Thursday, September 10, 2009
Jayson Stark: Owners :: Cheese : Hot PocketsPosted by Jeremy Greenhouse
I think I’ll pop my THT and FJM cherry in one shot. Take it away, Jayson.
Stephen Strasburg may be -- whoop de doo -- a Washington National now. But you can bet every centavo of his signing bonus on this:
Don’t say parlay. Parlays never work.
The draft that made that miracle possible will never be the same…
Agreed. Strasburg should be granted fair-market value, the same as any other laborer in any other profession. If the Nationals are not willing to come anywhere close to matching his demands, then they should not be granted his exclusive rights. I agree that it’s a miracle that multi-billionaire owners are able to pinch pennies while having the public sympathize with them at the same time. I like where this article is going.
But wait. Didn't Strasburg get "only" $15.1 million out of this deal? Not $20 million? Not $30 million? Not $50 million?
So did he really get enough to implode the entire draft? Uh, you bet he did.
So how gigantic an amount is it?
Well, it’s approximately half of what he's worth , according to some really solid work done by Vince Gennaro and Maury Brown.
Think of it this way:
Oh, you weren’t really asking me how big it was. You already know. Misunderstanding on my part. Go on.
Only five starting pitchers on the entire free-agent market got packages bigger
than that last winter: CC Sabathia
A.J. Burnett, Derek Lowe,
Now hold on J—
Jayson, you’re making a foo—
and Oliver Perez.
JAYSON, and I do mean Jayson. I’m beginning to think that you’re going to blindly argue that veterans should earn more than prospects, without even considering other factors, like, I don't know, what both classes of players deserve to earn...
• And Strasburg is guaranteed slightly more money than Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz were guaranteed for this season put together. Those guys own a combined nine Cy Young Awards. Strasburg has thrown a combined zero professional pitches.
Jayson, determining a baseball player’s value is much more nuanced than simply a glance at the amount of experience and success each player has had in the Major Leagues. All the pitchers you just listed have had solid Major League careers, but you cannot sit there and tell me, or allow me to transcribe words that you wrote last month while presumably sitting down, that Perez, Johnson, Pedro, and Smoltz are more valuable than Stephen Strasburg. I just won’t have it.
As of the timestamp on this article, Oliver Perez had just moments ago completed his second-to-last start of the year, a five inning gem in which he walked fewer than two batters for the first and only time all year. Raising his strikeout-to-walk ratio to 62-56. As of the timestamp of this article, it was public knowledge that Randy Johnson may well have already thrown his last pitch in professional baseball. As of the timestamp on this article, Johnson, Pedro, and Smoltzy were an average of 7643 days older than Strasburg. That number actually remains constant regardless of the timestamp.
But it's not just him.
Good. I would hope that multiple players, most of whom have yet to scratch the surface of their potential, are paid more than are paid more than Old Hoss Radbourn is currently making. Radbourn did admittedly go 59-12 in 1884, so I can only imagine how much he should be making at the moment when you take interest into account.
The Mariners showered a package on their top pick, Dustin Ackley, that can be worth between $7.5 million and $10 million. That's more than Bobby Abreu,Orlando Hudson or Ken Griffey Jr. signed for last winter.
Are you not even going to mention that the Mariners control Ackley for six years, while the three guys you listed were signed to one-year contracts?
The Tigers threw a package at high school pitcher Jacob Turner that could pay him nearly $7 million. That's more than they guaranteed their three major league free-agent signings --Brandon Lyon, Adam Everett and Matt Treanor -- combined last winter.
Ah, I see. You’ve read the Fielding Bible. I agree, Adam Everett is a tremendous defensive player who deserves greater recognition and has likely been undervalued throughout his career. But what’s it got to do with Turner, Jay? How are these related?
The Rockies -- a team that had to trade away Matt Holliday over the winter and a club that could afford to sign only one major league free agent (Alan Embree) -- tossed almost $4 million at another high school pitcher, Tyler Matzek…
So what would you suggest that the Rockies have done? Let’s say we had it your way, and that amateurs were paid by the hour. Then the Rockies would be tempted to spend more money on Free Agents and less money on prospects? What? Pricey prospects are preventing teams from signing cheap Free Agents?
Is this point of view in some way criminal? I’m not even talking about the crime against players that the MSM and owners are perpetrating by portraying indentured young baseball players as greedy freeloaders who, along with the help of villain Scott Boras, steal money from owners. No, I’m talking about the crime against logic. In what way does this even make sense? Can we set up an appeals court for logic? Is there one already? I don’t even know what an appeals court is.
"So the big loser," said an official of one team, "is Bud and his slotting system. It got crushed. Some of these signings are off the charts. Look at some of this stuff in the later rounds. There's carnage all over the map."
I hate not being able to exploit workers! It makes me so angry I could take my shirt off!
We mean change is coming. This draft isn't working. It hasn't for years. And now Selig's informal slotting system is being so widely ignored, you can bet this topic is heading for a bargaining table near you in 2011…
OK. I’m in favor of them fixing some of the problems of the draft. I don’t see why teams shouldn’t be able to trade picks, and I think we should pretty much have the same rules for all players who are not yet part of the MLBPA—college, high school, Dominican, Japanese.
Here are some of the topics that have to be addressed:
• SLOTTING… We've polled a bunch of them. And big league players want those $15 million deals going to them, not to kids who have never played a professional baseball game.
• TRADING PICKS -- Now here's a concept the union is in favor of. So it seems just about inevitable that this is a new draft wrinkle that's coming soon…
• WORLDWIDE DRAFT -- We're not sure if this on-again, off-again idea will ever fly. But it's gaining momentum again, because it needs to. A system that allows the Yankees and Red Sox to outspend everybody on any player they really want, with no limits whatsoever, doesn't serve anyone except the Yankees and Red Sox…
In all seriousness, these two points deserve a fair amount of thought. While a free market might be the fairest solution, competitive balance is a necessary part of sport, and implementing a worldwide draft, as well as allowing the trading of picks, seem like efficient ways to level the playing field.
These are just some of the ideas being collected by a committee, headed by the esteemed John Schuerholz, which is studying ways to "fix" the draft. They won't all fly. They won't even all make it to the bargaining table.
But file them away for future reference, because many of them are going to happen. They have to happen -- because any system that's paying an 18-year-old amateur more than a five-time Cy Young winner needs more repairs than a 1962 Volkswagen.
And any writer who says that future earnings should be entirely based on past production needs more repairs than an overcooked pot roast.
Any questions? Feel free to email me.