to see how any of the major issues didn’t break in favor of the owners: the luxury tax levels barely budged (and the penalties for being over them increased; both push in favor of lower overall salaries), draft pick compensation was reduced but not significantly, and the international signing space now has a hard cap. Maybe that last one does help push more spending to the professional side, but at the expense of the very youngsters the union had indicated they were trying to protect by opposing a draft. We’ll see what happens in the coming years, though. Sometimes these deals surprises us down the road, and maybe it’ll wind up much more player-friendly than we thought.
- Speaking of the luxury tax threshold changes, there’s one more pain point that’s been inserted for teams that are massively over the threshold. Not only do they pay a huge surtax on any overage beyond $40 million above the threshold, they also have their next top pick in the draft dropped by 10 spots (unless it’s in the first six picks, in which case the second pick drops (God help any team that is $40 million over the luxury tax limit and still finishes among the six worst records in the league)). That, combined with the surtax, makes that $40-million-above-the-luxury-tax-threshold pretty darn close to a salary cap. It will kick in for the 2018 season, so you can expect the Yankees and Dodgers to curtail spending a bit over the next year so that they stay below $240 million in payroll.
- One nerdy roster/transaction change I haven’t seen mentioned elsewhere: the period in which to waive, trade, or release a player who has been designated for assignment has shrunk to 7 days (previously 10).
- Well this is interesting, and a reminder that the Cubs have some seriously attractive up-and-coming execs:
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 2, 2016
- As with Jared Porter, eventually the Cubs are going to lose these guys to advancement opportunities, and all we can do is be relatively happy for them.
- As Rian Watt notes at The Athletic, the Cubs were crazy good against the slider in 2016, after being pretty bad against it in 2015. Which, while very interesting, certainly goes to the fact that year-to-year team-wide pitch ability correlation is very low.
- As a happy early Festivus, the entire ‘Seinfeld’ series is on sale at Amazon for under $40.
- It was a busy second half of the day, if you missed it, with the Cubs making their tender decisions, signing a lefty reliever, more CBA bits coming out, and a Lukewarm Stove later in the day.