In August, Major League Baseball made its first core economics proposal to the MLB Players Association. That would’ve involved a radical restructuring of the game’s economic system, first granting players free agency at age 29 1/2 (as opposed to after six years of MLB service) and replacing the current arbitration structure with a pool-based system attached to revenues.
This week, the league proposed an unexpected wrinkle in CBA talks. While the new proposal contains the same age threshold for free agency qualification, Evan Drellich, Ken Rosenthal and Eno Sarris of the Athletic report that this offer would tie pre-free agency pay directly to a player’s Wins Above Replacement tally. Under this structure, a player’s service time and career WAR marks (weighted to emphasize the most recent seasons more heavily) would set the player’s salary. While multiple websites calculate WAR totals in different ways, MLB’s proposal would base salaries on FanGraphs’ WAR tabulations.
Earlier this afternoon, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reported (on Twitter) that MLB had offered to replace the arbitration system with salaries based on an algorithm. Nicholson-Smith added that the MLBPA was not enamored with that idea, and the Athletic trio quotes one player representative as saying that such an offer has “zero chance” of being approved.
That’s not at all surprising. MLB’s proposal to set free agency at 29 1/2 years has always looked to be a non-starter for the players. The league’s top prospects typically reach the majors in their early-mid 20’s. Those who live up to their promise will often pass six years of service and hit free agency in advance of their age-28 or age-29 seasons. Marketing as many prime-aged seasons as possible is what often allows players to land contracts that push free agency forward, and the league’s proposal could tether that elite group to their original teams for longer than the current system does. (For example, neither of this offseason’s top two free agents — Carlos Correa and Corey Seager — would be eligible for free agency were the age set at 29 1/2).
Certainly, the age threshold would impact some players positively as well. Players like Aaron Judge and Willson Contreras would’ve reached free agency this winter as opposed to going into their final year of arbitration. A late bloomer like Cubs third baseman Patrick Wisdom would’ve been on the open market instead of making the league minimum salary, and he’d have likely made a few million dollars in 2022 coming off a 28-homer showing over just 375 plate appearances. Overall, though, the union likely sees the 29 1/2 year age threshold as too old to be more desirable than the current service structure.
Fixing player salaries to a statistical formula comes with its own challenges. Past performance will, of course, always be relevant to player pay. The existing arbitration system awards players salaries based on their combination of service time and prior salaries of statistically-comparable players. There’s a case to be made that MLB’s proposal would modernize that process.
Arbitration can lean a little more heavily than most modern teams do on traditional box score statistics like pitcher wins, saves, and hitters’ home runs and RBI totals. While arbitrators will also consider newer, WAR-like metrics, their comparative reliance on old-school stats has led to arb salaries for closers and defensively-limited sluggers tending to skew higher than teams have been willing to pay. On the other hand, arbitrators haven’t generally placed as much value as clubs have on glove-first players and high-leverage setup relievers. Basing pre-free agency salaries off WAR would probably help to close that gap.
That said, the MLBPA seems likely to take issue with tying salaries to WAR directly. As the Athletic scribes write, using that metric is particularly challenging with regards to relievers. Both the free agent and arbitration markets have valued bullpen arms more highly than WAR totals typically do. Advanced defensive metrics — a key component in WAR calculations — can be unstable on a yearly basis. Over the long run, those metrics tend to align with general evaluations of a player’s defensive acumen. Fixing salaries weighted heavily on single-season defensive metrics, though, seems suboptimal.
WAR naturally involves making imprecise adjustments for different parks, which could pose problems when teams adjust playing field dimensions. And WAR metrics differ on how to separate a pitcher’s contributions from those of his defense; FanGraphs, upon which MLB’s proposal would be based, evaluates pitchers essentially off their strikeout, walk and home run rates. That strips out ball in play luck but also creates some seemingly odd results. For instance, Aaron Nola — who threw 180 2/3 innings of 4.63 ERA/3.37 FIP ball — had a higher 2021 fWAR than Robbie Ray, who tossed 193 1/3 frames of 2.84 ERA/3.69 FIP pitching.
None of this is meant as an indictment of WAR models generally or of FanGraphs’ choices specifically. Most or all MLB teams rely on similar calculations in making player evaluations. That’s with good reason, since advanced metrics of that nature can offer insights into players not found by typical box score stats. Still, these limitations highlight the potential pitfalls of tying player salaries directly to this one statistic.
MLB’s proposal looks unlikely to make much headway ultimately, and both sides will continue negotiations as we near the expiration of the current CBA on December 1. Nicholson-Smith reports that the two sides are scheduled to meet next on Monday.
War what is it good for?
Maybe for this, I like this idea
It may be among one of the worst proposals and ideas Major League Baseball has ever come up with.
You’re putting the salaries and earning potential of professional ballplayers solely on a random website unaffiliated with MLB.
You have to realize in negotiations, you often make proposals early that have little chance of going anywhere just to get feelers out for what you really want want which will come later. Hopefully MLBPA will not just reject it but come up with their counter proposals. From back and forth discussions hopefully the sides will find common ground to move forward together.
I truly admire your optimism. The MLBPA wants nothing whatsoever to do with a system based upon performance. It is far more important to them to preserve a system where a vet cashes in on a few good years in the past and negotiates a long term deal where he is paid handsomely whether he performs at all or does a Tulowitski – i.e. sits on the DL for the last 5 years of their contract. Their position has nothing to do with WAR as a stat, with FanGraphs or hackers, or any of the nonsensical deflection coming up here. It’s simple. As much as people on here want to complain about a system where a young player gives two or three years at bargain prices before cashing in at arbitration and free agency, the players union knows the present system is the best cash cow going.
Agree on a lot of what you said. Those top deals trickle down. Im not optimistic but was just indicating that asking for the moon was normal at the beginning. I have a mediation on Monday where the demand is $6.5m. Overall evaluation is from $700k to $1.1m. The first offer is likely to be $250k only because $200k has already been offered.
Have a similar one coming up in early Dec Dewey.
Demand is not less than a couple million ‘or as jury sees fit’. Valuation? Well, this this rampant inflation where you’re rolling in future damages seems to be raising that number, especially given how sympathetic jurors will be after seeing their personal costs go up.
Prior offer range was around 200k, but, piles of malfeasance have turned up with spoiliation issues. Of note, judge actually struck the answer previously but rescinded due to inability to hold a hearing during covid closures. But a renewed motion to strike and for sanctions is filed so….
Hopefully there’s numbers thrown around orders of magnitude higher, or it’ll be one of the shortest mediations I’ve ever been to.
Free agency at 29 1/2 is a ridiculous proposal. Feeler? Union’s response should be: feel my nuts.
Or, they should propose to do away with the luxury tax, draft, arbitration, etc. for a straight up free market solution. Players sign a contract, and when that contract is finished, they can sign wherever and for whatever a team is willing pay.
PT57 your proposal is asinine. You think there should be no cap and probably no floor. That means the Yankees Dodgers and a few others to a lesser amount could have 10 or so players making $10-15 mill a year. Then Oakland Detroit etc have all scrubs that washed out in the rookie league. Why would they care they will have fans from the other teams show up and get the shared money file teams that suck. Only a Yank or Dodger fan would like that change.
The Mets "Missed WAR"
You have to hand it to the owners though. At least their proposals appear to have some give and take. I’m not sure this is a great idea but the players have had a problem with the arbitration system for years and the owners aren’t saying they have to choose this version. They are saying they can pick between this version and the last version. I will agree that the $100M league minimum was probably smoke and mirrors but at least they offered it. Has anyone read the players proposal? There is no give and take. It’s all take. It isn’t even a proposal. It’s just a list of demands like they are planning to hold something hostage. Every single aspect of the players proposal only helps the players and only hurts the owners. They are asking the owners to give up money and power in every aspect of the game without conceding or even pretending to concede a single thing in return. They are literally saying “Eliminate the QO. Raise players arbitration salary. Shorten the arbitration period. Force a league minimum. Eliminate the Luxury Tax. Don’t even think about using a soft salary cap. Stop revenue sharing. Pay players more money.” Where is the give there? The owners lose on every single level in that situation. That is not how people negotiate. That’s how people make threats to go on strike. At least the owners are trying to get creative. The owners are trying to get creative. The players proposals so far are just an attempt to hold the league hostage. We are less than 3 weeks away from the end of the CBA and the players are still acting like the owners are the only ones who are going to make any consolations. This is why a work stoppage is a possibility every single CBA or even pandemic event. The players don’t even realize what negotiating is. Demanding and negotiating are 2 totally different things.
Do you know what a paragraph is?
I appreciated his response, Lloyd. Not his fault you don’t have the attention span to read that much.
Steve Nebraska Missed Fever Pitch Guy's WAR Chant
I definitely appreciated his response too, Rhyde1990. Thanks for sticking up for people like The Mets “Missed WAR” because maybe just maybe people like us don’t have anyone else to talk to except for the people who respond here. To be honest I actually don’t think I have ever seen Lloyd say anything constructive. He is probably one of those guys who goes around correcting everyone to try to make himself feel better about himself or something, I just come here to read the articles and sometimes I respond. I know I have a lot on my mind. when it comes to the great sport of baseball. I would like to see the players association make their own proposal or something. All I see is the proposals to the union, but the union doesn’t seem to come up with anything on their own. Either way I think this is going to be a mess. I’m not really sure if you can actually convince either party that they are right or wrong in what they believe. They literally have to sit down at the table together. No Zoom meetings or anything like that. They should be in the same room together, whether it’s at a restaurant or an Elks Lodge or a ballroom in a big hotel or something. MLB literally cannot stand for another work stoppage that bleeds into the actual season, even if it’s spring training. I just hope they can work something out by late January at the absolute latest, otherwise there won’t be enough time and everything will be held back and the fans won’t be happy. I actually think they should eliminate arbitration and they have to do something to stop the teams from all this service time manipulation. Ken Rosenthal mentioned relegation in an article on The Athletic and I know it will never happen, but I literally can’t help imagining what it would be like. The owners would never go for it though, and it would basically change too much for them to consider it. If you’re not familiar with relegation, it’s like when the bottom feeders in the A league get literally relegated to the B league. You can read more about it if you want, they use it in the Premier League in Europe. I feel bad for the writers here at MLBTR too. They do a great job pooling all this great information together, and it’s literally all right here, so you don’t have to go looking for it. There is so much negativity in this world and we need baseball to keep us going, I hate to think what I will do if the lockout impacts the start of the season. Hopefully it will all be okay or else otherwise it’s going to be a big problem.
The players need to take, and take a lot. NBA and NFL players take about 46-50% of the revenue, it’s baked into their model. Let’s so some quick math on what MLB is like, using 2019 as it’s the last normal year:
MLB took $10.7b in revenue, well reported
If you go to Spotrac you can see the final payroll for each team. I went and added it all up manually. That came out to just under $4.2b
Which means MLB is getting away with only playing players roughly 39% of revenue. And they’ve achieved this largely through collusion. The players *should be pissed* and should be demanding a bigger slice of that pie.
