Saturday, August 15, 2009

Two Down: One Wheeler to Go

The Giants have announced that they have signed second rounder Tommy Joseph and fifth rounder Brandon Belt, both potential plus power hitters, which rounds out their early draftees with an interest in power: they had already signed Chris Dominguez long ago for basically slot.

Joseph, a high school catcher, received a $712,500 bonus, which is almost $60,000 over the slot for his position. Belt, a college firstbaseman, received a $200,000 bonus, which is almost $26,300 above slot. Both are roughly what their slot was assigned last year; basically, the Giants gave them the bonus without the 10% markdown that the Commissioner decreed for this draft.

Again, was it really worth waiting two months to accept probably what the Giants offered them in the first place? Belt in particular, two months of minor league salary is probably close to that; the value of the experience, probably invaluable to making the majors sooner. Just think of it this way: assuming that missing the two months only pushed back his making the majors by two months, then he just lost about $100K.

Of course, the rub is that most players past the Top 5-10 picks overall in any draft rarely make the majors. And if you never make the majors, you never make up the $100K.

But even at minor league salaries, which I think is pretty low, let's say it's about $1,000 per week, by missing 10 weeks of pay, that's $10K.

As an example, Dominguez has already played in rookie ball then has been at Salem Keizer getting significant ABs. He's hitting .246/.297/.483/.780 with 8 HR in 118 AB. His 36 strikeouts isn't good, but that's reflected in his low BA. Still, he's showing the power he's got and started getting instructions on how to improve himself plus it gives him something to think about before next season.

Wheeler Round the Corner

I have to think that Zach Wheeler will sign with the Giants on Monday sometime for somewhere in the $2.4-2.5M range, which is what the slot was last year. They probably figured that it didn't hurt Bumgarner to wait until the last minute - it didn't stop his progress through the minors - so they may as well wait until thelast minute to see if they can squeeze the Giants out of enough money to pay for the agent, that is, let the agent try to earn his money.

The Giants don't get squeezed though in the draft, so it was pretty useless for them to wait until the last minute to get last year's slot. With him I can understand, it could mean more than $250,000 to try, but if you look at the history of the Giants, they are not going to overpay for anyone. They did with Posey, but that is because he legitimately could have gone #1 easily, it was just that the Rays decided to go with Beckham instead.

Otherwise, the most anyone got is about $200K more than the slot, though Graham this year got a lot more but that is because he could have been drafted much higher based on his talent. Wheeler was drafted about where he should have been, in fact, the commentators I saw thought that Leake and Matzek were better than Wheeler, so he could have ended up further back in the draft (though realistically, he probably would not have fallen past the Braves at #7).

And as I noted in the comments, the Giants probably wouldn't mind getting the 7th to 10th pick next year in replacement for Wheeler not signing, there are a lot of good college pitchers touted for next year already and you never know when a hitter raise their game up and push into the Top 10.


  1. The bullpen seems to be having some trouble holding leads lately...
    It's hard to win a Cy Young when you're not getting the wins. Licecum and Cain have gotta be a little miffed.

  2. Eh, and how many times have the bullpen come in and save their butts? They realize how hard it is for themselves to "save" their own games, so unless the bullpen does something stupid out there, as long as they are trying hard, I don't think the starters are going to point fingers at the relievers.

    I really like their esprit de corp that the team has. Kind of like the sappy, "all for one and one for all" stuff. I think it comes from Lincecum, it comes from Sandoval, it comes from Wilson. They all hang loose, be themselves, and they got the back of everyone else.

    And unlike other games, the G-men won the game, so all is forgiven, I think.

    So that is a split, and then we got Sanchez v. Pelfrey and Martinez v. Livan. Obviously, we probably won't go 3-1 and 2-2 is a bit iffy as well.

    In any case, this game had a similar feel to the last LA game, coming up with the win when it looked like the Giants were going to lose it, the second in three games, which is a pretty good for the Giants going forward. Good signs of fortitude.

  3. Oh, and FYI, Matt, while I haven't covered each and every series, I've been doing them more frequently, so feel free to place your comments about any particular series in that particular post if available, else feel free to use the latest post otherwise.

    Sorry, that's the anal part of me coming out. I just like to keep the good comments, like yours and others, close to the content that is pertinent. Appreciate the comment, feel free (and that goes for everyone) to comment. Thanks.

  4. So, in the spirit of attempting to comment on the content... :-)

    Okay, yes, a high school draftee can choose to go to not to go to college. Fine.

    But it escapes me how a Strasburg (or anyone mentioned in the column) really has any leverage - whaddya mean, deadline? Sitting out a year seems counter-productive, playing in Japan seem like an odd choice - so why, what, and for that matter, how and where and who?

    I feel like an idiot for asking this question, but it befuddles me. Outside of annoying the draftee, what's to keep teams from giving them a $1 bonus?

    Everyone seems to accept hige bonuses as obvious, so I must be missing something. Please enlighten me, even if it involves rotten fruit.

  5. That's because Boras is trying to create the illusion that his player has a viable alternative to signing with Washington when he really doesn't.

    As long as Washington is offering more money than anyone has ever gotten, even if it is only $1 more, Strasburg would be hard pressed to not sign, you are taking a huge risk not signing for a $10M+ bonus, because as good as he has been, you never know when an injury happens and you get nothing or certain not $10M+.

    This is all a dance correographed by Boras to create some leverage against the Nats, because as a negotiator, he has to try to squeeze every last drop of money that the Nats are willing to pay (but hasn't offered yet). So he tries to create alternative scenarios to signing with the Nats, in hopes of freeing up the Nats to pay Strasburg everything they are willing to pay, but haven't offered yet.

