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Nationals sign Adam LaRoche


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http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/01/nationals-to-sign-adam-laroche-1.html

 

I only post this because he seems like a pretty comparable player to Hart. If we could do a deal like that with Hart I might consider signing him again. It is pretty scary that nobody was interested in LaRoche because of the comp pick attached. Kind of speaks to the value teams put on non elite 1B moving out of their prime.

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It will be interesting to see how the qualifying offer rule plays out. Teams seem unwilling to give up a 1st rounder for anything but top talent. That has now affected at least LaRoche and Lohse, and will probably mean that going forward more players will accept the QO. As is evidenced with LaRoche, if no one is willing to give up a draft pick for you, you can only negotiate with the team that made the QO, and that leaves you with very little leverege.

 

Going forward, I could see it as a way for teams to extract extra seasons out of good-but-not-great players in the future. Why sign Hart to a 2-3 year extension when we can just make the qualifying offer year-after-year and he will pretty much have to accept or be forced to sign a lowball offer to the only team who will sign him? We'd essentially get him for the rest of his career (or at least as long as he's worth the QO bid) on one-year contracts. The risk is mitigated by the fact that if he doesn't accept the QO, either a team signs him and we get a high draft pick, or no one signs him (unwilling to give up the draft pick) and he either has to sign with the Brewers or leave the MLB. That would also apply to anyone we'd trade him to this offseason, but will only be available to the Brewers after this season begins.

 

I originally saw the new QO rule as a big win for the union, but it could end up being a big win for teams, and something the union will fight to get changed in the next CBA.

"The most successful (people) know that performance over the long haul is what counts. If you can seize the day, great. But never forget that there are days yet to come."

 

~Bill Walsh

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That is awful for baseball. You have to pay your good but not great guys because you can't get squat for them otherwise but your elite players have no reason to sign with you. This is a complete joke and needs to be changed as fast as possible.
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As to the effect on trades, we'll have to see. Remember that if the Brewers trade Hart prior to the end of this offseason, the receiving team would be able to offer the QO. My post above is purely speculation, but if it proves true, wouldn't that make Hart a really valueable trading chip right now, as the receiving team could have him for years, or at the very least get a high draft pick for him.

 

As to the QO offer going up, I believe it's the average of the top 200 (?) or so salaries in baseball, so that should mean that it's structured so that it won't increase at a greater rate than the rest of "baseball inflation." So yes, the nominal price tag will go up, but the real price tag will pretty much stay the same.

 

I don't know that it will be good or bad for baseball. It's probably good for some teams and bad for some players. It'd just be the "Law of Unintended Consequences" working out. Most regulations/rules end up having a lot of effects that weren't the original intent of the regulation. The entire thought of a group coming together for a "collective bargaining agreement" which, once in place stays in place for a set number of years, while the actual players who are directly effected aren't sitting at the table, seems to be a pretty bad way to run a business, as there are always going to be bad rules (or at least consequences) that you're stuck with. In this case, if a rule hurts a subset of players, the effected players have no recompense until the current CBA runs out, and then they just have to hope that their concerns are deemed worthy of recognition. If the teams like it they'd demand a lot in return for giving it up, so if the union isn't losing much money, they very well could let guys like LaRoche and Lohse hang out to dry.

 

Something that came to my attention after making my earlier post (and after reading a post by Mass Haas in a different thread) is that the QO rule could allow teams with "protected" first round picks or teams which have already given up their first rounder on an elite FA to make out like bandits with this rule. Let's use the Dodgers for example. They just signed Greinke and were fine with losing their first rounder to sign him to a long-term deal. Now they could look at the "second tier" QO guys. Other teams would need to give up a first rounder, so they aren't bidding on the "second tier" guys, but the Dodogers would only lose a second rounder, so they may be the only team bidding. Therefore, they could get their elite guy on a market deal, and get a "second tier" guy on a steal of a contract, just because no one else wanted to bid on him. Heck, they could sign another "second tier" guy on a steal of a contract and only give up a 3rd rounder. They'd lose a 1st & 2nd round pick, but that doesn't matter nearly as much to the Dodgers as it does to a team like the Brewers, especially if they now have two players (one "elite," one "good") signed long-term.

"The most successful (people) know that performance over the long haul is what counts. If you can seize the day, great. But never forget that there are days yet to come."

 

~Bill Walsh

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That is awful for baseball. You have to pay your good but not great guys because you can't get squat for them otherwise but your elite players have no reason to sign with you. This is a complete joke and needs to be changed as fast as possible.

 

I don't see how something that is affecting 5 players this offseason (and maybe a few more in other seasons) could be considered awful for baseball. Please explain that because of QOs you can't get squat for your good, but not great players.

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I don't like that a team like the Brewers shouldn't or can't offer a mid level guy the QO while a bigger team like the Yankees or Dodgers could.

 

Unfortunately, if you see this sign: $

 

anywhere in reference to baseball, the Brewers usually aren't going to be able to do some things the bigger money teams can. The one exception I can think of is in revenue sharing, where the small markets make out better than the big markets.

