Quick Hits: Burres, CBA, Int’l, Rangers, Astros

Southpaw Brian Burres will take the hill this Thursday to audition for interested clubs, Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com reported yesterday (via Twitter). The 32-year-old spent parts of six seasons in the bigs, with about half of his appearances coming as a starter, but has not seen MLB action since 2011. After throwing for the Taiwanese Lamigo Monkeys last year, Burres will look to effect a comeback. 

Here are a few business notes from around the game:

  • The MLB and MLBPA are working through the annual review of the Joint Drug Agreement (JDA), tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Among other things, the sides are discussing increasing the penalties provided under the program. As I argued in November, creating a more effective set of incentives requires not an enhancement of the poorly functioning existing penalties, but a whole new approach altogether.
  • Matt Holliday spoke in favor of changes to the qualifying offer system in an appearance today on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (audio link). Though he says that compensation to a player's former club is not problematic, requiring signing teams to give up a pick is "not fair" to players who turned down a QO. Holliday explains that teams are valuing draft picks higher as more and more players reach the bigs quickly, and argues that the system "needs to be amended as soon as possible." 
  • Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca explains the effects of the QO system, arguing that its compensatory purposes have turned into a punishment to free agents. Indeed, upper middle class free agents like Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana, Stephen Drew, Kendrys Morales, and Nelson Cruz have found a market that consists of an unattractive set of potential buyers: teams that have no interest in them regardless; teams that might otherwise want them but will not give up a pick; teams that only want them at a cheap price, because they do not want to sacrifice a pick; and teams that strongly want them but can wait for prices to drop. 
  • International spending is on the rise despite the new bonus pool system, writes Baseball America's Ben Badler. In 2013, the total outlay jumped to $97MM from $84MM the year prior, though Badler says that levels could remain flat for 2014. 
  • The Rangers will hold a press conference tomorrow morning to announce a new naming rights deal for Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, the team announced today. Details of the sponsorship agreement are not known, but clearly the park will see some modification to its current name.
  • A federal judge has issued an order placing the parent company of Comcast SportsNet Houston under federal bankruptcy protection, David Barron of the Houston Chronicle reports. The Astros had sought dismissal of the case. With the order, the team's TV network will continue to operate while the business partners seek to agree upon a reorganization plan and deliver the entity out of bankruptcy.


45 Responses to Quick Hits: Burres, CBA, Int’l, Rangers, Astros Leave a Reply

  1. johnsilver 1 year ago

    Slap on the wrist for signing IFA talent, yet absurdly strict penalties for going 20% over slot on Rule 4 talent. That is just not right. it should be the other way around, or at least equal when teams are going 50-100% over on IFA.

    Either fix it, or get rid of both.

    • pft2 1 year ago

      You have to pay a 100 percent tax on any spending past 10
      percent higher than their bonus pool. If they go more than 15 percent
      above their bonus pool, they would also lose their ability to sign any
      international amateur for more than $300K in the next signing season. Not sure that’s a slap on the wrist but agree they could be tougher.

      But there should be no limits on either as they actually hurt small market teams more. The amounts spent on draft picks and IFA are minimal compared to the cost of free agents, and some small market teams were taking their limited dollars and spending it on draft picks and IFA and in some cases outspending big market teams like the Yankees who were content to rely on free agents.

      • johnsilver 1 year ago

        Looking at teams such as Texas and the Cubs spending over 8m. The penalties need to be enforced in a different way.

        Losing a 1st round pick during the rule 4 draft is more important than just being penalized 100% and forced to not give out a bonus of over 300k to some kid who is *supposed* to be 16-17YO.

        It’s time to roll the IFA’s into the Rule 4 draft if anything. This has become the new free spending zone. I figured Epstein would exploit this area, he’s shrewd and good for him and the Cubs on that one, but next year it will be NY trying to fix what that farm system has neglected thru traditional means over the last 20 years.

      • johnsilver 1 year ago

        Looking at teams such as Texas and the Cubs spending over 8m. The penalties need to be enforced in a different way.

        Losing a 1st round pick during the rule 4 draft is more important than just being penalized 100% and forced to not give out a bonus of over 300k to some kid who is *supposed* to be 16-17YO.

