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Article: Twins Daily's Long-Term Future And Writers


John Bonnes
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Baseball is a stats driven pastime.  When I used to travel, I relied on Box Scores to tell me about Twins games.

 

With your current Website, it is not possible to post a box score.

 

No tables.  No cutting and pasting without drastic realignment of the information.

It is frustrating beyond belief to construct an argument without the use of stats, lists and tables.

 

Change the website so it handles 2018 data and information.  Make it easier for the authors to provide the information in a writer friendly (and reader friendly) way.  Then you might find more writers.  :)

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I've written exactly one article for Twins Daily. I did it because I had a lark of an idea, and thought it would be fun to write it up for a wider audience. I didn't do it to make any money, but some income on the side would be a nice benefit (if I were to ever wrote more articles). I wrote that article because I wanted a larger audience to read it--so I emailed you, and you liked it enough to put it on the front page. It was easy to start a blog, easy to input the article and upload the images. From an end-user it was a seamless experience. And because you liked it enough to elevate the article, it got better visibility and I had fun seeing the comments come in.

 

But then I looked at it from the perspective of a reader. I never visit the "Blogs" section of TD. I read the front page, read some comments, then move on with my life. I trust the the front page of TD is curated enough that the articles are worth reading. I'm not interested in becoming a fan of a dozen different sub-blogs. I just want to read one website and be done with it. 

 

So when I though about writing more articles, I thought about what it would mean to not get put on the front page. The idea of pushing my articles and building up a fan base on my own seemed exhausting, not to mention confusing. "If you want to follow my work, go to this website. No, I'm not in any of those articles you see there. You know, the real articles, I'm over in this blog section." It seemed like a difficult way to build a following, and a pointless pursuit unless I could be guaranteed to make the front page. 

 

Would I like to write more articles? Sure. Am I interested in starting my own blog? Hell no. And if I was, I would make "boo-urns.com" or something. At least then I could do my own marketing, instead of being buried as a blog-within-a-blog. Maybe this is against the whole philosophy of this site, but if I want to write something for TD, I don't want it to be under the guise of my own personal sub-blog. I want to write for TD. On the front page. With the backing of the minds behind TD, saying "we support this article. We think it's worth reading."

Otherwise you're just shouting into the void. 

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Took my time to read through this and think through how I wanted to answer/opine on this...

 

I came to TD from BYTO originally as someone who had "friends" in the forum from that site. I'd written a few articles at BYTO, and not long after TD began, I got the opportunity to do my first writing. I've been spending the time since slowly building into my writing before really pushing into it a few years back. Finding my niche at that site led to a lot of great connections within the game that drove my passion even further and now has me editing two sites with FanSided.

 

Of course, the downfall of that is recruiting for those sites, so I can completely understand the issues you're running into here at TD. I know that we've put out the feeler many times over that we're looking for writers at both sites, and bringing on writers is fairly slow, even though one of the two sites is a pay site.

 

That said, one of the things that I have done with Call To The Pen (and I'd like to think that I offered with the one writer interested at Puckett's Pond) is intentional work with writers to help them gain views and understand what will help to drive views (and those search engine positions) on their articles.

 

If the long-term intention with TD is to recruit and foster a team of writers that continues to grow, it'd probably be advantageous to consider one of the crew to be someone who intentionally oversees the blogs, promoting the blogs, coaching writers, and initiating first-time writers to the best ways to draw eyes so early on writers can see some success to spur the desire into further writing.

 

I love the site, all, and I'll certainly be around on the forums!

