MLB labor unrest

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  • #80462
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    So Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch had a lengthy article about Bill DeWitt and some of his comments from Winter Warmup.

    Fewer and fewer teams are unprepared for the analytical revolution that we’ve seen,” the president told fans. “When you really analyze it, dollars and cents, as well as projecting from an analytical standpoint, some of these 10-year-plus deals into a player’s late-30s just don’t pencil out. There aren’t as many teams willing to completely throw caution to the wind when they have a lot of smart people working the numbers. The market is changing.

    So basically DeWitt is saying he (and other owners) aren’t comfortable handing out 10-year contracts that will cover a player into his late 30s. That really doesn’t hold muster because he was perfectly fine acquiring Stanton and the 10-years still remaining on his contract.

    With a chill in the air between agents and players, and MLB, chairman DeWitt said Sunday he does not see a labor dispute nearing.

    Bill is either being delusional or he’s being deceptive and not wanting to admit what everyone in the industry is noticing. In DeWitt’s own words he indicated the economics and analytics do not support paying free agents under the current system. This in turn is creating a case for the players, with a written record, to demand earlier free agency? The owners are giving the players the ammunition they need to demand earlier free agency and DeWitt, again, is either lying or delusional if he doesn’t see the situation “we’re just being smarter” card is causing.

    You can read the full article here: https://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/dewitts-market-is-changing-in-baseball-and-teams-are-wising/article_5c7ee5ca-01eb-527a-bec3-2ab67146fa00.html?mode=nowapp

    (title changed to better reflect topic)

    • This topic was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by Brian Walton Brian Walton.
    #80466
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    Onyxgem
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    DeWitt just a cheap man, he just might as well admit it because everybody already knows it!

    #80467
    Brian Walton
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    You can listen to the full remarks in his own words in the article on the front page. BTW, anyone who thinks DeWitt is any cheaper than any other owner is not looking around baseball.

    My understanding is that a big concern about 10-year deals is the player outs demanded at three and five years, for example. This places almost all the risk on the owner and little on the player. FWIW, Stanton has only one opt out, after 2020, so the Cards would have gotten him for at least three years.

    What seemed to be behind the labor dispute point is that there are two more free agent periods between now and the next CBA and conditions could change. This year does seem skewed a bit by Harper and Machado. I think I saw somewhere that 19 of the top 30 free agents are signed.

    No one in the industry expected Boras to sign Harper early because of the 10-year and record $ demands (rumored to be $400 MM initially). (see first point) Owners know that any early offers will only be used against them as leverage with other teams. This tends to block the next tier of OFs (Pollock, etc.) and there is a chain reaction of delays.

    This is a factor not fully appreciated, IMO, that is important, as is the self-imposed spending caps.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by Brian Walton Brian Walton.
    #80471
    Brian Walton
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    How would earlier free agency really help what is ailing the game right now? Seems like it might push more money to the few at the top of the pyramid, when IMO, the bigger issue is the mid-to-low tier players. The Harpers and Machados are going to get their money no matter what.

    Seems to me that a higher cap or one tied to revenue (or no cap at all) would be better than earlier free agency. So would limiting incentives to tank. Of course, there can be a number of different things considered separately or together.

    #80472
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    Just because DeWitt was willing to take ten years of Stanton doesn’t make his statement that “some” of the deals dont make sense or that there are fewer teams willing to “throw caution to the wind” insccurate or false.

    I think much of tbe labor strife is sportswriter/blog generated so I agree it is overblown. There is so much competition to be contraversial why wouldn’t someone exagerate possible labor issues. Again, we are nearly 3 years away (not even halfway on the current agreement). Who says the previous % of revenue spent on payroll was correct? Maybe the market is merely self adjusting.

    #80476
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    You’re fooling yourself if you think the free agency market is going to be different in the next 2 years. This is the 2nd straight year of a stagnant market and while the high cap doesnt help matters it’s not the sole reason for a stagnant market. You have more teams tanking and less money being spent.

    #80479
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    I certainly dont see evidence of more teams tanking this year than last. Can you back up that statement emperically? Stagnent market? Is that inherently bad?
    .

    #80482
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    I didn’t say more teams are tanking this year than last. I was saying more teams are tanking now than a few years ago. If you don’t want to see a labor strike in 2022 then yeah a stagnant market for the 2nd straight year is bad.

    #80485
    Brian Walton
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    Perhaps a spending floor is a partial answer.

    #80487
    bicyclemike
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    Management is certainly being cautious, as we are far enough along now in the era of 10-year deals to show evidence of those contracts. While they seemed risky early on, it is now becoming painfully clear that throwing out those deals to the likes of Pujols and Heyward were mistakes. Fortunately St. Louis dodged bullets in both cases.

    Harper and Machado are different situations though – younger and/or more talented. Still teams are being very conservative in taking on all that risk.

    As for DeWitt, he and his management team make a lot more correct decisions than incorrect ones. Their unwillingness to reel in the marquee free agent irks fans, and they get a reputation for only doing enough to make money, while not necessarily being good enough to win it all. But I think they use their resources wisely for the most part, and give the club a chance to win without needing to go the “tank” route.

