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 Post subject: Probably not the first time.... (first post)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:41 pm 
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First off, I'm absolutely sure that I have about 1% the baseball knowledge that most of you that post regularly have. I'll also admit that I'm a bit of a pessimist in regards to the buccos, but I'm not going to complain. I think that they're beginning to lay the ground work for some future positivity. But, I digress...

What I wanted to ask was lets say that theoretically 75% of the moves that have been made or will be made over the next year or so pan out and the Pirates become a contender or at least a winner. Do you think the organization will pay enough to keep their talent, or do they become a feeder to the top spenders? (hopefully continuing to fill the gaps from the minors or cheap(er) vets via free agency).

Here comes the "Probably not the first time.." bit, 3 out of the 4 major sports in this country have caps. I realize that the first answer will be that smart teams win pennants, not always the biggest spenders. I can't deny that, (I could use European league soccer to argue that the big (smart) spenders pretty much win every year, but I won't), if the Pirates continue to build from within per se, I'd hate to see the next Barry Bonds come through the ranks and then skip town for the big money. And then pretty much get that type of punch in the face year after year. Can a cap actually work in MLB? Is there an alternative?

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 Post subject: Re: Probably not the first time.... (first post)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:18 pm 
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SpankysGhost wrote:
First off, I'm absolutely sure that I have about 1% the baseball knowledge that most of you that post regularly have. I'll also admit that I'm a bit of a pessimist in regards to the buccos, but I'm not going to complain. I think that they're beginning to lay the ground work for some future positivity. But, I digress...

What I wanted to ask was lets say that theoretically 75% of the moves that have been made or will be made over the next year or so pan out and the Pirates become a contender or at least a winner. Do you think the organization will pay enough to keep their talent, or do they become a feeder to the top spenders? (hopefully continuing to fill the gaps from the minors or cheap(er) vets via free agency).

Here comes the "Probably not the first time.." bit, 3 out of the 4 major sports in this country have caps. I realize that the first answer will be that smart teams win pennants, not always the biggest spenders. I can't deny that, (I could use European league soccer to argue that the big (smart) spenders pretty much win every year, but I won't), if the Pirates continue to build from within per se, I'd hate to see the next Barry Bonds come through the ranks and then skip town for the big money. And then pretty much get that type of punch in the face year after year. Can a cap actually work in MLB? Is there an alternative?


This is the question that everyone has and nobody knows the answer. It will be the true test and will prove if the cheap ownership cries are legit. But because of the Pirates financial situation, they won't be able to keep everyone so they will have to pick and choose. They are like the Twins, A's and Marlins. They will have windows where they can win a title and then they will have to restock. The cap answer is no because the owners don't want one or are not united enough to work towards one. Welcome to the board.

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 Post subject: Re: Probably not the first time.... (first post)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:25 pm 
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The answer is the Pirates need to spend more money no matter what. Whether this plan works or not spending more money IS the answer.

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 Post subject: Re: Probably not the first time.... (first post)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:28 pm 
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SpankysGhost wrote:
First off, I'm absolutely sure that I have about 1% the baseball knowledge that most of you that post regularly have. I'll also admit that I'm a bit of a pessimist in regards to the buccos, but I'm not going to complain. I think that they're beginning to lay the ground work for some future positivity. But, I digress...

What I wanted to ask was lets say that theoretically 75% of the moves that have been made or will be made over the next year or so pan out and the Pirates become a contender or at least a winner. Do you think the organization will pay enough to keep their talent, or do they become a feeder to the top spenders? (hopefully continuing to fill the gaps from the minors or cheap(er) vets via free agency).

Here comes the "Probably not the first time.." bit, 3 out of the 4 major sports in this country have caps. I realize that the first answer will be that smart teams win pennants, not always the biggest spenders. I can't deny that, (I could use European league soccer to argue that the big (smart) spenders pretty much win every year, but I won't), if the Pirates continue to build from within per se, I'd hate to see the next Barry Bonds come through the ranks and then skip town for the big money. And then pretty much get that type of punch in the face year after year. Can a cap actually work in MLB? Is there an alternative?


