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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Kelvin Herrera Trade Start of Something Big for Nationals

ashington Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo’s latest move to improve his team’s bullpen — and, therefore, improve a team that is ailing and sputtering even as it pursues its fifth division title in seven years — might be better than those that preceded it, even though a few of those worked out splendidly.

Kelvin Herrera will help the Nationals. He will lessen the burden on Ryan Madson and eliminate high-leverage situations for Shawn Kelley — maybe even eliminating Kelley altogether. Justin Miller, Tim Collins, Sammy Solis — all the gassed Nats relievers should, as Madson said Monday night, extend “welcoming arms” to the new charge.

This season with the only team he has ever known, the Kansas City Royals, Herrera faced 95 batters — and walked two. Opposing hitters have a .506 on-base-plus-slugging percentage against him; MLB average is .722. He was the right guy at a perfect time — six weeks before the trade deadline, which means six weeks of the season when the rest of the Nationals will have a less stressful workload.


But it says here that the Nats will need more. Not for now, necessarily. But for October. Or maybe, if a few things don’t straighten themselves out in health and performance, to even reach ] October.

Two areas to think about: Catcher and starting pitcher. One way to think, in either case: Large.

Consider the catching situation. Matt Wieters is out till, say, August following surgery on his left hamstring. Pedro Severino and Spencer Kieboom, the two kids the Nationals are employing in Wieters’s stead, are slugging .241 and .222, respectively. Washington’s catchers collectively have a .574 OPS — last in the National League. An upgrade is in order.

Now, you could say that Wieters will provide an upgrade. That’s debatable, of course, given his .632 OPS of a year ago. But even if you believe Wieters’s return will prevent the catcher’s spot in the order from being a black hole, that black hole still exists for another month-and-a-half. An offense that has a sputtering Bryce Harper and a working-himself-into-shape Daniel Murphy and an absent Ryan Zimmerman can’t really afford a spot in the order that produces zippo.

Bourbon Samurai, what price fettucine? Posted: June 19, 2018 at 12:32 PM | 55 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nationals, royals, trades

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   1. Bourbon Samurai, what price fettucine? Posted: June 19, 2018 at 01:49 PM (#5695360)
Nats didn't give up much for Herrera looks like. They need more offense, but it's hard to find a spot other than catcher to improve at.
   2. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: June 19, 2018 at 02:03 PM (#5695371)
Yawn. Wake me up when they win the NLDS.
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 19, 2018 at 02:03 PM (#5695373)
all the gassed Nats relievers should, as Madson said Monday night, extend “welcoming arms” to the new charge
They're already gassed, and you want them extending their arms even more??
   4. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 19, 2018 at 02:21 PM (#5695403)
The Nats are lucky they're playing in a league where the top team is ranked only 5th overall in MLB. They wouldn't have a prayer of running the AL gantlet of Boston, New York, Houston, Seattle, and probably even Cleveland in the postseason. With Scherzer they might survive the wild card game, but they'd be toast after that.
   5. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: June 19, 2018 at 02:40 PM (#5695428)
What has happened to Bryce Harper? When did he become a better-on-defense Adam Dunn?
   6. Bourbon Samurai, what price fettucine? Posted: June 19, 2018 at 03:09 PM (#5695451)
What has happened to Bryce Harper? When did he become a better-on-defense Adam Dunn?

He's in one of his weird interminable slumps.
   7. McCoy Posted: June 19, 2018 at 03:13 PM (#5695458)
Does he still get 400 million?
   8. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 19, 2018 at 04:41 PM (#5695524)
Another year, and Rizzo trades for yet another closer.
   9. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 19, 2018 at 04:49 PM (#5695537)
Does he still get 400 million?
"He's saving his hits for next year. He gets 600 million!" -- S. Boras
   10. Walt Davis Posted: June 19, 2018 at 04:57 PM (#5695552)
Does he still get 400 million?

In how many years? Probably, barely, might require backloading. I'd guesstimate something like Stanton's contract ... but that contract was a few years ago and the first two years of it were still arb years for Stanton. So 12/$400 would seem "reasonable," taking him through age 37.

As to the Nats' pen being gassed, they have the fewest bullpen IP in the NL, throwing 42 fewer innings than the average NL team. Their problem is that, outside of Doolittle, none of them have been particularly good. Kintzler and Madson have particularly been un-good by leveraged reliever standards.
   11. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 19, 2018 at 05:28 PM (#5695583)
Does he still get 400 million?

