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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Why Bryce Harper is rooting for Mookie Betts to beat his $330 million deal

For three weeks during spring training, Bryce Harper was the owner of Major League Baseball’s richest contract ever.

Now the 26-year-old outfielder is hoping he’ll be third on that list come opening day 2021 after offering a ringing endorsement for soon-to-be free agent Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox.

Speaking to NBC Sports Boston this week, Harper made it clear that he includes Betts among the league’s elite class of players. He’s hopeful the 2018 American League MVP will be recognized and paid as such when or even before he’s slated to hit free agency.

The answer seems obvious to me- but, then again, I am not one to court popularity….

 

QLE Posted: August 22, 2019 at 06:22 AM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bryce harper, contracts, dollah dollah bills, y'all, mookie betts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. it's hittin' 53450n. Posted: August 22, 2019 at 03:32 PM (#5873541)
because he's not an #######?
   2. Zonk Will Have the Chicken Kiev Posted: August 22, 2019 at 03:49 PM (#5873548)
Doesn't Harper's deal actually include some kind of escalator clause - or maybe an out (not that Mr. ~3 WAR would be wise to exercise it) based on prevailing contracts?

Or am I misremembering...
   3. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 22, 2019 at 03:57 PM (#5873552)
I never heard of that being part of Harper's contract.
   4. Zonk Will Have the Chicken Kiev Posted: August 22, 2019 at 04:04 PM (#5873559)
You're right - I must be thinking of someone else.... A-Rod's old monster deal maybe?
   5. Sunday silence Posted: August 22, 2019 at 04:10 PM (#5873562)
If the headline had read: "Why is Bryce Harper rooting for Mookie Betts.." than I could have comfortably responded: "no."
   6. The Run Fairy Posted: August 22, 2019 at 04:48 PM (#5873576)

You're right - I must be thinking of someone else.... A-Rod's old monster deal maybe?


Albert Belle signed a 5 year, $55 million contract with the White Sox in the 96 offseason, with a clause that let him opt out if he was no longer among the top three salaried players. After two years in Chicago, there were bigger contracts so Belle opted out and signed with the Orioles for five years and $65 million.
   7. it's hittin' 53450n. Posted: August 22, 2019 at 05:38 PM (#5873601)
You're right - I must be thinking of someone else.... A-Rod's old monster deal maybe?
that sounds a lot like a college football thing. nick saban, maybe?
   8. Bote Man Posted: August 23, 2019 at 01:59 AM (#5873674)
That's the remarkable thing about Harper's contract: no opt-outs. When the Phillies announced that they wanted to spend "stupid money" they weren't kidding!
   9. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: August 23, 2019 at 02:35 AM (#5873676)
Is this Bryce just wanting to see how a consistently great RF earns his millions? I can see Mookie getting 10/350 type of thing.
As a Red Sox fan I want them to spend pretty much whatever it takes so sign this guy.
Within the sub-division that lives below the Trout line, he's consistently one of MLB best players.
   10. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 23, 2019 at 09:53 AM (#5873703)
Yeah, Betts is a much better player than Harper. I just hope he actually does become a free agent, unlike Trout who has evaded free agency twice now.
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: August 23, 2019 at 10:04 AM (#5873706)
I just hope he actually does become a free agent, unlike Trout who has evaded free agency twice now.


Is that just because you'd like either of them on your team?
   12. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 23, 2019 at 10:36 AM (#5873725)
Is this Bryce just wanting to see how a consistently great RF earns his millions?


Mookie is by far the better and more consistent defender, but his hitting numbers are, if anything, more inconsistent than Harper's. His MVP season is every bit as much of an outlier than Harper's MVP season was.
   13. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 23, 2019 at 10:39 AM (#5873726)
That’s definitely part of it, though it remains to be seen whether Friedman is willing to spend on a top flight free agent.
   14. SoSH U at work Posted: August 23, 2019 at 10:42 AM (#5873729)
Mookie is by far the better and more consistent defender, but his hitting numbers are, if anything, more inconsistent than Harper's. His MVP season is every bit as much of an outlier than Harper's MVP season was.


I'd say they're less inconsistent overall, but the MVP season is more of an outlier than Bryce's. Harper has at least thrown another partial-season 156 OPS+ into the mix.

