What Will the New CBA Mean for Rentals?

by JohnBowen

As ballplayers wade through their final season before hitting free agency, they often find themselves in an interesting limbo position: playing half a season for a contender, in between their last team (who they have just spent the last several years) and their next team (from whom they’ll get a bucket full of money).

CC Sabathia as a Brewer, Randy Johnson as an Astro, Mark Teixeira as an Angel.

Just a few examples of guys that looked out of place for a couple months.

For years, teams have made big trades to rent these individuals – but they’ve also received compensation after the year in the form of a draft pick. This compensation helped to counterbalance the fact that real life bodies were traded for 60 games or 11 starts – not only was it a high-leverage acquisition, but prospects were coming back after the year (though they were further from the show).

This year will be different, however. As part of the newest Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), signed last December, only players who have been with their previous clubs for the entire season will be subject to compensation.

Meaning rentals will only be rentals. If teams decide to make a trade for one, they’ll be getting a couple months of a good player. Maybe that player will push the team over the finish line, maybe he won’t – and then he’ll most likely be gone, with nothing to show for it.

What does this mean for Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke, and Ryan Dempster, all in the last year of their deals? Hamels and Greinke are both looking at 9-figure deals. Dempster is in a different situation. At 35 years old, Dempster is having a career year, leading the league with a 2.11 ERA. His goal is to secure one last multi-year deal before hanging up his spikes.

All three of these gentlemen are pitching well for teams that should be selling.  The question is – where will they end up? And what kind of haul will they bring, now that the marginal benefit of obtaining them is less?

The way I see it, teams acquire rentals to make their pushes. In the case of small market teams, the window for success can be pretty narrow. And because compensatory picks are far from guarantees, the loss of these picks may be considered negligible.

Should it though?

The best way to sustain excellence – especially for those small market, window-limited teams – is to maintain a steady stream of quality prospects. The Yankees can afford to go half a decade between developing star players, but that’s hardly the case for the Rays or Pirates. And the fewer picks you have, the fewer number of high-caliber prospects you’ll potentially have that can become big league contributors.

Bottom line is that it may not be worth it for a team like Pittsburgh to chance everything on this year. They’ve experienced a lengthy drought; pressure is high for them to produce a playoff team. But their fanbase will respond much more strongly to a routine contender than a flash in the pan – at least in the long run.

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22 Responses to “What Will the New CBA Mean for Rentals?”

  1. Jim Says:

    The return received by the selling team for rentals is likely to go down.

  2. Chuck Says:

    Rentals should be a risk/reward gamble, compensation is the postseason or the player re-signing.

    Giving up two draft picks for two months of service is not feasible and changing the rule is a good thing.

  3. Raul Says:

    Cole Hamels will get an insane contract this winter. He probably wants 150 million.
    And that team will regret it.

  4. Raul Says:

    In his last 4 starts, Dellin Betances pitched 24.2 innings allowing 8 earned runs (2.98 ERA) and striking out 25.

    Unfortunately, he followed that up last night with 3 innings, 10 hits, 7 earned runs and 3 walks.

  5. Chuck Says:

    And remember, Betances is now in AA.

  6. Raul Says:

    Danny Hultzen had a tough start tonight. 4 innings, 6 hits, 4 runs, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts.

    Wil Myers hit his 16th homer of the season.

    Out in the Mexican League, the centerfielder for the Piratas de Campeche is Ruben Rivera. Yes, THAT Ruben Rivera. The guy who stole Derek Jeter’s glove and bat during Spring Training and sold it for $2,500.

    Former MLer CJ Nitkowski is pitching with the AA Mets in Binghamton, NY. Tonight he pitched 1 inning, striking out the side.

    In 58 games at A-ball this year, 2011 1st-rounder Brian Goodwin was off to a great start, hitting .307/.422/.515 with 9 homers and 40 RBI. His start to his Double-A career hasn’t been as glorious. He is 1-for-19 with 7 strikeouts.

    Earlier this year, Chuck put out his rankings of Minor League first basemen. In that list was Oakland 1B Miles Head. Well, things have changed. While the Red Sox saw Head as a 1B, he is now playing 3B at AA Midland under the Athletics. He’s not doing terribly at AA, but after rocking A-ball pitching to the tune of 18 HR, he’s certainly adjusting.

    I mentioned KC prospect Michael Mariot the other day. Well, another solid start for him: 7 innings, 8 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts against a pretty good-hitting Springfield Cardinals team.

    Scott Kazmir has re-emerged in Texas with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League, an independent baseball league not affiliated with MLB. He is not pitching terribly well, but in his last start went 4 scoreless innings, walking none. That his stats sit at 6 innings, 11 hits and 8 ER tells you how poorly his first two starts went. According to Newsday, Kazmir topped out at 88-89 MPH.

