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 Post subject: Re: MLB Payroll Spending
PostPosted: February 5 19, 8:51 am 
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Not really related to anything, but just some thoughts I've been meaning to share on here for a while.

It's obvious that mid-level (2-4ish WAR) guys are being punished by the recent market and that is especially true for guys over 30 years old. No stats to back this up, just a general observation that seems to be true. Paying $7M/WAR or whatever, is no longer their going rate, and I think that's probably because those 2 win guys can be found in MiLB for $500k a year or whatever, on the scrap heap (old players) for shorter deals, or simply just not signing anyone and being content with a losing season and getting a higher draft pick. Not saying it's right, but it is what it is.

That said, I do not at all understand the discount applying to the guys like Harper, Machado, JD Martinez, etc. I've bemoaned the Cardinals relying on a lot of mid-level guys with no scrubs and thinking that will be good enough. And, it irritates me because there are only 25 roster spots and only 8 positions. It doesn't matter if you have 20 position players capable of 2 wins. Only 8 start. While depth is nice, it's inefficient to have so many 2 win players because not all o fthem will even be on the roster. Similarly, there aren't many players that can be penciled in for 5+ win seasons. Those extra wins have more value simply because they're all in one player. Or in other words, it's more efficient to have 6 wins coming from RF than to have 3 wins coming from RF through a platoon of 3 players. As such, those players that can produce at higher levels still provide value even when they're making more than the FA market $/WAR suggests, imo.


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 Post subject: Re: MLB Payroll Spending
PostPosted: February 5 19, 9:11 am 
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AWvsCBsteeeerike3 wrote:
That said, I do not at all understand the discount applying to the guys like Harper, Machado, JD Martinez, etc. I've bemoaned the Cardinals relying on a lot of mid-level guys with no scrubs and thinking that will be good enough. And, it irritates me because there are only 25 roster spots and only 8 positions. It doesn't matter if you have 20 position players capable of 2 wins. Only 8 start. While depth is nice, it's inefficient to have so many 2 win players because not all o fthem will even be on the roster. Similarly, there aren't many players that can be penciled in for 5+ win seasons. Those extra wins have more value simply because they're all in one player. Or in other words, it's more efficient to have 6 wins coming from RF than to have 3 wins coming from RF through a platoon of 3 players. As such, those players that can produce at higher levels still provide value even when they're making more than the FA market $/WAR suggests, imo.


This is one practical lesson that playing fantasy baseball actually teaches you. Invariably, someone will offer you a trade that's basically three Kolten Wongs for one Paul Goldschmidt, and then get upset when you don't accept it. As you say, you can only start 8 guys. A deep roster of 2.5 WAR players has value, but also won't win without a decent number of high performers. Which is why you make a trade like Weaver/Kelly for Goldschmidt if the opportunity is presented.

It's also why you sign a Harper or Machado.


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 Post subject: Re: MLB Payroll Spending
PostPosted: February 5 19, 9:32 am 
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Fangraphs/BP and other baseball writing sites bear some of the responsibility for the thinking that three two win players are equivalent to one six win player. They touted it for years.

Also while $/WAR is pretty much rendered useless in today’s baseball economy, AW hits on something that’s true, and it’s that it was foolish to think of dollars per win as linear. 1 win supposedly equals 9 million dollars on the free agent market. But, no one was ever going to pay $9 million for a 1 win player (maybe a reliever, but there’s special circumstances around that too.) There’s a premium that has to be paid the more wins a player is worth.

Honestly I don’t see how we’re not heading for a strike. Already the writers are carrying the water for ownership by saying teams are more attracted to next year’s free agent class when this one had rightfully been built up for so long. The rumor is that teams prefer Arenado to Machado. Next year, it’ll be Mike Trout’s impending free agency is affecting Arenado. The year after, teams would prefer a long term deal for Lindor over Trout, and so on. There won’t be a premier player hitting free agency at 26 again until Ronald Acuna (provided he doesn’t sign before then.) Passing this up... I just don’t get it.


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 Post subject: Re: MLB Payroll Spending
PostPosted: February 5 19, 10:20 am 
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Honestly, I'm not too worried about a strike simply because I feel like the entire system is archaic and it was only a matter of time before it came crashing down. For so long, the forward thinkers have known that signing 30+ year old guys to replicate what they did in their 20s was a bad model. And, it appears that ownership groups have caught on. It's not just the pujols type contracts but even the average players (lynn comes to mind) were getting paid $15M/year for 4-5 years...which is fine and all until owners realize it's not a good approach.

