Thursday, December 31, 2020

Newsletter Excerpt, December 31, 2020 -- "May 7, 1967"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

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--
 
"The Chairman of the Board. Hoot. The Franchise. Mr. Tiger. Knucksie. Tom Terrific. The Little General.

"The year 2020 took so much from us. As we leave it behind, let’s do so while remembering all that these men gave to us."

 
 
 

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Newsletter Excerpt, December 30, 2020 -- "One Embarrassing Trade"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $49.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

--
 
"Ricketts, though, doesn’t need the Cubs to win anymore. Ricketts got his basemall, and he got his own regional sports network. He used the incredible amount of money generated by that first Cubs title in 108 years to fund ventures that have nothing to do with wins and losses, ventures that will produce millions upon millions that don’t have to be shared with the other owners, that don’t have to be spent on baseball players. By his actions, Ricketts has proven to be the worst type of sports owner: He wants the next dollar more than he wants the next win."
 

Monday, December 28, 2020

Newsletter Excerpt, December 28, 2020 -- "Padres/Rays Trade"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $49.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

--
 
"If we’re going to evaluate free-agent deals and contract extensions as if the money doesn’t matter, then we have to do it with trades, too. A team can send away the most famous and highest-paid player in a trade and still make a good baseball deal. The Rays did just that."

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

From the Archives: "40 Years Ago"

 This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $49.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

--

 

The Joe Sheehan Newsletter
Vol. 7, No. 127
December 23, 2015

Mike Leake signed with the Cardinals yesterday for $80 million over five years, with an option for 2021. On its face, it's a huge deal for a pitcher who in six seasons has never received a Cy Young vote, who has never had an ERA below 3.37 (or an ERA+ above 112), who has thrown one 200-inning season. Mike Montgomery threw as many shutouts in a week last year as Leake has in his career. In six seasons, 177 games, 1083 2/3 innings, Leake has been worth 9.1 bWAR. At his best, including in 2015, he's been a three-win pitcher. It's hard, with no context, to understand how a pitcher with Mike Leake's track record, a pitcher who the casual fan had never heard of before yesterday, a pitcher who probably spent time on the waiver wire last year in your fantasy league, is now going to make a half-million bucks a start.

The seeds for Leake's contract weren't planted when he was drafted in 2009, though, or when he first picked up a baseball as a kid in California. They were planted 40 years ago today, far away from a baseball field, far away from baseball weather. They were planted on a piece of paper that changed the baseball industry, changed the sports industry, forever. On December 23, 1975, arbitrator Peter Seitz ruled that the reserve clause in the standard player's contract could not be renewed in perpetuity, but rather, for one year after the last signed deal. A player -- in this case, Dodgers pitcher Andy Messersmith -- who played through a season without signing a contract, playing on the renewed terms of his old one, would be a free agent after that season.

Baseball's owners reacted with their usual calm and forward thinking, locking out the players after the decision. Eventually, the MLBPA negotiated the terms with which we are familiar today, that a player with at least six years of service time can play out his current contract and seek employment with any team. At the time, MLB's owners claimed that free agency would destroy the game. What they learned, what we all learned, was that forcing teams to compete for talent would enrich not just the talent, but the teams themselves beyond anyone's imagination. Mike Leake's contract is one product of the Seitz decision. Another is $75 million a year for the rights to televise Arizona Diamondbacks games. Another is the average team being worth $1.2 billion. In 1975, Bill Veeck bought the Chicago White Sox, a historic team in a big market, for $10 million; in 2012, Ron Fowler bought the San Diego Padres, a 1969 expansion team with the smallest reach in the majors, for $800 million.

Forcing the owners to compete for talent brought baseball's business into the 20th century. An industry filled with sleepy family ownerships had to innovate, to grow, to compete not just for that talent but for revenue to pay that talent. The reserve clause was not just a barrier to the free flow of baseball talent, it was a binky for teams that were happy to throw open the doors in April, lock them up again in September, and consider that their business plan.

