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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Draft Slotting    

There's an interesting discussion of the politics of slot money in the MLB draft over at USS Mariner today. A slightly different take (by the same guy) popped up earlier in the comments of a side piece at Lookout Landing. It's pretty interesting the pseudo-impasse that exists on the issue now, which seems to have everyone basically getting what they want, but at the expense of parity.

For the Mariners, it means we have Brandon Morrow and Horacio Ramirez instead of Andrew Miller and Rafael Soriano, so I think it's safe to say that the arrangement has hurt us. If we could magically today turn Morrow and Ramirez into Miller and Soriano we would improve our playoff chances drastically. And don't even talk to me about next year.

For some teams, towing Selig's line in this isn't much of a problem. Even teams that are hungry for whatever competitive advantages they can get could be benefiting from it indirectly if they aren't among the richest franchises (like Cleveland for example). But for the Mariners, who have no shortage of revenue and enough problems on their hands as it is, loosing a legit shot at the top talent in the draft because they want to help out is foolish. There is some talk that concentrating our financial resources internationally has been better for us (see Hernandez, Felix), and even that signing Miller would have depleted our budget to the point that we couldn't have signed Carlos Triunfel, a difficult tradeoff to be sure. But on its own merits, Miller was clearly worth the money, and the idea of letting New York, Boston, Detroit, and Arizona walk off with the best young talent in the game with no consequences to them whatsoever really irks me.

How much this will continue to bite us is not really clear. We're apparently going slightly over slot to sign Aumont, and I hope we don't have the 5th pick again any time soon, which may mean that top talent may not fall far enough, even with signability concerns, for us to pass on. But I don't feel good about this situation. I'm also not sure how fair I think this system is to the players in question, how much it rewards or punishes certain behaviors. It doesn't sound like there's an easy fix at all, but I have to think this could be done better.

1 Comments:

  • Saw this today, thought it was germane... a rundown of the first-round contracts.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 1:09 PM  

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