Bucfan56

2018 MLB Off Season Thread

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Word on "the street" is that the Phillies were poised to sign Machado, but fell in love with Harper when they met on Saturday, and told Machado to "just hold out a little longer... we'll get to you".  Meanwhile, he's sitting on an 8-year offer from the White Sox while waiting for the Phillies to "get to him".  There's rumors that the Phillies might try to get both of them, but would want to lock-in Harper first since he'd be the more expensive.  They're supposedly "preparing their offer" for Harper some time this week.

 

1) this guarantees that they'll get neither.  They need to sign Machado while they can.  If I'm him and am told to "wait a while" while I have an offer on the table, I'm just taking that offer (assuming it's in my asking range.)  My gut tells me that Harper is going to somehow go back to Nationals.

 

2) How the hell do you know that you're going to bid on Harper before the season even ends, but still need three weeks into January to even "prepare" your offer?  How can things possibly work this way?  Wouldn't you go after these guys right away so that you know how much you can spend on the rest of your team?  I can't wrap my head around how slow this process works.

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18 hours ago, BringBackTheVet said:

3) players peak between 24 and 26 - I'd love to see the stats behind that.  Baseball is the one sport where it seems like players don't peak until later.  Hell - the two top FAs, Machado and Harper, are 26 and every story is about how they're only entering their primes.  You've forgotten more about baseball than I know so I feel weird calling you out, but this doesn't sound right to me.  Also - players take way better care of themselves now than back in the 90s and earlier, so I think it's reasonable that primes are later now and careers longer.  Aren't baseball players called up later than players in other sports?  Maybe that's old fashioned and teams need to trust younger guys.

 

It seems that way because it usually takes a few years for players to garner national attention, but there is a mountain of data to support this. A quick way to show this is to look at the average age of teams. Most are around 27.

 

A 30-year-old might be as good of a hitter as he was at 25, but most everyone loses something defensively and speed wise in those five years.

 

Likewise, pitchers may learn how to pitch better, but it’s tough to make up losing 1-3 MPH off the fastball as most do by that point.

 

Obviously, there are hundreds of exceptions to this trend. But if you look at the overall talent curve and how it’s divided amongst ages, you’ll find it looks almost exactly the same now as it did in 1930. The reason diet and exercise hasn't changed it is because everyone is doing it and whatever marginal benefit is lost because of it.

 

People think the best is yet to come with Machado and Harper and my thinking is we’ve already seen the best.

 

I’d put good money on Bryce Harper never winning another MVP.

 

That doesn't mean I think Harper is going to suck, or don’t think of him as a franchise player. Sign Bryce Harper and you won’t have to worry about finding a corner outfielder to replace him for at least five years.

 

He’s just not going to develop into a .300 hitting 50+ home run batter.

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Can some of that mentality be contributed to the steroid era? I feel like we had a TON (In this context, anyway) of players who did just that and developed into huge hitters late in their career, and the one thing that has yet to die from that era is the mentality fans and ownership have in expecting that to perpetuate. I think front offices are finally starting to get it, and disasters like Pujols in Anaheim have shed the light on the reality of the situation a bit. But old habits are heard to break. 

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8 hours ago, Bucfan56 said:

Can some of that mentality be contributed to the steroid era? I feel like we had a TON (In this context, anyway) of players who did just that and developed into huge hitters late in their career, and the one thing that has yet to die from that era is the mentality fans and ownership have in expecting that to perpetuate. I think front offices are finally starting to get it, and disasters like Pujols in Anaheim have shed the light on the reality of the situation a bit. But old habits are heard to break. 

 

The steroid era featured three highly successful teams who were built primarily around veteran talent.


The D'Backs, the Giants and the Yankees. Most of the key players on those three teams were over 30. These teams were also built for the most part through trades and free agency.

 

You could look around the league and see players like Johnson, Bonds, Edmonds, Gonzalez, etc. who were over the age of 30 and playing better than ever.

 

So when Tim Salmon bats .290 with 34 home runs at the age of 31, it's easy to see how a team can become convinced this is a sign of things to come, so let's make him the highest paid player on the team. And teams did this repeatedly.

 

Look at the Rangers in the early 2000s and ask yourself what was tying them up financially. The $25 million they were giving to the best player in the American League? Or the $20 million they were giving to two corner outfielders (Juan Gonzalez and Carl Everett) who couldn't run or field, and only provided average production at the plate?