        It’s time to roll the IFA’s into the Rule 4 draft if anything. This has become the new free spending zone. I figured Epstein would exploit this area, he’s shrewd and good for him and the Cubs on that one, but next year it will be NY trying to fix what that farm system has neglected thru traditional means over the last 20 years.

  2. vigouge 1 year ago

    If only players who received a qualifying offer had some sort of recourse, something like being able to accept a one year guaranteed contract or something. The easiest way to see less QO’s offered is for mediocre players to actually start accepting them.

    The only thing that needs to be changed about the QO systems is that the deadline for accepting should be the winter meetings. Let the player dip his toe in the water and make a better educated guess as to his value then be able to make an informed decision without tampering charges.

    • pft2 1 year ago

      That’s brilliant. After 6 years of the player being under team control in their prime years where they play at well below market value their reward is a 1 yr deal for the same team that’s not negotiable because refusing the QO means they have to pay an additional tax for their freedom by paying for the perceived value of a draft pick. If I am a player I say keep the QO then but let me be a free agent after 3 years when I am free of the “declining year” excuse. After all, the reserve clause only exists because the players did not kill it after they won in arbitration. Not too late to modify it, even if it means a strike to get it done, or at least the threat of one.

      • LooksEasyOnTV 1 year ago

        I agree with the first half, however, you lost me at the “free agent after 3 years” part.

        I think the system should prohibit teams from extending qualifying offers to the same player in consecutive seasons. Yes, this could essentially add a year of team control to the upper-middle class free agents, however, it provides them with a reasonable means to escape the free agent tax that is applied.

        It would also limit a team’s willingness to extend a qualifying offer, as they would no longer get draft compensation if the player accepts–possibly increasing the willingness to sign a longer-term extension with the player (either prior to the QO extension (realizing the consequences/risks) or in lieu of the QO extension) .

      • LooksEasyOnTV 1 year ago

        I agree with the first half, however, you lost me at the “free agent after 3 years” part.

        I think the system should prohibit teams from extending qualifying offers to the same player in consecutive seasons. Yes, this could essentially add a year of team control to the upper-middle class free agents, however, it provides them with a reasonable means to escape the free agent tax that is applied.

        It would also limit a team’s willingness to extend a qualifying offer, as they would no longer get draft compensation if the player accepts–possibly increasing the willingness to sign a longer-term extension with the player (either prior to the QO extension (realizing the consequences/risks) or in lieu of the QO extension) .

  3. pft2 1 year ago

    MLBPA should not agree to any increase in penalties without clear language that limits how long players with non-analytical positives can be suspended for, and without agreement to eliminate the penalty for signing a FA who turned down a QO.
    They should also be seeking a robust adjustment in the LT threshold which is escalating at a far slower pace than players salaries, and eliminating the tie in of the LT with revenue sharing rebates. They also need to get penalties for revenue sharing recipients who fail to spend a minimum level of revenues on payroll. Example, if a team spends less than 40% of revenue on payroll they should forfeit revenue sharing dollars.

  4. MetsMagic 1 year ago

    The Brian Burres shoutout should remind Orioles fans that, as disheartening this offseason has been with pretending to sign players, the organization really has come such a long way. I don’t think any of the starting on those late 2000s O’s teams, aside from Jeremy Guthrie, ever managed to get a rotation spot anywhere else.

  5. kungfucampby 1 year ago

    Yes, increasing penalties definitely worked in the War on Drugs. No one does them anymore because they’re scared of going to jail.

  6. outlawsundown 1 year ago

    Sounds like the Rangers might be adding some cushion to make another signing.

  7. hiflyer000 1 year ago

    I see only three ways to fix the current QO system. One, make all 1st round picks protected, which would give teams with the picks in the teens like the Orioles more incentive to sign someone. Two, only take a percentage of the slot money lost, say 70%, not the entire amount. This way a team could have a little extra money to maybe sign a higher talented player that is a tough sign later in the draft. Finally, increase the actual QO to a much higher number, say $20 million, which will be a bigger deterrent on teams giving them to mid tier FA’s, and will make players more willing to accept them.

    Honestly if they had just kept the old system the way it was, except that teams would no longer gain the signing teams 1st round pick and just got a sandwich pick, everything would have been fine.

