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24fps

The End of Mind-Blowing MLB Paydays

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A pretty good analysis of the trend away from albatross contracts by Bloomberg Businessweek.

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Regardless, the Holliday model is breaking down, with offers to midcareer players getting stingier. Some free agents this winter reported getting identical offers from multiple teams on the same day. This hints either at collusion—which MLB denies—or that every team’s analytics department churns out the same projections for owners desperate to avoid paying former superstars to ride the pine. “I don’t know that you’ll see too many more 10-year deals,” Houston Astros owner Jim Crane said at a fundraiser in January. 

The "Holliday model" referred to in the quoted excerpt is Matt Holliday's contract which was used as an example of the old compensation model teams are rapidly moving away from

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-14/the-era-of-mind-blowing-mlb-paydays-could-be-coming-to-an-end?srnd=premium

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Yet the Phillies just gave Harper a 13-year contract. Not the same kind of contract as a Holliday over 30 contract, but goes to show you it just takes a few yahoo owners to throw things out of whack!

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Just now, Tony-OH said:

Yet the Phillies just gave Harper a 13-year contract. Not the same kind of contract as a Holliday over 30 contract, but goes to show you it just takes a few yahoo owners to throw things out of whack!

A central point of the article is the age factor.  Manny and Harper are both comparatively young and without saying so explicitly, the implication is that trend will only increase.  Two years into this phenomenon and the Manny and Harper contracts are already looking like outliers.  I agree that even the most sound statistical argument won't always save an MLB owner from himself, but the cost of their greed is rapidly coming down.

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37 minutes ago, 24fps said:

A central point of the article is the age factor.  Manny and Harper are both comparatively young and without saying so explicitly, the implication is that trend will only increase.  Two years into this phenomenon and the Manny and Harper contracts are already looking like outliers.  I agree that even the most sound statistical argument won't always save an MLB owner from himself, but the cost of their greed is rapidly coming down.

I think the trends in ownership is also a factor.  The guys willing to spend irresponsibility for a ring are literally dying off.

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1 minute ago, Can_of_corn said:

I think the trends in ownership is also a factor.  The guys willing to spend irresponsibility for a ring are.literally dying off.

I agree.

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10 hours ago, 24fps said:

A pretty good analysis of the trend away from albatross contracts by Bloomberg Businessweek.

The "Holliday model" referred to in the quoted excerpt is Matt Holliday's contract which was used as an example of the old compensation model teams are rapidly moving away from

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-14/the-era-of-mind-blowing-mlb-paydays-could-be-coming-to-an-end?srnd=premium

 

9 hours ago, OsFanSinceThe80s said:

Also analytics has taken over and front offices are telling owners it’s a huge mistake to pay big $$$ to players over 30 years old. (In most cases)

What we're going to have is shrinking pay going to older free agents, but the system of discounts for younger players still in place.  Eventually rich owners are going to say, "huh, I could use some of the cash I'm lighting cigars with to lock up 25-year-old stars for eight or ten years."  That's where the paydays will be.  Owners are like anyone else, they want to win, and they're not all going to leave cash in profits.  The Yanks and Sox and Dodgers didn't win everything in the early years of free agency.  It took a while to adjust and for them to really catch on to the idea that $200M payrolls were okay.  Someone will come around to loading up huge money on the younger players who're worth it.

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10 hours ago, 24fps said:

A central point of the article is the age factor.  Manny and Harper are both comparatively young and without saying so explicitly, the implication is that trend will only increase.  Two years into this phenomenon and the Manny and Harper contracts are already looking like outliers.  I agree that even the most sound statistical argument won't always save an MLB owner from himself, but the cost of their greed is rapidly coming down.

I haven't read the article yet, but how did they defend the Hosmer signing? That happened just a season ago. Just going by what I know I'm not sure the data supports the author's theory. Not yet at least. Yes, players have had to wait longer to sign, but at the end of the day most of them are still getting paid. For every Lance Lynn, who has to settle for a 1 year deal, there's an Alex Cobb, who somehow gets a four year deal. All it takes is one team to cave and/or be poor at evaluating talent and that seems to happen every off season. 

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1 hour ago, wildbillhiccup said:

I haven't read the article yet, but how did they defend the Hosmer signing? That happened just a season ago. Just going by what I know I'm not sure the data supports the author's theory. Not yet at least. Yes, players have had to wait longer to sign, but at the end of the day most of them are still getting paid. For every Lance Lynn, who has to settle for a 1 year deal, there's an Alex Cobb, who somehow gets a four year deal. All it takes is one team to cave and/or be poor at evaluating talent and that seems to happen every off season. 