    They showed me something last year in recognizing that Mike Matheny was not the man who could lead the club to the division title. Without being behind the scenes, it seemed Mike was too rigid in his approach, and unwilling to accept that maybe he could be a little less stoic and a little more real, and possibly the players would respond in a positive way.

    #80512
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    I think a spending floor makes sense. I also think there should be transaction deadlines in the winter just like there is during the season. Perhaps a December 31 deadline for trades and a January 15 deadline for free agents. Free agents could still be signed after January 15 but they wouldn’t be eligible to play in a regular season game until May 1. I haven’t completely thought that through but something needs to be done to shake things up. As it stands right now we are headed towards a work stoppage after 2021.

    #80515
    Brian Walton
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    gscottar, good points, but I am curious about your last sentence. What are you seeing as evidence to lead you to believe the players will strike? I am seeing much more rhetoric from fans that those most affected, but maybe I am looking in the wrong places.

    #80523
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    Some interesting quotes from Scott Boras and Cubs’ Kris Bryant in this article.

    https://chicago.suntimes.com/sports/tanking-mlb-spending-limits-drive-baseball-next-big-labor-fight/

    #80525
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    Yes. I think the rookie contracts should be doubled and arb salaries increased at more dramatic rates would help along with a spending floor on these awful teams.

    In the NBA, a lot of the bad teams with cap space will trade for bad contracts so that the good teams can have the space to add legitimate help. This would bode well for MLB, making a clear line that teams have to cross.

    #80526
    Brian Walton
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    As CC has noted several times and Pads mentions again here, MLB could learn from other sports, if they so choose.

    BHC, to your winter meetings article link, Boras does not speak for the union and Bryant has a personal grudge, as he remains upset that the Cubs gamed his service time (as he should). Whether they represent the feelings of Tony Clark and the rank and file remains to be seen.

    Many of the Cards players were asked about the slow free agent signings at WWU. There was concern from some, but it did not feel angry to me. More like, “I don’t understand what is going on but guys are talking about it.” No talk of strike or even a hint of it.

    P.S. BHC, if you are ok with it, I think this thread should be re-titled “Labor unrest” or something like that.

    #80530
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    Brian, feel free to change the name of the thread to whatever you see is best. Also, I didn’t mean to imply Boras speaks for the union. I know that is not the case but considering Boras is the most prominent agent and his clients are some of MLB’s best it is very prudent in my opinion to include his thoughts. Furthermore, Bryant isn’t the only player that has spoken out about what’s going on. I wouldn’t expect Cardinals players to talk about a strike at a fan event. And lets not forget the MLBPA went out and hired renowned sports litigator Bruce Meyer who will help oversee the next CBA.

    #80532
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    There have been several players make comments about not being happy with what they are seeing including Kris Bryant and Jake Arrieta. I think even Jack Flaherty of all people agreed with Arrieta.

    And there have been many many articles suggesting that trouble is ahead.

    https://www.theringer.com/mlb/2019/1/14/18181665/mlb-mlbpa-player-power-labor-strike-machado-harper-murray

    https://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/ben-frederickson/benfred-no-baseball-in-tension-rising-between-mlb-owners-and/article_b6be3ac9-e189-5bca-ba08-98f7706e0f35.html

    https://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/ny-sports-mlb-commissioner-union-20180717-story.html

    http://www.espn.com/mlb/insider/story/_/id/25600476/who-counsel-mlb-union-avoid-labor-strife

    #80533
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    #80534
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    #80539
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    PadsFS
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    Teams can always go with higher salaries per year and there won’t be 10-year deal. You didn’t see the Lakers sign LeBron on a 10-year deal. Fact is, Harper would sign a deal right now if a 6yr/$300M deal presented itself. Pujols would’ve probably signed a 6yr/$240M deal.

    #80546
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    Early prediction. Management will significantly up cap limits (230-250 million range) and put in a spending floor (160-180 million range?). In exchange there will be a limit on contract lengths (6 years?)

    #80549
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    If any of these players want to work, all they have to do is sign on the dotted line. They will be paid a bare minimum of $555K, and more than likely, a whole, whole lot more. So what’s the problem? I guess these poor players feel like they’re getting screwed if they have to settle for many millions, rather than many, many millions of dollars. Are we supposed to feel sorry for Machado and Harper because they might have to settle for a measly $200M, or God forbid, less than $200M? I agree with one thing for sure. If there’s too much money going to the ballclubs, and if the fans can’t find a way to get some of it back, then raise the floor. Make it so all of these kids get to be instant millionaires, if for only a year or two. And in a prefect world, the players and their union, along with the MLB teams, would negotiate a better ride for the kids in the minors. It could be done if there was w will to do it.

    #80551
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    You may feel otherwise if you see what DeWitt and the owners are making per year on an ever-increasing asset.

    #80552
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    NJ315
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    Exactly Pads. 2018 was a revenue record year and yet the players got the lowest percentage of revenue since 2012. But the ticket prices go up. They pay the players less, keep more of the revenue, and still raise prices. It is not about feeling sorry for billionaires against millionaires is about fairness. The players make the owners money not the other way around.

    #80553
    Brian Walton
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    Interesting prediction, CC. That kind of change would get the market moving more than any artificial deadlines.

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