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SnakePit Round Table: Peace with honor?

Thank heavens THAT’S over...

Neville Chamberlain (British Prime Minister returns from signing the Munich Agreement 1938. The agreement was a settlement permitting Nazi Germany’s annexation of portions of Czechoslovakia. it is widely regarded as a failed act of appeasement towar British Prime Minister returns from signing the Munich Agreement 1938. The agreement was a settlement permitting Nazi Germany’s annexation of portions of Czechoslovakia. it is widely regarded as a failed act of appeasement toward Germany. The agreement was signed in the early hours of 30 September 1938 (Photo by: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

What do you think of the new CBA overall?

Justin: First off, as a history buff and someone whose Grandfather was in the RAF in WW2, I love the “peace in our time” reference. [Edit by Jim: due to SOMEBODY stealing my headline, I had to switch in another Chamberlain quote...] I kind of like what I have read so far about the new CBA. I like the 12 team playoffs, I think 14 teams would be too many. (even though, as I discovered in my article “Out of a possible 224 playoff spots in 8 seasons, there was one team at .500, 3 at 82 wins, 4 teams with 83 and only 2 that were under .500.”) The universal DH was something we pretty much new about, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I will take a “wait and see” approach regarding the draft lottery. The draft lottery in the NHL, the Oilers had 3 straight #1 lotto pick wins IIRC… there was another year where the NY Rangers won the #1 pick and had only missed the playoffs by a couple of points. (I realize MLB’s is 6 teams).

Makakilo: The best change is the expanded playoffs because it increased the chances that the Diamondbacks reach the playoffs.

The second best change is ‘balanced schedules’ starting in 2023. The Diamondbacks will play 5 less games against opponents in the NL West! The Diamondbacks will play 30 more games against teams in the AL (16 games increases to 46 games).

The most exciting change is awards for placing highly in the MVP, Cy Young, and rookie of the year voting (with the remaining funds split between the top 100 pre-arb players based on a formula to be decided by July 1). The increased attention to the best young players will be welcome!

James: I think it is a band-aid at best. I fully expect to be here again in another five years, wondering if/when the season will start and how many games will be played. I do like that the schedule is going back to a slightly more balanced one. I get that divisional play should mean something, but it was just entirely too much the way it was. So, I guess there is that to look forward to.

ISH95: James is 100% spot on. We’ll do this dog and pony show again in five years. Hopefully next time both sides bring more effective leadership and get it done faster but, we’ll, I’m not going to hold my breath.

None of the changes really make me super excited, but I’m probably most on board for the pitch clock. I really don’t watch baseball to see the AAAA relief pitcher in the fifth inning who is going to be sent down after this at bat go walk about, so this should help with that.

Wesley: I’m with James here. I expect that this is a temporary peace, and there will be another labor stoppage in five years. I like the return of nine inning double-headers, and the end of the autorunner in extra innings. I am in the minority, but I’m also a fan of the NL DH.

Jack: It will be interesting to see how the dust settles over the next two weeks and if the middle class continues to be squeezed out of existence. I think in the short term that will be the case, but 5 years from now players making higher minimums, thus translating into higher arbitration amounts could have the desired effect of leveling things off. But in the short term teams probably continue screwing mid and lower tier free agents in their late 20’s early 30’s.

The biggest questions are whether or not the downward trend in expenditures on players as a percentage of revenue goes back up, and whether any of the measures designed to increase competitiveness have any effect. I doubt they will. Future labor peace depends on these two factors the most.

I like the pitch clock being put into use in 2023. I think that will have the biggest positive effect on the game of all. Not sure about shift banning. Larger bases seems pointless. But if it has the desired effect of bumping up stolen base attempts 10% or more, great. Reversion to 15 day IL and options period can be a double edged sword.

I don’t like expanded playoffs. But this is the half pregnant way of MLB.

Who “won”?

Justin: I am not sure. It seems about even. With maybe a slight lean towards the owners.

Makakilo: The fans won for six reasons:

  • It’s a full season of baseball when many were expecting to be disappointed.
  • The issue of tanking was addressed.
  • Each season, more teams will reach the playoffs.
  • Fans will see their team play more interleague games (balanced schedules).
  • Awards for young players who excel will add excitement to baseball.
  • The agreement should end public statements full of rancor and animosity.

James: The owners won this by a landslide - again. They gave up essentially nothing in exchange for increasing revenues through expanded playoffs. The higher minimum salary was on the horizon anyway. But now, they get something in return for a very modest expenditure, one that will come nowhere close to what they bring in through extra playoff receipts.

ISH95: 10 points to James again. I’m not a financial expert, but even with the 63 million dollar increase to payroll simply because of the new minimum, they are going to walk away with so much more simply by nature of the playoff rights being sold.

Wesley: The owners. James is absolutely right, once again. The owners barely caved, and will continue to reap the benefits of the players hard work.

Jack: Billionaires always win, no matter what. Remember, a Billionaire is

1,000 times richer than a person with One Million in assets

10,000 times richer than a person with 100K in assets

100,000 times richer than a person with 10K in assets

Do you think there will be long-term repercussions to the rancor, either in owner-player relations or from fans?

Justin: This was not 1994, but I am sure it turned off some fans. Owner-player I would say yes.

Makakilo: Long term repercussions will be insignificant. Important issues were addressed in the CBA. A full season of baseball and a five year CBA are wins for everybody.

James: Since the plan is to still play 162 games and now, those games will be played in warmer weather, I suspect fans will be somewhat quick to forgive all the drama. In fact, it may lead to fans clamouring for a permanent later start or an offseason with a compressed calendar to increase the excitement of a week in which a whirlwind of trade and signing activity takes place.

