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Yup, its that time. Red Sox vs Dodgers for the first time since 1916 when the Dodgers were the Brooklyn Robins.

Red Sox won that one 4-1 with Babe Ruth winning a game (1 run over 14 innings, a complete extra inning game facing 48 hitters in his age 21 season) but going 0-5 as a hitter.

Somehow doubt we'll see a pitcher do that again in the World Series anytime soon.

The Red Sox have won the World Series 4 (edit - make that 3) times this century already, after winning it 5 times the past century (none after 1918 of course). They also have lost the WS 4 times in their history, all in the years between 1918 and 2004. A bit streaky those Red Sox.

The Dodgers have 6 titles, 1 in Brooklyn, last in 1988 plus a tie in 1890 (3-3-1) back when the post season was just an exhibition and no one cared much. 14 losses in the WS (including another exhibition year 1889), most recent being last year.

I think the only ex-Jay who played with the Dodgers this year was Pat Venditte (the switch pitcher) who is still on the 40 man roster but not on the playoff one AFAIK. The Red Sox on the other hand have Steve Pearce who as a Jays at the start of 2018 and in 8 games this playoff season has hit 269/387/423. David Price of course, is in the rotation and despite a 5.11 ERA has finally got that win as a starter he was so desperate for. We will see if he can do well again I'm sure.

In other news, the Jays are still hunting for a manager with the hunt supposedly down to a final 5 - Joe Espada (Astro's bench coach), David Bell (since hired by Reds), Rocco Baldelli (field coordinator Rays), Brandon Hyde (bench coach Cubs), and good ol' Ed Sprague (coordinator of instruction for the A's)(or someone else, he is listed as a maybe but not a lock to be in the final 5). I like the pedigree of most. Astros, Cubs, Rays, A's are all solid clubs who you would want to steal from.
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scottt - Monday, October 22 2018 @ 06:13 AM EDT (#367130) #
The Jays did trade John Axford to the Dodgers even though he only lasted 3.2 innings before a season ending injury.
Technically Tom Koehler is also an ex-Jays even though he got hurt in the spring and might never pitch for LA since he's on a one year contract.

lexomatic - Monday, October 22 2018 @ 09:17 AM EDT (#367131) #
Hope this is over fast. Don't want either team to win. Sooner the season ends the better.
AWeb - Monday, October 22 2018 @ 09:34 AM EDT (#367132) #
Well my coin flip predictions from a previous thread are perfect so far (on a related note, the coin picked favourites basically every time), so I'll assume the Red Sox win, since apparently coin flips are never wrong. I'm not sure who I would expect to root for here, so I guess I'll wait until I watch to figure it out. 3.5-4 hour games in the atlantic time zone mean it's almost certain I won't see any 9th innings, which sucks. Playoff baseball games have become like OT NHL playoff games, except the NHL games could actually end at any time and since they virtually eliminate commericals in OT, they often fly by. Midnight in the 6th inning? I'm out.

After watching the LA/Mil series and listening to announcers spend ~90% of the last few games pretending(?) to be baffled by how the pitchers were being used, I just hope that stops in the World Series. I too hate watching anonymous middle relievers, but you know what would help? Spend some time talking about them, and the actual game, when they are in the game. Another 15 seconds talking about how much relievers are pitching in general doesn't help anyone. On another announcing related note, I realized that the ludicrous increase in time between pitches over the decades is really hurting announcing as well. Filling what is essentially dead air (hitter and pitcher fiddling around, waiting for each other to be ready) had lead to an increase in blathering opportunities, which is bad for everyone announcing and listening. The rhythm of the game has gotten too slow for a lot of announcers to work with. Implement the pitch clock in 2019, save us from this please!
dalimon5 - Monday, October 22 2018 @ 11:37 AM EDT (#367135) #
I'm backing the Dodgers. Two front office giants finally getting to the World Series. One, Andrew Friedman, built a philosophy in TB and carried it over and improved it in LA. He's looking for his first WS. The other, Dave Dombrowski, already has a World Series, has since gone around spending owners money on the most expensive free agent contracts trying to buy wins compared to Friedman who only buys down-the-stretch help without sacrificing future as much. Plus, Dombrowski inherited a ton of Cherington's team plus it's the Red Sox.

Gotta love the Friedman approach where you spend money but still have a good farm system. I've been impressed with the Dodgers the last few years since the NL West hasn't been a cakewalk any longer.
Mike Green - Monday, October 22 2018 @ 11:47 AM EDT (#367136) #
Combined payrolls 2017-18 according to Sportrac:

Dodgers- $459M
Red Sox- $428M

Those are the highest figures in MLB by a large margin. 
ISLAND BOY - Monday, October 22 2018 @ 11:48 AM EDT (#367137) #
I'm with the Dodgers,too just based on my "anybody but the Yankees and Red Sox" philosophy.

I'm in the Atlantic time zone like Aweb so I don't watch much of the World Series.It's usually after 9:30 by the time they actually start playing.
Mylegacy - Monday, October 22 2018 @ 01:33 PM EDT (#367138) #
IF - it goes 7 games it's over on October 31st. Shit.

I would have preferred it went until November 1st at least.

This year we'll have NO baseball in November, December and January.Spring Training starts in February.

Had we just got the last game into November then we'd only have had no baseball in December and January.

I can live without baseball for two months - BUT - three months without is going to damage my few remaining brain cells.

Sigh. How about, perhaps, yes... a tiny spot of single malt.

Ah yes. There is a god!