That’s definitely part of it,


What's the other part? Do you just not want them on the Angels, Sox, or do you like to see great players test the FO market?
   15. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: August 23, 2019 at 10:44 AM (#5873730)
I just hope he actually does become a free agent, unlike Trout who has evaded free agency twice now.


When he signs with the Dodgers or the Yankees you'll be less happy about that idea.
   16. SoSH U at work Posted: August 23, 2019 at 10:51 AM (#5873734)
When he signs with the Dodgers or the Yankees you'll be less happy about that idea.


Gags would love it if he signed with the Dodgers.
   17. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 23, 2019 at 11:25 AM (#5873744)
[14] The other part is that it’s interesting to see how big of contracts people can get. There was entertainment value in following the Harper saga last year that you don’t get when a guy just signs a contract extension.

[15] lol
   18. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 28, 2019 at 08:12 AM (#5874993)
Mookie is a 6 WAR player in a down season. If the Sox don't break the bank to keep him I'm going to be real upset. I don't care how much it costs, the Red Sox can afford it. Give him Trout's deal if necessary, because Trout's getting underpaid.
   19. jmurph Posted: August 28, 2019 at 10:05 AM (#5875007)
Mookie is a 6 WAR player in a down season. If the Sox don't break the bank to keep him I'm going to be real upset. I don't care how much it costs, the Red Sox can afford it. Give him Trout's deal if necessary, because Trout's getting underpaid.

It would be crushing, honestly, would significantly impact my fandom. I wouldn't jump ship to another team or anything like that, but I would care a lot less.

EDIT: Also for the record I don't really see any risk of this happening. By all accounts he's happy there, he's immensely popular, and they're consistently willing to write big checks. Should be easy all around.
   20. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: August 28, 2019 at 10:08 AM (#5875008)
My fandom survived letting Clemens and Lynn get away so I don’t imagine I would lose interest if Mookie goes away but that would be incredibly disappointing as a fan and a major mistake from a team standpoint.

I really believe the deals that Machado, Harper and Trout have signed make this a pretty easy thing. Assuming Mookie is willing to be in the middle of all of that there is no reason for the Sox not to pony up that money.
   21. Nasty Nate Posted: August 28, 2019 at 10:14 AM (#5875009)
I really believe the deals that Machado, Harper and Trout have signed make this a pretty easy thing. Assuming Mookie is willing to be in the middle of all of that there is no reason for the Sox not to pony up that money.
Well, he (and/or his agent) know all that therefore they have the leverage to ask for more than in the middle of all of that, at least in extension negotiations. There's a point in which refusing to get out-bid would actually be the mistake.
   22. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: August 28, 2019 at 12:42 PM (#5875054)
Trout is horrifically underpaid. Let's do a quick and dirty calculation:

Conventional wisdom has it that players lose ~0.5 wins per year off their peak. Trout projects to something like nine wins. Wins on the FA market cost about $8m per. On a ten year deal, that works out to $540m. At the end of the deal he would still project to be worth 4.5 wins, so a deal for >10 years would be reasonable. Moreover, there's added value in having a bunch of wins in one position. That 8/per figure is an average, including little 1 WAR guys. I don't know how it works with superstars, but they should be pulling down more money than average per win. Now, that the 8/per win figure is an average also means that it includes shorter contracts, so maybe the extra risk of a long-term contract is going to counterbalance the bonus that should accrue to players with high WAA. But in any case, and acknowledging that this is all quick and dirty, Trout should be making WAY more than 360/10.
   23. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: August 28, 2019 at 12:54 PM (#5875057)
by bWAR for two guys who are almost exactly the same age:

Harper: 10.0, 5.2, 4.6, 3.7, 2.6*, 1.5, 1.3, 1.1
Betts: 10.9, 9.7, 6.4, 5.9, 5.1*, 2.3**

* = current season
** = late season callup, 50 g

I'm a Sox fan, but it'd be malpractice for Betts' agent not to point to Harper's contract and argue that he's clearly worth more. (At which point teams would point to Trout's contract and say but he's clearly not that valuable.)

His ultimate contract will be a referendum on whether Trout is underpaid or Harper/Machado are overpaid. I suppose I expect Betts to end up with a deal similar to Trout's, maybe a little above (say 10/380).
   24. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: August 28, 2019 at 03:05 PM (#5875111)
the Trout line


The Trout Line is the elevation above which a mountain is covered by fish year round.
   25. Darren Posted: August 30, 2019 at 10:10 AM (#5875531)
My fandom survived letting Clemens and Lynn get away so I don’t imagine I would lose interest if Mookie goes away but that would be incredibly disappointing as a fan and a major mistake from a team standpoint.


