Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Do We Need A Cash-In-Trades Official Policy?

zbrent recently tc'd me with this question, and I promised to poll the world on it.

Can't say the question has ever registered high on my attention scale, but I agree it's worth asking.

Here's what I think I can accurately report about it:

1.  There seems to be some kind of world-chat disagreement about it almost every year. This year's seemed to me to be civil and respectful, but it hasn't always been. Regardless of the tone, the discussion seems to be one that few people enjoy, and the purpose of the World Chat (imho) is to be a forum for comments that people DO enjoy.

2.  We had 2 owners depart this year who cited either our laissez-faire treatment of cash in trades, or the resulting WC discussion of it, as their reasons for leaving.  Personally, I take this with a few grains of salt; I've never seen anyone with a winning record, or a big jump in winning percentage, or a loaded farm system depart and cite cash in trades as a reason. Nonetheless, 2 departing GM's did give me that as a reason, so I feel obligated to report that in any discussion of the subject.

The big reason for having a C-I-T policy, I think, would be so we can have right up front how we handle it for anyone considering coming into the world.  If someone knows that we limit C-I-T to the salary of the highest-paid player in the trade (just to use an example), they can't exactly complain about it later or use that as a reason for leaving.  It would also theoretically end the WC discussions about it.

There certainly may be better reasons for having one.

The negative, I suppose, is it's one more little admin detail for the commish to keep up with, although I"m sure there are other arguments against it as well.

I'd welcome comments here or on the WC from anyone who has something to add.

Please vote in the poll.  Note that the question is whether we should even have a C-I-T policy, not what it should be.  If the world votes to have one, we'll move on to deciding what it should be later.

New Commish Needed, Suggest Recruiter As Well

As I mentioned on the World Chat, I'm retiring from HBD after my next seasons here and in Hobbs.

I'm moving from Austin to Madison, WI for the Summer (arriving June 1).  After that I'm going on some kind of international sojourn, most likely through Latin America.  I travelled a lot years ago and have been promising myself I'd do so again.  At age 62, it's time to sogotp, so I'm going (somewhere).

First, thanks to all of you (and especially the long-timers) for the many seasons of great competition and camaraderie.  Major Leagues has probably been the best of all the many HBD worlds I've played in, and I'll miss it.

Second, start thinking about a new commish.  I'd suggest we set some kind of date for early season for nominations, or perhaps to select someone by acclamation.  Main idea is to get it done early so you don't run into the next recruiting season.

Third, I'd very strongly urge you to select an official recruiter as well.  I know it's a task that would run a poor race to sticking pencils in your eyes, but if you have a good system, it's pretty easy.  And I have a good system, which I'll document completely for the next recruiter (and help with at the end of next season).

I can't emphasize enough how big a difference it makes to a world to have someone who is dedicated to making the next season start right after rollover.  Many of you who have joined Major Leagues in the last 10 seasons or so have told me that you did so for exactly that reason.

Last, the reason I emphasize having a recruiter separate and apart from the commissioner. I think both jobs are made easier by the fact that there are 2 people who have a vested interest in the smooth operation of the world, rather than having the entire burden fall to 1 person.

That's it, we'll work out some kind of early-Season 38 date for selection, just wanted to put it out there well in advance.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Season 37 Chicago White Sox Prevew

Chicago White Sox
Season 36:  96-66, Wild Card, advanced to Division Series and lost to Minnesota 
GM: pfontaine

Big Offseason Moves:  Re-signing future HOF'er Magglio Rodriguez.  Even with the team aging and losing some key pieces (Kevin Chong), keeping Rodriguez means huge production at 2B for another 4, maybe even 5 seasons.
Outlook: Age, free agency and a climbing payroll stopped Chicago's 100-win streak at 6 seasons, and the plucky Twins bumped them form the playoffs for the 2nd straight season.

Can an aging team with $125MM committed to ML payroll pull it together and reached the promised land again?

I think it depends.  The White Sox' 2 best teams (by record, at least) in their 6-season, 100-wins run were their Season 32 World Champ team (110 wins) and their Season 34 AL Champ team (112 wins).  Both teams had it all in terms of offense and pitching - they led the league in team ERA both years, and were first in runs in Season 32 and 3rd in Season 34 (they clearly gave up a little defense to get all those bats in the lineup, as they put up with 100+ errors both years...they did have a pretty decent 74/27 in +/- plays in Season 32).

