Saturday, December 17, 2016

"Competitive Balance"

The Giants have reached new heights:
  • Dodgers, $31.8MM tax bill
  • Yankees, $27.4MM
  • Red Sox, $4.5MM
  • Tigers, $4MM
  • Giants, $3.4MM
  • Cubs, $2.96MM

No more small-time for this outfit! Yes, our beloved orange-and-blackers are now officially out-of-balance and must pony up to the Man. In this case the Man is MLB. The so-called "luxury tax" (officially it is the Competitive Balance Tax) is mostly set aside for something called "industry development" and not for revenue sharing. Whatever, sounds a tad Orwellian. Big payroll, big expectations, wouldn't you say?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.



carmot said...

This is actually the third consecutive year the Giants will surpass the CBT threshold. So, yes, they will pay a 50% penalty on their overage. If the Giants surpass the 2017 $195M CBT by more than $20M, they will be assessed a further penalty of 12% on that overage as well. If they surpass the CBT by $40M+, they'd be taxed an even stiffer penalty PLUS dropping 10 spots in the 2017 MLB Rule IV Draft.

Of course, I've detailed MLB (and specifically the Giants') payroll for the past six years and I don't think a single person gives a crap or finds my numbers to be credible- even though I give every article of supporting evidence/links. ALL media outlets use inaccurate payroll numbers. I've proven this to be FACT. But whatever, I know that I am ridiculed and dismissed by all of Giants Nation.

Anyways, I have the Giants at $6.11M over the CBT (using my own arbitration salary estimates), so a $3.06M penalty. I don't know what the Giants' next move will be, but it sure seems they don't want to spend much more. And it's hard to imagine how they'll EVER be able to reset their CBT penalty. I mean, my projection is they'd only have a $14M budget if they wish to get under the $197M CBT for 2018. And that's with co-ace Cueto gone utilizing his opt-out. So... Giants will continually be in the tax, UNLESS they decide to trade somebody with a hefty salary. No, Cain isn't tradeable. So, Samardzija, Cueto, or Belt? Or maybe Span? Almost certainly ain't happening.

Happy Holidays to all. Cheers.

Zo said...

$3.4 million = chicken feed. As long as they are making money hanoverfish, that is just a business expense.

Of note are the teams that do not seem to have come up with much for their spending. The Tigers and Yankees (defined by an appearance in the playoffs). The Yankees, with the Chapman deal, clearly intend to spend more and soon be back in the playoff hunt. I think the Tigers are looking to get cheaper.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I have read your analyses, carmot (and they are amazingly thorough and seem perfectly credible), but I'll admit I'm one of those content with the "broad strokes" and not too worried about whether the Giants are a few mil short or long! If I have a "ballpark" notion of the budget I'm happy.

What prompted me to post is that I still pinch myself over this team's transformation. They are 21st century darlings! The bumbling franchise I remember so well from those horrid 70s at the 'Stick is now part of the Upper Crust. Who knew such a thing was possible? I keep worrying it is like "My Fair Lady" where "move yer bloomin' arse" will be popping out at any moment because no matter how gussied up Eliza gets, she's still Eliza.

Like I said, big payroll-->big expectations!

campanari said...

I'm in the same camp as MCO'C, carmot. I have great trust in your work as to payroll and, for that matter, other stats, and I very much admire your meticulousness and willingness to do the work required, as well as the high quality of thought and analysis that goes into your comments.

But as we all know, the real issue is one of business practices, not of the numbers that are a crucial part of the input into the team's decisions, yes, but not necessarily the greatest determinant. The Giants can afford to pay the tax, for if by paying it they can boost their chances significantly, it's an excellent business gamble. The CBT is a deterrent, not a cap. At the Giants' level of overage it's a purely financial deterrent, with no loss of draft choices, for example--this simplifies the assessment of risk and reward. And it's at the level of risk/reward assessment that personnel decisions get made. The weighting of factors within that assessment keeps shifting, with ideals such as Winning and Prudence as guides in marketing, the owners' self-images, etc.

That's why I read your detailed figures avidly but draw from them what MC calls a "ballpark" sense that's preliminary to my hopes and even expectations of what the team will or won't try to do.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Jimmy Rollins gets a minor league deal. Gotta keep the larder stocked, eh?

nomisnala said...

The only problem with the giants payroll is that the Dodgers are in the same division.

carmot said...

Hey all. Well, thanks for saying so. Pretty much the only comments/feedback I ever get are negative. lol. So, the G's spend and spend largely. However... never seem to fill out a complete roster. A bazillion different LF, 2B, 1B merry-go-rounds over the years. We've got a supreme catcher that is supposed to remove a black hole in our offensive lineup, but then we consistently leave voids/question marks/MiLB contract escalators for other positions and our bench. *sigh*. I just don't believe our front office-- like when Evans/Baer stated "Budget isn't the issue" this winter. Same ol' same ol'. Time and again, I feel I've predicted where their threshold/budget would end up.

So, JRoll. Which bumps another roster spot from Sac. Just like a dozen other veterans landing there. Which can affect the development timeline of our prospects. Which affects our ability to test them when needed. Which eventually leads us to trading for old vets as rentals. Which puts us behind on the farm AND payroll flexibility. All is connected. IMO, just ONE TRADE for a supreme talent to add to our core could put us on solid ground. Trade a half dozen from our farm? Okay. Seriously. (YMMV).

