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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Jon Heyman Breaks Two Big Signs

Big contracts for Ian Kennedy and Chris Davis. Davis back to the Orioles.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 16, 2016 at 08:31 AM | 97 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: chris davis, free agents, ian kennedy

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   1. Brian White Posted: January 16, 2016 at 08:52 AM (#5135487)
Ian Kennedy got $70 million? And just when we were all starting to come around on Dayton Moore's skills as a GM.
   2. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: January 16, 2016 at 09:02 AM (#5135489)
Always like seeing guys stay with their teams. Does this mean Cespedes is off the Oriole radar? He'd still be a good fit for them.
   3. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: January 16, 2016 at 09:08 AM (#5135490)
I'm with Brian. The Kennedy deal seems like an overpay and that's factoring in how inflated the market is for starting pitchers.
   4. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: January 16, 2016 at 09:09 AM (#5135493)
I really, really hate both of these contracts. But I suppose that's the kind of attitude that would keep me out of free agency entirely, were I a GM.
   5. Jim Wisinski Posted: January 16, 2016 at 09:19 AM (#5135499)
Heh, both Boras clients of course.
   6. Bote Man the walk-off king Posted: January 16, 2016 at 10:07 AM (#5135512)
Heyman also broke the news that Ben Revere avoided arbitration with the Phillies.
   7. Jesse Barfield's Right Arm Posted: January 16, 2016 at 10:17 AM (#5135516)
Blue Jays?

Revere avoided arb with the Phils when they traded him.
   8. Obo Posted: January 16, 2016 at 10:25 AM (#5135519)
Ben Revere has avoided arbitration with the Nationals.
   9. The Duke Posted: January 16, 2016 at 10:27 AM (#5135520)
That's a huge AAV for Davis, I bet his next closest offer wasn't anywhere near that number. Boras does it again
   10. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: January 16, 2016 at 10:39 AM (#5135524)
That Davis contract is gonna suck, inflation or no. The dude has one tool and he's 30 years old.
   11. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: January 16, 2016 at 10:45 AM (#5135527)
Didn't the O's offer $150 million in the first take-it-or-leave-it deal? Did Boras really extract another $11 mil for his client? The man is talented.

Isn't $70 million a lot to spend on a reclamation project? Especially when your resources are limited?

Could I get Boras to negotiate my next contract?
   12. The Buddy Biancalana Hit Counter Posted: January 16, 2016 at 10:46 AM (#5135529)
I doubt Kennedy will be as good as the Royals hope (HRs allowed will decline in Kauffman but not nearly disappear), but he's definitely better than Chris Young and Young was only going to be the fifth starter as long as Duffy and Medlen were both healthy/in the rotation. Adding an average starter seems like a clear, though modest, improvement.
   13. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: January 16, 2016 at 10:52 AM (#5135532)
Kennedy has one really good season in his career and it was years ago. A five year contract at what to the Royals is a significant percentage of their payroll for about the most well-established #4 starter in the game, who is already 30, is just... well, I wouldn't have done it.
   14. Howie Menckel Posted: January 16, 2016 at 10:56 AM (#5135535)
from the headline, I pictured Heyman driving while texting. or getting run off the road by a mystery truck.
   15. The Buddy Biancalana Hit Counter Posted: January 16, 2016 at 11:17 AM (#5135546)
Kennedy has one really good season in his career and it was years ago. A five year contract at what to the Royals is a significant percentage of their payroll for about the most well-established #4 starter in the game, who is already 30, is just... well, I wouldn't have done it.

It's a signing that lives in the vast gap between "optimal allocation of resources" and "reduce the chance someone as bad as 2015 Jeremy Guthrie starts 24 games this season."
   16. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: January 16, 2016 at 11:27 AM (#5135550)
It's a signing that lives in the vast gap between "optimal allocation of resources" and "reduce the chance someone as bad as 2015 Jeremy Guthrie starts 24 games this season."


Seems more like the very definition of kicking the can. Likely as not, soon enough they'll be trying to reduce the chance someone as bad as 2018 Ian Kennedy starts 24 games next season.
   17. Bote Man the walk-off king Posted: January 16, 2016 at 11:33 AM (#5135554)
ATTN #7 and #8: for your entertainment.

At least he was FIRST!!11!1!1!1!1!1
   18. Ziggy's screen name Posted: January 16, 2016 at 12:07 PM (#5135568)
The Davis contract is not good, but it could be worse. At 5 WAR he was worth around $40mm last year. Marcel has him projected to decline a little bit next year, if he can do that for a couple years (and not post a sub-200 BA season again) it'll make up for the end of the contract.

The Kennedy contract looks putrid. The guy has been below replacement level two of the past three seasons, and is getting older. The Royals are going to lose money on this one.
   19. Stormy JE Posted: January 16, 2016 at 12:11 PM (#5135570)
I really, really hate both of these contracts. But I suppose that's the kind of attitude that would keep me out of free agency entirely, were I a GM.