Those numbers above aren't just about free agency, of course. George Steinbrenner didn't invent cable television or the societal trends that have made televised sports the mother's milk of that dying industry. He did, however, lead the race to cable by moving Yankees games from free TV to cable in the 1980s, and later, to a team-owned network in the 2000s. Bud Selig wasn't the first owner to play cities off one another in an effort to get craven politicians to hand over the public purse. He just perfected the plan as the sport's commissioner for 20 years.

When you look at the big picture, though, you have to go back to 40 years ago, to Seitz examining the standard player's contract not as a vested party, but as a lawyer. You have to respect his dispassionate judgment in the face of incredible pressure; Seitz was fired by the owners, as was their right, immediately upon issuing his ruling. You have to appreciate his fealty not to arguments about the merits of freedom or the survival of baseball, but to the letter of the contract. It's a measure of how lazy the owners were, how convinced they were of their sacred right to the work product of baseball players, that the reserve clause was worded as weakly as it was. Had they simply written the clause differently at a time when they held all the power to do so, perhaps Seitz would have had to rule in their favor. Perhaps there would have been no weak contract clause to challenge. Perhaps players would have been bound to the teams holding their contracts in perpetuity, those teams would never have been forced to compete for talent, and baseball would never have moved into the 20th, much less the 21st, century.

We'll never know, of course. What we know today is that baseball is an industry that generates $9.5 billion in revenue, with franchises worth $36 billion, with players being paid close to $4 billion. The Peter Seitz decision made baseball players wealthy, but it made baseball's owners wealthy as well.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Newsletter Excerpt, December 22, 2020 -- "Howie Kendrick"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

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--
 
"The Nationals had been losing Game Seven of the World Series, and now they were winning, because Howie Kendrick hit a home run. He was, in that moment, every eight-year-old baseball fan who has ever had the dream, everyone who ran around his bedroom in his pajamas, who slapped rocks over the barn, who wanted nothing more than to be the biggest baseball hero in the world."
 

Monday, December 21, 2020

Newsletter Excerpt, December 21, 2020 -- "Chris Young and the Rangers"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $49.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

--
 
"Daniels, having lost half his job description, has bet the other half on someone who has never done the job being asked of him. It’s a fascinating experiment, a big bet by Daniels that front-office experience just doesn’t matter. There are recent examples -- Brodie van Wagenen with the Mets, Dave Stewart with the Diamondbacks -- that show this can set an organization back by years when it goes wrong."
 
 

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Newsletter Excerpt, December 20, 2020 -- "Money's Too Tight (To Not Mention)"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $49.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

--
 
"This is a very detailed report, released by the league, of just what the players made in 2020. Wages and bonuses and buyouts and even information, if implied, of the value of non-wage benefits such as health insurance. It’s a remarkable amount of data on what teams are investing in the players. It’s also not unusual to get this; the league releases this information pretty much every year around this time. The teams tell you what the players have earned, every single year."
 

Friday, December 18, 2020

Newsletter Excerpt, December 18, 2020 -- "2021 Top 100"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

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--
 
"1. Fernando Tatis, Jr.

A little bit position, a little bit that he’ll run a lot, a little bit I want to have even more reason to watch him. I don’t think much separates the top three guys here. --J.

2. Mike Trout
3. Ronald Acuña, Jr.
4. Mookie Betts
5. Gerrit Cole

The one pitcher I trust right now, a lot more than even the guy at #14. --J.

6. Trevor Story
7. Trea Turner
8. Juan Soto
9. Christian Yelich
10. Francisco Lindor"

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Newsletter Excerpt, December 17, 2020 -- "Fun With Numbers: The Shortest Year"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.


Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $49.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

--
 
"The minor-league doubleheader rule, shortening games played in doubleheaders to seven innings apiece, was the bigger factor. Some scheduled seven-inning games needed extra innings -- creating “runner on second to start the eighth” weirdness -- so teasing them all out is a bit of a challenge. There were 101 wins, though, in games in which the winning team threw exactly seven innings, a decent approximation of the total number of seven-inning games scheduled. There were 898 games played, so seven-inning games accounted for about one in every nine last year -- enough to make this the shortest season in baseball history by any measure."
 

