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Old 09-21-2018, 07:47 PM   #1
Acuna Matata
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Signing players early

Ive been mulling over the best time to try and sign my better players to long term deals and i finally think ive found the right recipe that works for me.
After getting my head around the three years pre arbitration followed by three more until free agency i’ve now started to sign players midway into their second year of major league service rather than waiting for their team control timer to tick down any further.
I feel this allows me to see how they fare in the big leagues stats wise and how this affects their ratings before i take the plunge.
To this point i feel its allowed me to make massive savings compared to if id let them reach the arbitration stage as they would then be likely demanding 15-20m per year compared to the sub 10m (and even sub 5m) per year for all star level players.
This has helped me create the kind of conveyor belt of talent that No One has mentioned in reply to me before, and so far so good as ive had to create a seperate AAA affiliate to house my prospects while they’re waiting in the wings to get their chance in the majors.
I must say its truly amazng to me how much this game is capable of affecting my mood as i guess it must be the fact that when things go well it is a pure reflection of your own decision making ability, while unfortunately the opposite is also true.
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Old 09-21-2018, 10:29 PM   #2
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short and sweet -- yes, those are you longer-term keepers, if not exorbitant demands... *some exceptions may apply and limitations due to payroll constraints.

some are willing, some are not. some are cheap / average / over-priced demands relative to talent... so it depends on understanding value and talent relative to your financial environment.

if common sense reasons align (see below for some ideas on context) -- sign any deal that is average or better that comes your way. i also even out the costs per year, but not neccessarily the best route for all situations. backloading kicks the buck down the road and almost always is a bad thing, unless it is apart of a well-thought out plan in the works that avoids any negative effects, of course.

how you pay them per year doesn't affect negotiations much, if at all... if the 'average' per year amount is within x% of their demand, it's fine regardless of distribution. if you can afford it now without any repercussions, it is 100% better to pay for it now rather than later. only pay later if 'forced' or wily enough to avoid problems. front-loading is almost always the best thing to do, if you bother to do anything. at the least, even it out as opposed to a 15m salary now and 25m later with more moving parts involved as to what your budget can be speculated to look like....

if it's an expensive contract, you can always let them test FA, if you are confident they won't get their demand, you will save a buck or two... and a risk of losing him if not. if it's a 'cheap' payroll cycle for the next few years, sometimes i sign bad deals/extensions, because why not spend the money while i have extra. make sure it's off the books before it's a forced.decision.

spread out turnover, proactively... i even trade a '~28' year old winning silver sluggers each year, if i have 4+ bunched up at that age. i don't want to replace 4 players at once in my lineup. (pitching and batters can have different dynamics, sticking to batters unless noted. same results of limiting turnover per year, though) you know these things are coming ~5+ years in advance when you have ~5 22-24 years olds in starting lineup or acquiring mlb talent around same younger age etc... you know it's coming... don't wait for it to force your hand.

length is key... too long is better than too short, assuming they aren't too old at end of that term. 'too long/too short' is relative to likely length of time required for replacement to develop.

when you start nearing max payroll you can afford, take note of how many larger contracts you can afford and still fill out team and AAA depth... now you can avoid problems with that knowledge and proactively avoid payroll problems.

___________ kept for poops and grins _______

blah i wrote to much... i summarized above better and stayed more on topic, lol..... but soem good tidbits below too.

start consolidating those AAA players into the best possible players for near replacement and not screwing near up future of course.

while i don't often push payroll to the limit, for a year or two i sometimes hover there... it's no room for error, though. i prefer not to do that, but when it fits and no repercussions, i sure will do that. it's not 'evil', it just forces certain decisiosn/moves to be made and i'd rather never be 'forced' into a decision.. .eventually it inevitably bites you.

anyway, part of that is juggling # of arbitration players and # of extensions and/or FA signings. how many can your budget afford of the big contracts and still fill out the rest of your team and some cheap depth in AAA -- hopefully most, if not all, of those guys are on mil contracts and not 535k/year. the only guys i pay are future-use prospects or trade assets lingering in AAA.

again, consolidate those prospects before they pile up in AAA is a better practice, but a couple is good for depth, if possible. prefer getting my 'target' elite prospect early as possible in development.

so, the question is relative to budget and understanding costs of various qualities... elite guys in my league go for 25-35M most of the time. defintely >20M. i base any calculation on money saved on these types of figures. if it is a deal, or maybe ~average in some elite player's cases, compared to FA prices, i i take it, assuming no financial issues in near future. even then no problem if i have plans to alleviate the problem (other trades planned)

so, i sign any extension that is a "deal" and not more than i can afford. the Salaries page in Front office will help immensely for those few years you are up against budget ceiling.

if you are showing ~max payrol "next" year, you know you cannot afford all that you have now, because that # is inevitably higher after arbitration. you better trade someone now or asap in offseason. or better yet, avoid this whole situation... pay attention to when contracts are going off books and how much you have obligated to the next 1-2-3 years... rarely do you have to look ahead further than that... too much changes in ~4-5 years that you should be fine even if near ~max/cap.

sort "Salaries" under Front office by each year... the # of gaps are the # of players that need to be replaced each year. (each subsequent after first is # of gaps - previous # of gaps of course... can count them up... hopfully no more than 2-4 a year... and only 0-1-or-2 of your high-quality players per any 1 year lost. a contract that goes beyond need is better than one that does not... you can trade them early... if they leave early, you are forced into a decision -- FA short term or rush the prospect that isn't ready. typically not a good outcome, but sometimes inconsequential too. defintely not optimal.

anyway the max # i can afford will vary depending on the near-future payroll obligations. i can sometimes have more signed than other years, but i understand the factors that cause thise to ebb and flow.

the positions that i cannot sign long term are the positions of near-future need. they take priority when looking to consilidate assets into a prime replacement prospect. if 'younger' i'll be open to some competition until one or both develops. by ~2 years before they are MLB-ready (AA, even late-A), you know who is going to make it most of the time. if i can afford "7" and i signed #8 i know someone is being traded soon and it's the oldest player with the most developed kid prosepct in AAA. or i woud let "#8" go if that's wiser, of course.

however, i'd have made that decisions previously, because a trade of a player 29-32 with prime ratings is far greater return than a compensation pick. if i get a compensation pick, it is an accident and i %$#@ed up, or it's some older player that fell off a cliff ratings-wise and nothing better to do with him.. again, avoidable situation 99% of the time.

avoid FA, and you can afford more talent. if they want too much, let them hit FA. you can see if the demand drops or just go with the 'kid', because it's probably better in long-run and if smart, he's ~ready for at least a 7-8-9 role batting or 5th starter/avoided RP at the minimum, anyway.
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Old 09-22-2018, 06:21 AM   #3
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Massively useful as always.
One of the biggest take homes for me is the idea of leaving the decision late which forces your hand or planning way ahead and keeping everything in order.
Just thinking out loud here but one of my main criteria is avoiding players with above average strikeouts as with baseball being so much about mathematical probability at its core then each of those wasted outs count against the chances if advancing runners or getting on base.
I know its hardly revolutionary to see ot that way but i think a perfect example of this was the 2018 Orioles who seemed to favour HR hitters over average and although ive not been looking lately they were performing horribly as their offense was geared up to capitalise on an event (the HR) which is only ever going to be infrequent at best.
To make matters worse then without the high OBP guys getting on the bases ahead of your power hitters then even when you get the payoff its still only one extra run on the board.
Playing the percentages as ive already discussed in other threads by shying away from hit and run/bunts and low percentage steal attempts seems to be one of the best ways, in addition to obsessing over WOBA and WRC+, to ensure you maximise the possibility for those percentages to work in your favour rather than against you.
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Old 09-28-2018, 12:33 PM   #4
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don't fret too much over lineup... 'they' say there's only about ~16 runs between best and worst or is it best and average? ugh, been too long, but pretty sure between best and worst. if so, just basic common sense will get you within a couple runs of optimal, no matter which school of thought you follow most.