Hosmer wan't addressed directly, but there was this little tidbit as well:

Quote

That same month, San Francisco Giants three-time All-Star third baseman Evan Longoria wrote in an Instagram post, “Every day now someone is making up a new analytical tool to devalue players.”Here’s a stat Longoria might not want to read: The worst player in the league last year as measured by WAR, Chris Davis, was also one of the 20 highest-paid. He has plenty of company: The bottom of the WAR chart is littered with former All-Stars finishing long-term deals.

I think the picture is clearer (and more useful) if you look at it as a trend, not a rigid principle.  Put differently, fewer and fewer teams are willing to be that "...one team to cave..." and that will substantially change the landscape regardless of the exceptions.

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1 hour ago, 24fps said:

Hosmer wan't addressed directly, but there was this little tidbit as well:

I think the picture is clearer (and more useful) if you look at it as a trend, not a rigid principle.  Put differently, fewer and fewer teams are willing to be that "...one team to cave..." and that will substantially change the landscape regardless of the exceptions.

I guess I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the word "trend" when six of the largest MLB contracts were signed in the last six years. 

1.  Bryce Harper, Phillies: 13 years, $330 million (2019-31)

2. Manny Machado, Padres: 10 years, $300 million (2019-28)

3. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees: 10 years, $275 million (2008-17)

4. Alex Rodriguez, Rangers: 10 years, $252 million (2001-10)

5 (tie). Albert Pujols, Angels: 10 years, $240 million (2012-21)

5 (tie). Robinson Canó, Mariners: 10 years, $240 million (2014-23)

7. David Price, Red Sox: 7 years, $217 million (2016-22)

8. Prince Fielder, Tigers: 9 years, $214 million (2012-20)

9. Max Scherzer, Nationals: 7 years, $210 million (2015-21)

10. Zack Greinke, D-backs: 6 years, $206.5 million (2016-21)

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1 hour ago, wildbillhiccup said:

I guess I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the word "trend" when six of the largest MLB contracts were signed in the last six years. 

1.  Bryce Harper, Phillies: 13 years, $330 million (2019-31)

2. Manny Machado, Padres: 10 years, $300 million (2019-28)

3. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees: 10 years, $275 million (2008-17)

4. Alex Rodriguez, Rangers: 10 years, $252 million (2001-10)

5 (tie). Albert Pujols, Angels: 10 years, $240 million (2012-21)

5 (tie). Robinson Canó, Mariners: 10 years, $240 million (2014-23)

7. David Price, Red Sox: 7 years, $217 million (2016-22)

8. Prince Fielder, Tigers: 9 years, $214 million (2012-20)

9. Max Scherzer, Nationals: 7 years, $210 million (2015-21)

10. Zack Greinke, D-backs: 6 years, $206.5 million (2016-21)

I suggest you read the article.  It was prompted by the events of the 2018-2019 offseason for the most part.  We saw the beginnings of the trend during the 2017-2018 offseason, but it's only been this year that players and agents have become alarmed enough to start crying about the unfairness of it all.  With the exception of Machado and Harper, for whom it's too early to tell, your list could just as easily be viewed as evidence of the problem.

The central thesis of the article is that expensive, long-term contracts for aging players are no longer being viewed as worth the risk.  As an Orioles fan, surely you can understand how such a conclusion could be reached.

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Judging by dollars per WAR, through last year the worst that really could be said was that the FA market has flattened the last few years after many years of growth.    I don’t think fangraphs has calculated $/WAR for 2019 yet, as there are still some players unsigned who would go into that calculation.    But I don’t think it will show regression.   

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16 hours ago, 24fps said:

A pretty good analysis of the trend away from albatross contracts by Bloomberg Businessweek.

The "Holliday model" referred to in the quoted excerpt is Matt Holliday's contract which was used as an example of the old compensation model teams are rapidly moving away from

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-14/the-era-of-mind-blowing-mlb-paydays-could-be-coming-to-an-end?srnd=premium

These fat headed owners need to wake up. The goose that laid the golden egg is dying off. Look at Davis. He is gonna make millions and he may not even be able to play  1st.

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I think it's death to the journeymen players, solid but not spectacular too expensive due to the arbitration process. Those 1 and 2 million dollar raises every year makes such a player unattractive to teams. Better to over pay the very good players and fill the roster with less expensive younger players.

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15 minutes ago, UpstateNYfan said:

I think it's death to the journeymen players, solid but not spectacular too expensive due to the arbitration process. Those 1 and 2 million dollar raises every year makes such a player unattractive to teams. Better to over pay the very good players and fill the roster with less expensive younger players.

As a group 24 year olds should be just as productive as 30 year olds.  But most of the 24 year olds are making $550k, while a similarly-productive 30-year-old has hit free agency and is making $8M.  

The question I have is why the owners didn't look at this situation 25 years ago and decide to put money into player development, and almost never sign anyone over 30, and pocket the difference?  Why were they ever signing the Kevin Millars and Jay Paytons?  For decades they've been paying $millions per win for the comfort of having reliable old declining, injured veterans on the roster.

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