Friday, December 9, 2016

Tyrell Jenkins traded to Rangers for Luke Jackson

Tyrell Jenkins and a little known player named Bradley Feigl were traded to the Texas Rangers yesterday for a reliever by the name of Luke Jackson.

Twitter then exploded in rage.

Jenkins is one of those guys who was really well known on social media for his interactivity, easy demeanor, approachable nature, and generally seen as a good-guy with fans. At no point will most people reference his pitching acumen before his personality, which begs the question: Was this a good trade from a baseball perspective that simply had negative fan reaction? Oh and also don't worry about Feigl in this trade, he's a 25 year old that's still in rookie ball.

Tyrell Jenkins last year had 14 games at the MLB level including 8 starts. That's 52 innings pitched with a disappointing WHIP of 1.69, an ERA of 5.88, and a 33-26 BB/K rate. None of those stats suggest that he was ready to be a full-time MLB pitcher. So I go back a year and look at his AAA stats and see how he projects. In 2015 at AAA, he had a 3.57 ERA in 8 starts, 45.1 innings, a WHIP of 1.39, and a 20-29 BB/K rate. Better yes, but your AAA stats are always better than your MLB stats or you wouldn't get called up. The problem I have with that is the BB/K rate still isn't good and the WHIP at 1.39 is frankly awful for that level. You can't be allowing that many base-runners and expect to have positive outcomes.

Meanwhile, Luke Jackson is a reliever with 15 games of experience relieving in the MLB. That's basically too small of a sample for me to gauge much off of, so frankly I won't. Instead I'll look at his minor league years and see that he's got 128 innings at AAA with a 5.89 ERA, a 1.63 WHIP, and a 78-149 BB/K rate. The downside to all those K's? He's given up 14 homers in those 128 innings, which is a HR/9 of basically 1.0, and that's not a good thing. The great news to this kid? He can touch 100 mph with his fastball which is why he's getting so many K's. So why is he giving up that many homers and hits? Because the fastball doesn't have a ton of movement on it.

So why make the move? Both guys seem to need a ton of work. My thought is the Braves are simply betting on velocity, as much as I hate the idea. They are going to take the kid in Jackson who can throw hard, and they hope they can teach him some movement and control. They are going to get rid of the pitcher in Jenkins who has shown spurts, but can't seem to get enough strikeouts and will never touch the triple digits on the gun.

I don't like the idea of radar gun chasing for prospects, but I also understand the league we live in now. If you're into football, you understand that coaches will recruit the 320 pound guy with some speed who is unpolished rather than the 260 lineman who has incredible footwork because you can't teach that kind size and speed combo. They are building blocks for eventual success and every organization thinks they can out-coach the other organization.

Most of the time I feel that's not true. If you can pitch, you can pitch. Plain and simple. I don't think this move will amount to a whole bunch because even if a guy can touch 100 mph, he can't hit the bull with it (Bull Durham reference, kids), and I'm worried about him giving up dingers at the MLB level. I will reference that number for Jackson since it just 11 innings he gave up 4 homers. That won't do on a Braves team that prides itself in pitching prospect competition.

Meanwhile, the Braves fans lost a fan favorite, so if Tyrell pans out and Jackson doesn't you will absolutely hear it from Braves country. As they should, because frankly I don't like the move from a baseball perspective even though I understand why they did it. That also tells me the philosophy going forward is bigger arms over looking for better command, which could be a recipe for disaster in the bullpen. They better make sure they can reign Jackson in, or this whole exchange will be pointless.

GO BRAVES!

Friday, December 2, 2016

The New MLB CBA: What's in there?

OK so the CBA is long, and nobody really reads the whole thing except for journalists and agents and lawyers with too much time on their hands. So for that kind of thing you come to me and say, "Ben, what the hell is in this thing and should I be pissed off about it?" Well, constant reader, I can give you the answer to those questions here.

First off the CBA runs until 2021 so it's not really that long, but five years has actually become the standard for the last 3 CBAs under MLB. They were actually shorter than that before, with the shortest coming in the infamous 1995-96 agreement that only lasted 2 years. There's very little that really changes in this agreement but I'll go over a few of the key points here with my commentary.

ROSTERS REMAIN AT 25 PLAYERS - This was a key point of discussion where I think the players wanted a 26th man (they says otherwise but they lost so why admit they lost) on the rosters to make up for the daily inter-league crap. Basically you could carry a theoretical free DH on an NL team to adapt for the inter-league play. My solution to that is get rid of the DH completely or implement it MLB wide. I hate the DH but I hate the fact it's not mandated one way or the other in 2016. Make up your freaking minds. Anyway, this stays the same.

