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2021 Postseason Discussion and Game Thread


cHawk
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ALCS/NLCS Results Poll  

14 members have voted

  1. 1. Who wins the WS?

    • Braves
      5
    • Astros
      1


40 minutes ago, Otto von Ballpark said:

I think there's some home team bias at play in this analysis: in addition to Longoria and Kiermaier, Carl Crawford was a Ray for 2 years past free agency, and Ben Zobrist for 1 year (was signed for a second year beyond FA, but was traded before his age-34 season). I think of BJ Upton as a "very good Rays player" too, as much as Cuddyer as a "very good Twins player" -- is it the Rays fault that Upton was good enough to call up at age 19 and wanted to hit free agency as soon as he was eligible?

And they traded Longoria because he had just turned 32 and his performance (99 OPS+ in his last year as a Ray) didn't justify his remaining obligations. 

Except look at the names you just listed and the years they left the Rays:

Crawford: 2010
Upton: 2012
Zobrist: 2014

All of those guys played under Friedman, not Neander. And what was one of Neander's first moves as head of the Rays? Trading Ben Zobrist.

2014 is a long time ago for a team as good as the Rays. Byron Buxton debuted just a few months after Erik Neander took control of baseball ops for the Rays.

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1 hour ago, Mike Sixel said:

They signed Jack Morris and Kirby Puckett to two of the largest deals in MLB at the time...so, no. 

The modern ballpark and cable TV booms hadn't yet thrown off the economics of the game at the time the Puckett deal was signed in the early 1990s (and of course the Twins were boosted by two recent titles too). Who knows, if Calvin Griffith had moved the Twins to Tampa in the 1980s, the "Rays" could have signed those deals in the early 1990s instead of the Twins. :)

FWIW, the Rays effectively gave Longoria a $130 mil extension in 2012, which I think would have been top 20 all-time in total money at the time.

By comparison, the Morris deal was a one-year deal for $3 mil with two player option years at $2 mil each (I'd guess we call it 3/7 with out-opts today). This contemporary report describes Morris and Bruce Hurst as "the 12th and 13th $3-million pitchers" -- maybe more comparable to the Charlie Morton deal than to the Longoria one?

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1991-02-06-sp-584-story.html

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39 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

Except look at the names you just listed and the years they left the Rays:

Crawford: 2010
Upton: 2012
Zobrist: 2014

All of those guys played under Friedman, not Neander. And 2014 is a long time ago for a team as good as the Rays. Byron Buxton debuted just a few months after Erik Neander took control of baseball ops for the Rays.

I'm not sure it's fair to assemble a list of "identifiable Twins" from a 10 season run of contention, and expect the Rays to match it in only their current 4 year run.

What specifically do you think Neander should have done differently since 2015?

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One illustration of Rays disadvantages: 2008 Rays had their first good season, and made it all the way to the World Series.

2009 attendance? 1.8 million fans, same as 2008 and basically their peak as a franchise after their expansion season. They hadn't coldly jettisoned anyone by that point -- it's just a functional limitation of their park and market, I think.

By comparison, the Metrodome Twins drew 2-3 mil annually in the 1987-1993 period, drew 1.7 mil in their revival of 2001 even though they fizzled out in August, and then out-drew the 2009 Rays peak every year from 2002 onward.

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5 hours ago, Otto von Ballpark said:

I'm not sure it's fair to assemble a list of "identifiable Twins" from a 10 season run of contention, and expect the Rays to match it in only their current 4 year run.

What specifically do you think Neander should have done differently since 2015?

It's an organizational philosophy under Neander, though. Is any single deal "wrong"? No, the Rays keep winning. But they traded Archer. They traded Snell. They traded Odorizzi. All good, capable players but the moment they start earning any money, Tampa shows them the door.

The Rays are winning but they're profiting off MLB and their own fans in the process.

Fun fact: the Rays make more per year from local television than the Twins do.

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/lets-update-the-estimated-local-tv-revenue-for-mlb-teams/

Second fun fact: In 2018 the Rays, like all other MLB teams, received a $50m check from the sale of BAMTech. Their payroll that season was $85m.

Third fun fact: MLB's national television revenue is about $2b a year. That's $66.67m per team. The Rays payroll? $70.8m.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/maurybrown/2020/06/14/with-tbs-renewal-mlb-could-see-2b-annually-from-national-tv-contracts/?sh=52e328c64411

Fourth fun fact: we haven't even talked about competitive balance sharing yet!

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A poll has been added to the top of this thread.