In how many years? Probably, barely, might require backloading. I'd guesstimate something like Stanton's contract ... but that contract was a few years ago and the first two years of it were still arb years for Stanton. So 12/$400 would seem "reasonable," taking him through age 37.

Do you think that'll still seem reasonable if Harper doesn't turn his current non-production around in a majorly way? Stanton was coming off an MVP season, while at this point Harper may be contending for the LVP award if it were to be based on productivity per dollar.

Let's just say he hasn't picked the best year to imitate "a better-on-defense Adam Dunn".
   12. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: June 19, 2018 at 05:51 PM (#5695599)
The Nats are lucky they're playing in a league where the top team is ranked only 5th overall in MLB. They wouldn't have a prayer of running the AL gantlet of Boston, New York, Houston, Seattle, and probably even Cleveland in the postseason.

Why would anyone think the Mariners (or Indians) are in the same class as the other 3? Or clearly better than the expected top class of the NL (CHC, LAD, WSH)?
   13. Bote Man Posted: June 19, 2018 at 06:13 PM (#5695604)
The big knock against Matt Williams was that he dry-humped his relievers, warming them up repeatedly through the late innings and sometimes not even using them. This tired them out sooner in the season and engendered resentment among them. Well, Mr. Sabremetrics, Deivi Martinez has been doing that a bit. After the game last night Madson basically came out and said he needs the rest; that ought to tell you something. Kelvin will likely help, but it's up to the manager to use his bullpen in optimal ways for it to help the team.

I had low expectations for the Nats coming into this year and it looks like that is what is keeping me (mostly) sane. The Braves are coming on stronger than anticipated and the Phillies can't be counted out just yet, either.

---

XM was talking about Bryce Harper yesterday morning. One of the talking heads was saying that Harper is seeing almost exactly the same percentage of pitches in the zone as in his 2015 MVP year, but he's hacking at the unhittable low & outside pitches and watching strikes right down South Capitol Street. Yesterday, I and a bunch of my Nats Twitter buddies simultaneously predicted and then witnessed Bryce swinging weakly and hitting a weak roller to 2B for an inning-ending out--with the bases loaded. PUH-THETIC! In the past it has been some undisclosed nagging injury, but it's not clear right now that this is the result of injury or soreness.

He almost looks like his head is not in the right place; only half-jokingly I blame his wife who seems to have been a key figure in the past when Bryce's roller coaster has hit bottom. Maybe the Vegas Knight's loss hit him harder than we know???

Anyway, the Nationals aint running away with the NL East this year.
   14. SoSH U at work Posted: June 19, 2018 at 06:19 PM (#5695608)
Do you think that'll still seem reasonable if Harper doesn't turn his current non-production around in a majorly way? Stanton was coming off an MVP season,


Stanton wasn't coming off an MVP season when he was paid. But I agree with the general sentiment. I can't see doling out a record deal for a guy whose had one great year in his 20s.
   15. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: June 19, 2018 at 06:36 PM (#5695616)
I wonder if the Nationals look back at their unwillingness to make a trade for Andrew Miller in 2016 as a critical misstep and a missed opportunity for a healthy young team to be more successful in the postseason. The Nationals wanted to build a trade around Lucas Giolito but the Yankees didn’t like him and insisted on Trea Turner.

Of course we know how it turned out, the Yankees got a deal they preferred from Cleveland and Washington endured some late-inning flubs against LA to finish their season. Perhaps the ghosts of 2016 still haunt Nationals Park, or at least their front office.
   16. Bote Man Posted: June 19, 2018 at 06:41 PM (#5695619)
Jorge Castillo @jorgecastillo
Rizzo on why he struck early to get Herrera: "We love the back end of the bullpen, but the front end of our bullpen was struggling early in the season. We thought the way we were relying on our big three or four guys. We were going to need to get some help in here."

Off this: the heavy reliance on the 4 guys has had an effect. Kintzler is on the DL. Madson hasn't looked the same since pitching 4 times in 5 days in mid-April. And maybe it's just a coincidence, but Madson allowed his 1st 2 HR in a year the day before the trade was made.