As Rany pointed out on Twitter, with the $ Dayton shelled out for Kennedy (assuming he doesn't opt out after year two) and Soria, he might have enticed Zimmermann to join a winning team.
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 16, 2016 at 12:11 PM (#5135571)
Ian Kennedy got $70 million? And just when we were all starting to come around on Dayton Moore's skills as a GM.

Wow? Over the last 3 years he has an 85 ERA+, -0.4 WAR and a 4.06 FIP, despite pitching mostly in SD.

That's closer to an NRI candidate than 5/70.
   21. The Buddy Biancalana Hit Counter Posted: January 16, 2016 at 12:16 PM (#5135576)
Seems more like the very definition of kicking the can. Likely as not, soon enough they'll be trying to reduce the chance someone as bad as 2018 Ian Kennedy starts 24 games next season.

Unless something changes drastically, the Royals won't be trying to win in 2018.
   22. TDF didn't lie, he just didn't remember Posted: January 16, 2016 at 12:54 PM (#5135592)
ATTN #7 and #8: for your entertainment.

At least he was FIRST!!11!1!1!1!1!1
Give Heyman a break. He had to actually pay attention, and not jsut wait for Boras to call with the news.
   23. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: January 16, 2016 at 12:55 PM (#5135594)
Ian Kennedy got $70 million? And just when we were all starting to come around on Dayton Moore's skills as a GM.

Wow? Over the last 3 years he has an 85 ERA+, -0.4 WAR and a 4.06 FIP, despite pitching mostly in SD.

That's closer to an NRI candidate than 5/70.


This. I can't believe that Ian Kennedy got a multi-year contract, not to mention a contract that gives him $14 million per year. The Davis contact is bad, but WAY better than the Kennedy deal.

[Edit - for my inability to divide 70 by 5]
   24. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: January 16, 2016 at 12:56 PM (#5135595)
Trying to see the logic of the Kennedy signing.

He is very durable - six straight seasons at 30 or more starts. That's the least glamorous (and thus easiest to underrate) characteristic for a pitcher to have.

His numbers in San Diego are brutal, but their defense has been bad. About -2 dWAR in 2015 and 2013, and +2 in 2014. That isn't very bad (w/ dWAR, average is zero), but it is a bit below average.

Starters on the whole have a a worse ERA than relievers. An average starter has an ERA+ of 96 or so. So factor in defense and look at what snapper said in post #20 and .... he's still below average. He's maybe a #4 starter.

So, yeah, even trying to defend this deal I can't. I know the market is always going up and it typically goes up faster than we expect it to, but 5 years and 70 million for a durable #4 starter? Gee wilickers.

KC does have a nice defense and that should help his numbers. .... but that just means the team shouldn't have to spend this much for a below average pitcher. They should be able to plug a guy in and have the defense make him look good without the big contract.
   25. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 16, 2016 at 01:12 PM (#5135603)
He is very durable - six straight seasons at 30 or more starts. That's the least glamorous (and thus easiest to underrate) characteristic for a pitcher to have.

Which is reason to overpay and give him 1/14. But a five year deal is entirely indefensible.
   26. Eric P. Posted: January 16, 2016 at 01:16 PM (#5135607)
Kennedy is one of those guys that FIP always likes more than his actual results. His fWAR is at 4.9 over the last three seasons, compared to -0.4 rWAR. Too much hittable stuff in the heart of the zone, I guess. Interesting that he's joining Chris Young, who might be baseball's preeminent FIP buster.
   27. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 16, 2016 at 01:20 PM (#5135610)
Kennedy is one of those guys that FIP always likes more than his actual results. His fWAR is at 4.9 over the last three seasons, compared to -0.4 rWAR. Too much hittable stuff in the heart of the zone, I guess. Interesting that he's joining Chris Young, who might be baseball's preeminent FIP buster.

FIP isn't park adjusted. He's pitched in SD for 2 of the last 3 years, and in the NL West all three.

His ERA has been 4.25 vs. a 4.06 FIP, but even a 4.06 ERA in Petco isn't that good.
   28. ReggieThomasLives Posted: January 16, 2016 at 01:55 PM (#5135634)
Too many people bagging on the Kennedy contract forget that KC also gave up a draft pick to sign him.
   29. Shibal Posted: January 16, 2016 at 01:58 PM (#5135635)
The Royals wouldn't have had to sign Kennedy if they hadn't traded their farm for Zobrist and Cueto.

Stupid Dayton.
   30. ReggieThomasLives Posted: January 16, 2016 at 01:58 PM (#5135637)
I'd also like to point out that his first three years in Arizona Kennedy threw 624 innings with a 3.55 ERA and 115 ERA+. He's one of the many DBack starters from that era that I suspect suffer from Gibsoned arms.
   31. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: January 16, 2016 at 02:01 PM (#5135638)
Which is reason to overpay and give him 1/14. But a five year deal is entirely indefensible.


He also got what has to be the most unlikely-to-be-invoked opt-out clause in the brief history of opt-out clauses (after two years).
   32. Zach Posted: January 16, 2016 at 02:02 PM (#5135639)
Wow. $70 million for a below average, right handed starter. For ages 31-35. All that, and he doesn't even commit to sticking around all five years.

