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Friday, October 13, 2017

Inside Baseball AL Notes | Time Its Now For Mike Trout Extension

Jon Heyman’s latest.
NL Notes.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 13, 2017 at 05:48 AM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. TDF didn't lie, he just didn't remember Posted: October 13, 2017 at 09:25 AM (#5552993)
How much money would that take - 10 yrs/$500M? Would you commit that much money to a guy 3 years before he becomes a FA?
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 13, 2017 at 09:56 AM (#5553010)
Would you commit that much money to a guy 3 years before he becomes a FA?

Nope. Too much can happen in 3 years.
   3. TomH Posted: October 13, 2017 at 10:40 AM (#5553047)
Only if he's willing to take a big discount to get the money. If you think you'll need to pay him (for example) $65M a year for 5 years (ages 30-34) to re-sign him as a free agent, it might be prudent to offer him $50M for 5 this far ahead. It is *always* time to talk to Mike Trout and his agent about an extension. It is silly to say *now* the *right* time, as opposed to next year or whenever.

   4. Walt Davis Posted: October 13, 2017 at 06:57 PM (#5553572)
Realistically it happens now or it doesn't happen. What is he worth and what discount would it take to jump now (for both sides) ... I think we need NASA to come in on numbers that big.

As the owner, I'd be comfortable offering a 7/$350 extension. I'm pretty sure I'd be comfortable replacing the 3/$100 with 10/$500 ... though that depends somewhat on what my short-term payroll/lux tax looks like.

One reason to try to move now (if you want to move) is that next year Harper will likely re-define what a superstar gets in FA. If Harper gets 10/$500 or (more likely) 10/$450 then an extended Trout will be a bargain. If he gets only 10/$400 then that's still a fine Trout deal.

But, without question, if I've got enough money to consider extending at $50M+ per year then I've got enough money to consider just riding out the current contract and paying the FA premium later.

Open question is how effective the very slowly increasing lux tax threshold will have on mega-contracts. It's set through 2019 when it hits $206 M, only $11 M more than this year. It's gonna be challenging for anybody to fit in a $50-60 M AAV contract and building a roster around that guy. I can see not wanting to extend Trout until knowing what the lux tax is gonna look like for 2020-2022.
   5. PreservedFish Posted: October 13, 2017 at 08:31 PM (#5553620)
As the owner, I'd be comfortable offering a 7/$350 extension.

   6. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: October 13, 2017 at 08:38 PM (#5553623)
As the owner, I'd be comfortable offering a 7/$350 extension.

My first reaction was that that was low, but that's $50M a season. I think it's just the total dollar number that feels low after hearing rumors of a half-billion dollar deal for Machado or Harper.
   7. Man o' Schwar Posted: October 13, 2017 at 08:51 PM (#5553630)
If you're not going to extend him, you have to trade him. The worst thing that could happen would be watching him walk away and picking up some team's draft pick as compensation, because that pick is not going to turn into another Mike Trout.

You need a team with half a dozen top prospects, a hole in the outfield, and enough of a market to support someone making that kind of cash. That's a pretty fine needle to have to thread.

(I would extend him. I would go to his house, take out a marker, and start writing down numbers like they used to do on the Price is Right. He can say "higher, higher, higher" until he's happy, and then you whip out a contract and have him sign it.)
   8. PreservedFish Posted: October 13, 2017 at 09:01 PM (#5553648)

Although I said whoa to this, particularly the $50M per season which popped out at me, I think the counter would be at least 12/$600.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: October 13, 2017 at 10:38 PM (#5553712)
I have little doubt that Trout will make at least $50 M per season when he hits FA, and I'd expect at least a 9 year deal. (Longer than 9 years would probably be for lower $ values in the later years, possibly bringing the AAV below $50 -- i.e. 9/$460 might become 12/$550 or something.) We'll know more after Harper -- assuming Harper stays healthy. So 7 years would be a pretty good deal, ends after his age 35 season. The big risk of course is injury. I don't think he'd take it but to quote Mike Trout from a few years ago "It's really hard to say no when somebody is offering you $30 M a year."

Pujols has become a disaster but from 29-35 he still put up 36 WAR which, in 2021+ dollars, will surely be $360 M in "value." From 29-34, Miggy is turning out worse at just 29 WAR with a year to go. On the other hand, Votto has two years to go and is at 28 WAR.

But guys like Mays, Aaron, Clemente, Schmidt, Bonds, Morgan -- guys you'd never comp anybody but somebody like Trout to -- put up 50-60 WAR in those ages. Beltre, ARod, Bagwell, Ripken, FRobinson put up 38-42. Even putting up only 500-550 PA a year, Walker, Edmonds and Utley put up 37 WAR. Cano (with a year to go), Giambi, Stargell, Mathews, Chipper, Edgar, Bautista have put up 35 WAR.

If I could stay out of paying him for ages 36+ I'd be pretty happy. I just doubt he'd agree to that unless I sweetened the pot on the next 3 years and that's where I start to waver a lot more.