I would like to see players make more money at the owners’ expense, but meanwhile I’d like to see the players’ slice of pie distributed better amongst players. Player salaries are pooled heavily amongst a small number of elite players, and perhaps they deserve that. But from an owner’s standpoint, a 10/300 contract is a huge gamble that creates risk. I think it would be in the interest of both the union and the owners to figure that out.
MLB is all guaranteed money though as opposed to the NFL and the NBA also has a ton of ways to deduct players as well. Vernon Wells is a prime example of a guy who got paid 10’s of millions when he couldn’t even play anymore.
Isn’t Bobby Bonilla still collecting a check long after he retired?
I would love to see a max term length on contracts offered. Something along the lines of five years. The AAV would skyrocket, benefitting players. To your point, it minimizes the risk of the teams. Teams wouldn’t be crippled with the likes of the Chris Davis type contracts that leads to tanking. As inflation and revenues continue to go up, the top performing players can continue to get paid market rates. Wish this would be placed on the table, but I doubt it will be.
Well written. However, the majority of the people out here are player supporters. They have no support for the owners and their desire to actually make a profit on their businesses. It’s comical actually because salaries go up and so do ticket prices.
Are you talking net or gross? It seems like there is more overhead in baseball between games played, roster size, travel, minor leagues, etc Just remember baseball historically was a family game. Costs to a family if four have exploded. Every time a new stadium is built, ticket prices explode. Multiply it by the number of games for season. ticket holders and you see what happened. The next post is more accurate in my view. Raise the floor for younger players but stop the stupid lifetime contracts which can just cripple a team via injuries, cheating edges disappearing or the player just loses due to aging out, etc.
Don’t a lot of people receive checks after they retire? For some it may just be Social Security checks but for others it may be whatever their company’s retirement plan awards.
This is about baseball. A writing class Lloyd.
Thank you…yes, it could have had some paragraphs, but it was a coherent and well written post nonetheless.
Just an obnoxious comment…
There is no relation between ticket prices and players salaries.
If…somehow you cut players salaries to 1 million a year or you put in a salary cap that was 20 million a team, ticket prices wouldn’t go down.
That’s just not how businesses work…owners are going to set tickets prices as high as they can while still selling as many seats as possible. These aren’t non-profits MLB is running.
The idea that ticket prices go up because of player salaries is a looong antiquated and disproven idea.
That’s ridiculously simplistic. Owners pay for far more than player salaries.
Lets Go DBacks
I never knew clubs/owners were obliged to offer players long term contracts. I thought that was just a willingness of them to tie a player to their team.
See, you are never to old to learn from commenters on here.
Bobby Bo did a solid for the Pirates I believe, deferring salary. That’s why we have Bobby Bo Day annually.
Anyone who brings up collusion is a simpleton.
I mean, we don’t have to hand it to the owners – delaying free agency to this late in a player’s age curve will curtail the top end of the free agency market; stars hitting the market in their mid to late 20s is the surest way for players to ensure they continue getting a proportionate share of the pie as revenues grow.
This is simply a different iteration of a maximum player salary concept.
If you are so concerned about grammar become an english teacher.
If not, focus on the thought he is presenting, which is excellent.
Are you counting health care, retirement benefits, minor league bonuses etc in there? It’s not as simple as player salaries being the only cost of the owners.
The players *should be pissed* and should be demanding a bigger slice of that pie.
To whom should they ‘be pissed’? The owners offer a percentage of the gross every single contract. And every single time, the players say no. The % use to be over 50%, but owners revenue has increased faster than inflation.
The players have only to look in the mirror.
Because other businesses share a larger percentage?
Have you ever even considered starting a business?
There are more commies on this site than in China.
There are less players than the NFL and they are getting guaranteed contracts. It’s a marketplace, not a right to earn a portion of the revenue. They’re worth what teams are willing to pay for them. Back end rotation pitchers are getting $20m a year. If players should be pissed about than you’re delusional.
Owners have never shown the Union their books, so tell me why should the union ever back down from a demand?
You obviously have never been a part of CBA negotiation’s..
Owners love guys like you who defend their profits..
If you think owners increase ticket prices as a reaction to salaries and not based on demand for tickets, then you just don’t understand how business works. If they can increase ticket prices and still put butts in seats, they will do it. Regardless of how much they are paying in salary.
The Great Wall of Text
the impression i have, and i am happy to be corrected if wrong, is that the players (or their negotiating arm) are against anything that might cap individual earnings potential, even if its to the detriment of the player at large.
They seem pretty convinced the best way to escalate salaries is to make sure there is always the possibility that a handful of generational stars can get $300M+contracts
so is Chris Davis and actually getting much more per year than bonilla
Tell me one time when a) an owner lost money on a baseball team after tax deductions or 2) sold it for less than he paid or 3) could not find any interested buyer. And even then most do it to satisfy their egos.
If hating owners is Communist, let’s all celebrate May Day.
So…you’re not going to factor in the insurance, the pensions or the hundreds of millions teams are paying into player benefits during the year?
You can’t believe it’s really this simple…right?
Yes, great point. One I’d wish I’d read before I added a similar one…12 hours later!
Yes, we’re not all intellectual giants like you!
That you’re seemingly incapable of offering any thoughts beyond, “paragraphs,” whereas everyone else seemed to be able to get past it.
But hey, keep harping on it! You’re….really making your point!
“MLB is all guaranteed money though as opposed to the NFL and the NBA also has a ton of ways to deduct players as well..”
I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here. NBA players have fully guaranteed salaries also…and they’re worth more than MLB players make.
There are several players who are or will make 250+ Million the next 5 years.
Revenue sharing will not work in MLB because MLB has 3X + the amount of non-big league expenses that all of the other major sports do. Every team owns/supports (5) + minor league affiliates; they have camps all over the world to develop young prospects. They are ‘forced’ to spend $15M+ each season on both the annual draft and International free agency. Now they also need to provide and pay rent for 200+ minor league players each season (which I totally agree with based on the meager salaries they are paid).
A lot of people only look at the estimated annual revenue a club generates, subtract the MLB total salary and think the owner is pocketing the difference as profit. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Just look at the Atlanta Braves financials. I believe it was 2019 where the Braves set a record for the most revenue generated by baseball operations in team history: ($480M which excluded revenues from the hotel, restaurant leases, etc on the property owned around the ballpark). Their total team salary was approximately $165M that year. Their gross profit (EBITDA) was around $60M for that season, so they had over $250M of non-payroll expenses for the organization. After factoring in below the line expenses (taxes, interest, deprecation/amortization) they actually lose money from a GAAP perspective. None of the other major sports have expenses that exceed total team payroll costs; let alone 2X+ of total team salary. So hard-capping a revenue share amount with the players would be a disaster to the entire league. If you think minor league players have it tough now, this would make it 10X worse. Most teams would either eliminate their lower minor league affiliates altogether or put very little money into them. Scouting and Latin American/APAC development programs would all but disappear. I have little empathy for either side, but the Union is being ridiculous by asking for revenue sharing; it just doesn’t work for MLB.
@Paule – Look up the Braves 2019 audited financial statements. It was their most successful season (revenue wise) in club history but they actually had negative Net Income that season after factoring in all of the below the line expenses (interest, taxes, dep. & amort., one time charges, etc.). I believe it’s fair to say most teams have positive cash flow every season but also most lose money on paper as well. See my longer response above that helps explain why.
“Col_chestbridge3 days ago
The players need to take, and take a lot. NBA and NFL players take about 46-50% of the revenue, it’s baked into their model. Let’s so some quick math on what MLB is like, using 2019 as it’s the last normal year:
MLB took $10.7b in revenue, well reported
If you go to Spotrac you can see the final payroll for each team. I went and added it all up manually. That came out to just under $4.2b
Which means MLB is getting away with only playing players roughly 39% of revenue. And they’ve achieved this largely through collusion. The players *should be pissed* and should be demanding a bigger slice of that pie.”
Keep in mind MLB also pays the contracts of MiLB players and you’d have to add the money spent in international free agents and drafts, those make up a big chunk of money not reflected in MLB’s payrolls and would easily move that 39% closer to 50%, plus what others said: MLB players are assured to be paid in full once they are signed and later cut off from the team, unlike in other leagues.
No worse than arbitrator Shyam Das, Shyam was incompetent!!!!
Das was hardly incompetent – he was actually too good.
If this were to come to pass you can bet your bottom dollar that Major League baseball Incorporated would buy Fangraphs
if the PA knew that was going to happen they would instantly strike.
You can’t buy FanGraphs, Meg is too powerful. Dan will do something crackhead like
@Lloyd Most teams have their own varied versions of WAR. Fangraphs is a showcase for some writers who aspire to work for a front office. Some of my favorite past writers like Dave Cameron and Jeff Sullivan are now working with MLB teams. It’s a free golden goose so why buy them.
19 hours ago
If this were to come to pass you can bet your bottom dollar that Major League baseball Incorporated would buy Fangraphs.”
This is what happened to used car prices. Companies that sell cars bought KBB, Autotrader, etc.
some guy 2
Not giving control to random websites. They are adopting the fangraphs methodology, which is transparent and can be replicated easily. Anyone with an excel spreadsheet can easily replicate it on their own.
I’m pretty sure the fWAR formula is proprietary and not public.
Umm, you can go to their website and see their formula if you like. You can’t trademark math.
This is so untrue that Im not sure if its sarcastic
You can see the formula sure, but Michael Litchman holds the proprietary Ultimate Zone Rating data that goes into the fWAR calculation and a lot of the other fielding data comes from Sports Info Solutions that the public does not have access to.
It’s not “a website” it’s an algorithm.
It’s not a website thing – every team has their own WAR algorithm. Even the least progressive of ballclubs have a basic level of analytics including that.
I understand not liking the proposal – I’m not a huge fan of it. But the current system is much worse – allowing 3 people who have no clue about on field value, referencing archaic precedents, decide between two lawyers arguments. It’s brutally bad.
At least this an attempt at actually identifying value.
Catchers will love it now that Fangraphs bakes framing metrics into fWAR which ends up making them much more valuable than players at any other position.
You have to be kidding me though right?!.. like mlb teams and coaches don’t use those stats to help know where a player is? Come on man it’s clearly obvious this isn’t a terrible idea.. now the age part is BS but any other jobs in the world pays off how good you are as well. Might as well put this in all sports.. again no comments on the age part.. that sounds like BS but ya the better you are the more you make? Sounds fair to me.
“The Sabermetric Revolution and its consequences were a disaster for Major League Baseball.” – Ted FIPcynzski
“The Sabermetric Revolution and its consequences were a disaster for Major League Baseball.”
The math would’ve come no matter what. All that Sabremetrics does is computerizing the notebooks that every manager and coach already used. Things like launch angle and shifting was already in play at lease 75 years ago, and probably a lot longer.
WAR is flawed, I don’t see how this makes arbitration better.