It's like Moore tasked an underling with replacing Johnny Cueto, and the guy only looked at Cueto's KC starts.

"87 ERA+? Yeah, that doesn't seem so hard. I'll get right on it."
   33. ReggieThomasLives Posted: January 16, 2016 at 02:04 PM (#5135640)
   34. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: January 16, 2016 at 02:04 PM (#5135641)
I read it more like Moore's reasoning being "ownership allowed me to spend this money this offseason, so I might as well spend it" after they missed on other free agents.
   35. Bote Man the walk-off king Posted: January 16, 2016 at 02:09 PM (#5135644)
That's how government procurement works: spend it or watch next year's budget be reduced by what you saved.
   36. TDF didn't lie, he just didn't remember Posted: January 16, 2016 at 02:23 PM (#5135648)
I'd also like to point out that his first three years in Arizona Kennedy threw 624 innings with a 3.55 ERA and 115 ERA+. He's one of the many DBack starters from that era that I suspect suffer from Gibsoned arms.
<210 innings/yr is now a bad thing???
   37. vortex of dissipation Posted: January 16, 2016 at 03:06 PM (#5135671)
The Royals wouldn't have had to sign Kennedy if they hadn't traded their farm for Zobrist and Cueto.

Stupid Dayton.


Flags fly forever.
   38. Mudpout Posted: January 16, 2016 at 03:13 PM (#5135678)
Looks like Kennedy was smart to turn down the qualifying offer.
   39. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: January 16, 2016 at 03:19 PM (#5135682)
<210 innings/yr is now a bad thing???


Yeah, anything over 180 is definitely pitcher abuse.
   40. ReggieThomasLives Posted: January 16, 2016 at 03:24 PM (#5135683)
<210 innings/yr is now a bad thing???


Not usually, but a pretty high load for a young starter coming off an injury.

Age  IP
23   117
24    62
25   194
26   222
27   208  
(cracks starting to show


Being gibsoned part is heavy pitch counts in games where he was getting shelled at ages 27/28
   41. Obo Posted: January 16, 2016 at 03:34 PM (#5135687)
ATTN #7 and #8: for your entertainment.

At least he was FIRST!!11!1!1!1!1!1

Thanks Bote Man. Obviously just a brain fart on his part, but I guess these days it's often better to be first and wrong than second and right.
   42. billyshears Posted: January 16, 2016 at 04:00 PM (#5135693)
So, the Kansas City Royals can sign two $70 mil contracts, and the New York Mets can't ####### do ####? Wilpon is a disgrace (to restate the obvious for the one millionth time).
   43. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 16, 2016 at 04:19 PM (#5135700)
The Royals wouldn't have had to sign Kennedy if they hadn't traded their farm for Zobrist and Cueto.

Stupid Dayton.


I can't tell if this is satire or not.
   44. DFA Posted: January 16, 2016 at 04:46 PM (#5135712)
I assumed it was satire given the World Series title.
   45. Walt Davis Posted: January 16, 2016 at 04:47 PM (#5135713)
Nothing to add on the Kennedy signing -- AAV is kinda OK, 5 years seems very silly.

On Davis ... as I noted in the Showalter thread, in RAW dollar terms this is still only what Tex and AGon got 5-8 years ago and still less than Fielder 4 years ago despite revenues going through the roof. I don't really consider Davis to be in Tex and AGon's class (at the time they signed) and he's not a guy I'd like giving a 7th year to but we are talking a lot of revenue inflation in the interim. It's also essentially the same deal as Heyward without the opt-outs (I assume) ... but I'd sure rather have Gordon at 4/$72.

Anyway the man does have 159 HR over the last 4 seasons. If he can put up 250 over these 7 years he'll be at 453 and might hang on to 500. If he doesn't get (at least) 250 over these 7 years, this probably wasn't a good contract. :-)

And another contract through the magical age 36.

   46. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 16, 2016 at 04:55 PM (#5135718)
On Davis ... as I noted in the Showalter thread, in RAW dollar terms this is still only what Tex and AGon got 5-8 years ago and still less than Fielder 4 years ago despite revenues going through the roof. I don't really consider Davis to be in Tex and AGon's class (at the time they signed) and he's not a guy I'd like giving a 7th year to but we are talking a lot of revenue inflation in the interim.

Davis' deal is rich, but not absurd. The guy does have 13.5 WAR the last 3 years, even with his el stinko 2014.

On FG Cameron has an article on the contract. If Davis is a 4 WAR guy who ages at 0.5 WAR per year, and you assume $8M/WAR, the deal makes sense. He pans it b/c Steamer calls Davis a 2.4 WAR player, but that projection is silly.

If Davis gives them 1 or 2 more of his big 6 WAR years, the deal's going to look fine.