Madson on the trade last night: "Let the old horse rest a little bit. He can let me pitch every once in a while, and I'll be fine. All hands on deck, of course, when playoff time comes around."
   17. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: June 19, 2018 at 06:55 PM (#5695621)
Madson hasn't looked the same since pitching 4 times in 5 days in mid-April. And maybe it's just a coincidence, but Madson allowed his 1st 2 HR in a year the day before the trade was made.

Madson on the trade last night: "Let the old horse rest a little bit. He can let me pitch every once in a while, and I'll be fine. All hands on deck, of course, when playoff time comes around."


JFC. We are nearly halfway through the season and the guy has thrown 24 innings. That stretch in April, he threw 81 pitches over 5 days. How he's still alive is a miracle. In his last 4 appearances, he threw 7 pitches, had 6 days off, threw 14, had 3 days off, threw 22, had 3 days off, threw 24. And he's making $7.6 million.
   18. Sunday silence Posted: June 19, 2018 at 07:09 PM (#5695626)
I dont see anyway that Harper gets $400M; probably closer to $300. But I have a, hopefully, better question:

Why does any team (other than NYY and maybe LAD) need to sign anyone to a ten year deal?

Isnt most teams window of opppurtunity about 4-5 years? Maybe even less, if you think your team is one star away from getting to the world series, in that case what 2 or 3 years? I get the Yankees taking on Stanton's contract, they never rebuild they can just reload and their revenues keep coming, but the rest of the league?

why would a team like say Philadelphia need ten years of Harper? or CLE or whomever? even ATL, what's their window? You have 3 or 4 year window, hopefully you win a WS, the fans come back for a few years, and then you rebuild or reload or whatever. they arent going to put together a ten year dynasty are they???

Maybe the argument is that you pay upfront for the first 5-6 years and then expect the last 3-4 are rewards for the first 5-6. But even then if the players in the market dont think that way, then maybe that doesnt happen.

I dunno.
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 19, 2018 at 07:15 PM (#5695628)
Why does any team (other than NYY and maybe LAD) need to sign anyone to a ten year deal?

Because you get a discount on the AAV.
   20. McCoy Posted: June 19, 2018 at 07:20 PM (#5695632)
I wonder if the Nationals look back at their unwillingness to make a trade for Andrew Miller in 2016 as a critical misstep and a missed opportunity for a healthy young team to be more successful in the postseason.

Shutting down Strasburg.
   21. McCoy Posted: June 19, 2018 at 07:21 PM (#5695633)
Why does any team (other than NYY and maybe LAD) need to sign anyone to a ten year deal?

Because A+ players want the dollars and teams don't want to pay a player 80 million dollars a year for 3 years.
   22. puck Posted: June 19, 2018 at 08:01 PM (#5695655)
How about Trea Turner? I know he wasn't going to hit .342 but wasn't he supposed to be better than this?
   23. Bote Man Posted: June 19, 2018 at 09:14 PM (#5695719)
How about Trea Turner? I know he wasn't going to hit .342 but wasn't he supposed to be better than this?

I don't understand the question and I will not respond to it.
   24. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: June 19, 2018 at 09:19 PM (#5695724)
I kinda love Washington's bullpen-building strategy. Never spend any money on free agents, just wait til mid-season and trade for whoever's having a good year on a last place team.
   25. Walt Davis Posted: June 19, 2018 at 11:50 PM (#5695855)
Right ... Stanton may have been coming off an MVP-quality season when he signed that contract but not an actual MVP season. He signed between 2014 and 2015. To that point, Stanton had 21 WAR though 4.5 seasons, was turning 25, a 144 OPS+. In two of those seasons, he'd missed 35+ games. If you take him through his pre-FA years, it was 27.6 WAR.

In his first 4.5 seasons, Harper has 21.5 WAR, was a year younger, had a 137 OPS+. Last year he added 4.7 WAR in 492 PA (both a pos and a neg) with a 158 ERA+. He's on 26.7 WAR and (hopefully) counting.

At age 25, the first year of his deal, Stanton missed half the season. The next year he missed about 40 games again and put up just a 120 OPS+. Of course age 27 went rather well and the Yanks decided he was worth about 10/$260 (with the Marlins basically paying for all the backloaded bits if he doesn't opt out) and a smidgen of talent.

