Baseball Movie Slugfest by Braves Journal – Comedy/Romance – Part 1

The first category of the Baseball Movie Slugfest by Braves Journal is Comedy/Romance. You can see the entire bracket below:

Part 1 will be Seeds 1 vs. 8 and 2 vs. 7.

#1 Major League vs. #8 The Bingo Love Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings

Major League (from Alex Remington):

A classic R-rated ’80s comedy, Major League is basically baseball’s Slap Shot: a team of misanthropic misfits from Cleveland somehow starts winning, despite how much everyone hates them. Written by the guy who won the Oscar for The Sting, it’s a great ensemble piece, with a truly stellar cast including Tom Berenger, Wesley Snipes, Charlie Sheen, and Rene Russo, and it features an all-time great performance by Bob Uecker as the Cleveland announcer.

It’s not perfectly P.C., right down to the real-life name of the team the movie is about, but it’s one of the best underdog sports movies. (It’s definitely the best underdog baseball movie about a team of adults.)


The Bingo Love Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (from IMDB):

Tired of being treated like a slave by team owner Sallison Potter (Ted Ross), charismatic star pitcher Bingo Long (Billy Dee Williams) steals a bunch of Negro League players away from their teams, including catcher/slugger Leon Carter (James Earl Jones) and Charlie Snow (Richard Pryor), a player forever scheming to break into the segregated Major League Baseball of the 1930s by masquerading as first a Cuban (“Carlos Nevada”), then a Native American (“Chief Takahoma”). They take to the road, barnstorming through small Midwestern towns, playing the local teams to make ends meet. One of the opposing players, ‘Esquire’ Joe Calloway (Stan Shaw), is so good that they recruit him. Bingo’s team becomes so outlandishly entertaining and successful, it begins to cut into the attendance of the established Negro League teams. Finally, Bingo’s nemesis Potter is forced to propose a winner-take-all game: if Bingo’s team can beat a bunch of all-stars, it can join the league, but if it loses, the players will return to their old teams. Potter has two of his goons kidnap Leon prior to the game as insurance, but he escapes and is key to his side’s victory. As it turns out, there is a major league scout in the audience. After the game, he offers Esquire Joe the chance to break the color barrier; with Bingo’s blessing, he accepts. Leon glumly foresees the decline of the Negro League as more players follow Esquire Joe’s lead, but Bingo, ever the optimist, cheers him up by describing the wild promotional stunts he intends to stage to bring in the paying customers.


The Braves Journal version of the poll for this match-up will run today (December 31st) through January 2nd. But if you have a Twitter account, you can vote now here:

#2 A League of Their Own Vs. #7 Long Gone

A League of Their Own (from IMDB):

During World War II when all the men are fighting the war, most of the jobs that were left vacant because of their absence were filled in by women. The owners of the baseball teams, not wanting baseball to be dormant indefinitely, decide to form teams with women. So scouts are sent all over the country to find women players. One of the scouts, passes through Oregon and finds a woman named Dottie Hinson, who is incredible. He approaches her and asks her to try out but she’s not interested. However, her sister, Kit who wants to get out of Oregon, offers to go. But he agrees only if she can get her sister to go. When they try out, they’re chosen and are on the same team. Jimmy Dugan, a former player, who’s now a drunk, is the team manager. But he doesn’t feel as if it’s a real job so he drinks and is not exactly doing his job. So Dottie steps up. After a few months when it appears the girls are not garnering any attention, the league is facing closure till Dottie does something that grabs attention. And it isn’t long Dottie is the star of the team and Kit feels like she’s living in her shadow.


#7 Long Gone (from IMDB):

Story of the Tampico Stogies, a low minor-league baseball team, and its star player and manager, Stud’ Cantrell, as they battle for the league championship amidst the corruption and racism of the American south.

The Braves Journal version of the poll for this match-up will run January 5rd through January 7th. Twitter poll below:

85 thoughts on “Baseball Movie Slugfest by Braves Journal – Comedy/Romance – Part 1”

  1. I voted for League of Their Own because I’ve never seen Long Gone and League of Their Own is literally my favorite baseball movie ever.

