Monday, December 20, 2010

Trade Rant - Why Trades Involving Cash in Excess of Contracts are Bad for the League

We’ve all seen these trades - you know - where one team deals a mediocre prospect and a pile of cash to another team for a good player or high end prospect. I’ve been in enough leagues to have seen dozens of these deals proposed, and most of them get vetoed. However, I’ve never seen anyone take a stab at an in-depth explanation of why these trades harm competitive balance and are bad for leagues. So - here’s my swing at this.

Let’s start with the basic game design, and move from there. Each team - in theory - starts with a relatively level playing field. Each franchise gets $185 million to budget. It’s a fixed amount and works as a HARD cap on resources. Now we all know teams start at very different competitive places, and I’d argue (and can prove I think) that it takes 12-14 seasons for the initial bias towards the better teams at a league’s INCEPTION to work their way out of the mix. So - we come to each season in different starting places, but we ALL start with the same two core challenge areas: talent and budget. So - we are all required to allocate our $185 million as we see fit and - hopefully - in ways that meet our current franchise needs. For some teams, it means having money for an FA or two and maintaining a talented team. For others, the challenge is to find a way to use our funds to build for the future - scouting, training and prospect budget.

So how does allowing teams to essentially buy and sell players affect this design?

  1. Selling players skews the budget and CAPPED resource design feature giving the selling team an unfair financial advantage over other teams.
  2. Buying players likewise skews the fixed cap, because the buying team gets to use player payroll dollars at full value for a purpose beyond player payroll. Generally, when you use your payroll after the season starts, you get the benefit of only 50% of those funds when transferred to prospect budget.

So, let’s take an example:

Owner A - budget for payroll of $80 million, prospect budget $20 million. Spent to date - $79 million of payroll, and $17 million in prospect budget (2 excellent INT FA’s signed).

Owner B - budget for payroll of $60 million, prospect budget $20 million. Spent to date, $42 million payroll and $12 million prospect budget.

The amateur draft is around the corner. Owner A cannot afford to sign his prospects. He has to raise cash - and fast.

Owner A offers his AA 20 year old SS with a current OVR of 72, projected OVR of 82 to Owner B in exchange for a 25 year-old SS at AA with a current OVR of 61 and a projected OVR of 64, AND $4 million. The players agree to the deal.

Here’s the net effect if the trade gets approved:

Owner A: $80 million in payroll budget with $75 spent - increase of $4 million in available funds in PAYROLL. Owner A can transfer all $4 million to his prospect budget. The amount that gets moved is $2 million - 50% of the available $4 million, giving him $5 million to sign his draft class, and he’s still got cap room for the RL payroll of $240,000 (30 players X $8,000 each). Owner A now has $189 million in total resources at his disposal, while the rest of the league (except for Owner B) has $185.

Owner B: Now has a $56 million budget, with $46 million spent, and he still has $12 million in his prospect budget, PLUS he got a first round quality draft choice player for $4 million. The INT FA’s in the league - for comparable quality are going for $8-9 million. So, Owner B has likewise added $4 - $5 million in player VALUE to his franchise beyond what he would have been able to acquire under his $185 CAP.

But the inequities go farther. Most teams allocate say $12 million for HS and college scouting and another $16 or so for INT scouting. But let’s focus on the amateur draft first.

We draft 25 players, and if we allocate $12 million each to HS and college scouting, AND we have to use $5 million to sign the drafted players, that comes to a TOTAL allocation of $29 million to acquire 25 players and only 3-4 of which will ever make the ML team. That’s a cool $1.16 million PER player acquired in the draft. (Makes those draft decisions seem a bit more important, doesn't it?)

Now to the INT FA market. We’ll spend $16 million for INT scouting, and then another $20 to sign 2-3 potential ML players a season. That’s a cool $12 million average for an ML prospect. (I’ve seen these numbers a LOT higher in many leagues.)

Owner B has just landed a first rounder ($1 mil to sign and another $1.16 to scout - using our averages here) or a very good INT FA quality player for $4 million and has NOT affected his ability to sign a complete draft class or sign other INT FA’s.

