To What Extent Does Your Life Revolve Around Alejandro Kirk? (The 2023 Blue Jays Thread)

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That thread title's going to look awfully stupid if they ship Kirk out in a trade.

Looks like we got a solid third starter today, even if I did have to look him up. (I really must not pay much attention to the NL--he was Top 10 Cy Young in 2020 and 2021.) Maybe we're mutating into a pitching-defense team.

clemenza, Monday, 12 December 2022 22:49 (one month ago) link

Marcus Stroman has finally stopped tweeting.

Bassitt is a dependable guy--lots of innings, lots of different pitches.

Michael F Gill, Monday, 12 December 2022 23:36 (one month ago) link

He seems a little susceptible to the HR, but his other peripherals--H/9, K/BB--are solid for four years running. He's 33, but looks like he's just hitting his stride. (Late-blooming pitchers are far more frequent than with position players.)

clemenza, Monday, 12 December 2022 23:45 (one month ago) link

didn't see we finally got a new thread! here's what i just posted on the old one:

love the Bassitt signing. thought he was gonna get like 24M for 4 years; so this is pretty fair.
then Murphy is traded and Vasquez signs, so if any team wants a bonafide starting C, the Jays are the only game in town now!

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Tuesday, 13 December 2022 01:17 (one month ago) link

with his location skills and arsenal, he does indeed feel like a guy that will age well.

and ya. thread name guarantees Kirk is on his way out (please get Daulton Varsho)!

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Tuesday, 13 December 2022 01:19 (one month ago) link

also RIP my favourite thread name i ever came up with

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Tuesday, 13 December 2022 01:20 (one month ago) link

In all the free-agent talk, I haven't heard a word about Stripling. He's still a Jay, right?

clemenza, Tuesday, 13 December 2022 01:41 (one month ago) link

Long gone now, i’d recon.

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Tuesday, 13 December 2022 04:22 (one month ago) link

just stopping in to lmao at the thread title

frogbs, Tuesday, 13 December 2022 04:23 (one month ago) link

Bassitt is a great signing (I "know" him well via fantasy baseball).

Still not sure about this offseason strategy of "stockpiling #3 pitchers with upside and hope for the entire offense to bounce back", with a side order of "count on the Yankees regressing, TB's smoke and mirrors magic running out (perhaps due to the ban on shifts), Boston acting like a mid-market team, and Baltimore's 2021 being a strange fluke".

NoTimeBeforeTime, Tuesday, 13 December 2022 08:44 (one month ago) link

It really seems like Shapiro and Atkins have no interest in assembling a potential 100-win team, they're happy with being the 2010-2014 Giants -- put together a solid 85-90 win team, retool in July before the deadline, and hope for a playoff run.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Tuesday, 13 December 2022 08:48 (one month ago) link

The jays had one of the best offences in baseball last year! First in OPS+!!! I dont think they need to do a lot - Bassitt is an improvement over Stripling. I just think they have to find a decent LH bat in the outfield and they’re better than last year easily.

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Wednesday, 14 December 2022 02:56 (one month ago) link

I looked at the decline in runs scored (71 fewer than 2021), stupidly forgetting that scoring was down everywhere in MLB. So yes, the offense is fine even though they haven't replaced Teoscar's bat. I still think that a lot needs to go right on the pitching side to have a chance at a serious playoff run, but the potential is obviously there.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Wednesday, 14 December 2022 07:54 (one month ago) link

Just gut feeling, but I felt like the 2021 team was much more consistent; they seemed hapless for stretches in 2022 (and, if true, had enough hot streaks to make up for that).

clemenza, Wednesday, 14 December 2022 21:46 (one month ago) link

they def had a very bad time with hot/cold spells. Bo especially was terrible the first 2/3 and then a god for the last 1/3. Vlad too did not look anything like his 2021-self. you'd expect some regression, but he was taking some bad hacks out there. then we had an outfield that was rotating between injuries a lot.

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Wednesday, 14 December 2022 21:54 (one month ago) link

two weeks pass...

Posnanski is polling readers on each franchise's greatest moment. You get four to choose from, a "pass" option, and a write-in option. (The Royals get six moments--hometown--and the Yankees get ten, with an accompanying "Ugh.")