    I voted for Bingo Long over Major League, though — as much as I love Major League, I think it’s a little dated now, and Bingo Long is a genuinely exciting movie that feels fresh in part because so many fewer people have seen it. It’s about the Negro Leagues and it has James Earl Jones and the guy who plays Otis Day from Animal House, and it doesn’t have a chance in hell of getting out of the first round in this tournament, but everyone on this blog who hasn’t seen it totally should go see it.

  2. The synopsis of Bingo Long makes me want to see it. It looks like it might be really good. Billy Dee, James Earl Jones, and Richard Pryor probably makes for a good one.

  3. For those that don’t frequent the site as often, sign up for updates so you can be reminded to vote for additional seeds!

  4. apparently, it takes you to twitter to vote and then makes you sign up before you can vote.

    Twitter has logged votes, but the upper right box on the webpage does not show votes.

  5. Whoops. Somehow the poll got closed. I have re-opened it.

    It’s very disappointing that WordPress doesn’t seem to let you have multiple polls going at once. Could be theme-related, but disappointing nonetheless.

  6. Rob, You just have to add a second instance of the Poll widget. I did that but did not see the second poll for the movie slugfest so I just set it to display the JTR poll. If you want to create your second poll and set it, I think we should be good to go.

  7. Bowman repeatedly mentioned Gray when shooting down SP rumors. Maybe he’s not completely in the dark after all.

  8. Does anyone consider Kirby Smart to be deficient in big games or are these simply just hard-fought games that haven’t quite gone their way? No shame in losing to Bama twice, and Auburn last year was a good squad as well.

  9. Remember when we got 2 everyday players from Arizona for Shelby Miller? And Touki (and Bronson Arroyo’s contract) for Phil Gosselin?

  10. This offseason is really boring. The Braves’ activity and rumors have been at a crawl for a long time now.

  11. Prepare yourselves emotionally for Carlos Gonzalez and a reliever who’s not as good as Zach Britton.

  12. @23 That’s why I keep suggesting platoon partners for Adam Duvall…… Sigh…..

    @5 Texas ended up with 4 new prospects including their 6th (TBR) and 12th (OAK) now while giving up Profar and a lesser prospect. If the Braves were offering one prospect even if it was a good one, that wouldn’t be enough. With only one major leaguer involved, more minor league pieces and international money and a comp draft pick (to TBR) was more enticing. The ultimate question is what do the Yankees really want in return…..

  13. @20 Or that time they got three regulars including Prado and a decent reliever for Justin Upton?

    Maybe AZ don’ wanna trade wit us no mo’.

  14. @19 The “real” Georgia would have whooped Texas’ butt. They looked very flat coming out and stayed that way for the better part of three quarters. That was NOT the same team that nearly beat Bama. There is no doubt that Texas played with more purpose.

    That being said, the Big 12 played a lot better all around than could have been expected and tore through the SEC except for Bama. I think the assumption that Big 12 defenses are awful is not completely true. I think Big 12 offenses really are that much better than other conferences and it makes their defenses look bad. Texas, in particular, either played great defense or Georgia just didn’t really care about the game. But Baylor and OK State took out good SEC teams, too (3 of 4 wins vs SEC)

  15. @19 – It’s very difficult to gauge motivation and preparedness for bowl games and some great coaches have struggled in bowl games at times. Bear Bryant had a streak of doing poorly and Nick Saban has struggled with non playoff or national championship bowls at times, among others.

    Smart’s 4th and 11 fake punt against Bama was stupid, but otherwise he’s had his team very well prepared and had an excellent game plan against Bama over the last 2 years. By most accounts, Bama was the better team going into the last 2 games. Smart also beat Auburn and Oklahoma in big games last year. I don’t see how anyone can say he’s not a big game coach.


    “But why not make a play for that one man? This is pure fantasy, as Bryce Harper hasn’t been connected to Atlanta at any point this winter, but with the Nationals signing Patrick Corbin, the Mets adding Edwin Díaz and others in significant win-now moves, and the Phillies angling for Machado, Harper, or both, Atlanta should throw its muscle around the NL East too. Moreover, the Braves spent just 40 percent of their 2017 revenue (as estimated by Forbes) on their 2018 payroll. That mark ranked just 25th in the majors, against an average of 49 percent.

