The Agony of Choice Dynasty Protected Player Edition

My Dynasty face to face 2019 face to face league season is over as my Washington Nationals fell to St. Louis in the wild card game 8-5.

So now comes the decision making time. As the Wild Card team that lost the play-in game I am allowed to retain 10 players on my roster who are not subject to next years draft.

That number does not include any new rookies for the Washington Nationals ( my franchise) who have their 1st card this year. All of those players are protected automatically although I do have the right to release them to make room on my 35 man roster or if they are fringe players (% players or limited AB vs LH or RH) can be put on my five man AAA roster)

Any man who was on my roster last year who is a fringe player (as described above) can be retained even if they can’t be used in play. Any player who did not have a card last year due to injury or the COVID opt out who is currently on my roster CAN be retained but again I would have to commit a roster spot to them.

This season is a tad odd in one respoect. Because of the COVID the league was put on hold for a while so we will be starting our 2020 season at a point were we are deep into the actual 2021 season so we know if a player is having a good (or bad) year which will of course affect our decision to keep players.

As of this moment here are the players that will absolutely make my protected list:

Abreu 1b: Clutch Rating Incredible power both sides improved range over the previous season and having a strong year for a team heading to the playoffs

Othani: DH While he had a bad card last year his stats this year plus the potential of filling both a pitching and a batting slot next season demands I keep him here.

Lindor SS While he is having a disappointing season this year his numbers last year combined with excellent defense ratings at a key position guarantee his roster spot

Scherzer RHSP Jam Rating While his 2020 season was below avg he’s still better than a lot out there combine this with a jam rating and a strong 2021 and Scherzer makes the team

Molina C (H & R rating) A -3 arm behind the plate forgives a lot of sins among pitchers combine that with a H & R rating and you’ve got a key position covered.

Hand LHRP Hand led the league in saves last year with a 7-1 K-BB ratio and no HR’s given up he’s a keeper without a jam+ rating which he had the year before.

Rendon 3B Clutch rating: Rendon has a big dropoff over his Washington numbers and led the AL in double plays last year but his defense is still strong and that clutch rating still makes him worth a spot.

Devers 3B: Clutch rating With Rendon at 3B & Devers defense not existent one might think he was worth risking in the draft but his powerful bat at DH will complement Abreu & Rendon in a lineup and if Rendon’s decline continues he might even get the starting job next year.

That leaves me two spots left and here are the players who are fighting for them:

Whit Merrifield 2B. While is 2019 states particularly on defense are down his 2020 starts are still pretty good. the real question is: Do I want to spend a draft pick on a second baseman or would I rather keep Merrifield and save the pick for someone else.

Eddie Rosario OF Rosario was one of the heroes of the team last season after the Mookie Betts trade and it was his bat that put the team into the playoffs. His bat is not as impressive this year and the clutch rating is gone but he still has plenty of pop to play with.

Edwin Diaz RHRP Diaz is a pretty solid reliver but not at Hand’s level. Again his stats were down from 2018 but this year they are back up and running.

Eric Hosmer 1b: Clutch rating. Hosmer as always has solid numbers and if it wasn’t for Abreu he would likely have a spot sewn up. He certainly could make a RH DH to platoon with Devers

Javier Baez SS Baez was my #1 pick last season but while is defense shines his power numbers are down for 2020 even if they have recovered in 2021. He is unlikely to take the SS spot from Lindor in 2020 but if kept might be the man in 2021, but is that worth a roster spot.

Anthony Rizzo 1B A mainstay of my team, Abreu’s improved range means he has no chance to start and the degree of depth at 1st makes keeping him a luxury.

Deshields OF: Speed, defense and the ability to bunt (a rare gift these days) are all in his favor but I’m almost certainly going to find a better outfield in the draft even as last as the 7th or 8th round.

Longshots include Josh Reddick, Sergio Romo Adam Plutko and Wade Miley

I’ve got several weeks to make up my mind as to who to keep and who to toss. If you have any suggestions I’ll be happy to entertain them.= in comments.

The military personnel crisis in 2023

If you thought Afghanistan was bad, wait for the military personnel cliff in 2023.

Since Afghanistan fell, there have been plenty of discussions in the military ranks of “How did we get here?” Many military members are unhappy with how the withdraw was conducted. While there are only a few that make this public, there are many more that are quietly questioning the decision making that went into this disaster.

Afghanistan though is masking a much bigger, looming threat. I’ll go out on a limb and predict it now: the military is going to face a manpower crisis in 2023 when an “unexpected” number of people leave the service.

Don’t believe me? I’ve got three darn-good reasons its going to happen.

First, it’ll be the first year that members under the blended retirement system are up for re-enlistment. If you’re not familiar with it, the old military retirement system required 20 years of service before you could draw a pension. The pension was pretty good, equal to 50% of your base pay, and it followed you for life. Yes, if you were cagey on playing the stock market or invented the next best widget to sell on Amazon, you could do better, but if that was true, you probably weren’t in the military in the first place.

That system was replaced with the “Blended Retirement System,” which sounds like a drink you order at Tropical Smoothie, except this one blended cash and your tears into a lower grade slushy that was tough to swallow. BRS, as it is called, was a 401K program that the military would provide matching contributions. This sounds awesome, except:

  • The military only had a certain number of funds you could invest in
  • The military doesn’t start matching until 5 years
  • Most military members make well below average salary in their first five years

BRS was a way to save money. It was sold to the military as “more fair,” but it was all about saving money. More importantly, the military lost a big incentive for young service members to make the military a career. Most members sign on for an initial 5 year commitment. During this time, they receive a lot of initial training and typically deploy somewhere. For enlisted personnel walking in with only a high school degree, at five years they have schooling, the equivalent of an associates degree, and work experience. It’s enough to entice many to leave for greener pastures, and many do just that.

One of the big incentives to stay was the promise of a good career with a good retirement. So imagine a service member checking their BRS balance, and seeing a pretty paltry number because they didn’t make much money to contribute. Combined with new skills and a half-way decent job market, why would they stay?

BRS went into effect in 2018. Add five years, you get 2023.

Now, not everyone is in it for the money. Plenty of people join just to leave their crappy circumstances. I remember one of my Sailors telling me he could pick between working at a gas station his whole life or joining the Navy. In terms of non-financial reasons, this ranks as a high second reason. But that reason won’t stop the 2023 dropoff, and its pretty obvious why: once you have some mobility because you have skills, money and experience, you don’t have to return to where you came. Military members that left their small town, ghetto or whatever bad place they lived in previously have choices after 5 years of service, and they’re likely going to choose to live in a better place with more job prospects.

But wait! Don’t people serve out of a sense of honor and duty? They do, my dear reader, and that brings me to my third point. The military has been sold as an honorable profession, a meritocracy where one can serve their country. That image is being shattered. We just had a disastrous loss in Afghanistan and a significant refocus on “domestic extremism” (which was questioned by many service members). We keep repeating that the military is rife with sexual assault, despite the punishment rates being better than the civilian sector (due to non-judicial punishment and lower standards of proof than regular courts). When you keep hearing and seeing these messages, you have to ask, why bother? Why join, or if you are in, why stay?

It’s disheartening to say this, but the military is on track for a sharp decline in people willing to serve in 2023. I’m sure they’ll spin it in some positive way, but for all the reasons above, its going to happen. The members that signed up in 2018 will have less reasons to stay, and when you already have attrition rates near 30% in the first 3 years for some services, you need every reason possible to keep people around. Short of a significant correction in terms of pay, benefits, career satisfaction or popularity of mission, it’s going to be an ugly 2023.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

Speaking of the authors views, you should buy his book “To Build A House: My Epic Saga in Custom Home Building,” available here on Amazon.