Is Ian Desmond Coming to Town or Not?
From the onset of the offseason, it seemed pretty clear where the logical fit for Ian Desmond was. In terms of teams with a clear need, or desire to upgrade, there were only a few that were pretty clear. Among those, the likeliest spots were the Chicago White Sox and the San Diego Padres.
The White Sox seem to be unlikely, given their focus on upgrading other positions, with the acquisitions of both Brett Lawrie and Todd Frazier, which makes the Padres the really only likely option. However, money still becomes a factor. The Padres and Desmond have been in contact for a majority of the offseason, including recently, however no deal has been struck.
Despite the mutual interest on both sides, it appears highly unlikely that the Padres would be willing to give Desmond the long term, big money deal he so clearly desires. With that being said, there is still the possibility that the two sides could work out a shorter term deal that would be mutually beneficial to both sides. Until that is decided, questions on Desmond will continue to hover over the Padres remaining offseason plans.
What are the Orioles Doing?
At this point in the offseason, it is rather unclear what the Orioles are trying to accomplish for next season. For a team with quite thin prospect depth, the Orioles appear to be all in for next year. However, the moves they have made so far don’t always match that stated goal. The team has been left in a state of limbo as it pertains to Chris Davis, leaving the rest of their roster with question marks that have yet to be addressed.
Davis is apparently looking for a contract upwards of the $150+ million the Orioles already offered him. Despite the obvious risk of that kind of contract, the Orioles appear intent on waiting for Davis, even if it means losing out on better alternatives. With Justin Upton and Yoenis Cespedes still available, the Orioles can still change course this offseason. However, it appears that that is unlikely to happen.
Where will the remaining outfield dominos fall?
With Jason Heyward and now Alex Gordon off the free agent market, the biggest free agents remaining are Justin Upton and Yoenis Cespedes and, to a lesser extent, Dexter Fowler, Gerardo Parra and even Austin Jackson. Perhaps the biggest question remaining on the free agent market is where these players will all end up.
Now that Denard Span has signed with the Giants, one more team has been checked off the list of teams with a need and desire to upgrade in the outfield. It seems only the Tigers, White Sox, and Orioles remain as the teams with a clear need, and stated desire, to upgrade in the outfield. It remains to be seen whether these players make moves, and who will be signed where, but the outfield is a big remaining question mark this offseason.
Is it time for a change in the luxury tax?
While this offseason has seen spending like no other, there are still issues as it pertains to the luxury tax. Despite the high volume of spending overall, perhaps the highest in baseball history when the offseason reaches it’s conclusion, there are still several teams who have been wary of spending given the luxury tax threshold. For those who don’t know, the luxury tax threshold is currently set at 189 million, any money spent beyond that is taxed at a certain percentage.
If a team goes over the threshold one year, they pay a 17.5% tax, 30% for two years, 40% for three years, and 50% for four years and anything beyond that. This current system has held back several teams from spending this offseason, most notably the Angels and Yankees. While 189 million was once a decent threshold, team revenues are soaring to the point where that number no longer makes sense. The MLB should be changing the threshold sooner rather than later.
The Hall of Fame Snub
With every Hall of Fame vote comes players that get in no problem and players that don’t get in and should have got in, those we call snubs. Every year comes with more and more snubs, especially as more worthy players become eligible for the Hall. This year Trevor Hoffman, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines are the most notable snubs, while several other players did even worse, and perhaps were worthy of the same consideration.
For Padre fans, the biggest snub is Trevor Hoffman. Despite being the second greatest closer of the modern era, and perhaps of all time, Hoffman was unable to garner the 75% of the vote needed for election. Whether it had to do more with his body of work or the stigma associated with the closer role remains to be seen, however either way he was still unable to get in. This is obviously an issue that needs to be addressed going forward, as the system comes with clear issues that need to be remedied.