Ben Clemons, BEN, CBA discussed on Effectively Wild: A FanGraphs Baseball Podcast


So I think it's just trying to find a way to get around the competitive balance tax threshold basically and it's funny I was talking to Ben clemons about who would step in to stop this if anyone and I don't think it's gotten to the point where it needs to be stopped if I've been for stepped in and said 11 years, this is where you reject and nullify this contract. I don't think there are any grounds for doing that. He's still going to be making lots of money at the end of that deal. But in general, it would be for the commissioner's office to step in and do that. And that's what happened in the NHL. But as Ben said, and I was saying to Ben, it's funny in a way because it's like the owners are looking for a way around a provision of the CBA that they themselves insisted on. It was their top priority and burdening. We can't lift the CBT. We can't give any ground here. And they succeeded to some extent, the players didn't get everything they wanted there. And so now that there is a CBT that teams are like, oh, well, but we don't want to incur these penalties here. So what's going on here? Yeah, so it's like they're the ones who imposed the CBT and now players would prefer for the thresholds to be raised, but I guess it's not such a terrible thing for them if 40 year olds are making 20 plus $1 million. But as Ben was saying, this is like a classic kind of collective action cartel kind of problem because even though it's beneficial for the owners as a whole to have the CBT have some teeth so that the leak as a whole can keep costs down each individual actor is then incentivized to find a way around that despite cooperating on suppressing costs kind of being in the best interest of the owners as a whole. You're still going to get just each individual if you have Steve Cohen who's like, well I got a lot of money and I want to spend it or Peter seidler or whoever then they're going to break ranks when it comes to actually citing people and that's when you need the commissioner to step in or at least the owners might want the commissioner to step in and sort of enforce the austerity rules which would benefit them in the aggregate, but not in certain specific cases. So it's kind of an interesting case study, I suppose, economists would have a field day with this. Well, and especially if we had better clarity, I mean, I know we got some of it in the course of the lockout and the CBA stuff, but it's like, you know, I think there are a lot of places where ownership is universally aligned across the 30 teams, but we know for a fact that there are different constituencies within the ownership group, right? And that there are teams that have been much more keen to impose limits as a way of maybe preserving their own competitive position within the industry and other teams that and not just the mets that have been interested in having slightly higher or even much higher limits so that they can sort of throw their weight around in a place where they view themselves rightly as having a competitive advantage relative to their peers. So it would be a really fast if we could get real transparency into all of those sort of machinations, it would be really, really interesting and I wonder if their owners who are looking around at the landscape now are going, all right, you guys were willing to go higher on those CBT thresholds or whatever it is. And I would imagine that part of the dread, especially for teams that are committed to being cost constrained, isn't even so much like, oh, we're missing out on Carlos Correa, right? It's the knock on effects further down the market where we are seeing sort of the Taiwan walkers of the world get four years and $72 million. And it's like, oh, I thought we were going to be able to be sort of in the market for some of these mid tier guys, but the entire market is shifting upward. And now we're seeing ourselves playing in a very different pool where it's like we have to get really excited about Kyle Gibson. Right, yeah. All right. Can I give you the cliff notes versions of my thoughts on the ball stuff? Sure. It was big news. It would have been bigger news in any other week, I think. It's a fact that the insider report from Bradford William Davis and doctor Meredith wells trapped this week amid the madness of the winter meetings that may have stolen some of the spotlight from it, but it's still got a good share of the spotlight because it's a pretty sensational report here. And just some general observations, so for anyone who didn't read it, it's all free, it's available for anyone to read. It's not paywalled. We'll link to it on the show page. And we have had both Meredith and Bradford on the show multiple times in the past. We had them on together a year ago to talk about their previous article, which was about the ball and the fact that multiple models of the baseball were in use in 2021, which was very valuable research that they did because they brought to light something that MLB had not publicly acknowledged and arguably had not even privately acknowledged the fact that two different versions of the baseball were in use in the 2021 season, a debtor ball, and a more juiced ball, and it was their reporting that got MLB to admit this and acknowledge it publicly and that we claimed that it had informed teams or the Players Association, but they were all like, huh? When did that happen? So no one seemed to know about this. And rad Manfred claimed that it was because of supply chain issues and production delays and COVID and everything, which had stymied their plans to switch over to a new model of the ball and so they had been forced to use

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