Valuing Kenny Rogers

by billfer on November 14, 2007 · 55 comments

in Contracts

At the end of last season Kenny Rogers future involved one of two paths:  retiring or resigning with the Tigers. The quote was “It’s either here (Detroit) or nowhere.”  But last week despite Rogers’ decision to play again, Scott Boras said they were going to explore options.  Now it appears that the sides are having a tough time finding middle ground with Rogers/Boras rejecting two Tigers offers.  The question then becomes how high should the Tigers go to bring back Kenny?

How to estimate value

At The Book blog, there is a method for valuing players.  I encourage you to read all the comments, where various players and their recently signed/or prospective contracts are discussed.  The short of it though is that on the free agent market, one win above replacement  will cost $4.4 million. So how many wins above replacement would Rogers bring next year?

First let’s establish replacement level.  A replacement level player is someone who can be had for the league minimum.  Think a non roster invitee to spring training.  That level of performance using this method is described as a .380 pitcher.  But what does this mean?  Take for example a situation where on average 4.5 runs are allowed per game.  A pitcher that allowed less than that would have a winning percentage (using the pythagorean or pythanport equations), and a pitcher that allowed more would have a losing winning percentage.  In the case of a .380 pitcher in a 4.5 run environment, it would mean they’d allow 5.9 runs per game.

Using Bill James projections for 2008 Rogers’ FIP is 4.57.  Fielding Independent Pitching is calculated based on strike outs, walks, and homers – the things a pitcher has control over – and is a solid indicator of true talent level.  As a comparison, the AL FIP last year was 4.51 so for all intents and purposes Rogers projects to be an average pitcher (.500) next year.

The same projections have Rogers making 23 starts and amassing 145 innings which is the equivalent of 16.1 9 inning games.  As an average pitcher you’d expect him to win half of those games and so he’d be worth 8 wins to the team. (Note:  these wins are not the same totals as what you’d find in the traditional won-loss record.  This is looking at contribution to the team)  If the Tigers didn’t spend the money on Kenny, and went with the bare minimum the replacement level pitcher with his .380 winning percentage would account for 6 wins in that same playing time.

So Rogers is 2 wins above replacement.  If you stop there one could say that based on these projections Rogers should make $9.2 million next year(2 x 4.4  and .4 more for the league minimum).

Adjustments

The former was the scientific part, not it’s time for the non-scientific adjustments.  The first adjustment is for age.  Rogers is 43 and is coming off an injury filled season.  Should he be valued the same as a player in his mid thirties?  Probably not. Health and the ability to maintain performance are real and justified concerns. The typical age adjustment is to knock off a .5 win.  That would put his value at $7 million.

Another way to guard against this, is to add performance incentives.  If Rogers is healthy and productive for a full season, I think he should be rewarded.  The projection has him at 23 starts.  If you put in a kicker for 30 starts, how much should it be?  If you assume 6.3 innings per start, and he makes 7 more starts, that would be 44.1 more innings.  That works out to an additional .6 wins over a replacement pitcher.  And the cost of .6 wins is 2.6 million.

But at the same time the Tigers probably value Rogers more than most other teams.  Right or wrong, Dombrowski & Leyland like the familiar.  There is a comfort level with Rogers on the staff.  The other pitchers seem to respond to having Rogers around.  Valuing this contribution is difficult.  While personally I think this type of thing tends to be overblown among fans and the media, I do think some of this effect exists and don’t want to discount it.

Bottom Line

When the news came out about Boras testing the market I called it posturing and at the time made a guess that I just pulled out of nowhere:  1 year – 7.5 million, 1 million bonus for 20 starts, 1.5 million bonus for 30 starts.  That actually doesn’t look to bad right now and the only real difference is I’d give him a little more in incentives while keeping the base the same.

As a base salary Rogers should probably make $7-8 million after adjusting for age and giving him a bonus for the extra value he brings to the team.  If he makes 20 starts his total contract should go to $9 million.  If he makes 30 starts his total contract should go to $11.5-$12 million.

 
 

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Eric Cioe November 14, 2007 at 9:47 am

Does the equation for this change at all with a thin free agent market? It looks like if the Tigers get a pitcher that they’ll only have to pay money for, it’s either Kenny or Carlos Silva. And Silva is going to cost more than Kenny – he stays healthy, is only 28 – and is going to demand a longer contract. If, besides Kenny, the best free agent pitcher we can get our hands on is Carlos Silva, then perhaps Kenny is worth more money.

Zappatista November 14, 2007 at 10:02 am

I would love to see KR come back, but not by over spending on him. If you think about it, he was payed to make how many starts last year? If “they” want such a large contract, maybe he should give some of the money from last year towards it. Just an idea, that will be mocked, I am sure….