The Kennedy deal is just idiotic beyond belief. I'd have offered him 1/10, tops.
   47. Mudpout Posted: January 16, 2016 at 05:00 PM (#5135720)
To be fair to Gibson without exactly defending Gibson, in '10 Hinch worked Kennedy harder than Gibson did.
   48. zachtoma Posted: January 16, 2016 at 05:06 PM (#5135723)
Am I the only one who thinks the Davis deal is at least as terrible as the Kennedy one? It's $91 million more. Davis will be 30 and he's had precisely 2 good seasons in his career, and in both of those he K'd roughly 200 times. He's one season removed from being a .196 hitter. I said before the off-season that I wouldn't give him more than 4/$80 and anyone who does is insane.
   49. Simpson Posted: January 16, 2016 at 05:11 PM (#5135725)
I'm with #48. What's the argument that Davis will age better than Adam Dunn did?
   50. For the Turnstiles (andeux) Posted: January 16, 2016 at 05:25 PM (#5135726)
Or Ryan Howard.
   51. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: January 16, 2016 at 05:25 PM (#5135727)
I think Dunn is the worst case scenario. Most players don't collapse that badly and while Davis ain't Ozzie Smith he's a win plus better than Dunn defensively and seems to be a better athlete.

Could it happen? Sure but I wouldn't bet on that being the 50th percentile result or anything close to it. He's coming off a great year and there is no real reason to predict a complete collapse in 2016.

I wouldn't have wanted my team to sign this deal either. I think there are likely to be several years of "oh crap we are still paying this ####### guy" in there rather than just 1 or 2. But I'd bet for the first 2-3 years he will be worth his money comfortably.
   52. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: January 16, 2016 at 05:27 PM (#5135728)
One other thing, Dunn was a negative WAR player in his age 29 season, Davis was at 5.2 last year. And Ryan Howard was 3.8, very good but still meaningfully below Davis, was OK in his age 30 season then suffered a truly serious injury.
   53. Simpson Posted: January 16, 2016 at 05:35 PM (#5135732)
Sure, Davis is better defensively than Dunn and is more athletic. And I'm not predicting immediate collapse. But 7 years is a long time and Dunn was pretty toasty by 33 or so. That puts a lot of pressure on Davis to be really good these first few years, because I think that back half is gonna be ugly.
   54. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: January 16, 2016 at 05:41 PM (#5135735)
I would agree with all of that. I think that's a fundamental problem with big ticket free agents. At some point you have to roll the dice and Davis is a popular player for the Orioles, fills a need obviously (since they'd have to replace him) and is coming off a year that leaves room for a decline while still being useful.
   55. Simpson Posted: January 16, 2016 at 05:45 PM (#5135739)
All true, especially the local popularity part. I'm just really scared of all the K's and that sub-.200 season, which while he has seemingly rebounded nicely from, is what made me think of Dunn.
   56. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 16, 2016 at 05:57 PM (#5135742)
The problem with the local popularity angle is that being popular now doesn't equal being popular in two years when the contract is an albatross. In fact, it's neatively correlated. Better to have the dumb fans be angry for 15 minutes now than angry for five years later.
   57. BDC Posted: January 16, 2016 at 06:01 PM (#5135744)
Are there examples of long-term position-player free-agent contracts that paid off well for a team in the last year or two? Even Alex Rodriguez, who signed his first FA contract as an infant, was a much-reduced player in (what would have been) its final two years. Of course if he'd still been making "only" $27M for 4 WAR at that point … I dunno, that's still not a bargain for 2009-10.

Adrian Beltre's been pretty good throughout his Ranger contract, so that's one. But the great majority of these contracts must be ugly by the last few years.
   58. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 16, 2016 at 06:04 PM (#5135746)
Am I the only one who thinks the Davis deal is at least as terrible as the Kennedy one? It's $91 million more. Davis will be 30 and he's had precisely 2 good seasons in his career, and in both of those he K'd roughly 200 times. He's one season removed from being a .196 hitter. I said before the off-season that I wouldn't give him more than 4/$80 and anyone who does is insane.

I don't think that's supportable. Davis has gone 6.8, 1.8, 5.2 bWAR or 7.0, 0.8, 5.6 fWAR. That's 2 legit All-Star, borderline MVP seasons in the last 3.

Kennedy has gone -1.5, 1.4, -0.4 bWAR, 0.6, 3.5, 0.8 fWAR.

One's a legit star player. The other's borderline replacement level.
   59. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: January 16, 2016 at 06:09 PM (#5135750)
The problem with the local popularity angle is that being popular now doesn't equal being popular in two years when the contract is an albatross. In fact, it's neatively correlated. Better to have the dumb fans be angry for 15 minutes now than angry for five years later.


If you're going to sign s free agent you have the risk of it being an albatross. The hometown kid at least doesn't have to "prove himself" to the fans and it's good business.

I mean yeah if you can sign a 27 year old version of Davis then who cares if he's local but if I have to give Davis or Cespedes a similar contract to sign a big bopper I'm signing the local guy. Same risk, better business.
   60. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 16, 2016 at 06:15 PM (#5135755)
I'm just really scared of all the K's and that sub-.200 season, which while he has seemingly rebounded nicely from, is what made me think of Dunn.