    • Mike1L 1 year ago

      The problem with the old “Type A” and “Type B” system was that it was arbitrary–you got stars, but you also got a number of players who no one in their right mind would even think of offering a QO. In 2012 the “A”s included Farnsworth, Kelly Johnson, Takashi Saito, and Jose Valverde, plus several others that might have been marginal at best for $14M

      • There was no $14M under the old system. If a player accepted arbitration, they negotiated a salary with the team which could be no less than 80% of what they made the previous year. It was no different than the current arbitration system for players with under 6 years of experience who are eligible.

        • Mike1L 1 year ago

          I understand that. I was looking at draft pick compensation and when it came into play.

        • Mike1L 1 year ago

          I understand that. I was looking at draft pick compensation and when it came into play.

    • Erik Trenouth 1 year ago

      How about making the first 20 picks protected. Or moreso, if you didn’t make the playoffs, your pick is protected.

  8. NL_East_Rivalry 1 year ago

    I have two ideas I’ll throw out.
    1) signing a QO FA loses your highest pick to his old team, but you get a protected compensation pick inbetween rounds. You lose your first pick, but you still have a round “1” pick.

    2) teams signing QO FA’s lose their highest picks according to N-1 where N is the number of QO FA a team signs. That way any team can sign a big player and not be hurt, but teams that go out and sign a full roster of top FA talent get penalized.

    • guest_54 1 year ago

      Your second idea is interesting to me. It’s almost a reverse of the current system that seems to encourage signing multiple free agents because the penalties seem to “decrease” for each additional player signed as you “only” lose the 2nd round pick for a second qualifying FA and so on . . . INTERESTING.

      • NL_East_Rivalry 1 year ago

        Thanks, that’s actually a great comment on the current system. I didn’t even think that deeply into it. I love the compensation system, but there is something to be said when it doesn’t stop the big market teams, yet stops the small market teams from making those big signings.

  9. Mike1L 1 year ago

    The purpose of the QO is to compensate the team the FA leaves, and to serve as a drag on salaries. It’s not really a drag on salaries, except for the few middle tier free agents. The stars are getting their money, and the players not worth the QO aren’t hurt by it. It might actually have the effect of pushing up salaries for those FA who don’t have the loss of pick attached. I’d rethink it. Give teams a sandwich pick for a loss of a FA who is given the QO. Drop the penalty–it’s not really working. Allow the price of labor to be determined strictly by the market.

    • Cereal 1 year ago

      Let’s just hope Selig doesn’t do anything else until he bows out & someone more competent steps in as Commish.

    • hediouspb 1 year ago

      Except that it is working. The players who are still unsigned are not worth 14 mil a year. They should have accepted.

      • Mike1L 1 year ago

        The point isn’t to punish a few players. It’s to make for a rational market for all players, and normalize the salaries of those players eligible for free agency (or an extension). Everyone knows these contracts for this handful are abberant, so they don’t really define the market for anyone else. I agree these players should have known better. But, that being said, you want a better system overall, and I don’t think this accomplishes your goal.

        • daveineg 1 year ago

          These players aren’t being punished. They are turning down annual salaries above what they are worth. If they continued performing at their same level and continued accepting QO amounts, they’d come out ahead not behind. True it’s putting more onus on them to perform but that’s good for the game, not bad. What’s bad for the game are players who are only on rosters because they signed long term deals. They are taking roster spots away from other up and coming players who today might be better.

          For instance based on recent performance, Dan Uggla should not have a job in 2014. Same goes for a handful of other players who’ve fallen off since signing long term deals. How good is it for the quality of the game to have to watch those guys struggle while potentially better players toil in the minor leagues?

          Baseball needs to be able to diminish the number of players who only make a team because of their contract. Those guys are hurting the product.

    • daveineg 1 year ago

      The star’s salaries have never been the real problem in baseball. The problem has been giving average to slightly above average players long term deals for a lot of money. This system takes some of their leverage away and overall for the game it’s a good thing.

  10. Cereal 1 year ago

    Do the Lamigo Monkeys have an online store ?

  11. WazBazbo 1 year ago

    Go away.

  12. WazBazbo 1 year ago

    Go away.

  13. The middle tier free agents’ biggest problem is that they don’t want to accept that they’re not worth elite salaries. Nolasco signed early in the offseason for similar money as Garza. Neither one of them required draft picks, but these players took gambles playing the waiting game and will now struggle since many teams are maxed out for spending which gives more leverage to teams like the Blue Jays, who can spend but don’t have to go as high as they might have back in November.

