15 of the top 50 free agents are unsigned and 3 of the top 7 with spring training near. Contracts are still stupidly high, but they are declining in length and amount per year. The peak is probably in the past.
Owners and executives are finally getting the idea to plow money into building a minor league system by accumulating prospects and have cooled to the idea of giving one player an incredible mountain of money over a long period when that player can’t possibly be a force in his declining playing years. Like Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, and most recently, Jason Heyward of the Cubs who even though he is young has been given a huge contract which has probably eliminated them from trying to sign Bryce Harper. Even the Yankees who could afford to sign both Harper and Machado have not really been seriously after either.
Free agent signings rarely have led to a championship and a World Series. It took a while for MLB to figure this out. I wonder if this analytics stuff is a factor in all of this?
Analytics does factor into everything done in major league baseball. The GMs are finally getting it. There may be an ownership team here or there that does it’s own thing outside analytics, but that is the exception rather than the rule. For an interesting (long) read, get Money Ball. It’s really applicable in all sports. It may not get into football or basketball, but know that all those sports use analytics. So does golf. TrackMan was used more in college baseball than MLB at first. But the older players demanded it and so MLB front offices reluctantly went along with the very expensive technology. You now see it used on TV broadcasts. That’s expensive or them, too. The SEC has it in 12 o 14 stadiums. It’s at the top end of the college programs you see regularly at the College World Series, but most of Division I baseball can’t afford it.
Back to your original question, MLB front offices will have both raw data from stats and also from TrackMan on the desk when a player’s agent comes to visit. They are going to tell him what all that data tells them about his player’s ability to perform. It’s a whole new ball game, as they say.
Bobby Wernes is going to pro baseball as an analytics guy. He’ll help break down stuff for the organization. Baseball has a need for huge numbers of analytics guys that have been trained by SEC teams on the high end TrackMan data.
Thanks for the reply, Clay. I am and have been an MLB fan for my 71 years. I will get a copy of Money Ball and see what it is all about. Old School is me…I keep up with stats from the MLB site, but mostly HR’s, BA, and RBI’s. I don’t know what WAR is, although I keep seeing it. I know its wins above replacement, but what does that mean? I am not sure the analyltics being quoted are helping increase the number of baseball fans.
I hear Buster Olney of ESPN talking all this, but the average fan is probably confused…like me.
It does make sense, however, that a discipline such as analytics has come into being. There is just too much money in sports for much to be left to chance and intuition. We are experiencing a technological revolution. Sports is just a small part of this.