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Mailbag: WBC WTF?


World Baseball Classic…What the Fuck! Should I avoid drafting these bastards who may break down later this season from the extra mileage?

Dear Saget,
What a nasty slant you are that is on the Antillean players playing for The Netherlands. The team is The (Kingdom of the) Netherlands, not just Holland. The Netherlands includes Holland (the part in Europe with all the white folks) and the Antilles (the islands in the Caribbean). And everyone’s very fucking sensitive about that, OK? So sensitive, we’ve included a couple token white guys on the team.
I’ll also take the other side of the “don’t draft the WBC guys” argument. I don’t think there’s any extra wear and tear vs. ordinary Spring Training, even if you’re a veteran who blows off the long bus ride games in Florida. If anything, a few games where you’re giving a B+ effort instead of the usual Spring Training bullshit should get you sharper for the regular season.
Thanks for writing,

Well, that’s unusual.

776b9313_mlbam.jpg     Tommy Layne, in happier times.

Tommy Layne is 32. Not unusual.

He was DFA’d and cut by the Sawx in August. Not unusual.

He was immediately signed by the Yanks to a major league deal. Um, OK. At least we didn’t SELL him to the Yankees to finance a Broadway play.

He was eligible for arbitration (he settled)  for the first time this season… as a Super-2.

Wow. I wonder how many players go Super-2 the same year they get DFA’d. Not many, I’d bet.

[Guest Blog by President-Elect Donald J. Trump] Predictions

Unknown.jpeg     The man himself, the 45th President of the United States.

I wasn’t going to write this as I’m pretty busy these days but CL’s wife strongly suggested I give him a guest post and things generally go much more smoothly if I take Svetlana’s suggestions.

I’m going to get to the predictions in a sec but CL wanted me to send out a shout out to a guy named Dutch Boy. I seriously hope Dutch Boy is here legally or we’re sending him back, OK? I love immigrants but they need to be legal. Anyway, Dutch Boy, this really is me writing about this. I’ll be tweeting about it today @realdonaldtrump. Check it out. No fake news on three sites: Fox, Breitbart, and GCBL Blog. I WILL tweet about this, TODAY.


CL is going to end up with the #1 overall pick and he’s going to make DAVID pay for it. This is going to be even harder for him to do because he traded away his first three picks to Shaggy, see, he makes bad deals. If it was me, I’d make good deals, make his team Great Again, but anyway. CL is going to get the #1 overall pick, DAVID’s going to pay for it, and he’s going to take Clayton Kershaw.

…speaking of which…

Clayton Kershaw is going to return top-5 overall value, again. He’s a sure thing. You can gamble on the flavor of the month… who is it, Mookie Betts? And maybe that’ll work out, OK? But Clayton Kershaw is GUARANTEED to return first round value, usually top-5 value.

Dirty Commish is going to win the league again. Nobody’s figured out his sneaky little shell game. Well, I have, and I’ll tell it to you: Dirty Commish uses the Curacao/Nookie stuff as some type of Benghazi sideshow while he stealthily goes around ripping off Shaggy and DAVID and nobody pays attention. Oh and the year after Dirty Commish missed the playoffs –missed the playoffs– he unilaterally changed the category from (Saves plus Holds) to just Saves. If he gets off to a slow start this year, by June there’ll be a new rule that K’s by a pitcher whose name starts with K count for three Ks. Three Ks. I kind of like that.

Edwin Encarnacion will deliver first-round value. I would say top-7, but let’s be conservative and say first-round. He’s going #22 in NFBC so you likely only get one shot at him, but tsake it.

Zero, ZERO of the Washington Nationals in the first round of ADP (Scherzer, Harper, Turner) will deliver first-round value. Drain. Your. Swamp of Nationals players. These guys will all disappoint. They might all be top-50, but none are top-20 at season’s end. If you’re looking for substitutes, Syndergaard beats Scherzer, Marte beats Harper, and Carlos Correa (he’s here legally) absolutely buries Turner.

See you closer to the draft,



Mailbag: Converting NFBC ADP

Hi CL,

How do you adjust the NFBC ADP numbers to our league?


Doing my Homework Early

Dear Quick Learner,

It’s a pretty good list as people are paying real $$$ to play those leagues, but you’re right: our 7×7 H2H league is far different from 5×5 NFBC Roto. Highlights:


–NFBC is a two-catcher league, so all the catchers are going way, way too early on their list for our purposes. Anybody after their 20th catcher shouldn’t be on your board at all unless you have a feeling about him.

–They also dress five OF to our four, so the OF are going a little too early.

–They only have one UT spot and we have two. Combine that with NFBC multiple position eligibility being much harder to get than in Yahoo, and it means that guys with NFBC multi-position eligibility go really early on their list (see Trea Turner, #12 overall).

–DH-only types go much later on NFBC because starting one clogs the one and only UT slot. Big Papi was third-round value in our league the last few years (second if he had 1B), where he’d be past #100 in NFBC because he never played 1B enough to qualify.

–SB demons tend to go earlier in NFBC (see Jose Altuve, #3 overall) because in their league SB is one category in five, whereas with us it’s one in seven.

–NFBC uses AVG, where we use OBP. So everything else equal, if Player A has a .290 AVG and .330 OBP, in NFBC he’ll go much earlier than player B who bats .250 with a .370 OBP. In our league, it ought to be the opposite. A guy like Joey Votto is first-round talent in our league, but NFBC has him #27…and he’s gone as late as #41.