As to whom I'm cheering for - meh.
christaylor - Monday, October 22 2018 @ 01:37 PM EDT (#367139) #
"The Red Sox have won the World Series 4 times this century already..."? I have 2004, 2007, and 2013 down as Red Sox wins. Let's not give them 2018 before they play the games. :)
Richard S.S. - Monday, October 22 2018 @ 02:08 PM EDT (#367140) #
Isn't Winter Ball televised if you really need to watch Baseball?
Nigel - Monday, October 22 2018 @ 02:28 PM EDT (#367141) #
Im not knocking the job that these two front offices have done, but payroll is king over the long haul.
Richard S.S. - Monday, October 22 2018 @ 02:57 PM EDT (#367144) #
When even Luxury Tax is not a factor you get to keep your own and acquire/sign any one you want. Mistakes matter little. If money wasn't an issue then Ken Giles, Randal Grichuk, Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman would all be signing longer-termed Contracts.
John Northey - Monday, October 22 2018 @ 03:19 PM EDT (#367145) #
Doh! Stupid mistake. Was thinking about in it 4 times, not won 4 times. I think the smart money is on the Red Sox, but I'm cheering the Dodgers. 1988 was tons of fun with them, don't see a Kirk Gibson on their team this time.
CeeBee - Monday, October 22 2018 @ 05:46 PM EDT (#367151) #
Since it's against the Red Sox I'm cheering for the Dodgers all the way. Go Robins..... ahem Dodgers :)
scottt - Monday, October 22 2018 @ 06:18 PM EDT (#367153) #
I'll go with Johnny Hustle over Machado's antics.
Hopefully we find out if Betts really sucks at 2B.

Michael - Monday, October 22 2018 @ 06:40 PM EDT (#367155) #
I'm for the Red Sox. I usually back the AL over the NL, plus despite the Jays being my number one, my college years in Boston with Pedro made me somewhat of a Red Sox fan.

With both team big spenders neither gets an underdog approach, and 88 is recent enough that neither has a "curse" to break.
Richard S.S. - Monday, October 22 2018 @ 07:44 PM EDT (#367158) #
It's far better to see and listen to Boston bitch and complain about being "robbed" of the World Series than to watch and listen to them "strut and crow" about how good they are if then win. Go Dodgers!
bpoz - Monday, October 22 2018 @ 08:29 PM EDT (#367159) #
Agreed Richard SS.
Glevin - Tuesday, October 23 2018 @ 08:38 AM EDT (#367161) #
Keith Law went to see the Jays' prospects in Arizona. Obviously, loves Vlad and saw Pearson when he got shelled. He is very low on Biggio though partly because he doesn't have a position and partly because he sees Biggio as having some big offensive flaws:

"He drew a slew of walks this season, but it's because he's passive, not because he's disciplined; I saw him strike out looking four times this week, always on pitches that were clearly strikes, at least two of them fastballs from right-handers that he should have seen better than he did".
rpriske - Tuesday, October 23 2018 @ 10:11 AM EDT (#367162) #
The Dodgers were my original favourite team, before the Blue Jays came along.

Apparently I like blue.

Go Dodgers!

mathesond - Tuesday, October 23 2018 @ 12:19 PM EDT (#367168) #
Yeah, I was 7 when the Jays started playing, so I started reading whatever basbeall books weere in my school library. the Jackie Robinson biography hooked me, so I gotta go for the Dodgers.
Spifficus - Tuesday, October 23 2018 @ 02:52 PM EDT (#367180) #
It was the '88 postseason when I first started watching baseball and introduced me to my first favourite player (Hershiser, of course). I then started watching the Jays in '89, with my first Jays memory (insomuch I remember anything pre-teen) being the Gruber cycle.

So nostalgia alone means I'll be rooting for the Dodgers, though the pure baseball fan in me just has me cheering for good, close baseball all the way through to a dramatic game seven.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 23 2018 @ 03:02 PM EDT (#367181) #
From 1967 to 1976, I was a Dodger and Red Sox fan (although the Expos came first when they joined the league).  My Dodgers fandom arose probably fromJackie Robinson, and the Red Sox because of Yaz' great run in 1967.  As a kid, I tried to emulate Yaz' stance- that did not work out well. 

It would be cool if Reggie Smith threw out the first pitch in both places.
Mike Green - Tuesday, October 23 2018 @ 03:07 PM EDT (#367182) #
Here, by the way, is the right-field JAWS leaderboard.  It's cool for me to see Walker, Dwight Evans and Reggie Smith as the obvious HoF whiffs. 
scottt - Tuesday, October 23 2018 @ 06:56 PM EDT (#367188) #
If we go back to the 80s, all I got is Rick Monday, Fernando Vanenzuela and Tommy Lasorda.
So, yeah. Go Sox, Go!

Gerry - Tuesday, October 23 2018 @ 08:14 PM EDT (#367192) #
Red Sox in five.
jgadfly - Wednesday, October 24 2018 @ 10:54 AM EDT (#367199) #
Mike ... any memories of Reggie Smith when he played for the Leafs in 1966 ?
bpoz - Wednesday, October 24 2018 @ 11:01 AM EDT (#367200) #
N Pearson threw 67 pitches in 3 innings last night. His arm is healthy.
Mike Green - Wednesday, October 24 2018 @ 01:54 PM EDT (#367201) #
Sadly, the answer to your question, jgadfly, is no.  It probably would have happened had my grandfather been alive then (as he was a big fan and had taken older cousins to ballgames), but he had died several years previously. 
JohnL - Wednesday, October 24 2018 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#367203) #

Mike ... any memories of Reggie Smith when he played for the Leafs in 1966

Sadly, neither do I, although I was a part-owner of the team. As a teenager, I "wasted" $20 buying 20 shares in the Maple Leafs. When my father found out ($20 was not insignificant then), he was pretty mad, and said it would be worthless. True, in financial terms, but I really wish I still had that stock certificate.