I voted instantaneously for Bautista over Carter, so quickly that I didn't even notice what the Jays' other two moments were. Alomar's HR would be one, I assume; I don't know if Edwin's would be the other, or if it'd be something silly like Winfield and the seagull (he has a few of those mixed in).

clemenza, Saturday, 31 December 2022 01:56 (one month ago) link

pirates' is obviously mazeroski

for me personally i only have impressions of the we are family era (i had just turned eight when they last won the world series)

later key moments i recall:
- francisco cabrera + sid bream (not a great one)
- watching doug drabek lose a no-hitter in the ninth against the phillies circa 1992 (also not a great one)
- some game circa 1991-92 in the ninth with lee smith trying to close the door and i simply *knew* bonds was going to go deep . . . and then he did

mookieproof, Saturday, 31 December 2022 03:03 (one month ago) link

sorry for non-jays content, but nevertheless

mookieproof, Saturday, 31 December 2022 03:06 (one month ago) link

I voted for Clemente's two throws in the '71 Series, only because I saw that; I think I mostly voted for things I saw.

clemenza, Saturday, 31 December 2022 03:46 (one month ago) link

Not always, though--I voted for Robinson's debut over Gibson's HR.

clemenza, Saturday, 31 December 2022 03:48 (one month ago) link

dave parker's all-star game throw, maybe

mookieproof, Saturday, 31 December 2022 05:41 (one month ago) link

For the record, I welcome meandering, off-topic convos here.
Let the Jays thread this day forth, be forever be about whatever we feel like switching the conversation to

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Saturday, 31 December 2022 05:53 (one month ago) link

I wasn't alive in '71 and was too young to remember '79, unfortunately my most notable moment involving the Pirates is Francisco Cabrera '92 :(

For me personally, I think Bautista's HR has overtaken Carter's HR, because of recency bias and the fact that the game itself was one of the damned craziest things I ever saw. But objectively speaking, Carter's HR WON THE WS and is the obvious answer.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Saturday, 31 December 2022 06:16 (one month ago) link

Carter is the obvious answer, agreed, but having seen both, I know Bautista's was more cathartic for me. It was just so incredible at every level: the inning, the game, the season, the drought, the player.

clemenza, Saturday, 31 December 2022 06:25 (one month ago) link

Carter's HR was this great cherry on top of a 10-year run of success; they won the WS the year before, and if they lose that game, there's still tomorrow. Bautista's HR wasn't exactly the Cubs or the Red Sox finally winning a Series, but I swear that's what it felt like for me.

clemenza, Saturday, 31 December 2022 06:28 (one month ago) link

i voted! and i hope everyone voted for the HR bouncing off of canseco's head for the best rangers moment. i love that José Martínez's father hit that HR, everything about is perfect

Karl Malone, Saturday, 31 December 2022 06:45 (one month ago) link

I voted for Canseco too! What other Rangers moment is there to vote for? I guess Ryan's no-hitter would be the less jokey vote...What about the Cardinals, KM? I almost voted for Freese, but I deferred to history and went with Ozzie.

clemenza, Saturday, 31 December 2022 13:45 (one month ago) link

What other Rangers moment is there to vote for?
...What about the Cardinals

i ended up voting for Freese's Game 6 HR for the Cardinals. and i wonder, if that game had gone the other way, if Josh Hamilton's 2-run HR in the top of the 10th would have been the top Rangers moment?

i almost voted for Ozzie's HR in game 5 of the '85 NLCS. i was just a year or two too young to watch it with any comprehension, when it happened, but it still gives me chills to watch it. i know it was the first HR ozzie ever hit from the left side in the big leagues (did he ever hit one in the minors or before? i need to find out). and of course, "go crazy folks, go crazy!", the beers flying and ozzie pumping his fist.

i think one that should have been on the list was adam wainwright's curveball to beltran to close out the 2006 NLCS.

Karl Malone, Saturday, 31 December 2022 17:24 (one month ago) link

I can't remember if it was one of the choices (and can't check because I've voted), but the Rangers' first great moment was probably David Clyde's first start on 6/27/73. He'd just turned 18 a couple of months earlier, and there were 35,000 people at Arlington Stadium. He beat the Twins 4-3. His line: 5 innings, 1 hit, 2 runs, 7 strikeouts...and 8 walks. (The next guy got a four-inning save.)

https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/TEX/TEX197306270.shtml

clemenza, Saturday, 31 December 2022 22:57 (one month ago) link

Hutchison's ERA in 2016 wound up being 5.25

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Saturday, 7 January 2023 16:54 (four weeks ago) link

Haven't had a chance to read this yet, looks like it could be a useful summary:

https://jaysjournal.com/posts/blue-jays-looking-back-at-the-first-18-months-of-the-ross-atkins-era-in-toronto

clemenza, Monday, 9 January 2023 13:22 (four weeks ago) link

I didn't know that they traded Pearce for Espinal.

