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Dave Saltzer

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Posts posted by Dave Saltzer

  1. On 12/31/2020 at 9:09 AM, Jeff Fletcher said:

    (somehow I deleted the comment, but it was about the media and its opinion on steroids.)

    I did a Twitter poll a few weeks ago about the steroid issue and the ratio of opinion among Twitter people was about the same as among HOF voters. 

    I think the issue divides all groups (writers, fans, players, broadcasters, etc) in roughly the same proportion, so it would remain an issue no matter who voted. 

    Also, in order to get a HOF vote a person has to spend 10 years as an active member of the BBWAA. So if you want to include anyone else, you need to find a similar threshold.

    I think it’s more likely that they just let anyone vote online and have that count for a small percentage of the process. That eliminates the need to try to parse which bloggers should vote and which don’t. 

    The BBWAA has already admitted many non-legacy writers from FanGraphs, Baseball Prospectus, etc.

    Thanks for chiming in Jeff with some thoughtful replies.


    First, this isn't a criticism of you or your voting habits. I do not think that you need to defend your vote to anyone but yourself. There are some voters out there whom I would question, but knowing the person you are, I'm sure you take the deep time and consideration to give it the seriousness of the vote that it deserves.


    But, here is what I would point out. From what I can find online (I know, not always the most reliable source), in 2015, there were 549 votes for the HOF by members of the BBWAA. This year, it's down to 397 eligible voters. (If my numbers are off, and you have better information, please correct them). That's a 27.7% drop in just 5 years. 


    Additionally, from what I've been told (and have seen online), several media outlets have created policies that their writers cannot vote for the HOF, even if eligible. Others have made it a negotiable item for their writers.


    Either way, that is a rapid and sharp decline in voters. Worse yet, that trend seems to be continuing. At some point, it will be too few gatekeepers for the HOF. While I'm not privy to the membership of the BBWAA, I would be curious to see how it compares with that of fans in general.


    I think that it would be wise for the BBWAA to come up with a way to expand its voting membership so as to maintain relevance while it still has a sufficient number of members who have the experience to develop the criteria for eligibility. I fully understand the need and requirements of 10 years of writing. As I said multiple times, there would need to be criteria established for any "blogger" to have voting privileges. I would rather see the BBWAA work towards that while there is a sufficient number of members who have experience in the old system (so as to create decent thresholds for the future) than to wait another 5-10 years and see another drop of 27%+.


    If the discussion for this doesn't happen now, and the continued drop continues to happen, it may become too late to have the thoughtful discussion and process, and that would lead to a worse outcome. It would be better to plan for a change in advance.


    As for your idea of allowing some bloggers to vote and have that vote count for a percentage, that would be an interesting starting point. It would be interesting to see if the BBWAA would be willing to run a trial for a few years where some bloggers could vote hypothetically for maybe 15-20% of the total (not in a real vote, but in a simulated vote--much like MLB trying out rules in the Minors or Independent Leagues to see how they play out). Has there been any discussion of the dwindling number of voters and possibly making some changes?

  2. On 12/27/2020 at 8:54 AM, floplag said:

    But does this do that?  Adding people whose expertise is limited to one team adds bias as well... but then again, perhaps thats already a problem as we all know most of the top writers were beat writers and followed specific teams as well at least early on so who knows maybe im over thinking it.
    Regardless i think the MLB media, in whatever for it takes, needs to get over the hypocrisy of the steroid era and trying to compare everything to the great Yankee teams of history. 

    If all the teams could vet and choose a set number of bloggers to represent their fanbases, this really wouldn't be a problem. If every one of those voting were just homers, and voted just for their players, they would cancel each other out. So, it wouldn't lead to non-deserving players getting into the HOF. If the numbers were relatively balanced for each team, along with some independent bloggers (such as those who write for analytical sites), then they wouldn't lead to any bias towards any team. I did not say that the 75% threshold should be dropped.