Big Al November 14, 2007 at 10:17 am

Considering Curt Shilling signed a $10 million contract, including incentives, your analysis on the worth of Rogers sounds right on the money, Billfer. I’m guessing The Gambler does re-sign with Detroit, once Boras feels he’s done enough posturing. The deal will be in that $10 million range, including some relatively easily met (If he remains healthy) incentives.

greg November 14, 2007 at 11:03 am

Zappatista wrote:

I would love to see KR come back, but not by over spending on him. If you think about it, he was payed to make how many starts last year? If “they” want such a large contract, maybe he should give some of the money from last year towards it. Just an idea, that will be mocked, I am sure….

You’re assuming that Boras and Rogers have a conscience. I would no longer make that assumption.

A pitching ‘Win’, in my humble opinion, is the most meaningless statistic, not only in baseball, but perhaps all of major sports. If a pitcher gets a win, all you know for certain about his performance is that:

a) the pitcher appeared in a ballgame
b) he recorded at least one out

That’s it.

That being the case, pitching ‘Wins’ should be irrelevant at the negotiating table. Maybe they can talk Quality Starts instead.

The other thing to be concerned about, if the Tigers continue to ‘overpay’ people(ie. Pudge, now the proposed Rogers), they’re setting a dangerous precedent that could significantly weaken their negotiating hand in the future. Why agree to market value with the Tigers when they’ve proven repeatedly that you can hold out and have them pay more than you’re worth?

Also consider the opportunity costs(i know, i know, the free agent market is relatively weak right now, but just for illustration)…..Rogers at $10 million, Jacque Jones at $5.5, you at $15.5 million right there. Maggs will make $15 million this year. Is the Rogers/Jones combo worth more than Magglio? With that amount of dough, you’re already halfway to paying for AROD’s services for a year.(not saying they should or shouldn’t sign AROD, just making a point).

Why not put that money towards luring the best scouts in all of baseball, and a Bill James type or two(as consultants), having them troll the prospects/drafts. If you do that, its not a matter of time until you get a Johan Santana in the Rule 5 draft, and Mike Piazza bat in the late rounds of the draft.

How much do scouts make? That’s who I’d overpay.

Just my 2 cents, I’ve been wrong before.

greg November 14, 2007 at 11:06 am

meant to type “only” a matter of time

Mark in Chicago November 14, 2007 at 1:15 pm

Terrific work, Billfer. As always.

David November 14, 2007 at 1:38 pm

Bill James predictions IMO are semi-useless

Basically he what? takes a players average over 162 adds in age and there they are… How many Tigers alone was he/Chone/Marcel etc. wayyy off for last year?

But, Billfer I think you are right his contract should include clauses where if he pitches so many inning he is rewarded and should have a lower base salary (7-8 million) based on last year and the fact that he is not young anymore.

You said

“But at the same time the Tigers probably value Rogers more than most other teams. Right or wrong, Dombrowski & Leyland like the familiar. There is a comfort level with Rogers on the staff. The other pitchers seem to respond to having Rogers around. Valuing this contribution is difficult. While personally I think this type of thing tends to be overblown among fans and the media, I do think some of this effect exists and don’t want to discount it.”

I do not think in this case it is at all overblown, in fact I think it is underblown.

There is a dominoe effect on pitching, defense and hitting in general IMO.

And winning too – look at the Rockies this past year.

Momentum is so important, and in 2006 we probably should have paid for a 22-25 mil Kenny IMO.

Here is a very nice site

http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/2002/02/2008-09-free-agents.html

Look at how deep the FA class will be for next year – guys like Burnett, Sheets, Pedro, Lowe – are more tradeable for their teams, maybe go after them…

I still stand by my statement that DD if he is serious should get not one but two SP.

Mike R November 14, 2007 at 2:31 pm

I find momentum, David, to be seemingly irrelevant in the most individualistic ‘team’ sport there is.

And I’m right with Billfer’s assessment. Anything with a base salary over $9 million for Rogers is too much, in my opinion.

David November 14, 2007 at 2:43 pm

Tigers errors from 2006 WS? no momentum?

Tigers kicking the Yanks after that crucial off-day? – and then sweeping the A’s then having their momentum killed by the off days

When Sheffield being hot this year the whole offense churning like crazy even Inge and Pudge?

Rodney blowing up and the whole pen following suit even Zumaya while healthy.

bondo’s first inning issues

robertson’s issues with umps

90% of the game is half-mental
-yogi berra

if this is such an individualistic sport how do so many stars not have rings?

ballplayers like us aren’t robots

David November 14, 2007 at 2:49 pm

If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.
Henry Ford

The Victor
(C. W. Longenecker)

If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don’t.

If you like to win but think you can’t,
It’s almost a cinch you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost.

For out in the world we find
Success begins with a fellow’s will.
It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you are out classed, you are.
You’ve got to think high to rise.

You’ve got to be sure of your-self before
You can ever win the prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man.
But sooner or later, the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.