Games Today:

ALDS Game 1
Chicago White Sox vs. Houston Astros
SP: Lance Lynn (White Sox) vs. Lance McCullers (Astros)
Venue: Minute Maid Park, Houston
Betting Odds: Astros -130, White Sox +110

ALDS Game 1
Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays
SP: Eduardo Rodriguez (Red Sox) vs. Shane McClanahan (Rays)
Venue: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg
Betting Odds: Rays -160, Red Sox +140

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As a Twins fan, I watched the 106 win Dodgers last night play a do-or-die game to get to the next round in the playoffs. They won, a nail biter for their fans I'm sure, but both the Dodgers and Cardinals trotted out pitchers who, when compared to the Twins' staff and prospects, make me weep. If the Twins can't develop home grown pitching or trade for it, the Pohlads need to pony up. No more Happs and Shoemakers, please.

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17 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

It's an organizational philosophy under Neander, though. Is any single deal "wrong"? No, the Rays keep winning. But they traded Archer. They traded Snell. They traded Odorizzi. All good, capable players but the moment they start earning any money, Tampa shows them the door.

I'm not sure this is a fair characterization of all of those deals.

Archer was still relatively cheap, and in fact the Rays went out and paid Charlie Morton even more right after the trade. The issue was Archer's middling performance and the haul the Rays were able to get in return (most famously Glasnow and Meadows, and now even Baz is their ALDS Game 2 starter!). The Rays are definitely cost-conscious but this doesn't strike me as a move primarily motivated by money. We pat the Twins on the back for trading Eric Milton in 2003, right? They saved some cash but it was a good baseball move too.

Snell is a bit less clear -- it's not the historic fleecing of the Archer deal -- but it fits a similar pattern. He had a definite fall-off after his 2018 Cy Young season (on which his extension was based), and that fall-off has accelerated this season, while Patino and Mejia are already contributing for the Rays and may get even better.

Odorizzi looks more like a cost move, although not particularly egregious. Palacios obviously didn't work out, but the baseball motivation seems comparable to the Twins nontendering Plouffe, just doing it a year early and getting a prospect in return.

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19 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

The Rays are winning but they're profiting off MLB and their own fans in the process.

Fun fact: the Rays make more per year from local television than the Twins do.

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/lets-update-the-estimated-local-tv-revenue-for-mlb-teams/

Second fun fact: In 2018 the Rays, like all other MLB teams, received a $50m check from the sale of BAMTech. Their payroll that season was $85m.

Third fun fact: MLB's national television revenue is about $2b a year. That's $66.67m per team. The Rays payroll? $70.8m.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/maurybrown/2020/06/14/with-tbs-renewal-mlb-could-see-2b-annually-from-national-tv-contracts/?sh=52e328c64411

Fourth fun fact: we haven't even talked about competitive balance sharing yet!

This sounds more like a gripe with MLB's system overall, than any specific issue with the Rays.

Per the April 2019 Forbes list, the Rays had $40 mil less revenue than the Twins in 2018. The average MLB team made $39.6 mil in operating income in 2018; median team, $32 mil. The Rays made $27 mil. (Forbes says these figures reflect revenue sharing and stadium debt, as well as local, broadcast, and postseason revenue. No BAMTech payments but those are the same for all 30 teams.)

Hard to get a handle on the latest Forbes numbers due to the pandemic -- the Rays new broadcast deal (with Bally/Sinclair, ugh) has kicked in since then, but every team was at an operating loss. FWIW, the Twins apparently gained 10% in franchise value since 2018, while the Rays and their new broadcast deal only gained 0.5% -- still 2nd to last in MLB, 20% less than the modest Twins value (to say nothing of the bigger dogs).

From a business standpoint, I'm not sure the Rays are really operating any differently than other MLB teams.

Would I like to see them, and other low payroll teams, spend more? Sure. But under the current system, it doesn't always make much sense. A higher minimum would be good, and perhaps a salary floor that functions like the NHL's would be an interesting addition -- teams below the floor have to cut prorated checks to all of its players to make up the difference.

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11 hours ago, ashbury said:

The chances of the Twins signing Chris Taylor just went way, way down! :)

I thought there would at least be a minor leaguer somewhere also named "Chris Taylor", but a quick search of B-Ref says no, he's the only one!

https://www.baseball-reference.com/search/search.fcgi?search=chris taylor

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12 hours ago, KirbyDome89 said:

Anybody else find it absolutely ridiculous that a 106 win team has to play a 1 game WC just to get into an actual playoff series? 

I don't think it's ridiculous. What are the alternatives?

1. Get rid of the wild card game, go back to the old single wild card system

2. Disregard divisions entirely, and just seed based on league standings

3. Expand the WC game to a best-of-3 round

#1 or #2 would mean the Giants-Dodgers division race the last couple months would have been largely meaningless. They played some great games over that time and it was fun to follow.

On #3, I like the one-game WC format. It gives us tiebreaker-like excitement every year, and only at the expense of non-division winners. Upping it to a 3 game series basically makes it another playoff round, reducing excitement and keeping the division winning teams inactive for too long, in my opinion.