God forbid the players actually have to earn their salaries so of course the mlbpa doesn’t want that.
FredMcGriff for the HOF
Looks like 1994 all over again for baseball. Lost a lot of fans then. With inflation soaring and the majority of people feeling the squeeze of that this last year the fans can go without expensive baseball games. I myself am tired of ticket prices and ridiculously priced vending at games. I don’t think MLB can afford this again. Both the owners and the players will be guilty.
Buy cheap seats and sit anywhere. And bring your own drink/snacks or don’t eat for 3.5hrs.
@bucsfan0004 great response, I’ll add a little more.
Or budget for the games you go to. If you can’t afford to go then don’t go. Or go to less games.
Bucsfan is 100% correct. Unless you are looking for a weekend NYY/RS game, then you can go on SH, get a couple of good $20 seats, and bring in some soda and Crack Jacks that you buy at the Dollar Store across the street from Yankee Stadium.
Y’all need to buy concert tickets if you want to see real inflation.
My Yankee experience is to eat before I go to the game, usually pizza. Buy tickets at Stubhub in the $25 range. Go to the Dominican joint on 157th St, where a bucket of 6 Heinkens cost $20. Tip the barmaid $10. Buy one Heineken at the stadium for $13 plus a $1 tip.
I’m in for $59 total. If I go to the pub down the block for me, for 8 bottles of Heinken, then I am probably in for $49.
If you need that many beers to get through a Yankee game you might want to consider chsnging teams. Your health may depend on it…
Dude, Heinekens are like water, 6 beers is nothing.
Bringing up a players WAR stat during an arbitration hearing should be sufficient enough. No reason to change the way bread is sliced, just slice thinner or thicker pieces based on each individual case which is what an arbitration hearing is all about!
And then MLB can work with B-R and Fangraphs to alter the WAR calculation methods…
MLB using the BigPharma/U.S. Gov model
Why would Fangraphs do that? Besides both the MLBPA and MLB would have an agreement on the specifics of the calculation – which can be run independent of the site. If it was “altered” the other side would know immediately.
Because Fangraphs is cash-strapped and if MLB offered them a teensy bit of its massive wealth they could probably be easily coerced.
except the equation they use is known…. so… theres that.
You seriously think MLB doesn’t have the liquidity let alone assets to purchase fangraphs at whatever price they set? It’s not like their writers are billionaires like all 30 owners.
@ketch…first thought was the opposite. mlbpa takes $20,000,000 from union dues and hands out Christmas envelopes. war numbers would balloon
MLB could just pay more.
Investment banks and bankers are buying MLB teams.
They literally create money through fractional reserve banking.
Mlb teams could pay less too? I mean the rays have been pretty successful. This notion that stupid people use is without the players there’s no game. There’s 1000s of players just waiting to easily replace the players if need be. It’s harder to find billionaires to buy teams than it is to find players.
When the Rays win a WS then they’ll be successful. They’ve been close but have just been a piece or two short. If they even spent a modest amount of money they would probably be WS champions at this point.
Never understood people like you that side with billionaire owners than the actual players playing the game
FredMcGriff for the HOF
@grm. In the Rays defense they actually did go out and get Nelson Cruz at the trade deadline. I know the Rays traded Rich Hill to the Mets earlier in the season which was a little puzzling but Rich is 41 which is usually old for most pitchers. Maybe they should’ve got a top of the rotation pitcher at the deadline as well but to me the Nelson Cruz addition was a big step for the Rays. That’s coming from a Braves fan.
The equation is public. The equation would be laid out in the agreement. It would be verifiable by all involved.
Or worse, purchase both companies and come up with their own “proprietary” algorithm
The arbitration numbers coming from WAR makes a ton of sense
It certainly makes sense for arbitrators to use WAR as factor in deciding cases. There is nothing stopping MLB and the MLBPA from keeping arbitration but altering the factors the arbitrators consider. As with free agency at a specific age, revamping or replacing arbitration can be negotiated. Nothing is topping the union from countering with free agency at 27 and keeping arbitration but altering the criteria to favor factors that better measure value.
I like it. Tired of rising ticket prices due to overpaid players maybe they could add in free agent contracts on those 10/35 deals, if the war isn’t achieved the players salary is reduced, injury notwithstanding. Players would never go for that
Again…really hate to repeat this, but ticket prices ARE NOT RISING DUE TO OVERPAID PLAYERS. They’re going up exclusively because people are willing to pay.
300M or 3M payroll…doesn’t impact ticket prices.
Just like Nike doesn’t sell Air Jordan’s for 25$ because they only cost 6 dollars per shoe. No, they charge 249$ or…whatever they can get for them.
Econ 101 guys.
100% correct. People charge whatever the customer will pay.
Econ 101 would dictate salaries go up, owners revenue is reduced, that cost as always in America is passed on the to consumer. TICKET PRICES GO UP.
Fans aren’t always willing to pay $75 per seat for a family of 4.5 with hot dogs soda and beer. too expensive.
No…that’s not what Econ 101 would dictate. That’s what Econ 101 would dictate if that good was a NECCESSITY. Baseball tickets are not.
Fans ARE willing to pay 75$ per seat. I don’t know about 4.5 hots dogs or really care as the old “family of four” is an antiquated notion…
Ticket price has very little if anything to do with salaries
Dodgers ticket prices have double in the last few years.
Pirates tickets have risen but not doubled.
Cheap seats before Blackhawks Stanley cup run in 2009 $25
Cheap seats in 2021 with aged team payout out bloated contracts $130.
Do you really not see the inherent flaw in your own examples?
The LA DODGERS=Championship team, 8 straight division titles.
Higher DEMAND for the tickets has resulted in ticket prices increasing.
The Pirates are actually a perfect example. Their payroll has DROPPED to the lowest in MLB in 6 or 7 years to 54 and their ticket prices have gone up. If that’s not proving the point, I don’t know what is.
If there is a direct correlation between players salaries, why wouldn’t the prices for Pirates tickets go down instead of up as their payroll goes down?
Then your final example. Again…after a team won a Stanley Cup?
It’s got nothing to do with players’ salaries. It’s entirely about demand.
If you really want lots more injuries and 4 inning starts and boring games as pitchers are paid to try to strike everyone out and punished for allowing contact… then sure, it makes sense.
We might also see players figuring ways to game the defensive metrics by say purposely playing further from the ball while leaning toward where they think it’ll be hit, to up their salaries. The action on the field may end up looking absurd, but whatever drives the one particular formula is best!
Have you watched a baseball game in the past 8-10 years? The players are doing this now!
but whatever drives the one particular formula is best!
100% correct. And that’s the way it works in the real world as well. Really smart people figure out how things should be done. And I get paid to make that happen.
Not going to fly. ManFRAUD is a fool & a clown. Carry on. Ahahahahaha!
Not a fan of Manfred either, but he’s still a ton better than Tony Clark.
“MLB had offered to replace the arbitration system with salaries based on an algorithm“
Ahhh nothing like making the arbitration process colder than it already is…
All salaries should be based off WAR. Say 7MM per WAR – minimum pay is 500k. Pay young players what they’re worth and stop wasting money on players that can no longer perform.
And who determines WAR? It’s not objective like OPS ERA, W and RBI (flawed as they are). I’d be extremely uncomfortable about this if I ran fangraphs.
I agree. WAR is a good benchmark for comparing players, but there is no defined WAR statistic. There needs to be a better way than just W/L, RBI, etc. but idk if WAR is the answer.
Now, this makes sense…
As a counter proposal, the players association should say, we are okay with 28 1/2 or 29, BUT, they become free agents on that very day. So if it is Sept 10, they can sign with whomever they want.
Because as it stands, how many players could get $200M+ contracts if their negotiating for their first year of contract being age 30.
one year rarely makes a world of difference
You obviously have no idea what you are talking about.
explain? maybe it knocks a year off a mega-contract, but those guys will make plenty anyways. But no one considers a one year age difference massive for mid-length deals.
So knocking off $25-40M should be okay? Don’t speak for other people’s money. I’m sure just about EVERY MLB player would laugh at your notion of them “(making) plenty anyways”. They were making plenty when they made 10-25% of these crazy amounts today.
EVERYONE always wants more and certainly every bit that they are entitled to and even beyond, everything they can possibly get. Or do you not understand why the owners and players are in this standoff?
i never said it’s something trival, as much that no system is going to work for every player and I don’t think terribly many would be impacted in this way.
If you believe that, then you have not being paying much attention to the offseason over the past couple of decades.
By your theory when do the escalating salaries end? When players own teams I guess.
When the free market speaks under whatever rules MLB and the players association agrees to. Inflation will always keep thing moving up, and by a lot. because unlike other industries, there are the same 30 teams sharing a piece of an MLB revenue pie that is increasing faster than most other industries. Until that stops, don’t expect salaries to decelerate or level off.
@FSF, are you okay with making contracts non-guaranteed? In the interests of people being entitled to what they deserve you should be, no?
It’s not a “contract” if isn’t guaranteed. MLB doesn’t work that way so your comment is entirely superfluous.
So you’re saying nobody in the NFL or other sports that have non-guaranteed salaries has a contract?
It’s a new CBA, it can work any way thats decided upon. Doesn’t need to be free money for bums who don’t perform any longer.
But feel free to going back and peddling your misinformation such as thinking teams are locked into paying the full value of an arb decision just because a contract was tendered. Just make sure to qualify it as ‘world according to FSF, real-world results may vary”
Market will determine it, league generates less money that’s when salaries will fall. You are worth what someone is willing to pay ya. Owners wouldn’t do these contracts if they weren’t getting money hand over fist through regional TV deals. To franchises with a billion dollar valuation….$100 million payrolls seems reasonable
In this they do qualify for post season rosters tho
Yes they would. And they would obviously have insane leverage.
Also, the default would be that they could opt to play out the year, so that they are not stranded as free agents, but they would have like 10 calendar days to decide what they wanted to do.. Just think how much more exciting the sport would be if in season free agents were in play.
The last paragraph is exactly the owner’s thinking. They are colluding to bring FA compensation down by darwinism
How much is a WAR worth? $5M? $7M? Its worth a ton on the FA market
It’s worth $8m per 1 WAR for free agents.
If the rate for pre-free agent players is that high, i foresee many off-days for Juan Soto, LOL
Marcus Semian had a War of 7.3.
So he’s worth-56M??
If you could lock him in at giving you 7.3 war and play 162 games and have no injuries i think yes he certainly would be. I think a 1 year 56m for Marcus Semien would certainly be reasonable in a perfect world. Unfortunately we are not in a perfect world. If i was a gm for a contending team i’d offer him 1/40 and see what happens. No chance at offering him a long deal imo i think he prolly has 2-3 good years before a sharp decline. But I hope im wrong.
Not exactly the average price per war is inflated by bad contracts
Without Semian, the 2021 Blue Jays would’ve been out of the race with nobody watching for the whole month of September. I wouldn’t be surprised if those September eyeballs (and seats and jerseys and so on) brought in $56M for Rogers.
