Thursday, November 10, 2016

The danger of surrendering our first round pick is about to grow exponentially

Okay, let's agree to disagree about Trump, fruit-flavored beer and the existential message of Donnie Darko - but let's agree to agree that MLB's most tempting free agent this winter - in terms of bat-wielding erotica - is Edwin Encarnacion. He might be baseball's premier slugger, and we covet him in the way that Mitch McConnell does a chin job.

And yet... we must deter. Here's why:

1. He'll demand - and get - a five-year deal. Wait, check that: He might demand seven. Too long.

2. Within two years, he'll be a full-time DH. We can't limit our options for such a period.

3. Next season could be a wipe-out. If our young hitters don't hit, he could sit naked in the lineup, under-perform and become a boo magnet.

4. He's the kind of star you sign as a final piece to a championship club - not when you're two or three years away. By the time you're cresting, he'll be fading.

5. We'd lose our first-round pick.

Let's linger there a moment, because a huge uncertainty surrounds next June's draft. The owners and players union are negotiating a new deal, which will define the future free agent market. One key provision likely will be to add international talent to the annual draft. Next summer, teams might be picking from a talent buffet that includes Latin nations and the Orient. It would be much larger than ever before.

We need a place at that table - not waiting until the second round, after every other AL team has picked from the bacon tray. When that international draft begins, we want a first-round choice. To lose it would be a colossal mistake.

But here's where things get sketchy: We don't know when a new contract would go into effect. If the negotiators kick things down the road - to say, 2018 - then we don't need to worry so much about next June's pick. In fact, Hal could martial all his mad money into a Latino spending splurge - as he did two years ago (the results of it still not clear, by the way.) 

I don't know how the negotiations will go. I doubt anybody does. You'd think Cashman has inside knowledge. But when it comes to collective bargaining, who knows? The current operating agreement expires next month. If a new one isn't done, would they just roll over the old one through next summer? Or will the changes, once ratified, take effect immediately?

To me, this whole issue is as baffling as Donnie Darko's demon bunny. But I do know this: If the international draft starts next June, we need a first-round pick more than we need the final, fade-to-black years of Edwin Encarnacion.

3 comments:

John M said...

I'm in a daze. Don't know how long it'll take to come back to reality, since it's not a place I want to hang out very much.

Sign Chapman, though I'd rather have Miller. Leave the rest alone, let's see what we've got.

This is of course dependent on all of us still being here by Springtime. Then again, Asia's crowded, and Europe's too old, Africa is far too hot and Canada's too cold...

Anonymous said...

THERE MAY BE AN ALTERNATIVE TO ENCARNACION.......IT'S KENDRY MORALES.......... HE IS NOW A FREE AGENT WHEN THEY REFUSED TO GIVE A QUALIFYING OFFER........LAST YEAR, .263 AVE. ..30 HR ....93 RBI .... HE SHOULDN'T COST AS MUCH AS ENCARNACION, AND I BELIEVE HE WONT COST US A DRAFT PICK...... AT THE STADIUM, MORALES COULD BE REAL DANGEROUS FOR US....... I'M A BUYER.

Alphonso said...

I think we should lead the charge for another MLB strike. Shut it all down.

Then, we don't have any of these nightmare-inducing scenarios about which to worry. If we had Theo, instead of Brian, running the Yankees, I would be happy to leave an uncertain future in his hands. But we have "Dopey Dan" running our show, and screwing up everything possible.

He had to deal away all our real talent to re-stock a farm system full, until then, with dead animals.

A world of uncertainty makes Cashman a danger.