Under the CAP, for Owner B to land an extra INT FA - one of the things teams with low payrolls ought to be doing, he’d only have use of 50% of his excess payroll budget when he transfers the budget. Under the sale above, Owner B STILL has budget to transfer, has acquired a player for which he paid NO scouting fees, and has gained substantially MORE from the transaction than the simple acquisition of a good prospect. He’s done so without incurring any of the NEGATIVE financial impacts the rules set up to make transferring large sums from payroll an ineffective long-term team building strategy. For short-term rebuilding projects this budget transfer strategy is an excellent way to add a lot of young talent quickly.

Owner A is also coming out ahead of the rest of the league. By having extra funds - beyond his hard cap, he’s effectively been let off the hook for a combination of poor strategic choices - budget too tight on player payroll and over spending the INT FA market. So there are NO negative consequences for either of these bad choices. And he’s got extra funds he’s not supposed to have.

As a matter of policy and standard practice I veto every trade I see where funds are exchanged that exceed the value of the contracts changing hands. I hope my explanation makes some sense.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Season 17 Begins

Can the AL compete?? That is the question now that season 17 is about to begin. In 16 seasons there have only been 3 Al champs of the Dale Murphy World.

Can we get more deserving players into the hall of fame?

Can Coonja and I get through a season without a heated exchange on the main board:)?

Can the Rusty Trombones Franchise get out of the cellar for the first time in 8 seasons?

How many Cy young awards will Herman stewart win?

Can David575 and the Philidelphia Eagles make the Playoffs for an amazing 16 times in 17seasons?

How many Home runs will Cal cook end up with as he starts season 17 with 800?
Cal Cook
Age: 34B/T: R/R
Born: Kinnelon, NJ
Position(s): 1B/LF/DH
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Inside the Draft Vol. 2

Thanks for tuning into "Inside the Draft." In our last episode you got to a quick look at the GM's mindsets going into the draft, today we will focus on those players that were drafted.

"With the first overall pick in the season 16, Murph League draft, the Richmond Rusty Trombones select Don Hill."

D.M.F.P.: What were your thoughts when you first heard your name called?

Hill: I knew it was going to happen after pieo called me but actually hearing my name was a very good feeling. I'm looking forward to getting out there and showing the world why I was taken number 1.

D.M.F.P.: You signed a nice signing bonus as the number 1 overall pick and got started with no delays. After seeing pitchers taken after you in the draft, York Spence (7th overall) and Elston Rucker (3rd overall), sign larger bonuses do you regret being so quick to sign?

Hill: I don't. It's not about the money it's about the chance to get out there and play right away. Both those pitchers are fresh out of high school and have that ego about them that they are the 'best.' I'll tell ya what, the best player in the draft this year, went number 1 overall!

Don Hill has started his career in the Rookie League, in his two starts he has pitched 10 innings without allowing a run.

Second overall draft pick, shortstop Mariano Nieves, was unable to meet with us as he is currently on the road playing with the Low A squad of the Rochester Golden Breakers. This gave us a chance to meet up with the before mentioned duo of Elston Rucker and York Spence.

D.M.F.P.: Elston, you were taken third overall by the Florida Tsunamis then you held out. Why's that?

Rucker: It's nothing against the organization but they've had what, three GM's in the past three years? I don't want to sign my life away to a team who can't even keep a GM.

D.M.F.P.: You signed a 5 million plus bonus when you joined, that made you the highest paid prospect until York Spence came along and signed a deal including a 6 million plus bonus...

Rucker: The bonus wasn't anything like, 'I need to get this I'm the best pitcher, etc.' I just thought if I raise my demands and they're serious about this team then they'll pay it. Look into our team, I believe we have some great pitching talent in the minors here. The league better continue taking their shots at us right now because in a few seasons we'll be taking over.

D.M.F.P.: York, you were taken 7th overall and at one point it didn't look like you were going to get signed.

Spence: Management made a smart decision in drafting me. They made an even smarter decision in signing me. Richmond, Rochester, Florida, Montreal, Lousiville, Arizona; they're all going to regret this.

D.M.F.P.: Do you think you'll ever regret missing the first few weeks of Rookie League?