Eric Cioe November 14, 2007 at 4:14 pm

That’s some very moving poetry, David (har har). But a poem and a couple of quotes from dead American heroes won’t justify spending 1/10th of the payroll on Rogers next year. It might be different if he had won 15 games, but he won 3.

David November 14, 2007 at 4:37 pm

I’m not saying spend 1/10th of the payroll (11mil) on him

I’m saying give him 8million, another million for every 60 IP.

So if he pitches under 60 then 8 mil

60-120 9 mil

120-180 10 mil

180+ 11 mil

If he gets 30 starts (max with a 5man rotation is 33) multiply that by a conservative estimate of 6IP = 180

So if he plays a full season (which would mean he is healthy and effective) 11 mil is not unreasonable – Schil, Maddux etc.

Plus the fact that I believe him just being there rubs off on others.

David November 14, 2007 at 4:41 pm

I’m not sorry that my favorite players on the team are Inge, Guillen, Rogers and Granderson and will defend them most of the time and hope that they stay on the team as long as they play.

I think this situation might be similar to the Arod one though, Boras is messing everything up and not informing Rogers well enough. That could be my interpretation due to the media’s coverage, oh well.

Don November 14, 2007 at 4:56 pm

One thing that nobody’s really addressing here is that if we don’t sign kenny, we have to get/sign someone else. All the free agent starting pitchers are in the lohse/silva/leiber mold who will (A) get 10 mil a year which is (B) more than twice what they’re worth and (C) for at least 3-4 years. I’d rather have kenny at $12m for 1 year than lohse or silva for $30m for 3 years. A one year deal is our friend.

This is essentially the same situation as the pudge resigning – yeah, $10m is probably too much for what we’re getting, but the available alternatives are so much worse that you’re willing to spend too much to have it over with.

It’s like buying a plane ticket over xmas – you know you’ll pay too damn much, but it still beats driving cross country.

Don November 14, 2007 at 4:58 pm

And if we wanted to trade for someone, it’s not like we have a ton of great trading chips anymore – the minor league system is getting a bit thin in terms of near-ready prospects.

Steve in Kzoo November 14, 2007 at 5:30 pm

Actually David if you look at Lohse he is a very solid pitcher. And he gives up HRs because he was in Citizens Bank Ballpark, and Great American Ballpark. He should be very solid in the spacious ballpark of Comerica. Also in Cincy he had no run support to win ballgames thus his stats are skewed. with the strong lineup the Tigers are putting out in ’08 Lohse should have no trouble in getting run support. The only worry I have for him is that he is getting old and not really a clubhouse leader. But neither would Silva so I don’t know how we would address that. A 3 year $20-35 million contract would suffice.

David November 14, 2007 at 6:34 pm

What did I say about Lohse?

Steve in Kzoo November 14, 2007 at 6:47 pm

Actually Dave that was meant for Don sorry buddy.

billfer November 14, 2007 at 10:22 pm

Greg – re: using wins. Read the article again. These aren’t the wins from a pitcher’s won-loss record which is no measure at all of talent. These are the expected contributions to a team’s win total.

As for scouting, I think the Tigers have been fairly aggressive in this regard over the last couple years. They did lure David Chadd away from the Red Sox to take over operations, hired a number of scouts, and increased their presence in both the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. A heavy scouting emphasis is a Dombrowski trait that he’s carried with him throughout his professional career. As to the efficacy of the scouts, that’s pretty much impossible for us to judge so I can’t comment one way or the other.

David – as for the Rogers effect, I don’t know how it can be underblown. You can’t watch a telecast without FSN showing Rogers talking to pitchers and Rod and Mario commenting on it. Rogers is often given more credit than Chuck Hernandez as being a pitching coach. I do think there is probably some value in that, but I don’t know how to quantify it. I’d also argue that the value diminishes each year as Rogers has less to share and the young pitchers have already gleaned considerable information.

As for the cost of pitching, it is what it is. A league average pitcher will cost you 10.5 to 11.5 million next year. Yes you can look for someone cheaper, but you aren’t going to like the results. The cost is what it is. Pitchers like Bartolo Colon and Kerry Wood could provide you the same type of production at a fraction of the cost, but you can’t go into a season relying on those types. (and it is admittedly dangerous relying on a 43 year old as well).

Don’s right that the Tigers will be shelling out a considerable amount of money for a starting pitcher this year, be it for one year or 4 because the Tigers just don’t have the chits in the system to trade for someone that can help.

Vince in MN November 14, 2007 at 10:29 pm

The way the signings are going this winter (lots of 1-year deals), I have to believe that the strategy is to go for it all in ’08, but ’09 may well be a rebuilding year. The idea being that after ’08 they’ll jettison most of the geriatrics (Jones, Jones, Rodriguez, Rogers (or whatever veteran starter they get), Wilson (?), Renteria (?)) and add some youth from the farm (Maybin, Hollimon, Miller, Porcello, e.g.) and possibly some younger FAs from a better market.