At least, I can describe myself as the former part-owner of a minor league baseball team.

Mike Green - Wednesday, October 24 2018 @ 04:34 PM EDT (#367204) #
A little teaser from John Lott's fascinating interview with Rickey Henderson in the Athletic.  When Rickey was on base, Billy Martin used to flash him a sign when a breaking ball was coming (he probably could tell from sequencing and the way the catcher was set up).  The Lott article contains a nice description of the evolution of the relationship between Martin and Henderson when it came to base-stealing.

This is the kind of thing that I can easily imagine Russell Martin doing, at some point. 

scottt - Wednesday, October 24 2018 @ 08:02 PM EDT (#367211) #
Unlike other managers who moved him to the pen, including Gibby, Cora keeps throwing Price out there as the #2 starter.
scottt - Thursday, October 25 2018 @ 08:34 AM EDT (#367219) #
The Dodgers bullpen management looks terrible. Reminds me of the Orioles in '16.
Gerry - Thursday, October 25 2018 @ 08:42 AM EDT (#367221) #
Roberts keeps going to Ryan Madson and he doesn't look good at all. Meanwhile Cora can do no wrong.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 25 2018 @ 08:56 AM EDT (#367223) #
I ran a Play Index  to find age comparables for Price.  I got Scherzer, Verlander, Lester, Cone, Appier, Rijo and Hudson.  None of them quite capture him. 

The main issue is durability, but to my very amateurish eye, he looks better and more stable now than he was throwing 96.  It wouldn't shock me if like Cone or Carlton, he puts up 3 or 4 really good years now, and ends up as serious HoF contender.  It's one of the thing about running a $210 million payroll- you can take chances on a player like Price. 
scottt - Thursday, October 25 2018 @ 09:18 AM EDT (#367224) #
Price has lost a lot of velocity, but the real truth here is that the Dodgers have too many big left bats and do poorly against lefties. I wouldn't be surprised if Rodriguez gets a start. Not sure about Pomeranz, he's probably rusty and there to pitch if the Dodgers take a good lead.
ISLAND BOY - Thursday, October 25 2018 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#367237) #
" It's one of the thing about running a $210 million payroll - you can take chances on a player like price."

Yeah, and also give big bucks to a premier free agent like J.D. Martinez.
Richard S.S. - Friday, October 26 2018 @ 05:43 PM EDT (#367295) #
L.A. needs to win Game Three or this Series ends in Five.
scottt - Saturday, October 27 2018 @ 07:04 AM EDT (#367301) #
I think the one mistake Cora made here was to bring in Benintendi before Martinez was up in the inning.

Even on a Friday night, those games are too long to endure.

Richard S.S. - Saturday, October 27 2018 @ 02:15 PM EDT (#367305) #
At least L.A. earned the 3rd Home Game. They don't need the revenue as much as they need the Fan Support.
greenfrog - Saturday, October 27 2018 @ 10:02 PM EDT (#367310) #
This start is making me feel good about having favoured Hill as a potential free agent acquisition for the Jays (on a three-year deal) prior to the 2017 season. The Dodgers are getting excellent value from him at 3/48, even at 25 starts a year -- which is exactly why I suggested the Jays go get him, despite his age.
dalimon5 - Saturday, October 27 2018 @ 10:47 PM EDT (#367311) #
Dave Roberts doing everything he can to show he's not a top manager in the game. Cora is schooling him.
scottt - Sunday, October 28 2018 @ 06:21 AM EDT (#367313) #
Steve Pearce coming through once again.
Madson is breaking all sort of records here.

greenfrog - Sunday, October 28 2018 @ 12:52 PM EDT (#367316) #
I have to say, although there are some things I'm enjoying about this WS, I think there are some real issues with the MLB entertainment product these days. The games drag on forever, and the constant shifting (and the players now refer to fielding cards before each play) has taken something away from the game. It feels more programmatic and less spontaneous and intuitive than it used to.
scottt - Sunday, October 28 2018 @ 02:04 PM EDT (#367317) #
Last night's game was going fast enough until the Dodgers bullpen imploded and they went "hitter to hitter".
The fielding cards are an improvement over the coaches signaling the players where to go.
The catchers have the scouting reports for each hitter taped to their forearms, that's also an improvement over the catcher taking signs from the bench on each pitch.

Back in 2015, the Jays didn't have much flexibility with the rotation and the bullpen.
Things were pretty bleak after Cecil got hurt.
The bullpen here are deep and the starters pitch in relief at the drop of a hat.

greenfrog - Sunday, October 28 2018 @ 03:16 PM EDT (#367318) #
Probably in the near future players will be able to receive electronic data directly via eyewear or implants or other technological aids. Some fans (like scottt) will view that as an enhancement. Others will miss the all-too-human "age of innocence" when players relied on their own ability to assimilate information and experience into on-field play, however imperfectly.
scottt - Sunday, October 28 2018 @ 04:56 PM EDT (#367321) #
There are sports, like hockey, in which the coach doesn't do a whole lot and there are sports, like baseball or football in which the coach controls each play.  After all, the baseball coach wear the same uniform as his players.
The key thing for the coach is to understand what his players can and cannot do.