Spence: No. I'm a get my starts, I'm a get my wins, I'll be in the big leagues and it's over. I'm not here to make friends, I'm here to do my job and help my team win while showing the other teams what they missed out on.

York Spence is surely frustrated by not going higher, but the biggest drop in the draft was catching prospect, Stretch Haney.

D.M.F.P.: Many people thought you would be a top 5 selection, you wound up dropping to 15th overall where you got picked up by Kansas City what were you thinking as the draft went on.

Haney: Richmond came out and said who they were taking so I was like okay, I'll go number 2. After Rochester didn't pick me I thought surely Florida would. They passed on me as well and I was really frustrated with it. I thought I did well in front of all the scouts and it was just frustrating. When Colorado Springs came on the clock I thought I was definitely going there. They like players with big bats, they've got some great players on their team, but they passed me by. Then Augusta came on the clock and they've openly said that they all ready have the catcher of their future, so I knew they weren't taking me. I was just hoping that somebody would!

D.M.F.P.: So you get taken 15th overall and your agent talks with Kansas City and says what?

Haney: He said I deserve to be paid like the top draft pick. I was guaranteed I would be a top 5 pick which is why I entered the draft. To drop to number 15, it's embarrassing.

D.M.F.P.: Any chance you sign with Kansas City this season?

Haney: I don't know, probably not. I've gave them the price I want to be paid (8 million) and if they're willing to give it to me I'll play. If not, I'll be back in the draft in a few seasons.

The steal of the draft may wind up being Alex Lucas. Lucas was selected in the 5th round, 170th overall, by the Florida Tsunamis. Or, if you like bats, Delino Arredodo could very easily be your man. Arredodo was taken in the 4th round, 153rd overall, and is all ready batting .441 in the rookie league.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Inside the Draft Vol. 1

With the Season 16 Amateur Draft quickly approaching we have decided to interview a handful of GM's and see what they feel is the most important part of the first round decision process and what exactly is going on with their team and former draft picks this season.

Our first GM to take the spotlight was Augusta Sea Shark head man, Dustintwise.

D.M.F.P: Mr. Wise, thanks for joining us today. With the draft quickly approaching what are you looking for in this seasons draft?

Dustintwise: Well as always, we're looking for somebody who is going to make a future impact on our franchise. Last season we had the 5th overall pick and I feel we used it wisely. We brought in 19 year old RF, Gerald Parkers, and he made his debut with our Low A squad. After a month and a half with the team we moved him up to High A and he continued to play great ball for us.

D.M.F.P: This season you're not getting your first crack at a player until the 14th pick what are your thoughts with that?

Dustintwise: That's a good thing right? (Laughs) We've compiled a list of our 15 top prospects that we're willing to take there with the 14th overall pick and obviously we just have to wait and see if anybody slides a little bit but we feel completely confident with all 15 guys.

D.M.F.P: You mentioned Parkers a little earlier, what's your timetable with him right now?

Dustintwise: As with all prospects you can't rush anything. He's 20 right now and he's done a great job in getting up to the AA level but I don't plan on seeing him making any moves from there anytime soon. My guess is he'll be in AA the remainder of this season and the start of next. Maybe by the time he's 22 he'll be getting his crack at the Majors, we're definitely not looking to rush him though.

After meeting with Dustin we drove down to Boston to meet with defending World Champion, Coonja76.

D.M.F.P: First off, let me say congratulations on winning the World Series last season! Is winning the championship going to change the way you approach this draft?

Coonja: No, no real change. I'll still set my board top to bottom the same as I would have if I had a top 5 pick. I set my board, and wait to see what player drops to my position.

D.M.F.P: What is something you always look for when you're putting together your draft board?

Coonja: I believe in building my franchises with as much overall talent as possible. So, I don't target certain positions, I target talent.

D.M.F.P: And talent your team has! Good luck the rest of this season and if you capture another World Championship we'll be back up to visit.

After our stop in Boston we decided to sight-see for a bit until we wound up in Scranton, PA. Here we met with a very giddy, Kdforester.