I never thought that Anthopoulos was treated unfairly, he eventually built a WS contender in his fifth year but it was a win-now team without a solid core of homegrown talent, the fall could have been brutal. In the end it worked out fine for everyone, Anthopoulos did a much better job in Atlanta that he did in Toronto (and won a WS), and the Jays are an exciting team again.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Monday, 9 January 2023 14:37 (four weeks ago) link

AA inherited a solid team with a ton of young talent in Atlanta. i think he's a solid GM, but he really lucked out with that Atlanta gig.

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Monday, 9 January 2023 15:14 (four weeks ago) link

In 2015 I was kind of resigned to "Well, we won but AA traded away our future," but I don't think any of those guys panned out, did they? So you can get lucky. You can trade away Jeff Bagwell or Fred McGriff or Zack Wheeler for a little bit of short-term gain, or you can trade away Daniel Norris.

clemenza, Monday, 9 January 2023 15:42 (four weeks ago) link

I wouldn't say he lucked out, he's been there for five years now, added a lot more young talent, and has them set up as a perennial 95-win club for the next few years.

The Norris trade could have looked bad down the line (a front line young starter vs two months of David Price) but was absolutely the right move. Wasn't Shapiro really down on that trade?

NoTimeBeforeTime, Monday, 9 January 2023 16:07 (four weeks ago) link

Making the trade look even better is that, after his spectacular half-season with the Jays (9-1, 2.30), Price walked away (as everyone knew he would) and was never that great again...with two huge asterisks: his mediocre post-season in 2015 for the Jays, and his great WS with the Red Sox in 2018, where he should have been named MVP.

clemenza, Monday, 9 January 2023 16:37 (four weeks ago) link

We just signed Brandon Belt for ~10M?

clemenza, Tuesday, 10 January 2023 02:07 (three weeks ago) link

I think Syndergaard and D’Arnaud were the only prospects that sort-of panned out in the big trades leading up to the playoff runs

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Tuesday, 10 January 2023 03:45 (three weeks ago) link

You have undoubtedly seen this Belt #content, clem?

Via a blog post from 2019... Brandon Belt LOVES the chicken fingers at the Ritz Carlton in Toronto.

Signing bonus, @BlueJays? 🐔

(h/t: @JaysKid_RHP) pic.twitter.com/zCol9HBnq0

— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) January 10, 2023



lmao

Brandon Belt loves the chicken tenders from The Ritz-Carlton Toronto, so you know we had to try them 🍽️ pic.twitter.com/7BjdeOgscK

— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) January 10, 2023

bit high, bitch (gyac), Thursday, 12 January 2023 22:06 (three weeks ago) link

My brother-in-law was telling me about that right after they picked him up...Pretty funny; he might be our new Joe Biagini.

clemenza, Friday, 13 January 2023 16:05 (three weeks ago) link

I think I meant to say Jason Grilli...the guy who was a really colourful character.

clemenza, Friday, 13 January 2023 16:17 (three weeks ago) link

Grilli was angry from what I remember. Biagini was the hilariously awkward guy

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Friday, 13 January 2023 16:31 (three weeks ago) link

Yeah Belt is 100% that. I hope he does well in Toronto!

bit high, bitch (gyac), Friday, 13 January 2023 16:35 (three weeks ago) link

I'm really getting the two of them confused...Wasn't Grilli the one who was so demonstrative after striking out someone, a real gung-ho guy? Maybe I did mean Biagini.

clemenza, Friday, 13 January 2023 16:46 (three weeks ago) link

Ya, angry/intense - not at all disarmingly goofy as biagini. Also doesn’t help that grilli was like almost 7 feet tall!

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Friday, 13 January 2023 17:02 (three weeks ago) link

not sure where to post this (not hot stove, no 2023 thread yet) so i'll post it on the highest ranking active ilx team thread

https://i.imgur.com/1CgP7ii.jpg

Karl Malone, Friday, 13 January 2023 21:27 (three weeks ago) link

I think I saw that; there was another mlb.com writer who picked the Jays for the WS.

