John Henry tries to pin blame for his own words about payroll on the media

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The Dodgers define themselves as successful for private reasons they won’t share with you

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The year in creating baseball coverage, featuring leftism

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MLB’s 2019 luxury tax reports are in, depressing

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Marvin Miller is in the Hall of Fame… now what?

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Marvin Miller was finally elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, an incredibly overdue honor for the one of the single most-important figures in the history of the sport. On the other hand, it’s not what the first-ever executive director of the MLB Players Association wanted: before his death, he had asked to be removed from the ballot, but his request was ignored. Per Murray Chass, here’s what Miller wrote to Jack O’Connell, the secretary-treasurer of the Baseball Writers Association of America, in 2008:

“Paradoxically, I’m writing to thank you and your associates for your part in nominating me for Hall of Fame consideration, and, at the same time, to ask that you not do this again,” Miller wrote to Jack O’Connell, secretary-treasurer of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Miller added: “The antiunion bias of the powers who control the Hall has consistently prevented recognition of the historic significance of the changes to baseball brought about by collective bargaining. As former executive director (retired since 1983) of the players’ union that negotiated these changes, I find myself unwilling to contemplate one more rigged veterans committee whose members are handpicked to reach a particular outcome while offering the pretense of a democratic vote. It is an insult to baseball fans, historians, sports writers and especially to those baseball players who sacrificed and brought the game into the 21st century. At the age of 91, I can do without farce.”

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Nationals’ owner claims they can’t afford both Strasburg and Rendon

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The Nationals will stealthily visit the White House today

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The Mookie Betts Question has little to do with “worth”

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“What if MLB’s efficiency fetish could further infect the minors,” asks writer.

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On Monday, Travis Sawchik asked a question to Five Thirty Eight’s audience: “Do we even need Minor League Baseball?” Sawchik’s theory is that so much of player development happens off the field these days, in comparison to how development used to work, that the minors are a waste of time and resources. Sawchik, you might recall, is one of the two authors of The MVP Machine, which looked at how players can kind of just be created these days thanks to advances in analytics and the introduction of the concept of “Betterball,” so this is an arena he knows his way around.

To a point, anyway. As you might also recall, the book brings to mind some key questions regarding labor and homogeneity it does not know the answers to (or even how to answer them), and this article is something of an extension of that. Deadspin’s Albert Burneko, for instance, wants to know who the “we” in Sawchik’s headline refers to, and it’s not an exaggeration that the entire premise of Sawchik’s piece relies on the reader identifying with management in order for it to accomplish the job the author set out for it.

You should read all of Burneko’s piece, as it’s fan-centric and a rebuttal to the idea presented in the initial piece that MiLB exists in the service of MLB teams alone, but I’ll pull this paragraph from it for now:

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The trouble with “valuing” exploited MLB players

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Arguing about what the definition of the word “valuable” contained within the Most Valuable Player award means is a time-honored tradition in baseball. Does “value” mean the best player, or does it mean the best player on a postseason team, the one that helped said team actually make it to October with their presence? It’s always a mess, and yet, The Athletic’s Molly Knight wants to throw another version of the word valuable into the discussion, and it’s one that front offices and owners salivate over, one that should have nothing to do with the MVP award or how we view players.

In short, this article is a list of the value players have created compared to their salaries, or, a way to talk about value in a way that leaves high-paid and awesome players like Mike Trout out of the discussion. It’s a list of the most exploited players in the majors, basically, the ones who are most underpaid relative to their production, but for Knight’s purposes, it’s a list of who has provided the most “bang for the buck.” No, really, that’s what the table showing a player’s $/WAR is titled.

Knight does attempt to walk back her own messaging, by making sure to say this is a list that tells you “which players are most criminally underpaid.” Knight also takes the time to explain that she always sides with the players over owners in discussions of compensation. The problem is that saying these things and then writing this article up with the general framing and takeaways it has made those statements almost meaningless, or at least reduced their impact.

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