But Davis isn't carrying a -20 glove around; he appears to be an average 1B. That's a big difference.
   61. tshipman Posted: January 16, 2016 at 06:20 PM (#5135761)
This Kennedy deal is awful.

People ripped the Samardzija deal (and rightly so), but at least Shark had a history of being good in the last 3 years.

The Davis deal will be considered almost as bad by the time it's done.
   62. bookbook Posted: January 16, 2016 at 06:50 PM (#5135781)
#57. Mike Mussina (his penultimate year wasn't great). Mostly, you bank the surplus value in the early years, and think of the last 2-3 years of the contract as deferred compensation...
   63. BDC Posted: January 16, 2016 at 06:54 PM (#5135785)
Yes, bookbook, that sounds right to me (both the Mussina example and the attitude toward value over the life of the contract).
   64. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 16, 2016 at 06:55 PM (#5135787)
Are there examples of long-term position-player free-agent contracts that paid off well for a team in the last year or two? Even Alex Rodriguez, who signed his first FA contract as an infant, was a much-reduced player in (what would have been) its final two years. Of course if he'd still been making "only" $27M for 4 WAR at that point … I dunno, that's still not a bargain for 2009-10.


Johnny Damon managed to do it twice (though each FA deal was only for four years). He had 8.2 WAR his last two years in Boston, and 8.3 his last two in NY.
   65. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: January 16, 2016 at 06:56 PM (#5135788)
The Sox traded him in the final year which maybe hurts the argument but Manny Ramirez was good throughout his deal with the Red Sox.
   66. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: January 16, 2016 at 07:14 PM (#5135803)
So it turns out Chris Davis is the new Bobby Bonilla. He's only getting $17M a year for the next 7 years, and then the Orioles are going to be paying him over $1 million a year through most of the 2030s.
   67. Bote Man the walk-off king Posted: January 16, 2016 at 08:16 PM (#5135842)
I'm trying to find that special player who hits 150+ home runs in a 4 year span who never strikes out. Can somebody help me? I'm not real good with the B-Ref PI. TNX!
   68. Mudpout Posted: January 16, 2016 at 08:22 PM (#5135845)
The Davis deal is predictably bad, the Kennedy deal is surprisingly bad.
   69. ptodd Posted: January 16, 2016 at 08:35 PM (#5135849)
He pitched well with 5 days rest and after the 1st inning, so maybe KC is willing to give him more rest and has a fix for his 1st inning woes. I also think KC is betting an improved defense helps him. UZR has KC as 84 runs better on defense, which could make Kennedy 10 runs better

If you look at the last 2 years, he has had 3 bad months. Pitched well 75% of that period.

Also, the opt out might be in KC's favor. If he has 2 good years, he is gone. The riskiest part of any deal is the back end, and someone else will pay more for that risk. After 2 years, KC might be in a rebuilding mode
   70. ptodd Posted: January 16, 2016 at 08:41 PM (#5135851)
10. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: January 16, 2016 at 10:39 AM (#5135524)
That Davis contract is gonna suck, inflation or no. The dude has one tool and he's 30 years old.


He is actually a pretty good defensive player at 1B, and DH is an option at the back end. I remember when David Ortiz was around 30, and folks saw an imminent decline coming. LOL

You cant win without assuming risk. The fact they have Machado on the cheap helps offset Davis cost in the early years. In the latter years of the deal the 23 million AAV becomes more like 15 million if payroll inflation stays where it has been for the last 3 years. People have to stop thinking in nominal dollars
   71. tshipman Posted: January 16, 2016 at 08:47 PM (#5135854)
I'm trying to find that special player who hits 150+ home runs in a 4 year span who never strikes out. Can somebody help me? I'm not real good with the B-Ref PI. TNX!


Barry Bonds 2001-2005: 209 HR, 239 SOs
Albert Pujols 2003-2007: 179 HR, 235 SOs
Ted Kluszewski 1953-1957: 171 HR, 140 SOs
   72. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: January 16, 2016 at 08:52 PM (#5135856)
You cant win without assuming risk. The fact they have Machado on the cheap helps offset Davis cost in the early years. In the latter years of the deal the 23 million AAV becomes more like 15 million if payroll inflation stays where it has been for the last 3 years. People have to stop thinking in nominal dollars


Per Olney on Twitter, Davis's contract is for $17M/year over its 7 year life, and then he gets deferred money for another 15 years after that starting around $3.5M and dropping to $1.4M. So it's even less in "real dollars" than usual.
   73. Walt Davis Posted: January 16, 2016 at 09:06 PM (#5135868)
I'm trying to find that special player who hits 150+ home runs in a 4 year span who never strikes out. Can somebody help me? I'm not real good with the B-Ref PI. TNX!

Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera. Harper just hit 42 on 131 Ks; Donaldson 41 on 133.

(yes, not surprisingly, lots of HRs with few Ks usually means you're one of the best hitters in the history of the game. Chris Davis is not that.)

