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Thursday Rockpile: Rules we've learned this off season

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Todd Helton would likely be happy to have another teammate capable of picking up his dinner tab.
Todd Helton would likely be happy to have another teammate capable of picking up his dinner tab.

Inflation of MLB contracts has returned and is continuing.


In order to slam the Tulowitzki contract, Dave Cameron took pains to assume a zero percent inflation level until 2020 as a major risk for the Rockies, but it's become clear this off-season that teams are still more than willing to raise the price for win value upgrades. In order to praise Theo Epstein, Cameron now says that contract inflation "only" has to be six percent over the next seven seasons for Crawford to be worth the contract he just signed. He's a lot closer to being correct this second time around. Why would the Rockies be interested in locking Carlos Gonzalez up now? Because the timing is probably better in a market coming out of a bottom than it will be in a few seasons.

Player value isn't a straight line and it isn't universal.


Some teams (the Nationals with Jayson Werth) have to overpay to attract free agents, and for some (Boston and New York, for example) what's overpaying for everybody else in the league isn't really overpaying for them. Carl Crawford simply isn't as valuable to the Pirates as he is to the Red Sox. The wins he adds wouldn't be as valuable in Pittsburgh because they are still outside of contention, the revenue he adds at the gates and in advertising isn't going to be as much because of the vast differences of the two cities' economies. What's more, similar players will have different values in different cities based on what branding has already taken place. Andrew McCutchen likely has more revenue value to the Pirates than Crawford would, Crawford has more value to Tampa than McCutchen would. Getting a so called "hometown discount" could actually be exploiting a player because of this. It's a reason why the Rockies might have more ability to lock down star players already on the roster than they do to acquire them from outside.

More past the jump.


Labor/management acrimony likely won't boil into a work stoppage for the next CBA


The large player contracts being doled out this winter are indicative of a healthy, competitive free agent market. There are no real signs of collusion and the return of contract inflation points to relative peace the next time the sides come to the table. Owners will fight amongst themselves and you'll have a few crying that they can't be competitive in this environment, but it's going to be mostly empty rhetoric. This isn't to say that rule changes won't be negotiated when the current CBA expires a year from Saturday, but neither side can really argue that they aren't getting their fair share of the monetary pie right now. The relative peace is another reason why the Rockies apparently would feel safe offering multiple players long term contracts this winter. Paul White at USA Today talks about this some, although his article also includes a stupid argument that teams only get value from $100 million contracts with a World Series victory, so be forewarned.

Teams always like what they're doing relative to their neighbors.


Dan O'Dowd's optimistic about Ty Wigginton and Jose Lopez despite the redundancy others see in them. The Giants believe that lightning can strike twice in the same spot by repeating last year's World Series winning team despite questions of how likely they are to catch the same breaks. The Dodgers are smug in the $80 million they've promised largely on credit to revamp their rotation with good pitchers and infield with bad players. There's probably some measure of truth to each GM's viewpoint as well as those of their critics.  

Rule 5


The Rockies didn't have a player selected, nor did they select a player in the major league phase of this year's draft. They had been talking about potentially trading up, which is actually agreed on before but done after the draft, but I haven't seen any word if that came about yet, and Troy Renck's linked tweet implies no Rockies movement whatsoever, which makes it very doubtful that they found a taker.