 

You could get the same amount of production Gonzalez, and Everett provided you with for under $3 million at the time. Arod is another story.

 

But those are the types of deals that were sinking mid-market teams who were trying to match the Yankees and Red Sox in free agency.

 

The smart teams like Oakland figured out very it wasn't worth it to even bother trying to keep up with teams like the Yankees in free agency and focused all their energies on developing their farm system. What they found was that if you play your cards right, you can get players better than anyone available on the free agent market, and as a bonus, you only have to pay them 1/10th the salary the top veteran free agent is going to get.

 

Once the big market teams started to figure out they could do the same thing, the days of good but not great veteran players getting big money essentially ended.

 

The idea of teams spending wisely in the free agent market though is a fairly new phenomenon. Teams spent like drunken sailors in the '80s giving big bucks to proven but past their prime vets like Steve Garvey, George Foster, and Ron Cey. Even the first big-money deal in free agent history (Catfish Hunter to the Yankees) was a bust. The Yankees signed him for five years and only got one good year and one decent year out of Hunter.

 

The only difference between now and then is that you didn't have Sabermetric people there to call them out for overvaluing veteran talent.

 

The teams have caught on. For better or worse the "I drink, and I know things" talk radio host type of persona have been scrubbed from most front offices. What's on the spreadsheet matters just as much as what you see on the field. That's a hard concept for a lot of people to grasp and most fans and media people can't which is why I think so many people look at Sabermetrics as a kind of voodoo science, even though all 30 teams have fully adopted this mentality.

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We see a lot of the same early-prime talk in hockey. Maybe people just don't like to be presented with "your life enters inexorable decline at 25." 

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2 hours ago, the admiral said:

We see a lot of the same early-prime talk in hockey. Maybe people just don't like to be presented with "your life enters inexorable decline at 25." 

 

I can't speak with as much confidence about hockey as I can about baseball, but my hunch is its probably just as true in that sport as well.

 

There's just so much coaching, and hard work can do to overcome biology and father time.

 

On an unrelated note, I also have a series I just started up on Reddit where I post a bunch of starters from each team, and you have to guess the year I'm referring to. I plan on doing one a day until the season starts. I've only done three so far, so anyone interested can go and check it out.

 

I also have an interview set up with someone from Major League Baseball about a potential job offer. It's only a part-time job, so I'm 50/50 if I'm even going to take it if offered, but I will let people know if I wind doing it going forward with it. Either way, I'm expecting to have an interesting conversation.

 

My advice for anyone trying to work into baseball, don't listen to anyone with the "what good is data for" mentality. Teams are interested in talking to people who are just as versed in SQL as they are in explaining what the infield fly rule is. You can make a nice writing career railing against the evils of sabermetrics and plenty have. But they are a dying breed who hardly anyone in the game takes seriously anymore.

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I wonder what it would look like if instead of "averages", you looked at only "good" or even "star" players.  Would their stats also peak at 25?  If you look at guys that have 15-year careers, where were their peaks?  Guys that are out of the league at 30 because they were only average or even below average could potentially skew a stat, since obviously those guys would peak earlier, and there's a lot more jabronis than there are superstars.

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1 hour ago, BringBackTheVet said:

I wonder what it would look like if instead of "averages", you looked at only "good" or even "star" players.  Would their stats also peak at 25?  If you look at guys that have 15-year careers, where were their peaks?  Guys that are out of the league at 30 because they were only average or even below average could potentially skew a stat, since obviously those guys would peak earlier, and there's a lot more jabronis than there are superstars.

 

For the most part even great players still have their best years in that 24-26 time span. Just off the top of my head Mickey Mantle was 24 when he won the Triple Crown. DiMaggio was 26 when he had his 56-game hitting steak. Babe Ruth had his first 50 home run season when he was 25. He hit 59 when he was 26. Ken Griffey’s career high OPS came when he was 24.

 

The higher the peak the longer the career, but it doesn’t shift the peak away from that 24-26 range.

 

The main reason talent doesn’t make a difference is because by the time a player gets to 29 it’s three more years of wear and tear on the body. Minor injuries start piling up into big ones. There’s no avoiding it. All you can do is hold off the process as long as possible and a lot of it over that length of time can boil down to just plain luck.

 

Adding more knowledge and experience takes you just so far to make up for it.