Now that they're not paying players in their 30s (or whenever they hit FA) to do what they did in their 20s, [expletive] going to hit the fan....because it should. The players have every right to be upset about it. I find it odd that the market changed last year; the owners could have continued giving out a few bad contracts to appease the players; re-upped the contract with MLBPA and then pulled this maneuver. Very odd they didn't do that, actually.


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 Post subject: Re: MLB Payroll Spending
PostPosted: February 5 19, 10:41 am 
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The part that bothers me most is one of Keuchel, Harper, Machado, etc. is going to get off to a slow start this season because they won’t have the full spring training and it’ll be used to justify “see this is why you don’t sign free agents!” no matter how good the second half might be. I wonder how Jake Arrieta would’ve looked with a normal spring training.

And of course it still goes back to as it always does that money supersedes all for ownership.


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 Post subject: Re: MLB Payroll Spending
PostPosted: February 5 19, 10:53 am 
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Another thing that I am curious about with respect to WAR....totally subjective, but it seems that all teams have gotten better at developing average players, and also better at developing replacement level players. I know WAR tries to account for all this. But it seems to me like the "floor" of the worst players has gotten higher, and the "average" player is also better than they were 10, 15, 20 years ago. In other words, it takes smaller differences in performance to add up to a 1 WAR difference between players than it used to. Is this incorrect?

Anyway, to me it seems like so many players are so similar and roughly equal in value today that owners are just willing to go cheap, and roll the dice and hope for performances end up on the high end of expectations. Or maybe the Cardinals strategy is clouding my view of things.


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 Post subject: Re: MLB Payroll Spending
PostPosted: February 5 19, 11:02 am 
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AWvsCBsteeeerike3 wrote:
I find it odd that the market changed last year; the owners could have continued giving out a few bad contracts to appease the players; re-upped the contract with MLBPA and then pulled this maneuver. Very odd they didn't do that, actually.



That's actually an indication that there isn't any real "collusion" going on. Teams are evolving in how they view and value talent and are making different choices. The current system for player compensation doesn't fit this new reality well and a new agreement is necessary. Players should expect to paid for what they produce when they a produce it. For many, their prime years are eaten up prior to hitting FA.

Harper/Machado were hyped as the first $400 million players a year ago. I don't think we are going to see a lot of these 10-year mega contracts anymore because they are almost always a bad deal. I think premier players will still get the $30-$40 million salaries, but I expect that the years are going to trend down.

Machado didn't showcase himself well in the playoffs with his hustle and associated comments. Harper didn't exactly have a showstopper year either. Despite their age, there is legitimate reason for concern that these players will return that value over a 10-year contract. It is really a travesty if they can command 5yrs/200M instead of 10/400M?


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 Post subject: Re: MLB Payroll Spending
PostPosted: February 5 19, 11:05 am 
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I think you’re kidding yourself if there’s not collusion going on.


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 Post subject: Re: MLB Payroll Spending
PostPosted: February 5 19, 11:15 am 
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Collusion is blatantly obvious. Again, I'll never understand why people want to defend billionaires so hard.

Worth linking again:



Last edited by Big Amoco Sign on February 5 19, 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: MLB Payroll Spending
PostPosted: February 5 19, 11:17 am 
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I don't know if it's a travesty or not but swinging back to my original point, I think it's easy to make a case they're worth it because that's a lot of production from only one position player.

Looking at the Cardinals position players as a whole, how many players have a realistic shot of putting up 5 wins? According to bref, Goldy 31 yo has averaged right at 5 wins the past 3 seasons (considerably higher if you go back 4 years); Marp 33 yo put up 4.9 last year and averaged just under 4 the past 3 years and he's switching positions; then there's nothing...maybe Ozuna if everything falls right.

Harper 26 yo has averaged 2.5 wins the last 3 seasons (considerably higher if you look at 4 seasons - 4.4). So, it's not like he's a slam dunk, but he's also younger and outside Goldy would have to be considered the best shot at a monster season. And, undeniably would have the highest ceiling of anyone on the team.

At the same time, do they need to gamble 10/350? Probably not a good idea. But, 5/200 seems like a no-brainer yes if you ask me, travesty or not.


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