No athlete, regardless of war or if they single handedly manned every position at the same time is worth $56 million for one year. Numbers like that guarentee either a salary cap, a drastically lower luxury tax threshold, or more likely that no player ever gets offered arbitration again
If mlb teams weren’t stuck paying bloated money to players who aren’t producing then $56m for one player wouldn’t look quite so bad. Simply putting the money where it belongs and eliminating dead money.
So you think the idea of paying someone a percentage of the income they bring in is somehow wrong?
Do you object to the entire concept of commission based income or is there a dollar figure that is somehow just unfair.
The reality is you have 26 players to pay. Unless teams are going to start have $400-500 million dollar payrolls this structure doesn’t work. Now if we eliminate free agency, thus ending multi-year contracts and go to this system across the board and all players go year-to-year then that may make things more manageable
Why though? An athlete wasn’t worth $2oM per year a couple decades ago, then the number became $30M, now there are guys making in the mid $30Ms…. Just because a $60K per year salary doesn’t sound like a whole lot compared to those numbers? Do you know how much Elon Musk or Bill Gates own in wealth?
Do you think they all pay generous salaries to every single on of their workers?.
I’m not against players getting paid but they are proposing a system that would be broken from the beginning to replace a system thats already broken. If you were Mike Trout or Bryce Harper or Mookie Betts or whoemever, and you had to put up your numbers to get that big multi-year contract that you are now locked into, to try to be in the top of the leagues earners and all of a sudden Tyler O’Neill is making $15 million more in arbitration than you are, you wouldn’t be upset?
Maybe do away with arbitration all together and just have straight team controll for the first 6 seasons with an accelerating salary scale that includes escalators for awards, all-star selections, and league leading categories
I hate the idea of directly tying player earnings to WAR. WAR is great for fans to quickly evaluate a player’s season or career but it isnt an objective metric. A player can easily say ‘i have hit 35 home runs’ but can never tell his WAR directly.
There is routinely a 0.5 or greater difference between Bwar and Fwar, because the incorporate sleightly different statistics. That would mean players could lose (or make) millions because someone decided to calculate their value a certain way.
The problem with WAR is not that it isn’t objective. Since it’s all mathematical it is objective by definition. The problem is, it hasn’t been shown to be correlated to the very thing it purports to measure. It also incorporates those badly flawed defensive metrics.
I’ve said it before. At the beginning of the computer age there was a saying, GIGO. Garbage on, garbage out.
Mathematical models are built on data and assumptions and the purpose of building a model is to use the past as a way of predicting the future. In the case of WAR (pick your flavor) it is based in part on a very questionable dataset, defensive metrics. They are doubtful because they are so unstable, despite the fact that players have potentially thousands of defensive encounters every season. If you can’t build a stable dataset from that much data, then you are quite likely collecting flawed data. Second are the assumptions, they take the form of how different factors are weighted in the model. The only way to know ultimately if your model is using the right data properly weighted is to measure its predictiveness, to ground truth it against reality. WAR is supposed to predict wins. Has anyone ever tried to find out if it actually does? Not that I’ve ever seen.
Thing about WAR is for all its flaws, it never usually highlights bad players. The top 10 in WAR are 100% always at least in everyones top 25. WAR does make some players look bad even though they might hit 20-30 homers or have 100 RBI or a .280 BA, but this is why the argument has always been we should stop platforming those stats when OPS and WAR are way better. The argument against it is simply defending Joe Carter and Ruben Sierra’s careers.
This should absolutely have always been the way. Easier to figure out the profit increases and rising the $/WAR annually to match them too.
it doeant, but I feel it undervalues plenty of good players, especially pitchers and especially relievers.
I don’t think relievers deserve that much to begin with, they are all failed starters, but also Liam Hendriks still would have gotten $15M or so last year under this system, and he would have gotten like $20M in 2019. The relievers with 5,00 ERA and 32 saves will get exposed most likely, but also if the $ amount ends up matching profits, everyone will be getting PAID.
it’s not a matter of how much WAR they get its how its calculated and how small samples and things like unearned runs influence it quite a bit. every year you’ll see RPs with low or even negative WAR totals that actually did quite well, and plenty of guys who dont seem to follow the models consistently underperforme or outperform them.
Yes, I do agree I think relievers should be judged in terms of clean appearance %, as a 3 run HR can wreck their entire season ERA. But the nature of them states they are part time players who work at most 10-20 minutes a game. How much value is that compared to a SS who bats 4 times and plays 9 innings of defense?
and over values players. Paying 16 mil for a 2 WAR guy is a terrible investment.
People don’t realize that most businesses use metrics for nearly everything to determine value, right? EBITDA, ROI, sales performance, profitability, profit margin, etc.
It’s almost like baseball is a business or something..
Most fans will never understand that baseball as a professional sport is a business FIRST and a game SECOND.
Still waiting on how using the flawed vision/motor skills of umpires aged over 40 (when most mens visions begins to decline) helps the business side, because it certainly does not help the game side at all.
Why are we doing this? Doesn’t make sense on any level and waters down the authenticity of the sport. We all can see the strike zone on the tv, if the ump cant hit it on 100% of pitches like the screen can, then this shouldn’t even be a job option.
Anytime the reasoning behind something is “because that’s how it’s always been done,” well, that’s really, really stupid.. if there’s a better way to do it, it should be implemented.
Maybe it’s not so much that new way of doing something is better, but an older (sometimes) in many cases has had more years and is more able to reason with things have both seen and learned to know something flat out won’t work, whereas a younger, more inexperienced one just wants to jump on in and try anything all too often for whatever reason because it fits some idea of the moment.
The zone we see isn’t perfect
The fact that math exists and businesses use it to make decisions is simply not a reason to support this idea.
Math really is a thing and businesses really do use it so kudos for recognizing that.
If this is the last offer they make before December 1, there’s no doubt about a lockout. Zero effort for good faith negotiations from Manfred. I suppose he doesn’t really care, if he can spin it to make it look like it’s the players preventing anything getting agreed upon. What a joke.
Manfred is a joke. However I guess you haven’t seen the MLBPA’s unchanged demands.
Then what the heck about Mike Yastrzemski who was a 29 year old rookie. Major league teams wouldn’t even bother taking a chance on developing a guy like him because they’d lose him the next year. A step in the right direction perhaps but deeply flawed in my opinion.
Then he would have made like $15M in his rookie season, which is pretty good?
Also hard to care about the grandson of baseball royalty. Had every chance to succeed here and this is what happened.
Yeah, but he likely would’ve never gotten the chance to play because there’s little upside for a team to play a late bloomer if they automatically lose him the next season.
you really think someone would have paid Yaz $15 million after one year? maybe after last year, but certainly not after one year.
Why does him being related to baseball royalty mean you don’t care about him? Seems weird.
Can you say strike?
Owners will lock them out before that.
Do we even care about strike vs lockout? A pox on both their houses. Worse on the MLBPA for just making limited demand lists without holistic proposals. But both su€k
This is the most ridiculous idea to come out of Manfred’s office. Hard to do for the person who said the league would consider neutral site World Series in the future.
i need an explanation as to how basing earnings off of assumed results is better for players. did well last year? well, you arent getting as much because BBREF and Fangraphs dont believe it’s sustainable. you should get compensated based on what you did, not what you should have done.
@DarkSide830 They are talking about basing it off of previous years WAR, not a projection for the current year. Nothing about previous years WAR is assumed, it is calculated from a formula based on stats.
WAR projects what a player’s value should have been in a given year based off certain stats and weighs them, but just because a formula determined you’re value should have been a certain value, doesn’t mean your production wasn’t worth more. cluch stats, timing of production, plus how certain models trivialize situational results when in reality they do matter. Part of the reason the formula isn’t set is just that – there reasonably SHOULD be some level of interpretation.
Awful no chance proposal from the billionaire owners who are making money hand over fist on their franchises .. ridiculous
Wheres KD17? He’ll argue WAR is terrible idea. They should go by Batting Average.
WAR tends to be detrimental those who play DH and 1B due to positional adjustments. It’s a nice concept, but a bit flawed for these two positions that tend to be filled with high-offense types.
I don’t think it’s as bad an idea as most people see it. One potential problem is UZR vs. DRS, they are so radically different in how players are analyzed. A player could be great according to Baseball-Reference but only average on Fan Graphs. They would seem marginally underpaid.
For example, Correa is worth 1.4 WAR on BR than FG because he grades out way better in defensive runs saved.
Yeah, I figued MLB perferred Fangraphs b/c it tends to give out a more conservative (i.e. lower) WAR number over all.
Not a huge fan of tying salaries to WAR but in general, this proposal isn’t that horrible. Not any less arbitrary than arbitration. And it has a potential to better compensate younger controllable players. But what gets me is why MLBPA is so opposed to it. It seems to see free agency as the Holy Grail, but it only benefits the elite few. The past few years has seen a large portion of their rank and file members getting screwed by the lack of interest in mid-level veterans. Seems to me this proposal would benefit the vast majority of their members. I guess the wants of a few outweigh the wants of the many.
I’m not sure what the objection is. Players getting paid according to statistics that most believe to be better than W-L, ERA, or batting average should be better than arbitrary personal judgment.
i mean, look at the example provided in the article. it’s not hard to tell why.
Aaron Nola’s FIP is lower than Robbie Ray’s even though his ERA (a less meaningful stat) is much higher. How does this contradict what I just said?
because Ray so.clearly had a better year? ask any Phillies or Blue Jays fan and most other fans who they would have rather had last year with hindsight and they say Ray. take the average performance by each player last year and Ray’s is better.
Arbitrary and arbitration don’t mean the same thing.
They don’t even refer to the same thing.
Basing income off of a bogus stat is as arbitrary as basing it off of other players actual contracts?
Do you even read this nonsense before posting it?
The issue with arbitration is that it uses bad contracts to set value. Not that it’s a completely random number with no basis.
in 2012 mike trout was worth 10.5 war according to baseball reference. at $8 mil/war he would have been paid $84 million. but he received $492,500.
Nothing says they would pay $8m per war. Anywhere. The $8m is an arbitrary inflated stat.
How is this supposed to work with injuries. Say I’m on a pace for a WAR of 9, but I get hurt halfway through the year making my WAR 4-5. Does that take a cut out of my salary? Doesn’t really seem fair does it
Figure this WAR is in benefit of the teams with salary based not the players or they won’t have offered this.
MLB and the owners are a business and I’m the side of business so anything they try is meant to help mlb or the owners not the playersZ.
pretty sure injuries are factored in with the current system as well.
This will never happened, no explanation needed.
WAR is dumb as dirt (with no offense intended to actual dirt).
Classic “I don’t understand WAR so it’s dumb” comment.
If you don’t realize how bad a stat WAR is for setting salaries I don’t think you should insult the people who do.
Just be quiet and learn.
The MLBPA should counter with 6 years of service time OR 29.5 years of age. Whichever comes first.