  7. Patrick Says:

    Poor Scott Kazmir. I’m not accusing him of anything but in a recent SI article, Dan Naulty, the former Twin pitcher, said he gained 10mph with steroids.

    Kazmir lost 10 around the time they started testing. Now he has a 12.00 ERA for the Skeeters.

  8. JohnBowen Says:

    I believe the current testing program in place was instituted after the 2007 season. Kazmir was outstanding in 2007, leading the league in strikeouts. He was about as good in 2008 (same ERA, better WHIP, still about 10 K/9) but only through 27 starts, and was a disaster thereafter. Hard to believe he’s only 28.

  9. Raul Says:

    That would be interesting if true about Kazmir. And if it is, you have to wonder why he wasn’t in the Mitchell Report.

  10. Chuck Says:

    Lost in all this WAR talk and the draft and even Penn State was the passing last week of Robert W Creamer.

    He was 90 and was a thirty year member of the Sports Illustrated writing staff but is more well known for writing two baseball biographies on Babe Ruth and Casey Stengel.

    He was also a contributing researcher on Ken Burn’s TBS documentary on baseball and co-wrote a book on the 1961 Yankees (with Ralph Houk)and was the ghost writer for Mickey Mantle’s 1964 autobiography.

  11. Chuck Says:

    Justin Smoak sent to AAA

    I’m sad

  12. Patrick Says:

    Honestly, about Kaz, I shouldn’t have put that in print. It’s just that I have never seen an arm go that dead, that fast. Kaz reminded me a little of Guidry. I thought he’d have at least as good a career.

    The SI Naulty article was a good one. He was 6-7, 180 lbs with the Twins in A ball(I think) with 3 other pitchers with similar or better stuff. Anyway, Naulty and his 86mph cheese is getting rocked and he realizes on day 1 that he’s not good enough.

    He makes it through his first year with his 3 new pals and they go their seperate ways for the winter. Naulty immediately hooks up with a body builder, tells the guy he has to put on 40 pounds of muscle so he can add 10 to his fastball. The guy gets him the stuff pitchers use and Naulty goes nuts in the gym.

    In the spring, the coaches are raving about how hard he worked and meanwhile, his 3 pals are all clean and still throwing in the high 80’s. So Naulty gets fast tracked to Minny and ends up a 240lb, 97mph bad pitcher with a big paycheck.

    None of the other 3 guys made it out of the minors and now feel that Naulty(and others like him) stole their opportunity by cheating. They lived with the guy and didn’t know he juiced until he was on the Mitchell Report.

    Anyway, if anyone was going to read the article, that was the shittily written condensed version.

    Chuck, I saw the news of both Creamer and Smoak. Smoak has been my 1B all year on my AL Fantasy team. Not surprisingly, I’m in 10th out of 12. He is your daughter’s favorite player, right?

  13. Chuck Says:

    “He is your daughter’s favorite player, right?”


  14. Raul Says:

    It’s a sad, but interesting story @ Patrick

    I hope Kazmir can make some sort of comeback. Even if it’s just a bullpen guy.
    And yes, that’s unfortunate about Smoak.

  15. Chuck Says:

    There was some talk heading into spring training that the Mariners were going to “ask” Smoak to give up switch-hitting.

    In looking at his splits, he seems to hit better earlier in the count and as a lefty hitter, so their thought process seems to carry some merit.

    He’s also a .198 career hitter in Safeco in 117 games.

    It’s psychological at this point, maybe a month in Tacoma would help him, maybe a solid week down there gets him traded.

  16. Raul Says:

    Smoak and Ackley are playing much worse than anyone could have expected.

  17. Raul Says:

    I wonder if the Mariners were looking at the WAR stat when they signed Chone Figgins.

  18. Raul Says:

    After hitting .322/.394/.502 in AA, Nick Franklin is going .244/.323/.429 at AAA.

  19. Chuck Says:

    Never an Ackley fan.

    I didn’t think he’d be THIS bad, but I never bought the 50 doubles/multiple batting title talk either.

  20. Raul Says:

    Dewayne Wise DFA’d today by the Yankees.

    The Mariners called up Mike Carp.

    Justin Morneau was reinstated from the paternity list — congrats to him.

  21. Raul Says:

    The Mets called up Matt Harvey.

  22. Patrick Says:

    The Mariners have another player like Smoak and Ackley, Michael Saunders. Despite being horrible for a long time, the M’s stuck with him and the former top prospect is actually about average this year.

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