This years Franchise Mode does look very very good with it's new menu & widows provide more data, info & being easier to see, read & find.
However to me that is NOT enough. Franchise still needs a few improvements which shouldn't be so hard for SDS to do.
#1 Trading) Broken down into "Part A" & "Part B"
*** Part A..... Is letting trades be more then 3 players per team. Many real MLB trades are 4 players for just 1 player.. We should be able to make a 4 for 1 trade or a 5 for 2 trade. As well letting us use cash for a trade. If we have 10M usable within our budget. We should be able to use cash towards a team that is in the red or just barely under it's cap. As well what's the point in having these Sponsorship's earning us money if we can NOT use that money within trades. Finally is using Draft Picks. If I have a good pool of talent within my minor league teams. Then I should be able to use my #1, #2 or #3 Draft pick as a trading chip.
*** Part B ..... How the AI chooses to accept a trade or not It should NOT be based solely on overall rating, potential & age. It should be also going by REAL TEAM NEEDS. If I'm trying to trade with the a team that has 4 Outfielders at 85+ & their best Catcher is 65. I'm offering a Catcher that is 78 in exchange for a 85 OF which has the same potential & contract as the Catcher I am offering. Then that team should easily accept that trade because they are improving at their weakest position & are not being hurt within their OF positions. The need for a certain position should trump Rating, Potential & Age if the trade improves & strengthens that position for them.
#2 GM Objectives
Other Baseball Game titles used similar types of Objectives" needed to be accomplished to improve & strengthen your job security & GM score. Such as:
*Trade away X-name Player within X-amount of time.
*Acquire X-position player with an X-rating of X within X-amount of time.
*Acquire a home town player in X-amount of time.
*Reduce budget by X-amount of money in X-amount of time.
Needing to do such Objective brings more realism to what a GM does. The teams goals are still needs, but needing to do these Objectives bring a bit more challenge to the GM aspect.
#3 Player Contracts
Should include "No Trade Clauses", "Signing Bonus" & "Incentive Bonus Payout" for being selected into All-Star team, winning MVP or Cy Young, total season IP's or total season at AB's. Every Free Agent can have a certain demand they are seeking with any of the above mentioned. Same as when trying to resign a player. Also it should be able to offer a Minor League Role to an aging player whom you plan to have in your 40 man roster & primarily on your AAA team & NOT on your 25/26 man roster. Matt Kemp is a free agent & lets say he is a great fit for my AAA team. I should be able to offer him a Minor League Role rather then just Star, Everyday, Platoon or Depth so his morale is NOT affected when he is in the Minors because that is the contract he agreed to.
#4 Minor Leagues Influence/Effect
AAA & AA teams season performance should mean something good or bad. My overall budget includes their salaries. Therefor if either of my AAA teams makes the Playoffs or even wins the Championship, then my overall budget should increase some due to the sell out games they attracted & earned, especially within Post-Season Play. If either were a last place finishing team or next to last. Then that should decrease some of my overall budget. This now puts the emphasis on developing & building winning Minor League affiliates rather then just stock piling on top prospects & players with A-rated potential.
#5 Coaching Staff
There should be Managers for MLB, AAA & AA. Not just a Farm Director for the entire Minor League. Each Manager/Coach should have a certain focus that influences the players apart from just only attribute increases/decreases. As well if we are given the option of using Legend Free Agents. Then we should also have an option of using Legend Manager/Coaches For Hire. Would be awesome being able to use Joe Torre, Tommy Lasorda, Davey Johnson, Lou Pinela, Sparky Anderson, Etc. As well with real past Coaches like Lee Mazilli, Don Zimmer, Rich Peterson, Cookie Rojas, Etc.
#6 Legend Free Agents
We should be able to check off & select which legends we want included into the Free Agent Pool. Maybe I want a handful of certain Legends included & do not want the pool over flooded with Legends & especially NOT "repeated" Legends like Chipper Jones & Eddie Murray. Makes no sense for 2 teams to have a different version of the SAME player. Same goes with opting to do a Franchise starting Draft. We should be able to choose which Legends are to be included within the Draft.
#7 Players Having A Mind Of Their Own.
Players can veto being traded to a certain team if they have a "No Trade Clause" & Players with enough seasons played can veto being sent down to the minors. Players can even request/demand to be traded. (more of this to follow with #8) This will bring more realism to the GM aspect in Franchise & make it more challenging.
#8 Player Moral Effect More Then Just Overall Rating
If any player is disgruntled over money, role, play time or line up/rotation spot. Then this can lead them to requesting/demanding to be traded. If it is not addressed or fixed in X-mount of games. Then their negative moral becomes disruptive & begins to make other player's moral within the team becoming negative as well, which then presses the issue even more to address/fix that problem or to give in & trade away that player & maybe even at a loss for someone not as good because your immediate need is to just rid yourself of that player. Releasing him is NOT an option & that option itself can be locked if a players moral is negative.
#9 Attendance, Pricing & Promo Dates.
How well your team plays & where they are within the standings SHOULD affect Attendance which in turn will affect next year's overall budget. If your team is doing well & Attendance is high. Then we should have a feature & option to increase Ticket Prices & Concession Prices to bolster even more our potential budget for the following season. If our team is doing badly, then we could lower Ticket Prices & Concession Prices & as well launch Promo Dates giving away Promo Items to try keeping up Attendance enough so it does not drastically decrease next seasons potential budget.
#10 Team Gear
Apart from Budget Funds being used for Players, Coaches & Scouts (& even trades if SDS implements & includes that feature), but it should be also used to Buy Gear for the entire team. Gear can be graded from Bronze to Silver to Gold & finally to Diamond. Gear will cost accordingly to level it is & is also very expensive. Gear can be Bats that improves teams overall Contact & power as a whole. Pretty much the same effect each type of Gear gives your "Created Player". But now instead this Gear is Team Gear & improves every player within the team based on that attribute increases for that specific Gear. This will now create a challenge with choosing to max out your Budget Cap in Player Contract Salaries or focus more lower Contracted Salaried players to have more Budget space for Team Gear or to try having a balance of both.
IN CLOSING ..... I have always LOVED Franchise play. For me it's the best of both worlds with being able to play the game with my favorite team (NY Mets) & as well take on the role as a GM at the same time. However MLBTS has NOT captured the true essence & perfect balance of both worlds. OOTP exclusively for PC is AWESOME with the GM & Managing aspect, But does NOT offer Game Play like MLBTS. OOTP is purely Sim ONLY. Then years back there was 2K & EA which gave a very good real feel to being a GM within their Franchise mode. However neither of those 2 can compare to the graphics & physical game play mechanics MLBTS has today.
If SDS can make MLBTS be more like it's predecessors & more like their PC counter part. Then Franchise on MLBTS would be ABSOLUTELY AWESOME & the G.O.A.T. up to date.