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#pounditWednesday, April 24, 2024

Kiké Hernandez makes interesting accusation about MLB owners

Enrique Hernandez points

Mar 7, 2019; Tempe, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Enrique Hernandez (14) reacts to a call in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The talk of MLB teams colluding to bring the value of player contracts down has been getting louder by the year, and Los Angeles Dodgers utility man Kiké Hernandez seems to think that is warranted.

Hernandez recently re-signed with the Dodgers on a 1-year, $4 million contract. He spoke about his free agency experience during an appearance on Thursday’s episode of the YouTube show “Foul Territory.” Hernandez made it clear that he believes MLB teams are working together to drive the price of free agents down.

“I’m not gonna say the C-word, but I think the C-word needs to be with a capital C. The timing of the calls were very similar,” Hernandez said. “The numbers were pretty much the same throughout. … Calls were kind of around the same time. The silence period was kind of around the same time, all the time. Numbers were pretty much the same.

“I don’t know. I think the teams that use these computer programs to project salaries and project numbers, they’re all using the same one and they have the same password. That’s kind of how free agency’s been going.”

Hernandez said the Dodgers told him they have computer programs which project what a player is going to do the following season, but the outfielder believes the system is highly flawed. In Hernandez’s case, the algorithms do not account for the fact that he played injured for much of the 2023 season. Hernandez underwent double-hernia surgery on Oct. 24. He says the injury impacted him, particularly on defense.

We live in an era of analytics, so it is hardly a surprise that teams are now allowing computer programs to tell them how much players are worth. Even if they are using the same models, that probably would not be enough to prove collusion. Modern-day executives may just feel that the algorithms are the best way to determine what a player should be paid.

One thing is for certain — big-name free agents linger on the market a lot longer than they used to. We even saw the top pitcher available reportedly make a big change to his contract demands recently.

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