#57 ... as you well know, the late years of a deal are essentially a means of deferring salary from the early years. Yes, what value Davis produces will most likely fall in the first 3-4 years of the contract. But, if we use the $8/WAR figure, then if Davis say produces 16 WAR over the first 4 years, that's $128 M in value for $92 M (unless money is deferred and not counting $/WAR inflation). He can limp to the finish with 4 WAR over his last 3 years and the O's would still break even ... again, before adjusting for deferred salary and salary inflation. Once you start adjusting for those things, it probably comes out at something closer to 13-14 WAR in the first 3 years. As Snapper says, a couple of years like 2013 and 2015 and this deal is fine.

Again, way back in 2009, entering his age 29 season, Tex got 8/$180 ... in 2009-2016 dollars. That's essentially the same deal CC ended up with as the best pitcher (8/$182 with the opt-out extension), also in 2009. Using that as a rough guide, Tex hitting the market today "should" have been worth something like Price's 7/$217 with an extra year added on. Even if you figure they wouldn't give Tex Miggy, Trout, late Stanton money, we'd still be somewhere in the range of 8/$225-240.

7/$161, apparently with a good chunk deferred, is nothing compared to that. He's not being paid like one of the best players in the game, his AAV (again in RAW dollar terms) is less than Hamilton or Howard. In real dollar terms, it's probably about the same, maybe a little less than Crawford or Ellsbury; in raw dollars, it's well under Cano's.

It is however, a lot more expensive than Nelson Cruz's 4/$57 if lots of HRs is what you want to buy.

   74. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 16, 2016 at 09:09 PM (#5135870)
More precise version of #72 (not as good as PowerBall.).
Buster Olney
@Buster_ESPN
Chris Davis contract structure: $17m annual salary 2016-2022. Annual payments $3.5m 2023-32, then $1.4m 2033-37. No interest on deferrals.
   75. Mudpout Posted: January 16, 2016 at 11:00 PM (#5135931)
At some point in the Davis contract the problem won't be with his AAV but whether he's good enough to start at 1st, and then whether he's good enough to be on the roster. I'd say Davis is just as likely to be a 1 WAR player by age 33-34 as a 3 WAR player, and if he's a 1 WAR player he's nothing special starting at 1B and is probably a spot in the Orioles lineup they wish they could fix.
   76. ReggieThomasLives Posted: January 17, 2016 at 12:17 AM (#5136028)
To be fair to Gibson without exactly defending Gibson, in '10 Hinch worked Kennedy harder than Gibson did.


Hitch was helming a team early in the season that was very disappointing and while he was on the hot seat. You might expect he'd do everything he could to turn around their season while there was still some sort of a chance.

Gibson & the DBacks kept running Kennedy out there the whole second half after the team had been long since eliminated from contention, a young pitcher in his first complete MLB season who had never remotely thrown so many innings (the 60 the season before included the Fall League).

But you are right, the bigger complaint about Gibson is making guys throw 100 pitches in 3 innings when they clearly didn't have their stuff and their mechanics were likely bad.
   77. Drexl Spivey Posted: January 17, 2016 at 01:08 AM (#5136038)
Per Olney on Twitter, Davis's contract is for $17M/year over its 7 year life, and then he gets deferred money for another 15 years after that starting around $3.5M and dropping to $1.4M. So it's even less in "real dollars" than usual.


Chris Davis lives in Texas. He will (probably) live in Texas after he retires from baseball. There is no state income tax in Texas. The deferred money payments will (probably) not be subject to state income taxation when post-retirement Davis is collecting checks in Texas.

That might mean both less "real dollars" from the Orioles and more "real dollars" for Davis.
   78. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 17, 2016 at 06:12 PM (#5136476)
Per Olney on Twitter, Davis's contract is for $17M/year over its 7 year life, and then he gets deferred money for another 15 years after that starting around $3.5M and dropping to $1.4M. So it's even less in "real dollars" than usual.

If you use a 6% discount rate, Davis' deal has an NPV of $114.2M That's basically the equivalent of a 7/143 deal, if it paid the AAV every year, with no deferrals.
   79. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: January 17, 2016 at 06:14 PM (#5136478)
Chris Davis lives in Texas. He will (probably) live in Texas after he retires from baseball. There is no state income tax in Texas. The deferred money payments will (probably) not be subject to state income taxation when post-retirement Davis is collecting checks in Texas.


Does the fact that the Orioles are a Maryland company have any bearing on any of this?
   80. ReggieThomasLives Posted: January 17, 2016 at 06:22 PM (#5136487)
You work for Apple Computer in Nevada. Do you pay California state income taxes?
   81. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: January 17, 2016 at 06:38 PM (#5136506)
I have no idea.
   82. Walt Davis Posted: January 17, 2016 at 08:33 PM (#5136625)
At some point in the Davis contract the problem won't be with his AAV but whether he's good enough to start at 1st, and then whether he's good enough to be on the roster. I'd say Davis is just as likely to be a 1 WAR player by age 33-34 as a 3 WAR player, and if he's a 1 WAR player he's nothing special starting at 1B and is probably a spot in the Orioles lineup they wish they could fix.

Agreed that is a risk. But again, what they are mainly paying for is the likelihood that over the next 4 years (through age 33) he'll produce something like 14 WAR. Anything he does after that is pretty much gravy.