And BTW, the Dodgers... With their recent FA signings, I don't see how they can responsibly get under their required debt service budget for 2018 without trading somebody. I just don't. And their spending NEVER concerns me- because they haven't ever spent PRODUCTIVELY. They spend on five outfielders or three closers or 10 starting pitchers or add a bad contract to get a trade target. See a pattern here? They cannot EVER play all their guys. Effectively, I have LAD as a $158M 25-man roster (in Actual 2017 payroll). But that very poorly constructed pitching staff and $158M team is costing them $240M in Actual 2017 spending! LOL. That's just stupid, wasteful, and doesn't make them better. Happy Holidays. Cheers.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I have no issue with stockpiling. You never know. Depth is sometimes more important than quality! And the Giants have plenty of quality. They match up well with LA despite them spending $70+M more. If the Dodgers had beaten the Cubs (and they had a real shot) the 'cost' would have been irrelevant. They can afford to be spendthrifts.

Also I think MLB does not want LA to be anything but LA, that is, the Yankees of the West. The glamour team for this half of the country. They will work with the Dodgers on debt service--the rules won't be hard and fast, but flexible. It's in MLBs interest to have their flagship international brands thrive.

carmot said...

M.C., I definitely agree with you that MLB will bend over backwards to enable the Dodgers. I mean what penalties can they truly impose? LOL. It's not as though MLB will say, "You've been irresponsible in spending so much of your money. You are not allowed to play any of the players you signed this winter." Uh, that's not happening. LOL. What else they gonna do? Take away their future draft picks? All kinds of sideways angles that would seem unfair (like what about those polar opposite irresponsible owners who NEVER put tv/revenue sharing to use in team payroll?) What about the players union stepping up and saying that MLB would effectively be limiting spending? What if Guggenheim Group complains that "guaranteed salaries" for injured players have cost them dearly? The list goes on and on...

The fact is, the NL West looks ripe for the taking. Personally, I think the Dodgers waited to see what significant moves the Giants made. IMO, the LAD offseason would've been MUCH different *IF* the Giants had made stronger moves. This is a one-year window with Cueto and Nunez. *SIGH* ... I'm not convinced the G's will win more than 77 games in 2017. YMMV.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Giants had a good team last year. The 'pen was a weak spot, and they couldn't hit for power, but they could pitch and field and match up with the best teams. They barely lost out to LA for the West and barely lost to the Cubs in the post-season. Giants are tough. They aren't flashy, or even scary, but they are solid, and they have good leadership. They showed last season that they don't quit and that they'll fight all the way to the end. The Giants Way is not quantifiable, but it's real. And they have Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner!

I'm looking forward to a full season of the infield being together (assuming Nunez at 3B), a full season of Matt Moore (and consequently making Samardzija the no. 4), a full season with an stud closer, a fully healthy Matt Cain (with Ty Blach in the wings), etc. I think there is a lot to be stoked about. I think Williamson and/or Parker will emerge as a LF solution, Hernandez is a more than able backup to Span and Pence, the young arms in the 'pen are older and wiser and will have clearer roles.

I do think with Cueto's opt-out looming it puts more pressure on the squad to deliver and get to the post-season. In fact I'll be disappointed if they can't win the West. I have faith that they'll be able to make mid-season moves to beef up the team if they need to, and it seems like every team has to these days. I think the team's luck has been in the minus column these last few seasons, I think it will swing around to the plus. (Gambler's Fallacy, I know, but I'm sticking with it!)

Ron said...

Morse & Ruggiano??? Odd moves. The Rollins signing, I understood. These, not as much.

M.C. O'Connor said...

It's a minor-league deal. This kind of stuff happens all the time. The Royals just signed Jonathan Sanchez to a minor-league deal! There are lots of youngsters and prospects, but only a small set of guys who are PROVEN major-leaguers. Sure, they may not have it anymore, but you can't argue with the fact that these guys had the talent. Keep the larder full, man. You might need a guy for a month or a few weeks. You never know. Ideally, you'd never have to raid the cupboard, but I'd rather there be something in there even if it is the baseball equivalent of K-rations.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

77 wins? You may know your way around the CBT, but I don't see how this team would regress that many games with the players we have and if they do as expected and not get injured ruinously like in 2011. I would think they'll be closer to 92 than 77, which is their Pythagorean last season, which they would have been close to with more saves from closer.

Just from the viewpoint that our rotation was improved greatly by the addition of Moore, I think the Giants should be better than last year, plus the addition of Melancon greatly improved our closing, where we lost so many games we should have won. Declines? Pence mainly due to age, Span couldn't do much worse, but Nunez should be improvement over what we got last year at 3B to help negate some of Pence loss. Plus our bullpen should be similar at worse, not looking at closer, the young gang looks pretty solid, maybe better. Posey, Belt, Crawford should be similar and I think Panik should have a bounce back year close to his career numbers, .280 etc. I don't see how that adds up to a decline, maybe you see declines where others don't.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Ron, you never know with vets or with youth, so you spaghetti it and see what shakes out. Vets sometimes get second wind when they sit out season and rest dem bones some. We still don't know what we got with youngyuns, last season could be start of goodness or just lucky. And you always want some competition for a position when you got young unprovens, make them earn the position. Plus some stay later in AAA as backup insurance. Maybe they become bench bats in playoffs.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Seems Morse sought out the Giants, not the other way around.

M.C. O'Connor said...


Interesting interview with Johnny-D who has a new book about his time in the bigs. I will always remember those 70s Giants seemed to have a nucleus of young stud pitchers--The Count, Ed Halicki, Pete Falcone, John D'Acquisto--along with stalwart Jim Barr, but they never materialized into a star rotation. Alas, they had all that other talent, too, Bobby Bonds, Garys Mathews and Maddox, Chris Speier, etc. It's not all about talent. Leadership, organization, fan base, health, luck, and the rest have to be there, too.

2017 has been bitter cold so far (-10 ºF yesterday morning) with over a foot of snow already on the ground, and now temps are supposed to rise to the 30s and 40s and inch of rain is on the way! Crazy.