That’s a very logical option.
An IFA gets drafted at 16.
A college graduate gets drafted at 22.
You want both paid the same at 29 because owners have poor impulse control?
What I would like to see come back is years ago when a free agent was offered arbitration and could accept and arbitration would set the salaries; not his qualifying offer stuff.
A lot of free agents aren’t worth the 19 million qualifying offer range but maybe would choose to stay with their teams if the old arbitration system was used.
Too close to the expiration of the current CBA for clearly goofball proposal lobs like these. Get ready for another short season, with the owners/players to blame instead of a pandemic this time.
I think too much money lost with pandemic they will do something even if a short one year agreement etc. too much money to be lost and 1994 took a long time to get fans back. So I don’t see a lock out or strike.
I am a baseball nut but if they strike or lock out season is short I won’t be fan ever again
I went from being a die hard hockey fan who only watched that sport to someone that never watches the NHL anymore and got into every other sport after the NHL missed an entire season in 2003-2004.
And it wasn’t even out of spite. I just had to find other things to do with my time all of a sudden, and got into other sports and found I liked them better.
It definitely can happen. It’s not just cheap words to say that they would lose some fans forever with a lockout.
There’s a good point about the relievers, but I like the WAR bit for the rest of the players. Better to work in an explicit agreement on how it’s calculated so neither side can “convince” FanGraphs to change the formula, but it’s a start. 29.5 yrs will never fly, though. Try 27.5 or 28 yrs.
the problem is if its a different system for different players you may see fights over said distinctions. the two way war will be even greater and teams will argue a player was more a reliever than a starter or change their in-season plans to make a player more affordable because of it. think positional franchise tag fights in football but worse.
Yeah, but is it less fighting than they do now? At least with this method, there’s an unbiased advanced metric to provide the basis.
i mean, maybe, but are we really sure that the PA would react that way? hard to tell as an outside observer.
I love it
the simple system would be for every player on a 40 man roster to be earning service time as long as you are on it and some kind of RFA/offer sheet system wherein you’re not nessicarily locked into a graduated system. maybe make players R5 eligible a year earlier and slightly increase the 40 man to maybe a 50 man roster to accommodate.
The economics of MLB are totally screwed. They should follow the NFL model. They need:
1, A hard cap that includes the minor league players.
2. Slot values for draft picks and minimum salaries,
3. Free agency after about 5 years,
4, No fully guaranteed contracts,
Then the laws of economics take over It is all about supply and demand. If there are too many shortstops the value of a shortstop goes down. It would be just like in the real world. where too many opera singers causes opera singer salaries to fall, The union should only impose a minimum salary floor and negotiates the team salary cap. You can pay your Ace pitcher $35 million but your are going to need to compromise on the shortstop.
the NFL is not at all similar. They dont have a Minors system, players break into the league younger, and careers are shorter. I dont think directly replicating that model to the MLB would assuredly work as well.
They have a practice squad. MLB’s lack of a hard cap creates competitive imbalances. The large market teams can outspend the small market teams. That is bad for everybody.
That’s a result of the revenue sharing models of each sport. The NFL spreads the wealth much more evenly than MLB does. The Yankees always will have gazillions of $$ more than the A’s. All the NFL teams do just fine.
Players would never allow a hard cap, its a non-starter. Large market teams being free to spend drives the salaries up. Owners already offered a hard cap proposal with a salary floor and the Payers said no way. The Braves just won the World Series with a middle of the road payroll. Last year Tampa was in the World Series, $ spent is the only way to build a team.
Revenue sharing is bad. The small market teams should relocate or fold if they can’t compete without revenue sharing.
as far as developmental systems go the MLB and NFL models couldn’t be further apart.
Large market teams being free to spend drives the salaries down. The rest of the teams are constantly cutting their payroll to the bone and starting over looking for their competitive window, In the NFL a rebuild takes 1 year. In the MLB it is 5.
Bud Selig Fan
@oilers777 — interesting idea. How bout the SM’s & mid-markets band together and “strike” vs the large-markets UNTIL— the large-markets share their local TV revenue. See how long your new league lasts with a 8-10 team league. Your TV revenue is directly tied to the teams you play.
It’s absolutely amazing to me that the powers that be can’t see the forest for the tree’s on the most important issue facing baseball — competitive imbalance— I’ve said this before — one team with $600MM in revenue with another at $250MM can’t continue indefinitely without destroying the game EVENTUALLY. $220MM payrolls vs $110MM payrolls.
Why do you think these SM teams tank????????? They believe they have no choice if they want to compete vs the behemoths, and even then it’s a forever closing window. These poor fan bases suffer needlessly. NFL doesn’t have this issue. Neither does the NBA or NHL. To have a fan base with zero hope of competing for a WS for half a decade or more is UNFORGIVABLE!!!!!!!
And now you have players bitching & complaining about teams tanking when they WANT less revenue sharing!!!! Unbelievable.
What’s funny is fans who think an entertainment empire is best served by spending just as much on a pool of 10,000 fans as you do for a pool of 10 million fans.
That isn’t good business.
It’s funny how socialism is the republicans best friend whenever we talk about how the workers should help the owners.
Why not get paid twice a month and get the league minimum guaranteed (555k or whatever) and then get paid a rate for whatever your WAR was during the pay period?
No chance the ‘22 season starts on time. Each side has too much greed.
I’m sure you aren’t greedy, you simply have reasonable expectations.
How would that system handle players who didn’t play in the previous season? Mike Soroka just isn’t worth anything, simply because sometimes professional athletes get injured? Gimme a break
Pay a player on their WAR for the last 3 seasons, and take the average. They also could use other metrics like ERA+ for pitchers and WRC+ for hitters.
Sometimes players go to Asia for several years, and then return stateside during pre-FA or arb years
Or, pay them league minimum. It evens out after the team paid full wages for non performance.
I like WAR well enough, but that is an awful idea. WAR is based around playing time and rates catchers poorly.
Why not give them a base salary calculated from their previous WAR (or a similarly agreed upon formula) and then give them performance bonuses based upon the current year’s WAR at season’s end?
That’s a healthy balance between expected performance and actual performance. Players get a guaranteed salary and owners get some insurance that the players will strive to perform.
The “base” and “incentive” portions need not be 50/50, but, again, something that both sides can agreed to.
Holy Experience Rating Batman!
Sorry, that was my actuary brain reacting.
That is a better idea, but it makes too much sense to ever happen!
Who takes a job with pay to be determined later?
Maybe MLB should just close down if they can’t handle the complexities of hiring workers.
I don’t think any owner has ever been forced to sign anyone but fans want to protect them from paying players what they want to pay them so bad teams don’t suck as much?
That’s really nuts.
Blaming the workers for bad ownership is really weak.
Then problem is the MLBPA is fundamentally opposed to performance based pay. Too many players sign deals and under/nonperform for so long within them that, to a player, it’s a nonstarter.
This may signal that a Lockout is even more likely LOL
It seems like the owners really want a work stoppage. Their proposals seem to be designed to infuriate the union.
Bill Smith 2
Lockout here we come. March spring training…banged. Opening day…banged. Shortened season assured.
There should be a formula that includes whether a player posts ! Players like Freeman and Harper play every day and have a high WRC+
There not wrong MLB needs to rework their contract and salary structures. We all realize that a lockout is inevitable. If I’m the owners I would demand that every current contract is thrown out and the players will be payed on a STRICTLY performance based deal. Have a system in place where everyone gets a base salary but you give bonuses based on various differing categories varying position by position. If you get hurt you will still get the league minimum which is a lot more then most of us in the real world make anyway.
The days of players like Francisco Lindor making 340 million guaranteed should be over. If I’m the owners I stand firm I don’t care if if takes me a decade. The longer the players wait the more time drops off their careers. Let them get other jobs if they don’t like it. The owners can afford to do it I would love to see it happen I am sickened by the salaries these guys make.
Fangraphs WAR isn’t good at valuing starting pitchers and relief pitchers.
Should do all salaries like this, we’d really here the crying then but i bet every game would be a helluva more competetive
The LAST thing the union wants to see is pay based on actual production.
MLB is making the MLBPA look like a bunch of grumpy old men.
The players won’t take it but it’s a helluva good idea. Make them actually work every year for the money. Might be too many wrinkles to straighten out.
Is MLB just trolling MLBPA? This is the dumbest idea in the history of dumb ideas. SO many weaknesses in all the WAR calculations (acknowledged by the websites that use them, in spades). It’s a tool designed to compare similar players one to the other — so center fielders to center fielders, starting pitchers to starting pitchers. But it’s awful at comparing across categories, and totally screws certain position groups. Several elements of the formula are highly speculative (such as positional adjustments) and fielding metrics are an absolute mess, especially for catchers and outfielders, for whom they systematically favor those who play in small outfields.
This reminds me a little of the old class A and class B free agent system we had a couple CBA’s ago. What a disaster that was.
I get the feeling MLB is just leaking “proposals” to try and win the public relations war by saying “look at all the proposals we’re making!”.
A big issue is no one within MLB controls WAR. It’s a mathematical formula that comes in a variety of flavors. rWAR, fWAR and BP’s bWAR that goes my WARP. The formulas do change. Is MLB really proposing a pay system based on external web sites?!
If this was indeed leaked by MLB, that’s different from usual, because usually the stuff that appears on here comes through the agents from the players to MLBTR. And no one complains about ‘leaks’. What’s different this time of course, is that except for the die-hard MLB-haters, this is damaging to the union.
It’s the union who opposes a payment system based on performance. Otherwise here’s their chance. It’s not about what stat is used, as the deflectors on here want to claim – that can be easily negotiated. It’s the fundamental principle of having players paid on the basis of performance,
What about DH in the NL? Is that coming soon? This does affect players’ careers too.
Isnt Arbitration just a suggestion, Cant teams still not tender the player a contract? Let me know if I’m wrong.
I’m not sure what your question is but not tendering a player a contract makes him a free agent.
Yes so if a team doesn’t like the players Arbitration numbers you can just let him become a free agent so the team does still have a choice.
No, the tendering decision precedes the Arbitration decision.
The arbitration process happens pretty late in the off season and whatever the outcome of that, both sides have to live with. However, most usually settle somewhere in the middle before then. Otherwise, the team is forced to explain all of the negatives of the player in arbitration as to why they don’t deserve the money.
FSF is partially wrong..
Although the tender comes before arbitration, the salary is not yet guaranteed.
A mlb club can release an arbitration player through the 16th day of spring training and only owe a 30day prorated salary. From the 17th day to final day of spring training a club can release a player and pay 45 day prorated salary. It’s not until an arb player is on the opening day roster that their salary is fully guaranteed
WAR is partially a compiler’s stat–you need to be in games to accumulate WAR. Service time and playing time machinations will be constant. As a fan, I really don’t want to hear it, or see my favorite younger players inexplicably “rested”
I can’t imagine the nightmare of managing a team where playing time in every single game determines a players salary until they’re 30.
