Open Discussion: Week of June 8th

Baseball’s saga/drama/soap opera continued this week as the owners rejected the players’ proposal last Sunday and stated that they wouldn’t be making a counter offer.  Three days later, the Presidents of Baseball Operations for Milwaukee and Cincinnati both expressed optimism that an agreement would be reached.

At least, the leaks to the media have source names this time.

Soon after the Ops guys (Dick Williams, Reds and David Stearns, Brewers) expressed their optimism, I posted a lengthy comment in last week’s Open Discussion pointing out that the owners shorter regular season was pretty much designed to screw the players out of salary while garnering as much profit for them selves from post season TV revenues that only benefit the owners.  (If you missed it, I’ll post the whole comment at the very end of this article rather than insert it here.  It includes supporting excerpts from the CBA.)

There was a time several years ago when I thought that baseball players were overpaid for playing a game.  But, I have come to accept that they negotiated their share of the baseball dollar through many hard fought negotiations.  They are entitled to all they have received through these negotiations.  I think they should be careful to not take a step backward before the next CBA.  They should never give anything to the owners.  If sticking to their guns means no baseball this season, then so be it.

Some recent discussion has centered on whether or not the owners should open the books to verify their claim that they are losing money.  Whether or not it happens, the precedent has already been established.

After CBA-5 expired in December of 1984 and during the negotiations for CBA-6 in March of 1986, the owners’ chief negotiator (Lee McPhail) claimed the organizations were losing money.  Don Fehr, the head of the union (following one year of Ken Moffett who followed Marvin Miller) got the owners to open the books.  Per the existing CBA, a statement of loss by the owners required them to make the financial data available to the union.  The owners turned over their documentation.

The union hired an economics professor from Stanford who proved the owners’ claims of losses were from cooked books.  Their claim of a $66 million loss was proven to be a $24 million profit.

I wouldn’t expect the owners to make that mistake again.  Especially when all you have to do is make a statement on the internet.  After all, “If it’s on the internet, it’s true”.

I cruised by the Complex Wednesday.  I saw about a dozen-and-a-half players on one of the fields at Joe DiMaggio Park.  I could make out maybe Kyle Young.  I drove over to Spectrum Field and walked up to the West Gate to check out the perfectly manicured field.  Sigh.  Then I drove over to the Complex to talk to a friend who is a security guard there.  The sky opened up with a deluge that never let up.  After a half hour, I abandoned the visit, neither getting to talk to my friend or seeing the boys walk back from DiMaggio.

Jim Salisbury reported that 27 players had been released last week, but only 25 transactions made it to the transactions logs.  I have a very good idea who the other two are.  I believe they’ve already been notified.  But, I won’t post their transactions until I can get a second confirming source.

It was finally announced last week that Seranthony Dominguez will need TJ surgery.  His PRP injection and follow-up rehab didn’t work.  I heard this a while ago, but Dominguez was in the DR and couldn’t fly back for an earlier operation date due to international travel restrictions.

I saw that someone questioned why wouldn’t Dominguez have the surgery earlier.  Fact is, the Phillies prefer to forgo an operation until other avenues are explored and attempted.  This delay was an organizational decision not the player’s decision.  In fact, I’ve heard of a couple other minor league pitchers who had TJ surgery against the organization’s wishes.

I hope everyone continues to be well.  This is the end of the third month of my self-imposed quarantine.  I promised my wife I would shave and let her cut my hair on the 12th.  I’m a hairy mess and I think she’s going to hold me to the promise.  If you’ve met me at the Complex, you wouldn’t recognize me now without my signature straw hat.  When wearing a baseball cap, the few people who’ve seen me didn’t recognize me.  I might post a photo before I get sheared.  I also expect to swing by the Complex again this week.

I’ve published a Draft Discussion that includes a draft tracker.  I suggest that we take our draft talk there.

This is the Phuture Phillies Open Discussion for Phillies and other baseball topics.