I feel the same way in terms of disappointment, and I'd add Nomar and Boggs to the list. :)

I don't think it would be a huge mistake, necessarily, in terms of the team. If they are convinced he won't sign AND they got good value back, it's a fine move.

The discussion of the right contract is interesting, and a lot of it hinges on whether you think Mookie is the off-the-charts defender that Baseball Reference says he is. If you go by Fangraphs numbers/projections, and consider that Mookie will be 2 years older than both Harper and Machado when he reaches free agency, a contract in the 10/$300MM range makes sense, but not much higher than that.
   26. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 30, 2019 at 10:19 AM (#5875539)
I'd add Nomar


I thought Red Sox fans hated Nomar when he left. He was considered lazy, sitting out games and got contrasted to Jeter who made diving catches into the stands. I listened to national sports talk radio programs at the time and there were plenty of angry Sox fans calling in about how they needed to get rid of him. Were you an outlier or was the perception of Red Sox fans dissatisfaction of Nomar overblown by the media?
   27. Nasty Nate Posted: August 30, 2019 at 10:22 AM (#5875544)
I wouldn't be mad at the team (or him) if he leaves in free agency. I will have gotten to watch him on my favorite team for 6.5 years. I'm not entitled to his entire career, and the team has proven not be cheapskates about spending.

It would be stupid if they traded him this offseason, especially if Martinez leaves.
   28. Darren Posted: August 30, 2019 at 11:22 AM (#5875581)
I think it was mixed. There was the usual contingent of fans who like to blame their team's stars for the team's failures. I don't think I was an outlier, just part of a different faction than the one you mention.
   29. Darren Posted: August 30, 2019 at 11:29 AM (#5875589)


It would be stupid if they traded him this offseason, especially if Martinez leaves.


Depends on what they get back, right?
   30. Nasty Nate Posted: August 30, 2019 at 11:36 AM (#5875591)
Hypothetically, yes.
   31. puck Posted: August 30, 2019 at 12:11 PM (#5875615)
I don't remember any "Nomar died for this" signs at the World Series parade.
   32. SoSH U at work Posted: August 30, 2019 at 12:29 PM (#5875621)
I thought Red Sox fans hated Nomar when he left. He was considered lazy, sitting out games and got contrasted to Jeter who made diving catches into the stands. I listened to national sports talk radio programs at the time and there were plenty of angry Sox fans calling in about how they needed to get rid of him. Were you an outlier or was the perception of Red Sox fans dissatisfaction of Nomar overblown by the media?


With the caveat I've never lived in New England, I think there was a sense that Nomar wasn't happy in Boston in 2004 (largely a byproduct of the failed Arod deal) over the course of his last season, and that it was probably time for him to go.
   33. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: August 30, 2019 at 01:35 PM (#5875648)
a lot of it hinges on whether you think Mookie is the off-the-charts defender that Baseball Reference says he is.


He certainly passes the eye test. And, not sure if this plays out or not, it seems like RF in Fenway would give Mookie more chances for difficult to make plays.

Anyone know the main difference in defensive values between FG & BR? Bogaerts is rated highly on FG, not so much on BR.
   34. Darren Posted: August 30, 2019 at 02:08 PM (#5875659)
Statcast says Mookie is tied for 17th this year in outs above average (6) and tied for 25th in catch percentage added (2). Last year he was tied for 9th and 8th.
   35. GregD Posted: August 30, 2019 at 02:14 PM (#5875663)
Do defensive stats age at the same rate and inflection points as offensive stats? Does it depend on the position?
   36. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: August 30, 2019 at 04:14 PM (#5875719)
I think a lot of people were pretty comfortable seeing Nomar go away when he did. I don’t think he was hated but he was frustrating a lot of people in part because he was struggling to stay on the field.

Quick story, I was at a friend’s house a day or two before the deadline. He was in the lineup then at the last minute scratched with an injury. I remember my friend saying something like “oh for gods sake, I’m so sick of this BS.” I think a lot of people felt that way.

I loved the guy but I felt a lot about Nomar like I did about Francona, while I was sad to see him go I was happy not to have to listen to what I felt was unfair ######## about the guy. He’s on a short list of my favorite players ever.

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