Was this the owners’ feeble attempt at humor?
Pitcher’s salaries based on fastball mph and spin rate, everyone else by number of hr, launch angle and exit velocity.
Ohtani will be the first $50M a year player.
Yeah, but the only team that will bid on him will be the Yankees.
Ohtani has some value, but never $50m
He pitches, but, a 120 inning a year guy is of limited value because you need a matching long relief guy for him through the season.
Ohtani has not been able to stay healthy and keep up a true mlb SP workload since he’s come over. Until he does that he maxes out as a talented DH plus RP salary combination, nothing more.
Using fWAR seems very problematic. It tends to reward players for what could be expected than what actually happened.
Take Ricky Nolasco for example, he would tend to produce a good FIP and a good fWAR but mediocre results. In 2009 he had a fWAR above 4 but his ERA that season was over 5 (180 innings), fwiw bWAR gave him .7. On the flip side, Cal Quintrill had 150 innings and an ERA of 2.89 last year, but only 2 fWAR.
Using fWAR would reward players like Nolasco but punish someone who over performs Cal Quintrill.
Well this is definitely better than the current arbitration system.
Herein lies a problem I found: The sacrifice fly. It actually hurts a player’s OBP. (A sac bunt doesn’t.) In the current arb system, RBI’s matter. In WAR, they don’t weigh as much. For a WAR boost, wouldn’t a player be more inclined to *attempt* to get a hit rather than loft a deep fly ball to drive in the run?
They should just change the sac fly stat anyways
That’s one of the reasons this is worse than the current system.
The Free Agency Age Makes No Sense.
I mean mid rotation guy can command like 15-20 million , that was ace type money like 10 years ago. Now into this new decade an ace or star player can make like 30-40 million. Like where is the logic of players making more money going to end. Like next decade be what like 40-50 million a year? That takes a whole team payroll or some big market teams a 5th of there’s. I’m fine with lower market using the revenue sharing they get from bigger markets but actually use it on their players if not after 3 years and tanks they should lose their 1st round pick or money in draft and international signings. Players make more money through arbitration than they will get in free agency. If players were to be let to be free agents around 26-29 they can command those 7-10 year contracts but they should be like the way how football is if you don’t play you only get half your contract that pays you while you play. The postseason format needs reconstruction to justify teams by their records but not winning their divisions. If you had 3 100 win teams in one division and the other two put up 90 wins then those lower teams should play that one game playoff. It should always be by the record, you shouldn’t have a 100 win team play visitor to a team with 88 wins. There’s no logic in that.
Our economy is built on the concept of consistent inflation.
That is not expected to stop as it would probably bankrupt us.
The MLBPA is so annoying. Why let the Comissioner’s office waste all of this time putting together a package only to say no. Why not work together the entire time so they get it all done on the first “proposal”?
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, Tony Clark is a cancer to this game and the Player’s Association, they need to find someone new. Manfred kinda sucks too so that doesn’t help but Clark is almost never willing to compromise with anything
Why waste time putting together such an insulting proposal?
Why waste time discussing something that you would never consider?
The PA could just tell them what they want and compromise instead of MLB having to guess and fumble around through different ideas
maybe they have and just arent throwing it out publicly? That’s not the point of union negotiations after all.
WAR doesn’t have a 100% defined way of calculating it. There’s just one equation for ERA, one equation for wOBA, one equation for average, OBP, and slugging. Stuff like RBI’s, wins/losses, etc. are not good ways of determining whether a player deserves a pay raise or not, and while I guess WAR is better than those, stats like OPS, wOBA, wRC+/OPS+, walk rate, strikeout rate, etc. should be the stuff considered.
Basing a earnings system off of a stat that is randomly calculated a variety of different ways is a nightmare waiting to happen.
Based solely off of WAR and saying each Win Above Replacement is worth $8 million, Tyler O’Neill would be more valuable and make more money than Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Gerrit Cole, Freddie Freeman, Jacob deGrom, Salvador Perez, Xander Bogaerts and several others. Does anyone really believe Tyler O’Neill is better than any of those players?.
This is a double edged sword and one i can’t see the MLBPA going for because unless salaries for free agents are about to drastically explode arbitration eligible players would be making more money than super stars in free agency
Large market teams being free to spend drives the salaries down. The rest of the teams are constantly cutting their payroll to the bone and starting over looking for their competitive window, In the NFL a rebuild takes 1 year. In the MLB it is 5. In the NFL a team hangs on to their top players, In the MLB they get rid of them.
Players are worth whatever a team will pay. If they lack an Ace SP they are likely to value one more highly than a team that has two good ones. It is basic economics. Unfortunately, MLB through out supply and demand a long time ago and wants to use phony economic formulas.
NFL is just one example.
Hockey has a hard cap and takes 3-5 years to rebuild despite large market teams not being able to outspend in free agency.
The NBA , which has much smaller teams, still takes 2-4 years to rebuild. Baseball just has too many players that need to contribute to have teams rebuild that quickly, baseball also usually requires 2-3 min of minor leagues, other sports usually have first round picks playing the next year.
What should happen is when a team drafts a player they should be able to offer more money than the open market, to give the team more of a chance to keep their players and also lead to more sign and trades
The NFL was doing that a few years ago. The rookies were getting paid more than established veterans. So they implemented the current system of draft slots that set the price, The higher you are drafted the more you are paid. But the rookie wage scale is below than the veterans,
Do smaller market teams really want to keep their stars when they are in their peak earning years?
It doesn’t help them win.
Unless you share revenue between clubs you can’t expect to level the playing field by letting poor teams pay even more to a single player.
It’s also not the job of a great player to subsidize an owner because he bought the cheapest team he could find.
Maybe the least informed post ever.
1 year rebuilds in the NFL? LOL.
Players are worth whatever a team will pay?
Take an economics class before calling your weird ideas basic economics.
If this were to come to fruition, say goodbye to the hitter doing what he can to move a runner over, i.e. runner on 2nd no outs batter has 2 strikes and grounds out weakly to the right side thus allowing the runner to get to 3rd. That would only hurt said hitter come “raise time”
Even though it’s heavily flawed now, players are still paid arb on performance, it’s always in a players best interest to perform as well as possible.
While it won’t be as cut and dried as you state anyone who pretends this wouldn’t be an issue should take a psychology class or watch the news.
Baseball needs to get every team on equal financial footing or at least get elite talent with their teams longer.
Lefebvre Pitch Guy
Darn, I thought it would be based on Expected Weighted On-Base Average League Offset Next Year – XWOBALONY
Man, there are some realllllly bad comments on this thread. Hopefully, this will help.
— WAR is simply an algorithm. It is not proprietary or secret. You can go to Fangraphs (to see fWAR) or Baseball Reference (to see bWAR). Calculations are there and explained for anyone who can write a formula in Excel. And I don’t think the owners care WHICH calculation you use. The whole idea is that you have an agreed-upon standard.
— You know what else is an algorithm? How about wRC+ or OPS or ERA or BA. They are all calculations. The primary difference is that WAR brings in various elements of a player’s contribution, not just a single skill. The current arbitration model, as an example, cares very little for fielding. You are penalized if you have lousy hitters in front or behind you. Further, WAR attempts to remove external factors and helps the reader better understand contributions in a context-neutral setting.
— It’s funny to me that people think that this will benefit the owners when there is no mention of how much owners will pay under this model. Sure, if the proposal is that owners will pay $1M/WAR, most players will be shortchanged. What if they pay $10M/WAR? That would be a huge boon to most players. Until we see the structure, there is simply no way to know if the player or owner would come out ahead. This hand wringing just shows that people have a very strong bias against owners.
— There is this persistent concern that since WAR is a “counting” stat that teams will bench great players in order to suppress their future earnings. (A) This can easily happen today as traditional arb looks at counting stats far more than they look at rate stats and (B) teams are incented to WIN. Benching your best players to avoid salary increases in arbitration is counter-productive.
I don’t know if the solution is to use fWAR or bWAR or some other formula, but literally, anything is better than wins/losses/saves or HR’s/RBIs/runs/SBs. I’m all for a system that rewards arbitration-eligible players for their contributions. This is simply an attempt to do that.
It’s funny to me that someone would think ownets would present a system that doesn’t benefit them.
But even worse to defend WAR and age as the way to do it.
The issue isn’t how many dollars per war.
Some people just don’t get it.
How can this be “pro-owner” if you don’t have money attached? Literally, all this proposal does is swap Batting Average, Runs, and HR’s for Batting Runs, Fielding Runs, and Positional adjustments. The AMOUNT of money being distributed isn’t part of the proposal at all (at least what has leaked so far). The change is simply HOW that money gets distributed.
I genuinely struggle to understand how anyone can be opposed to players’ compensation being more closely tied to performance OR believes that Runs, BA, HR’s, RBI’s and errors are a better way to understand contribution vs generally accepted sabermetrics. It feels like all of the progress that has been made in the past 20 years with advanced metrics has skipped the readership of MLBTradeRumors.
“Advanced defensive metrics — a key component in WAR calculations — can be unstable on a yearly basis.”
Understatement of the decade. I really wish more fans would bother to do the legwork to compare these “advanced” metrics instead of taking them at face value and tossing them into their comments without questioning their reliability. Just one example:
Austin Riley is credited with 13 Defensive Runs Saved by the Fielding Bible, as recorded on Fangraphs, tops among the 10 qualified third basemen on the list. And where does he rank in UZR/150? His -11.7 ranks him last. He’s also last in Def. But he’s 6th of 10 in RZR and first in Out-of-Zone plays. Then there’s the SABR Defensive Index that rates him 3.0, ranking him 4th of 12 NL third basemen. And finally, Statcast taxes him with -6 Outs Above Average, ranking him 39th of 43 third baseman.
So he’s the best, the worst, about average — take your pick.
And Fangraphs offers the caveat that all defensive metrics need three years’ worth of data to provide a reliable read. Which, if you think about it for just a few minutes, you’ll realize is more BS. Just as players’ batting and pitching can fluctuate substantially from one year to the next, so can their defense. Players get hurt but play through the pain. Players have emotional struggles that affect their performance, sometimes because another facet of their game is suffering. Players get sick (and this didn’t just start with Covid). There are multiple factors that can affect performance; so how much more reliable is a three-year sample than a one-year sample? All it tells you is where the player was at in the past. It tells you nothing about where he might be now.
The act of pitching a baseball in and around the circumscribed area of a strike zone involves variables, but they’re calculable. Likewise the act of hitting a baseball.
But I’ve maintained for years that the complexity of fielding a baseball spinning at varying rates, at different velocities, at different trajectories, on different surfaces — no two square feet of which is identical — in different atmospheric conditions, in different game conditions (runners on base and their speed, the leverage of the inning, the noise level of the crowd, levels of energy or exhaustion affected by the intensity and duration of the game, the help or hindrance of neighboring fielders, etc.), vacillating levels of concentration, even obstruction by umpires — all of these factors render the attempt to accurately quantify a fielding play a noble but ultimately futile effort. There are just too many significant variables that, of necessity, are left out of account. So we pretend that what’s left out doesn’t really matter.