Key Dates:

  • May 26, 2020 – Owners present latest proposal to players
  • May 31, 2020 – MLBPA counters with their own proposal
  • May 31, 2020 – Owners reject players’ proposal
  • June 10-11, 2020 – Amateur Draft
  • June 14, 2020 – Teams can begin to sign non-drafted players
  • July 2, 2020  – January 15, 2021 – Start of the international signing period

The rosters and lists are up to date as of May 25th … 352 players in the org

Transactions (newest transactions are in bold print)
  • 5/29/2020 – Lehigh Valley IronPigs released LHP Aaron Brown
  • 5/29/2020 – Lehigh Valley IronPigs released LHP Junior Tejada
  • 5/29/2020 – Lehigh Valley IronPigs released LHP Brandon Leibrandt
  • 5/29/2020 – Lehigh Valley IronPigs released 3B Ali Castillo
  • 5/29/2020 – Lehigh Valley IronPigs released 3B T.J. Rivera
  • 5/29/2020 – Reading Fightin Phils released RHP Carlos Bustamante
  • 5/29/2020 – Reading Fightin Phils released RHP Sandro Rosario
  • 5/29/2020 – Reading Fightin Phils released RHP Tyler Hallead
  • 5/29/2020 – Clearwater Threshers released C Willie Estrada
  • 5/29/2020 – Clearwater Threshers released RHP Waylon Richardson
  • 5/29/2020 – Clearwater Threshers released RF Ben Aklinski
  • 5/29/2020 – Clearwater Threshers released RHP Michael Gomez
  • 5/29/2020 – Lakewood BlueClaws released SS Raul Rivas
  • 5/29/2020 – Lakewood BlueClaws released 2B Hunter Stovall
  • 5/29/2020 – GCL Phillies East released RHP Brian Auerbach
  • 5/29/2020 – GCL Phillies East released C Juan Mendez
  • 5/29/2020 – GCL Phillies West released OF Jordan McArdle
  • 5/29/2020 – DSL Phillies Red released RHP Joan Hernandez
  • 5/29/2020 – DSL Phillies Red released SS Raibently Mercalina
  • 5/29/2020 – DSL Phillies Red released RHP Cristofer Adames
  • 5/29/2020 – DSL Phillies Red released LHP Daivin Perez
  • 5/29/2020 – DSL Phillies White released LHP Alberto Torres
  • 5/29/2020 – DSL Phillies White released LHP Nathanael Bido
  • 5/29/2020 – DSL Phillies White released LHP Camilo Hinestroza
  • 5/29/2020 – DSL Phillies White released RHP Raul Mendoza
  • 5/15/2020 – OF Felix Reyes assigned to DSL White
  • 5/15/2020 – RHP Edgar Zuniga assigned to DSL White
  • 5/15/2020 – SS Erick Barria assigned to DSL White
  • 5/15/2020 – Jose Palacio released (2/18/20)
  • 5/15/2020 – Victor Alfonso released (2/17/20)
  • 5/15/2020 – Norman Anciani released (2/18/20)
  • 5/15/2020 – Fausto Pediet released (2/18/20)
  • 5/15/2020 – Luis Vegas released (2/18/20)
  • 5/07/2020 – RHP Jason Lott assigned to GCL Phillies East

Comment from June 4th

Yesterday, the owners rejected the players’ proposal for starting the season. They also stated that they have no intention of offering a counter proposal.

Later in the day, two team executives, Dick Williams (Reds’ President of Baseball Ops) and David Stearns (Brewers President of Baseball Ops) made optimistic comments. One stated that he believed an agreement was “very close”, and the other stating “I firmly believe we are going to have baseball this season”.

The latest,biggest stumbling block is the length of the season.

Keep in mind that the owners want to pro-rate the season on the number of games. A shorter season means two-thirds of the players receive no compensation past the last day of the regular season. A 48-54 game season saves the owners a lot of money.

Even an expanded post-season is only going to add four more teams. Over half of the players will still be taking big cuts.

Now, we’ve seen it reported that baseball makes most of its TV revenue in the post season. An expanded playoff format is expected to increase television revenue from $777,000,000 to $1,000,000,000.

Does any of that make it to the players? Lets see how the post-season bonus pools are set up. This is directly from the current CBA. Article X.

ARTICLE X—World Series, League Championship Series, Division Series, and Wild Card Game Players’ Pool

A. Creation of Pool
One Players’ pool shall be created from the World Series, the two League Championship Series, the four Division Series, and the two Wild Card games. Contributions shall be made into the pool as follows:

(1) 60% of the total gate receipts from the first 4 World Series games;
(2) 60% of the total gate receipts from the first 4 games of each League Championship Series;
(3) 60% of the total gate receipts from the first 3 games
(4 if the Division Series is expanded to the best of 7 games) of each Division Series; and (4) 50% of the total gate receipts from each Wild Card Game after deducting the traveling expenses of the visiting Clubs (up to a maximum of $100,000 per Club) from the total gate.

The pool created from the gate receipts above are distributed as follows.