They're actually quite similar players -- fragile sluggers, same position, Stanton still providing good defensive value but Harper a year younger at each stage. The decline in Harper's athleticism (defense, running) is concerning. If his mediocre 300 PA becomes a mediocre 650 PA then, sure, teams will certainly try to contain costs on him but that still probably mainly leads to opt-outs and deferred money. But sure, 10/$300 or similar is a possibility.

Don't get too excited ... 12/$400 is still "just" a $33 AAV. That's less than what Trout is already making, it's only $1 M more than what Cabrera makes, it's $1 M more than what Stanton will make at his peak.

Maybe the argument is that you pay upfront for the first 5-6 years and then expect the last 3-4 are rewards for the first 5-6

Maybe? Of course it's about deferred payments. No team wants to pay the 6 WAR player the $50-60 M he deserves for that sort of season. So they sign a guy like that for 10/$300 years knowing that almost all of the value will be in the first 5 years. And of course players and their agents recognize that. (Note, few guys are young enough to get 10-year offers.)

Now it's fair enough that there are only a few teams that can afford to make those sorts of long-term commitments ... or at least to do it more than once. So sure, if the Dodger, Cubs, Yanks, Bos, Phils, Nats aren't interested then he might have to settle for a 7-8 year deal (with an opt-out) from a lower-payroll team.
   26. Zach Posted: June 20, 2018 at 12:12 AM (#5695863)
I really hate this trade for the Royals. Each of these guys is fine as a throw in, none of them is the centerpiece for a guy as good as Herrera. The Royals traded a dollar for three nickels here.
   27. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: June 20, 2018 at 12:41 AM (#5695875)
This trade is really gonna push the “Every Team Gets Am All-Star” rule to the breaking point. I guess the favorite at this point is, um...Whit Merrifield?
   28. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: June 20, 2018 at 12:55 AM (#5695878)
I guess the favorite at this point is, um...Whit Merrifield?


Well, aside from Altuve, who's clearly a better choice at 2B?
   29. Drexl Spivey Posted: June 20, 2018 at 02:00 AM (#5695884)
,
   30. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: June 20, 2018 at 06:09 AM (#5695890)
Well, aside from Altuve, who's clearly a better choice at 2B?


Gleyber Torres
   31. Sunday silence Posted: June 20, 2018 at 06:18 AM (#5695893)
OK so teams get a discount for long term contracts, it's all a matter of math, probability. So which of these contracts would be a better choice for your team IF Bryce Harper was coming to your team:

10 years/$400
4 years/$200

Assuming that I've made the proper discounting for the long term contract.

Seriously, if my team signed him to a ten year contract, I'd assume he'd get some freak injury the second week of the season.
   32. RMc Has Bizarre Ideas to Fix Baseball Posted: June 20, 2018 at 07:23 AM (#5695900)
Well, at least Harper managed an RBI double last night. He's still slashing an ugly 143/238/214 for the last 15 games, and 184/277/395 the last 30.
   33. puck Posted: June 20, 2018 at 10:30 AM (#5696001)
No one's giving Harper a $400 million deal, right? Isn't something like Stanton's with an opt out more likely? Even that seems kind of scary.
   34. Nasty Nate Posted: June 20, 2018 at 12:14 PM (#5696131)
So which of these contracts would be a better choice for your team IF Bryce Harper was coming to your team:

10 years/$400
4 years/$200
I think the $200 million one is better for the team.
   35. Nasty Nate Posted: June 20, 2018 at 12:15 PM (#5696133)
No one's giving Harper a $400 million deal, right?
A back-loaded 15-year contract for $400m is almost plausible.
   36. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 20, 2018 at 12:24 PM (#5696141)
I'd be perfectly fine if the Angels threw a contract like that at Harper. Having Trout on the team means the window is always open. The franchise is expecting Jo Adell to step in in two years or something, but it's not my money. If someone could just convince Pujols to gracefully retire at the end of the season, that would go a long way towards letting the Angels go forward and pursue someone like Harper.
   37. Nasty Nate Posted: June 20, 2018 at 12:28 PM (#5696143)
I'd be perfectly fine if the Angels threw a contract like that at Harper. Having Trout on the team...
But would one affect the future likelihood of the other?
   38. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: June 20, 2018 at 12:52 PM (#5696170)
If someone could just convince Pujols to gracefully retire at the end of the season, that would go a long way towards letting the Angels go forward and pursue someone like Harper.