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Newsletter Excerpt, December 15, 2020 -- "Why We're Bored"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.


Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

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--
 
"So teams aren’t looking at two months to camps, but something closer to ten weeks and maybe as much as three months. Front offices have more time to wait and see what reaching for that 84th win will be worth, and whether Nelson Cruz is a fit for their roster or not. If home games in April are eventually traded for home games in October, the whole season pushed back a month, they’ll know they have a few more bucks coming in as well. The intransigence of these front offices isn’t much fun, but it’s understandable."

Friday, December 11, 2020

Joe Sheehan Newsletter, December 11, 2020 -- "Dave Dombrowski and the Phillies"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.

Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $49.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

--
 

The Joe Sheehan Newsletter
Vol. 12, No. 105
December 11, 2020

After months of denying he wanted back into a major-league front office, repeatedly averring his commitment to a group trying to bring an expansion team to Louisville Nashville, Dave Dombrowski apparently changed his mind. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that Dombrowski is now ready to take his talents to South Broad, joining the Philadelphia Phillies as their president of baseball operations.

Dombrowski was last seen being dumped by the Red Sox not a year after a team he helped build a team that won the World Series. That 2018 squad, a mixture of Ben Cherington’s talent base and Dombrowski’s acquisitions, was one of the best of the last decade. Its title, however, came at significant cost in prospects and contract commitments. The Red Sox, under Dombrowski, had the highest payrolls in franchise history in 2018 and 2019, and, in fact, the highest in baseball in both those years. John Henry was fine with that when he had a .600 team running away with the AL East, less so when the Sox slipped under .500 a season later.

John Henry, having watched his team win four World Series in 15 years, had the luxury of becoming patient, the luxury of emphasizing, at least for a little while, process rather than results. In Chaim Bloom, he has a team-builder also likely to assemble a great team, but one who is steeped in how to do so without writing the biggest checks.

John Middleton, who owns the largest piece of the Phillies, may not think he has that luxury. Middleton has owned a piece of the Phillies since the 1990s, but it is only since 2015 that he’s been the most prominent member of the ownership group. David Montgomery, not Middleton, got to ride the biggest float in 2008, when Chase Utley and Cliff Lee Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard brought home the hunk of metal. Middleton has presided over a rebuild that started late and has gone sideways. Poor drafting, in particular, has stalled the Phillies short of a playoff berth. Just three drafted-and-developed Phillies -- Aaron Nola, Rhys Hoskins, and Alec Bohm -- were positive contributors last year. Middleton signed off on the two highest payrolls in team history the last two years, pushing up against the luxury-tax threshold in 2020, and got a 109-113 record for his trouble.

Enter Dombrowski, who has as strong a record as any executive over the last 30 years. Dombrowski was responsible for developing much of the 1994 Expos team that lost its chance at a title to the strike. By ’94, though, he’d moved on to Florida, where he was the architect of the 1997 champion Marlins and had a significant hand in the roster of the 2003 champs as well. Again, though, he was gone by the time the latter team won, on to Detroit. Dombrowski’s Tigers won four AL Central titles and two AL pennants in 13 seasons. Let go in 2015, he then quickly moved to Boston and built that 2018 team.

If the first part of Dombrowski’s career was marked by player development in Montreal and Miami, the second part has been much more about going outside his organizations for short-term gain. Those 1997 Marlins had Charles Johnson and Edgar Renteria and Jeff Conine, scouting finds to one degree or another, but the pitching staff was built with money, as was most of the lineup. In Detroit, Dombrowski took over a team that had not reached the playoffs since 1987 nor finished above .500 since 1993. His second team lost 119 games. Three years later, the Tigers had doubled their payroll and reached the World Series. That was the most balanced of his good teams, a mix of free agents, trade acquisitions, and two of the best Tigers draft picks ever: Justin Verlander and Curtis Granderson. Dombrowski would follow that by trading for Hall of Famers Miguel Cabrera and Max Scherzer over his next decade in Detroit.