It’s kind of like the old Persian parable of the guy who’s under the street lamp looking for a lost coin. His neighbors come by and start helping him look. After time passes with no success, one of them asks him: “Are you sure this is where you dropped it?” And he replies: “No. I dropped it in my house — but there’s no light in there.”
It should surprise no one that the various metrics diverge wildly and even completely contradict each other. This is just common sense — or at least it should be. Just think about it, and don’t fall for the “authority” game, the old “you just don’t understand” gambit. If the chaos of conclusions presented by the various metrics seems dubious to you, you do understand.
And now the owners want to base compensation for the players on this well-intended but manifestly unreliable data? I hope the Players Association has leaders too smart to accede to this.
You’re preaching to the choir here. I’ve said for years that the “advanced” defensive metrics are worthless.
If I were to structure something like this it would be:
— First, bucket WAR and build a consistent structure. For example (and it’s just an example), first year arb eligible players between 0-1 WAR = $1M, 1-3 WAR = $5M, 3-5 WAR = $8M, 5+ WAR = $12M. By giving ranges, you eliminate some of the concerns around the precision of WAR. You also aren’t trying to determine if a player is worth $5.7M or $6.2M. Every player in a particular band makes that same amount.
— Second, for years beyond the first year you simply add up the totals and group them again in a similar bucket system as above. The system should allow for players to make big jumps OR see decreases. That player who breaks out in year 2 needs to be handsomely rewarded. The player that won ROY with a 6 win season and then blows out his elbow should see a decrease. It’s not complicated – you just need to do some math to figure out what would be equitable in terms of the bucket ranges and pay.
All of this leads to a play-to-pay model that more handsomely rewards the best talent while giving protection to teams for those that don’t perform well. It removes the nastiness of the current arbitration model that pits ownership against players. There is no “arbiter” any longer. No more guesswork if you get an arbiter that is labor-friendly or ownership-friendly. Both players and owners have a more predictable environment to work from. Finally, this almost (or in some cases does completely) eliminates the need for agents for young players. Big players are still going to want agents for promotion/endorsements but the average middle infielder that gets 200AB’s could take care of themselves during the early lean years. That could save them tons of much-needed money.
Finally, you may still need to have an exception process for truly unique cases. Circumstances for when this is applicable can be defined in advance. The Mike Trout’s of the world may not fit the WAR bucket model well. Same for guys that turn into pumpkins after a previous massive year. Again, the conditions of unique cases can be drawn up in advance. There still would be arbitration in these situations but the goal would be to minimize these events. You can still build a system that better cares for the 95% of the cases and be flexible enough to accommodate the 5% of the outliers.
Wow. Nice write up. Others may assume what you are describing is to complex and involved but it isn’t. Despite it’s length, as you said, it’s really simple. Sometimes simplicity is beautiful.
Sometimes but not this time and almost never because it’s simple.
Sometimes you just have to put in the effort and work out a complicated solution instead of just going with one size fits all.
Having a college graduate hit free agency at the same time as a 16 year old IFA is so far beyond a joke it should be considered an assault.
All of this leads to a pay to play model that bases income off of the opportunity the team gives you.
The idea that this pays talent is a misnomer as WAR has as much if not more to do with playing time as what you do when you’re playing.
Giving teams more control over a players life is an insane overreaction to the issues with arbitration.
The Sabertooth Superfife
PLEASE just extend the current agreement.
You guys are ruining the game.
Ever hear of the free market?
The union would never go for that. Too much service time manipulation and late bloomers like Judge won’t taste FA until after 30. Then there’s the issue of perennial tankers, those cheap teams that don’t seem to care whether they ever contend for the playoffs, so long as they still get their cut of revenue sharing. There are also rule changes, like a universal DH and the trading of draft picks, that a lot of people would like to see. I’d love to see a full season next year, but there’s a lot of room for improvement in the current agreement.
The Sabertooth Superfife
It’s obvious, Manfred is a) an idiot ,b) a commie plant, c) just plain evil, d) all of the above
He’s at least C. But he’s also a moron.
I’d say Clark is both as well. It’s not like the union’s proposals have any better chance of getting passed than what the league has offered.
It seems like this would be another brutal blow for the ability of small market teams to open contention windows.
It would depend on how WAR is valued. If it’s at or near the full $8M/WAR that I’ve heard estimated, it’ll force small-market teams like the Guardians to trade away guys like Bieber and J-Ram much earlier. The only advantage of it is there would be a relative lack of superteams like the Dodgers because their combined WAR is way too high to afford, even for them. So it might bring down the mighty a peg or two, but it’d also keep down the poor. The winners would be mid-market teams or teams with deep pockets who have been rebuilding, like the Cubs. They could snatch up young players for relatively cheap because their current teams have no choice.
My guess is that if (big, big if) any such plan is accepted, the value of WAR would have a sliding scale based on service time. Either that, or do it based on cumulative WAR. Either way would be more fair to the players while still letting small-market teams hold onto them for at least the first 5 years of their deals.
WAR for pitchers seems worthless. If you look at the Angels Fangraphs has Raisel Iglesias at 2.0 WAR. And Andrew Heaney at 1.5. Heaney wasn’t very good and Iglesias was really good. How can their WARs be that close? WAR has never shown much for pitchers. They shouldn’t use it to figure pay for pitchers.
One is a reliever, and one is a starter. The article mentions that relievers could get screwed by such a plan. It also says WAR can provide some unexpected results because it goes beyond baseline metrics. Or, you could believe that relievers are overvalued right now. I mean, is Hendriks really worth what a solid #2-3 starter often gets? It becomes a question of how much that leverage is worth and how do you determine “high-leverage”?
If such a system were implemented, I could be ok with a small multiplier for relievers, but honestly, I think WAR is still a decent baseline for what they actually provide. It’s not like runs scored against a starter count any less or like every inning a reliever throws is with the game on the line.
With the QO, a potential free agent has a cap of about 19 mil. I’m curious what seager and correa could have made over the course of their careers based on war. Sure they cant be free agents this year, but how much would they be making? If they pay 8 mil per war, Correa would make over 50 mil this year. Seager had higher wars a few years ago, so his salary would have spiked pre pandemic around 40 mil a year.
Still, if a player has a war of 3… that’s 24 mil a year. Much higher than they ever could have made pre QO.
Seager would have made 172 million so far in his career.
It’s clearly a better system for the games elite players. The problem is you’re talking about what, maybe 25 players out of how many who may negatively be impacted?
I don’t believe there’s any way owners would agree to Fangraphs corresponding cost-per-win model. They’d use fWAR to establish a pay tier, but then come up with their own highly restrictive pay model that would still underpay the players while controlling them throughout their 20s.
If they didn’t, the Braves would be forced to give up Acuna. I mean a 9-WAR player would be worth $72M and not many teams can possibly afford that. I’ve honestly never gotten where that $8M/WAR figure comes from; it’s not how the market pays. If it did, Trout would be getting nearly double what he is.
If I had realized my childhood goal of being Emperor of the Known Universe and could just make everyone do what I wanted, the new CBA would look like this:
Free agency after four seasons.
Service time is simply one season if a player gets put on the 26-man roster. One day, all season, it doesn’t matter.
Eliminate arbitration. All pre-free agency players are paid a standard minimum, based on service time. 700K, 800, 900K & 1 MM for those first four seasons.
Enjoy the lockout or strike everyone.
I hear Bob Nutting was a big fan of this proposal until someone told him that the players would not have to pay him money for having a negative WAR.
Maybe just let the market work itself out and don’t impose ridiculous rules on these guys.
Charlie Finley warned us all about arbitration five decades ago. Now nobody can stop it.
So if a good player had a bad year, negative WAR….. he has to write a check to the team in order to play the following year? Or realistically, play for the league minimum after making millions the year before? Having thought about it, this proposal is beyond stupid. Not to mention Fangraphs isnt exactly the DoD – anyone could hack in and fudge the numbers.
I think age 29.5 would benefit more players than not. Certainly the elite players who break in at 21-22 will have to wait an extra year or two but so my any others would benefit. I actually like the idea because it allows for the late bloomers and 30+ year-olds (usually with families at this point) to have a better control of where they live and play.
Just base it on batting average for a hitter and wins for a pitcher.
Just wanted to say this is probably the most rounded, well-written article I have ever seen on this site. Well done.
You know what would be a fun way to incorporate WAR into salaries? Any contract over 5yrs will have a clause in it that anytime after year 4 the player doesn’t produce a fair percentage of his expected WAR based on his salary – the owner can void rest of contract ( maybe have a set buyout price point ).If player does well above expected WAR he can void rest of his contract. Can tweak it with per year WAR expectations, allow some leeway for injuries etc. but this way Angels could have bailed early on Pujols contract and a player like Acuna has the ability to change his mind about the team friendly deal. You would also see less 10yr contracts which end up burdensome for the most part and player would opt for short term higher AAV contracts.
Baseball Reference opposes this plan.
I really didn’t think there was a way to replace arbitration with something worse. You have to appreciate the amount of work the owners put into finding one.
It’s such a bad idea that even listing the reasons is a waste of time but, WAR? Age? Really?
Scott boras comments are so idiotic, he’s is obviously butt hurt that the Braves did not pay an astonishing amount of money to win a WS. I truly believe he knows that’s teams realize they don’t have to give pitchers 300 million anymore to be winners. So his only option is to criticize teams that make deadline trades for cheaper options to help. Saying the Braves won by making trades at the deadline is a cancer is rediculous. It’s been shown enough already that whole still good a lot of big contracts almost never turn out well for teams. That in turn hurts boras pockets, he’s a smart guy but attacking Braves championship was ignorant.
Another terrible idea in a long line of terrible ideas from MLB.
Under this proposal how many pitchers who aren’t closers are going to be satisfied working out of a bullpen?
Furthermore, let’s say someone was just ripping the cover off the ball on a rebuilding team that’s 20 games out of first before August. What’s to say the team couldn’t bench that player to hold down his stats, thus his WAR and salary in the process?
I think the pitcher and catcher stats could be an issue but also should be evaluated differently than other players. I think on the other issue – cheap teams are going to look at every measure possible to manipulate how much they pay and for how long so I think that you need to improve the grievance system if things like that happen
If this is what MLB is coming to table with in these negotiations, it’s going to be a looooooong offseason. Jesus.
Isn’t this about what Scott Boras wants for his clients? Come out as a Rookie and year 2 the player is paid under 1mil while having made 4-6wins of value the year prior? Imagine future rookies seeing what? 6-7mil tied to a win and has 5 their rookie season and MLBPA takes a 30mil payday away from them over a FA age of 29 1/2? What’s the rush to FA if you are being paid for your results? I don’t know how a small market team competes with FAs when a couple stud SPs like Brewers Woodruff, Burnes, and Peralta put seasons together like they did. But maybe as mentioned by revenue sharing they make it happen and pay the players. Would they pool a set amount from revenue of each Franchise and split it all up to cover the players expenses? Call it a tax of what? 40percent? To what a Franchise Earnings from the previous season? I dunno if that’s how or what they are looking for. Pretty much show MLBPA that the Players are earning more share than what their share is now vs owners. Say it’s 30/70. And the model shows they close the gap to 40/60. With it being fluid depending on the performance of players.