Unfortunately for the O's, Davis's b-r comp list doesn't look too far off. They averaged a 123 OPS+ with 180 HR in 3100 PA; he's at a 122 OPS+ with 205 HR in 3100 PA. They hit 263/345/495; he hit 255/330/506. The two guys who would seem to clearly not belong are McGwire and Stargell.

And from age 30 on, the only two guys with good (outstanding) value are McGwire and Stargell and the only other one that made it to even 10 WAR was Tino Martinez (14 WAR). Tino is probably the least like Davis on the other end of the spectrum (low Ks, "just" 157 HR). Swisher is still active but it seems unlikely he's going to add much to his resume in the next two years. This comp list looks like a disaster.

2016 O's ZIPS are available. On the one hand, they project Davis to 3.8 WAR -- probably a bit short of what he needs to do in year 1 to make this an OK deal but not bad. On the other hand, it puts his most similar as Willie Mays Aikens who was done at 30. Seems an odd comp -- Aikens was a good hitter before all the troubles hit but he had only one full season and just 9 WAR (10 oWAR) in 2700 PA through age 29. Davis has gone past that pretty comfortably -- I can see Aikens might have been a good comp coming into Davis's age 29 season but not his age 30.
   83. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: January 17, 2016 at 09:08 PM (#5136634)
Davis should be able to buy anything he wants at Target with this deal.
   84. Mudpout Posted: January 18, 2016 at 07:29 AM (#5136716)
Agree, Walt, think that's their thinking. It just seems they're making too rosy a projection. For that to happen though they basically want him to repeat his 26-29 production in his 30-33 years, or at least 90% of it. That just doesn't seem like a safe bet. I think his decline will come much sooner than Baltimore thinks, and at that point the issue will be the committed years, not the money. But I guess the solution to that is to eat a bunch of money, likely to trade him.
   85. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 18, 2016 at 11:35 AM (#5136827)
You work for Apple Computer in Nevada. Do you pay California state income taxes?


No. You pay state income tax on income that is earned in that state. Nothing to do with where your paycheck is coming from.

I have no idea how deferred income works, but I could see states calling for thier share, Davis would earn 50% of his income in Maryland, regardless of when it was payed to him.
   86. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 18, 2016 at 01:36 PM (#5136909)
Much of my income goes through a check processing service in another state, where I do none of my work. Every year I get a letter telling me how much income tax I owe their state. The first time, I responded with an explanation why their assessment was in error... and the second time... and the third time. Now, I ignore the letters. It's worked out the same.
   87. zack Posted: January 18, 2016 at 02:34 PM (#5136935)
I have no idea how deferred income works, but I could see states calling for thier share, Davis would earn 50% of his income in Maryland, regardless of when it was payed to him.

Yeah, that's the rub. I have no idea how the IRS / States treat deferred income but I'm guessing it's not treated the same as a regular paycheck. EDIT: It looks like the IRS calls it 'non-qualifying deferred compensation' and its taxed to the employee as income, if anyone cares to look farther.

I wonder if Dunn's decline will be looked on differently in the future due to the rapidly changing offensive environment around 2010-2011. Kinda like how we look back at guys who were run out of the league prematurely in the late 60's. Obviously Dunn's decline went beyond just a change in environment, but perhaps if he were younger he would have had more time to adjust.
   88. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 18, 2016 at 03:06 PM (#5136965)
I wonder if Dunn's decline will be looked on differently in the future due to the rapidly changing offensive environment around 2010-2011. Kinda like how we look back at guys who were run out of the league prematurely in the late 60's. Obviously Dunn's decline went beyond just a change in environment, but perhaps if he were younger he would have had more time to adjust.

Isn't Dunn's exit from the league almost purely do to his hideous defense?

I mean, his last 3 years he had a 111 OPS+, and was much better (>120 OPS+) vs. RHP. If he had the ability to play an average 1B of LF, that definitely keeps you in the league.
   89. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 18, 2016 at 03:22 PM (#5136983)

Like others, I worry about the Davis contract, but I don't like the Dunn comp. Dunn didn't take care of himself, and he had one above-average season after age 25.
   90. Mudpout Posted: January 18, 2016 at 04:53 PM (#5137073)
Looking at the numbers, I thought Dunn had cratered more than he actually had. His hitch with Oakland in '14 was rough, and his '11 was historically awful, but other than that he managed to be a solidly above average hitter. But as mentioned, his defense was terrible and his bat wasn't quite good enough any more to make him a good DH.

Is the term Old Player Skills still used? I think Three True Outcomes replaced it, but aren't they basically the same thing? Seems like there was a while in the late '90s and '00s when players didn't age like they used to. But Adam Dunn was exactly the type of player who used to fall off quickly after his prime years.
   91. Eddo Posted: January 18, 2016 at 05:48 PM (#5137110)
Mostly, you bank the surplus value in the early years, and think of the last 2-3 years of the contract as deferred compensation...

