WATERCOOLER WEDNESDAY

By: Kurt Snyder & Holly Horning

Wednesday is the time for readers to kick-start conversations with their comments and responses on the hottest Detroit Tiger topics.  This is your chance to start the conversation or keep discussion threads alive with other readers in our welcoming community that gives a home to intelligent baseball conversation.

For today’s blog, we offer 2 questions for readers to consider.  Select one (and make sure to list either #1 or #2 in your intro) to answer and get the ball rolling by submitting your comment.  Or, respond to a thread that has already been posted.  For this blog, a maximum of 8 sentences.  You can always come back throughout the day and respond to other readers as well.

Let’s kick this off!


#1 (Kurt Snyder)

We lost another Tiger great over the last week when Bill Freehan passed away at the age of 79. 

Freehan spent his entire career with the Tigers highlighted by 11 trips to the All-Star Game, including 10 in a row.  He won 5 consecutive Gold Gloves and,of course, was a World Series champion in 1968. 

Should these accomplishments have been enough for the Hall of Fame or is there something that you think has kept him out?


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#2 (Holly Horning)

MLB and the MLBPA are finally sitting down and starting the discussions required for the new CBA.  The current rules expire on December 1st.  There are multiple big issues on the table that need to be resolved and the 2 biggest for the players include concerns over payrolls and team control over players.

The players are requesting that a minimum payroll (currently $100 million) be required of each team in order to prevent tanking for profit and to ensure that organizations field a competitive team.  Over one-third of MLB teams currently have payrolls below that number and the overall trend shows that payroll has been going down over the past decade.

And under the current CBA, players are under team control for 6 full (minimum 172 days per year) years in which they are paid league minimum for the first 3 and then arbitration for the last 3. 

However, teams can manipulate service time and thus get an extra year from a player.  Overall, this system allows organization to get players in their prime playing years for the least amount of dollars.

If you had to pick just one, which of the 2 issues – team payroll or team control – is the most important one that needs to be resolved for the new CBA?  And why?

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What the Tigers have overcome to progress to their current level of competitiveness. It’s quite striking.

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16 thoughts on “WATERCOOLER WEDNESDAY

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  2. #2. I like the idea of a salary floor, but it makes most since with a salary cap determined by percentage of revenue. This won’t keep teams from deliberately losing for better draft choices, but it will prevent them from fielding a AAA team and charging MLB prices. Salary tear downs are the worst, and we have been there, done that.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. #2- Most ” for profit” businesses try to maximize their profits through payroll cost reduction. I feel the player control issue is the important one as a fan. Holding a player back to retain service time is my issue. I like to see the players have opportunities to shine and build their career records. If a player deserves to be in the Major leagues, then they should be there. I don’t like talent being wasted to save money.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. #1 – There is no doubt that my favorite Tiger of All-time Bill Freehan should be in the HOF. Name another 11 time all-star who isn’t? And #11 should be retired for him and not Sparky Anderson. Alright, well, maybe retired for BOTH of them. Bill’s name should be on the wall too.

    Liked by 8 people

  5. #1 – I love everything about what Freehan meant to the Tigers, and he’s probably one of the top cases that the Tigers should have a team Hall of Fame, but as a “small hall” person I look at him as a member of the Hall of Damn Good players. Gold Gloves subjective (Derek Jeter has 4 of them, ’nuff said) and he never ranked consistently high in caught stealing percentage. I know some of that is on the pitcher also, but it would used by those supporting him if he did rank higher. Part of the reason for his string of All Star appearances is likely based on the dearth of catching talent in the AL during his prime. Look at some of the other catchers on those All Star rosters; Ellie Rodriguez, Earl Battey, & Andy Etchebarren, he wasn’t beating out either of the Pudges. His top 3 career comps are Darrell Porter, Russell Martin, & Terry Steinbach; good players yes, HoFers, no.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Great breakdown Spartan. I loved so many of the late 60’s early 70’s Tigers players. Freehan is definitely one of them. His era was really light on good catchers until Bench, then guys like Fisk and Munson started popping up later in his career. He is in a high tier yet it is below the HOF tier.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. #2-I may have failed payroll 101, but Holly if the current minimum is 100 million, why do we currently have 14 teams under that threshold? Does that number include just the teams players in the MLB ? Or does it figure in a teams MiLB as well? If you have a hard floor what happens when a team trades or DFA’s and they fall below do they give raises? Or could the MLB consider caps other than luxury thresholds and penalties forcing teams to fit transactions ala the NBA? If the idea is to prevent tanking and fielding uncompetitive teams, do we need upper limits to prevent overspending ala the Yankees and their YES network. Currently, the Cleveland Guardians would have to spend about 77 million to get to the floor. Could the draft be used to compensate those that play by the rules and penalize those that don’t?

    Liked by 4 people

    • Good questions and I think that’s why MLBPA would be smarter to pursue shortening the length of team control time to 4 or 5 years and count anything over 30 days of service as a full year, which would eliminate the 6 week delay to let a player work on their defense (Toronto’s claim for delaying Vlad Jr). Players get to Rule 5 status in the minors in 5 years, why it takes 6 years (or 6 plus with service time manipulation) is just plain wrong. Maybe exchanging shortened team control with allowing partially non-guaranteed contracts is the way to go. Young players that produce get paid sooner while teams can get out of overpaying players that go into deep declines.

      Liked by 5 people

    • I think that penalizing through the draft is a good concept. Forfeit your first round pick two years straight for pulling the right out of “Major League” BS that the Indians/Guardians have been doing.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Having a minimum floor cap does not mean they won’t tank intentionally just to get a high draft pick. Perhaps if they included a lottery for the worst 6 teams getting the #1 overall pick would help make a minimum floor cap work better.

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    • Hi, Naldo – Currently, there is no floor for team payrolls. What the players are initially suggesting is that there be a minimum of $100 million payroll per team. Teams by and large are reducing their payrolls well below what they used to be. They have learned how to tank and profit from it. For example, not too long ago, the Astros were MLB’s most profitable team but had the lowest payroll. We’ll see what happens! Thanks for continuing the conversation! – Holly

      Liked by 1 person

  7. #2. I’ll go with team control. If you ever read the rule regarding when the “clock” starts on the first year to count toward service time, then you know there has to be changes. It can create long term animosity between team and player (see Kris Bryant). Tanner Houck has been sent up then down about six times for Boston. They add him to the roster on the day he’s scheduled to start then send him right back down. Any guess on when his clock starts? Clean up the language and close the loopholes because it is really muddy and make it simple.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. #1 – HOF or not, this Tiger fan will always remember Freehan’s two catches to end the ’68 World Series. The first was the foul pop. The second was Mickey Lolich. Bill had strong legs.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. # 1- If Bill Freehan had played for the Yankees, and if he had compiled the same statistics he had with the Tigers, he would have been in the Hall of Fame years ago. Alan Trammell and Jack Morris had to wait more than 20 years after their retirement for induction into the Hall of Fame, The East coast media and, to a lesser extent, the West Coast media, have dominated sports for years. During his career, Freehan was the best catcher in MLB.

    Liked by 6 people

  10. People who think Freehan shouldn’t be in the hall of fame–Ozzie Smith made it with the same lifetime batting average as Bill, but, he was a showman.

    Liked by 6 people

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