Why would Pujols retire while he is still owed $87,000,000 dollars? That doesn't seem like something the Angels should count on.
   39. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 20, 2018 at 12:54 PM (#5696175)
Why would Pujols retire while he is still owed $87,000,000 dollars? That doesn't seem like something the Angels should count on.

he might retire if the Angels give him $87M, or $82M. But, yeah, he's not walking away from that money.
   40. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: June 20, 2018 at 12:57 PM (#5696179)
Would Harper even want a 10 year deal? That would make him a 36 year old free agent - not exactly prime age for a new long term contract. Wouldn't a 5 or 6 year deal set him up for a longer 2nd FA contract? I guess with the prevalence of multiple opt outs that is all moot. And it would be hard to turn down the 'largest FA deal ever', regardless if it projects to the most career $.
   41. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: June 20, 2018 at 12:58 PM (#5696182)
Why would Pujols retire while he is still owed $87,000,000 dollars? That doesn't seem like something the Angels should count on.


he might retire if the Angels give him $87M, or $82M. But, yeah, he's not walking away from that money.

Well sure, but that money stays on the Angels books for luxury tax purposes, correct?
   42. dlf Posted: June 20, 2018 at 01:16 PM (#5696207)
Other than the money (so how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?) what else does Pujols have to play for? At the end of this year or beginning of next he'll go over 2000 ribbies and pass Gehrig and Bonds to be 5th all time. He needs 4 doubles to pass Ortiz for 10th in that category and Yaz / Wagner could be in sights early next year. He is 4 homers away from tying Griffey for 6th. And with either of the latter two, he'd tied Rodriguez for 6th in total bases. 80 more hits gets him top 20 there. And with Miggy Cabrera on his heels only 70 behind, he needs to put the GIDP record further out of reach.
   43. Ziggy's screen name Posted: June 20, 2018 at 01:30 PM (#5696231)
Other than the money ... what else does Pujols have to play for?


Well there's Jimmie Foxx right behind him on the WAR leaderboards. He might want to pass Foxx before retiring.
   44. Walt Davis Posted: June 20, 2018 at 10:20 PM (#5696664)
10 years/$400
4 years/$200

Assuming that I've made the proper discounting for the long term contract.


My initial reaction was that was probably not the right discounting but, after some checking, it's probably close enough. 4/$200 would be assuming something like 24 WAR over the next 4 years. 10/$400 would be assuming that plus another 25 WAR over the next 10 years. Then we have to account for inflation. (To be clear, I never said 10/$400 ... I think 12/$400 isn't off the table yet.)

That's probably still an upside on projected WAR but it's not unreasonable. Players with roughly 48 WAR from ages 26-35 include Manny, Reggie, B Williams, Walker (in just 5100 PA), Palmeiro, Giambi. 48 WAR would be 4 WAR better than Thome, Killer, Stargell, McCovey, Murray, Sheff. Those all seem like reasonable comps even for a defensively limited Harper. There are all sorts of patterns mixed in there -- Murray was very good in his late 20s, pretty ordinary in his 30s; Giambi had big seasons surrounded by not much; other guys were just steady bats; some guys were excellent bats with horrific defense (Sheff, Manny).

Obviously there are some guys who didn't work out that well who would also have to be considered in Harper's comps -- Allen, Strawberry, Canseco are some. Jack Clark is a surprisingly close comp through age 25 and he remained a good-hitting but fragile (and strike-affected) hitter through age 35 but it was "just" 33 WAR over those 10 years. Will Clark was a not so similar hitter but produced at similar levels in his early 20s and he made it to 31 WAR; Allen too made it to 30 WAR over those 10 years. Canseco and Straw stumbled to just 20 so keep Bryce away from the coke.

So how much are you willing to commit to that potential 45-50 WAR or are you scared off by the risk of only 30 WAR? Do you want him to take more of the risk/benefit here (opt-outs)?

I think the $200 million one is better for the team.

It might be but no team has ever behaved in that manner. Teams have always gone for a deferred structure (with position players especially) of adding years to lower AAV. The lux tax also gives them incentive not to carry $50 M contracts.

Isn't something like Stanton's with an opt out more likely?