Whether Rogers signs or not, I would be very surprised to see the Tigers inking any “veteran” FA for more than a year at this point. Eventually the talent to compete has to come primarily from within. Unless you’re the Yankees or Red Sox the FA route is just too expensive, and even then there is no guarantee.

billfer November 14, 2007 at 10:37 pm

As for the James projections, they are just that, projections. Some will be right, some will be wrong. But it is a starting point and in the case of Rogers it seems reasonable. I usually prefer to combine several projection systems, but James is what is available at this point. (although Chone is rolling out)

You can set the expected production at whatever you want, and we can still run the same formula. But you have to have some concept of what you think you’re paying for.

Mike R November 14, 2007 at 11:38 pm

Tigers errors from 2006 WS? no momentum?

Or just a series of bad throws. Was the lack of hitting from momentum from the bad fielding? Highly unlikely.

Tigers kicking the Yanks after that crucial off-day? – and then sweeping the A’s then having their momentum killed by the off days

Or, after having only 25 days off in over 6 months, they got a week straight off and then had to pick up play in late October in Detroit and St. Louis when the weather was cold — and we saw what cold weather does to hitters. See: The MLB in April this year.

When Sheffield being hot this year the whole offense churning like crazy even Inge and Pudge?

Or, the offense was churning because of two of the greatest seasons in Tigers history from Granderson and Magglio.

Rodney blowing up and the whole pen following suit even Zumaya while healthy.

The bullpen is always the most unpredictable part of every single baseball team. Tim Byrdak is a perfect example. Anyone thinking he could be the rock in a bullpen in the majors last year would’ve been in an insane asylum before the year. Year to year fluctuation in the bullpen is common.

bondo’s first inning issues

How is this momentum when, until his elbow inflammation started, he would routinely get beat up a bit for a run or two in the first and then wind up with 7 innings and 2 runs allowed? his first 18 starts last year put him as a top 10 pitcher in the majors last year. And he was still having just as many problems in the first inning from April-mid July when he was dominant overall.

robertson’s issues with umps

I don’t even know what this means or is referencing. The only problems I see with Robertson is his velocity dropped from low 90′s (91-93) to the high 80′s (86-88) and that made him extremely hittable.

90% of the game is half-mental
-yogi berra

What? Quotes are valid reasonings?

if this is such an individualistic sport how do so many stars not have rings?

…because rosters are comprised of just 25 players out of a league that every year employs over 750 players. Or, 0.03% of the league gets a ring every year.

ballplayers like us aren’t robots

I didn’t say they were. I’m not denying there’s a mental portion to this sport, but I just don’t buy the fact that one event in the 2nd inning — short of a big injury — can greatly affect the outcome based on ‘momentum’. To me, momentum are like “intangibles” or “consistently clutch” and not something that I believe have much merit.

David November 14, 2007 at 11:45 pm

Yep, I understand your points

But, I still think he is and could be very valuable to this team next year

That being said would you guys like to go into the season with Verlander, Bonderman, Robertson, Rogers/FA + Miller/Bazardo(Durbin? Miner?)

Do the latter 2 even have a shot?

I think Bazardo is really underrated – he is younger than Bondlander and has performed well.

I still think that if we are going for it this year we need more than one SP to weather any injuries/keep our guys fresh for the playoffs.

And also on one hand it has been nice that we have “stolen” so to speak the first rounders, but who is to say that won’t happen in the future? If the Tigers would rather pay for a first round pick why not trade away Maybin and Tata for some 2009 FA?

I know that won’t happen cuz DD has a super crush on him.

Oh well

Don November 15, 2007 at 8:36 am

re: kyle lohse
http://www.baseball-reference.com/l/lohseky01.shtml
I see a guy with a career era of 4.82 and 1.43 whip and below average k rates and HR rates. chad durbin or zach miner can put up those numbers for 1/20th of the cost.

silva’s not much better. But these guys will get gil meche money, guaranteed – I bet they both get $40-50 mil and they are both below average pitchers. I think DD’ll let someone else make that mistake. I also think that boras/DD are waiting for glavine to sign before getting down to brass tacks about rogers, I bet you’ll see rogers sign a few days after glavine (hopefully glavine’s not waiting for us…)

And let’s not forget about andrew miller – he had his rookie problems, lost his mechanics and control periodically, gave up some big hits, got flustered, had endurance/efficiency issues – but he’s clearly an enormous talent and I bet he puts up an era around 4.50 in 150 innings in 08 and another big step in 09 (remember bonderman in 03, similar lines). Almost every game he pitched last year seems to have gone like this: two dominating shut-down innings, two innings where he put a guy or two on and got out of trouble with big strikeouts or pop-ups. one inning where he gave up 3-4 runs. so he always had 5 inning, 3-4 run outings. next year I’ll bet you see more 6 inning 2-3 run games as he irons out the kinks in his mechanics, pitches more efficiently and confidently and trusts his secondary stuff more. I think a verlander/bonderman/robertson/rogers/miller rotation will be formidable.

