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Article: Hardball, the Twins, and Byron Buxton

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#301 Riverbrian

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Posted 06 September 2018 - 01:52 PM

 

In every instance I showed how service time was not an issue.

 

No... You provided alternative possibilities to my possibilities. . 

 

Neither of us have proven anything. 

 

If we had proof, we could probably get compensation for that proof from the MLBPA or MLB Commissioners office. 

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#302 Riverbrian

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Posted 06 September 2018 - 02:08 PM

 

I have said repeatedly that all teams engage in service time manipulation. And I believe that when the stakes are high enough, like Bryant early career situations, they will do so pretty much universally. No disagreement there. If you think that is what I have been disputing, I apologize, that was not my intent at all.

Where I joined this conversation was where Chief said that he's not convinced that all teams would have done this with Buxton. And I agree -- as the benefits to manipulation are lowered, it seems logical that behavior would increasingly diverge among teams. (Up until the other logical extreme, where all teams would universally *not* manipulate -- no team is going to manipulate the service time of, say, Buddy Boshers! To pick on a former Twin with an alliterative name.) On that narrow point, all anyone can do really do is infer, and maybe just on a case-by-case basis. And there is nothing wrong with that, just a difference of opinion.

I don't know what the breakdown would be -- maybe 15 teams would do as the Twins did with Buxton, maybe 15 wouldn't? Maybe 10 would have held him back in 2018, maybe 10 others would have done it in 2019? It is very hard to say, because some clubs may have approached it differently in the past so it may not even have been an issue by Sep. 1st. And it may not even be consistent by organization -- a week ago, I might have guessed the Twins wouldn't have done it. They didn't even try with Sano this year. Maybe they wouldn't do it next time either. Maybe this time, there was just the right set of circumstances to cause that decision for this club.

 

I agree it's a complicated discussion and I also think that Chief is right when he says that not everyone would have handled Byron Buxton the same way and I believe that is hard to find precedent because the circumstances surrounding Byron are unique. 

 

However, I'm not sure if you are correct assuming that it usually happens at the beginning of the career ala Kris Bryant and then tapers off. I believe the Kris Bryant cases are hit you between the eyes obvious and are usually more publicized as a result but I'm guessing you are going to find larger doses of it a year or two down the line. 

 

Players get called up and sent down and called up again more often than the rare player who starts his career and never sees the minors again. My theory is that you are going to find lots of cases where a player could have been called up on June 1st only to have a player with less potential called up because the front office can see on the spreadsheet that they gain the extra year by waiting 8 days. When that happens, it is rarely publicized because not many are watching the service time clock. The Rockies might call up a Matt McBride instead of Charlie Blackmon until Charlie clears that mark. 

 

I'm doing calculations by hand because I can't find a website that will break it down for you and if there isn't a website doing the work... who is going to do the work. The front offices are, the agents are, but is the general public doing the math so they can see how the hot dogs are made?  

 

Just a theory

 

 

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#303 Don Walcott

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Posted 06 September 2018 - 02:09 PM

 

No... You provided alternative possibilities to my possibilities. . 

 

Neither of us have proven anything. 

 

If we had proof, we could probably get compensation for that proof from the MLBPA or MLB Commissioners office. 

I never said I "proved" anything, but I did show you how service time was not a factor in the decisions you thought might have involved service time considerations. Nevertheless, if you're right, then there's no point debating this as we can never know the minds of others through circumstantial evidence, no matter how strong that circumstantial evidence is.

 

I may be wrong, but your arguments seem to seek justification for the conduct of the Twins FO towards Buxton by claiming that the Twins are doing the same thing every other FO has done and continues to do. I think that argument is false. But even if it were true, it still wouldn't justify the conduct.

 

As an analogy, the fact that many MLB players were taking steroids in a certain era doesn't justify any of the individual players who did it.


#304 spycake

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Posted 06 September 2018 - 02:43 PM

I agree it's a complicated discussion and I also think that Chief is right when he says that not everyone would have handled Byron Buxton the same way and I believe that is hard to find precedent because the circumstances surrounding Byron are unique.

However, I'm not sure if you are correct assuming that it usually happens at the beginning of the career ala Kris Bryant and then tapers off. I believe the Kris Bryant cases are hit you between the eyes obvious and are usually more publicized as a result but I'm guessing you are going to find larger doses of it a year or two down the line.


I think this point has got muddled too. I think the *universal* cases all happen at the beginnings of careers, because that is where the stakes are highest. I am sure manipulation can happen at other times, but once you send a guy down, even just once, you have likely seen the stakes reduced dramatically, and as I pointed out, other factors come into play and clubs are going to respond to those differently. And manipulation after the first year or two is much harder to execute too, because there are more moving parts.

It would be interesting to study. I am guessing that beyond the top players/prospects, the distribution of guys falling just short of a full year or service, or just short of Super 2 arbitration status, wouldn't be all that different from what you expect through random variation. There would probably be a few attempts at service-time jockeying within, but a lot more noise.
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#305 TheLeviathan

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Posted 06 September 2018 - 02:54 PM

The circumstances with Buxton were unusual, yes. No one disputes that. However, the behavior by the Twins - protecting team control by manipulating service time - is universally common.

In my opinion, that leads to a more likely outcome in this hypothetical.