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myjah here from Twinkie Town... just going to say I struggle with this exact problem myself over at TT. The biggest problem is just that, frankly, there aren't a whole lot of great, prolific writers who want to keep writing for little to nothing into perpetuity. I end up spending an immense amount of time trying to help my writers (which, honestly, is something I have a lot of experience in and LOVE doing), but I only have so much time in my life. I wish I could do this as my full time job, but instead I get paid pennies on the hour to write the majority of articles, train all of the writers, edit all the posts, help come up with ideas and direction, maximize the SEO, talk to management at VOX (because I also have people above me to answer to in all this, yikes), try to recruit new writers, read and promote FanPosts, respond to inquiries, moderate a lot of the posts, etc. etc. in the little free time I have. I have a handful of writers I absolute cherish, but as far as management... no one wants to take on that responsibility for like the measly $20 a month I can offer, and I don't blame them. So I have to do it myself, and there are lots of areas I'm lacking.

 

I know not everyone here is a fan of TT either, which is perfectly fine and expected. Our site and community is a little different than here, with some overlap. I purposefully try to make it more humorous, as it's always been sort of the Twinkie Town brand (and to whoever said it before: I didn't get to name the site and don't have a choice in re-naming it, so, welp).

 

I guess my main point is -- there is no silver arrow to this stuff. It's really, really, really hard to find good, willing writers who want to help build your site and wait for the payout. It's really, really, really hard to give the consistent feedback required to help grow good writers. I think Twins Daily has been doing great, personally, most likely better than me. Don't be so hard on yourself, John!

 

 

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Otherwise you're just shouting into the void. 

You and I have very different definitions of what shouting into the void means. It looks like right now the Twins Daily blog section articles get hundreds of views. Some of the more provocative ones have thousands of views. Put those exact same articles on some random blogspot site and they get maybe 10 if they're lucky. 

 

If you put a bunch of thought and hard work into something, you absolutely want some kind of reward. Of course. If that's not going to be money, you at least want an audience, that's totally understandable. I just think you're underselling the platform a bit.

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You and I have very different definitions of what shouting into the void means. It looks like right now the Twins Daily blog section articles get hundreds of views. Some of the more provocative ones have thousands of views. Put those exact same articles on some random blogspot site and they get maybe 10 if they're lucky. 

 

If you put a bunch of thought and hard work into something, you absolutely want some kind of reward. Of course. If that's not going to be money, you at least want an audience, that's totally understandable. I just think you're underselling the platform a bit.

 

And that, in the end, is what Myjah, myself, and TD are all offering to the degree we can each offer it - a platform for those same ideas to reach more eyes than an independent blog most likely would. It's not going to replace a day job, but there's a chance to see how you like it, and if you find your niche and want to grow it, you have a platform to grow that audience before you move elsewhere!

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I've written exactly one article for Twins Daily. I did it because I had a lark of an idea, and thought it would be fun to write it up for a wider audience. I didn't do it to make any money, but some income on the side would be a nice benefit (if I were to ever wrote more articles). I wrote that article because I wanted a larger audience to read it--so I emailed you, and you liked it enough to put it on the front page. It was easy to start a blog, easy to input the article and upload the images. From an end-user it was a seamless experience. And because you liked it enough to elevate the article, it got better visibility and I had fun seeing the comments come in.

 

But then I looked at it from the perspective of a reader. I never visit the "Blogs" section of TD. I read the front page, read some comments, then move on with my life. I trust the the front page of TD is curated enough that the articles are worth reading. I'm not interested in becoming a fan of a dozen different sub-blogs. I just want to read one website and be done with it. 

 

So when I though about writing more articles, I thought about what it would mean to not get put on the front page. The idea of pushing my articles and building up a fan base on my own seemed exhausting, not to mention confusing. "If you want to follow my work, go to this website. No, I'm not in any of those articles you see there. You know, the real articles, I'm over in this blog section." It seemed like a difficult way to build a following, and a pointless pursuit unless I could be guaranteed to make the front page. 

 

Would I like to write more articles? Sure. Am I interested in starting my own blog? Hell no. And if I was, I would make "boo-urns.com" or something. At least then I could do my own marketing, instead of being buried as a blog-within-a-blog. Maybe this is against the whole philosophy of this site, but if I want to write something for TD, I don't want it to be under the guise of my own personal sub-blog. I want to write for TD. On the front page. With the backing of the minds behind TD, saying "we support this article. We think it's worth reading."