Kathy November 15, 2007 at 9:42 am

David, I loved the poem.

Sideshow Cecil November 15, 2007 at 10:05 am

Rob Parker weighs in on the Tigers’ pitching staff, just when I think he can’t get any dumber:

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071115/OPINION03/711150309/1004/SPORTS

I’m so confused by this article. Parker wants a starter for the “top of the rotation” and then he advocates signing Benson, Chacon or Tomko? Yeesh. Those are fringe 5th starters at best, and they’ll cost a LOT more than rolling out whatever junk we have at the 4A level (Miner, Bazardo, V Vazquez, etc.).

Ok, so if not a free agent, then we’ll go out and trade for Dontrelle Willis or Scott Kazmir… right! Of course. And who does he want to give up for these guys? Ryan Raburn & Marcus Thames. Sure, Rob. Let’s get you on the phone with the D Rays management and see what they say to a Marcus Thames for Scott Kazmir deal. That’ll go over real well…

I feel dumber for having read that article, and I’m sorry if I pass that stupidity along to the rest of you. I just needed to vent somewhere.

Kathy November 15, 2007 at 10:54 am

I read that article early this morning but didn’t find it offensive or dumb. He’s merely stating the obvious that we need a starting pitcher, like pronto, if not Rogers than one of the free agents, if not them, then make a trade. The Marlins want position players that are defensive minded and some pitching. He’s just throwing that out there as a possibility (hope he’s wrong…I’d hate to lose Raburn).

ron November 15, 2007 at 11:00 am

This money situation with players is totally out of hand. The people who get stiffed in the end are the fans. We spend more time worrying about who is staying and who is going and it interferes with us enjoying the game for what it is, just a game. I liked it better when the owners held the players in servitude. Even then the best players made the most money and the scrubs may had to work in the off season but we as fans knew what we had every year and barring a block buster trade we could relate to the players as fellow Detroiters who weren’t going to abandon the city before the next season. Even then we could expect a World Series win every 20 to 25 years.

Don November 15, 2007 at 11:13 am

C’mon ron, it’s been 30 years, time to get over the free agency thing. Go watch college baseball if you’re worried about that sort of thing. Players have a right to be compensated for their skills and not be held as slaves just so casual fans can know who’ll be on the team 5 years from now. Go read Ball Four by Jim Bouton to see what the old system was like.

ron November 15, 2007 at 2:01 pm

Millions for playing any sport, I don’t think so.

David November 15, 2007 at 2:15 pm

Thanks Kathy I thought it was pretty true

Parker is a idiot enough said

But, I would trade Bonderman for Kazmir straight up.

Kazmir IMO would have won at the minimum 18 games with the Tigers the past two years.

I’d love to get him even if it costs us half of our farm – I doubt he is on the block though.

Another guy I’d love to see them try and go for is Rich Harden – with his injuries he is probably not very expensive.

Or Kerry Wood.

Trade Maybin I dont care. We need SP, plain and simple.

Don November 15, 2007 at 4:33 pm

Oh ron, listen to yourself. Is it ok if britney spears or george clooney or fortune 500 ceos or hedge fund managers or IBM shareholders or lottery winners get millions of dollars? Would you rather each player made $50k a year and the $100 million dollar payroll just went into the owner’s pocket? Fact is professional athletes are the best at what they do – entertainers – and people who are the in the top 1% of their field generally get paid big time. Don’t blame the players for getting theirs, we’d all do the exact same thing if we were lucky enough.

Don November 15, 2007 at 4:36 pm

Also, I just don’t even read parker or drew sharp anymore, even if the headline sounds interesting, I know it’s just not worth my 5 minutes since I’ll end up getting dumber. How do those jokers do this for a living and billfer puts together quality material for nothing?

greg November 15, 2007 at 4:54 pm

quote:

Is it ok if britney spears or george clooney or fortune 500 ceos or hedge fund managers or IBM shareholders or lottery winners get millions of dollars?

unquote

That’s comparing apples to oranges. Fortune 500 CEO’s have to compete. MLB doesn’t. They have an anti-trust exemption. Throw in an internal players union and you have quite the convoluted pay schemes the players benfit from. MLB and everyone that’s a part of it should show more social resposibility, if they don’t, Congress has already threatened to take away their exemption. I don’t see it actually coming to pass, but they’ve talked about it, and that’s really what they deserve, as then they’ll get the pay they deserve, not the inflated salaries they now receive.

Now, I certainly don’t blame the players for being opportunistic, they’re just taking care of their families, etc. But the sense of entitlement that some(not all) of them display needs to go.