    If the concern is that it would lead to an East Coast bias, or something similar, that seems a bit more difficult with free agency and increased player movement. Almost all of today's bloggers have grown up with free agency (whereas for the longest time, most BBWAA voting members did not), so, bloggers today are more willing to look at the player's on the field performance rather than team identity. More importantly, bloggers would be better able to recall which players they truly coveted in free agency and also the ones that they were grateful that their team avoided. Most of the voting members don't feel those pangs, but those pangs are part of what leads to a player's fame, and should be a factor for enshrinement in Cooperstown (or not).


    Look at the endless threads and discussions on here about signing this player or that. I'm not so certain that the voting members of the BBWAA have the same sentiments about the Hot Stove and the potential player movement in it. The voting members look at the hot stove season as news to report. Bloggers look at it as a way to improve a franchise and focus on those players who are most likely to improve their franchise. That basically is "fame" which the present voting members of the BBWAA most likely don't factor as heavily.


    Along those lines, for the longest time, the voting members of the BBWAA had their litmus tests and sacred numbers for enshrinement (such as 300 wins, 500 HRs, etc.). It wasn't until bloggers came along and really starting pushing a lot more of the modern analytics that got the voters to change some of their opinions. It was bloggers who were far more likely to support someone like Blyleven making it in to the HOF even though he didn't have the requisite 300 wins. And, it was bloggers who were pushing for Edgar Martinez to make it into the HOF before the voters got over the whole "he's just a DH and therefore not worthy" issue. 


    The game of baseball is always changing. For a variety of reasons I believe that some bloggers (again, not all) are better able to recognize and adopt these newer trends and analysis to their thought process and writing. With careful vetting, these bloggers would bring a diversity of viewpoints that would encompass more of the fanbase's opinions. That would generate more discussion and interest in the sport and the HOF.


    If for no other reason, as legacy media dies, the voting membership of the BBWAA will continue to shrink, until it achieves irrelevancy. At some point, the Hall of Fame will have to move on, so it would be best to start the discussion now while there are enough voting members of the BBWAA to develop a smooth transition. Otherwise, we will end up with very few voting members left, and in all likelihood, almost no one making it into Cooperstown as it will become more and more difficult to achieve that 75% threshold (and the biases of those few voting members will have a greater and greater impact on that 75% threshold). Do we really want the voting members of the BBWAA to become like the "veterans committee" in terms of the difficulty in voting players into the HOF?

  3. On 12/27/2020 at 6:39 AM, Inside Pitch said:

    I'm neither a yes or no, the game is constantly changing and so is how it's covered..... 

    That said, I can't think of a single current "blogger" who's opinions merit consideration for inclusion in the vote other than some of the guys writing for sites devoted to statistical analysis or those who eventually graduated to actual media outlets (Sarris, Fagerstrom, Keri, Pertiello). The best example of a blog writer who went on to bigger things may be Aaron Gleeman, who blogged about the Twins and who started/created The Hardball Times before moving on to NBC, Baseball Prospectus, and is currently at The Athletic.  Everyone's favorite prospect punching bag Keith Law is another.  It's harder to point to the analytical guys writing for sites like FGs and BBP, since they keep getting hired by MLB teams (Cameron, Sullivan, Bendix)...  Thing is those guys all proved they had the chops to look at players objectively and showed a deeper understanding of the game and of the players who truly stood out from the rest... and that (IMO), is the biggest issue. The vast majority of bloggers are homers and the thought of guys like that being gatekeepers for the HOF is frightening.

    Bill James' excellent "What Happened to the Hall of Fame? Baseball, Cooperstown, and the Politics of Glory" goes a long ways towards highlighting the issues with potentially extending the vote to bloggers IMHO.

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply.


    I can think of several bloggers who would fit this profile. Many baseball books have been written by people with blogs/podcasts (I guess I'd be using the term "blogger" a bit loosely to encompass a more wide range of people). As I said earlier, the people working for MLBTradeRumors would easily be qualified to vote. And, for reasons that I'll post below, I think even some dedicated team sites could be and should be allowed to vote. 


