Archive for the ‘Hot Stove’ Category

New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles

The idea of players being non-tendered can be a little difficult to understand for regular people who don’t spend their days & nights buried in the fine print of the collective bargaining agreement. “Non-tendering” a player grants him early free agency, forsaking the remaining years of club control while freeing the club from paying his way. Arbitration raise are baked into the system, so the rules dictate players earn raises

After three years of team control where they are entitled to little more than the league minimum, baseball players enter their arbitration years. Their salary slowly begins coming into line with their performance ever so slightly.

Players earn raises based on their service time and performance as laid out in the CBA. Agents and teams have a good understanding as to what a player will earn in arbitration. Sometimes that potential earning rises beyond what a team is willing to pay and, if they cannot work out a trade with another team eager to pay that same price, they can opt not to tender the player a contract, essentially renouncing their rights to the player.

Players can re-sign with their original team for lesser terms once they become a free agent. Even after they hit the free market, the existing service time rules dictate their terms moving forward (i.e. they are still eligible for arbitration but not free agents until the earn six years of service time.)

It can look a little strange from a distance but it goes a long way to “paying back” players after their first three seasons making minimum wage. Think about a player like Mike Trout – think of all the value he already delivered the Angels in the last two years. Darn right he will start making some of that money back.

MLB Trade Rumors publishes their list of players who might get non-tendered, based on the arbitration calculations reverse engineered by Matt Swartz. There is always an entertaining list of players. The non-tenders list always contains a few surprises, players who will go on to produce at their next stop when others counted them out.

There is one good rule of thumb to remember on baseball’s non-tender day: good players do not get non-tendered. It is really that simple. Even as arb costs rise, good players are almost always worth it, because even though they’re expensive, replacing them will only cost more time and money.

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New York Mets v San Francisco Giants

What a boring offseason it has been so far. The headlines on MLB Trade Rumors — the unofficial home of the Hot Stove League — are riddled with bench players, backup catchers, and managerial hirings. Today’s biggest news was perhaps the third-best free agent catcher in Carlos Ruiz signing a three-year deal to remain with the Phillies. The so-called Hot Stove just hasn’t been hot at all, and barring an all-out bidding war on Robinson Cano, it doesn’t look like the coming winter is destined for big news.

So I ask: is this the end of the Hot Stove?

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In what has easily been the most heated bidding war that I just found out existed today, Jon Heyman reports that a mystery team has paid $25.7M for the right to negotiate with 25-year old Korean LHP Ryu Hyun-Jin from the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO). The official winning bid of $25,737,737, the highest ever for a Korean player, may seem like a weirdly specific number until you learn from MLBTR (and a lesser extent, Yahoo Answers) that the numbers 3 and 7 are considered lucky in Korean culture.

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It’s surprising to me how little attention the new free agent compensation system has gotten. Marc Normandin has a nice overview of it here, Jeff Sullivan here; essentially, there’s no more Type A and Type B. Instead, any departing free agent will bring back a draft pick (only the one, a sandwich pick) for the team that loses him — and cost an unprotected first-rounder for the team that gets him — as long as his old team is willing to make a “qualifying offer,” a one-year deal worth the average of the top 125 big-league salaries (this year, $13.3 million). It’s really quite different from what we’re used to, and I don’t think anyone really knows how it’s going to affect things yet, but it certainly could change things substantially.

And Yankees’ reliever Rafael Soriano, who is represented by Scott Boras and played a big role in exposing the developing flaws in the old system when he accepted arbitration with the Braves in 2009, may be the first to really put the system to the test. Yesterday, Soriano opted out of the final year of his contract.

This was not a surprise. It’s barely even news. Parkes covered it here over a month ago, saying Soriano had “nothing to lose.” And that’s probably true.

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