Going back to the actual games, what the hell is Machado doing?

greenfrog - Sunday, October 28 2018 @ 06:51 PM EDT (#367322) #
It used to be that players like Tulo could add defensive value by knowing the various hitters in the league and having a good sense of how to position himself well in the field as a result. Now the players just stand where the analytics department tells them to on each play. More efficient, probably, but also less interesting and certainly less romantic. Were moving into a new era.
greenfrog - Sunday, October 28 2018 @ 09:06 PM EDT (#367324) #
In exchange for Santiago Espinal, who did not make Boston's top-20 prospect list in the off-season, the Red Sox acquired Steve Pearce, who had a 143 wRC+ for them in the regular season and had had a 151 wRC+ for them in the postseason *entering* tonight's game -- in which he has hit a two-run HR. He's hitting .333/.538/1.111 so far in the World Series and may well be their WS MVP. That was a fantastic trade for Boston.
Richard S.S. - Sunday, October 28 2018 @ 09:45 PM EDT (#367325) #
Steve Pearce although fully healthy, was unneeded on the Jays. He was taking time from Players of more long-term interest to the Jays. Santiago Espinal went to AA after the Jays acquired him and was successful. He had a slow start in the AFL (he didn't know he was going until an injury happened) then started to hit well. Great trade for Boston, good trade for Toronto.
greenfrog - Sunday, October 28 2018 @ 10:00 PM EDT (#367326) #
Fantastic trade for Boston, negligible return for Toronto.
SK in NJ - Sunday, October 28 2018 @ 11:19 PM EDT (#367328) #
Pearce is a good player. Always has been.

From May 2017 to his last game with the Jays, he had a 124 wRC+ (.275/.342/.500) and 17 home runs in 377 plate appearances. He had a horrendous April 2017 (-1 wRC+ in 57 plate appearances) but was pretty much his normal self after that. Obviously he went to another level with Boston. He's also not playing the OF anymore, which probably helps.

I have no issues with the Espinal return either way, plus I think it's safe to say he's a better prospect now than he was at the start of 2018 (hence his place on the Red Sox prospects list). He's closer to the big leagues and actually held his own in AA after the promotion.

Definitely a good deal for Boston, though. At the time, and certainly in hindsight.
scottt - Sunday, October 28 2018 @ 11:48 PM EDT (#367329) #
It was great to see Pearce lift that MVP trophy.

I don't see Kershaw, or Price, opting out.
Machado has driven his value down.
It will be interesting to see what contract Eovaldi, Pearce, Kelly, Kimbrell, etc sign.

JohnL - Monday, October 29 2018 @ 12:25 AM EDT (#367331) #
I don't watch a lot of baseball: but a mix of radio, parts of games online, and watch more post-season, so I don't have as much Buck Martinez experience as others. But I've listened to enough of him this WS. Highlights tonight:

1. "Both managers were born in foreign countries"
Roberts in Japan... and Cora in Puerto Rico?? Bucko talked (at least) twice about playing winter ball in PR 4 years. Did he not notice what country he was in??

2. Video analysis
Play-by-play guy (Vasgersian) talked about adjustments Price made this year (mound positioning & release point) based on video analysis. Wondered how good guys like Koufax & Gibson might have been with video analysis.

Buck questioned if they'd even sit down to watch, and how great they were by their own judgment on their pitching. That's classic Buckism.

3. Price post-season
Late in the game, as it was apparent Price was busting his post-season game starting rep, he & partner discussed the thee Price post-season problems, but ignored the starting vs relief differences. Then they flashed on screen a Boston Herald headline from this fall, "Price should not START [my caps] again this post-season". Buck quoted it as he should not pitch again. Small thing, but he missed the point people had been making -accurately - about Price's record.
Richard S.S. - Monday, October 29 2018 @ 12:25 AM EDT (#367332) #
And those (deleted) Red Sox win the World Series. A whole year of strutting and bragging.
scottt - Monday, October 29 2018 @ 07:24 AM EDT (#367335) #
It's a thing for Puerto Ricans to see themselves as being from another country.
It's not like they can vote in the presidential election.
They complain about falling into the regular draft and not the international signings.

Mike Green - Monday, October 29 2018 @ 08:29 AM EDT (#367337) #
Congratulations to Steve Pearce and David Price on superb World Series performances.  The 2018 Red Sox were probably the best club the city has seen in 100 years and were deserving champions. 
Chuck - Monday, October 29 2018 @ 08:50 AM EDT (#367338) #
Something fitting about the best team in the regular season winning the World Series. Even if they are mortal enemies to many in these parts.
dalimon5 - Monday, October 29 2018 @ 08:52 AM EDT (#367339) #
Have to agree the Red Sox were dominant and built perfectly for this new age. Only other team in their league for me was Houston and the difference between Altuve and JDM tipped the scales this year.

Teams that stacked the bullpens fell short with offense and SP like the Yankees and Brewers.

Wild card (no explanation why they weren't there- getting old?) was Cleveland.
Gerry - Monday, October 29 2018 @ 09:10 AM EDT (#367340) #
Hm, Red Sox in five you say.

Gerry - Tuesday, October 23 2018 @ 08:14 PM EDT (#367192) #
Red Sox in five.
Mike Green - Monday, October 29 2018 @ 10:04 AM EDT (#367341) #
The Red Sox outscored the Dodgers 28-16 in the five games.  The luck element to the Series was pretty evenly balanced.  Last night, I thought that the Sox were hitting in bad luck- with quite a few balls scorched at defenders. They did however get lucky with the hit bunching in the series.

Dewey - Monday, October 29 2018 @ 11:21 AM EDT (#367346) #
Much as it hurts to say, I'm not sure that Red Sox team isn't the best I've seen in my lifetime.

Probably a judgement affected by recency bias, and not one made after combing records. But, damn, that is one fine team.
Mike Green - Monday, October 29 2018 @ 11:34 AM EDT (#367347) #
My appreciation for Benintendi grew as the post-season wore on.   He turned 24 in July and has all the skills.  He could easily be an MVP candidate in the next few years.  His most comparable player at this age is probably Dave Winfield.

Benintendi has hit slightly better on the road so far in his career.  I can easily see him learning to use Fenway a little better, and adding a little punch overall in the next few years.  A couple of small steps is all he needs. 
electric carrot - Monday, October 29 2018 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#367348) #
Hm, Red Sox in five you say.
Nice one Gerry.