Otherwise you're just shouting into the void.

 

The whole blog within a blog conundrum kept popping into my mind and I think you eloquently stated the issue. I see the benefit to getting more views due to the large numbers here at Twins Daily. However, I don't like being at the mercy of another site and being buried.
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No offense, but how about we get Brandon's Zone Coverage articles and Ted's Off the Baggy articles out of the blog section and added to the "Twins Blogosphere" feed instead? If the blog section is intended for harvesting new voices/writers for Twins Daily, it just doesn't make sense for them to be in there.

 

Don't get me wrong, I definitely think there should be an opportunity for link sharing/promotion to other great Twins content, but would that fit better in the forums?

 

While we're on that topic, I think Puckett's Pond needs to get added to that blogosphere feed, as well. 

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Hey Cowbell, it can get more serious here than Twinkie Town for sure. Also, the mods can come down on you for some bizarre topics. Criticism of certain players or team employees or even name calling in jest can earn a reprimand. (thebomisthebomb aka gintzer from Twinkie Town)

lol Hey gintzer! I'll try to tread carefully to avoid the landmines.

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John - Thanks for starting this thread.  I've been on this site for a few years now and love it.  It's my "go to" place for Twins information.  All of my contributions have been through the forum sections only.  I've even done a number of game thread introductions.  I contribute because its fun and I enjoy the banter amongst other Twins fans.

 

Now that I better understand the blog portion I will make a few attempts at contributing that way as well. Can't promise anything riveting but will give it a shot.  I don't think anyone who is really passionate about writing about the Twins will be doing it for a few bucks here and there.  They will do it because they think they have a good point to make or an observation that will be appreciated by other Twins fans.

 

Couple of quick thoughts on developing/encouraging more bloggers:

 

1.) If you see a good post in the forums section, PM the author and encourage them to expand or develop their idea further in a blog. 2.) If you read a decent blog that might not yet be ready for the front page reach out to that individual and say good job.  That might be the only encouragement they need to try another one.  The more people write the better they get.  

 

Its intimidating to put yourself out there and write something for everyone to see but if you want more people to do it they might need to be nurtured somewhat.  A little recognition goes a long way.

 

 

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I wanted to sort of re-emphasize this.  Some of the posts people generate in the forum comments are huge and could easily be a blog post.  I have I think 3 blogs entries from long ago that were started as replies to something in the forums, but when I realized how huge they were becoming I figured turning them into a mostly non-serious blog post was better. 

 

I think it's fairly clear most are more interested in the conversations in the forums, but there's a lot of potential for people to just make that forum reply they spent 10 minutes typing up into a blog without much more effort.  It's up to the site to figure out how to make that as "rewarding" to the writer as the forum comment, though.

 

 

How about, when this happens.... one can automatically create a link with a paragraph... or at the end of an opening paragraph... or two (whatever one feels is enticing)... like the "read more" link ...... and it takes us to the blog. Or the link can be called "blog created". Or something.

 

I would click on that for sure, and some of the very interesting tangential parts of the discussion would have a blog created, and the writer could be spared the admonishment from a mod of not staying on topic. Instead, the writer would be rewarded, and the worthy tangential discussion would have a new life of its own.

Edited by h2oface
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Your site lacks credibility, due to many writers. I don't know what your qualifications are but to me it seems your standards are lax. First I do understand the financial aspect, $10 for an article, unimaginable! There are many purists out there, varied thoughts, of course I think I  am right most of the time. But some of your writers dis-credit your site. One guy wrote about Todd Frazier! Your building a World Series team and Todd Frazier. I don't think many of your writers watch a lot of teams, some lose their credibility on their standard for a good player. I often do wonder if some articles are bait, headline is stupid, and I think he/she just  wants clicks.

