Some things to talk about while you journey through a hellscape in Atlanta with Spencer Hall...
1) Posting system almost set?
Remember those changes that were coming to the posting system (the one Japanese professional teams use when their players are eligible for free agency and can sign with MLB teams)? Well, they aren't as radical as previously thought.
To clarify on Japanese posting, the top bidding team wins exclusive negotiating rights, but has to pay only the average of the top 2 bids.— Ken Davidoff (@KenDavidoff) November 11, 2013
So it's a good deal for #MLB. They protect themselves against one team going rogue & bidding an insane number.— Ken Davidoff (@KenDavidoff) November 11, 2013
So, still one winner and only one team can negotiate with the player. There's also a fine for teams who fail to sign the player they won the bidding on, so teams cannot pay a big fee and then refuse to sign the player without another penalty.
Maybe I'm being slow on the uptake here, but how does the average of the top two bids help protect teams? What if Team A bids $100 million and Team $B bids $50 million. Doesn't Team A still have to pay $75 million? Is saving that $25 million "protecting themselves against a team going rogue?" The rogue team still sets the price higher than it could have been, right?
It also means that the Astros could still win the bidding with just money and no sales pitch to beat the Yankees or Dodgers. That's significant and I think raises the chances that Houston makes a play for Tanaka. It's still not great, but it's higher than it was a week ago.
2) Fan Cave dweller auditions
It's that time of year when MLB starts thinking about who will live in its Fan Cave for the 2014 season. This year, they're teaming up with MTV to make another season of the cool show.
Are you the ultimate baseball fan?
Do you have a fun and dynamic personality?
Have you done anything wild and crazy to show support for your favorite team?
MTV2 and MLB are seeking funny and entertaining people who love baseball and all things pop culture. We are looking for over the top personalities who take team spirit to another level. Any unique and interesting talents? Singers, artists, pop culture aficionados, baseball stat geeks -- all fan types are welcome! So if you are the type of person that lives, breathes and dreams baseball 24/7 it is time to put your FANtastic knowledge to use because you may be the perfect 2014 CAVE DWELLER.
Please email us firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about yourself, what makes you stand out as a fan and what's the craziest thing you've done to support your favorite team. Please include your name, contact info, facebook/twitter and a recent photo.
If only they did this when I were a young man with no family. If only I had a "dynamic personality" or "unique talents."
But, I'm sure you TCBers do. I'd love for an Astros fan to make it one of these times.
3) Stirring up trouble
You saw the post from earlier today. You know that Jason Castro's been a name going around the GM meetings. So, what is Castro's worth?
I asked this question on Twitter and Facebook earlier and drew some great responses, but I thought I'd bring it here as well.
Jason Castro for Elvis Andrus, straight up? Who says no?
The facts: Castro is a year and change older than Andrus. Andrus is locked into a contract through 2023 that doesn't even begin for another season. Andrus isn't as good an offensive player as Castro and profiles more like Michael Bourn (very good defensively, fast, average bat). Castro is nearly universally ridiculed for his defense here and there and everywhere, but he looks like the fourth-best offensive catcher in the league.
Who's more valuable? Correa is coming up soon , but he can be slid to third while Andrus is at short like Manny Machado. Andrus can also be slid to second base eventually if Altuve doesn't develop. Houston adds an All-Star-caliber major leaguer to replace a departing one.
I'm sure you'll have thoughts on this, though. Let me hear them. Which side of this deal rejects it first? Who's the better option for Houston?