Obviously all of that is off the top of my head, not knowing the Angels' finances, not having a clue what it does to my team's future if he gets hurt (but not in a way that the insurance kicks in) and I'm totally wasting that 7/$350 when I didn't have to. I totally understand the idea of waiting.

On trading him ... PR disaster aside, if they were going to do it, they should have done it before this season. It's still a bargain but 3/$102 is real money for another team to take on. God only know what we can reliably project him to over the next three years, let's call it 24 WAR and say that has a $ value around $200-$210 M. That's a surplus value of $100 M over three years give or take so a team that can afford him would love to have him at that price.

But of course the Angels need value in return. But $100 M of surplus value ain't what it used to be -- we're talking about 12 surplus WAR. In theory (just theory), one top prospect for Trout is nearly a "fair" trade. Or Kris Bryant straight up for Trout is almost fair. Bryant has 4 pre-FA years, let's assume he projects to 20 WAR ... but it's not free WAR as he'll be an expensive arb guy and will cost about $60 M. But 20 WAR at $8 M a war is "valued" at $160 and there's the Angels $100 M in surplus value in return. From the Cubs' perspective, they've taken on $40 M to compress 20 WAR in 4 years into 24 WAR in 3 years -- nice but it doesn't sound transformative.

The Angels stadium gets burned to the ground if they make a trade like that. So it's got to be more than Bryant but the Cubs are out of prospects. Bryant and Baez? Bryant and Almora and something? Or to the Red Sox for Betts and Devers? But at what point do the Red Sox say no thanks?

But of course there, if the Angels are trading Trout because they're not competitive over the next few years, they have little use for Betts or Bryant either. So now they've got to get at least two tippy-top prospects plus some prospect depth -- and the stadium probably still gets burned to the ground. But what teams could that be? White Sox and Braves seem the only options and neither team is looking to add 3/$100 I don't think although maybe the Braves could be close enough to competitive. Maybe the Phils?

I don't mean to under-price him. If the excess value in the excellent Quintana contract was worth Eloy Jimenez (a top 10 prospect) then the excess value in Trout's must be worth at least 2, probably 3 of those. But what team has 3 of those and are they in the competitive window and the financial situation to want Trout's 3/$100. Maybe some sort of 3 or 4 way trade -- Trout for Betts, Bradley and a top prospect; Betts to somebody for a tippy-top prospect and some depth; Bradley to somebody for a toppish prospect or a lot of depth? Maybe walk away with 2 top 10s, a #25 and a couple more in the top 100? But the Red Sox could easily be trading away 7 WAR a year over the next few years plus a prospect -- same dilemma only worse than the Cubs deal.

Of course maybe a fair projection for Trout is 30 WAR. I doubt any projection would come in that high but it's obviously possible he'll do it so maybe it could. That extra surplus value probably makes it even harder to work a deal if what the Angels want in return is future baseball value.

It's dumb. Every team in baseball should love to have Trout at 3/$100 yet he seems nearly untradeable to me at that price -- in part because he's just too darn good. The proper approach of course would have been to spend like crazy to build a great team around him (they did spend) and to keep pumping money into it now. That ain't so easy either given the constraints on asset acquisition.

Maybe the best way to summarize that is to say that the Angels main problem is that all that excess value they got out of Trout was spent on (a) sigh, Pujols and Hamilton and (b) counter-balanced by their terrible performance in the generally awesome pre-arb and arb "markets." It's amazing really -- per b-r, the Angels so far have gotten 55 WAR for $44 M ... how do you not win the division year after year with that sort of advantage, especially as a high-payroll team? Especially when, until the Astros this year, nobody else in your division was hitting the jackpot.

By the time this contract ends, it will probably be about 75-80 WAR for about $150 M. What a waste of a great player. And if they want to keep him after that, they'll have to take whatever the modern equivalent is of the Pujols risk.
   10. BDC Posted: October 14, 2017 at 09:34 AM (#5553796)
What a waste of a great player

For fun I looked up all players since 1893 who compiled ≥45 WAR in their second through seventh years, which, naturally, is your basic inner-circle HOF plus Bonds, Pujols, and Trout.

There are 18 such players. Eight of their teams won World Series during that span (Mantle 3, Musial 3, Grove 2, Pujols, Mays, Aaron, Seaver, and Joe McGinnity).

Fourteen of their teams won pennants (Mantle 6, Musial 4, Grove 3, Jackie Robinson 3, Cobb 3, Pujols 2, Aaron 2, Seaver 2, McGinnity 2, Ted Williams, Wade Boggs, Mays, Alexander, and Roberts). Toss in an extra division title for Boggs and two league playoffs (Williams and Robinson).

Barry Bonds' Pirates won three division titles.

Trout's Angels won one division title.

The two coming up with nothin' are Walter Johnson and Rogers Hornsby.

If it matters, Trout is third on this list in WAR (55) after Williams and Johnson (both 57). It does go down to a measly 45, after all :)
   11. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: October 14, 2017 at 12:03 PM (#5553819)
But what team has 3 of those and are they in the competitive window and the financial situation to want Trout's 3/$100.

There is such a team, but I suspect if the Angels do trade Trout the last place they want him to end up is with the Dodgers.

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