    The goal should be to expand the thinking and to generate more interest in the sport. As I said in the article, it is the Hall of Fame, and to that end, it should be represent the interests and thoughts of the fans who go there. Bloggers, even some team site bloggers, would be in the best position to represent those interests.


    Again, I'm not talking about the vast majority of bloggers, but, with some vetting and criteria, it would be easy to weed out those who lack the depth of knowledge and analytical abilities to be voting. But, then again, looking at the voting totals of the BBWAA (particularly those who did not get 100 percent of the vote), it's not like the BBWAA can claim that all of their voting members have the knowledge and analytical abilities to always get it right either.

  4. 7 minutes ago, floplag said:

    Extending the voting body isnt as important as setting some criteria and taking personal butthurt out of it in my view.
    Im not opposed to it per say, but lets be real about who bloggers follow.. Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox... teams with large rabid followings to get the clicks and responses they need for content.  Im not sure I would consider many of them really that knowledgeable of the game as a whole, just whatever their audience wants to discuss. 
    The MLB media needs o get over a lot of things.. whu spurned them, who wasnt the nicest guy, frankly even the steroid era, since most of them were complicit in that whole thing then threw the players under the bus when the shit hit the fan. 
    Once all of these things are addressed, then expand the voting pool where it makes sense.
    Sidenote, its time to put Rose in there... but im sure thats an other debate.  

    There'd have to be a way to balance it out for all teams so that all teams are represented. Teams should be allowed to vet and recognize the bloggers that they know and trust, and teams should get equal numbers to represent them. And, there would need to be some generic positions as well, for those writers at MLBTradeRumors.com and some other sites as well.


    If the voting membership were expanded, it would lead to more writing as more people would want to participate. And, that would lead to more interest in the sport. That would be a good thing for baseball.


    I don't see many of the voting members of the BBWAA getting over their issues as easily as you suggest. The better solution would be to expand the voting and open it up more to a greater diversity of opinions.

  5. 44 minutes ago, Revad said:

    Nice argument. I think that some bloggers should be able to vote.

    Thanks. As I said, the eligibility requirements would need to be flushed out. But, think about the writers are MLBTradeRumors.com. How many hundreds of thousands of fans read their material. They will never get to vote for the Hall of Fame, and yet, fans consider them "experts" on the game.


    Many legacy media sites have essentially "bloggers" writing commentary about teams and the sport. So, again, they will never get a vote even though they are writing constantly about it. 


    I believe that there could be and should be some ways to vet some bloggers (again to separate the idiots with keyboards from those who have more writing experience and analysis) to represent teams and the fans. Leaving the vote to just those members of the BBWAA no longer makes as much sense as it did in 1936. The world has changed a bit from then.



  6. Definitely a good kid and a bright spot in our organization. So much of our talent is so young, like William, that our system will become much better as they mature. 


    You can see in the video that William has a lot more projectable power and should pick up a couple of MPHs on his FB. With improved control, he has the potential to be a great threat on both sides of the game. 

  7. 2 hours ago, Jeff Fletcher said:

    Yeah. They have considered it. I am not sure why it’s never happened. I agree it would be nice. 

    Its not like it would be that much cheaper though to just get sports. It’s pretty cheap now. 

    Yep. It's just a way to sell more subscriptions. Not that I don't like other writers at the OC Register, it's just, I'd definitely pay for your work. So, they should sell what people want to buy. Or, at least do a limited promo for just the baseball season and the occasional offseason articles that you do. 


    Anyways, keep up the good work this season! 

  8. In response to several questions:


    Where would they play? I believe Arizona is open for business and we have more than enough fields to handle that many players. We may need to put them up somewhere, but again, I did factor in a budget for doing that.


    Why so many players? Well, in order to really develop, they need not only drills, but in game experience. To gain that, they need to scrimmage, so, with that many players, they could sign and develop two teams of HS players and two teams of college players to scrimmage and get in-game experience. That would be an extreme number, because they could mix in the Minor Leaguers drafted in the last year or two to continue to develop them. Since not all clubs are going to do this, we would need enough players to have enough for full scrimmages to give as much in-game like experience as we can.