I feel good about them, but I'm not quite there yet. Guerrero having another 2021 would go a long way towards making that ranking above happen.

clemenza, Friday, 13 January 2023 21:30 (three weeks ago) link

i know they force sports journalists to pick WS favorites and stuff like that, but it seems like a waste of time to me. the dodgers of the last 7 years should have won at least 5 world series or so. baseball in the postseason is always surprising and confounding.

i'm probably shaped by the cardinals front office philosophy at this point, but i always just root for them to make the playoffs. i'm thrilled when they do, then i hope for the best from there and hope it's entertaining

Karl Malone, Friday, 13 January 2023 21:40 (three weeks ago) link

i think a good way to judge a team is how fun they are to watch, and off the top of my head, the jays have vlad jr, bichette jr, and of course the center of the solar system, alejandro kirk. that's a pretty fun team

Karl Malone, Friday, 13 January 2023 21:41 (three weeks ago) link

Sometimes I wish they were maybe 3% less fun, and a little more focused--why I liked Marcus Semien so much--but when they're winning, yes.

clemenza, Friday, 13 January 2023 21:53 (three weeks ago) link

Cardinals are amazing. I'm looking at their franchise page, and they've only missed the playoffs seven times this century (15/22), have only been sub-.500 once, and all that despite (I think) doling out much less money that the most extravagant spenders. They've got to be the most cost-effective franchise by far. The Rays come to mind, but they're only 8/22 at making the playoffs.

clemenza, Friday, 13 January 2023 22:01 (three weeks ago) link

Bichette's the last guy they haven't settled with (and who could still go to arbitration):

https://www.mlb.com/news/blue-jays-2023-arbitration-deadline-agreements

In my very large sample size of six or seven people, everyone I know is down on him to one degree or another. He's definitely not a rate-stat/sabermetric kind of player, but he still manages to keep his OPS+ in the 120-130 range, and he's 8.5 WAR the last two seasons. September saved him last year. I hope he stays.

clemenza, Saturday, 14 January 2023 17:07 (three weeks ago) link

Plus he has exactly the kind of hair I wanted in high school but could never manage--forgot to mention that.

clemenza, Saturday, 14 January 2023 19:25 (three weeks ago) link

Hopefully that’s the basis for his arb case.

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Saturday, 14 January 2023 21:17 (three weeks ago) link

^^^One of my No-Bo sample people!

I take it you think he'll lose if it goes to arbitration? I don't know (and don't know what he'd be asking for)--he's got some of those flashy old-school stats that I thought might carry weight with an arbiter (league leader in hits, pretty good number of XB hits/runs/RBI). Now if Keith Law is the arbiter, he's in trouble.

clemenza, Saturday, 14 January 2023 21:45 (three weeks ago) link

1,400 comments on the Sportsnet FB post about this. He is a lightning rod.

clemenza, Saturday, 14 January 2023 21:50 (three weeks ago) link

Bichette has reportedly filed at $7.5 million, while the Blue Jays have filed at $5 million. The $2.5 million spread between the two sides is the largest in the league.

According to the Star...which tells me they're quite happy to see him walk; that seems like a relatively small difference if they wanted him to stay.

clemenza, Saturday, 14 January 2023 23:42 (three weeks ago) link

i don't know, i wouldn't necessarily equate arguing about arbitration (especially about the largest difference in the league) with being ok with him leaving. this is his first time through arbitration, right? if they gave him 2.5M more this year, then next year he would do it again and make the difference even larger, and then again during the third year, and that's on top of the natural increases in salary he'll get through arbitration anyway.

not trying to defend owners here, but every team has an interest in paying the players something close to what the arbitrator decides, because every team is going to want to show their players that they want them to stay, and every player is going to want way more than what they'd get through arbitration. for example, let's say they give bichette what he asked for, no questions, to show that they like him. what is danny jansen going to do next year?

Karl Malone, Saturday, 14 January 2023 23:50 (three weeks ago) link

(i hope it goes without saying that i'm in favor of the players getting paid what they deserve, compared to the enormous share of revenues that owners claim for themselves. i'm just saying the owners, being coldhearted rich dudes, are not going to go out of their way to do that.)

(also i think one ridiculous thing about arbitration, and something that affects irl managerial decisions, is that the arbitrators are stuck in the 1980s and still include shit like Wins and Saves in their formulas to come up with fair payments. that surely plays a role in how players and managers will go out of their way and harm their team's chances of winning in order to secure the all-important Win and Save, in some situations -- it actually affects their salaries!)

