Boras’ point was: tanking is bad for baseball, and the players are right to insist it be addressed in the new CBA. He, however, stated the Braves winning the World Series without teams tanking—that it allowed a mediocre team become strong enough to beat 100 game winners.
Well, let’s look at this. Who did the Braves pick up? Joc Pederson was obtained from the Cubs in July 10 after Acuna (please imagine tilde over the n) got hurt, One can certainly cause the Cubs of tanking, trading away every core player from their 2016 championship team rather than paying the salaries required to prevent them from becoming free agents. Pederson, however, was not one of those. Indeed, he finished 2021 with a negative WAR.
Jorge Soler also posted a negative WAR. The Royals were not a good team, but trading away a guy hitting below the Mendoza Line isn’t an example of tanking.
Eddie Rosario had 1.1 WAR for the season, less than an average major leaguer is expected to produce (2). His OPS+ was also below average. The Cleveland Baseball Team’s biggest weakness is its outfield, and they could ill afford to send away even a half decent outfielder. However, nobody saw his postseason coming.
Adam Duvall had a 100 OPS+ (right at average for a major league player), and did garner 3.1 WAR. Thus, he was the one trade deadline pick up who was a useful player to his prior team (the Marlins). He also was a .200 hitter in the NLCS/WS.
3 of the Atlanta Braves’ acquisitions were not good examples of teams trading away good players/giving up on trying to win. Duvall maybe could be described as such, but then isn’t why the Braves won the WS either.
You know who did pick up great players from a team that had given up on its season? The 106-win Dodgers that the Braves defeated in the playoffs, that’s who—getting Max Scherzer and Trea Turner from the Nats’ fire sale.
Losing teams selling at the trade deadline is not a new phenomenon. It also is more due to teams wanting to get something for a pending free agent than letting him walk for nothing.
Boras is totally right that tanking has to be addressed for the good of the sport. However, the assertion that the Braves won their championship by taking advantage of other teams tanking is not correct. Much better examples are found in the perennial misery teams like the Pirates and Orioles put their fans through.
2 thoughts on “Scott Boras Makes Point, Uses Bad Example”
What is or isn’t “tanking” is too subjective to regulate. After trading Cruz and Berrios at the deadline the Twins actually played somewhat better than they did before the trades. And if small – mid market teams can’t trade away expensive pending free agents for salary controllable prospects they have little chance of competing with the big market teams the next year and the year after which would be very bad for the game. Let the fans regulate what is or isn’t tanking by refusing to watch terrible teams.
I don’t think that tanking is as big a problem in MLB as it is in football and basketball. In MLB teams with limited budgets will trade players before they become too expensive for them. In the NFL and NBA teams tank to get better draft picks. Draft picks in the NFL and NBA are much more valuable than in MLB as the drafted players are expected to make an immediate impact. Players drafted in baseball will usually take a few years to make it to the majors. In baseball it is more about cost control, whereas in the NFL and NBA a high draft pick can possibly change the fortunes of a team. The real problem in baseball are the teams that never even try to get better. They pocket the competitive balance tax they receive from the teams that go over the tax limit but never spend it to improve. Another factor is that the other sports have payroll minimums where MLB does not.