The Pittsburgh Pirates have traded first baseman Ike Davis to the Oakland A’s in exchange for international slot money according to Susan Slusser. Davis was designated for assignment on Thursday to make room on the 40-man roster for the Pirates to protect players from the Rule V draft.

The Pirates and A’s exchanged international slot spots, with the Pirates getting the amount designated for slot #27($501,900), while the Pirates give up spot 86, which has a value of $232,000. What that ultimately means is that the Pirates have an extra $269,900 to spend on international signings this signing period, which began on July 2nd. The Pirates have already spent at least $1,390,000 of their $1,930,400 international bonus pool. The number was likely much closer to their limit because some signing amounts haven’t been announced yet. The international signings from this yearย can be viewed here.

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108 COMMENTS

  1. Curioser and curioser, another intstallment of As The Offseason turns is now complete. Tune in for the next episode when the bucs reveal who done it and with whom. Yes indeedy a very interesting off season to this point and it only promises to get better.

  2. If the Bucs are so concerned about not going over the international signing cap, it seems clear they are not “in on” Yoan Moncada. That is a shame. I know the Bucs don’t have ton of cash, but it shouldn’t be ridiculous to hope that they could make an offer to a guy with Moncada’s apparent talent. Too bad.

  3. Curious that Oakland bit. They do have a lot of depth now at 1st base. Not sure they have much in WAR beyond Moss. Will be interesting to see if they make a move to get rid of some of the surplus.

    I like the idea of giving Pedro a shot at 1st base and getting his power back on track – just hope they are over the “he needs to hit to all fields” crap and have him just zero in on the Clemente wall – should have 3+ in the river every year. Not sure Gaby makes any sense as a platoon partner – too pricey – got to be an internal option – Tony S? – or somebody at the bottom of the dumpster to add who can be a right hand option

    • Susan Slusser (beat writer cited above) is saying the A’s are shopping their lefty bats – Jaso, Reddick, Moss – and using Ike Davis as the backup plan. Really smart move.

      Jaso can mash RHP, but has platoon and injury issues. Also hasn’t done anything but catch.

    • As for the RH portion of the 1B platoon, I’m not ready to call Gaby too pricey until I see what Huntington does with the rest of his budget.

      I’m of the opinion that if you’re going to roster a guy to be the short-side of a platoon, he better freaking mash. Just isn’t a good use of a roster spot otherwise. And while last year proved that Gaby can no longer be seen as sure to do that, there simply isn’t another guy out there with a better track record. So at that point, is it really worth it to take a chance on somebody else when Gaby’s marginal cost is only expected to be about $2m?

    • The Pirates might be the only team in oue division that doesn’t have money wasted on an expensive player. So comparing our payroll to other teams in our division is irrelevant at this time

      • Comparing the Pirates payroll to any team is irrelevant, the Pirates are one of the few franchises that actually tries to pay players what they are worth, if it was not for a lot of greedy owners, prices would be much lower for players and everyone would have a shot at them, but deals like Stantons will turn the industry on its head, now the ceiling is out of control, major league teams will be signing very poor talent to millions of dollars just to get them.

        • Seager from the Mariners just signed for 100 million. Hit 260 with a 323 obp. what a joke!!! Prime example of what you are talking about

          • Not really – you need to do a bit of research – or go over to FanGraphs and read the write up by Dave Cameron – Who do you think has the higher WAR the last three years – Sandoval or Seager?

          • You could take any player other than Mike Trout and pick and choose numbers that make them sound unimpressive.

            You can’t just ignore his .454 slg or his 25 dingers or his very good defense or the current state of 3b in the majors.

            it’s time we stop being surprised by the 100 million dollar deals. The money either goes to the owners or it goes to the players. I’d rather it go to the players.

    • oh man. turns out we have a nice little lefty masher in Cervelli – career .780 OPS vs lefties.

      Jaso would be pretty fun if he could withstand some catching

  4. Wouldn’t it be something if teams could trade actual draft picks, like the other major professional sports do? Of course, that could possibly work to the benefit of small-market teams, so MLB is not going to worry about such a thing.

