From bigger seats on the airplane to a private toilet for the manager, the Giants look for an edge

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Eno Sarris of Fangraphs has an interesting story about how the Giants — and a lot of other teams, though he uses the Giants as his example — look for any sort of small edge to make the lives and work of their players, coaches and staff easier. Be it from making them more comfortable on the charter flight to making sure Bruce Bochy doesn’t have to poop in a stall next to Madison Bumgarner, the Giants are looking for ways to improve. Why? Here’s Giants Vice President Bobby Evans:

“Any advantage you can gain, or any possible roadblock you can eliminate, you should try to do it,” said Sabean. “It’s all value add and cost,” admitted Evans, “but the additional costs we’ve taken on are not that significant in the grander scheme.” In the end, Evans felt it was a question of “what do you value?”

That all makes sense. It still makes me wonder why teams don’t pay minor leaguers enough for them to avoid sleeping on air mattresses and eating at Carl’s Jr. six times a week, but either through lawsuits or teams realizing that taking care of all of their employees is the right thing to do, that will change eventually as well.

Padres will try to lock up Fernando Tatís Jr. to a long term deal

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The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will try to get Fernando Tatís Jr. locked up in a long-term deal before the start of the 2020 season.

It’d be a wise move from the team’s perspective, of course. Tatís showed in 2019 that he’s the future of the franchise, hitting .317/.379/.590 with 22 homers and 16 stolen bases through 84 games while playing spectacular defense at short. He was a serious contender for the Rookie of the Year Award before going down to injury and still finished third despite playing just a tad over half a season.

That talent and promise means that, in all likelihood, Tatís stands to make massive money in arbitration and free agency once he gets there. If he gets there, that is. Because as we’ve seen so often in recent years, teams have been aggressive in their efforts to lock up young stars like Tatís, buying out their arbitration and at least a couple of their free agency years. These deals tend to be team-friendly, with multiple team options aimed at getting maximal value out of such players before they hit the open market. Of course, the players get much more up front money than they would in the three seasons in which teams can and do set their salaries unilaterally, usually at less than $1 million per year. It’s a standard now vs. later tradeoff, even if the value of the “now” is far less than the value of “later” and even if it pays these guys far less than they’re worth overall.

But that’s the system. And it’s one which will force Tatís to make a tough choice: either take a deal at a time when the team has most of the leverage or else turn down millions in hand now in order take a shot at many more millions later. In his case, he’ll have a rookie season with multiple injuries to think about too. Does that portend future injury issues? Could he, like some players who have been in his shoes before, end up damaged goods by the time he expected to get paid?

We’ll see how both he and the Padres calculate all of that between now and February, it seems.