In my opinion, and I’m not alone, the game, while still enjoyable, is nothing like it used to be. Its more of a business than it is a game. I still enjoy it, and I’ll still go to games. But to act like its as good as it used to be, from a fans perspective, would be lying to myself.

greg November 15, 2007 at 5:04 pm

quote:

How do those jokers do this for a living and billfer puts together quality material for nothing?

unquote

I could be wrong, but part of it could be….. Bilfer’s potential audience is much smaller, in that…..his material is pithy, sophisticated, in depth, its not a level that the casual baseball fan would delve into. The dedicated Tiger fan with an affinity for sabermetrics yes, they devour that stuff, but casual fan, not so much. If Bilfer wrote for the Detroit News, he’d probably have to ‘dumb-it-down’ just to give it mass appeal.

Don November 15, 2007 at 6:56 pm

Anti-trust laws have nothing to do with what I was talking about. Ron said no ballplayer should make a million bucks. that’s ridiculous, they work as hard as any CEO and are uniquely talented in ways that people pay a lot of money to watch.

plus, baseball does have to compete – it competes with a thousand other ways people can spend their money. salaries aren’t high because of the anti-trust exemption, salaries are high because the tigers (for example) sell 3 million tickets to baseball games in a year at prices those people were happy to pay, $20-60. that’s not the antitrust problem. that’s supply and demand.

the “it was different in the old days, now it’s a business” line is complete garbage. how is the game different because people make more money now? in what ways? really, do people not play as hard, to they care about winning less, are they less talented? how is it “more of a business than it is a game” exactly? makes no sense at all. of course in NOVEMBER all you hear is business, but the game is as good as it’s ever been.

Don November 15, 2007 at 6:59 pm

Also, I don’t buy the “they have to dumb it down for the casual fan who reads the papers” line either. Parker and drew sharp write garbage, and it’s not garbage because it’s written to a broad audience, it’s garbage because it’s lazy, misinformed, arrogant and wrong. You can write for a broad audience and do it well. they don’t. If billfer wrote for the paper, he’d maybe change his style a bit, or the depth of his topics, but it would at least be informed and well thought out.

billfer November 15, 2007 at 9:06 pm

As to the big salaries and free agency…MLB announced over 6 billion in revenue this last year. Shouldn’t the players get a piece of that since they are actually providing the value?

And for those pining for the good ole days, we could go back to that when players didn’t make anything. We couldn’t watch the games on TV though either, save for a couple like the world series and maybe the game of the week.

We also wouldn’t know box scores until the following morning.

Me, I like being able to track the game on gameday, or watch it on my laptop when I’m out of town. I like getting my game in high def and being able to see any game I want with live pitch by pitch tracking.

On the topic of why Rob Parker has a job, I don’t know. I didn’t link the article because it was comically bad. As to the dumbing it down, that would have to happen. I’d have to explain every stat instead of just dropping a link where there is more information. I also wouldn’t be able to do anything in depth because I’d be constrained by column inches. This platform really does work well for what I do.

greg November 15, 2007 at 11:14 pm

quote:

Anti-trust laws have nothing to do with what I was talking about. Ron said no ballplayer should make a million bucks. that’s ridiculous, they work as hard as any CEO and are uniquely talented in ways that people pay a lot of money to watch.

unquote:

incorrect, it has everything to do with what was mentioned. Ron was correct, they benefit from the anti-trust exemption, I doubt they would deny this. They are uniquely talented, but people would never pay this much if MLB truly had to compete. They don’t. They have a monopoly.

quote:

plus, baseball does have to compete – it competes with a thousand other ways people can spend their money.

unquote

That’s irrelevant competition in terms of trust, anti-trust, economics, the court, etc. ATT could have said the same(or any other company who ever had a monopoly), they still got broken up, the competition, in a legal sense, obviously has to come from the same/similar type of product. That’s why congress had to give them an anti-trust exemption in the first place.

quote:

salaries are high because the tigers (for example) sell 3 million tickets to baseball games in a year at prices those people were happy to pay, $20-60. that’s not the antitrust problem.

unquote

The supply is one company – MLB, one monopoly. The courts don’t dispute this. It’s not merely my opinion, its what the government has already decreed. That’s already been settled by giving them the anti-trust exemption. If the baseball consumer was presented with more choices, nobody would pay this much for tickets. As it is the supply is one: MLB, thus the demand is skewed.

quote:

the “it was different in the old days, now it’s a business” line is complete garbage.

unquote

In your opinion, that’s garbage, but in the opinion of countless others, its not, including countless players and executives in MLB itself. I’ve heard players and management, from virtually every team in MLB echo this sentiment.

quote:

how is the game different because people make more money now? in what ways? really, do people not play as hard, to they care about winning less, are they less talented? how is it “more of a business than it is a game” exactly? makes no sense at all.

unquote

All these things, I see every week of every season, I don’t dwell on it, its no big deal, nevertheless, its very obvious to me that the game is significantly different. It’s interesting that someone else’s perception would be so different. We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