D.M.F.P: Thanks for having us on such short notice. What makes you more inclined to take "player a" over "player b" when you look at their talent level and potential.

Kdforester: For me the tie-breaker between choosing one player over another always comes down to the player’s makeup. I want to make sure that when I’m taking a guy he has a good shot at reaching his potential

D.M.F.P: When you look at prospects, do you try and find somebody who is going to fill a hole in your ML line up or do you just try to grab the best overall talent?

Kdforester: As far as planning goes I never look at trying to fill voids in my lineup or projecting what I might need in several years, or at least this is the case in this particular world. In some of my other worlds where I’m building I will try to project the lineup out and adjust my rankings a little. Since my team is competitive I’m really just looking for the best prospect and if at some point he doesn’t fit into my roster I will simply trade him.

Still excited over landing Cal Cook, we had to sneak away from the Schrute's facility so we could head on down to Virginia and meet up with the GM in charge of the first overall pick this season, Pieo.

D.M.F.P: This season you have the first overall draft pick. Are you more excited about being in this position or nervous?

Pieo: Very excited, because it will be used on a great player that will fill a huge need!

D.M.F.P: Richmond has been towards the bottom these past few seasons, do you think your recent draft picks are ready to carry this team back to the promise land?

Pieo: Absolutely they will. However, I feel the young studs I trade for & the three that were already on this team when I took over, will have even more of an impact

D.M.F.P: I'm sure you knew it was coming but, I can't let you go without asking; who is this year's number 1 overall pick going to be?

Pieo: Well, I usually wouldn't divulge this type of confidential intel, but I like you, so I'm very excited to let you know that Don Hill will be bringing his talents down to Virginia Beach and become a Rusty Trombone!

The Richmond staff seemed excited and eager to talk more but it is time to depart. Next up we boarded a plane and headed to Hot-lanta. Here we met Hamilton44.

D.M.F.P: Wipe that smile off your face, we're not hear to talk about the fact your team improved 36 games over the previous season, though that is impressive! We're hear to talk about a dynamic prospect of yours, Derek Hernandez. Last season you selected Hernandez second overall, was he the guy you wanted all along?

Hamilton: Yea, Derek was our number 1 guy. When Montreal grabbed Deivi DeJesus 1st overall, our war room exploded. We knew we were getting our guy.

D.M.F.P: Can't blame either teams for their selections, definitely great 1-2 players! What are you looking for this season as far as prospects go. Are you targeting a pitcher or are you more likely to aim for another Hernandez type talent?

Hamilton: Well, fortunately this year, we have a little wiggle room. We've got 3 first round picks, thanks to some "Type A's" that walked. We are definitely going to look for some infield help but first and foremost, we are looking for pitching.

D.M.F.P: Last season you had the number 2 overall slot this season you have to wait till pick number 10. Are there some players you're afraid you may miss?

Hamilton: Absolutely. There are always guys that your afraid your going to miss on. But picking anywhere in the top 15 to 20, your chances of getting a quality player are pretty damn good. You cant let missing out on a guy hold you back from hitting a homer with another guy.

D.M.F.P: Last question, what's your timetable on us seeing Atlanta in the playoffs?

Hamilton: Offensively, I feel we could compete right now. The pitching, however, is a different story. If I had to put a number on it, id say 2-3 years.

After Hamilton wrapped things up with us we decided to make one final stop and hit the beaches of Miami. Here we met with rookie GM, Riceformvp. We talked not only about his first ever draft, but how he feels about this first season in the spotlight.

D.M.F.P: You're about to take your first crack at the Amateur Draft, what are your expectations this season when you're "on the clock?"

Riceformvp: Well, since this is my first year having to find myself on the clock I am going into the draft with mediocre expectations. I can not let myself down even if I don't get the best draft pick. I will go into the draft with a positive attitude and try to get the best player I can.

D.M.F.P: Very understandable, what are your thoughts on your team and season so far?

Riceformvp: Well, I'm not satisfied, but not dissapointed! I mean, Under a .500 record by 10 games so far is not really that bad. There is plenty of time to pull my record up. If the season ended today I would be kind of happy.

