January 24, 2014


Ben and Sam discuss Baseball Prospectus 2014 and Mariachi A-Rod, then answer listener emails about quality of competition, contract clauses, PED placebos, and more.

Topics Edit

  • Episode 369 follow-up: contract incentives and clauses
  • PED placebos
  • How many MLB quality players are not in MLB?
  • Episode 369 follow-up: the 1927 Yankees
  • Quality of competition across baseball’s history
  • Creative contract clauses


The Kinks, “Young and Innocent Days”


Episode outtake sound clip


  • The 2014 Baseball Prospectus Annual is now available
  • Alex Rodriguez was photographed playing in a mariachi band

Email QuestionsEdit

  • Matt: “I was once was assigned the ‘ten weirdest incentives ever’. It was brutal. I only remember two good ones: The Houston Astros gave Charlie Kerfeld thirty-seven boxes of orange jello to head off a rumored holdout. George Brett got partial ownership of a rental property in Memphis and the bat from the pine tar incident in his 1984 deal with the Royals.”
  • Mick: “Suppose there was an employee at Tony Bosch’s lab who idolized A-Rod, and made sure every pill, every injection, every gummy he ever received was nothing more than sugar water. A-Rod never fails a drug test, and he feels stronger because the placebo effect. Since MLB can’t prove he took steroids, other than Bosch’s word, does his suspension hold up? Is this like buying oregano from an undercover police officer? And what does this do to public opinion of A-Rod of MLB?”
  • Scott: “What percentage of players deserving to be on an MLB roster are not, and has that number been in steady decline over time? Have all the advances in scouting, development, analysis, medicine and the near complete opening of the international player pool, plus other factors, is it safe to say that we’ve cleared every hurdle that would keep a player from making it to the majors who deserves to be? Are we really just talking about a few Cubans and Asian players? Obviously there are athletes in other sports who could play baseball at the MLB level, but for the purposes of the question let's consider only people who are actively playing organized baseball somewhere in the world.”
  • Benjamin: “Jeff Francoeur or Delmon Young would be the Nth best player on the 1927 Yankees?”
  • Matthew: “If you had a time machine, what is the last team that won a World Series that you could transport to present day that you would reasonably expect to make the playoffs?”
  • Matt: “A player signs a contract which pays him differently based on team payroll- i.e., $20 million if the team has a payroll less than $100 million, but only $5 million if the team spends $150 million.”


  • Sam, on the BP Annual: "All the words are good."
  • At 7:20 there is a Sam squeaky laugh looking at the picture of Alex Rodriguez playing in a Mariachi band
  • A listener email about PED placebos was also discussed in Episode 279.
  • Ben thinks there are 50 players who could play in MLB that are not currently. Most of these are players in the minor leagues being held down for competition reasons.
  • Sam thinks the average present day high-A team would beat the 1927 Yankees.