I can't find the post but I also predicted that the team that would win the WS this year would be one of the rich ones with a regular season win percentage above .625. That was meant to be cynical -- more powerfully so I suppose when in this case it was exactly right.

I really do powerfully dislike the Red Sox and was cheering against them throughout. But it's not the team so much, it's their incredibly whiny fan base. (I used to live in Boston during the less good times to be RS fan and found it really hard to tolerate all the grown man whininess that I encountered on a regular basis.) That team is awfully good though. (Maybe playing over their heads a bit this year.)
Gerry - Monday, October 29 2018 @ 12:55 PM EDT (#367349) #
Last year Houston won the WS and it seemed like they were setup to repeat, given all their young talent. We know that they did not.

Now Boston have won and they have a lot of young talent to set them up for another run next year. Will they be able to do it?

Injuries hurt Houston this year. I wonder if the same will happen to the Red Sox next year?
bpoz - Monday, October 29 2018 @ 01:51 PM EDT (#367350) #
Was Charlie Morton injured in late Sept? He pitched 1 inning on Sept 23 and 3 on Sept 30. Then he started against Boston Oct 17. That was a long layoff. However Boston has a great offense. Morton was bad, but so was Porcello.
Chuck - Monday, October 29 2018 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#367354) #
it's their incredibly whiny fan base

Then you'll enjoy the payback the team doled out on Twitter today to those that started whining after the first game of the season.

bpoz - Monday, October 29 2018 @ 07:20 PM EDT (#367355) #
Thanks Chuck.
electric carrot - Monday, October 29 2018 @ 07:29 PM EDT (#367356) #
Then you'll enjoy the payback

Yes! Thanks.
scottt - Monday, October 29 2018 @ 08:02 PM EDT (#367357) #
Houston addressed their weaknesses. They bulked up the bullpen. They added to the rotation with Guerrit Cole.
For the fist time now they will lose some assets to free agency.
I wouldn't say that their window is closing, Altuve has waned, Bregman has improved, Correa was ailing badly.
They should still win their division, besides that...

Pearce should receive some offers from the NLW.
It would be a huge Dodger troll move from a division rival to start him in every game against them.
And he's not even going to be that expensive.

dan gordon - Monday, October 29 2018 @ 10:22 PM EDT (#367358) #
Per Spotrac, the Red Sox spent $228 million in Adjusted Salaries in 2018, which accounts for the pro-rated portion of players acquired during the season. It does not include the roughly $12 million spent on Rusney Castillo who spent the entire year in the minors, so they actually spent about $240 million on salaries. Compared to hockey, football and basketball, the playing field is grossly uneven in baseball, with some teams spending less than a third of that. It's an enormous advantage for the big spending teams. The Red Sox basically wasted $52 million this year on Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez and Castillo, and it didn't really seem to matter. This offends my sense of fair play, and I would love to see a hard cap similar to what the NHL has. Unfortunately, it seems highly unlikely we'll see that any time soon.
Chuck - Tuesday, October 30 2018 @ 07:20 AM EDT (#367360) #
I would love to see a hard cap similar to what the NHL has.

Hard caps are not meant to introduce to "fairness" and competitive balance. They are meant to suppress player salaries.

dan gordon - Tuesday, October 30 2018 @ 01:47 PM EDT (#367367) #
I don't really agree with that, Chuck. The competitive balance in the NHL is much better than it was without the cap. You're not going to get a team like the old Oilers with Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, Coffey, Fuhr, Anderson, etc. anymore, due to the cap. Also, the NHL, has a floor as well as a cap, so there are teams forced to spend more on salaries than they might otherwise spend. The players get an agreed upon % of the salaries, and the cap has been going up rapidly as the league-wide revenues go up.

With a cap, teams like the Red Sox, Dodgers and Yankees wouldn't be able to just buy the best players and have a huge leg up on the other teams. You'd have a lot less of this "haves and have nots" nonsense that has stratified mlb teams into perpetual contenders and "other".
Chuck - Tuesday, October 30 2018 @ 02:12 PM EDT (#367368) #
The competitive balance in the NHL is much better than it was without the cap.

Oh, I'm sure it is. I'm just saying that the intent of a cap has nothing to do with competitive balance, as much as the PR folks may pretend such. It has everything to do with suppressing player salaries.

electric carrot - Tuesday, October 30 2018 @ 06:02 PM EDT (#367370) #
I too support a cap. If it supresses a few millionaires' salaries also that's ok too I guess. But competition that is more even would be the result I would be happiest with.
Richard S.S. - Tuesday, October 30 2018 @ 09:03 PM EDT (#367374) #
NO CAP. Not without rewriting the CBA totally. Need unguaranteed salaries for that to fly.
John Northey - Tuesday, October 30 2018 @ 10:55 PM EDT (#367376) #
I'm also in the no cap category. I'd prefer more free agency (start it earlier or base it on players age instead of experience) myself. The luxury tax can act like a cap easily - it limited the Yankees this year for example.

Note that Tampa, despite a crazy low payroll, still won 90 games. Also Oakland and Cleveland were over 90. Colorado, Milwaukee also won't lead anyone in payroll anytime soon but won 90+. Over 500 you'll also find Pittsburgh.

So the 2 teams with the lowest payrolls in the majors won 90+ with one of them making the playoffs. Combined their payrolls added up to just shy of $116 million, or less than Baltimore's payroll. Pittsburgh and Atlanta were 2 of the 3 lowest payrolls in the NL and both were over 500 with Atlanta making the playoffs.