Fine comp but Stanton's deal was signed 4 years (in calendar time) before Harper's will be and covered 3 pre-FA years (reducing the total amount) ... and Stanton essentially a year older at equivalent service time points. The equivalent to Stanton's contract starting in 2019 and covering FA years only, must be somewhere around 12/$400 (with various opt-outs, deferments, etc. priced god only knows how). Stanton's contract takes him through age 37; 12 years for Harper would take him through age 37.

The more pessimistic Stanton comp is that the Yanks got him for basically 10/$265 plus the meager talent they sent back ... let's call it the equivalent of 10/$270 on an open market for rounding purposes. A contract that takes Harper through age 37 would be 12 years and would cover 2 more (expected) prime production years than Stanton's contract. So that's at least 12 years at $27 per but likely more than that because those two extra prime years could be adding an extra $80 M worth of value (10 WAR in 2 years). So 10/$270 plus 2/$80 gets us to 12/$350. That's the "pessimistic" option with no inflation accounted for.

Now possibly Harper's on his way to a terrible season and possibly the last couple of years of the stagnant FA market means that (a) nobody thinks he's the next Stanton anymore and/or (b) nobody would pay that for the next Stanton anyway. If teams project Harper to just 30 more career WAR with most of it in the next 5 years then obviously he's not getting anything like 12/$400 unless maybe there's a TEAM opt-out halfway through it.

Would Harper even want a 10 year deal? That would make him a 36 year old free agent - not exactly prime age for a new long term contract. Wouldn't a 5 or 6 year deal set him up for a longer 2nd FA contract?

He's not concerned with what happens from age 36 on, nor is the team particularly. But it's unlikely he'd get a longer 2nd FA contract ... along with the obviously huge risk that he gets hurt or falls off a cliff and gets nothing. First, I'll be surprised if the next contract doesn't take him through at least age 36 (assuming he turns this year around a bit) but there's no real advantage to becoming an FA at ages 30 or 31 as it's unlikely you're getting a deal past age 36 by that point anyway. I do believe the days of ARod II, Pujols, Cano, Miggy contracts taking a player through age 40 are probably over and done with (with the possible exception of Mr. Trout or some crazily deferred/discounted contract for some other superstar). All Harper would be doing is signing for 5-6 years now in hopes that he'd be able to sign for another 5-6 years in the next contract -- simpler and safer to sign for 10-12 years now. As you note, even safer if there are player options involved.

One caveat: there are a lot of quite young star players right now and I'm not sure any of them have signed a buy-out since Trout (who still becomes FA after age 28). In the past, young star FAs were quite rare -- ARod was, Stanton would have been, Heyward was, maybe a couple of others. The outcome there was always a very long contract, even for Heyward who wasn't much of a star. But with so many such players coming up from 2020 onwards, maybe that will no longer be the case and we will see guys like Betts, Bryant (not all that young), Correa, Lindor ... eventually whichever of Torres, Acuna, Soto, etc. ... will have to settle for shorter contracts because there just aren't enough teams willing/able to commit to 10-12 year contracts. Or maybe analytics is discovering an even harsher aging curve than is already applied to these contracts.

But for now Harper's still that rare case of a star player becoming FA in his mid-20s with nearly his full "prime" ahead of him. That's very different than signing a Pujols for his 30s. You never know in baseball but even a diminished Harper should be able to put up at least 20 WAR from ages 26-30 and probably another 10 over the 5 years after that. There's not a lot of risk in signing a young guy for 10 years.
   45. Sunday silence Posted: June 21, 2018 at 08:26 AM (#5696797)
Its an interesting analysis, so thank you Walt for that.

The first thing that comes to mind is: If one can jigger the numbers and come up with a reasonable shorter term contract; why dont some teams do this? I mean if your window is max 3-4 years, why risk it at all?

But the second thing that comes up is: Is it possible that the longer term contract provides an additional benefit of being able to trade the player later, if for whatever reason you want to bail out on the contract?
   46. Nasty Nate Posted: June 21, 2018 at 09:38 AM (#5696831)

I think the $200 million one is better for the team.

It might be but no team has ever behaved in that manner. Teams have always gone for a deferred structure (with position players especially) of adding years to lower AAV. The lux tax also gives them incentive not to carry $50 M contracts.
I'd guess it's more that players have never behaved in that manner than it is that teams haven't. Or to be precise, the player-team negotiations have never resulted in short contracts for young mega-stars.