    What budget has been cut? The scouts and player development people who have been let go. As someone else pointed out, the whole point of doing this is to have the scouts who have the relationships to get players to sign. The money ($20l) won't be enough to get players to sign necessarily. But, the relationships and the commitment to develop the players this year would go a LONG way to convincing plenty of players to sign. As pointed out, there will be a logjam of players next year, making the draft class much larger (and driving down the potential for a high bonus), so having the connections and the commitment to develop this summer, we could probably convince more players to sign with us. 


    While I know that won't happen, it's what I would do if I were running the team.

  9. Here's the thing. If Arte hadn't cut the scouting budget, and instead went big on it, we would be in a much better position to identify those who would sign and would bring value. And, if he he went big on committing to pay and develop minor leaguers this summer, he would be in a better position to attract and sign those players.


    I know that we aren't going to do this, and that he did cut the budget, and I think that we will pay a big price for that down the road. There is talent and opportunity here, and I see us missing out on it. 

  10. Thanks ALF. I disagree. I think many players who might go in the later rounds might realize that they will get squeezed over the next few years, and if we committed to not just drafting, but then developing them, might take that opportunity. Most teams won't do much to develop their players until the fall at best. That's going to leave a lot of players falling behind. It's not just about signing the players, it's the commitment to finding a state that is open and developing our players that is what would make the difference. We will need to sign plenty of players to develop those who will make it, but, if we did, that would pay dividends for years to come.


    I know that we aren't going to do this, and, I find that rather frustrating as a fan. 

  11. 2 hours ago, Chuckster70 said:


    But let me ask this a different way?

    If the Angels were to select a position player in this draft over a pitcher, which one would you be happy with them selecting?

    Yes, I would be rather unhappy about it. This is a pitching heavy draft, and there are and will be plenty of good arms to draft this year. Not that you draft for need, but, I think the chances of a pitcher developing into a better player than a position player, after missing this entire season, and possibly the Minor League season, are greater than what you can get with a position player at our slot. I think the possibility to sign better hitting after the draft is over is greater than to sign pitching. I would love to get Meyer, Detmer, Crotchet, etc. 

  12. 7 minutes ago, Bronson said:

    Hmmmm very interesting. Don’t see how you get a front end arm without giving up Adell or gutting the farm.

    It's possible that some of our prospects, that other clubs did not value as highly, step it up and prove themselves worthy of a higher value. Or, they may become more expendable if others step it up in our organization. Our surplus of Of prospects could have plenty of value. 

  13. 1 hour ago, ettin said:

    So let us HYPOTHETICALLY discuss a potential Red Sox/Angels trade based on David Price and Mookie Betts to understand how likely or unlikely it would be and the impact for the Angels.

    First of all let's discuss the elephant in the room which is team payroll. Currently we sit at about $190M in both 2020 Club Payroll and Actual Club Payroll (AAV). It is my speculative opinion that Moreno may have splurged for both Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon and exceeded the CBT threshold, if the former had not slipped away. Those two clearly represent Moreno's "right player" in terms of the potential outlay of payroll dollars. Mookie Betts is certainly a "right player" in every sense of the term. David Price was a "right player" at one point but it is debatable if he still is now and he carries such a large contract, relative to his recent performance history, that he carries negative "surplus" value, despite excellent peripherals in 2019.

    There is a real probability that the Red Sox have had great difficulty trying to find a taker for Price without eating a lot of his contract and, realizing they are not getting the interest they want and need due to their desire to get below the CBT threshold, they are now exploring the packaging option of David and Mookie together. This may (or may not) represent an opportunity for another team to take advantage of the Red Sox' Luxury Tax situation.

    Mookie is in his final year of arbitration control and will make $27M in 2020. David Price has three years of team control at $32M per season for a total of $96M. Using rudimentary surplus value projections you get the following:

    David Price (2.6 WAR, 2.35 WAR, and 1.85 WAR from 2020-2022): -$30M

    Mookie Betts (6.75 WAR for 2020): $45M (really the number is about $35M but you can make a case of performance scarcity here that increases his value)

    Remember that these surplus values include their total salaries, it represents their "extra" value beyond what they are owed.

