So baseball season is over, and I’ve been pretty flakey in writing since the post season. So what to write about when no baseball is occurring in the majors? Hopefuly I can keep you entertained..
Despite first impressions, I find the offseason just as interesting as the baseball season. A lot goes on that will affect next season, just like any other professional sports league. But there’s more to it than just free agency. Here’s a rundown of things to look forward to:
Rule 5 draft: The rule 5 draft is different from the regular amateur draft in that teams select players from other teams’ minor league rosters. That’s right, it’s like stealing players from other teams. Why do this? If a team doesn’t select a player onto their 40 man roster (basically what they view as the top 40 players in their system), they are unprotected and can be selected by another team to be put on their top 40 list. It’s beneficial to players because they are given a chance to play when their original club is stockpiled in resources.
Arbitration: There are two forms of arbitration. The first occurs when young players are given raises due to their past season performances, once they have reached a three or four year mark with a team. Kids like Tim Lincecum fall into this category, where he’s been with the Giants for about 4 years and is able to get a raise from them. Due to his stellar performances the past two years, it’s evident he’ll get a bloated raise from about $650K to at least $10 m+…
Free Agency: The other form of arbitration occurs where a player has completed a contract with a team, and that team can offer a raised salary for one year that the player can either accept or deny. If he chooses to deny, he’ll become a free agent and can sign with whoever he wants. If he does so and is classified as a top free agent, the team he leaves usually will be given draft picks as compensation for him leaving. You can see a pattern here, where a balance of power is continual and a sort of fairness equilibrium occurs. If i lose a player, I can select another young player in the draft next year. If I’m a good baseball player but my club has two other shortstops in front of me, I can get selected by another team and be given a chance.
Trades: Just like during the busy trade deadline at the end of July, the offseason can see quite a bit of movement in the trade market. Teams will want to trade up for a star, or if you’re like the A’s will trade down. Say I have a player who has one year left on his contract, but I know he’ll leave through free agency. I don’t want just two draft picks, I’m gonna want more for my product. I’ll try and get up and coming players, or a mixture of major/minor league players in order to compensate my loss of one of my top players. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. Bartolo Colon (an ace, for a couple years) was traded for 3 minor leaguers at the time: Cliff Lee (who won a Cy Young), Brandon Phillips (an all star 2B) and Grady Sizemore (an all star CF). Talk about bang for your buck…The trade tree can grow to be pretty big.