ISH95: As far as fans go, I think the rule changes that were announced will have a bigger effect than the lock out. At the end of the day, only a very small percentage of fans were actually impacted. If you weren’t planning on road tripping to AZ or FL for spring training, you haven’t lost anything.

Owners-players relations are a whole different thing. Sure, Max Scherzer isnt going to be on the executive council next time around, but the players that we’re at the center of everything (league minimum players) are going to be running the union by that point. And if you think they’re going to forget how little the owners wanted to give them a whole 250k raise, I think you’re mistaken.

Wesley: This didn’t affect the season all that much, and the rule changes are likely to help that further. ISH95 is right, I don’t think this will help player-owners relations AT ALL.

Jack: Yes, relations won’t heal quickly if at all between players and owners, and this episode has seen an erosion of fan interest and support. They’ll gain much of that back, but baseball was already waning in the national consciousness, and this definitely accelerated that process

Are you in favor of an international draft?

Justin: Yes, I am. It is common knowledge I am a hockey fan and so to me that is just part of the draft or that it just makes sense? I remember starting to follow baseball more closely whenever that was and being like “International free agent? Huh?”

I will defer to Wes or James on this.

Makakilo: Yes because it would help the Diamondbacks. Derrick Hall said an international draft “levels the playing field.” He seemed to imply that it would take away an advantage of big-market teams. Perhaps that advantage is that in the minds of the international prospects playing for a big market team is more glorious.

James: I’ve been in favour of one for many years now. I just have no faith in MLB to get it right.

ISH95: people whose opinions I trust are in favor of it, so I’m inclined to be as well, but for me personally, I have zero to little personal opinions on it.

Wesley: On one hand, I am in favor of an international draft because it levels the playing field. On the other hand, although many international free agents are signed for cheap deals, some make much more money they would have otherwise. Big example is Yasmany Tomas. He’d never see that kind of money in an international draft, but then again neither would players actually worth a pay day like that. Since the limiting of dollar value of international deals, that has become much less of an issue. At this point, I’m completely in favor, but like James, I don’t know how that could ever be intelligently implemented.

Jack: Wrong direction. All drafts should be eliminated. There should be a high salary floor and a salary cap. Teams should be allotted a bonus pool to use on amateur free agents and nobody can be signed before their 17th birthday or before they’ve graduated high school.

What should the D-backs look to do in the free-agent frenzy?

Justin: Sit pat. I am sure we will see some good old fashioned “sign a bunch of has been relievers and see what sticks.”

Makakilo: Trading is the best approach to acquire a third baseman, which should be a high priority for the Diamondbacks.

In free agency, the Diamondbacks should acquire high ceiling players via low risk minor league signings with team options for an extra season (or alternatively players with years of control via arbitration).

My optimism that the Diamondbacks can add to the Major League roster this season was boosted by Jacks’ AZ Snake Pit article.

“As the Diamondbacks baseball operations department launches into this super compressed window to complete their roster, it appears they have approximately $10M to $20M to work with.” – Jack Sommers

James: Save their resources for later. This team is too far from even dreaming of contending to consider spending in free agency, especially given the lack of high impact talent that matches up with Arizona’s needs. The money would be better spent helping to facilitate trades at the deadline.

ISH95: Should do? Pursue the best players on the market and work on improving the team. Will do? Little to nothing. I think we’ll see a couple lower mid tier relievers and that’s about it. I also think they’ll be more active on the trade market.

One FA I think they should go after is Grienke. I can’t see him costing that much, he won’t cost that much, and you can have a lot worse players in the #5 spot in your rotation.

Wesley: I’m with James. The Dbacks are best served by a wait and see approach, because I think we have no idea what the true talent level of the team is. If this team is awful again, trade away at the deadline. If it is much improved, acquire some new pieces. In the meantime, I think Hazen’s plan of adding some bullpen arms is a good idea.

Jack: What they SHOULD do is increase their budget by 50 million to 150M total instead of the paltry 100M they’re forecast at now and give Hazen real money to work with. Bring in two to three IMPACT players and change the trajectory of the franchise, generating positive momentum which will drive up revenue. Of course that won’t happen. We know exactly what will happen. They’ll sign or trade for low cost relief and platoon options that won’t move the needle forward one iota.

What is something every “junk drawer” must have in order to be considered a proper “junk drawer”?

Justin: I have two drawers in my kitchen that are basically random measuring cups/spoons, serving spoons, wisks etc. I know my drawers are cooking oriented but the object I probably use most often is a wooden spoon that is flat instead of a spoon part. I am sure it has a name and Blake is reading this saying, “Really?”

Growing up my mom always had a measuring tape in the junk drawer.

Makakilo: Scotch tape and duck tape.

Justin: yeah, I was actually thinking that too.

James: I can think of a few things; a random 9-volt battery, one or more of those wooden, spring-loaded clothespins, tape (preferably duct or electrical), a random charger that no one remembers quite what it goes to.

ISH95: Lol Justin half the tools in my kitchen are called “that ****ing thing over there” so no judgment here

My top ones are already taken, so I’m going to go with pliers. I have a perfectly good tool box that I keep everything in, except my pliers. They always end up in the junk drawer.

Wesley: Rubber bands. Weird, single-use kitchen gadgets that you may have forgotten what they even are for. Expired coupons. Batteries that may or may not be new. Tools that should be in the tool box, bur aren’t. One of those single serving packets of tylenol. A lone sandwich bag.

Jack: You’ll need to ask my wife. She’s in charge of the junk drawer. She’s also in charge of the cabinet with the Tupperware and misc. food storage boxes that always fall out allover the place when you open it and whose organization confounds your efforts to match lids with boxes.