Major league baseball will work with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in its investigation of PED allegations arising from a recent Al Jazeera report, ESPN.com’s T.J. Quinn reports. Several players were implicated in that report, including Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals and Ryan Howard of the Phillies. “We’ve had discussions with USADA and are hopeful that together we can make progress in this investigation,” said the league’s chief legal officer, Dan Halem. As Quinn explains, it’s an unprecedented level of interaction between the league and the agency. The NFL, on the other hand, won’t be participating in the arrangement.
Here are some more notes of general interest from around the game:
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports argues that commissioner Rob Manfred must not show any favoritism towards the Cardinals and owner Bill DeWitt in assessing whether and how to issue penalties arising from the improper accessing of the Astros’ computer systems by former Cards scouting director Chris Correa. (For the latest information on that, read here and here.) Manfred and DeWitt enjoy a good relationship, as the commissioner himself made clear in comments to Rosenthal. But the top league official also left no room for interpretation as to his intentions, telling FOX Sports: “I think what the owners expect me to do — regardless of what my relationship [with an owner] may or may not be personally — is do the right thing by the institution. That’s what I intend to do when I have all the facts about the Houston-St. Louis thing.”
- There’s been some debate recently about the subject of “tanking,” and both Dave Cameron of Fangraphs and Buster Olney of ESPN.com weighed in on it yesterday. Cameron argues that there aren’t strong enough incentives for MLB teams to lose on purpose in pursuit of better positions for amateur talent. Olney counters that some talent evaluators in the game see a real and growing problem. Manfred’s own recent take on the matter is well worth consideration as well.
- ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden takes a crack (Insider link) at valuing some possible extensions of top young players around the game. He has Bryce Harper at just over $400MM, which is also the rough price range that MLBTR’s Steve Adams and MLBTR’s readers have previously landed at. It’s an interesting thought experiment, and is well worth a read. I would take some issue, however, with the spread between his $100MM+ valuations on players like Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor and his approximately seven-year, $70MM estimates for the two Red Sox players on the list, Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts.
- Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper offers an interesting and sometimes sobering look at some of the very best prospects that never made it to the major leagues.
$400mil? No. Absolutely no way.
I agree — I think it would take more for Boras to bite.
Stanton got $375
400 mil may not be impossible it probably depends on how much the Yankees shed payroll the next few seasons.
Giancarlo signed for $325m and he doesnt stay healthy…..IF Harper plays 150 g each of next 2 seasons and doesn’t even have to hit MVP numbers he’ll get a $400m contract sadly (not b/c who he is but the fact that owners/players are getting these fat tv deals and screwing the fans at home and at the games)
A main problem with “tanking” discussions is that Person X uses the same word as Person R. Person R considers tanking to be a player or manager deliberately trying to do something to lose a game. This very rarely happens.
Person X uses it as “General Manager P signs players not as good as he could have signed, for not as much, to put a less competitive team on the field than he could have. Therefore, P’s team loses more games, and earns benefits from those losses.
Person X considers both tanking. Person R doesn’t. The same word is used.
Season ticket holders want competitive teams. This is understandable. Sometimes, concessions need to be made to make a team more viable in the future. Some consider those to be tanking. Some consider it to be not tanking, but strategic executive control over payroll.
As the word has so many meanings as to have no meaning anymore, I try to not use the term, except to show it as a disingenuous power play by the user.
Unless a player or manager is deliberately using. Which is tanking..
I use the term tanking rarely in terms of “nuclear rebuilds” only. The three major Florida Marlins fire sales, the Padres from the early 1990s, the Oakland A’s from the late 1970s, and the Astros from earlier this decade. They traded every veteran possible from the team. Each of those teams went to a World Series less than 8 years (Astros excluded of course) after their rebuild. The current Phillies are closest, but I don’t currently consider them in the same league as the others. Yes tanking does build a good franchise base, but at what cost? This is a very Machiavellian way to build a franchise, but to me the ends do not justify the means. Houston’s owner publicly stated that he was not going to spend money on players because they intended to lose. The strategy might work, but it the complete antithesis of sports and sportsmanship.
I would love to see a salary floor/salary cap similar to the NFL put into place in MLB because every team should reward their fans by being as competitive as possible. And to stop tanking completely, we should invert the draft order and give the #1 pick to the team with the best record that misses the playoffs and continue down the line until you get to the playoff teams where you can go back to the current format. Will there still be bad teams? Of course, but they will be bad for the right reasons.
I’m good with pretty much any definition. As long as you’re being honest. This is what I don’t like.
“Our team is tanking.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, we’re trying to lose games.”
“No, not them.”
“Then the manager?”
“No, not him.”
“We’re just tanking.”
“You mean, the execs don’t want to write bad contracts to insure a 70 win season?”
“I mean, we’re tanking.”
(Continues to not define it as many months as the conversation goes.)
A salary cap/salary floor only works if all revenue is pooled and split evenly. Good luck getting the Dodgers or Yankees to give $100+ million to the Rays or A’s every year so they can then have the same payrolls.
Bryce Harper in 2015 was just amazing with a 9.9 WAR, but let’s not forget that it is a year removed from a 1.0 WAR season in 2014. Truthfully, Bryce is closer to the the 9.9 WAR player, but before committing $400 Million to Harper. I would definitely like to see a couple more season’s north of a 7 WAR, but he is an amazing 23 year old player.
A Harper extension would be worse than Tanaka needing Tommy John to the Yankee fan base.
The Red Sox would literally fall all over themselves to get the paperwork prepared if Betts or Bogaerts were willing to do a long-term deal at a $10M AAV….
Yeah I think I agree with this.
I’m pretty sure they both have at least 5 years left of team control. So you would only buy out two years of free agency in exchange for a huge raise in the short term. It isn’t an unfair deal.
People bringing up “tanking” arguments can frankly DIAF. The league has a lot of embedded competitive inequity due to mixed levels of revenues and the ability to outright purchase talent.
If you can’t compete with the checkbook, you need to compete in different ways. All productivity is a function of talent, time, and money. If you don’t have one, you need to use the others to win.
Nobody is tanking. They are trading today’s productivity for tomorrow’s, because you’ve bid them out of the free agent process. You can’t steal everything today and then cry later because your opponents planned for tomorrow.
The big markets have already rigged the system so that they will appear in the postseason if they are even mediocre at their jobs, and the rest of the teams are intended to be background narrative for their heroic success. Just because the little guys are smart enough to surge past the billionaires once in a while doesn’t mean anyone is doing anything wrong.
TLDR: The billionaires are crybabies
I heard an interesting fix to tanking. There are both positives and negatives though. The proposal is to not award the 1st pick to the worst record, but to the team closest to making the postseason, such as the Twins or someone else. This would make teams at least try to win at their best ability. But here is the downside, say a team isn’t tanking and they get the worst record. They don’t have many pieces and don’t seem to be a very good team. What about them? What pick would they get? 20th? That might bring their rebuild process time down and effect their fanbase etc. etc.
Tanking isn’t deliberately losing, it’s deliberately abandoning the idea of assembling a competitive team in the near term and rather focusing on the long term. Any rebuilding team is obviously thinking down the road — the idea of rebuilding of course is nothing new. Trading your 32-year-old star for three or four promising minor leagues is disregarding production today with the hope of a better tomorrow. Nobody has a problem with that because usually the fans know what’s going on, and usually the team at least tries to fill out the roster with something resembling MLB talent. The tanking conversation comes up because it’s just that we’ve rarely seen such comprehensive rebuilds and such a flagrant disregard for the big league team during said rebuild as we’ve seen in recent years.