B. Distribution of Pool
The Players’pool shall be distributed to the Players, by Club, as follows:
World Series Winner……………………………..36%
World Series Loser……………………………….24%
League Championship Series Losers (2)…24%
Division Series Losers (4)………………………13%
Wild Card Losers (2)……………………………….3%

The pools are guaranteed to be no lower than an agreed upon amount.

D. Guarantee of Pool
(1) World Series Winner: $4,608,000; World Series Loser $3,072,000
(2) League Championship Series Losers: $3,072,000 ($1,536,000 each)
the amount to be distributed to such losers shall be increased to $3,072,000 ($1,536,000 each). (3) Division Series Losers: $1,664,000 ($416,000 each)
(4) Wild Card Losers: $384,000 ($192,000 each)
(5) If, during the term of this Agreement, the Clubs raise World Series ticket prices, the guarantees set forth above paragraphs (1), (2), (3) and (4) shall be increased a pro rata amount, such amount established by averaging the percentage increase of a box seat ticket and the percentage increase of a reserved seat ticket and increasing each guarantee by such percentage.

So, gate receipts need to provide the $21,248,000 needed to create all the players’ shares pools.

But, what about the post-season TV revenue? I can find no direct to players post-season TV revenue stream. So, of course the players would rather play more regular season games. It doesn’t benefit most of them to play a short season with expanded playoffs.

(Note: The only mention I could find regarding TV revenue was as part of the revenue sharing among the teams, and that didn’t include post-season. I’m would think that their “Central Revenue” portion of their revenue sharing includes regular season TV revenue and that these monies are used to pay salaries. But, it looks like post-season TV revenue might be completely separate.)

42 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of June 8th

  1. Aside from who’s in the right and wrong here, I have a hard time seeing how a 50 game season is legitimate. For me, 81 games and an expanded playoffs is the minimum for the season to be considered legitimate.

  2. Thanks as always Jim.
    Did any of the released minor league players surprise you disappoint you with their release?

    1. Yes. Surprise? TJ Rivera, for one. He seems like the type of player you would want on your tax squad for depth.

      I’m always disappointed when the draft picks I’ve watched move through the system are released. Even when I understand the reason why.

      Some of these guys were going to be free agents at the end of the season ant way, either because their minor league rime has been served or because they were on a one year free agent contract.

      Among the younger guys, we have too many. We carry a lot of kids on futures contracts who have to be placed on rosters forcing the Phillies to release or promote.

      The Phillies can only have so many players in the organization 25 on the ML roster and 35 total active and reserve on each of their 9 affiliates. That’s 340 players. They are still over 350 with the draft on the horizon. They don’t have the 60-day IL to stash players.

      The Phillies recent history has been to hold on to players as long as possible. They haven’t release a lot of after ST. They hid them in extended just in case. Their releases have been just before the draft.

      My comments and articles have been anti-owner regarding the negotiations to restart the season. But, these releases (especially in the Phillies case) are business moves. They are making room for the next wave of players. I’m inclined to give them a pass.

  3. The players and the owners have made it plain as day that money comes first and baseball comes somewhere else further down the line after their craven greed. I am sick of it. NBA, NFL, NHL have showed their commitment to their sports, to their fans, and to competition.

    1. The NBA and NHL have already played the majority of the regular season. They don’t have too many games left to complete so I assume it’s easier to finish their season (and easier to talk finances).

      As for the NFL, we’ll see what happens. It’s only June, there’s no guarantee that the season will start on time. But even then, we’re only talking about a 16 game regular season.

      1. And also , to be determined, with or without full capacity in the stadiums.
        A 50% or even less, attendance limit will be a hit on their revenue stream.

  4. I used to be impartial about who was right/wrong in this standoff but as time passes i firmly stand with the players… It’s plainly obvious the owners will only spend X amount of dollars this season and it can be spent 1). through full prorated salaries at 50 games {their preference} or 2). a discount to the prorated amount over 81 games but the total amount paid will not surpass the 50 game total.. As a bargaining strategy the owners are dragging their feet and allowing days to come off the calendar so for any baseball to be played in 2020 their preferred option of 50 games & prorated salary is the ONLY option.. The owners desperately want the post-season billion dollars that comes with the playoff T.V. money. If I were the players I would hold out for at least a compromise deal or tell the owners no compromise no post-season and you can kiss that billion dollars good-bye..

  5. To me, the argument comes down to the fact that the players do not have the opportunity to recoup their lost money, while the owners most definitely do, and I am certain, will make every penny back.