Karl Malone, Saturday, 14 January 2023 23:54 (three weeks ago) link

Thing is, if they win the arbitration case, I just can't see him staying--especially if he has a big year. It's like Joe Pesci in Raging Bull flipped upside down: "If you lose, you lose--if you win, you still lose."

clemenza, Sunday, 15 January 2023 00:27 (three weeks ago) link

I now see he's not a FA until 2026...so yeah, there's lots of time to make nice. I was thinking this was his walk year, which shows how closely I follow the money side of the game.

clemenza, Sunday, 15 January 2023 00:29 (three weeks ago) link

Yes, I was coming to post that, they still have years left to work out an extension.

More relevant IMO -- Vlad got $14M, so why should Bichette get only half that? They had nearly the same WAR last year.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Sunday, 15 January 2023 05:06 (three weeks ago) link

I was very much thinking of Vlad's agreement when I said $2.5M seemed like a small difference. Not just last year, either: even including Vlad's huge 2021, they're not that far apart over the last two seasons (10.7 for Vlad, 9.5 for Bo) or for their careers (13.4 for Vlad, 12.9 for Bo). Do I think Vlad's the better, more valuable player? Sure. But if salary is based as much on what you've done as the ceiling that you think is there, twice as much seems disproportionate. And nearly three times as much--$14.3M vs. $5M--is just wrong.

clemenza, Sunday, 15 January 2023 05:20 (three weeks ago) link

although they "avoided arbitration" by coming to an agreement, that salary - $14.3M for Vlad - is heavily informed by what he would get if he did go to arbitration. and again, (and this is just my opinion but i think it's well supported by evidence - arbitrators don't use WAR to determine the value of player. they're stuck on old school stats. one thing they heavily, heavily reward for position players is home runs. they love home runs. Vlad hits more home runs. Vlad gets more money.

that probably seems like a gross simplification of what's going on, but it plays a huge role

Karl Malone, Sunday, 15 January 2023 05:26 (three weeks ago) link

arbitrators have a lot of similarities to hall of fame voters. think of bill james' hall of fame monitor. vlad has a rookie of the year, 2 all-star games, a runner-up for MVP, and a ton of home runs. bo bichette is a well-rounded player who is not the best at anything -- BORING! Vlad gets more money. (and i think we would both agree that Vlad deserves more - just probably not THAT much more)

Karl Malone, Sunday, 15 January 2023 05:28 (three weeks ago) link

oops - Vlad didn't get rookie of the year. but he did get a gold glove.

Karl Malone, Sunday, 15 January 2023 05:30 (three weeks ago) link

That makes sense to me. Like I said earlier, Bo does have some old-school flash--kind of like a young Juan Samuel--but Vlad's is brighter. I still would have given him the $7.5, but I see what you're saying (and about the future ramifications of doing so).

clemenza, Sunday, 15 January 2023 05:36 (three weeks ago) link

it's the most boring idea of all time, but i truly think if they revamped the arbitration process to make it align with what a good baseball player is, it would change the game. (it would probably also lead to even more games where the starter goes 4 innings and a handful of other pitchers close out the game -- it would drive things even more toward efficient run production/prevention)

Karl Malone, Sunday, 15 January 2023 05:37 (three weeks ago) link

I’d be surprised if the everyday game strategy had anything to do with possible arbitration outcomes.

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Sunday, 15 January 2023 07:26 (three weeks ago) link

I thought the arbitration process depends more on how the case is presented? If Bo's people present a WAR-based argument then the management will have to build a case in response. I don't think the arbitrator steps in and says "wait, he didn't hit 40 HRs so he can't make more than $X".

I know they do look at salaries around the league, that is, how much other players of comparable ability, age, and league experience are making (or have made in recent years). It goes far beyond just relying on the stats that the arbitrator memorized on baseball cards when he or she was growing up.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Sunday, 15 January 2023 12:13 (three weeks ago) link

Something I wrote in the Baseball Books thread a few years ago after reading a book on the '70s A's dynasty. (I should be careful--my idea of a funny story isn't everybody's around here.)