No, a salary cap won't help. The extra draft picks help Tampa and the like, but what would help most I think is removing the incentive for teams to tank. Change the draft so missing the playoffs by a whisker gets you the top draft pick and sucking gets you pick #19. Then we'll see a better brand of baseball all season from everyone.
John Northey - Tuesday, October 30 2018 @ 11:18 PM EDT (#367377) #
Further to the payroll question...
Top 10 in payroll: Boston, Cubs, Giants, Washington, Houston, Seattle, Angels, Dodgers, Mets, Yankees. 5 made the playoffs, 3 were bottom 2 in their divisions.

Bottom 10 in payroll (all under $100 mil): TB, Oakland, ChiSox, Miami, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Cincinnati, KC. 2 made the playoffs with a 3rd at 90 wins. 3 were last in their divisions.

Middle 10 in payroll: StLouis, Jays, Cleveland, Baltimore, Colorado, Arizona, Detroit, Minnesota, Milwaukee, Texas. 3 made the playoffs, Baltimore sucked horribly.

So, what do we see? Playoff teams: 5 in top 10, 3 in middle, 2 in bottom 10. Hard to say no hope anywhere given that.

Yeah, more payroll = better record normally, but that is how it should be. Still, even at the basement teams had a shot. Like I said before, get rid of the incentive to suck and things will look a lot better.
dan gordon - Wednesday, October 31 2018 @ 02:34 AM EDT (#367379) #
Nobody thinks that it is impossible to make the playoffs if you aren't one of the top payroll teams. That's not the point. The point is that a select few teams now have a significant advantage over the other teams simply because they have the ability to outspend them. Why should they be allowed such an advantage?? If the Red Sox had been limited to say, $175 million instead of the $240 they spent - guess what, no JD Martinez, no Price, and no Sale on Boston. Things look a lot more even in the AL East, and the other teams are operating in a more fair environment. I'm just so sick of the Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers getting the lion's share of the best players simply because they can spend more money.
CeeBee - Wednesday, October 31 2018 @ 03:45 AM EDT (#367380) #
I'm with Dan on this. Need q cap in for sure.
scottt - Wednesday, October 31 2018 @ 07:19 AM EDT (#367382) #
A cap is not happening. There's too many teams not spending enough.

The current system has not been in place long enough to suppress top spending teams, just wait.

When Houston won, everybody wanted to tank for 4 or 5 years to fill up the farm system.
That only works if only 1 or 2 teams is doing it, not half the teams.
Now that Boston won, everybody whines about the lack of salary cap.
Boston has built a solid core internally without tanking.
That's good news, not bad news.  Because Toronto should never be tanking either.

bpoz - Wednesday, October 31 2018 @ 10:58 AM EDT (#367390) #
I think we are talking about windows of contending. The Twins window was 2017. Oakland 2018. TB may have a window. If so I think B Snell opened it. Maybe K Cash and others.
electric carrot - Wednesday, October 31 2018 @ 11:28 AM EDT (#367391) #
Note that Tampa, despite a crazy low payroll, still won 90 games. Also Oakland and Cleveland were over 90. Colorado, Milwaukee also won't lead anyone in payroll anytime soon but won 90+. Over 500 you'll also find Pittsburgh.
Ugh. I hate this kind of argumentation. This is like climate change deniers saying "this last winter in my state was really cold so ..." Rich teams don't always win more. Poor teams don't always lose more. The point is that it's not even. And that over time (given competent management and similar luck) rich teams will win more on average and that's a bummer.
scottt - Wednesday, October 31 2018 @ 05:07 PM EDT (#367406) #
Boston isn't improving from that 108 record.
The Yankees might not have the patience to promote and stick with their prospect arms.

I think pitchers are going to go under the microscope to see if they are tipping their pitches.
That seems to be a huge thing every year now.

Mike Green - Wednesday, October 31 2018 @ 08:37 PM EDT (#367409) #
RIP  Willie McCovey. Great and lovable player.

There's a great Seaver/McCovey story in a magazine. I will try to find it and post tomorrow.

scottt - Wednesday, October 31 2018 @ 08:58 PM EDT (#367411) #
Poor teams can't fill their stadiums. Why should they win as much as the others?
If you live in a small market and your team wins occasionally, shouldn't you be satisfied?
For an even playing field, those teams needs to be moved where the seats will sell.

Machado, Donaldson, Harper...
The mega free agency is here and from up close it doesn't look that great.

scottt - Wednesday, October 31 2018 @ 09:30 PM EDT (#367413) #
I'm not old enough to remember McCovey.
His last hit came off of Scott Sanderson whom I barely remember despite being an Expos fan.
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, October 31 2018 @ 11:20 PM EDT (#367416) #
I remember watching Seaver vs Gibson back in 68? I think. Who hit didn't matter, the pitching was everything.
scottt - Thursday, November 01 2018 @ 07:45 AM EDT (#367418) #
It sounds like Kershaw and the Dodgers are negotiating an extension,
Mike Green - Thursday, November 01 2018 @ 09:03 AM EDT (#367421) #
I can't find the link, but the story goes like this, as told by Seaver.  Seaver was in his prime and the one guy who was able to hit him consistently then was Willie McCovey (Stretch went .260/.374/.586 in 93 PAs over his career against Seaver).  So, usually Seaver pitched around him if it mattered and went after him if it was less important.  One time, he couldn't.  The bases were loaded in a close game; the count ran to 3-2 and Seaver threw him fastball after fastball- up and in, down and away and McCovey fouled them off.  Seaver was throwing 99 at the time and hated to back off.  After quite a few of these, Seaver threw a rare change to McCovey and struck him out.  McCovey said to him, "Awww. You're Tom Seaver, you are supposed to throw me a fastball in that situation".  Seaver smiled and look away.