    1. matt13…fwiw….from what I understand….gate revenue will be a big factor for the teams.
      The Cubs, win or lose, are the luvable Cubbies and get their 3M per year….with 70% of their revenue from gate sales.
      The Phillies, according to Middleton, and I assume it has been only the last 5/6 years…get 40% revenue from gate sales. I am sure 10 years ago the percentage was a lot higher since they were well over 3M attendance for 7 consecutive seasons starting in 2007

  6. Romus, I believe, that when we are contenders again, and the distancing has us back to normal, then the 3M attendance numbers will be there each year. That is on John Middleton, but I know the fanbase will do its part.

  7. MLB has made another offer to the players…76 games at 75% of prorated salaries…plus a chunk of playoff TV money. Which pretty much amounts to the same if they player 48 games with full prorated salary. The regular season would end Sept 27, with post season ending by the end of October. Players are expected to reject the offer by Wed, but indicates that some interplay is better than none. FWIW, Bob Nightengale says that there definitely will be some form of baseball in 2020.

      1. This is what spurred my previous comment. In what way has Heyman been anything but the owners’ shill? He reports everything they leak to him out of the owners’ camp while reporting only the players’ press releases.

        1. It ticked me off enough to tweet this last night.

          1. Interesting…the players may be grouped into a few different factions.
            Those at the top with LTCs in hand and triple figure millions guaranteed, usually late 20s or early 30s…may be agreeable to the owners plan..they really do not lose money with those LTCs….but they are concerned for the yuong players coming up.
            Then there are the young ones with less than three years service time…not sure what has to be done but do not want to rock the boat. They will follow whatever is decided.
            Then there are the group in their late arb years…..JTR, al…now they are keen about what is happening…but they also have a fairlt stable financial base at this point.
            So hard to get a general feeling from what the players actually want themselves.

            1. “Interesting…the players may be grouped into a few different factions.” Only if you believe Heyman. I’ve seen a lot of tweets that indicate solidarity among the players.

              I agree with you that some division should seem likely. But, the players have a long history of supporting the association when these disagreements arise. Any break in the ranks now will hurt them at the bargaining table in the future.

      2. …well, now Jim Salisbury says there will be baseball, even if it’s Manfred rolling out his 48 game option in his pocket. But there’s a possibility that more games will be played.

        Also with the WHO suddenly announcing that it’s very rare for asymptomatic people to spread the virus, might that impact the decision for sports in America to open up to crowds in the seats?

        1. It certainly helps, but I think states/teams/people will err on the side of caution. There will be crowds (in Texas), but nowhere near full.

          1. Maybe more so in the south? Word out of Ole Miss is they expect to fill the seats. And Georgia has been open for 6 weeks and the case count has dropped in that time.

  8. I don’t agree with either side. Obviously the owners would lose money with no fans and no game day revenue. However they don’t want to open their books and they shouldn’t have to. They need to meet in the middle though. The players won’t budge off of 100% though and that’s just foolish also. I think 81 games at around 80% of pay is the middle. If there is to be baseball, they need to find middle ground.

  9. Also, the new offer from MLB will hurt the Phillies in terms of our Free agent all star catcher. With Klentak dragging his feet, no extension was agreed to before the stoppage and it now seems unlikely that he won’t test the free agent waters. With no lost draft pick by the signing team and no compensation to us if we lose him, our need to keep him just got higher, as did the cost.
    As for Seranthony, who didn’t know he would need TJ last year? Bad management.

    1. I’m not sure why the cost of signing Realmuto got higher. If the Phillies didn’t want to give JT say 5 years, $125M in the offseason, why would they be inclined to do so now? You know that the owners are going to claim lost revenue and collude to keep spending down. No other team is going to give JT that type of money. I think his future contract just lost $20M easy.

    2. Seranthony…… had a PRP injection from Dr. James Andrews on June12, 2019, that was the recommendation by the doctor, not TJ. He was scheduled to start throwing in August 2019…..not sure what happened but never came back in 2019. But he did throw in Sept from what I remember reading and things seemed fine then.

    3. “Teams that lose free agents receive draft pick for players who sign multiyear deals at $35M+ or one-year deals at $17.8M+.”

      1. I didn’t see that clause, that would certainly make me feel a little better.

  10. I keep hoping that we find a way to re-sign JTR. Maybe I am just delusional, and now the “no loss of draft pick” proposal will have more teams in on him. It was incredibly dumb to not sign him before the Arbitration. And, the only reason they waited was because they wanted the lower number for this year, so keeping under the self-imposed salary cap. Losing him will rank with Ryne Sandberg as a throw in, at the top of mismanagement by our Phils.