D.M.F.P: Well good luck! Picking 3rd overall is never an easy task but I'm sure you'll get a guy who can help you out and hopefully help you get Florida into the playoffs in the next few seasons!

Well ladies and gentleman, this wraps up Inside the Draft Volume 1. You found out the future number 1 draft pick and got to hear some thoughts from around the league. Tune in next time to hear our newly drafted all-stars and their thoughts on their new teams.

Monday, July 19, 2010

On the Move

The all-time leading Home Run hitter in Murph League History has found a new home. Cal Cook, 762 career home runs, found himself on a plane to Scranton this morning and he plans to take the Schrutes and their fans on a joy ride for the rest of his contract.

Shortly after arriving in Scranton, Cook was met by his new GM kdforester. The smile on Cook's face was enough to know he's excited about this chance to move to Scranton. We were able to get a hold of Cook and ask some questions and he continued to express his love for the sport and competition, even after all these years of dominating the league. "This is my 13th season in the Majors and every game, every at bat is as exciting as the first time I faced a major league pitcher. Thankfully, I've been blessed with success and have won pretty much every award imaginable. Well, besides a Cy Young. Maybe I can talk the coaches into letting me throw a bullpen session and see if I can get my 'Babe Ruth' going on."

Scranton (30-17) is currently on a ten game winning streak and Cook expects to make his debut with the club tonight against Iowa City. "I've won two world series but I haven't been on a championship team for 11 seasons. Hopefully I can help Scranton bring in their first championship and who knows, maybe I'll win another MVP award."

Cleveland (26-22) wasn't cut short in their deal of moving the home run king. In order for Scranton to acquire Cook, the Schrutes sent rookie pitcher, Bart Webster and minor league pitcher Bruce Brown to the Burning River.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Pride of the Organization - AL East

This is one installment in a series of articles called "The Pride of the Organization". In these articles, we will identify one player from each club labeled the pride of their organization by their respective GM's. We will now shift our attention to the American League East.

Over the last few weeks, all of us here at the Dale Murphy Free Press were able to spend some time with the various GM's in the Murph League. Our main goal was to put the screws to them and coerce just one name from them. This player would be the guy they held in the highest regard. The lists have all been compiled to form "The Pride of the Organization".

Scranton Schrutes

The Schrutes posted a league best 108 wins last season. Its no secret that much of their success can be attributed to the play of one man, Walter Reed. Reed (5 HR, 18 RBI) can easily be classified as one of the best sluggers in the history of the Murph League and his 573 career homers sees him bearing down on Cal Cook, another of the Murph Leagues all time greats. "Walter was an easy choice" said kdforester, the Scranton GM. "With 4 MVP's already and now just 30, he should easily have a few more left in him." With Reed in the lineup, Scranton is sitting on a gold mine. They are just hoping that vein doesnt go dry.

New York Donkey Show

The Donkey Show have arguably been one of the most consistent baseball teams in the Murph League over the last three seasons. Unfortunately, being in the AL East has meant playing some of the toughest competition around. Their fortunes, however, look to be on the up, thanks in part to the play of second year man Stuffy Halter. Halter (2 HR, .226 BA) is off to a slow start but New York GM kevinbums doesnt seem to be bothered in the least. "Hes one of the best all around hitters we have and while hes not off to the greatest start, hes not someone theres any chance we'll give up on." I agree with Kevin! You cant give up on a guy with a name like Stuffy.

Philadelphia Eagles

For the last 15 years, the Eagles have been a staple of consistency. As they seek their 11th Division title and their 3rd Murph Series Championship, alot of their success will ride on the backs of their bullpen and more importantly their closer, Andy Clemens. "Hes one of the best closers i've ever seen" said GM david575. "He may get 500 saves before he's done." I would say that there is a good chance of Clemens (7 SV's, 1.42 ERA) reaching the 500 save mark and I would imagine the Eagles will have racked up an insane amount of wins along the way.