Quote of Seinfeld from the village voice:

It was about a year ago that Jerry Seinfeld paid an impromptu visit to WFAN, where he lamented just how much baseball had changed since he was a kid growing up on Long Island and cheering on the Mets. With neither franchises nor players showing much loyalty to anything except the almighty dollar in these greedy times, quipped the comedian, “When you root for a team these days, you’re mostly rooting for laundry.”

http://www.villagevoice.com/nyclife/0505,altman,60617,15.html

That’s only one way that baseball has changed from the old days, but Seinfeld has noticed, and scores of others have noticed also.

greg November 15, 2007 at 11:40 pm

billfer wrote:

As to the big salaries and free agency…MLB announced over 6 billion in revenue this last year. Shouldn’t the players get a piece of that since they are actually providing the value?

I dunno, perhaps, but are the players really providing that much of the value? Maybe, maybe not, but one could argue that the credit should go to those setting up the system, infrastructure, marketing, broadcasts, etc. No matter who plays, someone’s got to score the runs, someone’s got to make the outs. Baseball wouldn’t miss a beat financially, long term, if any one player wasn’t involved. Granted, the Clemens, Bonds type can drive huge marginal revenues wherever they play, but you could also argue that without the ‘MLB engine’ as a springboard to their careers, they wouldn’t have that appeal in the first place. Before their involvement in the MLB system, they weren’t marketable.

billfer wrote:

And for those pining for the good ole days, we could go back to that when players didn’t make anything. We couldn’t watch the games on TV though either, save for a couple like the world series and maybe the game of the week.

We also wouldn’t know box scores until the following morning.

Me, I like being able to track the game on gameday, or watch it on my laptop when I’m out of town. I like getting my game in high def and being able to see any game I want with live pitch by pitch tracking.
unquote

‘pining’ would be way too strong a word in my case, I was just agreeing with ron’s observation that in some ways, the quality of the game was better. The advent of technology has made a lot of information readily accessible in prompt fashion. This is a good thing. Not sure the Players Union deserves credit for that though.

;-)

(i know that’s not what you meant, just kidding around)

I remember you had to wait for the next day paper for the box scores, and even then the west coast night games weren’t available the next day, you had to wait 2 days, that was, until the advent of cable! With a text news channel, than ran inning by inning linescores! Finally you could follow out of state teams waiting for the periodic (every 15-20 minutes) updates to see if your team scored a run!

ron November 16, 2007 at 5:15 am

Make no mistake about it. This is a business to these players. They don’t care what uniform or what city they’re representing. They go where the money is. They conveniently have career years in their opt out years. They sit down for inordinately long periods of rehab to protect their future earning power [why does Mickey Mantle limping around the bases come to mind?] The 16 million dollar man we have in right field is afraid to go near the outfield wall to make a catch although he’s got that slide down pretty good[ahh, Kaline]. Think the 16 million dollar man knew who Kaline was if he wasn’t an announcer? The home run king Baroid was indicted today. Take a shot, hit more home runs, make more money. How many wins did Rogers have last year? Oh yeh, he deserves 14mil. The whole of baseball is taking us for a ride. This isn’t Goldman Sachs, its a game. Hit the ball safely 3 out of 10 times and every 5 games win3 and lose 2. Is that too much to ask of an obscene 100 million$ team. Oh yeh I forgot, we just want to be entertained. And if they do win it all, I guess we can expect those box seats to top 100 $ like in NY and Boston. But we’ll pay it because Britney just doesnt do it for us any more.

BobS. November 16, 2007 at 10:55 am

Great comment about competition among Fortune 500 CEOs.
Like Citibank’s Charles Prince,who walked away with $42M after presiding over a $6.5B markdown.
And Stanley O’ Neal of Merrill Lynch,$161M richer after Merrill Lynch lost $8B.
That’s a pretty special type of competition.
The anti-trust exemption(based on the ridiculous notion that MLB was not interstate commerce),which has historically benefitted the Princes and O’ Neals, should have been revoked a long time ago,but then again,the reserve clause(which is a contract law issue), should have been revoked long before 1975.
Teams being allowed to move without restriction would potentially have the effect more teams migrating to bigger markets like New York and New England, decreasing the value of those franchises and the amount of money they were able to offer players,thereby lowering the bar for everyone.On the other hand,competing leagues could have just the opposite effect.
Of course it’s a business for the players.It’s always been a business.The difference is,since 1975,they have greater leverage in determining their compensation,a negotiating position any of us would enjoy sharing.I tend to agree they’re overpaid for the relative value to society of what they do,but that’s not a legitimate argument for removing their right to negotiate a contract with the team of their choice.
By the way,thanks for reading Parker so I don’t have to.There’s no one more moronic in Detroit sports reporting.He seriously thinks the Rays would consider trading Kazmir in return for Rayburn and Thames?

