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The Commissioner Heads to the Hall of Fame, the Value of Extensions, and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News, MLB News and Rumors

I’m going to try to do a light lifting session this morning, so hopefully that goes well and I don’t wind up pecking away at Winter Meetings rumors from my bed later today.

That is to say, we’ll have much more on the many swirling rumors throughout the day and the week, so strap yourself in. For now, other Bullets …

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  • One of the many committees of the Hall of Fame yesterday voted in two non-players to the Hall: long-time Braves executive John Schuerholz and former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. The Schuerholz election, which was unanimous, will be wholly uncontroversial, given what he did with the Braves, guiding them to the playoffs in 14(!) consecutive seasons (plus he won a title with the Royals in 1985). The Selig election, though, will generate a lot of discussion. It’s inarguable that he was a transformative figure in the game, and perhaps that alone is enough to warrant inclusion in the Hall of Fame (I think that’s how I lean). It’s also inarguable that there are aspects of his legacy that will leave many questions – did baseball do enough to proactively advance the game with younger fans? was baseball complicit during the Steroid Era? On the whole, it’s clear that the sport grew and stabilized during Selig’s tenure, and of course he deserves credit for that.
  • Speaking of the Hall of Fame, we’re in the middle of voting season, and as you track the ballots, you can see that Curt Schilling will once again not have enough support for election. I hadn’t thought much about his exclusion until Dan Shaughnessy announced he would no longer vote for Schilling after his comment about lynching journalists (one of many unhinged comments from Schilling in recent years – note that is not a comment on his political views, which, whatever; the guy has simply said some absurd things). I’m not sure I agree with that reason for changing a Hall of Fame vote (though there is that pesky “character” clause), but I won’t fight it. What I will note is what I saw when reviewing Schilling’s Hall case in the wake of Shaughnessy’s comment: on the merits, Schilling is an easy and obvious Hall of Famer. Nearly 80 career WAR, including a peak six-year stretch where he exceeded 7.0 WAR four times, and then obviously what he did in the postseason. Unless it is for character reasons, this should not even be a question.

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  • Ken Rosenthal offers an interesting perspective on why long-term extensions for young talent could make even more sense after the new CBA goes into effect, what with its more significant penalties for teams over the luxury tax threshold (especially ones way over the threshold). Using the Cubs and Kris Bryant as an example, Rosenthal suggests a team that believes it will have escalating expenses in the future might want to ink an extension soon to benefit from the way payroll is calculated for luxury tax purposes. Remember, for luxury tax purposes, a team’s payroll is considered the average annual value of each contract on the books (i.e., if you sign a guy two a two-year deal worth $20 million, paying him $2 million this year and $18 million next year, although for YOUR payroll purposes, that’s $2 million this year, for luxury tax purposes, it’s an even $10 million each year). So, then, in a way, you could “front load” some of your payroll for AAV purposes, even if you aren’t actually paying that money right now. This is relatively complicated and new stuff for Cubs fans – we never really had to think much about the luxury tax implications until now – and we’ll be getting into it more and more in the coming years.
  • One more CBA nugget coming out: players’ daily meal allowance on the road is being slashed, presumably because a dedicated chef is being provided by each team. Pedro Gomez, who reports the item, says he reached out to a bunch of players to ask about the change (which could actually be a significant amount of money), and they were all unaware. Yikes.

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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor of Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.

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