 

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14 minutes ago, ashbury said:

Sparing B-Ref the awkwardness of having to list as his nickname, "No, Not That Other Guy, The Good One."

Okay, I had to look it up: B-Ref says Chris Taylor's nickname is "CT3" which would logically imply the existence of a CT1 and a CT2, right?

Alas, Taylor's uniform number for the Dodgers is 3. (And that number is retired by the Twins already -- I wonder how much Taylor's nickname and Twitter handle are worth to him?)

Edit: Instagram handle, not Twitter.

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4 hours ago, Thebigalguy said:

As a Twins fan, I watched the 106 win Dodgers last night play a do-or-die game to get to the next round in the playoffs. They won, a nail biter for their fans I'm sure, but both the Dodgers and Cardinals trotted out pitchers who, when compared to the Twins' staff and prospects, make me weep. If the Twins can't develop home grown pitching or trade for it, the Pohlads need to pony up. No more Happs and Shoemakers, please.

The game last night was such a good game. I didn't really expect to watch it ... just tune in to catch up ... but man, it was a good game! It will be interesting to see the Dodgers and the Giants battle it out. The Giants have done pretty well against the Dodgers this year.

Btw ... anyone else who watched last night ... did Scherzer seem pissed to be taken out of the game after only 4.1 innings?

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2 hours ago, Otto von Ballpark said:

I don't think it's ridiculous. What are the alternatives?

1. Get rid of the wild card game, go back to the old single wild card system

2. Disregard divisions entirely, and just seed based on league standings

3. Expand the WC game to a best-of-3 round

#1 or #2 would mean the Giants-Dodgers division race the last couple months would have been largely meaningless. They played some great games over that time and it was fun to follow.

On #3, I like the one-game WC format. It gives us tiebreaker-like excitement every year, and only at the expense of non-division winners. Upping it to a 3 game series basically makes it another playoff round, reducing excitement and keeping the division winning teams inactive for too long, in my opinion.

 

I'd take 1.5 months of an NL West race being for seeding purposes only, rather than reducing 106 wins down to a play-in game against a team that finished 16 games behind that pace. Admittedly it was a great game, but it detracts further from a regular season that's already hurting. 

If the Twins went 106-56 and were knocked out in a single game, would we celebrate the excitement, or would we lament the fact that a team with a record 16 games worse than our own was able to erase any chance of a WS appearance with 4-5 good innings from a starter and half a bullpen game? 

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6 minutes ago, KirbyDome89 said:

I'd take 1.5 months of an NL West race being for seeding purposes only, rather than reducing 106 wins down to a play-in game against a team that finished 16 games behind that pace. Admittedly it was a great game, but it detracts further from a regular season that's already hurting. 

If the Twins went 106-56 and were knocked out in a single game, would we celebrate the excitement, or would we lament the fact that a team with a record 16 games worse than our own was able to erase any chance of a WS appearance with 4-5 good innings from a starter and half a bullpen game? 

I'd argue the opposite. The "need" to win the division adds far more excitement to the regular season than seeding would. If the Dodgers and Giants both know they're getting a full series whether they win the division or not they're not fighting til the last day of the regular season for wins. They pull off the gas and trust their talent in a series. I love the drama of the 1 game wild card. Makes every regular season game matter. 1 game divided them, 1 game kept Toronto and Seattle out completely. AL WC was a tie which means 1 game could've had NY at home. If you're playing 162 games you need all the systems you can to make each game matter. You want more fans to tune in? Create more drama. I think this is good for the game. 

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22 minutes ago, KirbyDome89 said:

I'd take 1.5 months of an NL West race being for seeding purposes only, rather than reducing 106 wins down to a play-in game against a team that finished 16 games behind that pace. Admittedly it was a great game, but it detracts further from a regular season that's already hurting. 

If the Twins went 106-56 and were knocked out in a single game, would we celebrate the excitement, or would we lament the fact that a team with a record 16 games worse than our own was able to erase any chance of a WS appearance with 4-5 good innings from a starter and half a bullpen game? 

A season where two AL Central teams won 106+ games, with serious consequences for not finishing on top, would be epic! So fun, like 2006 only better, even if the Twins were the ones that came up short. And of course, the Twins could just as likely prevail and win 107 and relegate a 106 win top rival to the wild card game.

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3 hours ago, Squirrel said:

The game last night was such a good game. I didn't really expect to watch it ... just tune in to catch up ... but man, it was a good game! It will be interesting to see the Dodgers and the Giants battle it out. The Giants have done pretty well against the Dodgers this year.

Btw ... anyone else who watched last night ... did Scherzer seem pissed to be taken out of the game after only 4.1 innings?

I agree on Scherzer.  I don't blame him.  He's used to working through those spots.  I also don't disagree with him getting pulled.  I thought it made sense when there is no guarantee for tomorrow and have the bullpen the Dodgers do.

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