THE DISABLED LIST GOES FROM 15 TO 10 DAYS - With this one, a shorter DL supposedly promotes the idea of putting a guy on the list without losing him for 2 weeks, which then opens up a roster spot for somebody else to get MLB time. I can see both sides actually wanting this. From a player side you get more guys at the MLB level. From a team side, I get to place guys on the DL more often and get functional players on my roster without paying a 2 week plus penalty for it. I think you'll see the DL get a LOT more use for pitchers in the coming years (10 Days is basically 2 starts)

NO INTERNATIONAL DRAFT - The owners wanted a draft because drafts are great to keep costs down for teams when you can slot guys out and hold control. International players under the old CBA were part of a confusing bonus pool which is still in effect now, the only difference is the sliding scale isn't as big and there's a harder cap you can't violate. What does this mean for you as a fan? It means I'd expect to see less international bidding as a whole, which sucks if you're not from America as a player. But then again, the MLB doesn't really care because it's an American sport and this is SPECIFICALLY a pro-American rule being put in place, no matter how they sell it for savings.

HIGHER LUXURY TAXES - Did you know the MLB has a luxury tax? No? That's because the Braves have never even gotten close to it for a long time. Right now it's $189M dollars. It goes up to $210M dollars at the end of this deal. At no point will the Braves ever, ever, ever, EVER have to pay that, so you might as well call this the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers tax. Because only those idiot teams would pay it to then lose to the Royals and Cubs. Idiots.

NO MORE LOSS OF 1ST ROUND PICK FOR FREE AGENTS - In the old CBA, you'd lose a first rounder if you made a free agent signing of a player that got a "Qualifying offer" which was essentially an average of 125 top salaries. It's getting replaced by something that's so freaking complicated it makes the tax code look simplistic. Here's the rundown I got from http://www.sbnation.com/2016/12/1/13806488/mlb-new-cba-collective-bargaining-agreement-luxury-tax

  • If a team gets revenue sharing and signs a player who received the qualifying offer, they would lose their third-highest draft pick.
  • Teams that pay into the revenue-sharing pool will lose their second- and fifth-highest picks.
  • Those rich teams would also lose $1 million from their international signing cap.
  • The medium-market teams — the ones who don’t receive or pay revenue-sharing money — would give up their second-highest pick and $500,000 in international money.
  • A team that loses a player who declines the qualifying offer before signing for $50 million or more will get a draft choice between the first and second round.
  • If that player signs for less than $50 million, the pick will be after round B of the competitive-balance round, which is after the second round.
  • Reminder that the Cardinals occasionally get extra picks in the competitive balance round, which is still just the stupidest thing.
  • If a team is over the luxury-tax threshold, they’ll still get a pick for losing a top free agent, but it will be after the fourth round.
That's freaking ridiculous. I think you have to file three TPS reports to figure out which draft pick you're losing. Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.

THE ALL-STAR GAME DOESN'T DETERMINE ANYTHING - Thank God. No really, thank you Lord for somebody having the common freaking sense to realize that Bud Selig completely screwed this up. This move alone almost makes the rest of the CBA fine because we're getting rid of one of the most egregious decisions in all of professional sports, based on one bad PR day when the game ended in a tie. I hate Bud Selig for many reasons but this one was the whipped cream and cherry of my disdain. Now the team with the better record will have home field in the World Series, as it always should have been. The end.

NO MORE TOBACCY FOR YOUNGENS - If you're old and intent on rotting your jaw off and dying like Tony Gwynn did (not a shot at Tony, I miss him badly and wanted people to learn from what he did to himself), then you can chew this disgusting stuff. If you're young, you can't chew it on company time. Frankly I'm proud of the MLB for doing this and also pissed they didn't take it all the way just to force current players to make better decisions.

MORE DAYS IN A SEASON - I think they added like what? Four more days or something? That just means more off-days for guys so I don't really care one way or the other on this one.

MORE DRUG TESTING - Good, because those dopers were still doing it and being dumb about it, also supposedly HGH testing which is good. The Braves typically have never been really involved with this stuff at an organizational level so I think it benefits us to crack down on those guys doing it for Free Agent money like Ryan "I'm a loser" Braun.

EVERY CLUBHOUSE MUST HAVE A CHEF - Yeah supposedly that's in there according to Jeff Passan on twitter which I find hilarious. Also Bartolo Colon is like...SUPER pumped about this idea. Unless the chef is one of those hippy Vegan farm-to-table people, then Bartolo may just eat him.

HIGHER MINIMUM SALARY - Yep, everybody gets a little bit more in the bank just for showing up. The minimum wage before was around 500k a year, I have no idea what it is exactly now, but I can assure you that everyone will still be able to afford their morning Starbucks lattes for the holidays. Rest easy peons.

That's pretty much it. The whole thing is very much a "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" kinda feel to it which makes sense. The MLB is making gobs of money and people decrying it's death are basically stupid. There's no reason to derail this golden train and both sides knew it. So onward and upward gals and fellas! We have a new season to look forward to now that the deal is in place.

GO BRAVES!