The MLB players union seems to be the most powerful one in the four major sports, and as such, I cannot envision a salary cap ever being accepted. Fortunately for the Pirates, teams can be competitive in MLB without spending a lot of money.

Assuming that the Pirates become a winning team, I think they might bump payroll a bit, but probably not even to the major league average. And although it's possible to win without spending a lot, I think it's difficult to do so perennially. So basically we'd be looking at developing a core group of players that we'd have for six years, develop a winning team around them, let some of them walk as they become too expensive, and start the process over. This is basically the model that the Twins, A's, and Marlins have used, and they've had success with it at various points.

The Red Sox have had success because they both spend money to keep their big guns around and they develop their farm system. The Yankees have pretty much neglected their farm system since the beginning of this decade, so they have had to spend an obscene amount of money to remain competitive. And the MLB landscape is littered with teams who have tried to spend their way into contention, only to pony up for the wrong guys (think Toronto and Vernon Wells or the Giants and Barry Zito).

Bottom line is that the farm system model may not make us into a 100 win team every single year, but I think it's the smarter and more sustainable way to bring the team back to relevance. And any winning season at all would be better than what we have now. The Rays almost certainly are not going to be able to keep Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton, Jason Bartlett, Ben Zobrist, etc. etc., but I'd take their World Series berth in a second.


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 Post subject: Re: Probably not the first time.... (first post)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:29 pm 
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Ryann wrote:
The answer is the Pirates need to spend more money no matter what. Whether this plan works or not spending more money IS the answer.


Basic math and history disagree with you...


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 Post subject: Re: Probably not the first time.... (first post)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:36 pm 
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I'm not seeing my posts as I submit them, so I might have repeated myself a bit...

I absolutely agree that the only way the bucs will get better is to grow from within. Without a doubt. It would take a billionaire with an open wallet to buy a contender here.

What I don't want to see is an annual loss or sale of home grown talent... to me, that would be more of the same that (at least appearance wise) we've become used to.

I know a cap would be a tremendous struggle, but each year, rich clubs will continue to pull away from the small ones...

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 Post subject: Re: Probably not the first time.... (first post)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:06 pm 
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SpankysGhost wrote:
I'm not seeing my posts as I submit them, so I might have repeated myself a bit...

I absolutely agree that the only way the bucs will get better is to grow from within. Without a doubt. It would take a billionaire with an open wallet to buy a contender here.

What I don't want to see is an annual loss or sale of home grown talent... to me, that would be more of the same that (at least appearance wise) we've become used to.

I know a cap would be a tremendous struggle, but each year, rich clubs will continue to pull away from the small ones...


The thing about baseball, though, is the ridiculous amount of time it takes to get to free agency, which is six full seasons. As long as we pay what the arbitrator deems fair once he becomes eligible, Andrew McCutchen is ours through the 2015 season. He'll be 29 at that point, and chances are we'll have had some of his best years. The thing about free agency in baseball is that teams are normally paying a ridiculous amount for the downside years of a player's career. Some of these years can still be very good, but it's way more economical to have a player for his peak and pre-peak. If the six-year rule is ever reduced, the Pirates will be screwed. But we don't need a cap to be competitive.

I disagree that rich teams will continue to pull away from cheap ones, I think the opposite has been true. The Rays last year were the perfect example of this, when they won the AL East with a $40 million payroll.


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 Post subject: Re: Probably not the first time.... (first post)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:12 pm 
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jaybee24 wrote:
SpankysGhost wrote:
I'm not seeing my posts as I submit them, so I might have repeated myself a bit...

I absolutely agree that the only way the bucs will get better is to grow from within. Without a doubt. It would take a billionaire with an open wallet to buy a contender here.

What I don't want to see is an annual loss or sale of home grown talent... to me, that would be more of the same that (at least appearance wise) we've become used to.

I know a cap would be a tremendous struggle, but each year, rich clubs will continue to pull away from the small ones...