     If you want an increase on clicks you have to have writers who know baseball, not who just watch FSN! I live in Florida, Longoria was traded, sites are baiting readers, Is it over for the Rays! You think the Rays traded him to dump his salary, or the article implies that. What made Longoria a good player was his past, not his current, his last 2 years he is not feared and does not give the at bat's he once did. You can't write or think about a player's past and have that be credible. I think the trade is good for both teams, what does Tampa offer Longoria. But articles are not often about reality but about what if's. I think your writers have to understand the baseball mix and be credible with honest information.  Like Kepler, this is a big year for him, is he is what he is or can he get that average to .280. Too much good things to say about opportunity players.

    If you had 4-5 credibe guys, that would help. They have to be honest baseball guys, why not write about some other teams every once in a while. If you lose the "Mary Poppins" theme, I think things get better!

 

I totally disagree with almost everything here. I come here specifically because it has many passionate people who are not tainted by doing it for a job, and not for a couple of beat writers. Once someone does something for money, it changes things. In my life, it was Hang Gliding and Skydiving. Once it was for a business (school, performance flying team, filming and making videos) the passion became a bit dirty for me. There is a strong pull to get paid for one's passion, but the passion is usually then somewhat supervised and controlled, and not by oneself anymore. This is a fun site, and has wonderful discussions. I find many of the intense researchers here vastly more talented than many so called "professionals", and the content they produce massively more relevant than most of the compromised writers with "access". I respect your opinion, but I think that this is not the home for what you are suggesting.

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I sure have read a lot of great articles here by Parker over the last couple years, years which I find out in this thread that he isn't writing for TD anymore. What's up with that?

 

I also miss the days that the Twins Geek wrote regularly. And Gleeman. 

Video killed the radio star..... twitter is killing...........

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I occasionally dig up some information and either respond to a thread or sometimes (very rarely) start a new thread. About a year ago, following a discussion with my son, I compiled the stat cast data on outfielders and posted the results on a forum. I spent several hours doing this analysis and working out the equations in excel. I think my efforts received 3 responses. It was very discouraging and points to one of the main challenges on TD. What topics would readers like to see covered that would generate interest? Somewhat of a catch 22.

 

It would be helpful if members of TD could upload spreadsheets and photos.

 

I could use advice on interviewing players for articles (I have never tried). I occasionally attend minor league games, was at spring training in Fort Meyers last year. How do I get an interview? What is the etiquette involved? I was in Cincinnati in September and Stuart Turner was playing. I would have loved to have a discussion with him about what it was like being a Rule V pickup and challenges in the big leagues. Is this even possible?

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I think part of the problem is the forums are so simple and easy to see what was posted and go make comments on.  For a blog that hasn't been promoted, it isn't as simple to go out and read.  They sort of just get lost in bowels of Twins Daily.  I'm not saying a redesign of the site is necessary, but I think a simpler approach or a section on the main page of promoting most recent blog updates more would help to get visibility to those who write.  Now they are sort of just there, under the forums.  If I have something on my mind I usually go into the forums and start a new topic because I know that will get access to the front page and create discussion.  Giving blogs the same, if not greater, attention than new forum topics could help.  

 

Finally, for us long-term TD readers I remember the mission of the site was to develop bloggers and make this a community.  Newer readers and writers may not know that or understand the mission.  Maybe have the mission statement front and center somewhere on the home page with easy access.  

 

I love this site and visit it damn near daily.  I would hate to see it end.  I honestly get the majority of my Twins information on here.

Edited by Loosey
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Let me pitch something to all of you...

 

We have a section at the top of the front page called "Organizational Chart" [LINK] which has information on all of the players in the system. Last offseason, we populated that with some of Seth's notes from his previous prospect handbook, giving a brief scouting report of the minor leaguers -- such as this one of Byron Buxton

 

To be honest, it was tedious to update as players moved each level, got hurt, traded or released throughout the season but I feel like this could be a valuable tool.

 

Has anyone visited the Org Charts before? Would anyone use that if they had scouting report and bio information? 

 

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Let me pitch something to all of you...

