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What is the end game?

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#1 AlwaysinModeration

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 06:41 AM

I have to admit, I am perplexed. What seemed like a slow off-season has morphed into a non-off-season. There are dozens offers agents, including most of the top starters and position players, without a team, a week into February. Now there are the players union and agents coming forward to cry foul and a battle of press releases over who is to blame.

Obviously, teams aren’t offering what they did in the past. They seem to be offering fewer years than expected, or considerably less annual salary than expected. Is there collusion? I think there must be. But having several majors players “out” seems to be a factor too.

What is the end game here?
Are players going to relent and take the cheaper contracts?
Are Darvish and JD going to sign $100mm+ contracts and a flurry of signings going to follow?
Is spring training simply going to start with no one signed? If so, still...how does it end?
Does this end in a strike (knowing the CBA last for another few years)?

It’s so hard to tell what is really going on behind the scenes. It was always my impression that free agency worked like a cascade after the top pitcher signed, as teams “in the mix” don’t want to sign a lesser pitcher if they are still hoping to land their top target. But I also thought that there was usually a time limit imposed at some step of the way by someone in the negotiation: “Here is our best offer, let us know by X or we are moving on.” Or “We’ve got a good offer on the table now, you have until X to make a better one.” Why isn’t that happening this year?

The one thing I do know, is that the Twins are in a better situation to land the top free agent starter than they ever have been. They have the perfect storm of payroll space, and lack of major competition, and, seemingly, downward pressure on salaries.

What do others think about the current free agent situation, and how do you think it ends?
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#2 ashburyjohn

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 07:20 AM

If total payrolls wind up reflecting the growth in revenues, then what we're seeing may be just a reallocation of money from the very top players to the next tier down. We won't know until everything shakes out, and even a one-season blip may not reflect a real trend. I hope the players don't go off half-cocked on this; conversely I really hope the owners aren't colluding.

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#3 Blackjack

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 07:53 AM

Its going to be interesting.

 

My prediction is that one of the top free agents will tell their agent that they want to play, get me to camp, he'll sign, setting the bar for $ and years for 2018, and the rest of the agents will follow along. 

 

Or are the players colluding together, calling each other, telling each other not to panic and sign a 'lower' deal.

 

Its going to be interesting!!! The first thing I do every morning is goto https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/ and see if anybody has signed.

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#4 bighat

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 08:01 AM

 

Its going to be interesting.

 

My prediction is that one of the top free agents will tell their agent that they want to play, get me to camp, he'll sign, setting the bar for $ and years for 2018, and the rest of the agents will follow along. 

 

That's my theory, too. The domino effect. Someone will sign Arrieta, Darvish, etc and all of a sudden it will be a mad dash and the rest of the major free agents will sign within a week. It's going to be an avalanche. I hope it starts soon, this off season has been beyond awful. Jay Bruce the biggest name signed so far? Yawn City man.

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#5 birdwatcher

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 08:36 AM

One of the things I've been wondering about is whether teams are seeing something beyond what last year's revenue numbers tell them. As with every industry of size and importance, there's no shortage of attempts to do market research, and I'm wondering if organizations are in part responding to some of this and are opting to remove some of the risk from the equation. Maybe they're seeing a thinning of the underlying breadth of their fan base?

 

Still, it could be that most of the delay is part of a simple confluence of events, with perhaps the most impactful ones being so may of the big spenders wanting to solve their luxury tax problem, so many of the most competitive teams having fewer needs, and so many of this season's yawn-inducing FA's being players who won't move the needle for teams.

 

Every club has already invited, what, 50 players to spring training? If I was someone who Steamer projects to add .01 WAR, I'd be very nervous right now and I'd stop listening to my agent and other players. I'd be riding my agent hard to show me an offer from one of the 30 teams.

Edited by birdwatcher, 07 February 2018 - 08:39 AM.

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#6 FlauerPauer

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 10:11 AM

I just think these players want too much money when they aren’t worth it. Every player available has question marks attached to them. I think owners and gms have seen too many long high dollar contracts not work out and thus don’t want to have another bad contract or players into their late thirties on their teams.

There is no collusion, simply the players aren’t that good anymore and the agents, specifically Scott Boras, think they’re players are fantastic and should be compensated for past performances. How many big time free agents have the Astros signed? How many have the Indians signed? It just doesn’t work to build through aging players.

I for one am glad the owners are taking a stand. In reality, these players all make too much money for what they do. Stop being greedy and you will get a contract. Pretty simple.
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#7 slash129

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 10:34 AM

I for one am glad the owners are taking a stand. In reality, these players all make too much money for what they do. Stop being greedy and you will get a contract. Pretty simple.


