Grantland: Part 1 of Jonah Keri ranking the 50 best players in terms of trade value. No Dodgers here yet, but Carlos Santana finds a spot at #43.
The other two catcher rankings are the ones likely to elicit the most hate mail. In the first draft of this list, I had Santana considerably higher. Twenty-six-year-old switch-hitting catcher, career .806 OPS, signed for peanuts at four years, $18 million with an affordable $12 million option that would keep him in-house through 2017. By any objective standard, that would seem to make him a monumental bargain. Except the Lords of the Realm might not agree. There are the obvious concerns, such as Santana’s subpar defense, which (along with a semi-platoon designed to get him more at-bats) contributed to his playing 66 games at first base in 2011, with 21 at first and 27 at DH in 2012. Then there’s baseball’s continuing bias against low-average, high-walk hitters, even when we thought that was all behind us. The early buzz around Nick Swisher suggests he’ll be disappointed in his free-agent haul, while the cash-stuffed Rangers thought so little of Mike Napoli’s three-true-outcomes offense that they didn’t even make him a qualifying offer this offseason, meaning they think a one-year deal for a shade over $13 million is an overpay. If the Jered Weaver ranking constitutes ignoring the herd, consider the Santana ranking a case of acknowledging it.
Given how he’s perceived publicly, quite frankly I was surprised he made it onto the list at all.
Grantland: Part 2 of Jonah Keri ranking the 50 best players in terms of trade value. Matt Kemp checks in at #22.
Tulo and Kemp are franchise players…
OK, there are theoretically some scenarios that could see one of these guys traded:
C. The Dodgers decide they don’t feel like running $250 million payrolls anymore and stage an everything-must-go sale.
That’s about it, really.
Clayton Kershaw comes in at #13.
Practically speaking, there’s no way that Kershaw or Verlander will get traded, not even with both two years away from free agency. The Dodgers have shown they’ll throw ungodly amounts of money at slightly above-average players, let alone all-world pitchers, so Kershaw’s staying.
Yeah, at this point, it’s just a matter of whether or not he’ll get the richest contract for a pitcher in MLB history.
FanGraphs: Speaking of money … Wendy Thurm takes a look at every television rights contract in the MLB.
I … uh … can see why some teams might be a bit upset.
FanGraphs: As the power game has decreased, the running game has become more important. Seems to make complete sense, not be counter-intuitive.
The relationship is clear: the league took a year to catch up, but as run production goes down, stolen bases go up (For the record, the coefficient of determination between OPS and SBA/SBO is 0.78.).
It might seem counter-intuitive — the more run scoring drops, the more we hear about the sanctity of the out. Each of the 27 is hugely valuable, yes, but as run scoring drops each plate appearance is also more likely to produce an out.
The league on-base percentage has fallen from .336 in 2007 to .319 in 2012, and therefore the marginal out — the out risked by the stolen base — is less valuable. That’s why the “runCS” value in the Guts section — the cost in runs of a caught stealing — has lessened from minus-.433 in 2007 to minus-.398 in 2012.
Put another way, the stolen base becomes a less risky proposition because there is less to lose. The hitter at the plate is now less likely to get on base or hit a run-scoring extra base hit, and the chances of two hitters singling in an inning to knock a runner home drops in a compound fashion. Conversely, making the hitter’s job easier becomes more valuable now that the “wait for a three-run homer” strategy isn’t as viable.
The break-even rate on steals has fallen from 68 percent to 66 percent, down from 70 percent at the height of the steroids era in 2000. A player that stole 75 bases and was caught 25 times would have gained 4.2 runs of value in 2007. In 2012, that number rises to 5.1, and the player likely would have been running 10-20 percent more often; a routinely successful basestealer’s value in the running game therefore increases by some 30-40 percent.
It’s a great article, primarily because it shows that the break-even point for stealing success has fallen all the way down to 66%. Best to remember that during the season.
Wouldn’t it be nice if Dee Gordon could get on base enough to use his speed in this new environment?
Yahoo! Sports: Jeff Passan has the story about how the MLB wants to ditch the posting system.
Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball are discussing significant changes to the posting system that brings players from Japan to the major leagues, sources told Yahoo! Sports.
While the talks haven’t moved beyond cursory stages, MLB is pushing NPB for a system in which teams no longer would bid blindly for the right to negotiate with a player but rather would participate in a traditional, open auction, the sources said.
Such a format likely would lessen the amount of money funneled toward the Japanese team that posts the player. In the cases of Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka, their NPB teams received more than a $50 million windfall, a huge boon for a league with manifold financial struggles.
MLB and the players’ union agree they’d prefer to see a larger percentage of the money spent on high-end imports go to the player, the sources said.
Here … we … go.
Why the dramatics? Because this could be the start of a conflict between the leagues, as the NPB were the ones who wanted to change their rules in regards to their high school players going to the MLB in the aftermath of Shohei Otani‘s announcement. But now the MLB is requesting that they concede to them on posting fees. They are different issues, but they’re going to butt heads at some point in the near future it seems.
The posting fees are the far more significant deal though, IMO. Last I checked, and I admittedly don’t check regularly, I think only the Yomiuri Giants and a couple other teams in the NPB operate in the black. Everybody else is in the red for one reason or another, so these gigantic fees they get by selling off their elite players to the MLB helps the team — and the company that owns them — immensely. As such, I can’t see them going down without a fight.
Maybe there’s a happy medium here though, where a reasonable auction-type situation gets implemented with the NPB team getting to set a reserve price, and where the MLB concedes a bit of ground to the NPB on the signing of Japan’s amateur players so that Japanese fans get to watch their best young talent for at least half a decade or so.
Either way, it seems that something is going to change in regards to the relationship between the two leagues, and it’ll probably happen sooner rather than later.