"The most successful (people) know that performance over the long haul is what counts. If you can seize the day, great. But never forget that there are days yet to come."

 

~Bill Walsh

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Only if the $ sign precedes a bad FA contract. Large market teams aren't out bidding other teams on marginal players (look at the Pirates out bidding the Yankees on Martin as an example), they are pushing around their pockets when it comes to big name players and generally they are doing so by vastly overpaying the players value.
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Personally, I think it's good but may need to be tweaked if teams like the Dodgers and Yankees start abusing it. But I don't think they will. Those teams pursue top of the line FA including their own before they look at the guys that are at this level. Are the Dodgers with what? 8 or 9 starters already, going to go out and sign Lohse just because they can?

 

Anything that allows teams to have more guys on short term deals is good for the game in my opinion. K-Rod had a miserable year last year that the Brewers didn't see coming but because he accepted an inflated one year arby deal, at least he's off the books now and doesn't affect future Brewer teams. Had they instead signed a guy on a 3 year deal to replace him or given him a 3 year deal and then he or his replacement failed, it would have affect their future.

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Anything that allows teams to have more guys on short term deals is good for the game in my opinion. K-Rod had a miserable year last year that the Brewers didn't see coming but because he accepted an inflated one year arby deal, at least he's off the books now and doesn't affect future Brewer teams. Had they instead signed a guy on a 3 year deal to replace him or given him a 3 year deal and then he or his replacement failed, it would have affect their future.

 

That's why I like it for the Brewers when it comes to a guy like Hart. Assuming Hart has a good season and assuming the Brewers can afford another $14MM (or so) contract in 2014, at the end of this season, they can offer Hart the QO. He may look at the LaRoche/Lohse situations and decide to accept, in which case the Brewers got Hart on a one-year deal rather than having to extend him to a riskier multi-year deal. They could continue this until they felt Hart wasn't worth the QO amount. Hart could always turn down the QO, but he's taking the risk that a team is willing to give up a first rounder for him. If he turns down the QO, then the Brewers either get a high draft pick if someone signs him, or they end up with all the leverage in dealing with Hart on a new contract if no one signs him.

 

Of course, the Brewers would have to be willing and able to pay the player the QO. With the current obligations due in 2014, they may not want to pay Hart $14MM. If that's the case, then they should look to trade him now, as the team they'd trade him to would be able to offer the QO to keep Hart around for a few seasons (or get a draft pick), so Hart's value will never again be as high for the Brewers as it is right now.

 

Note that I said "I like it for the Brewers when it comes to Hart." I don't generally like rules which specifically screw over a small group of people, and I don't like Hart getting what he would feel to be the "short end of the stick." However, that's the rule these guys signed on to, so the Brewers should do what they feel is in their best interest given the rules as they are set. That to me looks like either trading Hart right now, or holding him to the end of the season and offering the QO. That being unless some team offers far more than I expect them to in a mid-season trade.

 

Now for a guy like Gomez, I don't see how he would be worth $14MM to the Brewers in 2014, even on a one-year deal. If he's offered the QO, I would have to imagine that he'd take it, and that could be disasterous for the Brewers. If they could get a good deal for him now, they should absolutely trade him and let Schafer play.

"The most successful (people) know that performance over the long haul is what counts. If you can seize the day, great. But never forget that there are days yet to come."

 

~Bill Walsh

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It hurts the Brewers if they want to trade Hart mid season though. It used to be teams would at least get a comp pick so he would retain a lot of value. Now he becomes just a rental and his value is depressed significantly.
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It hurts the Brewers if they want to trade Hart mid season though. It used to be teams would at least get a comp pick so he would retain a lot of value. Now he becomes just a rental and his value is depressed significantly.

 

Absolutely. I think they should either trade him this offseason or hold him and make the QO. It's possible someone gives us something good mid-season, but I just don't think Hart is good enough that someone would give us better then what we could get from the QO. If Melvin does not want to make the QO to Hart, then I think we need to trade him now.

"The most successful (people) know that performance over the long haul is what counts. If you can seize the day, great. But never forget that there are days yet to come."

 

~Bill Walsh

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It hurts the Brewers if they want to trade Hart mid season though. It used to be teams would at least get a comp pick so he would retain a lot of value. Now he becomes just a rental and his value is depressed significantly.

Yes, but I'm sure that other teams that are out of the playoffs are also "hurt" by this change. So if every team is "hurt", then there is no advantage for anyone over the long haul. I say long haul as teams cycle in and out of the playoffs and how many short-term contract players may be dealt on any given year.

 

There will be seasons that the Brewers are in the playoff hunt and need to trade for a player and it should take less in prospects to get that player now.

 

Personally, I think the QO helps the small and mid-market teams out. The biggest thing is it is only a one year contract. Mistakes are minimized. And mistakes kill the guy that has to live on a budget. The big market teams can sign a player to a long term deal and if/when he doesn't work out, they trade him (and cash) to KC for some young nobody prospect and they go out and sign a different free agent.

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