The difference here is more subtle, but there’s something to think about. NFBC is weekly-moves, so that means a couple things:

  1. If your pitcher has the Rays on Monday and the Jays on the weekend, you need to commit to both starts or neither in the NFBC.
  2. In general then, in NFBC, there’s no benching your staff on weekends if you’re ahead.

What I’m arguing for, them, is that you should take the NFBC starting pitcher list and squish it together a little. SP between #150-#250 are probably going where they should. SP going before #150 are probably going a little too early for our purposes, and SP going after #250 are going a little too late because in our league you can pick your starts and sits.

I’m not arguing that the SP going #300 is better than the one going #100… not at all. I’m just saying that in our league the difference between them isn’t as big, because it’s much easier to spot-start the #300 guy…and there’ll be the occasional Sunday where you’re benching the #100 guy against the Twins (or even Clayton Kershaw for that matter) because you don’t need his W and QS and you don’t want to risk blowing up ratio categories.

Thanks for writing,






Whoomp, there it is:

Along with the usual consumer advisory

–No idea how often it updates

–5×5 roto pay leagues feat. weekly lineups including two catchers. Players acquired weekly via bidding bucks. Eligibility is 20 games last year or 10 games in-season.


A Free Agent’s Intrinsic Value to a Team

This writer spent much of the early winter trying to convince Mendoza and DAVID that the Jays should pay whatever it reasonably takes to resign Edwin Encarnacion even if they had to overpay for stats. Why should they? Because as the Face of the Franchise(tm), he brought extra value to the Jays.

Of course, I’m an amateur at making the argument.

Yoenis Cespedes’ agents, Brodie v. Wagenen and Kyle thousand, ae the pros. Dig it, via James Wagner’s piece in the New York Times:


“With the help of an analytics firm in Chicago, they came up with a dollar figure for the impact Cespedes had on the field, social media, team television revenues, and ticket and merchandise sales.

“They even put a figure, $3.2 million, on the value of the approximately 50 tabloid back pages that had featured Cespedes over the course of 2016. Cespedes playing with flair, Cespedes hitting game-changing home runs, Cespedes driving exotic cars in spring training, Cespedes arriving for a workout on horseback….”

“The message was clear. The Mets, who play in a big market but are restrained in their spending, could afford an expensive — at least for them — new multiyear contract for Cespedes, arguably the most dynamic baseball player in New York. They would make it back, and more.”

Mike Trout’s Free Agency Fish Fry

Links at the bottom if you want to read the original pieces. Short summary followed my my analysis. (If Kim wants to contradict anything, please go ahead.)

–Fan Graphs’ Nathaniel Grow notes that Section 2855 of the California Labor Code allows any worker to opt out of a contract after serving seven calendar years for the same company (here, Mike Trout for the Angels).

–Subsequent case law involving Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions says that the seven years can be on a single deal, or on re-upped deals (Trout re-upped a couple years ago, but it’s been seven years total).

–So Mike Trout, who has 4 years and $120M left on his re-up, could opt out and become a free agent. As could anyone else with seven years of consecutive service for a California club … in all the hubbub someone went through and found that that’s 1.45% of players on 40-man rosters.

–The Anti-Trust Exemption doesn’t apply. Anti-Trust is a federal set-up, and this is California state law.

So… Deadspin got ahold of Scott Boras who said that yeah he read the Fan Graphs piece but he’d generally advise against his clients pulling such a stunt on a number of counts:

a) Section 2855 is designed to protect non-union employees and may not be applicable

b) Even if Boras thought his client would win, what baseball player wants to spend 3-4 years with the distraction of litigation?

c) You run the risk of becoming a pariah, which means your endorsements go away

d) Putting c) and d) together, you could end up net losing money if your on-field performance eventually suffers and the endorsements are gone… so don’t do it.

e) What if the team just trades you? Who knows what happens then?

f) You run the risk of pissing off the Union, as non-California members feel like second-class citizens if you look like winning.

OK, so my forays into Labour Law are restricted to Canadian Nursing, and no, i haven’t passed the Bar. But here are my thoughts on the matter.

  1. Boras is a straight shooter here. On a risk/reward metric, it doesn’t usually make sense. It makes no sense for Trout, who at $30m AAV is probably getting paid 75% of his free agent value. The exception might be a Jacob DeGrom type who spent many years in the minors (counting toward the seven years), bloomed later, and faces many years left at MLB minimum/arbitration.
  2. The player-pioneers in these labour disputes usually take the worst of it. Curt Flood didn’t personally come out ahead, losing his Supreme Court case 5-3 and declaring bankruptcy. Jean-Marc Bosman, who actually won unrestricted free agency for every European soccer player after every contract, wound up living in a van down by the river.
  3. In a sense, Trout (or anyone else) can declare free agency whenever he wants by retiring from MLB and walking away from his deal. the general contract, however, says that there are 29 other companies (the other teams in MLB) with whom he can’t seek employment. That’s the real legal hurdle here. Maybe the player wins, but it’s a matter for Federal Court and those things take time. In the mean time MLB would seek an injunction to keep the current system in place. Bottom line for the retired player: Japanese lessons.
  4. Suppose the player wins. This puts California teams at an inherent disadvantage and I’d have no idea how MLB/MLBPA address that. Even all-star MLB players tend to develop for 3-4 years in the minors, which means California teams lose their players arbitration years after 3 years at the MLB minimum.

At any rate, with the free agent market so quiet this winter this has been an interesting thought experiment.

The links: