Boxing in MLB Free Agents

The Major League Baseball free-agent market has barely moved since I last updated it here. Qualifying offer (QO) free agents are the key to understanding what’s going on. First, let’s review what I wrote over two months ago:

Update Sunday November 4, 2018: A total of seven QO’s were made on Friday, November 2 in MLB. Beyond the expected offers to Bryce Harper & Patrick Corbin, were Houston Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel, Boston Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel, Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock, and Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu and catcher Yasmani Grandal. These players have 10 days to accept a $17.9 million salary for 2019, or become free agents with draft pick compensation. The five players I listed after Harper & Corbin should all accept their qualifying offers, as they won’t get better deals on the free agent market. Especially Grandal & Ryu.

What’s happened since? Ryu accepted, and kicked back knowing he has $17.9M for next season, with no off-season headaches. Hyun-Jin Ryu (below) will go into free agency in 2020 with no QO tag, as that can only be offered once to a player by their team. That’s what you want as a player– unrestricted free agency.

As I keep repeating here, it’s the draft pick compensation that is deterring the QO free-agents from getting more substantial offers. At least two-thirds of MLB teams have GM’s that value draft picks above veterans– generally speaking. That is a shift towards correct valuation of winning talent, and the MLBPA with the agents, are way behind on this. Their base constituency (veteran MLB players), are getting low-balled due to the new CBA their union “representatives” signed. Virtually every player before free agency is exploited, and now even free agents can’t get a good deal.

For example, ex-Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel (above) began the off-season claiming he was seeking a deal worth ~ 6/$85M. The problem is, he’s in decline, and he comes with draft pick compensation for everyone except Boston, which is probably where he’ll have to go back to, for less that the QO-deal he rejected in November. Time is not on his side, that’s for sure.

Former Diamondbacks center fielder AJ Pollock (above) is in even worse shape, as Arizona just inked utility man Wilmer Flores, so a reunion is becoming less likely. Pollock is worth (maybe) 2/$12M in this market– without a QO-tag on him. With the QO-tag, he’s negative value (losing a draft pick) to most teams, and therefore unsignable at even league minimum. How messed up is that?

One free-agent player decided to fire his agent, and negotiated his own deal this winter. Reliever David Robertson (above) signed a 2/$23M (plus 3rd-year option) with the Phillies. He’ll do much better than Craig Kimbrel, when all is said & done, and plus he doesn’t have to pay an incompetent agent a 5-10% fee for screwing things up.

Robertson said it was a great experience for him, and that he learned a lot about the market and how to negotiate. More players should follow his example. They’ll get paid better if they do. No one cares about your interest more than you, so if you leave it to someone else, expect to get burned.

Catcher Yasmani Grandal (above) is now an example of this. His over-estimation of his value apparently led him to reject a 4/$60M offer from the Mets a few weeks back. This is another lesson of the free-agency season: don’t overplay your hand. Afterwards the Mets moved on and signed catcher Wilson Ramos (2/$19M), and then the market for Grandal nearly evaporated.

Grandal settled for 1/$18.25 with the Brewers. The Brew Crew only give up their #104 pick, because the deal was for <$50M. The Dodgers would have preferred Grandal to have taken the Mets offer, as they would have received a better compensation pick on a $60M deal. That’s what’s going on, and the vultures are picking this market to pieces, while many players’ heads are spinning, as their salaries are falling.

Every off-season there are 2-3 teams that are spending “stupid money.” The Phillies already declared this intention, and the Yankees are always in, but neither are in the market for a catcher. The Mets have been stupid too, and this was the offer you jump on– if you’re Yasmani Grandal. His agent should be fired, for not counseling his client competently, because there were no other big suitors for Grandal, as most AL teams prefer Marlins catcher JT Realmuto, who is on the trade block.

Realmuto is better & younger, with two years of team control remaining, which could net his new team a QO compensation pick, if he’s dealt before the 2020 season. How much you get paid is not about past performance anymore. It’s what do you bring to the organization, and what they project you can do going forward.

Of the remaining QO free-agents, LHP Dallas Keuchel has the best chance of getting a deal north of $50M, but it’s not assured. The lessons of RHP’s Hu Darvish & Jake Arrieta (both busts) from last winter, remain in every GM’s mind. Everyone needs pitching, but overpaying for mediocre & injured/bad starters doesn’t make sense. That’s called wish-casting, and there aren’t many Jim Bowden’s left as GM’s who do that stupid stuff anymore.

That’s why the trade market for RHP’s Noah Syndergaard, Cory Kluber & Sonny Gray has received more interest than free-agent starting pitchers. The Mets, Indians & Yankees are all looking for young talent in return, but most teams won’t give that up anymore. Therefore not much moves.

We wait until SS/3B Manny Machado & RF Bryce Harper sign, and then the remaining position players will get scooped up at a song. Most of the MLB free-agent activity has been in the reliever market. In October, bullpens matter more than ever, and you can’t have too many arms. Position players are a-dime-a-dozen, and (often) youngsters are the best value in that market.

I don’t know how long MLB players are going to accept a system that never rewards anyone, except the most-elite superstars. This MLB CBA runs 2017-2021, and anyone with eyes can see a labor war on the horizon, as two more years of this will lead to revolt and (likely) a work stoppage. The money is too big, and the disparity is too wide. This process mirrors every other sector of our global economy. What’s not sustainable, must be revolutionized, otherwise it goes into the ashcan of human history. That will be the legacy of MLB’s “qualifying offer free agency.”

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Censored Comments on Russia Today’s “Keiser Report”

These comments were deleted by Russia Today’s moderators (censors). They pertained to the latest Keiser Report, “Should individuals campaign to get corporate rights?” (E1331).

I’ve learned that you can’t post any Trotskyist analysis on Russia Today. They are very sensitive about that.

Posted (& deleted on) Saturday evening, 1-12-19: I appreciate this show because I’m not a Wall Street insider, and Max Keiser has real world experience. Stacy Herbert is more scripted & cooler-headed, which balances things nicely.

But when it comes to politics they are both lost. There is 0% chance that Alexandra Ocasio Cortez will be US President in 2024. America will either have: A) fascism, which is where we are almost at now; or B) a global socialist revolution in permanence (Trotsky), which is what humanity needs to survive.

Alexandra Ocasio Cortez’s brand of liberalism died with Obama, and then Bernie 2016. Get control of your dick, Max, as that’s what’s driving her ratings, and you’re just feeding the machine. The rest of Washington is too ugly to look at, much less talk about, so Alexandra Ocasio Cortez is the much-needed D.C. poster-girl, who distracts the masses with her physical beauty & perceived innocence. It won’t last, trust me.

Posted (& NOT deleted on) Sunday morning, 1-13-19: Those who claim that cryptocurrency will lead to a transformation of society though a “peaceful revolution” have a poor understanding of history, politics, and the nature of money. The global banks which control the levers of power, will not give it up nicely. [Added here] No devil ever cut off his own claws, to quote Trotsky.

Posted (& deleted on) Sunday morning, 1-13-19: The basis of value for money is in commodities produced by human labor. Money represents an amount of congealed labor which produces a necessary commodity. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is produced by supercomputers, and is useless in the big picture. Its only value is for people who want to hide illicit transactions, avoid taxes, etc– which exposes its fraudulent nature. Cryptocurrency, and the “freedom” its proponents are selling, is a Ponzi scheme.

Update Finale: Mon 14 Jan 2019 05:30 PM EST : A US President takes an oath “to defend the Constitution.” This founding document of our republic authorizes spending to be mandated & approved by Congress, and also contains a 13th Amendment, which criminalizes slave labor. When half of the 800,000 shut down government workers are told to work for no pay, because they are “essential,” then that’s slave labor.

Donald Trump should have be impeached by now for this attack on the US working class, its government agencies & the Constitution, but bilateral collaboration between Vichy Democrats & Nazi Republicans has saved his seat in the Oval Office– for now.

How much more of this will unpaid government workers take? The power of the working class is never seriously discussed in the bourgeois media, but it is now being fiercely debated behind closed doors (always!) in ruling circles across the globe.

Workers globally need to unite, raise their political consciousness, and speak & act in their own interests. The US two-party system is dead, and needs to be overturned. Only a socialist revolution led by the most advanced elements of the working class can achieve this.

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#MeToo Blowback

Democratic Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders is being accused through the media of sexual harassment by the #MeToo campaign. This can be seen politically as an attempt by right-wing Democrats to scuttle a Bernie Sanders presidential run in 2020. Understand that Bernie Sanders is not a socialist, he is a capitalist of the liberal color. That means he’s a chameleon, and changes stripes as needed to serve the two-party system. His job in 2016 was to be a safety-valve for young voters, who (as polls show) now prefer socialism to capitalism.

Bernie performed his duty, then stepped aside, and never complained about the fixed primary process, which surely cost him the Democratic nomination. He really didn’t want it anyways. But now there are sexual abuse accusations, which (as always) are vague & unsubstantiated, yet fill the news cycle with dirty laundry. He’s already profusely apologized for whatever he may, or may not, have done. Wash, rinse & repeat…

What nobody mentions here are the Wikileaks DNC email leaks which prove that is was Hillary’s campaign that abused Bernie Sanders, by rigging the primaries and the flow of party funds to the favored candidate– Hillary Clinton. The #MeToo campaign is foisting the Big Lie technique again, to hide their own criminality.

I’ve noticed that commenters in the media are starting to more & more refer to these witch hunters as the “#MeToo crowd,” instead of “#MeToo movement.” This indicates that #MeToo has lost its hold on the masses and is starting to collapse upon itself. This is largely thanks to the good work of real socialists, who have been reporting on this reactionary campaign from the start. It has been an ideological battle against a well-funded & highly-connected apparatus of propaganda & hate.

#MeToo deeply discredited itself with its showing at the Kavanaugh Hearings, which helped the Republicans avoid a rout in the 2018 midterms. The Democrats are always willing to sacrifice themselves, in order to prop up the Republicans when they need it most. After new accusations were leveled against actor Kevin Spacey recently, he went on the offensive with a video release & a vow to fight this witch hunt campaign, after a year of silence.

Everything has it’s ebb & flow, and the tide has definitely turned on the #MeToo campaign. Even #MeToo, with its powerful political support from Hollywood, NYC & Washington elites has its vulnerabilities– meaning ways to be defeated.

The #MeToo campaign has its roots in the deep state. The #MeToo campaign attempted to weaponize healthy sexual relations (of any type), by turning women into hysterical monsters and men into paralyzed cowards. Healthy men & women don’t want to be that, nor do they seek it in a mate. This is this understanding & ideology with which Trotskyists must arm themselves, to defeat #MeToo and get at the deep state.

The biggest blowback vulnerability of #MeToo is that it exposed such a path to victory for socialists. The deep state is so powerful, mostly because it stays hidden from the masses. It’s this issue, and 9/11 as a false flag attack (above), that most exposes the deep state to revolutionary overthrow– due to the emotionality.

This passion & revolutionary energy must be guided with clear Marxist analysis & dialectical leadership. The time is now, and we must seize this opportunity!

Update: Sat 12 Jan 2019 10:15 AM EST

Below are my comments on the excellent WSWS article “US astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson targeted by #MeToo campaign”

By David Walsh
12 January 2019

This reactionary #MeToo campaign needs to be met head-on with fierce resistance on social media & through legal channels. We’re all guilty of “creepy behavior,” in the sense that someone attracts us with their beauty, and we become aroused. We’ve all “creeped” on others with stolen glances, going through someone’s social media profile page, etc.

I get videoed & photographed all the time by women & gay men, without my consent. I don’t appreciate that so much, as I think it betrays a lack of social skills & immaturity, but that doesn’t give me the right to slander & destroy their lives. We’ve all been made to “feel uncomfortable” by awkward & unwanted advances, but that’s life. You deal with it, because you are an adult, instead of a hysterical snowflake.

Tracing the political origins of these personal attacks is the quickest way to expose the fraudulent character of the #MeToo witch hunts. For Neil deGrasse Tyson, it’s his strict adherence to science, where facts matter and rational thought is the rule. This rejects post-modernism & identity politics, which puts him in the #MeToo crosshairs.

Another example is European footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been sensationally accused of rape (long ago, of course), with no evidence– a claim he vehemently denies. The motivation in Ronaldo’s case is his support for the rights of Palestinians. That makes him an “anti-Semite,” and thus a target for feminist reaction, with support from Zionism & the US deep state.

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Merry New Year!!

The New Year has arrived and one can sense a mood of revolution in the air. Being out on New Year’s Eve in Orlando, in a working-class area, gave me a sense that most people were glad 2018 was ending, and hopeful for a much better 2019. How this will happen is still-to-be-determined, but that is what’s on the minds of people who work & struggle.

The level of fakeness in everything: from our food, to our jobs, to news & entertainment has become too obvious. People are no longer accepting mainstream “experts” at their word. This includes all mass media in sports, politics & business. None of these platforms have much helpful content anymore, as it’s been discredited as “fake news.”

Facebook threw in its lot with the NSA/CIA a few years back, and now it’s come home to roost, as Fakebook has been exposed for its manipulations. “Fake news” was the epithet these fakesters threw at whistle-blowers & socialists, before & since Trump 2016, but their Big Lie has blown back onto themselves.