Hilarious how ill-equipped Finley was for the first set of arbitration hearings in 1974. Across the rest of the league, the owners won 25 or 33 cases--a combination, I'm guessing, of institutional bias and poor representation. Finley, though, lost five out of eight. The players would come armed with mountains of statistics (a few them were represented by Jerry Kapstein, the Scott Boras of his day; Reggie even had Marvin Miller arguing his case), Finley would pace the room and say things like "Mr. Reggie Jackson is a superstar...Gentleman, I ask you: what is a superstar?" When he was pitted against Ken Holtzman, he'd tell the arbitrator that Holtzman would be lost without Rollie Fingers; an hour later, arguing against Fingers in front of the same arbitrator, he'd say that Fingers only piled up saves because of Oakland's great starting pitchers. The suggestion is that Finley never recovered from the reality of arbitration, and just became (even) more and more erratic and resentful for the rest of the decade.

clemenza, Sunday, 15 January 2023 14:54 (three weeks ago) link

Mark Shapiro, representing the club: "Mr. Bo Bichette is dynamic...Gentleman, I ask you: what does it mean to be dynamic?"

clemenza, Sunday, 15 January 2023 14:59 (three weeks ago) link

Personally, I never get tired of stories where Finley makes an ass of himself.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Sunday, 15 January 2023 16:22 (three weeks ago) link

You could almost turn that into a whole Mad-type running feature: "Charlie O. Finley Arbitration Strategies We'd Like to See."

Brian Cashman: "They tell me Mr. Aaron Judge hits home runs...Gentleman, I ask you: what is a home run?"

Carlos Correa's counsel: "They tell me Mr. Carlos Correa is a physical risk...Gentleman, I ask you: what isn't a risk in this world we live in?"

clemenza, Sunday, 15 January 2023 16:46 (three weeks ago) link

tl;dr warning: i'm just trying to share some things i read last night and this morning that i thought were interesting. sorry to post a giant blob of text, feel free to skip!
------

I thought the arbitration process depends more on how the case is presented? If Bo's people present a WAR-based argument then the management will have to build a case in response. I don't think the arbitrator steps in and says "wait, he didn't hit 40 HRs so he can't make more than $X".

i think this is right, NoTime, and the way i was talking about it was kind of oversimplifying things. but i do think there's been a historical bias toward traditional metrics. there was a series on arbitration on fangraphs a few years ago that, if you're one of the few people on earth who wants to spend their sunday morning reading about baseball arbitration, you might like!

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/lets-fix-mlbs-salary-arbitration-system-introduction/
https://blogs.fangraphs.com/lets-fix-mlbs-salary-arbitration-system-changing-the-either-or-model/
https://blogs.fangraphs.com/lets-fix-mlbs-salary-arbitration-system-evidence-and-admissibility/

Also:
https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2015/10/mlb-trade-rumors-arbitration-model.html
http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/25722707/jeff-passan-wild-wonky-world-mlb-salary-arbitration
https://www.sportingnews.com/us/mlb/news/mlb-salary-arbitration-process-breakdown-spring-training-2016/4jkawqkczi8i17cb4rhqjxseh

it's a lot. but a couple things worth highlighting:

1) here's an overview of how it's supposed to work:

The information the player and team can use during the hearing to present their case is governed by Article VI, Section E, Part 10 (a) & (b) of the CBA. This information includes the player's contribution to the team during the past season (e.g., the player's on-field performance and other qualities such as leadership and fan appeal), the length and consistency of the player's career contributions, the player's past compensation, the existence of any physical or mental defects, the team's recent performance (e.g., the team's record, improvement and attendance) and comparative baseball salaries.

The panel gives the most weight to each side's presentation of comparable baseball salaries. Here, the player and team can only compare the contracts of players whose service time does not exceed one annual service group above the player's service group. For example, Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda, who is entering his second year of salary arbitration, would be compared to other starting pitchers who were also entering their second year of salary arbitration.

Information the panel cannot consider during the hearing includes the financial position of the team or player, testimonials or press comments regarding the team's or player's performance, prior contractual negotiations between the team and player, any costs associated with the salary arbitration process (i.e., attorney's fees), and salaries in other sports or occupations.


https://www.sportingnews.com/us/mlb/news/mlb-salary-arbitration-process-breakdown-spring-training-2016/4jkawqkczi8i17cb4rhqjxseh

2) the arbitrators use a variety of methods, and often aren't experts on baseball:

Often, analyses of MLB salary arbitration focus on the fact that the hearings typically only consider traditional, “old school” statistics.

Another quirk to the arbitration process is that it usually only factors in “baseball card statistics” rather than more sophisticated metrics. While teams signing free agents are typically up to speed on sabermetrics, the arbitration process does not account for them. Counting stats are important, as is playing time in general. Since labor lawyers typically sit on arbitration panels, the concept of “making it to work every day” is something that holds value.