 

We have a section at the top of the front page called "Organizational Chart" [LINK] which has information on all of the players in the system. Last offseason, we populated that with some of Seth's notes from his previous prospect handbook, giving a brief scouting report of the minor leaguers -- such as this one of Byron Buxton

 

To be honest, it was tedious to update as players moved each level, got hurt, traded or released throughout the season but I feel like this could be a valuable tool.

 

Has anyone visited the Org Charts before? Would anyone use that if they had scouting report and bio information? 

I have used it before.  But to be honest I wasn't sure what was updated or when it was updated.  It seems the updated data could be a valuable tool.  Maybe add a "last updated" date.  That way if you see "Michael Restovich" and Updated 8/1999 we would know that may not be accurate.  But if there was Royce Lewis and Updated 9/2017 we would know that's pretty accurate.

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First of all, I love TD, it allows me to feel like I'm part of a Twins community even though I've moved to California. And yes this is my first ever post, and these are just ideas.

 

1. For people who may consider writing but don't know what to write about: create a running list of things to write about, and allow people to 'check out' the topics. If they don't write it, they lose their check out privilege after x number of days.

 

2. Adopt-a-prospect: why didn't that work out? Maybe add auto-email reminders to adopters, and add a place on TD adopters can go with links to places they can get info. 

 

3. For people who may love to do an interview with a prospect but don't have contact info: get a list of twins prospects who are willing to be interviewed, when they can do it, and make a connect. This obviously has the potential to go sideways, but I'm sure an acceptable accountability guideline could be found.

 

4. Maybe a twitter feed connection to all the prominent twins journalists? and/or a permanent location for finding other twins content.

 

5. Use events to make some money and pay writers more using that. People have no issues paying for things to do. Kid friendly stuff focused on baseball, trivia nights, beer pong tournaments, Joe Mauer and Byron Buxton lookalike contests, dunk tank and kissing booth for winners of lookalike contests, etc.

 

6. Start promoting Franken and Klobuchar for president and see if the Russians buy TD ads to promote Trump. Then use the rubles to pay bloggers. 

 

7. A permalink area for long-long-long-running topics. Have you been on the TWolves realgm site? They have these and it's interesting and seems to work. For example, a Gonsalves vs. Romero or Buxton vs. Sano thread could go on for a decade. 

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Let me say up front - I haven't read all the comments on this piece to know how much I'm duplicating but you asked so here you go...

 

I haven't written for Twins Daily but it's long been in the back of my mind as a "that would be fun" project. Here are my thoughts.

 

1. On money: I wouldn't be doing this for the money. You can't afford to pay (and likely never will be able to afford to pay) enough to make most people do this for the money. BUT, paying is still important as a symbolic gesture - "your work matters to us and if we make money off it you should too." I will say I didn't know about the payment structure you outline above. I like that structure.

 

2. Feedback matters. An editorial team or someone to provide critique. Critique how I write - let me know what makes sense and what doesn't. I might not like what you have to say but, in-so-far as I want to get better as a writer, I need/want to hear critique.

 

3. Collaboration teams. I am more likely to write for sites or other things when I know someone is counting on me. Pushes the writing project up on my to-do list and off my silly brain. So put together teams and schedules. I LOVE the idea of series' previews and recaps in season. So put together a team of series' recap/preview writers and assign them out in advance. So I know I need to preview the upcoming Angels' series in 2 weeks and I have a deadline. THEN I also have my "team lead" to nudge and provide feedback. A lot of this could be structured on a voluntary basis. AND provides a bit of a hierarchy or promoting the work of people who are dependable and do good work. A few ideas I have for groups/regular features like this: series previews/recaps, prospect news, minor league affiliate team news (somewhat different from prospect news), "Where are they now?" - former Twins around MLB, history, stathead features, transaction rumors/analysis.

 

4. Provide (and I'm confessing ignorance here if something like this already exists) a FAQ or easy to follow guide to getting started as a writer. "If you want to write about X, here's how you go about it." And then lay out the process of promotion as you did in this post, or if you change it based on this feedback loop.