People now recognize their false flag operations almost instantly, as “conspiracy theorists” on the left have more credibility than anyone on the internet now.  The World Socialist Website (wsws.org) is the most feared online publication, from a bourgeois perspective, and therefore it is the most-censored.

Mainstream media always tries to smear leftists & Marxists, together with right-wing “conspiracy theorists.” When a neo-fascist such as Alex Jones goes too far with his hate, he’s stifled by the CIA Democrats/deep state; for the purpose of setting a precedence of censorship, which is then ALWAYS used with redoubled vigor against leftists.

This is why the media is working so hard at this moment to confuse the population on the issues of left wing vs. right wing politics. Left wingers are what used to be called “liberals,” when that term still meant something (back in the 1970’s, maybe). Right wing is nationalism & racism. The dirty secret is that BOTH lead to fascism, as that’s capitalism. The political “right” wing leads with brute force, while the political “left” wing cowers & enables by deceiving a constituency that cares.

The two-party system is best described as a political straitjacket. In it, there is very little room to maneuver, and nothing is tolerated to get out. Once this harness is removed, the possibilities are endless, and this is what excites people who have been struggling for a long time, meaning 80-90% of the world’s population.

This phenomenon is happening globally. The “yellow vests” in France are an international symbol of working class unity, in defiance of an authority which has only mistreated them. It’s the arrogance on display, which assumes workers are dull & ignorant masses, that has caught up with them. This has alarmed (frightened) the ruling elites. That’s why the stock markets are crashing, and that’s why there’s political unrest in every country, as social inequality & living conditions have become intolerable.

On top of that, no nation state is doing nearly enough to curtail global warming, which only gets worse every year. I wrote this straight-forward song over 20 years ago, during the wildfires of 1998 in Florida, and it’s more true that ever– which really bothers me. No progress, only denialism and more “free market” giveaways to the richest 10%. That’s not sustainable.

We just had a completely ridiculous midterm “election” in the US, and already now, Democrat Elizabeth Warren has announced her intention to run for US President in 2020. We’re now caught up in a permanent cycle of politicians campaigning for office, which involves setting real issuers aside, and attacking opponents on whatever is allowed– sex scandals, etc…

I’m with those that maintain we need to cancel “Election 2020” in 2019. Do you want to go through another “election” like 2016, only worse? Most thinking people recoil at the thought, yet that is exactly where we are heading, unless there is revolutionary intervention from the masses.

It needs to be coordinated, international, and under complete worker control. The trade unions and their ideological appendages (ISO, etc) need to be cast into the dustbin of history. Workers need to elect their own leaders, and develop their own independent political perspective, outside of the straitjacket system.

Political consciousness needs to be raised on a mass scale, with a clear understanding of what genuine socialism is. It is: 1) worker control over production; 2) social equality in that everyone has what they need; and 3) the end of nationalism & secret diplomacy, which are root causes of global conflict. Everyone is truthfully informed on everything, and is allowed to voice their thoughts publicly.

Notice how there is nothing irrational or evil in that correct definition of socialism, as defined by Karl Marx & Fredrick Engels. Yet mainstream (bourgeois) pundits & “intellectuals” always insist that socialism is a Russian plot meant to destroy all human joy, and turn us into automatons. Ironically, that’s what’s happening under capitalism; so once again, this should be recognized as another application of the “Big Lie” technique by the elites.

Donald Trump made a HUGE blunder when he shutdown the US government over the holidays, insisting on full funding for his wall at the US-Mexico border. It’s just like this overgrown child, to dig in on something that is so doomed to fail. Over 800,000 federal workers aren’t getting paid, and some are even being required to stay on-the-job without pay. What are these workers supposed to say to their bill collectors?

Trump impresses stupid & racist people because he appeals to their emotions– fear, hate & anger. He forced this government shutdown to whip up support from his constituent base, which has largely evaporated. Sure, there are still small minorities of hardcore fascists, who will defend & fight for Trump until the bitter end; but many of his 2016 supporters have jumped ship, and now view him as a liability.

This political stand-off which puts government workers at risk of losing their homes, is really be an impeachable crime. Trump claims he wants jobs in the US, to “Make America Great Again,” while trash piles up in our national parks & monuments, because workers have been furloughed.

It’s time for the US workers to take back their land, by uniting in numbers and across all industries, to reject these hucksters & stick-figurines who are leading humanity into an abyss. The crisis is one of leadership. There are no leaders on Capitol Hill, just corporate criminals– playing with tanks. It’s time to come together and elect new leaders, with real world experience. We need them everywhere, more than ever.

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