    Just based on revenue alone, Atlanta should be able to run a payroll in the tens of millions higher than it currently does. There’s no financial reason not to try for Harper. And there certainly isn’t a baseball reason—how does a lineup that starts with Acuña, Harper, Freeman, Donaldson, and Albies sound?”

    Pretty good that’s how it sounds! What are we even doing here…

  17. @28 If Atlanta committed $30M in AAV to Bryce Harper and then was done this offseason, would that be ok with you?

  18. If anyone has a particular skill in graphic design, would anyone be willing to create a bracket that is much more aesthetically pleasing the bracket I created out of a spreadsheet and then screenshotting it? And if so, could you make it in such a way that allows me to edit it going forward as we advance through the tournament? I’m embarrassed to tell you how long I spent trying to find an online bracket generator that allowed me to take 32 participants and form them into 4 divisions. I scoured the internet to no avail. Please email me at bravesjournalrob at gmail dot com if you are willing and skilled to do so. Thanks!

  19. Payroll should be north of $150 mil if they want to actually compete and not just continue the strategy of luck into something that works. We’re at like $110 now which is embarrassing. They should make a run at Harper and sign more relievers as well.

  20. If I’m not mistaken, we’re at $118M once arb raises are factored. We finished last year at $120M. I can find no fault in expecting at least a $135M OD payroll, which would have been about 15th based on last year’s numbers, if accurate. With that said, we uniquely took on more payroll at the deadline last year than other teams, and that allowed us to win the division, hands down. It requires more of a “wait and see” approach, but this year is the first year where you’re going into the year expecting to be a contender out of the shoot and knowing the division is very competitive, so if we don’t have an end of year payroll reflective of our market size, then I will be very disappointed. I just can’t be right now.

    If we add the remaining $20-25M supposedly that we can spend, that puts us top-14 based on OD last year. If we then add payroll throughout the year at a higher rate than others, then we’re starting to look like a top-10 payroll team, which is more reflective of our market size, IMO.

    Yes, we could clear Duvall, Teheran, and Vizzy, for example, clear out $20M, then go spend $30M on Bryce Harper, but because the net gain was only around $10M, that would leave us with a 16th, 17th ranked payroll, and I would actually be disappointed.

  21. $30-35M isn’t an issue. It mostly just seems that the Braves don’t want to be locked into contracts beyond 2-3 years.

  22. I’ve spent a lot of money on the Braves, especially since they moved to STP. If they continue to play this poor man’s game instead of acting like the fairly large market they’re in, I’m done. I’m a Cobb County resident who’s helping pay for their home. I want to see a WS championship. “Next year is when they’ll really be good,” is no longer good enough, and they can take that response and shove it.

  23. While I agree with some of the frustration surrounding the lack of spending when we were all told this would be the year, can we at least wait until the offseason is over to be all doom and gloom? I don’t think I’ve heard us be out on anyone because of price. I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt until we see the finished product. I really want Bryce Harper as much as the next guy, but paying anyone upwards of $30 million a year, not to mention the length of the potential deal means that if we got him, that would be our complete offseason for not only this year, but perhaps the next 2 or 3 years and I don’t think AA wants to tie his own hands.

  24. Give Harper 3/120 see if he says no. He’d be 29 at his next deal and able to cash in again and able to make more annually than with a longer deal.

  25. Most of the really bad long term contracts have either severely handicapped mid market teams that thought they were on the verge of competing (see Cincy and Homer Bailey, Baltimore and Chris Davis, Mets (even though they aren’t really mid market) and everyone, …) or been absorbed by big spenders (see Cubs and Heyward, Red Sox and Price, Yankees and Ellsbury, …).

    Fact is we can’t afford to make a huge mistake on a long term contract (see the artist formerly known as BJ Upton), along with most teams. Harper would be great, but if he would hamper our ability to lock up Acuna long term, count me out.

  26. Braves payroll as a % of revenue is always going to look bad as the team is a real estate enterprise masquerading as a baseball team. Battery revenues and expenses need to be subtracted out (and Forbes did not) before drawing conclusions. the $50M in extra revenue was also put towards retiring debt to get us back in MLB’s good graces ala the debt ratio rule.

    In addition, others have mentioned that there is still 6 weeks until spring training and then a likelihood of further transactions during the season, and the poor-mouthing gets real old.

  27. The Phillies have signed David Robertson as their closer.

  28. Just went back and looked at the standings from last year. It’s amazing to me that Tampa Bay had the exact same record as we did and finished 18 games out of 1st in the AL East. What’s even more amazing is that the Orioles finished 61 games out of 1st place!

  29. @44 @45 @48 I can’t imagine that the Braves would be hurt too much by offering Britton the same contract as Robertson. They were both predicted to get 3/33. Robertson got that except that only two years were guaranteed and the third year was an option. The Braves should sure offer that to Britton or 1/10 to Herrera with an option for a second year.

    The problem right now is the 40 man roster. Until the Braves make the “big trade” and clear some space on the roster then they won’t sign another FA. The Braves have lost every waivered prospect with non-zero value for nothing – McCreery, Sanchez, Ruiz, Peterson, Reed. Anybody think the next guy, whoever it is, won’t be snapped up the same way?

  30. @38 I agree, we need to be patient. This year’s FA market is incredibly top heavy, but not all that deep. Anthopolous and the Braves likely have plenty of funds, but they’re surely not going to go wading into the half a billion dollar waters for Machado or Harper. Honestly, I don’t want them to either.

    Harper at 10 years and 300-400 million dollars means the Braves are waving goodbye to 2/3 of the Acuna, Albies and Freeman tandem they have now somewhere down the line. Plus, what have the Nats won with Harper on the cheap? They’ve had a stacked rotation, a good position player core, and they still came up perennially short. I’m not saying the guy isn’t talented, I just don’t think he’s **that** guy that carries a team to the next level.

    Now if they can get him for 2-3 years, with a crazy high AAV, cool. I wouldn’t criticize that in the least. It’d be worth the gamble while they don’t need the payroll. Any longer? Nope, pass.

  31. @49 Ruiz in another uniform is a net gain in, and of, itself. I never got the hype, and was always a bit fearful they’d lose someone valuable while Ruiz took up a 40 man spot.

    I do think you bring up a valid point about the 40 man issues, however. That said, I wouldn’t be outraged if they floated Tehran out there, even if he got claimed. It’s never, ever going to happen. I’m just saying that 10 million in payroll could be beneficial for giving up a guy clearly not in their plans.

  32. I wonder if AA is reluctant to trade prospects at the higher levels because they’re worried there’s not much talent at the bottom to replace plus the international signing limits.

  33. 2-3 year deals make an awful lot of sense while we’ve got Ron, Ozzie, Johan, Newcomb etc. dirt cheap. The young core starts to get pretty costly starting in 2021. I say sign a FA closer this offseason.

    If you guys could have one closer this offseason, who would you want?

    @53 excellent point. We are going to feel the effects of that 5 years down the road.

  34. @54 If I had my choice, it’d be Kimbrel for 3 years, even if it meant going 20 million per.

    He gets to be the first closer to ever touch 20 million a year.

    The Braves get off the hook before they need the money for Acuna and company.

  35. @53 Irrelevant. If you trade value for value then you’re not losing anything. The Braves have too many pitching prospects ready for the majors and not enough position prospects. We need longer term value at catcher and OF where we have some future value but no current value.

    That’s the whole point of Donaldson – to be a winner at a position until the younger prospect can prove himself. We need the same thing in the OF. Some superstar for one crazy good year until Pache/Waters can come along. That’s why someone like Peralta or Castellanos would be excellent trade candidates rather than Haniger. And why Realmuto is a perfect fit with about two years to wait for Contreras.