Don November 16, 2007 at 3:36 pm

Greg, you make my point for me. I ask for any specific examples of how baseball was better “way back when.” All you respond with is things like “other people in baseball think that” and “jerry seinfeld said that” and “I see every week of every season, … its very obvious to me that the game is significantly different.” WHAT? What do you see? I honestly do not understand what you are talking about because you cannot give even one example.

Were players “better” 30 or 40 years ago? No. The overall quality of play today is better than it’s ever been. So what? I don’t understand how a player’s checking account balance translates onto the what you claim to see.

Is it “right” that ballplayers make 300 times more than school teacher or fire-fighters? No, that’s not the point, point is, this is an entertainment industry, it’s huge and the players benefit. So what?

It’s ok, though, greg, in 40 years I’ll probably tell my grandkids that ballplayers these days, what with their $300 million annual salaries, aren’t piss compared to back in my day, when guys like granderson and verlander knew what a buck was worth! That’s when it was a game!

Don November 16, 2007 at 3:39 pm

and like billfer said, it’s a 6 BILLION dollar a year industry, if the anti-trust exemption is repealed, what happens? it’s a 5 BILLION dollar a year industry. sfw?

I hate to argue with fellow tiger fans, so forgive me, but the whole “players these days are nothing but greedy mercenary bastards” and the “it was better in the old days” arguments are two of my personal pet peeves.

greg November 16, 2007 at 4:22 pm

Don – Dude, calm down. Geeze. Believe what you want to believe, as this really seems to be a burning issue with you.

tiger fan November 16, 2007 at 6:46 pm

classy way to close debate

luke November 17, 2007 at 2:01 pm

Don wrote:

I honestly do not understand what you are talking about because you cannot give even one example.

unquote.

Don, do you really expect anyone to take you seriously with comments like that? Read the Sienfeld remarks again. Denying lucid examples is not very impresive.

Totally agree Greg and Ron. Steroids, HGH, free agency, high turnover on the roster, players being less durable, more showboating, numerous players lack of hustle, pitchers being extremely fragile, pitchers held to pitch counts under 100 when they routinely topped the 200 pitch count without missing a beat ‘back in the good ‘ol days’. Time on DL increasing exponentially. There are countless examples of how the game has significantly changed, one could write a novel.

This argument is silly.

BobS. November 17, 2007 at 4:56 pm

I agree about the silliness of longing for a romanticized past of restricted freedom.People who believe there were ever ‘good old days’ either didn’t experience them and believe the sanitized version they got from grade school textbooks or they lived through them and now suffer from historical amnesia.

greg November 17, 2007 at 5:49 pm

Bob, who here is ‘longing’? I think some people are just calling a spade a spade and, for some reason, this honesty has gotten under some peoples skin. Why would it bother some people that, while they like both versions of the game, they prefer the ‘good ole’ days’?

Silly to value integrity, loyalty, team identity & solidarity, playing with passion, intensity, mutual respect?

Ok, I confess, call me silly, life goes on.

Peace. Go Tigers.

BobS. November 17, 2007 at 9:25 pm

Who’s longing?
ron,for one,who started this conversation by declaring he “liked it better when the owners held the players in servitude.”
And you,apparently,by dismissing values like integrity,passion,etc. in the present day player who you seem to think so little of.
Thirty years of free agency haven’t changed the human nature of the people playing the game that much.You over-estimate those qualities in players of the past,and you under-estimate them now.

greg November 17, 2007 at 10:50 pm

Nope, no longing here, just an observation.

Bob wrote:

And you,apparently,by dismissing values like integrity,passion,etc. in the present day player who you seem to think so little of.

Unqoute

No I did not dismiss them. In my brevity, I can see how that sentence could be misinterpreted. They are certainly present, just to a somewhat lesser degree, but that’s why I love guys like Inge, Granderson, Leyland, Ryan Freel, Eric Byrnes. I love these guys and others like them. Unfortunately, there’s been an increase of the number of ballplayers who show apathy, lollygag, lack of hustle. An increase in those who show a lack of proper respect for managers and other players(Milton Bradley, Jose Guillen types). The large salaries have created bigger egos. It’s not just my observation, players and coaches have spoken about it or addressed it in interviews. But there are still a lot of good guys out there. Dombrowski is one of the good guys, and he knows how to assemble guys with character.

David November 17, 2007 at 11:05 pm

What categorie would Higginson fall under?

ron November 18, 2007 at 10:47 pm

Do you really think Mags would stand at the plate watching a homer in 1968 without getting some serious chin music the next time up? You’d better be able to lay down a bunt to move players along too. How about throwing the ball to the plate on the fly from 200 ft. away without bouncing it. Can these players stand in the box without adjusting every thing but their bra strap between pitches. How about all those half swings. Make up your mind for crying out loud. And as far as crying out loud goes-quit doing that too.

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