The tracer on the story, courtesy of BBRef:  Seaver faced McCovey twice with the bases loaded- one ended in a groundout where two runs scored due to an error and one ended in a two-run single.  I couldn't find any strikeouts in a key situation of any type...Oh well, it's still a good story. 
electric carrot - Thursday, November 01 2018 @ 09:51 PM EDT (#367436) #
Poor teams can't fill their stadiums. Why should they win as much as the others?
Um ... because it's a game -- but not the hunger games.

John Northey - Thursday, November 01 2018 @ 11:51 PM EDT (#367437) #
scottt - I agree. There is no reason to expect a team with horrid fan support like Tampa to contend or have a payroll anywhere near teams like the Jays who pack stadiums when winning. Same for Oakland and others where winning won't always equal full parks.

I see some want to basically have it all be random - equal odds across the board each year. That would be super-boring. I like having the odd 108 game winner and the odd 110 game loser. Often they can switch sides in a few years depending on how the teams are built and who is running them.

As to real numbers, lets try expanding from just this past year to the past decade for the most difficult division fiscally. Showing placement and fan support

AL East Past 10 years...

Boston: 1st 4 times, 2nd once, 3rd twice, and 5th 3 times. 2.8 million+ fans every year

Yankees: 1st 3 times, 2nd 5 times, 3rd once, 4th once, never last. Note: over 3 million fans every one of those years.

Jays: 1st once, 2nd once, 3rd once, 4th six times (ugh), 5th once (2013). Under 2 million 3 times, twice over 3 million.

Orioles: 1st once, 2nd twice, 3rd twice, 5th 5 times. 4 times under 2 million, never reached 2.5 million

Rays: 1st once, 2nd twice, 3rd 4 times, 4th twice, 5th just once. Under 1.9 million every year, last 5 years all sub 1.5 million

The Rays fans, imo, don't deserve the team they have. They deserve a much worse situation. Jays were sub 1.5 mil once, the other teams never were with only the O's coming close. All 5 teams won the division at least once in the decade, all 5 were 2nd at least once, and all but the Yankees were dead last at least once with Boston, super rich Boston, dead last 3 times out of a potential 10. Only the O's came in dead last more often.

That my friends is pretty even despite two of the biggest payrolls in baseball year in year out being in the division. And despite one of the lowest every year being in the same division.
dan gordon - Friday, November 02 2018 @ 12:48 AM EDT (#367438) #
Pretty even? Hardly. Playoff spots come from the top 2 teams. Let's see, according to your chart, Boston finished in the top 2 spots 6 times. NYY finished in the top 2 spots 8 times. Baltimore and Tampa just 3 times each, and the Jays twice. The main reason for Boston and NY finishing in the top 2 spots so many more times is money. They are allowed to spend an outrageous amount of money on salaries given the current system, and it makes them far more likely to get to the post season, and far more likely to get to the World Series.

As for your comment about wanting everything to be even or random, well, I don't think anybody has said that. I know that I certainly didn't. Under a cap system, every team doesn't spend the same, you just eliminate the ridiculously huge advantage a very small number of teams have over everybody else. There will still be teams that spend more than others. Also, skill at drafting, trading, player development, and making smart free agent signings becomes more likely to be the deciding factor rather than outspending everybody else. I'd rather see teams become good based more on skill rather than on spending 2 or 3 times as much money as other teams, and having an enormous advantage on other teams because of that.
scottt - Friday, November 02 2018 @ 06:29 AM EDT (#367439) #
The Jays haven't done as well as others in the division over the last 20 years and that's not Boston/NYY's fault.

The Jays have failed at developing position players. Almost completely.
Free agents don't favor playing in Toronto--turf, cold east coast weather, Canada, etc...
The Jays have generally limited their payrolls far below where a cap would have been anyway.

Moves like signing Alex Rios to a long contract and then letting him go for nothing are not related to a cap.

Thomas - Friday, November 02 2018 @ 07:23 AM EDT (#367440) #
I see some want to basically have it all be random - equal odds across the board each year.

I don't support a hard cap. However, I don't think that's an accurate characterization of what people who want a hard cap want. They want NFL or NHL-style parity. That means more competitive balance, but not that each team starts each year with equal odds to win the championship.

No one would suggest that the Browns had the same odds to win the Super Bowl this year when compared to the Rams, or that the Flames have the same odds as Tampa Bay.

bpoz - Friday, November 02 2018 @ 08:00 AM EDT (#367441) #
Thanks John N for the work you did on results for the last 10 years. Great for stimulating discussion.

Please correct me if I am wrong. A hard cap of $200 mil means that no team can spend more? A $200 mil luxury tax threshold can be broken but penalties result. This is a soft cap?

Each team decides on their own budget.

Financially poor TB gets benefits. 1) Revenue sharing. 2) extra draft picks and the resulting extra signing budgets.

There are no restrictions on intelligence or lack of. TB, Oakland and the White Sox seem to be consistently intelligent.
John Northey - Friday, November 02 2018 @ 08:53 AM EDT (#367442) #
Also don't forget that leagues with a salary cap find ways around it. In the NHL we've seen big money teams (like the Leafs...finally) spending on upper management to get the top talent leaving the poor teams to scramble for that talent. We are seeing that in MLB now as teams like Tampa lose their GM's and managers and now secondary personal to bigger markets. You also get what we are now seeing in MLB with farms getting more money and more spent on other non-cap areas (thus leading to the cap on international spending, then a hardening of that cap).

Caps are a lot like the drug testing we see in the Olympics. You close one loophole and a dozen more show up.