That last sentence is something else important to focus on: salary arbitrators are typically randomly selected labor lawyers. And while some have a comprehensive knowledge of baseball, it isn’t their day job: arbitrators usually hear many different types of cases, with many different fact patterns. That means that a baseball salary arbitrator may well also arbitrate cases on entirely different matters.


(this is the fangraphs introduction article, quoting the mlbtraderumors article. i'm not sure how to quote/embed this in ilx in a logical way, sorry)

3) to the extent that they use stats, it tends to be old school:

Another quirk to the arbitration process is that it usually only factors in “baseball card statistics” rather than more sophisticated metrics. While teams signing free agents are typically up to speed on sabermetrics, the arbitration process does not account for them. Counting stats are important, as is playing time in general. Since labor lawyers typically sit on arbitration panels, the concept of “making it to work every day” is something that holds value.

Hitters are typically evaluated using batting average, home runs, runs batted in, stolen bases and plate appearances. There are some positional adjustments, but typically the added defensive value of a shortstop relative to a first baseman is not as important in arbitration hearings as it is on the free agent market. Hitters also can receive larger arbitration awards if they have unique accomplishments, such as winning an MVP award. Pitchers typically are evaluated using innings pitched and earned run average. Starting pitchers are rewarded for wins, and relievers are rewarded for saves and holds. Unique accomplishments, such as Cy Young Awards, matter for pitchers as well.


https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2015/10/mlb-trade-rumors-arbitration-model.html

3) from above, "The panel gives the most weight to each side's presentation of comparable baseball salaries." I think this, compared with the arbitrators maybe not being baseball fans, is where sometimes they start to lean on the old school stats. not always, and as NoTime mentioned, it would depend on how the representatives want to present their case. but if the arbitrators are old school guys, or if they're random labor lawyers, it may be easier to make a case using the stats they're most likely to be familiar with. maybe this has changed in recent years, as advanced metrics become more mainstream.

4) some really, really hilariously weird and dumb stuff happens in these hearings

Last January [2018], as they tried to convince a three-person arbitration panel that Mookie Betts deserved the $7.5 million salary they were offering and not the $10.5 million he requested, the Red Sox fashioned a novel approach in the typically staid, lawyerly arbitration room: They played a video talking about how good Kris Bryant was.

The purpose, multiple sources in the room told ESPN, was not simply to lavish praise on the Chicago Cubs’ third baseman but to make their case: As great as Mookie Betts may be, he isn’t Kris Bryant.


http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/25722707/jeff-passan-wild-wonky-world-mlb-salary-arbitration

what's funny about this is that mookie betts is better (arguably, much better) than kris bryant. that kris bryant video must have kicked ass!

Karl Malone, Sunday, 15 January 2023 17:11 (three weeks ago) link

one last addendum - and this one is excruciating, sorry -, but upthread when i mentioned that i thought changing the arbitration process would change how the game is played, i had this in mind:

"Starting pitchers are rewarded for wins, and relievers are rewarded for saves and holds."

i don't think reworking arbitration would fundamentally turn the game upside down or anything. i just think it would have an effect. (sorry for being wishy-washy here)

i'm sure some managers don't give a fuck about arbitration, some players are just doing their best and ignoring they money, and of course, players with more than 6 years under their belt aren't involved with arbitration any longer, anyway. but i do think that some managers (mike matheny) were known for having "their guys" that they look out for, and sometimes that would involve keeping a pitcher in longer than necessary to get the all-important "Win", or putting in "the closer" to get the all-important Save even when they were pitching for the 3rd day in a row and had no business being in the game. those extra stat opportunities are important to some younger players. not everyone is trying to max out their salary, but some players do. and for some managers, "looking out for your guys" means paying attention to that and giving them more opportunities.

(it's possible i have just been traumatized by mike matheny and am still searching for explanations to things that have no answers)

Karl Malone, Sunday, 15 January 2023 17:20 (three weeks ago) link

as penance for derailing the blue jays thread with arbitration stuff, here is a nice baseball card :)

https://i.imgur.com/cQ6y79E.jpg

Karl Malone, Sunday, 15 January 2023 17:23 (three weeks ago) link

You can't derail the Jays thread. First rule of the Jays thread, there are no rules! (I stole that from The Simpsons.)

James used to get hired for arbitration cases (always on the players' side, I think), and he said the one thing that could kill you with an arbiter was saying something that was provably false--probably not that different from a criminal case. If you did, everything else you said immediately became suspect. One example he used was when the Jays argued that George Bell's fielding was a liability, his side went through game logs (probably quite novel at the time) and was able to show that Bell's errors had little to no impact on runs scored or wins and losses.

