We mentioned last article that James hadn't answered a Hey Bill in almost two weeks, and then answered about 20 in one day. Here's an interesting answer, in front of the paywall until 15 answers pop up in front of it:
Re the glut of free agents still unsigned: is it possible that managements are finally realizing that most free agents are a bad investment?
Asked by: manhattanhi
Maybe, but maybe the market is just "constipated", in a sense. The normal process are working, but something is just stuck for the moment.
"Managements" are 30 different organizations. It could be that 20 of those managements had a view of an issue, and then that went to 25, and then it went to something close to 30. In other word, it could be that a consensus has formed around something that was already a majority opinion, but there are important consequences for it being a consensus opinion as opposed to just a majority opinion.
1. "Tipping Points" have always been fascinating to me in any case. Water has a boiling point; at 209 degrees it will not vaporize. At 213 it will. I like philosophical positions that have strong analogies in nature and creation.
Malcom Gladwell conceived "the tipping point" as a threshold and applied it primarily to societal behaviors. One of the examples he used was the sharp drop in New York City's crime rate in the 1990's. There is a "stickiness factor" to any societal/political position; you might say that concern about Global Warming hit a "stickiness factor" somewhere around what, the 1990's? When I was a kid the embryonic form of this was concern over pollution - some of you remember that TV commercial in which some kid in a vehicle throws a sack of take-out garbage out of the window, to join a landscape full of similar sacks of garbage... and then a Native American turns around and a single tear rolls down his cheek.
It's almost impossible to count the number of political concepts which may be at or near their "tipping points" in America right now. Some people cannot bear to process the possibility, and this inability to work within a Tipping Point context works greatly to their disadvantage.
2. (James treads carefully, to avoid causing the Red Sox problems.) James implies clearly that 20 different ML organizations had decided to avoid Robinson Cano contracts in the future. If this is true, that in itself is an amazing revelation.
If Boras has only 10 teams to whom he can market ALL of his big-ticket impact players, that creates a game-changing problem.
3. James goes on to speculate that the teams staying out of the BIG bidding wars then MIGHT have grown to 25, and perhaps even to 28.
This is plausible. Dr. D's main reaction to it would be happiness, real happiness, because Robinson Cano contracts are naked examples of GREED and in Dr. D's view not helpful to our society. True, if I have a $100M company I'm not going to sell it to you for $40M, but at the same time GREED is defined as "an intense and selfish desire for something. Nobody, absolutely nobody, appreciates sitting at a table next to someone extremely greedy for food, shoveling it down without tasting it, controlled by it, and so forth. Why this isn't applied to money, I'm not sure.
With respect to Robby himself, we should put an asterisk because he bailed on Scott Boras, to go with Jay-Z as an agent, and he must have known he was sacrificing money in order to help his brothers.
With respect to an industry "consensus" developing, if that were to become true, we would credit Jerry Dipoto as a clear voice and example toward consensus as we do Giuliani with restoring order to NYC's streets. Here is Giuliani's very "tipping point" oriented approach toward that as seen by Wikipedia.
4. Here's an interesting quote on Jake Arrieta:
Scott Boras, who represents Chicago Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta, resorted to typically colorful language in assessing the former Cy Young Award winner's market value this winter.
Boras described Arrieta as "a big squirrel with a lot of nuts in his tree."
Arrieta, a 2015 National League Cy Young winner and two-time top-10 finisher in the voting, could command north of $100 million on the free agent market.
A) Perhaps it's just me, but that seems like a playful metaphor as opposed to the kind of grim, unsmiling tone he usually takes with his 100-page hardcover books glorifying his big clients.
B) "could command north of $100M" - I'm in. Like we sez, 5 years, $20M, I highly doubt it :- ) but if it's fallen that far let's talk, babe.