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I've read that your body peaks at 27 and then begins the slow decline after that so it stands to reason that would be around when the average professional athlete would start to decline. 

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Marty Brennaman just announced that he's retiring after 2019

 

 

 

 

giphy-facebook_s.jpg

 

edit: this was snotty. I have a complicated relationship with the guy because his last ten years have not been great between feuding with a couple players, disparaging the best Red since Barry Larkin in Joey Votto, and being an old crank about sabremetrics and pretty much everything else. But I fell asleep to his voice pretty much every summer night in the mid 90's and I'll always have that. 

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4 hours ago, McCarthy said:

Marty Brennaman just announced that he's retiring after 2019

 

 

 

 

giphy-facebook_s.jpg

 

edit: this was snotty. I have a complicated relationship with the guy because his last ten years have not been great between feuding with a couple players, disparaging the best Red since Barry Larkin in Joey Votto, and being an old crank about sabremetrics and pretty much everything else. But I fell asleep to his voice pretty much every summer night in the mid 90's and I'll always have that. 

Summer nights with Marty and Joe Nuxhall were amazing. Those were definitely the golden years. I feel like it went downhill when we lost Joe.

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ESPN reporting that White Sox offered Machado 7/175.  Either that's wrong, or everyone had way overestimated his market.  All I heard was 10/300, or more.  Obviously he hasn't accepted so it's irrelevant, but if he ends up signing for closer to 200 than 300, then maybe the Phillies would get both (though I'm pretty sure Harper is just using them.)

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14 hours ago, BringBackTheVet said:

ESPN reporting that White Sox offered Machado 7/175.  Either that's wrong, or everyone had way overestimated his market.  All I heard was 10/300, or more.  Obviously he hasn't accepted so it's irrelevant, but if he ends up signing for closer to 200 than 300, then maybe the Phillies would get both (though I'm pretty sure Harper is just using them.)

Everyone is trying to say that if this is true, teams should re-enter the negotiations. He's obviously not going to accept this offer so I don't see any team re-entering.

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If the market is as small as it is for him, why not start your offer low (7/175)? 

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7 hours ago, MEANS said:

If the market is as small as it is for him, why not start your offer low (7/175)? 

 

That's probably as high as most teams are willing to go.

 

If he weren't dead set on playing shortstop and didn't come off as a raging douche in October, he would be getting better offers. I think his "hustle" comments were and are being overblown, but I do get teams having reservations over giving someone big money who has admitted he doesn't give 100% on every play, even in big games. More than one team who was interested in signing him in July was all set after seeing what he did in October.

 

You can't tell me there are 50 players better than Manny Machado and $25 million would still put him at a pretty elite pay scale. He would become the best player on the White Sox overnight as well as their highest paid player if he were to sign there.

 

But if you asked every game around the league if you could start a team with any player, who would you want? Most every GM would name at least a dozen players before they got to Machado.

 

If the White Sox view Harper as potentially being the next Frank Thomas, that makes Machado the next Robin Ventura. Solid player to have on the roster and one who can help propel a team to a World Series title. But nobody is looking to him as being the guy to carry a franchise, and if that's the type of money he's asking for, I have a feeling he's going to be waiting awhile.

 

As for the other big fish, Harper, he's probably going to wait right up until Spring Training starts before signing. Everything I've heard has him going to Philly if a decision had to be made today. Harper and the Phillies management also seem to be getting along swimmingly which is another reason why I think the race to sign him is more or less over at this point.

 

The only reason Harper still hasn't signed is that he's still waiting to see if another team comes along to blow Philly's offer out of the water. There are other teams out there who are willing to offer Harper more money per year, but nobody is willing to match the Phillies regarding contract length, and that isn't likely to change. Teams like the Dodgers will up the money offer before they up years.

 

But there's no incentive for him at this point to sign right away, and I don't think the Phillies are in any rush to bring him in either. The Phillies already locked up their contingency plan with the McCutchen signing, so why rush him on having him sign, especially when they've been talking to each other the whole time?

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I want off this Machado/Harper rollercoaster.

 

Machado’s agent came out saying Onley’s report that the White Sox were offering 7/175 was “inaccurate and reckless

 

So what it comes down to is everyone is stupid, and no one knows anything. I won’t be surprised if Machado and Harper stay on the market towards the beginning of spring training much like JD Martinez and Darvish last season, giving more teams a chance to possibly make a run. I’ve seen rumors the Padres were interested in Machado. However, they’re being linked Senzel in this 3 team  Kluber now. I can’t see them getting this done without getting rid of Margot.