      • I would agree that the Pirates certainly have to be a draft-and-develop team, but if you can acquire a needed piece at the deadline for a second-round pick, wouldn’t it be nice to at least have that as an option? Being able to trade draft picks if you so chose at least gives small-market teams another tool not directly tied to bloating the payroll, and those are the kinds of tools that MLB has, over the past few years, done its damndest to take out of the hands of small-market teams.

      • I should also mention that it works both ways–if the Pirates found themselves out of the race in a given season, wouldn’t it be a good thing if they could flip someone headed for free agency or an untenable arbitration amount for a pick?

        • Oh, I gave you the wrong impression…I most certainly think ball clubs should be able to use their assets however they see fit, trading draft picks included. I just think that the rules preventing that from happening have mostly been intended to protect small markets.

          And your second post is exactly how I’d like the Pirates to act, if picks were tradeable.

  5. We traded our second round pick, plus a AA/AAA reliever, for international pool money. Great trade!

    Actually, getting anything for Davis was a great trade – just don’t understand why they didn’t let go of Gabby as well.

  6. Nobody is comparing the Pirates with the Yankees. lets do the Huntington small market shuffle. Cinc. $ 112,390,000 , Mil, $ 103,840,000 , KC $92,034,000 , SD, 90,094,000. The Pirates payroll is actually decreasing. about 71,000,000.

    • No way they add any payroll in the 75% of the offseason that is left, good call. How dare PIT not sign all the players they need by Thanksgiving!

    • Dude, it’s not the money, it’s the players that matters. Specifically, the skill set of how each player fits into the Pirates team. Signing high priced FA’s just to meet some people’s payroll projection isn’t the way a team should be run. Besides, there is value in starting the year w payroll flexibility in the event a trade during the season is needed to replace an injured/under performing player. And lastly, it’s November. The hot stove season is just beginning. Let it play out first before judging.

      • Just like the deadline last year when they had payroll flexibility, holes in the pitching staff, and did nothing to address those holes?

        • You may not have liked the Volquez signing and Worley acquisition, but that doesn’t change the fact both were valuable players for a playoff team. Contrast that w Phillies spending appreciably more on Burnett and receiving far less production.

          Let your big head do the thinking buddy.

          • What, may I ask, does that have to do with them not taking advantage of payroll flexibility at the deadline last year? And for the record, I liked the Worley pick up from the start.

            • It takes two to Tango. Unless you believe NH was lying, Pirates made every attempt to acquire Price, but TB like Detroit package more.

    • Baseball team salary cap is all about their TV contract IMO…what are the other team TV contract s compared to the pirates.

      • Yes and no. You can make a case that it is vs teams like LA, NYY and a few others. But doesn’t really apply in the NL Central. In the NL Central it’s almost all about the ticket price and gate.

        StL has a $34 average ticket and can draw 3.5 million. That gave them $75 mill in revenue above what the Bucs earned. Every other team in NLC has a higher ticket price. If in 2015, when Bucs will have an average ticket of $20 ($19.99, actually), if they draw 2.4 million again, that’s $48 mill in gate. If Cards, at $35, draw 3.5 mill again, that’s $122.5 mill. The Reds, at $23, can draw 400,000 fewer fans to GAB and would equal the Bucs’ revenue. Milwaukee, at $25, could do same drawing under 2 million. And the Cubs… forget it. Their average price is $44. They can mint money given they draw even during losing seasons.

          • Do you have one shred of evidence that it isn’t? They split merchandise as do all MLB teams. But I’ve never seen anything that suggests any MLB team shares gate, except as aggregate revenue used to contribute to revenue sharing – of which the Pirates are takers, not givers.

            • I’m not suggesting they share gate revenue. But it’d be highly, highly unusual for any component of a business’s revenue not to have some costs associated with it.

              • Ah, but isn’t this why increased attendance is such a positive?

                I highly, highly doubt the cost of running PNC park is linearly correlated with attendance. It more than likely costs about the same to staff a game with 10,000 paying customers as it does a game with 30,000.

                  • Nobody is claiming gate revenue has 100% profit margin. But gate is certainly the one variable that a team has some control over year-to-year. And more revenue is more profit.