Are you saying that that's your suggested philosophy, or how teams actually view the contracts? Because if it's the latter, wouldn't we see many teams bench or even outright release players in the last few years of their contracts?
   92. Mudpout Posted: January 19, 2016 at 06:26 AM (#5137287)
That's how the market works. If you look at FA cost per WAR, superstar seasons are usually worth $40+ million dollars. Cano's '12 and '13, for example, were estimated to be worth $49.4 and $43.3 million per FanGraphs. But he signed for "only" $24 million annually because he was guaranteed 10 years.

As for trading or benching, the team's hope is that they're signing a 7-8 WAR player who'll be worth 3-4 WAR by the end of the contract. Teixeira, for example, had just about as good a year as you could expect last year, he produced 2.9 WAR per FanGraphs in an injury-shortened season, but even that was just about half his peak value. So what they hope for is Teixeira '15, a declining player still good enough to be a good starter. What they hope to avoid is Teixeira '14, a marginal starter. Generally inflation also turns market-setting contracts into more "reasonable" deals, as the rising cost of a win means Teixeira probably justified his '15 salary.
   93. villageidiom Posted: January 19, 2016 at 08:53 AM (#5137310)
Too many people bagging on the Kennedy contract forget that KC also gave up a draft pick to sign him.


Originally the #27 pick. After other forfeited picks it would have been around #24.

Greinke, Murphy, Samardzija, Kennedy, and Lackey all triggered the loss of a first round pick when acquired. Nationals at least got a first-rounder back for loss of Zimmermann, but the Diamondbacks, Giants, Royals, and Cubs haven't. The Cubs will get one back if Fowler signs elsewhere, but they will immediately lose it for the Heyward signing.

KC's first pick in the draft is now #67. That will likely not improve, but could get slightly worse.
   94. bbmck Posted: January 19, 2016 at 09:40 AM (#5137331)
Lowest Ks and highest AB/SO with 150+ HR in 4 consecutive seasons:

1st-4th: Pujols 279/8.47
2nd-5th: Klein 209/12
3rd-6th: Pujols 232/9.95
4th-7th: Aaron 224/10.87
5th-8th: Pujols 227/9.76

6th-9th: Kluz 137/16.44
7th-10th: Kluz 140/16.23
8th-11th: Gehrig 199/12.01
9th-12th: Gehrig 167/14.29
10th-13th: Mays 317/7.47
11th-14th: Gehrig 157/14.56

12th-15th: Gehrig 164/13.79
13th-16th: Aaron 302/7.8
14th-17th: Aaron 269/8.43
15th-18th: Aaron 230/9.41
16th-19th: Aaron 223/9
17th-20th: Aaron 227/8.16

2nd lowest K is never under 200 and it's the same leader in both categories each time. 6th-10th still using 150 HR cutoff:

Player             AB/SO  HR   Age   PA   AB  SO
Stan Musial      17.1105 154 26
-30 3421 2943 172
Ted Kluszewski   16.4821 187 27
-31 3096 2769 168
Johnny Mize      13.4233 155 28
-35 2920 2537 189
Ted Williams     12.2178 158 28
-32 3151 2468 202
Mel Ott          12.1466 156 22
-26 3268 2818 232

Lou Gehrig        9.9014 183 25
-29 3520 2911 294
Billy Williams    9.4252 154 26
-30 3566 3214 341
Albert Pujols     9.2020 207 26
-30 3354 2779 302
Willie Mays       9.0619 167 26
-30 3331 2927 323
Hank Aaron        8.7500 202 25
-29 3409 3045 348 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/19/2016.
   95. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 19, 2016 at 10:20 AM (#5137374)
Jayson Werth's deal is an interesting comp for Davis's contract. Werth got 7/$125 million in 2010 from the Nationals. He had his first big season at 29, had three good seasons where he'd averaged about 4 wins a year before becoming a FA, and was 32 in his first year with the Nationals. He's had a couple of good seasons and 3 bad ones since signing the deal.

Davis had his breakout at 26 and had 4 seasons in which he averaged a little under 4 wins for the Orioles before becoming a FA at 30. With the deferred money and the increase in average salary, Davis's 7/$161 deal is pretty similar to Werth's.

Hopefully Davis is better than Werth, but all in all, I agree with Walt that this isn't that rich a contract in context, and Davis doesn't have to do that much to make it worthwhile for the Orioles.
   96. WSPanic Posted: January 19, 2016 at 11:20 AM (#5137459)
... but I'd sure rather have Gordon at 4/$72.


Per Heyman, the Royals have zero chance of signing Gordon, so it's not like that contract is going to happen.

   97. Nasty Nate Posted: January 19, 2016 at 11:35 AM (#5137478)
Mostly, you bank the surplus value in the early years, and think of the last 2-3 years of the contract as deferred compensation...

Are you saying that that's your suggested philosophy, or how teams actually view the contracts? Because if it's the latter, wouldn't we see many teams bench or even outright release players in the last few years of their contracts?

"Deferred Compensation" is an overstatement, but it is sometimes a useful way to think about it.

And players sometimes are benched and released towards the end of long contracts.

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