The greed goes both ways. The owners do assume the risk, but the players are the draw for revenues for the most part. The fix, and others have stated this in other threads, is that players should be paid more earlier and then expect more reasonable contracts later in their careers. The owners look at Pujols, Miggy, Fielder, Crawford, et al. and now have enough data to realize those are stupid contracts. The players still want their piece of the pie, which they have every right to negotiate. The problem in arriving at "the fix" is that the union reps will have to be forward thinking. More Mookie Betts type arb salaries are a step in the right direction.
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#8 BHtwins

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 10:59 AM

I think Darvish deal is holding everything else back.Both the players and the owners are waiting for Darvish to set the market for the top 10 free agents to slot into.Darvish is waiting for a miracle so he can re-sign with the Dodgers.Once that falls through and he signs a deal, the rest will sign within a few days.

 

No one is willing to risk spending too much or leaving money on the table.I'd bet all of the remaining top 10 have offers on the table they are unwilling to sign for that fear.Owners aren't moving off their initial offers and players aren't willing to sign the first deal offered until Darvish is off the table.

 

 

Edited by BHtwins, 07 February 2018 - 11:02 AM.


#9 Physics Guy

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 11:00 AM

I don't blame the teams one bit for not wanting to pay $100M+ to any of this year's Free Agents. They all have question marks and the list of those types contracts not working out is probably greater than the ones that work out. The teams that normally don't care about spending (LAD, NYY, Bos...) are having a correction year to reset their Luxury Tax. It appears to me a combination of an unexciting FA class, teams not wanting to spend this year and possibly holding out for next year's class, which appears significantly better. 

 

That said, I really still hope the Twins are willing to bite the bullet and offer Darvish a 5 year, $125-135M contract if that will get it done. My guess is that he hasn't been offered anything better up to this point. I also hope they will push Darvish to make a decision soon on any offer and pursue Cobb if he doesn't accept.

 

Is anybody else tired of Boras and his propaganda? I realize it's part of his job, but he comes off as being incredibly pompous. 

Edited by Physics Guy, 07 February 2018 - 11:01 AM.

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#10 ashburyjohn

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 11:04 AM

I just think these players want too much money when they aren’t worth it. Every player available has question marks attached to them. I think owners and gms have seen too many long high dollar contracts not work out and thus don’t want to have another bad contract or players into their late thirties on their teams.

There is no collusion, simply the players aren’t that good anymore and the agents, specifically Scott Boras, think they’re players are fantastic and should be compensated for past performances. How many big time free agents have the Astros signed? How many have the Indians signed? It just doesn’t work to build through aging players.

I for one am glad the owners are taking a stand. In reality, these players all make too much money for what they do. Stop being greedy and you will get a contract. Pretty simple.

I disagree with essentially every point made in this post, and that being the case, it's probably best to leave it at that.

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#11 Blackjack

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 11:10 AM

How about being paid for performance??4 million for ten home runs, 6 million for fifteen home runs, 8 million for twenty home runs, etc.If a player think hes worth x amount, then he shouldn't be afraid to earn it.The agents and GM's could figure out some standard that works for both parties.

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#12 Blackjack

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 11:13 AM

Some of the players also have 'opt out' clauses that sends them out on the free agent market before the end of the contract. How about a team 'opt out' clause where they could terminate a contract when the player declines?? It would eliminate the concerns about a 'Pujols type' of deal. 

 

The pendulum has swung too far in favor of the players on the contracts, its time to reverse that trend.

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#13 mazeville

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 11:15 AM

I don't know that it's the per-year dollars holding anything back as it is the length. Some of these guys want longer deals than GMs are willing to give, and I think that's holding back the market.

 

It's interesting. Teams are getting smarter about longer-term contracts and the players have a real problem with it. Personally think this year leads to a major change in the agreement between players and owners that ultimately results in a salary floor and perhaps a stronger cap.

 

As for this year, ultimately I think some players get nervous and start signing. I wish they'd get on with it, though. 

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#14 Rosterman

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 11:15 AM

How much are these guys worth. Plan and simple. 

 

Enough to break the bank? Any approach "franchise player" status? 

 

Yes, the flipside always is that money saved go into the pockets of owners. That teams should spend 55% or so of their revenue on players -- be THAT player is good or not.

 

At some point, it does have to end...or stabalize even more. We saw an increase in the $$$ for middle relief that is hard to comprehend in the grand scheme of things. Next thing you know, multi-year $7-10 million contracts for bench players.

 

How much are players wrth?

 

Yet are owners banking the money, or putting it into their own pet projects or billfolds.

 

In the end, the fans end up paying more for everything and, just maybe, not getting the best possible product.