forced decisions are a much higher probabilty of being worse than what you could have done proactively while also including any loss of production in the calculation in the short-term.

the orioles - like other similar offenseses i've witnessed... i believe that is just a very volatile option if too extreme (ignore obp, et al). the end of year tally looks good, but the results are too clumpy, which isn't conducive to consistent winning, imo.

power is still the best option for producing runs, though. i also believe you needs some balance though, or it is too volatile in distribution that it hurts you. while i may not lead the lead in hr every single year, i am at the top, nonetheless.

scoring 15+ runs in a game the most frequently of any team in league isn't necessarily a good thing (it merely 'can' be). i'd rather have any offense that scored a similar number of total runs and didn't have such clumpy distribution due to crazy volatility of day-to-day results depending on a low-% event like a HR -- just like you said.

strikeouts are a large portion of PA, so it kind of a big deal, to some extent. with league totals of SO ~36k or higher, even a 1/2 scale guy is striking out ~100-120 times a year.

avoid k's is an awesome rating. there is no drawback to having a higher rating, which for Eye you could argue there is a negative return at some point, not just diminishing.

however, 30 less strikouts doens't mean 30 more hits though, so it's not as large of an effect as power. although compared to a SO, a ball in play out can be productive in some contexts too. don't fret too much about avoid K's, unless it's clearly affecting their consistency year-to-year or just incredibly low. only a extremely high contact (the babip and power portions of contact) can overcome a very low avoid k's and be good every year, as opposed to wildly up-and-down nonsense. more often an obp guy than a slugger will succeed with such a configuration - more about frequency of what you see, though.

i also make sure to deduce the unseen BABIP rating. if i think BABIP is ~45ish/100 or less (85-90/200 ish in editor) in my leagues they don't do well, no matter how high the contact shows or how high their avoid k's is. they are incredibly inconsistent in my leagues (slightly different than default modern MLB, less hr is biggest difference)

know all three portions of contact and how they relate to your league or 'challenge mode' etc... when do players flounder? use comissioner mode and editor when learning in throw-away league to speed up learning curve, if you want. i'd do the same thing with Stuff and Movement too... understand dynamices of velo, gb% etc etc...

individual player strategies. change aggressiveness and such to match ability when they enter MLB -- stealing actually improves with use more so than other ratings, i think. bump that in mil for the basestealers. slowly raise it in mlb as they improve results (results may not match ratings initially with SB, but will within 2-3 years).

remember all individual sliders are relative to overall strategy team sldiers... so, if you reduce sac hits for team, "middle" for player is actually a "reduced middle." same with aggressiveness in stealing, baserunning or bunt for hit etc...

just as team strategy is important to avoid bad outs or lower % plays, same with players. ideas on running aggressiveness: if a 1-20/100 speed and skill, i put those guys 3 ticks down from middle. (team strat is +1 from middle). 20-40ish, 2 ticks down... ~1/2 scale - middle. 90+speed guys are the dark blue (top 2 notches) 80's speed is the teal color below dark blue.

i try to look at conversion rates of hits/2b/3b/bb/SB/CS etc into runs. while not scientifically done, i bet i'm within 1 tick of what is best, *relative to my league. i did this to attempt to optimize speedy leadoff guys' rs.. so not as confident about the slower clods and best settings.

setting individual strategies does help, objectively speaking. unless you play out everygame, then it doesn't matter at all.

lol everythign i do gets complicated over time as more layers are added... sorry. if you do it right it doesn't have to add time or much effort to playing, either. it becomes clockwork and every decision basically has a large neon sign lit up pointing the way.
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Old 11-09-2018, 05:26 PM   #5
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Great advice! Thank you!
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