Dover Destroyers

When the books had been closed on Dovers season last year, they found themselves in the basement of the AL East. Its a place that no hard working GM wants to find themselves. Unfortunately, there are 8 of them each season and they all share a common goal, resurrection. Dover GM cobcommish knows his club is capable of a resurrection and alot of their success hinges on the right arm of Tito Petkovsek. "Hes never afraid to pitch inside and that makes him an intimidating force on the mound." Petkovsek (3-1, 2.06 ERA) has yet to finish a season with less then 15 wins and like cobcommish said, hes an intimidating force on the bump. I mean how could you not be intimidated by a guy that rocks the eye black everytime he takes the hill?

Looking Ahead...

Coming up next in the "Pride of the Organization", we will what the NL South has got cookin'!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Pride of the Organization - NL East

This is one installment in a series of articles called "The Pride of the Organization". In these articles, we will identify one player from each club labeled the pride of their organization by their respective GM's. We will kickoff the first installment in the division that now houses the defending Murph Series Champions, the National League East.

Over the last few weeks, all of us here at the Dale Murphy Free Press were able to spend some time with the various GM's in the Murph League. Our main goal was to put the screws to them and coerce just one name from them. This player would be the guy they held in the highest regard. The lists have all been compiled to form "The Pride of the Organization".

Boston ScroggDawgs

Being the Murph League defending champs and having such a talented team, I initially thought that this GM would take some time before making his selection. That, however, would not be the case as he emphatically selected Herman Stewart as the pride of the ScroggDawgs. Stewart (4-0, 0.40 ERA) has started the season at the Big League level for the first time in his career and is has already experienced some early success. We asked the Boston GM, Coonja76, if he or any of his staff had any question marks left for their young ace. "The only question is what will Herm win more of in Boston, World Series rings or Cy Young awards?" In time, that question will be answered and either way, that's gonna be one happy GM.

Kansas City Thunder Scum

After back-to-back 90+ win seasons in years 13 and 14, some fans have looked at Kansas City's most recent 85-77 mark as a bit of a let down. Are the Thunder Scum on a downward slope to rebuilding? Club GM 520kahlua doesn't think so and he has some evidence to prove it. I present to you Exhibit A: Standing 6'2 and hailing from County Kildare, Ireland, I give you Carl Barnes. Wait, wait, hold up... Ireland? Really? Don't worry. I found myself asking that very same question. Don't let the birthplace fool you. Barnes (1 HR, .362 BA) is an incredible talent with an All-Star game under his belt and three 100+ RBI seasons. There's no question on Kahlua's part either. "Hes a young all around talent that can mash from the left side of the plate. Whats not to like?" I don't think the fans in KC have to worry about this team going into "rebuild mode" anytime soon as long as "Big" Carl Barnes is in the lineup.

Atlanta Noc-a-Homa's

When the books were closed on Season 14, the Noc-a-Homa's organization found themselves in a serious state of disarray. Sure, there 40 and 122 record assured them of a last place finish within the division but worse then that, ownership had lost all confidence in its front office staff. Entering the picture were two North Carolina boys: new GM Hamilton44, and his first amateur draft selection Derek Hernandez. "Your never quite sure the caliber of talent in the draft until the scouting reports start rolling in" Hamilton said. "When we saw Derek, we had to keep our excitement to ourselves." When the Montreal Rum Runners took Deivi DeJesus 1st overall, Atlanta knew they had their man. Hernandez (4 HR, .380) destroyed the Rookie League last season acquiring a silver slugger award and an All-Star appearance along the way and is currently at the Single A level.

Baltimore mets

To say that last years 61-101 record was a disappointment is an understatement. You can bet that Manager Marco Ross' seat is getting mighty warm as well. The outlook for this club however, has been surprisingly positive leading into Season 16 and alot of that can be attributed to one man, Santiago Mesa. Mesa (4 HR, .400 BA), at the ripe old age of 22, is coming into his 3rd Big League season and has already belted 75 Major League home runs. "He's a perennial 40+ homer guy who will drive in 100+ RBI's" said Baltimore GM pitnickd. "He blends in really well with our offense." From watching this kid, I think we can all agree that hes the real deal. The Mets have a superstar on their hands and I'm sure their fans are hoping he calls Baltimore home for a long time coming.

Looking Ahead...

In the next installment of "The Pride of the Organization", we will look at the American League East. Stay tuned...