 

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#15 FlauerPauer

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 11:37 AM

How about being paid for performance?? 4 million for ten home runs, 6 million for fifteen home runs, 8 million for twenty home runs, etc. If a player think hes worth x amount, then he shouldn't be afraid to earn it. The agents and GM's could figure out some standard that works for both parties.


This is an interesting idea. Have a base salary of whatever league minimum is and get paid extra for performance. You’d have to set it so that players who don’t hit home runs would be equally compensated for stolen bases or defense. With all the advanced stats out there, I don’t see why this couldn’t happen. Cool idea.

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#16 FlauerPauer

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 11:50 AM

 

I disagree with essentially every point made in this post, and that being the case, it's probably best to leave it at that.

 

What do you disagree with? The fact that Darvish is in decline and has had elbow surgery? Arrieta has had two great seasons up to 2015 and has been in decline ever since? Hosmer might be the best player left to be signed that doesn't really have any major question marks.

 

How many big time free agents have the teams that have won the world series recently signed? Cubs signed Lester and yes, while that signing definitely pushed them over the edge, that is beginning to look like a mistake. How many other $100+ million have worked out? 

 

Do you disagree that GMs and owners are trying to spend for what the player will bring to the team in the future instead of paying for past performances? 

 

Do you disagree with the my opinion that athletes are overpaid?

 

Does it suck that some good players are unsigned? Absolutely. Do I want the Twins to sign Yu Darvish to a six or seven year contract? Absolutely not. 

 

I have a ton of baseball cards, that to me, are worth a lot of money, but if I put them on eBay or try to sell them some other way, I definitely would be disappointed in my return. "Things" are only as valuable as people are willing to spend.

 

It's cool that you disagree; you are entitled to that as I am entitled to my opinion, but to not add anything to the conversation seems odd.

Edited by FlauerPauer, 07 February 2018 - 11:50 AM.

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#17 AlwaysinModeration

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 11:56 AM

I re-read my initial post, and realize I made some typos; "dozens offer agents" was supposed to be "dozens of free agents" and several major players "out" was supposed to mean several big spending teams out due to the luxury tax.But people got my drift.

 

It would be fascinating to find out whether the Twins, who have been so vocal in their interest in Darvish, have at minimum given him a sense of what they are willing to do in terms of years and dollars.Obviously if they have, it isn't enough.Is their stance, let's say, 5/100?If prices do come down, it seems like a good opportunity to go up in price and he might sign.But that's how a normal market might function (even if it is a market with downward price pressures). This doesn't seem like a normal market.It doesn't seem like there is ANY negotiating going on.  

 

That's what is so strange about this, and what makes me so suspicious that there is some sort of collusion going on, in which teams are somehow agreeing not to make any offer over $100mm, for example.

 

In a public policy class years ago, the professor described how the airline industry was colluding on price changes.It was discovered that the airlines were changing the prices of certain flights six months out, and that was an indicator that alerted all airlines to make a certain change in their prices.I can't remember how it worked, exactly, but it was fairly sophisticated, and it was excellent sleuthing (by the feds) to figure out what they were doing.

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#18 Vanimal46

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 11:58 AM

 

Some of the players also have 'opt out' clauses that sends them out on the free agent market before the end of the contract. How about a team 'opt out' clause where they could terminate a contract when the player declines?? It would eliminate the concerns about a 'Pujols type' of deal. 

 

The pendulum has swung too far in favor of the players on the contracts, its time to reverse that trend.

 

Couldn't disagree more. The owners have negotiated depressed rates for international free agents, draft picks, and have control for a player's first full six seasons of professional baseball. Free agency is the only time a player has any power who he wants to play for, and how much money he'll be paid for doing so. 

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#19 gunnarthor

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 12:01 PM

Players have been screwed over by owners much more than the other way around. The owners that were part of collusion in the 80s should have been kicked out of the game. I'm pretty sure there's collusion now but it'll be hard for the players to prove it. I think it sucks that Pohlad will make more money while the players make less.


#20 Vanimal46

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 12:03 PM

 

It's interesting. Teams are getting smarter about longer-term contracts and the players have a real problem with it. Personally think this year leads to a major change in the agreement between players and owners that ultimately results in a salary floor and perhaps a stronger cap.

 

For years the MLBPA gave in on things like an international draft cap pool, cap for the draft, and other things just so there wasn't a salary cap. Well, maybe they'll have to think again about what they've been negotiating for. 

Now that Chicago and Houston made the "tear it all down" rebuild popular, more and more teams are going to be finding ways to shed payroll. Maybe a salary floor is needed over a non-existent salary cap.  

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