*Here's Brian T. Smith, wondering if a bunch of teams are following the Astros and Cubs model of winning a World Series.
Look, man. The Astros and Cubs provided the precedent of being really bad now to win later. The being bad now is a hell of a lot easier than the winning later part. But if you're an owner and you can philosophically point to examples in back-to-back years of how reducing payroll (thus, increasing profits) paid off in winning a title, of course you're going to do it. You can sell Hope to a fan base while lining your own pockets. How close did the Astros come to not winning the World Series? Had to win Games 6 & 7 at home in the ALCS. The World Series still gives me anxiety. And I was decidedly not in the "Just happy to be here" camp. Had the Astros lost the World Series I'd still be pissed, and I'd be the guy all up in Justin Turner's mentions telling him to "win with class, idiot!"
I agree with the argument that the free agent class this year is problematic at best, and Scott Boras (and Brodie Van Wagenen) need to realize now that the best free agent pitcher and hitter each year don't just automatically get $150m. Baseball is going through a paradigm shift. So let's quickly break this down on why this is happening, by interested party:
*Owners: Get to save money, claiming the Cubs and Astros as a blueprint for future success.
*Agents: Unrealistic expectations SET BY THEIR OWN KIND (looking at you, Boras), and just expect everything to be the same.
*Players: I'm sure there are plenty of individual cases that go against what I'm about to say, but players are unwilling to be the guy to "settle" for less money (you know, $80m instead of $140m) because they don't want to be the market-setter that lowers everybody else's valuation. They're letting the agents keep them unemployed and stare down the other side in an effort to help the Union, who has been systematically outplayed by ownership for years.
*Front Offices: Oh you thought the use of advanced data would stop at defensive alignments and spin rates? You don't look like a genius by winning a World Series with a $400m payroll. And these cats want to look like a genius, mentioned in the same breath as Billy Beane, Theo, Luhnow, etc. So if you can follow a process that involves a lede which goes something like, "Three years ago the Waxahachie Moonshiners went 4-158. Now they're planning a parade." with the obligatory One Sentence Paragraph, you're already picking out frames at Michael's.
This offseason, everyone has a gun pointed at everybody else, and this is the most boring John Woo movie ever.
*Jeff Sullivan has a good post about baseball's (lack of) spending this off-season.
*Lance McCullers is one of Richard Justice's 10 dark horse candidates to win a Cy Young in 2018.
*Jorge Posada and Beltran were honored for their actions in helping Puerto Rico. Beltran, "disappointed" with the federal government's "efforts" in providing assistance to Puerto Rico, will not visit the White House when it's Astros Day. Beltran:
There's no doubt that I'm disappointed. I'm not the only one. There's a lot of people disappointed. We haven't (gotten) some benefits. Being part of the United States, you expect to at least get the same benefits when tragedies like this happen. The fact that we haven't (gotten) those, yeah, it's a disappointment.
Beltran was offered a front office position with the Yankees, and temporarily turned it down.
*Orbit needs an assistant.
*Yesterday was Babe Ruth's birthday, and you can go back and read SI's deep dive into his 1927 season.