                    • Uh.. that’s exactly what you’re doing. You’re putting forth the idea that they (and not just the Pirates; you seem to be concluding that every team profits to the tune of its gate revenue) can pocket 100 cents of every dollar they take in at the turnstiles. I’m almost certain that they don’t; it’d be an exceedingly rare asset that doesn’t have some cost– at least an incidental one– associated with it.

                    • I have no idea where you’re getting this from. Nowhere in my post did I mention anything but revenues and how gate revenues compare within the NLC. You’re trying to either put words in my mouth or interpreting things that aren’t there.

                    • I got the idea because your original post posits that the Cardinals and Cubs are in such a great financial position because their gate revenue equals the Pirates’ gate revenue plus ‘x.’ It really comes across as if the gate receipts raw numbers are what’s available to spend and it’s just as simple as that.

                      EDIT: Re-reading more closely… Maybe I am reading into it too much: the relative numbers would have some weight for the purposes of comparison, and maybe that’s how you meant it.

                    • The Pirates – and all other MLB teams – have pretty much the same cost structure for ticket sales. That doesn’t go up or down much. You’ve costs for ticket takers and security. You’re expending most of that money whether you draw 1.5 million or 3 million. So yes, the profits aren’t a straight line for incremental tickets sold, as NMR noted above. More like a hockey stick.

                      But let’s say it was a straight line. Let’s say 10%. That means the Cards have $7.5 mill to pay a free agent that the Bucs don’t. That’s still significant.

                      However, you can pretty much be assured that the profit on those tickets sold over 2 million is higher than that of the first 2 million.

  7. That slot money is already more valuable to the Pirates than Ike Davis ever was. Trading for Ike was never a good idea.

        • I keep waiting to hear about Neal signing some guy out of the Irish hurling league. You need excellent bat control to play that sport ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Ike did do a good job of getting on base, but man he needs to learn to get the bat off his shoulder at time. Ike was still a better option than Ishikawa or Lambo, so I guess it was worth a shot. Just didn’t work out. Oh well, Pedro time at 1B!

  8. There goes the next Justin Morneau, Brandon Moss, Steve Pearce, Jeff Clement, Brad Eldred, Jose Bautista, Lyle Overbay, Casey McGehee, Matt Hague, Lastings Milledge.

  9. We missed the boat on Abreu of the White Sox. I think about that all the time. He would be perfect in our line up!!! ๐Ÿ˜‚

  10. Ike actually does fit Billy Beanes preference of high Obp guys. Ike has shown he has power potential but can’t seem to get it all together. He still has plenty of upside if he can figure things out. He definitely has a great eye at the plate

  11. great move trading Ike. now the pirates can sign 12 dfa’ed players from other teams. Oh, by the way Pittsburgh isn’t Muscrat Hollow WV. Runnells Corner Alabama. Stop believing that small market crap.

        • I don’t care. If they can win on the cheap, more power to ’em.

          But it makes no sense to believe Pittsburgh is not a small market when the population is what it is.

            • Which means no. They could go into next year with an 85 million dollar payroll and people would call them cheap and unwilling to spend “the little extra” to win, even if 85 million was the threshold of where they feel able to spend while being profitable over the season. Its absurdities and guesswork for the “they can spend more” crowd.

              • It’s been pretty well established that $85 mill is not the threshold for profitability. That number is closer to $100 mill. DK has established that much. Looking at revenue/expense ratios of MLB teams in comparable markets and revenues (e.g. KC) would confirm a range between $95-$105 or so as being about the limit.

                Neal sat on $8-$9 mill this season and the Bucs were in no way threatened of not being profitable.

                • It’s been pretty well established that $85 mill is not the threshold for profitability. That number is closer to $100 mill. DK has established that much.

                  ____________________________________
                  If by “established”, you mean “guessed at,” I agree.

                  • DK talks to the team’s FO and has proven to be very credible regarding financials in the past.

                    You talk to your computer.

                    I know which of you I’m choosing to believe.

                    • According to Google, the last time he did so was 2010. You know that revenue and expenditures change over time, right?

                    • According to DK’s site, the last time he did so was three months ago.

                      No journalist is perfect, but I haven’t found one who’s more fair and objective regarding the Bucs than DK. Nutting haters think he has a man-crush on BN. Nutting lovers apparently think he’s about as bad as Smizik or Madden.

