The Cubs and No-Trade Clauses
There was a brief discussion in the comments earlier this week about general manager Jim Hendry's liberal use of the no-trade clause. Reader WISCGRAD did the legwork to see if indeed Hendry hands them out like a lollipop after leaving the doctor's office or if it's line with other ballclubs.
No-trade clauses in player contracts are controversial. On the one hand, they are often necessary to attract or keep high-value free agents. On the other hand, towards the end of player’s career a team may wish to trade a player whose skills have declined, but are unable to do so. No-trade clauses can range from full – where the player must approve any trade during the length of the contract – to limited – where the player has no-trade rights for a specified period of time or to specific teams. Making the issue more complicated, the current collective bargaining agreement between the Major League Baseball Players Association and Major League Baseball automatically grants a player full no-trade rights if he has 10 or more years of major league service time and has been with his current team for 5 or more years. The following table lists all players with no-trade rights for the entire 2009 season. This excludes those players who recently signed as free agents and cannot be traded until June. The information was taken from Cot’s Baseball Contracts, and each player was coded for the type of no-trade that applies to the 2009 season only. As one can see, with only a few exceptions, these are the cream of the crop of major league players (ed note - it's important to remember that the details of no-trade provisions or even their existence are not always made public and the information on Cot's Baseball Contracts should not be considered 100% reliable, but more as a good guide).
|Gary Mathews Jr.||Angels||Full|
|Scott Rolen||Blue Jays||Full|
|Vernon Wells||Blue Jays||Full|
|Alex Rios||Blue Jays||Full|
|J.D. Drew||Red Sox||Limited|
|David Ortiz||Red Sox||10/5|
|Mike Lowell||Red Sox||Full|
|Daisuke Matsuzaka||Red Sox||Full|
|Jason Varitek||Red Sox||10/5|
|Tim Wakefield||Red Sox||10/5|
|Mark Buehrle||White Sox||Limited|
|Jim Thome||White Sox||Full|
|Paul Konerko||White Sox||10/5|
|Jermaine Dye||White Sox||Limited|
|A.J. Pierzynski||White Sox||Full|
|Scott Linebrink||White Sox||Full|
The Cubs have the second-most players who cannot be traded this year (8), trailing only the Yankees (9). The Marlins and Nationals do not have any players on their current rosters with no-trade rights for 2009. It would seem that teams with higher payrolls are able to attract the type of free agent talent that demands no-trade clauses. They are able to pay higher salaries and commit to longer contracts. These teams are also able to keep players for longer periods of time and thus accumulate more players with ten-five rights. The graph below illustrates this point. The teams are ordered from left to right based on their 2009 opening day payrolls. One can clearly see the concentration of players with no-trade rights towards the large-market, high payroll teams on the right side of the graph (Click for a larger view).
Does having too many of these types of players on the roster limit a team’s flexibility and hinder its ability to win? There is no doubt that in some cases a team would gain more by being able to trade a particular player, however, across baseball having no-trade players is indicative of success, not failure. This is not due to the presence of these players themselves, but the fact that they predominantly play for large market, high-payroll teams as outlined above. Yet it is important to note that having too many types of these players does not appear to drag a team down. The graph below orders teams from left to right based on the total number of combined wins in 2007-2008. While the relationship is not as stark as the payroll relationship, one can still clearly see the winningest teams in baseball, concentrated on the far right of the graph, have a significant proportion of the no-trade players on 2009 rosters.
Quick Cubs news note from Rob G. here...Milton Bradley had his suspension reduced to one game and will serve it today. Convenient how MLB waited unti lthe middle of a game he wasn't penciled in the starting lineup to finally hand out its decision. Bradley is naturally upset.
"It figures," he said Thursday. "I never get treated fairly. It's exactly what I expected."
Bradley may have a point when you see that MLB doesn't plan to suspend ump Paul Schreiber for shoving Magglio Ordonez in the back.
Not as a major factor, but could be a tie-breaker. But, yeah, on performance and experience, it's Coghlan.
Arrieta’s 2.85 ERA would be good enough to lead 26 other teams. He's 3rd on #Cubs behind Hendricks (1.99) and Lester (2.28)
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.