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Long-term extensions for star players may be shortsighted moves by teams.

On Opening Day Eve (ignoring the two games held at the crack of dawn to accommodate the Tokyo Dome venue), the big story in baseball is a pair of big-money deals—Matt Cain and Joey Votto got paid, man. What’s interesting is that these were players years away from free agency, who certainly didn’t need to be signed now.

Can these deals go bad? Of course they can. An object lesson is Ryan Howard, whose contract extension has managed to look worse and worse over the past few seasons, even though it won't start covering real baseball games until tomorrow. Will they go bad? It’s hard to say, and the esteemable Ben Lindbergh does a better job covering the possibilities than I could. That frees us up to consider the larger implications—what does all this money mean?

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The signing deadline for amateur draftees passed last night, but concerns about the system remain.

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 audiencesend us your suggestion.

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October 15, 2009 12:45 pm

Tweaking the Talent System


Kiley McDaniel

Hard-slotting, appeasing the NCAA, and a possible golden age for college baseball.

Last week, I kicked off this series by laying out the facts about the looming CBA negotiations and how the draft could be affected. When speaking with executives and agents, it quickly becomes obvious that the sides have different assumptions about what the draft should accomplish. There are clear-cut party lines where agents and executives will disagree, just like some small- and large-market clubs are sure to differ.

An AL executive put some of these assumptions in perspective: "The fewer restrictions there are for the club to get the player they want, the better. Trading picks moves us closer to that. If [Stephen] Strasburg isn't the best guy for the Nationals, they can trade down and get value as opposed to passing, getting nothing in return and being killed in the media." This sounds like what I talked about last week; if we assume hard-slotting is in place, teams like trading picks because it allows "smart teams to be smart" and leverage their valuations and strategies.

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October 5, 2009 2:25 pm

Tweaking the Talent System


Kiley McDaniel

With the CBA due to run out after the 2011 season, the industry is considering reforms of the ways amateur talent gets brought into the game.

When looking back at the economics of signing July 2nd talent, the amateur draft kept coming up. The draft indirectly ties to the Latin American market in a number of ways, and this relationship could be changing due to the other topic that kept coming up: the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which expires in December of 2011. The most talked-about reforms-mandated slots in the draft and a worldwide draft-have been kicked around in the past, but have gained more support in recent years. Covering amateur baseball is about looking forward, so I'll spend the next few articles breaking down the issues that both sides will be considering when they come to the table.

Selig's Stance

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Is the draft broken? And what can be done to fix it?


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