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Mailbag: Free Agency

Hi CL,

How bad did Ian Desmond F*ck Up……Gallardo, Fowler in same boat


Hi Saget,

Howie Kendrick too, who turned down the $15.8 QO only to sign back with the Dodgers at 2/$20M.

It’s dangerous to go too far away in looking for “root causes” but I think the real issue here is that in the last five or ten years teams are drafting better in the first couple rounds of the draft. That makes the draft picks given up as compensation for signing restricted free agents feel more painful than it used to.

To be sure, drafting used to be much more pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey:

Number of first-overall picks in Baseball HOF: Zero*

An asterisk there because Ken Griffey Jr. is confirmed to enter this summer. But still, every other N. American sport has quite a few can’t-miss guys who did not miss. In baseball, Jr.’s the first.

Lately, teams take scouting more seriously–and why not: if you draft a stud, you get six years out of him for roughly $40-$45M (signing bonus, plus three years at MLB minimum, plus about $30-$35M in arbitration).

Can you overvalue your draft picks? Absolutely, and Fan Graphs has a detailed piece here about how Arizona simply hasn’t figured draft picks out:

But the point is that Arizona values its second pick too much — and by extension my claim is that other teams are valuing their picks highly as well. Which makes it tough for the Desmonds of the world to get what they think they should get after looking at unrestricted free agents.

Just a theory, but I’m a believer.

Thanks for writing,


GCBL 2016 Opening Odds

Yeah, um, GCBL Blog Legal Dept. insists that we post that these are for Entertainment Purposes Only, but if you actually want to bet them, we know a guy who [SNIP–GCBL Blog Legal Dept.]

To win the League (1/3 the odds “to reach the final”)

Curacao 7/2

Shagsters 9/2

Mendoza 9/2

Crow 5/1

Saget 6/1

Slumpbusters 7/1


Nookie 12/1

Cash Bail 12/1

Assclowns 14/1

Dutch Boy 16/1

Jose 40/1

WNM 40/1

Coach 40/1

Prices subject to change.

GCBL Active Playoff Streaks

Shagsters 5 years running

Curacao 4

Slumpbusters 3

Nookie 2

Dutch Boy 1 (Defending title-holder)


The Story of O (-Rank)

Histoire_d_o.jpg     Long before 50 Shades of Grey, well, there was O…

Yahoo O-Rank has long come in for sadomasochistic abuse in this blog and we note that, like O in some endings of that erotic book, O-Rank is gone. We don’t have O-Rank to savagely penetrate anymore.

In its place Yahoo now posts a “Preseason” rank and a “Current” rank.

Current, as far as I can tell, is presently set to 2015 5×5 Roto values. 1-2-3 = Arrieta-Greinke-Kershaw. I would expect that once the season starts it’ll be stat-based off the 2016 season.

Pre-season is what it is, and I have no idea if it’ll stay static or move around during pre-season. Let’s check. Preseason rankings as of Feb 1st:

Top-10 in order: Trout, Goldy, Harper, Kershaw, Cutch, Donaldson, Stanton, Miggy, Bautista, Bryant

#25-#50-#100-#150-#200-#300: Sale, Sano, Robertson, Souza, Segura, S.Dyson

But O-Rank’s gone, good riddance.

Extra Bags, Book Club Edition: Post-pubescent guys and gals alike might enjoy The Story of O, either in French or in translation. I “had” to read it in university in a course on Banned Books, and have re-read it twice since.


Against Greinke

3796.jpg     The man himself, still in Dodger blue.

I’m not against him per se. He’s a good pitcher and by all accounts a decent human being. But he shouldn’t be going top-50 in drafts when NFBC has Sonny Gray #64, Danny Salazar #80, and Marcus Stroman #98. Greinkw fits that continuum somewhere, but isn’t better.

Yahoo half gets it, putting his preseason rank #34 despite:

Zack Greinke, 2015: 19-3, 1.66 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 5.00 K/BB

Those numbers are awesome, but they were lucky. For starters, his BABIP was a very low .232. Greinke’s five prior seasons, going backward: .312, .284, .310, .328, .284. So in 2015, magically, about 20% fewer balls fell in. That stat trends toward .300 (and Greinke’s does too, as the five prior years attest). Greinke was very fortunate last year.

But wait, there’s more! Greinke had an 84% strand-rate last year. That’s the fifth best mark in baseball… for all qualifying pitchers… since 1881. Seriously. 1881. And strand-rate not only depends on your luck, but the luck of the guy who relieves you.

Greinke’s xERA last year was 3.15. FIP, which doesn’t factor in park factors, was 2.76.

So yes, there’s more! Greinke is moving from a pitchers’ park in Chavez Ravine to a hitters’ park in Arizona.

Last, Greinke suffers from depression. On a take-it-from-me basis, depression fucking sucks. Yeah he has the big new deal, but all that is, is pressure: before signing, Greinke already had more money than he’d ever spend. And of course he could have taken less to play wherever he was most comfortable.

And that’s the thing with Greinke: his best years have always comne when he wasn’t expected to be the clear-cut #1. Well, that’s the expectation, and the pressure, now. I hope his mental health is strong enough to handle all that.

Even if it is, he’s a sixth-round pick. A very good pitcher–but by no means elite, surface stats be damned.



Saget writes…

Hi CL,

So a frequent, um, partner (trade partner!) asked me if I had any wild strategies this year or wanted to swap any picks.

Nothing yet. It looks like Saves “only” is in play, so this weekend, I am going to visit Closer Monkey (an actual website); I’m going to check out the depth charts on and; and review my Athlon/fantasy magazines and make a chart and then mock draft where I would draft closers based on my current position in the draft. [Jose has a fantasy magazine from 2008 he still uses every year. I bet he’ll lend it to you.–Ed.]

Then I am going to back fill starting pitchers and then start “mocking” my hitters or who I really want and then I will start making offers to move up/down.

My crazy ideas the past few years have not worked, so I will study the rosters of the last few champions and runners up and see what the hell they did and then copy them. [I suppose it’d be way too racist to say “How Asian of you”, so I won’t.–Ed.]

In short, nothing yet (trade offers-draft picks) until after this weekend. I’m gonna have to science the shit of my mock sheets.

Bye for now,


GCBL Rumour watch: … ALL the Blue Jays?

(No blog can ever have too much Bananarama.) 

Hey Shaggy…

what’s this about you holding your top three picks and getting ‘all’ the Blue Jays?


Hi CL,

Just that…a rumour. It would be nice to have, pulling for your own team and all. Or as trade chips. Donaldson at 4 may be a good choice, not sure if I could pass up other players for Jose at 10 and EE probably won’t be available at 19 (and still don’t know if I would take him there). So the scenario exists but I don’t know if it is something I would like to explore. I would much rather try to move down in the first round to gain a draft pick.



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