 

 

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It's ridiculous that you get so close to spring training and don't even know who your main players are going to be.  It really handstrings you to not be able to execute plan B when you don't know if plan A fails, and by the time it does, plans B, C, D, and maybe E aren't even options anymore.  There's obviously no way to implement a signing deadline, and the lack of cap removes the incentive to sign a big-money deal fast, so there's not really any solution.

 

I'm not sure why the Phillies wouldn't just sign both of them, since they have more money than just about anyone now, and their 'managing partner' is on record as saying he might get stupid with all the money.  I saw on PTI that some dope is saying that they're waiting for Mike Trout in two years.  That's dumb.  It's pretty widely felt that Trout will either try to work a trade sooner, or eventually sign in Phila, but jesus - that's two seasons away.  So much can (and likely will) change between now and then.  You can't pass on these guys now, in hopes that Trout is still there in two years.

 

 

Re: Machado - Any criticism of his 'hustle' comments is nonsense.  He shouldn't have said it, but come on.  I don't want my $30M player wearing himself because he's sprinting full speed on every little ground ball back to the pitcher, or possibly injuring himself sliding into 1st base on a weak grounder to second.  Taking plays off isn't a big deal, and in some cases, is beneficial. I'm tired of the "oh, we don't tolerate that here in Philly!" talk I'm hearing.  Just shut up.  Not everyone is Chase Utley.

 

 

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Phillies could definitely sign both with the amount of money they have, but I doubt that happens. As stupid as them waiting for Trout, teams like the Cubs have shown what would be beneficial about the move. How long has Harper been rumored to the Cubs? Now it’s most likely not happening because last season they dumped all their money into Darvish and Chatwood.

 

I don’t find anything wrong with Machado’s playing style and if that’s what’s keeping him on the market, baseball execs are dumber than we thought. It seems like the White Sox are basically betting against themselves right now for Machado. Crazy that every team is not jumping on Machado and Harper this offseason.

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How are the White Sox betting against themselves with Machado? The White Sox also has plenty of money to spend.

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13 hours ago, BringBackTheVet said:

It's ridiculous that you get so close to

I'm not sure why the Phillies wouldn't just sign both of them, since they have more money than just about anyone now, and their 'managing partner' is on record as saying he might get stupid with all the money.  I saw on PTI that some dope is saying that they're waiting for Mike Trout in two years.  That's dumb.  It's pretty widely felt that Trout will either try to work a trade sooner, or eventually sign in Phila, but jesus - that's two seasons away.  So much can (and likely will) change between now and then.  You can't pass on these guys now, in hopes that Trout is still there in two years.

 

Re: Machado - Any criticism of his 'hustle' comments is nonsense.  He shouldn't have said it, but come on.  I don't want my $30M player wearing himself because he's sprinting full speed on every little ground ball back to the pitcher, or possibly injuring himself sliding into 1st base on a weak grounder to second.  Taking plays off isn't a big deal, and in some cases, is beneficial. I'm tired of the "oh, we don't tolerate that here in Philly!" talk I'm hearing.  Just shut up.  Not everyone is Chase Utley.

 

You would have to ask the Phillies brass themselves why they seem to have soured on Machado.

 

I’m sure signing Trout is in the back of people’s minds in Philly, but planning your future around players who aren’t even in your system is a very dangerous game to get into.

 

Im sure they’ll do what they can to get him, but I doubt the Machado situation has any impact on what they may be planning to do to attract Trout.

 

As for the second part, when I was with UMass basketball coaches would regularly make it a point especially to incoming freshmen that you need to learn how to be effective while playing at less than 100% effort.

 

Guys who give it 100% effort on every play usually end up in the trainer’s room within a month of playing like that.

 

It doesn’t mean you have a license to be lazy. It just means you need to know how to pick your spots and maybe not lay out to catch that bases empty single when you’re up by three runs with two outs in the eighth inning in the middle of August.

 

I’m sure that’s more along the lines of what Machado was saying and his regular season numbers should override anything he did over a three week span in October. 

 

But the image of him pimping a long single in the middle of the World Series as well as the various dirty play is going to be tough to get out of people’s heads.

 

The only thing Machado can do to redeem himself is to have a kickass Postseason at some point. Who knows if he’ll ever get the chance.

 

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