                      Seems to me the middle is a good place to be.

                    • I did. I googled it and what I found was from 2010. You seem to be in the know and you’re making the assertion about it. If you’re making the assertion, you provide the evidence.

                    • You’re looking for a similar article to the 2010 expose when the Bucs had to open their books. That doesn’t exist.

                      What does exist is a narrative of what transpired this season along with a history of how the Pirates operate. Which paints Nutting as neither cheap nor a philanthropist.

                      The 2010 debacle explained exactly how the Bucs were going to do business. They reduced debt by $15 mill or so, putting them comfortably within a range that was acceptable to MLB and their lenders/creditors. Coonelly told us point blank that the Pirates would always make a profit so that they’d have cash on hand to deal with potential future debt issues. Interviews with Lestig confirmed that there was always profit and that profit always went back into the team.

                      Fast forward four years. 2014 final payroll was right around $82 million. Neal admits sitting on $8-$9 million (which Dejan confirmed in August, in an interview with Neal). You’re at $90 million right there. Ideally, a business would aim for a 10% carryover, and prior reports indicate they’ve been around that mark except for 2009 when they only took out $5 mill.

                      Thus, taking a very conservative revenue estimate of $185 mill, that’s an $18 mill rollover to 2015. Since Nutting has been principal owner, the Bucs have never taken less than $5 million profit. So there’s your range – $5 on the low side to $18 million on the high side. Putting the total between $95 million and $108 million.

                      Now, I’m not arguing that Nutting and Neal should spend that money. That’s a completely different argument. All I’m pointing out is that it certainly appears the money is there if they really wanted to spend it. Thus the “ceiling” isn’t $85 million. It’s $10-$20 million higher.

                    • Ideally, a business would aim for a 10% carryover, and prior reports indicate they’ve been around that mark except for 2009 when they only took out $5 mill.

                      Thus, taking a very conservative revenue estimate of $185 mill, that’s an $18 mill rollover to 2015. Since Nutting has been principal owner, the Bucs have never taken less than $5 million profit. So there’s your range – $5 on the low side to $18 million on the high side. Putting the total between $95 million and $108 million.

                      _________________________________________
                      None of these facts are put forth by the source you claim existed.

                      I’m not saying you’re wrong, but your basing your ideas about the Pirates’ finances on some incomplete information and adding your own unsourced declarations of fact– an MLB team ideally aims for a 10% carryover? Is this some undiscovered 11th commandment or something, ’cause I never heard that one– and assumptions and touting it as more authoritative than it is because “DK got it right.” Hence my response: it’s not established so much as guessed at.

                    • Yes, 10% carryover is a general rule of thumb in business. And MLB is a business. Unless you’re Mike Ilich.

                    • Source? ‘Cause I’ve never heard that one before. And I’ve been a business lawyer/glorified accountant a good chunk of my working life.

                      I think like only GE meets that kind of target every single year.

                    • And I’ve run numerous profit centers and was a retail entrepreneur for seven years. Pretty much every business book cites that goal in their chapter on cash flow management.

                    • OK. So 10% is a goal. And you’re gonna assume the Pirates reached that goal because they wanted to?

                      Sorry, but I’ve worked with too many businesses that wanted to make it look like they met their goals within the limits of a creative interpretation of the GAAP. It usually caused a lot of headaches.

                      I’d rather deal with what the actual numbers are. And since we don’t really know what they are, then we’re pretty much guessing and not dealing with anything that’s been established, right?

                • You offered no actual proof, which is telling. Your first sentence is akin to anything said on Fox News or MSNBC, reporting something as pretty clear that is absolutely not. They could see the break even point at 100 million, and they wont go into a season at 100 million. So even if we knew for a fact they could spend 100 million and break even, no business operates that way. Meaning they would go into a season at about 85-90 to allow themselves room to add salary if needed. So 85 might be the threshold, but it very likely could be the point they feel comfortable at to start a season.

                  It’d be hilarious to watch a fan, such as yourself, howl if they start a season at 95 million and mid year had a chance to acquire a key addition but his salary was 8-10 million and they didnt feel comfortable taking on that salary.

