Test your baseball Jeopardy! skills

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Alex Trebek.jpgI tried out for Jeopardy! when I was in law school.  I passed the quiz
and got to play the little pretend Jeopardy! game with the real buzzers
and everything and was put in the contestant pool. Sadly — and unlike my former boss and unlike long time CTB reader Sara K — I never got the call. I suspect they found me to be too annoyingly clicky with the buzzer during the audition. The jerks.

In light of that experience, Jeopardy! has always been something of a sore spot for me. I’m a trivia fiend, and every time I set aside my grudge and watch the show I run the freakin’ board. In light of this, I was drawn to ‘Duk’s latest post over at Big League Stew, in which he searched the Jeopardy! archives for all Final Jeopardy answers that had to do with baseball. He reproduces them for us in the post, with the questions at the bottom.

While it was mostly a fun time waster, he really did it in order to figure out if his gut instinct — to bet all the money he had, regardless of the strategy involved if the category was baseball — was the correct one:

“Let’s say you’re on Jeopardy and you’re absolutely routing your two
opponents. You have $40,000 going into the final round, while one of
your opponents has, let’s say, $15,000. You’re guaranteed to move onto
the next day, but the final category comes up and it has something to
do with baseball, which is your favorite sport. How much — if anything
— do you risk?”

Despite my considerable Jeopardy-fu, I’ll admit that my answer to that question was to play it conservative. But then I read the ten answers he found and got all ten right before the thinking music in my head stopped.  Since they’re not that hard, I’d have to change my strategy and wager it all.

How about you?  And don’t cheat.  And when you’re done, follow ‘Duk’s link to all of the baseball-related Jeopardy! answers going back to 1984.  Or better yet, save them until Sunday so you’ll have something to do while the rest of this demented country watches five hours of commercials and claims that it’s the greatest sporting event in the world.

What happens with all the players the Braves lost yesterday?

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Yesterday’s unprecedented sanctions leveled on the Atlanta Braves hit them pretty hard, but it also turned a dozen players into free agents. What happens to them now? Who can sign them? When? And for how much?

First off, they get to keep their signing bonuses the Braves gave them. It wasn’t their fault the Braves messed up so it would make no sense for them to have to pay the money back. As for their next team: anyone can, theoretically, sign them. As far as team choice, they are free agents in the most narrow sense of the term.

There are limits, however, because as young, international players, their signings are subject to those caps on each team’s international bonus money which were imposed a few years back. Each team now has a “pool” of finite dollars they can spend on such players and, once that money is spent, teams are severely limited as to what they can offer an international free agent. Each summer the bonus pools are reset and it starts anew.

Which, on the surface, would seem to create a problem for the 12 new free agents, seeing as though a lot of teams have already spent much if not all of their July 2017-18 bonus pools. The good news on that, though, is that Major League Baseball has made a couple of exceptions for these guys:

  • First, the first $200,000 of any of the 12 former Braves players will not be subject to signing pools, so that’s a bit of a break; and
  • Second, even though these players will all likely be signed during the 2017-18 bonus pool period, teams have the option of counting the bonus toward the 2018-19 period. They can’t combine the money from the two periods, but they can, essentially, put off the cost into next year for accounting purposes.

Which certainly opens things up for clubs and gives the players more options as far as places to land go. A club can decide whether or not the guys on the market now look better than the guys they’ve been scouting with an eye toward signing after July 2018 and get a jump on things. Likewise, teams don’t have to decide whether or not to take a run at, say, Shohei Ohtani, burning bonus money now, or instead going after a former Braves player. Ohtani’s money will apply now, the Braves player can be accounted for next year.

The new free agents are eligible to sign during a window that begins on December 5 and ends on Jan. 15. If a player hasn’t signed by then, he can still sign with any club but cannot get a bonus. If a player hasn’t signed anywhere by May 1, 2018, he has the option of re-signing with the Braves, though they can’t pay the guy a bonus either.

Ben Badler of Baseball America has a rundown of the top guys who are now free agents thanks to the Braves’ malfeasance. Kevin Maitan is the big name. The 17-year-old shortstop was considered the top overall international free agent last year, though his first year in the Braves minor league system was less-than-impressive. There are a lot of other promising players too. All of whom now can find new employers.