    The farm can be refurnished every year in the draft. One of the issues in 2014/2015 was that the Braves had several unproductive drafts in prior years (from what I can tell there are very few solid major leaguers from the 2011-2014 drafts – none of which are still with the Braves). From what I can tell, we are where we are because we had two extremely good drafts in 2015/2016 along with some big hits in the international market earlier (Acuna/Albies/Peraza and several others still in the system)

  36. Or how about we sign Harper AND keep our core intact over the long term? Again with this assumption that the team can’t be expected to actually spend money and that doing so on one player is always going to result in getting rid of someone else! It just blows my mind how the FO has people eating out of the palm of their hand with this crap.

  37. @57 Two issues.

    First, again, when has Harper ever proven he’s worth his ask? If he turned down 10 years, and 300 million from the Nats, you’ve got to assume his price is much loftier than that.

    Secondly, in this instance, it’s understandable that the money is an issue. It’s not as if we’re defending the FO for overlooking a guy asking for a few years, at say 15-20 per. We’re talking a half billion dollars almost! When has one of those record setting deals ever worked out over a decade? Cabrera is an albatross now, same as Stanton and Pujols, and Rodriguez before them.

  38. I remember the day, the hour almost, when the Pujols contract was finally agreed to at the Winter Meetings. Oh the excitement. Cardinals mortified. AAV as a tool to kill off those awful later years, what on earth was that?

    Alba Tross
    gains come first, then the first rending loss
    so for Harper
    a year or three then let him scarper.

  39. @57 I agree. Even before the season ended, there were multiple bloggers downplaying the payroll increase and expectation of free agent signings. It paints a very confusing portrait. Are these guys fans or corporate shills?

    I know the team is going to make some deals, but I wonder if the front office strategy (preference to deal pitching prospects first) is causing the team to miss out on some deals.

  40. I’m not very knowledgeable about what was discussed in Moneyball,sabermetrics or any of that, but surely $30+ million per year is more wisely spent on multiple players? Like two fifteen million-dollar players or whatever produce more wins over a season usually, right? With less risk if one injury occurs.

  41. The whole point of Moneyball is to try to find undervalued assets. So, for example, if you happen to be in a market where the five best players in baseball are vastly overpaid due to scarcity, while the next tier of players have a much more reasonable cost per WAR, then it makes sense to go after the B+ players and lay off the A-1 guys.

    Certainly, you can mitigate injury risk to some extent by spreading the money around multiple players. On the other hand, having a single superstar allows you a lot more flexibility in what you do with the other 24 spots on the roster — if you commit $300MM to one sure thing, you have a lot more ways of penciling in the lineup than if you commit $100MM to three guys all of whom have to be guaranteed a roster spot.

    It’s all about maximizing value to risk and cost.

  42. @61 Bryce Harper’s MVP season, the Nationals went 83-79, and finished second in the division.

    Yes, he can pile up stats at times; but so could Dan Uggla when he was hitting those meaningless solo HRs, down 4, in the bottom of the 7th. “I wish Dan Uggla was still playing”, said no Braves fan, ever.

    Again, not arguing Bryce’s talent- dude’s good. My point is, and this reinforces it, in his **best** year he doesn’t elevate the team around him.

  43. I don’t know how else one can expect a 10 bWAR player to offset 4 total voids in that lineup except by producing 10 bWAR… Unless, of course, you expected him to go up to bat for those guys? That Nationals team struggled to plate runs for reasons not named Harper.

  44. @65 Four total voids?

    They didn’t get much from Werth that year in LF, statistically; and Escobar didn’t bring much pop to 3B, but did have an OBP of .375.

    That’s all I see though. Who else are you counting?

  45. The problems with that team were Ian Desmond turning into a pumpkin in a walk year, Jayson Werth completely losing it, mediocre years from Ryan Zimmerman, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez, Anthony Rendon, and Doug Fister. Matt Williams literally got fired because the whole team quit on them.

    The problem with the team was not that a 22-year-old Bryce Harper hit .330 with 42 homers.

