Our first look inside the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
This is Part 1 of a multi-part series on the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement
On November 22 of last year, Major League Baseball and the MLBPA did something that the NFL and the NBA could not: reached a new labor agreement without a work stoppage. For those that follow baseball’s labor history, it has become a miraculous run. By the time the current five-year Basic Agreement (read here) expires on December 1, 2016, it will have been 21 years of uninterrupted labor peace.
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Now that we've had some time to reflect on the new CBA's rules about the amateur draft, does it still seem like death to small-market teams?
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
Dustin Palmateer once played division III junior college baseball, finishing with a career batting average below the Mendoza Line. He now writes about the game. You can reach him via email.
The introduction of the swingman role to Tout Wars presents an interesting set of scenarios.
Earlier this week, Tout Wars made a couple of announcements for the upcoming fantasy season. First, I found out who my competitors would be in the Mixed League as the third and final lineup for Tout Weekend was set. Additionally, rule changes for 2012 were announced, and one of those changes is quite dramatic and unique.
Prefacing these rule changes, the Tout crew wrote:
As teams and players settle in arbitration or avoid it entirely, refresh your memory on how the process works.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
...Unfortunately, the way the game is played has forced him to be that way.
There is no doubt in my mind that on Wednesday night Scott Cousins was guilty of a dirty play. When the Marlins’ outfielder was trying to score from third on fly ball, he made no attempt to reach home plate. As he neared home, he launched himself into Buster Posey’s upper body, apparently having made the decision that his best chance of scoring was to ensure that Posey was forcibly separated from the baseball, and that he himself would be able to find the plate in the confusion that followed.
He was probably correct about that decision, even though, in this case, Posey had already dropped the ball before any contact occurred. Posey was acting the way catchers are currently taught—receive the ball, and then drop to your knees across the front of the plate to block the runner’s access to the plate, while making the tag for the out. In any number of games on similar plays, the catcher does make a clean catch, the runner slides, the catcher’s shin guards hit the ground ahead of the runner’s foot, cutting off his path to the plate, the tag comes does down, and the out is recorded. Cousins’ play, like many before him, is an accepted part of the game today—and an evolutionary adaptation to the behavior of the catcher. It is what you have to do to beat the catcher’s strategy. As I said before, I have no doubt that it was a dirty play, but baseball has accepted this particular pattern of dirt, and I can’t fathom how any punishment or retribution would be justified in the face of this organizational pattern.
Wrapping up a tour through the baseball rulebook with a look at discretionary calls, interference, neighborhood plays, the strike zone, rule changes, and instant replay.
Most baseball fans feel they know the rules, but many of them are actually misunderstood, at least their nuances and technical definitions. Even you are fairly well-versed in the rulebook, a primer never hurts, so BP asked the MLB Umpiring Department about 10 of them. Major League Baseball umpire supervisor Charlie Reliford, a 19-year major-league umpire, and Major League Baseball umpire supervisor Larry Young, a 23-year major-league umpire, provided the definitions and clarifications.
Major League Baseball, for the sake of attracting or keeping fans, needs to pick up the pace of games.
As compelling as the action of some post-season games have been, the slow pace of the contests has revived cries for a sped up game, with Peter Gammons and Buster Olney suggesting, respectively, that trips to the mound by coaches and managers be banned and the imposition of a pitch clock. It is easy to sympathize with such requests. None of us are getting any younger, and baseball is asking a lot of us by demanding that we devote more time to a single game than it would take to watch a David Lean epic (“Doctor Zhivago,” 3: 17; “Lawrence of Arabia,” 3: 36) or undergo any one of numerous intensive surgical procedures. If you went under for kidney transplant surgery (average time: two to three hours) during the first inning of Wednesday’s Rangers-Yankees game in the ALCS, the doctors could have woken you up in time for the seventh.
The former major-league pitcher talks about various scientific aspects of the game.
Dave Baldwin is unique among former big-league pitchers. After a 16-year professional baseball career, including stints with the Senators (1966-1969), Brewers (1970), and White Sox (1973), Baldwin was a geneticist, engineer, and artist. He is now retired and living in Yachats, Oregon. His "Baseball Paradoxes" can be found at http://www.snakejazz.com.
A look at the draft soap opera that opens next week, and the convoluted machinations of the case before us.
Recent chats and my e-mail inbox have shown that our readers find the current draft soap opera a compelling story. Opinions are wide ranging, but beyond the issues themselves, numerous readers have asked about how the process actually works. Beyond the decision and who it may favor, how will a resolution come about? Here's a quick primer on what the grievance contains, and the steps to be taken on the way to a final ruling.
A few recent rule changes might alter the landscape of college baseball, and not for the better.
Last week, we saw that numerous factors--such as an increase of television time--has college baseball geared for an upcoming surge in visibility. The problem, as many coaches have pointed out, is that the NCAA's misguided focus on academics will handicap the ability for college coaches to reach an optimum quality level. In 2005, the NCAA implemented the measurement of an Academic Progress Rate into collegiate athletics in an attempt to gauge how different sports were succeeding in their attempt to create student-athletes. College baseball quickly became the focus of the NCAA after it received a bad score, later blamed both on a low rate of progression toward degrees and a high transfer rate.
Bryan runs down the pitcher-heavy list of Rule 5 eligibles to see who might be worth a flyer in tomorrow's draft.
More than any other opportunity, the Rule 5 Draft is a chance for executives to combine their evaluation and analytical skills to steal diamonds in the rough from each other. In 2006, 19 players were taken in a draft that some were predicting would only feature a few pick-worthy players. Remarkably, seven stuck with their new organization for the entire season, compared to just three in 2005. Josh Hamilton, Joakim Soria, Kevin Cameron, and Jared Burton were all significant bargains, despite rule changes that made the available player list substantially shorter. Forty-man rosters are simply not large enough to hold all the good players in baseball, and like every season, 2007 offers a bevy of role players that can contribute to a big-league team starting in April.
Who ends up getting the credit if we let the act define the stat, instead of the other way around?
Two weeks ago I proposed a new way of defining saves. The save had been instituted to reward the evolving role of the fireman, the reliever who came into a game in a tight situation to save the day. However, today's closer rarely faces a game on the line situation, unless he creates it himself. The rule defined the role over the years, turning saves into relatively passive activities. It's time to refine the rule, or introduce a more active statistic to move the closer back to the role intended, the pitcher who saves the day.