                  • Lukas – you just made my point for me.

                    As I clearly noted above, my point is not whether the Pirates should spend every penny. My point is simply that $85 million is not a “ceiling” as others seem to claim (including yourself).

                    As far as the last paragraph goes, some shared revenue streams will be higher in 2015 (network TV, MLBAM). I’m sure these will be accounted for in 2015 budgeting. So it’s highly likely that the actual ceiling is several million higher than even I’m figuring.

                    • And you have nothing to back that point but assumption and assumption off figures you dont know. This team may actually barely be able to spend 90 and be stable. The idea that you present is one of “its pretty clear” and in reality we are talking about things we are trying to understand by looking through mud. You speak as if the revenue streams from TV deals are clear and the teams finances are pretty obvious. Patently false. We just do not know.

  12. Steamer had Ike as a 2.3 WAR player next year. I think it’s safe to say no one else in the league buys that projection, or NH would have been able to find a GM willing to trade something of greater value. At Matt Swartz’s $4.4M arb estimate, plus the $270k net in international bonus slot money, this suggests Davis’ perceived contribution is less than a win – closer to 0.7 or 0.8, depending on the $/WAR.

    Good heavens, what a depressing non-event Ike Davis turned out to be for all concerned.

    • I don’t think $/WAR valuations are really scale able when you get that low. Breaking wins down to the tenth isn’t really the intent of WAR.

      Still think he could easily end up in a situation just like James Loney.

      • Except that Loney actually brings some defensive value. Ike was, I believe, rated the worst fielding 1stbaseman out there (Saw an article in the Sporting News which stated that).

  13. I think Tim was the first to suggest international $$$ for trade target last year. I’m cool with this. If it allows us to sign 1M in the Caribbean that can push us over other bidders. Better than nothing but prolly less than Taylor and Thornton.

    • International Draft money is essentially meaningless. It hasn’t proven to be any sort of deterrent to teams blowing past their limits what so ever.

      • International players are such a crapshoot that I think the extra money is worth having. Yankees didn’t mind spending it this year, but for every player they signed, they paid double what he was worth, plus they gave up the ability to sign a player to a high contract for the next two years. That is a huge gamble on their part. It means they already took a look at current 14 year olds and said none of them are worth signing, so we are all in this year. I wouldn’t recommend that, especially when so many of these players break out at 18-20. They are basically paying double this year for three years worth of players and there isn’t one player in the group that is anything near a guarantee. Maybe it pays off and maybe ten years down the road, they have nothing to show for it, but I’d rather go for the constant yearly additions, rather than one great year followed by two bad years.

        • I think this conversation depends on whether or not one believes spending money on 16 yo talent is worth it. If you do, then there’s really nothing not to like about what the Yankees did.

          Think about the scope of their haul. 27 of the top int’l prospects, over half of the top 10. The organization has such an incredible financial advantage that they could do this every third year, end up with far, far more talent than year-to-year approach, and it still would hardly be a drop in the bucket.

          Now I personally don’t believe high-dollar 7/2 guys are worth it to teams like the Pirates for reasons you listed. And sure, saving yourself from potentially paying $200k in taxes means something. I just don’t necessarily see that as an upper hand against other teams who clearly aren’t putting much care into the penalties. If the Rays aren’t scared of blowing past their limits, I don’t think many teams are.

    • Maybe they see something you don’t? Money ball takes into account walks while WAR for the most part discounts them.

      • WAR does not discount walks. What on earth are you talking about?

        And you seem to have a pretty flawed understanding of Moneyball, it’s about underappreciated resources, not walks.

        • Actually, IC Bob is completely correct on both counts on this.

          WAR is all about runs. Walks carry no direct value to WAR. If you walk a ton with the bases empty, it has zero impact on WAR. Fangraphs using the following formula to compute it: WAR = (Batting Runs + Base Running Runs +Fielding Runs + Positional Adjustment + League Adjustment +Replacement Runs) / (Runs Per Win)

          Also, walks (or more accurately, on-base percentage – which, of course, values a walk as much as a hit) was the first of the under-appreciated stats that the A’s used under the idea of “moneyball”.

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