 

5. Strikes me that it will really take a lot of active curating. The BIG 4 (or however many there are) need to promote/comment on writing they like and writers they want to encourage. And then promote some of those people structurally into regular features. I know you have a model for that, but I guess I'm saying active engagement is key. AND it's hard work. And it could have more structure.

 

Those are my 4 cents.

 

But thanks mostly for caring about this issue. This post in and of itself will inspire me to finally write something.

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Haven’t read through most of this thread, so sorry. But from my experience in not only online media, but sports online media I feel I can share a few thoughts:

 

1. People shouldn’t EXPECT to get paid for posting written blogs in 2017. It’s awesome enough that twins daily that they do pay out to ‘contributors’ that’s pretty rare even amp at large national sports blog providers like SB, Fansided etc hell I have even written 4 ‘articles for deadspin’ and never saw a cent (to be clear I never expected to nor cared, even though combined they have over 100,000 reads)

 

2. If you want to make money in 2017 it’s all video video and more video. TD has no video to speak of, to be clear doing sports video without the rights is extremely tough, and I do get the sense that Brock, bonnes, Nick, and Seth etc aren’t in this for the money first and foremost, but if you other bloggers want to make a quick buck create video and find an audience, the CPMs are much much much better.

 

3. If people want ‘reads’ on blogs they need to be prepared to be a bit more provocative in nature with the opinions and takes. Barstool sports is garbage, but gets a lot of views for a reason, I’m not saying go full Barstool, but maybe feature the occasional “hot sports take!!!1!” Article from time to time. People love to read it.

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John and TD,

 

I want to write for TD and be a regular contributor. I am a passionate Twins fan, but find that writing articles on my own blog doesn't really do much. Nobody cares and it has very little to no credibility since my pieces aren't attached to a major Twins/Minnesota/sports site. I'm a homer, but I also am not afraid to be realistic and honest as well - you could call me a glass half full type of guy. I don't give up easily, just like the 2017 Twins. Please let me know what I can do to be a regular contributor for your site? I'm open to any type of way I can get my foot in the door.

 

Thanks!

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I too am guilty, but I try to "like" the articles or other offerings of writers. So many write several comments on articles or threads or blogs, but most fail to "like" the offering that gave them a place to blather themselves. Don't forget to give the writer deserved recognition for their time. Your "like" can go a long way to more offerings.

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Seems to be more Twinkie Town's niche these days (RIP Bat-Girl). I'm pretty new here, I made what seemed like a harmless joke to me that the "Twins blew it" by not signing Giancarlo Stanton. I got a serious reply telling me I was dead wrong and a mod telling me he was going to leave it up, but nobody else should pursue that seriously. Yikes! Doesn't seem to be a lot of wiggle room in the "fine line between negativity and criticism" for humor here. But again, I'm pretty new here, so maybe it's just a matter of adjusting my eyes to a different community.

THIS. I'm new here as well. There are some great people here. There are also some very serious minded folk who see zero room for humor and have little patience with those of us not metric savvy. I like TD and I hope it thrives, but I find myself spending as much or more time at Twinkie Town.  

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There is plenty of room for 2 Twins fansites.  I read the articles that appeal to me.  Sometimes its the subject that interests me. Sometimes it is the author.  As long as they entertain me and stimulate my imagination, I am happy.  :)

 

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This quote was from another thread, but it bolsters the opinion that the website should be updated to include tables, and cutting and pasting from other sources

 

"Here is the info.I had it in a spreadsheet so the formatting is horrible.I included 4 year contracts in the years there were not any 5+ year deals to FAs.

Year Player Yrs Amt AAV Team Rev Rank NOTES:
2015 Lester 6 155 25.83 Cubs6
2015 Scherzer 7 210 30.00 Nationals8
2014 Tanaka 7 155 22.14 Yankees1 Does not include posting fee
2013 Greinke 6 147 24.50 Dodgers6"

 

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