  46. Escobar was arguably their second best guy in the lineup that season with a 115 OPS+. Wilson Ramos, Danny Espinosa, and Ian Desmond round out the four (you mentioned Werth). Michael Taylor also didn’t help as much as his OBP would suggest. They had four guys in the lineup with sub .700 OPS, and that really hurts run production.

    I worry about the Braves lineup if they enter the season as they are at C, SS, CF, and RF. Throw 2B into that mix if Albies replicates his 2nd half all of next season. They have simply got to add a big impact bat somewhere (if not C, then RF).

  47. Yes, the in-depth viewpoint of acquiring an elite player is that a 5 WAR player is better than two 2.5 WAR players. But it also seems like the financial valuation reflects that, so yes, while you would prefer to have said 5 WAR player, the cost will most likely prevent you from improving another area of the roster. Consider this scenario, understanding that budgets are finite (and your team is not the devil for not exceeding it):

    Two team needs, closer and RF. Currently, no internal options; only replacement-level players for the league minimum. So as it sits, you have zero WAR projected for closer and RF. You have $30M in said finite budget. Team is not evil for not exceeding it.

    Option 1:
    RF – 5 WAR player, $30M. (Bryce Harper)
    Closer – Replacement-level, league minimum.

    5 WAR. Total cost: $30M + league minimum

    Options 2:
    RF – 3.5 WAR player, $20M. I’m going to say Michael Brantley, but he actually signed for less ($16M per for 2 years, not 10).
    Closer – Jeurys Familia, 1.8 WAR. $10M.

    You might say that you disagree with the premise. No team is going to go into the season with a replacement-level closer. Sure, but teams will go into the season with all sorts of positions, units, etc. with replacement-level production. And if they don’t, it may be very close to it.

    But you came out ahead because 1) you didn’t give someone a 10-year contract (check out the list of highest-paid guys, especially the ones signed 6-7 years ago; it’s ugly), 2) you haven’t given the opposing manager an opportunity to design his game plan to attack a clear deficiency on the roster, and 3) you actually get more WAR for the money. Is there risk of Brantley or Familia or whomever of not performing? Absolutely, but it’s almost a certainty that your 10-year deal is going to have some year where the player suffers an injury and they’re out. You’re still paying that money. And now you don’t know when, just like right now.

  48. I just can’t get myself worked up about not signing Bryce Harper when we’ve already signed Josh Donaldson (and will sign more), and we’re going to be paying Freddie, Acuna, Ozzie, Folty, and some other SP probably $120+ for just them in a few years when we also have to find a way to afford Bryce Harper. And I think the Braves will get, no matter how small, a hometown discount from our homegrown players, and Harper will get the tippy tippy top of the market for his services, which will undoubtedly be based on the hope that he produces at his career-high levels, which he’s not yet demonstrated he’s capable of consistently. I trust AA more than that.

  49. @70 Yeah, too bad that RF signed somewhere else. The team is the devil if it walks into next season with a combination of Camargo and Duvall for RF and Flowers and McCann at C.

  50. The problem won’t be not signing Bryce Harper. The problem would be waiting all offseason for some trade to materialize while a few players have very affordably been signed/traded. Of course, those teams/players maybe didn’t like the Braves or what they had to offer, but it’s possible this team could have already signed a RF and a CL.

    We patiently wait, but if we walk into next season with $118 million payroll, don’t be surprised if a few of us find it unacceptable.

  51. @71 Flowers and McCann aren’t a bad catching tandem. McCann isn’t a middle of the order bat any more, sure. I think in a PT role, not seeing lefties, he can bounce back to close to a 1 WAR player. If they get 2 WAR out of Flowers, that’s not bad. Why are some folks so down on this?

    I do agree that’s not an optimal set up for RF, but I trust Anthopolous will address that at some point.

  52. @70 This. 100% this.

    If the Braves get nothing more than a solid RF option (I’ll even be able to deal with Kakes, if they sign Kimbrel), I’ll be okay with it. I’d like a legit closer, too; but I guess we’ll see. That’s a ton of flexibility left come July, though.

  53. My point is if we sign “Kakes” to RF, then the combination of C and RF is not good enough. Markakis had a .701 OPS in the second half. I don’t see any reason to expect much more from him.