Obviously, "having it all" helps teams contend and increases their chances to advance through the playoffs.

But with the usual attrition you can't have it all, so if you have to pick what do you pick?

Even when Magglio was winning MVP's and the Sox' offense got all the press, I thought the keys to their fortunes were their Big 3 SP's Addison Johnson, Tony Flores and Hector Ayala.  Why, because no position on the field has more influence on the outcome of a game than SP, and if you can rollout out 3 great SP's you have a chance to dominate the playoffs whether you score many runs or not.

One can argue about the dominance of these 3.  They're not Ruben Ozuna or Tony Moya dominant...heck, Flores and Ayala have even had bad seasons.  But Johnson and Ayala have won CY's (not coincidentally in Seasons 32 and 34), and together the 3 of them have the possibility of getting hot for an entire playoff run.

The Sox haven't started well at 8-12, as the offense is struggling mightily.  But keep an eye on those 3 SP's.  It might be as a Wild Card again, but I'd bet those 3 have enough left for at least 1 more playoff push.

Season 37 Florida Marlins Preview

Florida Marlins
Season 36:  76-86
GM: cyben5150

Big Offseason Moves:  Promotions of Season 34 #8 overall pick Gabe Mullen and Season 29 #59 overall Rex Flair.

Outlook:  The Marlins have been patiently rebuilding their farm system for 5 seasons now, and last year it started paying off.  This year they welcome Gabe Mullen, a promising power/speed/defense (at least range and arm-wise) rightfielder.

As a result of their farm-building focus, Florida has one of the tiniest payrolls in the league - $35 million for their ML roster, even with $9.8MM going to 3-time All-Star (and Silver Slugger last year) shortstop Adeiny Nova.  And they still have prospects like Didi Herrera, Donzell Roberts, and Tanner Rogers sprinkled around their minors.  When they arrive, Florida will arrive big.

For this year, I think they'll improve on their 694 runs scored, which was 6th in the NL.  While Mullen is not off to a hot start, I think he'll figure it out quickly and emerge as a ROY candidate.

As for pitching, I don't know...Cookie Young seems like the only guy they can really depend on.  They'll undoubtedly get some surprise good seasons from some guys with low splits but good pitches, but I don't think this staff is ready to get them into contention.

A few more wins in the uber-competitive South, but it's going to be another season or 2 before the Marlins start contending.

Season 37 San Francisco Giants Preview

San Francisco Giants
Season 36:  58-104
GM:  bigthrowsie

Big Offseason Moves: Just a little dabbling around the edges of free agency in year 2 of the rebuild.  Lorenzo Izquierdo signed on for 2 seasons, replacing Paco Sandoval at 2B.

Outlook:  The future in San Fran starts with LF Doug Lindor and CF Yamil Pino.  Both have been disappointing so far. Lindor missed a chunk of last year with a bad hammy and was only moderately effective when he played.  The bigger mystery is how he has accumulated 2+ years of service time with only 550 AB's.  Pino showed promise in Season 35 but regressed at the plate and in the field last year.  I don't think the Giants expect him to be a Silver Slugger-type CF, but playing every day, hitting .260, and being in the conversation for Gold Gloves are reasonable expectations.

San Fran kick-started the repopulation of its farm system last year with 6 first-round picks.  Mostly supplementals, there are no stars in that bunch but some will no doubt make the Big League team.  A big pick looms for the team this year - they really need to hit on #4.

The Giants' 4.29 team ERA was 13th last year and needs improving.  Good chance they get that even with the same group of starters - Adkinsson, Sauer, Plouffe and Palmeiro (93 starts among them) were all weel abo ve their career-norm ERA's, plus Palmeiro missed a chunk of the season (he only got in 14 starts) with a shoulder problem.  

They converted Edgar Tavarez to a reliever last year with mixed results.  With Corey Montgomery moving down the coast to San Diego, Tavarez probably gets the closer role.  If they're going to have a bullpen standout, he's probably it.

Watch for the pitching to improve - they might not score quite as well, but should be more competitive.

Should the Portland Mavericks replace the Nashville Sounds when the opportunity arises?