The thing about baseball, though, is the ridiculous amount of time it takes to get to free agency, which is six full seasons. As long as we pay what the arbitrator deems fair once he becomes eligible, Andrew McCutchen is ours through the 2015 season. He'll be 29 at that point, and chances are we'll have had some of his best years. The thing about free agency in baseball is that teams are normally paying a ridiculous amount for the downside years of a player's career. Some of these years can still be very good, but it's way more economical to have a player for his peak and pre-peak. If the six-year rule is ever reduced, the Pirates will be screwed. But we don't need a cap to be competitive.

I disagree that rich teams will continue to pull away from cheap ones, I think the opposite has been true. The Rays last year were the perfect example of this, when they won the AL East with a $40 million payroll.


Exactly. I don't think you need to spend a lot to win. You just have to do a good job in getting/keeping the right players.

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 Post subject: Re: Probably not the first time.... (first post)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:32 pm 
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Welcome to the board.

Looks like you pretty much have your finger on the big picture problem. Key for us is to continue to build with draft, trading vets, and signing foreign players.

We can control the best for six years and maybe one or two for longer. But our success must be based on continuing to develop young kids constantly. No major mistakes or a serious injury to a first rounder and we have a chance to be decent most years and very good a few.

That's obviously the plan. It's the only way that makes sense in today's baseball structure. It may change. I can't prove this but it looks to me that free agents are less desireable each passing year. Small markets just can't afford to go out and get them. If that is a trend and it continues, then many FA players will not be able to get the big bucks and might have to settle for more modest amounts, which in turn might put the small markets back in the game eventually. Not for the absolute best but for the second and third tier guys. Let's hope.

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 Post subject: Re: Probably not the first time.... (first post)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:58 pm 
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SpankysGhost wrote:
What I wanted to ask was lets say that theoretically 75% of the moves that have been made or will be made over the next year or so pan out and the Pirates become a contender or at least a winner. Do you think the organization will pay enough to keep their talent, or do they become a feeder to the top spenders? (hopefully continuing to fill the gaps from the minors or cheap(er) vets via free agency).

Welcome to the panel!!

As for your question ... I agree that the top-end talent may become too expensive to keep for more than maybe 1 year beyond the beginning of free agency. The "extra" year is achieved by paying the player early on, before huge production takes place. This is what the Indians have done, and what the Pirates were likely to do with Doumit and McLouth.

The solution? Find talent every year via the draft and productive trades. Replace the talent lost via free agency. Players to be lost can be traded, or the player will result in early draft choices for the loss.


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 Post subject: Re: Probably not the first time.... (first post)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:06 pm 
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Welcome SpankysGhost.

The only thing I can say about a salary cap is I do like what the NHL has now.

The owners would have to agree and then it would be a long battle with the player's union, probable strike and no baseball for a long time......who knows, but what the NHL has now is what I would like MLB to have. My two cents on the subject.

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 Post subject: Re: Probably not the first time.... (first post)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:16 pm 
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bassoondirector wrote:
Welcome SpankysGhost.

The only thing I can say about a salary cap is I do like what the NHL has now.

The owners would have to agree and then it would be a long battle with the player's union, probable strike and no baseball for a long time......who knows, but what the NHL has now is what I would like MLB to have. My two cents on the subject.


I totally agree. MLB needs to make some changes someday...
Damn players union is too strong.


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 Post subject: Re: Probably not the first time.... (first post)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:53 pm 
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urbanexplorer wrote:
I totally agree. MLB needs to make some changes someday...
Damn players union is too strong.

You know who bears responsibility for the current make-up of MLB's salary inequities?

Supreme Court nominee Sotomayor, who ordered that the lock-out end, right when players had begun to cross the picket line and the Union was on the verge of giving in to a hard salary cap. This site notes the timing of Sotomayor's order, preventing the lockout from continuing, but I recall more than this.

http://crooksandliars.com/john-amato/sotomayor-and-mlb

I recall the Union beginning to falter on this issue, whem teams put teams with replacment players on the field in spring training (including guys like Keith Osik).


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 Post subject: Re: Probably not the first time.... (first post)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:02 pm 
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Interesting Bucfan, very interesting.


