This week, we learned that Dellin Betances will be paid $3M instead of $5M. While he is likely sad about the difference in pay, he is most frustrated by the fact his team spent an hour and a half insulting him. This is what happens at every single arbitration hearing.
As Spring Training begins each year, teams report the results of arbitration hearings. Most of the time, teams are able to avoid these hearings by coming to an agreement with the player. These hearings are not pleasant, and most players and teams wish to avoid them. If you run the Rays or the Athletics, it helps to have an Assistant GM that can deliver victories in arbitration hearings. With that said, victories are sometimes quite costly. For those of you that are uninformed concerning the arbitration process, allow me to briefly review how this works.
Obviously, much of this is exaggeration or a complete lie. I am a liar. Still, these hearings are often avoided for good reason: players get bashed by their bosses. The team's purpose in these hearings is to argue that the player is not worth their proposed salary, so they spend an hour explaining why the player is not that great at playing baseball. Teams that win arbitration cases can often lose out in the long run by negatively effecting their relationship with a star player.
The Yankees have one of the greatest relievers in baseball, and his name is Dellin Betances. They obviously believe that their bullpen is important, because they just handed $86,000,000 to Aroldis Chapman for five years of closing games. I do not believe they should spend all that money on bullpen pieces. But if they do value this bullpen, they should acknowledge that signing Chapman could be an insult to their OTHER star reliever. And if they do insult Betances, they should never allow this player to get to a hearing.
Yes, this could partly be the result of an overzealous agent and a player that trusted him. The Yankees may have worked hard to meet Betances halfway, and were denied by Betances throughout. We likely will never know. What we do know is that Betances never had a chance at winning this hearing, and that the hearing was always going to have a negative impact on the team's relationship with Betances. These hearings are usually quite disheartening to the player, but rarely create huge rifts between player and team. We will have to wait and see whether this conflict has a long term impact on the reliever's relationship with the Yankees. For the time being, management should probably stop blaming agents and move on.
After all, they won. Sort of.
1B: Brandon Belt
2B: Joe Panik
SS: Brandon Crawford
3B: Eduardo Nunez
LF: Mac Williamson OR Jarrett Parker OR Gorkys Hernandez, but probably not Hernandez because he's bad
CF: Denard Span
RF: Hunter Pence
SP: Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Matt Moore, Matt Cain
RP: Bunch of good dudes that throw hard, and Mark Melancon
Smart people who like the Giants, including Grant Brisbee at McCovey Chronicles, have acknowledged that projection systems do not believe the Giants will win their division. PECOTA has them pegged as a good team, but also happens to believe that the Dodgers will destroy the world. All systems appear to like their chances of getting a playoff spot.
The 2016 Giants finished further out from the division title than the standings convey. Although they finished four games behind the Dodgers, the standings fail to show that the Dodgers had wrapped up the division a week before the season ended, and the Giants continued to fight for a spot throughout the final series.
With that said, the Giants led the division for the majority of the season, and were actually one of the league's best teams at the half-way point. The team's top two pitchers performed well throughout the season, while offseason pickup Jeff Samardjkhiosdhojsndshakosdhishdjsd struggled at times. Still, he turned in a somewhat typical 2.6 WAR season in the middle of the rotation.
Personally, I think the projection systems have overstated the Dodgers' starting pitching and underestimated the Giants' lineup. This should be an extremely tight division. The projection systems correctly consider the Giants to be a top five team in the NL, but I believe that they are a potential top five team in MLB...
By Tom Baird
A few weeks ago, I bragged that we would produce some content discussing the 2017 Hall of Fame Ballot. I basically lied to you. That did not happen. With that said, the voting results have given us some blog fodder, and I was hoping to explore some of that with you. Here are the voting results below.
Jeff Bagwell, 381 votes, 86.2%
Tim Raines, 380 votes, 86.0%
Ivan Rodriguez, 336 votes, 76.0%
Trevor Hoffman, 327 votes, 74.0%
Vladimir Guerrero, 317 votes, 71.7%
Edgar Martinez, 259 votes, 58.6%
Roger Clemens, 239 votes, 54.1%
Barry Bonds, 238 votes, 53.8%
Mike Mussina, 229 votes, 51.8%
Curt Schilling, 199 votes, 45.0%
Lee Smith, 151 votes, 34.2%
Manny Ramirez, 105 votes, 23.8%
Larry Walker, 97 votes, 21.9%
Fred McGriff, 96 votes, 21.7%
Jeff Kent, 74 votes, 16.7%
Gary Sheffield, 59 votes, 13.3%
Billy Wagner, 45 votes, 10.2%
Sammy Sosa, 38 votes, 8.6%
If you listen to our podcast, or look at the internet, you know the important results. Raines, Bagwell, and Rodriguez all received the requisite 75% of voter support, while Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero barely missed the cut. Many of the first-timers failed to garner more than 5% of the vote and were subsequently removed from future consideration. Lee Smith, who was on the ballot for the 15th time, was removed from consideration and will now be subject to Veteran Committee approval.
It is important to note that Clemens and Bonds, whose gaudy WAR totals are equal to TWO Hall of Fame careers each (almost three for Bonds), have regained some support this year. The election of Rodriguez, who sustained multiple accusations of PED involvement despite not being named in the Mitchell Report, may help writers justify voting for Bonds and Clemens in the future.
Popular players like Edgar Martinez and Trevor Hoffman showed significant gains, making for possible momentum and certain debate. Players like Sosa and Sheffield continue to be bogged down by PED ties despite their obvious qualifications. Jeff Kent still has a great mustache.
There are many questions that could follow:
1. Will PED users see some leniency from voters?
2. Will Hoffman's now-inevitable election help or hurt Billy Wagner?
3. Will Mariners fans finally see Edgar Martinez get considerable support from BBWAA voters?
4. Does Jeff Kent's mustache hurt or help is HOF chances?
I will explore only one of these topics, and only briefly. After all, we have Spring Training upon us and the people want to read about the upcoming season. And I am all about the people...
On Show #11 of The Roundtripper, Chris and Tom attempt to break down an entire MLB offseason's worth of moves! They shine a light on some of the trades and free agent signings that they thought were good, and cast some shade on some of those that they severely question. In the process, they take a look at a few teams who they feel have been winning during this offseason, and a few others who have quite a bit more work to do.
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Spanning an entire continent, lifelong fans Chris Kubak and Tom Baird take you on a magical, sabermetrically enhanced journey through Major League Baseball.