With the Red Sox, Dombrowski didn’t need to do a slow build. The Sox were two years removed from a World Series. They had a championship-caliber young core in Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Eduardo Rodriguez, along with a top-five farm system about to cough up Rafael Devers and Andrew Benintendi. Dombrowski tapped into that system, trading top prospects for Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel. He then signed J.D. Martinez and David Price to big free-agent deals.

If Middleton expects that kind of result here, he’d be well advised to look through that paragraph again. The Phillies’ miserable drafting during their rebuild has put them far behind where the Sox were five years ago. They blew the top pick in the 2016 draft, taking high-school outfielder Mickey Moniak, who might be a fifth outfielder in the majors. Top-ten picks Cornelius Randolph (#10, 2015) and Adam Haseley (#8, 2017) are not impact players. There’s no Betts or Bogaerts on the field, no Devers or Benintendi on the way. You have to go back quite a way to find the Phillies’ last good international signings. Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis in 2006; Maikel Franco and Hector Neris in 2010; Seranthony Dominguez, if you want to push “good,” in 2011.

The Phillies went into a rebuild in 2013 and have precious little to show for it seven years later. Nola is a #2 starter, a legitimate core player. Hoskins is a bat-only first baseman who is probably a three-win player at his peak, which is happening right now. Scott Kingery will be 27 in April and has a career .233/.284/.393 line. Andrew Knapp is a decent backup catcher. The Phillies traded good prospects for Jean Segura and J.T. Realmuto, both of whom played well in Philadelphia without pushing the team into October. On the horizon are Alec Bohm -- who may not stick at third base -- and Spencer Howard, a #3 to Nola’s #2. Maybe Adonis Medina, a right-handed starter, will contribute in 2021. Beyond that group, there’s nothing much coming for a while.

The 2021 Phillies aren’t close to the 2015 Red Sox, and the competition they face in the short term is deeper than what the AL East put up from 2016-18. If they don’t sign Realmuto, they’re one of the weakest teams in baseball up the mid....oh, what the heck, we’ll do this.

Lineup


LF-R Andrew McCutchen
3B-R Alec Bohm
RF-L Bryce Harper
1B-R Rhys Hoskins
CF-L Adam Haseley
2B-R Scott Kingery
SS-R Jean Segura
C-B Andrew Knapp

That could be a good offensive lineup. The error bars are very wide on what McCutchen and Haseley and Kingery could provide in 2021. What I’m more sure about is that it will be a bad defensive team for the 135 games Roman Quinn is on the injured list.

Bench

OF-B Roman Quinn
OF-L Mickey Moniak
OF-R Kyle Garlick
C-B Rafael Marchan
IF-R Ronald Torreyes
IF-L Kyle Holder

(This is mostly straight from Roster Resource. It’s December 11 and no one’s done anything yet.)

Rotation

SP-R Aaron Nola
SP-R Zack Wheeler
SP-R Spencer Howard
SP-R Zach Eflin
SP-R Vince Velasquez
SP-R Adonis Medina

That’s a very good top two, and a lot of speculation behind it. Velasquez, like Kingery and Quinn, is a player who has exhausted his rope with me. If this is the year the three of them finally meet expectations, the Phillies could run away with the division.

Bullpen

The Phillies had every one of their relievers back to Don Carman get hurt in 2019, and of course 2020 was far too short to evaluate individuals. Hector Neris will be here; the next four Phillies relievers in 2020, by appearances, are all free agents. Check back in February.

This is a much different job for the new employee. Dombrowski isn’t inheriting a pre-peak core the way he did in Boston. He doesn’t have prospects the caliber of Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech to trade for a superstar. He may not have as much room to bump the payroll as John Henry gave him five years ago. He also can’t punt four years while building the team the way he did in Detroit; Middleton didn’t hire him to restart the rebuild.

What can he do? Well, the top three free agents -- Realmuto, Trevor Bauer, and George Springer -- all make the Phillies four to six wins better than they are right now, and all fit the roster. The projected 2021 payroll is around $141 million, per Cot’s, down $60 million from last year’s full-season projection, so sliding in one of those guys wouldn’t be too hard, and adding two of them not out of the question. Given the defensive issues with both players, Dombrowski could trade one of Hoskins or Bohm in a deal for a starter or a center fielder, or Spencer Howard for a more contention-ready starter. One of the things we saw from him in Boston was a willingness to cash in the chips he inherited.