  54. @64 I hope you’re not the GM when Trout becomes available. I wonder if the BBWAA will keep Trout out of the HOF for not making the playoffs. The Angels are exactly the kind of team we don’t want to become. One HOF star player, another HOF player on an albatross contract, and nary a playoff game between them on this team. Not to mention they have Simba and still can’t make the playoffs. And the Angels have crazy money the Braves never will have.

  55. I think baseball is slowly eliminating long term contracts. Maybe you might call it collusion but I think of it more as, finally, after 45 years of free agency, owners have become aware of how baseball talent plays out and how to truly value that talent for the betterment of their teams.

    It never made sense to escalate salaries for players in their 30’s when their talents universally diminish. When all is said and done, what should happen is that baseball salaries are paid on the same kind of bell curve that talent is displayed. Rising up from minimum through top-end around 28, maybe staying flat for a couple of years, and then beginning a slow descent back to minimum. The prime FA contract for a 26 YO that has a proven level of talent should be around 5-6 years and no more. A contract for a 33 YO should top out in the first year and decline from there. If you want to give them 5 years, fine, then it should be a declining scale with the last year being around the ML minimum.

    To really accomplish this, the arbitration scale needs to be escalated as well as the eligibility. We talk about albatross contracts, but those are necessary because players are not earning what they are worth at younger ages.

  56. @76 I just don’t see where paying any one player 300-400 million dollars has ever paid dividends for a franchise. If I were a GM, I wouldn’t pay Trout 300-400 million either. It’s not an AAV thing, it’s the overall package and the length. As guys age, you’re always going to get a diminishing return.

    Harper’s fairly consistently worth 4 WAR, which might justify the AAV he’s asking now. The thing is his defense isn’t top notch now, and at 36, how many WAR do you think he’ll be worth?

    To get value, he’d probably need to consistently be an 8 WAR player the next 3 years; which is likely impossible. Then you’re also accepting the fact that you’re taking it on the chin as a team the last few years of the deal as a trade off for “under paying” him now. To accept that, I think you need a guy who’s…

    A) Consistent
    B) A leader
    C) Elevates those around him

    That’s why I ask what has Harper won? We’re not talking about a superstar player who’s been on largely bad teams, in this case.

  57. @75

    But you don’t understand his “grit” and “toughness”

    There is no denying the he was the Braves MVP in games on Tuesdays with where the sun shined and the wind blew from the south!

    Here is the all DOB Braves team:

    C- McCann
    1B-Rico Brogna
    2B- Keith Lockhardt
    SS- Walt Weiss
    3B- DeRosa
    LF- Reggie Sanders
    CF- Andruw
    RF- Cakes
    P- John Burkett

    These are all players DOB has (or would have) trash fans for not drinking Braves Kool-Aid.

  58. The author of that piece is laying it on a LITTLE thick (literally no one cares about WHIP outside of people who have it as a fantasy category), but I think that a lot of it is right on the money; pitch counts are not particularly predictive in and of themselves, and Tom Verducci’s attempt to predict which pitchers were at elevated injury risk was pseudoscience.

    Obviously, pitching at max effort is a big reason for both elevated radar gun readings as well as heightened injury risk and it would be great if pitchers could be allowed to face more hitters at lower effort. But it feels like the game has left that behind, just like football has moved past the era of the two-way player.

    This is a nice story — when Buford High School blew out Deshaun Watson:

  59. I tend to blame MLB and front offices for the surge in max effort pitching. At the tail end of the high PED usage, pitching began to dominate. In order to boost offense, two things occurred. One, the ball changed, which was done to help boost home runs. The other, possibly unintentional, thing is that umps simultaneously began to expand the strike zone top to bottom and call strikes on the corners less consistently. I’m a fan of east/west pitching, but with higher K/9 being favored pitchers began to work north/south a lot more.

    If it’s going to be all about the K’s, then we shouldn’t be surprised that max effort is prized. However, I feel that one way to remedy this is to return the ball to what it was and purposefully expand the width of the strike zone to enable pitchers to work the sides and maybe take a little off the heat.

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