    So, packaged together, they are only worth about $15M give or take (again these are really rough estimates). That is the equivalent value of a high quality prospect (think #3-#10 on most teams prospect lists), which, for the Angels, is someone like one of Jordyn Adams, Jose Soriano, Jeremiah Jackson, or Chris Rodriguez for example. For reference, Jo Adell, a Top 5 prospect, is worth about $60M-$70M and Brandon Marsh, recently ranked #43, is probably worth close to $40M.

    The Red Sox have needs in the back-end of their rotation (replacing Rick Porcello), 2B (they signed Peraza but he is not a solution and Pedroia may be out for good), OF, bullpen, and perhaps 1B. They have supposedly asked for another teams Top 2 prospects, which, when looking at the above combined value is a pretty ridiculous ask if they are not throwing in a lot of money.

    So what are the scenarios here?:

    1) The Red Sox want to remove all of Price's and Betts' salaries from their books, thus they will only get back approximately $15M in return value.

    2) The Red Sox want to get a bit more out of the deal so they offer to pick up a total of $15M of Price's contract, say $5M per season over the remaining three years of his contract, so they can potentially extract about $30M in return value.

    3) The Red Sox want to get a more substantial prospect to headline the deal and are willing to eat between $20M-$50M of Price's contract to potentially extract approximately $35M-$65M in return value.

    4) The Red Sox are dead serious about getting an organization's Top 2 prospects and are willing to possibly pick upward of $40M-$80M of Price's and/or Betts contracts to possibly pull down $55M-$95M in return value.

    To be honest, these scenarios will all be different based on the team that Boston wants to trade with so we will stay focused on a HYPOTHETICAL Angels trade, working in reverse order of the scenarios:

    4) The Top 2 prospects scenario will not work for the Angels. Giving up both Adell and Marsh is preposterous and will not happen. Acquiring one year of Mookie and three years of Price only makes sense if Adell or Marsh is still in our farm system because we will have to replace Betts once he is gone, unless he signs an extension as part of the trade which seems really remote based on Mookie's own comments. Additionally this may not solve their payroll issues to Boston's satisfaction, creating an inability to create enough payroll space to make other moves.

    3) In this scenario the Red Sox could end up asking for Adell by himself (which I think the Angels would 100% refute) but more likely they ask for Brandon Marsh as the centerpiece and then add on a player like Jose Suarez, Luis Rengifo or Matt Thaiss plus a near or actual MLB-ready bullpen piece. They would still have to pick up a large portion of Price's (or maybe some of Betts) salary, something on the order of $40M-$50M. However, this may still be too much money for the Red Sox to retain in regard to their payroll issues. For the Angels they keep Jo Adell in this scenario and keep him down on the farm for the season unless they experience an injury at the Major League level (high quality depth) and can either trade Betts at the deadline or get a compensation pick at the end of the year when they make Mookie a Qualifying Offer which he will almost certainly turn down. Adell with an extra season of experience in the Minors could take over in 2021 instead.

    2) To me, if an actual trade went down, this would be the more likely scenario for both sides. The Red Sox want a lot for Mookie but combining him with Price drags their combined value and potential return down a lot. By picking up something on the order of $15M give or take, they could pick up a top prospect from the Angels, say a Jordyn Adams type, plus another piece like Suarez, Rengifo, or Thaiss for example. The money they save will be tremendous (over $100M) and give them a lot more flexibility for 2020. For the Angels they KEEP both Adell and Marsh while trading off from their depth surplus. This scenario may not be satisfactory for the Red Sox to be honest but they are in a position where they really want to dive below the CBT threshold and probably don't have many options available to them.