#306 Riverbrian

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Posted 06 September 2018 - 08:53 PM

 

I never said I "proved" anything, but I did show you how service time was not a factor in the decisions you thought might have involved service time considerations. Nevertheless, if you're right, then there's no point debating this as we can never know the minds of others through circumstantial evidence, no matter how strong that circumstantial evidence is.

 

I may be wrong, but your arguments seem to seek justification for the conduct of the Twins FO towards Buxton by claiming that the Twins are doing the same thing every other FO has done and continues to do. I think that argument is false. But even if it were true, it still wouldn't justify the conduct.

 

As an analogy, the fact that many MLB players were taking steroids in a certain era doesn't justify any of the individual players who did it.

 

We both have shown possible explanations involving the Rockies and we could probably play that game with every team. You are right none of us have had the privilege of being a fly on the wall so who knows. 

 

Hopefully, we can find some common ground when I say that the Twins may have a reached another level with this move but it is still shades of the same old song. 

 

Justification is in the eye of the beholder. You won't justify it and that is your right. Myself... I had already justified it before the move happened. I'm on record saying that "I wanted the year back" multiple times before the announcement.

 

Regardless if you approve of the method... Byron Buxton has just increased in value overnight. That extra year has value and if Byron supports that value with the play we have been waiting for... The trade return gets real big.  

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#307 Riverbrian

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Posted 06 September 2018 - 09:08 PM

 

It would be interesting to study. I am guessing that beyond the top players/prospects, the distribution of guys falling just short of a full year or service, or just short of Super 2 arbitration status, wouldn't be all that different from what you expect through random variation. There would probably be a few attempts at service-time jockeying within, but a lot more noise.

 

I'm kind of surprised it hasn't been done by a blogger.

 

I'm surprised that you can't find a published list of Service Time markers with each demotion and call up on the internet. 

 

If I was the MLBPA... I'd be writing a check to Fangraphs or Baseball Ref to make sure that light is shed into the dark corners. A little public exposure just might help the next round of negotiations. 

 

 

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#308 ashburyjohn

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Posted 07 September 2018 - 10:10 AM

I'm kind of surprised it hasn't been done by a blogger.

 

I'm surprised that you can't find a published list of Service Time markers with each demotion and call up on the internet.

The game Out Of the Park Baseball has days of ML service time in its database, although I don't know of a way to do a study along the lines suggested, using their interface. They probably get this data from the same source where they get their scouting data, but that may be proprietary and not widely available online.

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#309 Don Walcott

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Posted 07 September 2018 - 01:17 PM

 

We both have shown possible explanations involving the Rockies and we could probably play that game with every team. You are right none of us have had the privilege of being a fly on the wall so who knows. 

 

Hopefully, we can find some common ground when I say that the Twins may have a reached another level with this move but it is still shades of the same old song. 

 

Justification is in the eye of the beholder. You won't justify it and that is your right. Myself... I had already justified it before the move happened. I'm on record saying that "I wanted the year back" multiple times before the announcement.

 

Regardless if you approve of the method... Byron Buxton has just increased in value overnight. That extra year has value and if Byron supports that value with the play we have been waiting for... The trade return gets real big.  

Possible explanations, yes. Plausible explanations? Not yours. If you didn't understand my explanation for why your claimed service time manipulations by the Rockies were not plausible, I can't help you.

 

Regardless of my approval, the Twins may have some short-term gain in value for Buxton (assuming he doesn't win a grievance). But any value beyond 4 years (except for what we can get when we're forced to trade him or see him refuse a QO), is gone.And the one additional year of trade value would be next year. I'm not sure there are many teams who will give up much value for Buxton before he has a full healthy season next year anyway. And after next year, his trade value keeps decreasing as he gets arbitration awards and closer to FA. But, if you want your commodity to have short-term value, rather than work with a human being who can have much more long-term value, at the expense of your reputation among other human beings, then fine. Great move. You can do your touchdown dance now.

 

We can all only hope that the FO keeps playing these games for short-term profit, at the expense of baseball players, for the owners of the team. That's why I love this game (by "game," I mean the one played by the billionaires who we root for to maximize profits and increase the value of their franchises every year). GO POHLADS!!

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#310 yarnivek1972

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Posted 07 September 2018 - 02:52 PM

We both have shown possible explanations involving the Rockies and we could probably play that game with every team. You are right none of us have had the privilege of being a fly on the wall so who knows.

Hopefully, we can find some common ground when I say that the Twins may have a reached another level with this move but it is still shades of the same old song.

Justification is in the eye of the beholder. You won't justify it and that is your right. Myself... I had already justified it before the move happened. I'm on record saying that "I wanted the year back" multiple times before the announcement.

Regardless if you approve of the method... Byron Buxton has just increased in value overnight. That extra year has value and if Byron supports that value with the play we have been waiting for... The trade return gets real big.



Only if he turns into a quality MLB hitter.

#311 Riverbrian

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Posted 07 September 2018 - 05:13 PM

 

Possible explanations, yes. Plausible explanations? Not yours. If you didn't understand my explanation for why your claimed service time manipulations by the Rockies were not plausible, I can't help you.

 

 

 

I'll have to learn to survive without your help. I'll bow out gracefully and let your above paragraph be the final word. 

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#312 Riverbrian

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Posted 07 September 2018 - 05:13 PM

 

Only if he turns into a quality MLB hitter.

 

Agreed

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