As to the 'but Boston and NY contend all the time' thing - you did see Boston finished last more times in the past decade than the Jays and Rays combined right? Yeah, they have a structural advantage thanks to their big fan support but so did the Jays in the 80's and 90's when they were filling the park, getting amazing TV ratings and had the biggest payroll too. And that is how it should be. Poor teams have hope while rich teams have better odds. I don't see the problem.
bpoz - Friday, November 02 2018 @ 09:22 AM EDT (#367443) #
You are right John N.

Texas had a nice window. Ron Washington and his team won no WS. Cleveland is in a nice window now. Lack of AL Central competition should keep it open for maybe 2 more years.

The AL East is very competitive. NYY and Boston have the advantage of being rich. TB has the advantage of being poor. All 3 teams are managing their advantage very well.
John Northey - Friday, November 02 2018 @ 01:14 PM EDT (#367444) #
Also note who has made it to the World Series. Past 10 years...

Three times: San Francisco
Twice: Boston, LA Dodgers, Kansas City, St Louis, Texas
Once: Houston, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland, NY Mets, NY Yankees, Philadelphia, Detroit

13 different teams in 10 years maximum possible is 20. From rich ones like the New Yorks, Cubs, and Dodgers to small markets like Cleveland, KC, St Louis. Both Texas teams there when neither had won a WS before this stretch (Rangers only made the playoffs 3 times before the past decade, Houston made it to the WS but was swept in 2005).

No World Series appearances in 10 years: Tampa Bay, Jays, Baltimore, Minnesota, ChiSox, Oakland, Seattle, LA Angels, Atlanta, Washington, Miami, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Colorado, Arizona, San Diego.

Every team has been in the playoffs at least once in that 10 year stretch except the White Sox (2008), Padres (2006), and Miami (2003). No ugly stretches like the Jays 1994-2014. Things aren't perfect but I think competitive balance is about as good as it can get.
ISLAND BOY - Friday, November 02 2018 @ 02:15 PM EDT (#367445) #
An article on Sportsnet quotes Yankee owner Hal Steinbrenner as unhappy with the Red Sox winning the World Series.From the story: New York stayed below the $197 million luxury tax last season.The threshold rises to $206 million in 2019 and the owner said that figure won't contain the club if he feels the need to spend more this winter. Steinbrenner said." We need to win the division. I don't want to go through another wild-card game."

Anybody feeling the Yankees will fall back next haven't seen what they'll do this offseason. They had an old, expensive team filled with big ticket free agents and didn't win much, but are now following the path of Boston in developing good, young players and then supplementing them with free agents. Unless the Rays and Jays can surprise with their young players, I don't see much competitive balance in the AL East for the next several years.
Mike Green - Friday, November 02 2018 @ 02:51 PM EDT (#367446) #
I'm shocked that the Yankees might go over the luxury tax threshold.  Astounded.  The Judge has already indicated that Machado would look good in pinstripes, and it's generally not a good idea to argue with the Judge about sartorial matters.

The Yankee farm system is, of course, in pretty decent shape too. 

Richard S.S. - Friday, November 02 2018 @ 03:11 PM EDT (#367448) #
Detroit Tigers claim LHP Jose Fernandez off waivers from the Blue Jays.
ISLAND BOY - Friday, November 02 2018 @ 04:35 PM EDT (#367460) #
Heh,I share your shock, Mike. However, Cashman has resisted going over the luxury cap the last few years but this statement from the owner might signal that this year could be different. It wouldn't surprise me if they went after a top-end pitcher like Patrick Corbin.
scottt - Friday, November 02 2018 @ 06:15 PM EDT (#367463) #
Yeah, sure.

The Yankees have 2 starters (Tanaka and Severino).
They have a bunch of young pitchers on the 40 roster, but do they have the patience to use them?

Gregorius will miss half the next season and he's a free agent in the fall.
Anduhar can hit, but is a terrible defender.
Bird has not been good.
Voit has been good, much better than expected actually, so do they replace him?

Ellesbury is still due 2 more years at 21M each.
They've just resigned Gardner for one year.
Hicks still has another year.
Clint Frazier has not returned from his concussion. Is he blocked?

Chapman has had knee problems.
The bullpen is such a volatile thing.

So, yeah. They'll spend, but they can't guarantee health or performance and they have a roster crunch as well.

electric carrot - Friday, November 02 2018 @ 10:54 PM EDT (#367471) #
Things aren't perfect but I think competitive balance is about as good as it can get.
Competitive balance can get a lot better if one team isn't permitted to spend 4 to 5 times what another team spends. Just because you didn't get into Harvard doesn't mean it's cool that you cheated on the SATs. I mean it's really really simple. Either it's fair or it's not. The talk about results just muddies the water.

dan gordon - Saturday, November 03 2018 @ 05:04 PM EDT (#367486) #
Saying the competitive balance is as good as it can get is just flat out wrong. Look at that list of World Series participants. Out of the 20 team appearances, how many are big or very big payroll teams? Depending on exactly who you consider big money teams, the number is somewhere around a dozen, or 60%. But the big money teams comprise a far smaller percentage of teams than 60%. Then look at the list of teams not making it - the vast majority have smaller payrolls. Having a large payroll is a big advantage. I don't even mind the big payrolls so much as the ridiculously huge payrolls, which is what a cap would address. If some teams want to spend $180 million and others want to spend $90 million, fine, it's when you have some teams spending $220 million, $240 million, while others spend $60 million, $70 million that you have a totally unfair situation that borders on comical.
bpoz - Saturday, November 03 2018 @ 05:39 PM EDT (#367487) #
I find nothing wrong with John N's statement that C Balance "is about as good as it "can" get".

TB owners said reduce payroll last year and NYY owners are saying go over the L tax threshold. I cannot see these spending patterns changing.

Competition is not fair and E carrot and dan Gordon have proved it.
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