  11. Would anyone be happy, at all, with the Comp pick, if we lose JTR? To me, it is a fireable offense if we lose him. However, I don’t know if the order to wait came from above Klentak. If so, then that damages the faith I have had in Middleton.

    1. The tabled offer from MLB would have NO draft pick compensation for free agents lost to another club…a significant boost to the player’s market. So yes, not re-signing JTR would definitely raise the already high temperature of Klentak’s hot seat since Middleton won’t likely fire himself. The fan base would demand an answer to such a head scratching decision.

      1. Perhaps due t loss revenue for this year…many clubs will not be able to be in the JTR market, then there are the teams that already have their preferred catcher in place..
        It may only come down to a few that will be vying for his services…..Mets I heard could be one, and possibly the Dodgers.

        1. The old expression is that one in hand is worth two in the bush.

          The Phillies had JT. They should have signed him to a renewal early, to heck with salary cap. That was an issue that could have been dealt with later in some fashion. But keeping the best catcher in baseball, and a good leader and positive influence, should have been a clear priority. And, obviously, it made no sense to trade perhaps the best pitching prospect in baseball for a rental on a rebuilding team.

          Now, I don’t post all of my opinions daily on this site, but this has been my opinion all along, so it isn’t just now that we have the pandemic crisis, that I hold it. Again, one in hand is worth two in the bush.

        2. Any team that needs catcher will be in on JTR, They will find the money, I hope this is the nail in Klentak coffin if he leaves,

  12. If the commissioner imposes a 50 game season, it will really not go over well with the players, to put it mildly. I can easily see a lot of star players sit out the season.

  13. You can’t make a deal unless BOTH PARTIES want to make a deal.

    Realmuto expressed his intention to test arbitration for the association and for catchers. He also said he was interested in Joe Mauer money.

    So, I don’t see how the team is at fault unless you want to blame them for not over-paying to get a deal done.

    I’ve seen a lot of 5/$125M suggestions for Realmuto. But, just because we think that’s a good deal doesn’t mean it is. For instance, five years now only takes him through his age 34 season.

    Mauer got 8/$184M in 2011, his age 28-35 seasons.

    Realmuto’s extension on top of his arbitration contract would have started in his age 30 season. Same as a free agent contract this year. It might take a 6 year deal through his age 35 season to get a deal done.

    Mauer’s contract was $23M/yr in 2011 dollars. Even with just a 2% increase each year since, a comparable contract before arbitration would have been almost $27.5M/yr. During free agency, a contract could be at just above $28M/yr. So, $25M/yr might just get the conversation started.

    Of, course COVID has changed a lot of things since then.

    1. Jim,

      Sorry to take so long to reply. Lots going on.

      I understand that since the end of last season that JTR had his various standards. But it seems to me that earlier he expressed interest in remaining and Phillie, and i wonder if Klentak made a mistake by letting things go to the final year.

      1. He was never going to sign a team friendly contract. His agent and the union would have seen to that. If all people want to do is blame the Phillies and Klentak, then fine. I’ll continue to remind them of the facts.

  14. Didn’t think they have the cojanes to pick Abel but the Phillies/Klentak pleasantly surprised me!! LOVE this pick!

  15. So the Phillies have appreciated in value by about $100M per year on average over the last 18 years. The KC Royals appreciated about $48M per year on average in that same timeframe. Do the owners have any idea how ridiculous their argument is about not making enough money? How exactly does a money losing business appreciate at that rate? I think it’s truly awful what they are doing to this season and maybe worse is the fact that they are trying to pin the blame on the innocent party in this. Awful

  16. Sounds like we’ll get the word on how many games and all the particulars. As a baseball fan, I’ll always love this game. But MLB and the union should be utterly ashamed of themselves. I’m embarrassed for them. They certainly don’t seem to be.

    1. 8mark

      A 50-game season sucks, if that’s what Manfred decides.

      For the good of the game, which I believe is his mission, lay out an 80-game schedule and let’s not have this be a labor issue any more than it is.

      Of course, we’ll get a 50-game schedule and lots of hard feelings as we head into negotiations for a new players association agreement.

      1. Frank.
        I guess the 50-game season means the Phillies have a better opportunity for making the play-offs. Not that they will finish first in the division, but understand they will now have 12 teams in the play-offs.
        Assume it will be top two teams from each division.

        1. Are you sure that there will be 12 teams in the playoffs? The commissioner can mandate length of the season, but I believe he has to negotiate any change to the playoffs.

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