    And if he has gotten every thin dime from the cold clutches of the Nats, then he has done his job for Strasburg, even if it is getting only $1 more than what the Nats offered before.

  6. About offering $1 not working, it is all economics. Players of potential is worth something. It is like options in the stock market. There is an expected value for each player, based on his potential and likelihood of achieving that potential. He may never make the majors, but that possibility that he might is worth some money. Typical risk and reward. Players are worth more the $1, which even the last player drafted should get more than that.

    So the only way all teams could offer $1 is if there is collusion and that is a ball of wax that the owners don't want to get into.

    Because the value of players, particularly like Strasburg or even Lincecum, is way beyond $1, and there will be another team willing to pay more than that, and the whole collusion falls apart once teams cross the line and sign players for what they are really worth.

    It is your basic probability theory calculating expected values based on the results and the probability of the results.

  7. Yeah but yeah but yeah but - there's no competition. Someone else can buy stock options, someone else can sign a free agent. Nobody else can sign a draftee, his only option is to wait a year. He has a market of exactly one team. "What someone is worth" is irrelevant in this situation, because he is only worth what one single team is willing to pay. Supply and demand calculations have to assume a relatively unfettered buying pool. The draft is the exact opposite of a free market.

    So I like the first answer better, that it's PR. :-) Strasburg may lower his value by waiting a year (and is in the same situation again) but the Nats catch hell. So it's really Boras playing chicken.

  8. But there is competition: it's like the classic prisoner's dilemma conundrum, where if both suspects keep their mouth shut, they both get only 6 months on a minor charge, but if one speaks, he gets off free while the other gets 10 years, but if both speaks, both gets 5 years. If they work cooperatively, they win big, but if one betrays the other, that team gains.

    Same thing here. If all the teams stick to $1, then the draftees have almost no choice, but they can decide to sit out, meaning some teams win and some loses and you don't know which side you will end up, your prospect could be one who decides to hold out.

    If one team thinks, well, he won't sign with me, but if I offer him the $2M he wants, I guarantee that I got him, plus the other teams loses, and now you have an advantage over the other teams where the draftees decide not to play along and don't sign. The collusion breaks down really quickly after someone does that, and it will break down because some players will still sign for $1 but others will hold out, and the teams where they player holds out, if they can sign him to a value that is fair, they will pay him so that the other team don't have a talent advantage over you.

    Boras, as the agent, has to create the drama, the pressure to leverage against the team in negotiations. In a situation where there is not a lot of variables that one can play with. But Boras plays it to the hilt.

    I understand his methods, but I don't like what it is doing to the game. I just don't know how to fix things to be better, though I have tried to come up with better ideas. Hopefully someone can figure out something one day.

  9. OGC Man:

    I hope I am doing this correctly. I left a comment over the weekend (regarding Wheeler signing), which apparently did not post.

    Anyway, I love your blog because it contains only sensible and factual information and no profanity. Keep it coming, bro.

    The lack of offense is very frustrating to me. Something is definitely wrong, and at this point probably not resolved until the off-season. Still, you have to wonder if our guys are using all the tools available to them. From my perspective, I don't think they are.

    Gotta have the split today--Livan is extremely hittable, even for our challenged offense.

  10. According to reports this morning, the Giants and Wheeler are only about $1M apart in their negotiations. I suspect that you'll see something like they did with Gillaspie last year to bridge that gap.

  11. Thanks Boof. I don't see how they can do that unless they are very sure with Wheeler's development. Particularly since Gillaspie is a college player with a track record and Wheeler doesn't. Putting him on the 40 man means that he has to make the majors in 3 seasons (i.e. must be in majors in 4th season). I don't see how they can do that, particularly since Gillaspie has been a bust so far.

    That spread seems to jibe with my speculation. The Giants are probably offering $2.5M and Wheeler is asking gor $3.5M.

    There is also a college fund which would give him about a quarter of a million too.

  12. Totalfan62, the offense is what it is, it was never that good to begin with and with 2B and SS scuffling all season, it is even worse. Yes, there is no way to resolve it, and probably not next season either, though hopefully improved.

    Livan, however, even when hittable, seems to raise his game a notch when he faces the Giants, like he rubbing our noses in, because we basically gave him away to the Expos.

  13. Thanks OGC - yes, I agree. And, I don't know - I wasn't disapproving of the ways things are, or saying that players should sign for $1, was just trying to understand the whys.

    Owners are making plenty of profit - I never am offended at any contract, at least that the player gets a certain salary. If Strasburg gets what Boras is trying to get, well, good for him. Life is short.

  14. You're welcome Marc; I was just trying to explain it from my perspective and threw in some of my opinion.

    I know that the owners are making plenty of profits, but I don't care for how Boras is gaming the system. It is within his rights but it doesn't mean that I have to like it.

    And it is not like it is ruining (yet) the game of baseball, but it just doesn't set well with me, that's all.

    I think a bigger issue is the disparity in revenues between the Yankees and the rest of the MLB.

  15. Bad news for the Giants: St. Louis signed Shelby Miller for $2.9M; he was the 19th pick overall.

    He was considered one of the top preps in the draft this season, and there was talk that the Giants might draft Miller with their pick. Miller fell, I believe, because of his contract demands.

    Still, that will put some pressure on the Giants to concede that the market value for Wheeler is closer to Miller's $2.9M bonus and not the $2.4M that his draft position is slotted for.

  16. I'd throw $3mil on the table and dare him to walk away from it.

  17. Wheeler signed for $3.3m, about $1M over slot.



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