We shouldn't ascribe the particulars of past free agent contracts to the wishes of only one side of the negotiating table.
   47. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 21, 2018 at 10:25 AM (#5696865)
I'd guess it's more that players have never behaved in that manner than it is that teams haven't. Or to be precise, the player-team negotiations have never resulted in short contracts for young mega-stars.

We shouldn't ascribe the particulars of past free agent contracts to the wishes of only one side of the negotiating table.


Which makes total sense because the side will be using different discount rates. The team has to discount at its cost of capital, which is going to be at least 8%. The player is going to discount at what he can earn on an investment equivalent to the deferral. Given that MLB guarantees player contracts, the deferral is a AAA bond, so something like a 3-4% discount rate is appropriate.

When party A is discounting at 4% and party B at 8%, you'll always end up with party A taking deferred payments.
   48. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: June 21, 2018 at 04:15 PM (#5697188)
The Royals are now 2 and 16 in June, and have been outscored 102-38 in that span.
   49. Sunday silence Posted: June 21, 2018 at 06:23 PM (#5697288)
it should also be mentioned that there are luxury cap considerations that may play a much larger role in a short term, higher AAV contract. Which was mentioned by Walter of course.
   50. Sunday silence Posted: June 21, 2018 at 06:25 PM (#5697290)
The team has to discount at its cost of capital, which is going to be at least 8%. The player is going to discount at what he can earn on an investment equivalent to the deferral. Given that MLB guarantees player contracts, the deferral is a AAA bond, so something like a 3-4% discount rate is appropriate.


could you back up an explain this a little more? Like assume I dont know anything about bonds and such. I think it might be worthwhile to explain this a bit more.
   51. TVerik, who wonders what the hell is "Ansky" Posted: June 21, 2018 at 11:19 PM (#5697605)
Other than the money (so how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?) what else does Pujols have to play for?


If you really look at it, why does anyone over 30 play the game at all?
   52. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: June 22, 2018 at 12:35 AM (#5697631)
If you really look at it, why does anyone over 30 play the game at all?


Well if your Mike Trout you are looking at securing your place on the Mt. Rushmore of CF along with Mays, Cobb and Speaker. Displacing the great Mantle. That's worth playing for.

As someone famous once said, "you're a long time retired". If I were a player I would go all Ricky and just play as long as someone is willing to put my warm body in a uniform. If you're a very good to great player you retire between 35 and 40. Now you've got 40+ years to occupy yourself. Nothing will ever be as good as being out in front of tens of thousands each night plying your trade day after day. Why do they keep playing, that's why. Nothing else compares. Sure some guys will marry well and have a great wife, have some incredible kids(Vlad I'm looking at you!) and fulfil certain aspects of their lives, but nothing will ever compare to being one of the best in the world at something you love doing and doing it in front of millions each year.
   53. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 22, 2018 at 08:23 AM (#5697657)
That, plus the Hooters waitresses.
   54. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 22, 2018 at 09:48 AM (#5697699)
could you back up an explain this a little more? Like assume I dont know anything about bonds and such. I think it might be worthwhile to explain this a bit more.

Sure. Corporations and individuals think about the time value of money differently. The corporation is investing capital to provide a return to its owners. When deciding to spend a dollar today, it needs to raise that marginal dollar somewhere, either through debt or equity. In reality it's always a combination. To raise that money, you have to provide a return to the lenders and investors: 12-15% for equity, 4-5% for high quality corporate debt.

Deferring payments in player contracts is basically another form of financing. If I agree to pay Manny Machado $30M today, and $20M in 15 years when he's no onger productive, instead of $40 today, I'm basically borrowing the $10M from Machado, and returning it with interest. Whether it is a good deal or not depends on my alternatives for raising that $10M, and what they cost. The standard assumption in these sorts of thing is that the cost of financing is the blended cost of equity and debt financing for the entesprice, also known as the weighted average cost of capital. If the implied interest rate on the deferral is less than the team's WACC, it's a good deal for the team.

Individual players approach things differently. They earn a lot of money between 25 and 40, and little thereafter. Therefore they need to invest some of that income to provide future consumption. For the player, a deferral is a means of investing. It's no different than buying a bond. Since MLB guaranteed payments are a very safe investment, you should compare this investment to other high quality bonds.
   55. Sunday silence Posted: June 22, 2018 at 07:41 PM (#5698209)
that was helpful, thanks.

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