    1) This scenario is less likely because the Red Sox don't need to remove all of Price's and Betts salaries from their books and only get one #3-#10 type prospect back in return. They too have some leverage in any trade discussion because they only need to eliminate about $40M-$60M total to have operational payroll room for 2020. For the Angels this might be a great scenario because they only give up, likely, one or two prospects, maximum, although they will carry a lot of payroll on their books, which would be the downside for the next three seasons as seen below for reference:

    Total Club Payroll for 2020-2022 with Price and Betts Full Contracts:


    Total Actual Club Payroll (AAV) for 2020-2022 with Price and Betts Full Contracts:


    As you can see, taking on Price's and Betts' full contracts would put us over the CBT threshold significantly for 2020 and we would be borderline in 2021, tying up financial flexibility for the next two years, but giving the team a very high quality player (Betts) for 2020 and an aging, but still useful, starter for the next three years. Price's only injury, as far as I can tell, has been this wrist issue (cyst surgery), so in terms of health it is hard to characterize David as an injury risk and he still had really good peripherals in 2019 (21% K-BB% which is strong for a starter). From a risk perspective having Mookie not only increases the odds of the Angels making the playoffs (along with Price in the rotation) but it allows Adell to get more seasoning in the Minors and will likely make him a more finished product to start 2021.

    There are only a small group of teams in the Majors that will take on this type of money, giving a large market team like the Angels an opportunity to use their financial muscle to leverage Boston's need into a value proposition for the Halos, potentially.

    Make no mistake though, if the Angels do this, they are all-in for the next three seasons and will have poor financial flexibility which will be counterproductive during the off-season and at the trade deadlines. On the flip side they will have retained most, if not all, of their farm system depth, creating a really nice surplus of prospects that could be used to supplement the Major League roster or used as currency in trade.

    For me personally, in this HYPOTHETICAL scenario, if Moreno has the balls to do this, spending-wise, and Eppler feels enough pressure regarding his job to make this leap it may be a gamble worth taking as you are getting an above average quality starter and you are getting a superstar right fielder in his prime right now that could make a 2020 playoff run a much likelier reality than it already is. For me it would have to be in that Scenario #2 or maybe #3 realm, although I like Marsh a lot and would hate to lose him. The thing that makes me hesitate is the loss of flexibility in payroll but if you are adding 7+ wins to the 2020 season that could be a real difference maker and, if you have the Red Sox eat more of the money from 2021, rather than 2020, the Angels could only be over the CBT threshold for the 2020 season, potentially.

    What would you do?

    I always enjoy reading your detailed analysis. You have really grown in the depth of evidence and thought in your approaches.


    In no way would I trade Adell or Marsh. 


    I do, however, see a possible HYPOTHETICAL trade scenario where Boston could unload both Price and Betts, but even then, I wouldn't see them doing it. In order to get the deal done, Boston would have to engineer a 3-way trade with two teams that each need a piece and had a complementing piece to trade back to the other team to offer insurance on the deal. Here is one possible scenario that could work. The Angels need pitching and have a young OF prospect to trade (Adams). The Dodgers are in a win-now mode (with a definite chip on their shoulder for the past few seasons thanks to the Trashtos). The Dodgers have young pitching in the minors. So, imagine if the Angels trade Barria to the Red Sox and get back Price + $20 million ($10 million in years 1 and 2 remaining of Price's deal) to offset the cost. The Dodgers trade Joc Pederson to the Red Sox and receive back Betts. The Angels trade Adams to the Dodgers to provide OF insurance to them if Betts leaves as a FA and the Dodgers trade Josiah Gray to the Angels and $10 million in year 3 of Price's deal.


    Why this would work is that the Angels get a young future starter who could be ready in a year in case Price does not return to form. The Dodgers get back an OF who could be ready within 2 years in case Betts walks. The Dodgers would get the draft pick, which is quite valuable, and the more valuable of the two players (Betts) hence they are kicking in the remaining cash to get Price's contract down to a more realistic value for the Angels. The Red Sox get what they want--salary relief and something better for Betts than just a draft pick. They get an OF and a pitcher back to fill those spots. 


    Again, I'm not advocating this deal, and I don't see it as likely, but that's about the only way I could see a deal like this working. I don't see the Red Sox going for this deal, but, if they truly want out, that's how I'd see them having to structure the deal. 

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