Looking past this year, it seems certain that the Phillies will be in the mix for one of the five shortstops next winter. Segura hits free agency after the 2022 season and the Phillies have no shortstops ready to follow him.

Success has followed Dave Dombrowski from Montreal to Miami to Detroit to Boston, but the specifics of this job, the team he’s inherited, will make continuing that streak a challenge.  

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Newsletter Preview, December 10, 2020 -- "The Money Doesn't Matter"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.


Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $49.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

--
 
(Today's excerpt originally was published in November 2013.)
 
"The money doesn't matter. It's not about whether the marginal cost of a win on the free-agent market is five million bucks or $7 million or $13 million; it's about that framework no longer being the way to evaluate signings. The extra dollars a team might spend to bring a player into the fold -- and turn a contract from a sabermetric win to a sabermetric loss -- are meaningless in the big picture because there's just no other good application of those dollars. The opportunity cost of not signing the player isn't 'having the money to sign someone else,' it's 'having cash and no good way to use it.'" 

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Newsletter Excerpt, December 9, 2020 -- "Baseball and Television"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.


Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $49.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

--
 
"This is where we are now. Fifty years ago, baseball teams were businesses built on bringing people to the ballpark, giving those people a good team to watch, a fun day in the sun, so they would come back again and again. The better the team, the more money you could make. Television was an additional revenue stream, valuable but not dominant. Today, baseball teams are television programming."

Monday, December 7, 2020

Newsletter Excerpt, December 7, 2020 -- "Limbo"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.


Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $49.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

--
 
"This week, though, there is just too much that is unknown. The actual rules by which the 2021 season will be played remain up in the air. Most prominent is the question of whether the National League will again have the designated hitter. Tied to that, because the league wants it to be, is how many teams will qualify for the 2021 postseason. If you’re, say, the Cubs, it’s extremely hard to make decisions about adding or not adding a hitter given those two factors."
 
 

Friday, December 4, 2020

Newsletter Excerpt, December 4, 2020 -- "Mailbag"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.


Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

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--
 
"It’s funny, I’ve been holding off writing about 2021, although some of my concerns have leaked into recent pieces. I don’t think the business model works without fans in the stands. It was one thing to do it over 60 games ad hoc with all the attendant pressure to return. It’s quite another to do it intentionally over 162 games. It seems more and more like there will be some attendance allowed in some places in 2021, but it will vary by market and maybe by month."

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Newsletter Excerpt, December 3, 2020 -- "Non-Tenders"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.


Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

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"Not many other names stand out. Schwarber is popular and famous and has five career WAR through his age-27 season. For all the power he is supposed to have, he’s slugged .500 once in the greatest slugging environment in baseball history. At his best, he has been a two-win player. Another five-plus guy, he might have made $10 million next year in arbitration, and you can find his skill set in a lot of cheaper packages.

"With all that said, there’s maybe a 20% chance he has David Ortiz’s career from here on out. Some team could pick up him, tell him to leave his glove home, and unleash the four-win DH that has been locked inside. When Schwarber hits .285/.390/.555 for the Rays next year, don’t say you weren’t warned."
 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Newsletter Excerpt, December 1, 2020 -- "The Minors"

This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.


Your subscription gets you the newsletter and various related features two to five days a week, more than 150 mailings (more than 200,000 words) a year full of smart, fun baseball writing that you can't find in the mainstream. Subscribers can also access the new Slack workspace, to talk baseball with me and hundreds of other Newsletter subscribers.

You can subscribe to the newsletter for one year for $49.95 using your PayPal account or major credit card.

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"MLB has done an exceptionally poor job of making what should have been a simple case: The affiliation system built in the 1960s is antiquated and needs to be streamlined to match the way ballplayers are developed in the 2020s. MLB was never taking teams away from cities -- certainly not the way minor-league owners routinely do -- just ending its practice of providing paid players to those teams."