(Bell's defense likely was a liability--can't remember that far back--but errors were the coin of realm then, so that was probably enough.)

clemenza, Sunday, 15 January 2023 17:34 (three weeks ago) link

The Jays should go back and try to re-litigate that: based on bWAR, Bell looks to have been a major liability in the field.

clemenza, Sunday, 15 January 2023 17:37 (three weeks ago) link

Well hopefully Bo is able to stay a little more level headed than Marcus Stroman (and his tweets)

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Sunday, 15 January 2023 19:32 (three weeks ago) link

One thing I don't get is Bichette's base stealing. Last year, he stole 24 in 25 attempts; this year, 9 out of 16. Has he gotten stupider or slower? I would have thought at his age, that would be relatively steady year to year.

― clemenza, Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Noticed that too and can offer no explanation

― FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Leo Morgenstern has the explanation (it's long): https://blogs.fangraphs.com/why-bo-bichettes-wheels-fell-off-in-2022/

clemenza, Monday, 16 January 2023 05:00 (three weeks ago) link

Stroman was the exception here. When the sides take each other to court some unflattering things will be said, it's a business. It shouldn't affect things going forward.

Why the Jays don't negotiate extensions with their young players is a different issue, but then again, the players might not want it. Extensions were more common in the years leading up to the last labour agreement when free agency signings were more uncertain. After this offseason's windfall for FA's, I don't think anyone of the caliber of Bo/Vlad will rush to sign a long term deal until the year before they hit free agency at the earliest.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Monday, 16 January 2023 07:59 (three weeks ago) link

That entire piece can be summed up by “just dumb luck I guess”! A lot of new acronyms in there for me, which I expect to forget most of. Interesting that he supposedly got super lucky in 2021. So I guess I can look forward to him getting thrown out a little less next season.

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Monday, 16 January 2023 20:59 (three weeks ago) link

whoops - i was talking about the piece on Bichette and his speed vanishing

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Monday, 16 January 2023 21:15 (three weeks ago) link

That was my conclusion too, after my eyes glazed over and I skipped ahead to the end:

His 2021 season represented something like his 80% percentile outcome, while his 2022 season represented something like his 20% percentile outcome. He got “lucky” one year and “unlucky” the next, and those two years happened to come back-to-back.

clemenza, Monday, 16 January 2023 21:38 (three weeks ago) link

Fun Fact: Daulton Varsho was born 9 months and 1 day after his dad Gary's final MLB game.

(via u/thedeejus) pic.twitter.com/PiBdBpa9Vm

— Baseball GIFs (@gifs_baseball) January 27, 2023

Karl Malone, Friday, 27 January 2023 18:34 (one week ago) link

I don't really remember this guy, but look at the photo--he's hitting cross-handed, no?

https://jaysjournal.com/posts/former-blue-jays-utilityman-getting-one-last-shot-world-baseball-classic-dominican-republic

clemenza, Sunday, 29 January 2023 16:39 (one week ago) link

OK, I guess it could be that he bats left and that's coming out of his swing.

clemenza, Sunday, 29 January 2023 16:44 (one week ago) link

boneface was switch, maybe he concocted a third swing

francisF, Wednesday, 1 February 2023 20:03 (five days ago) link

Just noise, but seriously: you're going to question Alek Manoah's work ethic? I think the guy would like nothing better than to throw 300 innings.

https://www.thestar.com/sports/bluejays/2023/02/02/my-job-isnt-to-please-you-blue-jays-ace-alek-manoah-speaks-out-after-analyst-questions-his-work-ethic.html

clemenza, Friday, 3 February 2023 14:30 (three days ago) link

stroman also wasn't able to stay away from this one!
clearly that analyst is a clown, but i think manoah should have just stayed above and ignored him. dude's gonna have a rough time of it, if he feels the need to respond to every half notable clown spewing bs.

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Friday, 3 February 2023 22:23 (three days ago) link

Are you trying to tell me that Marcus Stroman won't stop tweeting?

clemenza, Friday, 3 February 2023 22:32 (three days ago) link

literally incapable!

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Saturday, 4 February 2023 01:42 (two days ago) link

Can't Stop Won't Stop: the Marcus Stroman Story.

clemenza, Saturday, 4 February 2023 01:52 (two days ago) link


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