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 Post subject: Re: Probably not the first time.... (first post)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:12 pm 
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Welcome to the board...

Right now things are going in the right direction. The team has a blueprint to follow and are making the moves to build the whole organization. Question marks are still there about when they do become contenders and some of these guys come close to free agency. Until then, watch patiently and know these moves are being made to improve the organization.

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 Post subject: Re: Probably not the first time.... (first post)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:51 pm 
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Bucfan is correct, at least as I read it in an SI article recently.

Further, both sets of lawyers, for the union and the owners, noted that Sotamayor walked in, listened politely for 15 minutes, and rendered a pre-prepared ruling regardless of the merits presented.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: Probably not the first time.... (first post)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:09 pm 
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ZelieMike wrote:
Bucfan is correct, at least as I read it in an SI article recently.

Further, both sets of lawyers, for the union and the owners, noted that Sotamayor walked in, listened politely for 15 minutes, and rendered a pre-prepared ruling regardless of the merits presented.

ZM

News flash: judges are rarely persuaded by oral argument. They usually are ready to rule upon reading the papers.

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 Post subject: Re: Probably not the first time.... (first post)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:55 pm 
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Willton wrote:
ZelieMike wrote:
Bucfan is correct, at least as I read it in an SI article recently.

Further, both sets of lawyers, for the union and the owners, noted that Sotamayor walked in, listened politely for 15 minutes, and rendered a pre-prepared ruling regardless of the merits presented.

ZM

News flash: judges are rarely persuaded by oral argument. They usually are ready to rule upon reading the papers.


And those judges are absolutely doing a disservice to the litigants and to their representation.

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 Post subject: Re: Probably not the first time.... (first post)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:20 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
Willton wrote:
News flash: judges are rarely persuaded by oral argument. They usually are ready to rule upon reading the papers.


And those judges are absolutely doing a disservice to the litigants and to their representation.

Are they? If a party can't make a persuasive argument in its brief, what is the likelihood that oral argument will suddenly sway the judge? I realize that it happens, but usually cases are won on the papers (barring a trial, that is).

I see oral argument as a way to clear up any questions the judge may have. It's not terribly useful as an avenue for presenting the merits of the case; that should have been done in the briefs.

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 Post subject: Re: Probably not the first time.... (first post)
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:08 am 
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Willton wrote:
Are they? If a party can't make a persuasive argument in its brief, what is the likelihood that oral argument will suddenly sway the judge? I realize that it happens, but usually cases are won on the papers (barring a trial, that is).

I see oral argument as a way to clear up any questions the judge may have. It's not terribly useful as an avenue for presenting the merits of the case; that should have been done in the briefs.

You have summarized pretty well the stance of quite a few judges in handling oral argument. "Hey, if it is already in your papers, I don't need to hear it again, and it it's not in the papers, why should I pay attention to the point in oral argument?"

However, that view of oral argument is a recent judicial invention. Further, those who have spent time in court arguing before judges realize that the preliminary opinions - that is, the decision based on the briefs alone, before oral argument - are very often written by research attorneys, not the judge.

I have frequently encountered "tentative" rulings that are just wrong. Flat-out improper and contrary to controlling law. I use oral argument to correct the mistake. I have encountered tentative rulings that misapplied the law, were absolutely contrary to law, were not permitted under the law, or just should not be rendered based upon the facts and law presented to the court.

In those circumstances, I often see the research attorney sitting in the jury box, watching oral argument. The attorney is sometimes new to the position and may know nothing about the legal issue before the court. The lawyer may have been a labor attorney, or one who practiced criminal law or bankruptcy, and is now handling civil litigation. The research attorney may be unsure about his or her decision, but the task I face in oral argument is to convince the judge that the research attorney botched the decision.

I argue the issue by using oral argument. I present it to the judge, and in part to the research attorney. Convincing a judge to change his or her "tentative" ruling (i.e., the decision rendered by the research attorney) is difficult, but is done via oral argument. Eliminating oral argument removes the last chance to make sure that the court does not screw up the decision.


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