I love to look at WAR numbers and I think it does give some value to the sport and it generally seems to be a decent way to value players but let’s be real no way the mlbpa is going to let this happen. The problem with WAR is that the formula seems to be somewhat subjective and you the difference between Fangraphs and baseball reference is quite high. Can you imagine players agents arguing this stuff baseball reference isnt going to stop issuing war numbers so if they adopted this there would be lawsuits the whole 9 it would be a mess. No absolutely can’t be used to determine players salaries when it is such a subjective number it would just cause a big mess.
A service time proposal:
If you spend any part of the season in the majors (perhaps before rosters expand) it counts as a year of service time and you become a free agent after 7 seasons with time spent in the majors. Current number of years of service time gets locked in as number of years you’ve spent in the majors (so if you have 2.1 years of service time now, it counts as 3 years spent in the majors). Players hit arb after 4 seasons, but pre-arb minimum wage steps up significantly more than it does now (i.e., it goes up $200k from year 1 to year 2 instead of going up $10k).
On the union side, (a) the vast majority of players would become free agents faster, (b) it eliminates any incentive for teams to dick around with service time levels of elite prospects, (c ) players make significantly more in their pre-arb years, (d) it would get non-star players to arbitration faster, and (e) it probably would also mean that the sheer number of players who get MLB exposure (and thus become union members) increases because teams will call up AAAA guys in spot situations instead of risking a year of service time to give a highly rated prospect a spot start or two.
On the MLB side it would (a) give teams up to an extra year of team control on the best / potentially most expensive prospects, (b) eliminate players with 4 years of arbitration due to “Super 2” and (c ) in many instances give teams an additional year of pre-arb cost control.
Overall it favors the players (particularly the silent majority of non-superstar players), but also gives the owners a couple things that are important to them.
I can see it being an issue in that it encourages teams to delay the service time of especially young pitchers. If you have a guy, especially a starter who would normally come up to pitch a few bullpens to get his legs and sent back down to get more regular starts in order to work his development – that isn’t going to happen anymore. Those guys will need to be held as long as possible in the minors instead of bringing them up.
Yes, those guys wouldn’t get called up for spot starts, but they also would get to start the next season on the roster instead of getting held down for a month to get an extra year of service time or held down until after the ASB to avoid super 2. On the whole, those guys would get more time in the majors.
It also would mean that some other guy who maybe wouldn’t have made it to the majors at all would be called up for spot starts since you’re not worried about their service time (as the Rays did quite a bit this season).
Do not connect anything with WAR.
A WAR based system is going to require full revenue sharing or it’s going to further damage low revenue clubs. Those teams will never be able to keep their best players long enough to ever hope to compete. For those fans who don’t believe in revenue sharing, get ready to have a league with eight teams.
I generally like the idea of some kind of a WAR-based system where players are paid a base salary for being good enough to get to the league and then rewarded for their excellence on top of that. If the MLBPA doesn’t like the Fangraphs model, fine. Here’s the pool of money available for salaries, you pick the formula you feel is most equitable. It would really help the good young players who are getting completely screwed over in the arbitration process.
Pay based on performance and age-based free agency would seem to be a good way to ensure the best players at any time are in the league and service time manipulation becomes a thing of the past. If we no longer have to worry about 40-man rosters and starting service time clocks, the guy who’s been killing it in AA can get pulled up to the majors penalty free even if it’s only for a short time to cover an injury. That should increase competitiveness throughout the league.
this is good except it screws catchers. WAR has been notoriously bad in calculating defensive value for catchers. That profile could change in the future with robot umps but they should lean higher on the catching pay scale if they do this. It may also hurt relievers or encourage teams trying to save money to cut innings for starters in order to deflate WAR but I don’t know that any proposal will keep cheap teams from cheating the system.
Why not use the Players Extra Annual Contribution Evaluation instead of Wins Above Replacement.
Pay for Performance. What a radical idea.
Dumb proposal. Players aren’t signed for what they’ve already done. They’re signed for what a team thinks/hopes they will do in the future. And as previously stated, it completely screws catchers.
Why don’t they just put a hard organizational time limit? This would be the easiest and fairest method. Everyone gets 10 years or something in an organization before they are eligible for free agency. This keeps everyone exactly the same, with no crazy service time dates, etc.
Example: You sign out of high school and play your first minor league game at age 18, you’ll hit free agency at age 28 (after 10 seasons). It doesn’t matter if you end up getting fast tracked to the MLB, or if you stay in the minors all 10 years,.
Example: You sign out of college and play your first minor league game at age 22, you’ll hit free agency after 10 seasons around age 32.
This will pretty closely align with the ages that people are hitting FA right now (non-college players are usually in free agency in late 20s, college players in early 30s), but with no shady argument over keeping them an additional year or screwing over the player.
i am all in favor of any change that gets more money to the good, young players earlier in their careers. Guys would reach FA at 26 if it were up to me.
but at the same, this would by necessity come at the expense of older players, and regardless of how anyone feels about unions, i feel like few can argue they aren’t notorious for their old eating their young
I agree with this approach.
Regards, Shohei (2021 WAR somewhere around 882)
There are multiple different WAR calculations…. bWAR, fWAR(My favorite) and others. This is an awful idea. Maybe they should have players sign contracts out of the draft and when they expire they go through MLB FA protocol. Simple solution.
so is Chris Davis and actually getting much more per year than bonilla
The Aaron Nola\Robbie Ray comparison clearly shows that ANALytics is not 100% effective. Then again, neither is the old school eye test. The idea is simply another angle to use in negotiations.
The average age of an MLB fan is already more than half a decade into their AARP membership.
Is anyone involved in this taking any sort of long term, big picture view of this…?
I bet there’s some sort of owner relationship with Fangraphs – similar to the main owner of Rawlings being the Chairman of the Padres.
WAR is too artificial to be used for salary projections and arbitration doesn’t have much in its favor either because who knows what the arbiters base their decisions on. It seems very subjective. I don’t mind an age for reaching free agency as long as it’s no longer than 6 years. In other words, 6 years or age 28, whichever comes first.
Players signing out of high school generally reach FA at an earlier age.
Any system that ranks Luis Castillo (3.98 era, 1.36 whip, 120 era+) over Freddie Freeman (300 avg, 896 ops, 133 ops+) is broken and should not be used to determine salaries.
makes some sense, fWAR might be the best option since it digs deeper and often fluctuates +/- compared to standard WAR.
Ice Wallow Cemen
If you think this is a good idea, consider Kevin Kiermaier’s 2015 season. He batted .268, 10 HRs, 40 RBIs, 12 3Bs, etc and had a gold glove.
His WAR (7.1) was higher than Nolan Arrenado (6.3) who batted .287, led the league with 42 HRs & 130 RBIs. He also received a Gold Glove.
No MLB team is gonna pay Kiermaier more than Arrenado unless it mean Arrenado doesn’t make squat.
Yeah…except nether of these are true.
Kermaer’s 2015 FWAr was 4.3
Arrenado’s was 4.5
So even the extreme outlier you used, you’re still off.
This is an awful idea.
James’s criticism has also stemmed from the application and usage of WAR in recent years. In the 2017 Major League Baseball season, there was debate similar to 2012 regarding who should be the recipient of the American League Most Valuable Player Award: Jose Altuve or Aaron Judge. Judge outranked Altuve in FanGraphs’ calculation of WAR that season, finishing first with a WAR of 8.2, to Altuve’s 7.5. Based on Baseball-Reference’s calculation, Altuve had the edge, 8.3 to 8.1. However, in James’s words, the usage of WAR in this particular MVP argument was “…nonsense. Aaron Judge was nowhere near as valuable as Jose Altuve…. It is NOT close. The belief that it is close is fueled by bad statistical analysis.” He goes on to say that WAR,“…is dead wrong because the creators of that statistic have severed the connection between performance statistics and wins, thus undermining their analysis.” He goes on to point out that Judge performed worse than Altuve in critical situations, such as the late innings of close games, and that WAR does not properly take this into account.
Some sabermetricians “have been distancing themselves from the importance of single-season WAR values” because some of the defensive metrics incorporated into WAR calculations have significant variability. For example, during the 2012 season, the Toronto Blue Jays employed an infield shift against some left-handed batters, such as David Ortiz or Carlos Peña, in which third baseman Brett Lawrie would be assigned to shallow right field. This resulted in a very high Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) total for Lawrie, and hence a high rWAR, which uses DRS as a component. Ben Jedlovec, an analyst for DRS creator Baseball Info Solutions, said that Lawrie was “making plays in places where very few third basemen are making those plays” because of the “optimal positioning by the Blue Jays”. Another fielding metric, Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), uses the DRS data but excludes runs saved as a result of a shift.
Same with War, when total games played is not important. After all the game is based on run scored, therefore rbi’s and runs scored are more important.
A player with his prime behind him, with no games played over 110 but once on 7 years, with no history or season of 100 rbis, no 30 hr, should not be considered for multi year contract.
Nice postseason numbers is good, but first must get there playing 145-162 games. Otherwise the team should hire a replacement shortstop for at least 40-50 games too. Being older means more injuries, even less range or Statcast Outs Above Average or Statcast Fielding Breakdow or estimated success rate. Note: Less range, lower error probability? Stubbornness to move to third, first or RF.
You’d need to have an agreement on how it’s calculated I guess, but I do like the idea of this. Strong defensive players get shafted in arbitration unless they also hit a lot of dingers.
The implication that SM and specifically WAR is settled science is pure nonsense. All contracts should be the result of negotiations between the relevant parties, offering whatever rationale they wish to support their positions and honoring the agreement. Of course, MLB is not to blame for their latest absurdity, as it’s a typical result when dealing with any version of a “collective”.
In years past I have seen players asking for contracts based on fWAR and bWAR as cornerstones of their argument, but now they do not feel is a good tool? My guess is they know how flawed it can be, consider this: both bWAR and fWAR consider 1997 Tony Gwynn and 2021 Joey Gallo to be more or less of the same value.
149 G, 0.372 AVG, 0.409 OBP, 0.547 SLG, 156 OPS+, 153 wRC+, 4.2 fWAR, 4.3 bWAR
153 G, 0.199 AVG, 0.351 OBP, 0.458 SLG, 121 OPS+, 123 wRC+, 3.5 fWAR, 4.7 bWAR
0.7 and 0.4 fWAR/bWAR points of difference is minuscule.
I don’t understand what’s wrong with the current arb system? It should be on a case by case basis. All though I do agree they should use more modern methods when determining a players salary.