  14. Erik Trenouth 1 year ago

    I think the QO needs to be something that these mid-level free agents would accept. What they really want is the years. If the QO was the average of the top 125 players, but for a 3 year contract, then it would be accepted a lot more, and teams would really reconsider giving out a QO to a player like Kendrys Morales.

    • WazBazbo 1 year ago

      The other side of that, of course, is that a player like Kendrys Morales should not have been so foolish as to turn down that offer.

    • Erik Trenouth 1 year ago

      @wazbazbo:disqus Yes and no. If I am Morales, I am hoping to get a few guaranteed years as opposed to playing year by year. I get that, but sitting on the outside, it does look foolish to pass on $14m to play baseball, especially in hindsight.

      • WazBazbo 1 year ago

        And things were, of course, different back in November… but I still have to wonder at how he and his agent analyzed the market and determined that Morales could do better on the open market. There’s still time, of course, but unless he has some amazing sort of season, I’m going to guess he won’t have a chance at making $14 million for a season ever again.

  15. connfyoozed . 1 year ago

    Here’s how to fix all of the issues with the bonus pool and qualifying offers: anyone who breaks the rules gets locked in a cage full of Lamigo Monkeys.

  16. ubercubsfan 1 year ago

    Changes I’d like to see:

    1) Change from average of the top 125 richest contracts to average of the top 15 at that position. This WILL mean players at some positions will get paid more than others. Relief pitching will need a bigger pool than 15 players, maybe top 60.

    Example using 2013 salaries:
    1B would get QO of 13.177MM
    2B would get QO of 9.002MM

    And so on. Relief pitching could be broken down in sections like standard and closer. Also, if a player is currently making more than QO at his position his salary must be matched as the QO with a 10% increase. (Example: 10MM becomes 11MM.)

    2) Signing teams do not lose their draft pick. A team will never lose their pick. The team that offered the QO just gets a bonus pool money to applies to their picks in the next draft. This bonus will exempted from penalties.

    I this is as win/win for teams and players. This will probably lead to more QO given, but since there is no penalty to any team the players won’t be sitting on the market unless they are just asking for more than a team is willing to pay for their services.

    • Denny Doyle 1 year ago

      First idea good, but will hurt cheap positions, everyone will be making QOs to there relief pitchers. Your formula works fine for 1B and 2B, but do those numbers for DH or RP and it will be very low. Those QOs will be offered all the time. Still, like the idea, just tweak those numbers, so teams aren’t making 5 or 6 mil QO to Middle RP just to garner an extra draft pick. (Maybe positions below a certain threshold (10mil) only yield 2nd round comp picks, or such)

      Second idea not so much, Big Market teams, that spend a lot, would end up with multiple first round picks just like old system, which was the reason it was changed it the first place.

  17. dave 1 year ago

    I doubt teams really have found “new” value in their draft picks. Is there any statistical data that shows first round picks are now somehow more likely to reach the bigs than they were in the past?
    One thing is know for certain: MLB teams are making more money than they ever have. Each team got a nice little $25 million bonus from the corporate office this year. Odd time to suddenly find value in draft picks.

  18. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

    One really simple way to reform the QO system would just be to give player the entire offseason to decide if the will accept the QO. Teams would be much warier of offering players like Drew, Morales and Cruz QO’s if they could accept them in February after it became clear they would not get the multi-year deal they were seeking.

  19. pft2 1 year ago

    It certainly is pertinent and negotiable. Any agreement or understanding might have to wait until the next CBA but if MLB wants something changed in the JDA this year, its a card the MLBPA should play. MLBPA has made way to many concessions of late.

  20. NoAZPhilsPhan 1 year ago

    And if the MLBPA plays that card then MLB should push back with non-guaranteed contracts. There needs to be financial penalties for players that cheat and penalties for clubs that sign them following suspensions. The MLBPA is the most powerful union in the country, if not the world, and the have used that position to harbor and condone cheaters for too long. Guaranteed contracts that allow players to cheat, negotiate mega deals, get caught and continue to get paid big bucks based on false data are insane and a breeding ground for the Braun’s and A-Rod’s.

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