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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Dustin Pedroia and the Pricey Guarantees of MLB Contracts

Jumping ahead to the core aspects:

in contract law, when one side can’t perform his or her obligations, the deal is usually considered breached. The side that is performing can then terminate the contract.

Baseball’s economic system recognizes this dynamic. The Uniform Player Contract (UPC), which is the required template for MLB player contracts and can only be modified in limited ways, imposes a number of requirements on players. Pedroia might not be able to satisfy some of these requirements, which could in theory evidence a breach.

For instance, under the UPC section for “Employment”, the player “agrees to render, skilled services as a baseball player” during the term of the deal. Pedroia does not appear able to render these services. Under the UPC section for “Payment,” the club agrees to pay an amount of money “for performances of the player’s services.” Here, again, Pedroia doesn’t appear able to perform services. Also, under the UPC heading “Ability”, the player “represents and agrees that he has exceptional and unique skill and ability as a baseball player.” Can a player credibly make such a representation if he can no longer play?

A club can also terminate a guaranteed contract if the player commits a prohibited act as described in the UPC section titled “Termination.” For instance, a club can void a contract if the player fails to “keep himself in first-class physical condition” or fails “to exhibit sufficient skill or competitive ability.” Pedroia’s knee woes would seem inconsistent with maintaining “first-class physical condition” and if he can’t play, he can’t “exhibit” the necessary skill.

As before, I lack any sort of training to offer viable intellectual commentary on this- any thoughts from those of us among us that do?

 

 

QLE Posted: January 28, 2020 at 12:36 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: contracts, dustin pedroia, injuries

Saturday, January 25, 2020

He’s ‘Nat’ done yet: Virginia Beach’s Ryan Zimmerman reportedly signs one-year deal with Washington

WASHINGTON – Mr. National is not giving up his title – at least not in 2020.

In a story first reported by the Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga, Virginia Beach’s Ryan Zimmerman has agreed to a one-year deal with the Washington Nationals. Howard Fendrich of the The Associated Press reports Zimmerman, the UVA Baseball Hall of Famer, will receive a $2 million base salary. Incentives, based upon the number of games played and plate appearances, could bring the figure to as high as $5 million. The AP reports the deal includes a full no-trade clause.

Zimmerman, who will turn 36 years-old this season, became an unrestricted free agent after the Nationals’ 2019 World Series championship season.

Zimmerman holds Washington’s franchise records for hits, doubles, home runs and runs batted in. The Kellam High School product has spent his entire 15-year career with the Nationals. He’d stated, on multiple occasions, he wanted to continue playing past last season – a season that saw him win his first World Series

Sentimental of me, I suspect, but I’m inclined to think that for symbolic purposes it’s best to let Zimmerman stay with the team until he’s ready to retire.

 

QLE Posted: January 25, 2020 at 12:37 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: contracts, nationals, ryan zimmerman

Monday, January 20, 2020

Cardinals sign Matt Wieters to one-year, $2 million deal

Jon Heyman reports that the Cardinals and free agent catcher Matt Wieters have agreed on a one-year, $2 million deal. Wieters can earn an additional $1 million through incentives.

 

QLE Posted: January 20, 2020 at 12:26 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: cardlinals, contracts, matt wieters

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Slugger Josh Donaldson agrees to $92 million deal with Twins

Frustrated in their attempts to land an established ace in free agency, the Twins on Tuesday acquired a player who will help the team’s pitching staff in an underrated way:

They won’t have to face Josh Donaldson anymore.

Donaldson, who owns the highest batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage of any opponent in Twins history, on Tuesday accepted the largest free-agent contract the team has ever agreed to - a four-year deal that guarantees the 34-year-old third baseman $92 million.

Those terms — an average annual salary of $21 million, plus an option for a fifth year in 2024 that could bring the total to more than $100 million, or a buyout worth $8 million — dwarf the $54 million guarantee that Ervin Santana received five years ago, which stood until now as the priciest deal lavished on an outsider.

Am I missing anyone important, or does this mean that we’re out of players to discuss around the hot stove?

 

QLE Posted: January 15, 2020 at 12:30 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: contracts, hot stove, josh donaldson, twins

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Sources: Kris Bryant, Cubs reach 1-year, $18.6M deal

Third baseman Kris Bryant and the Chicago Cubs have avoided arbitration, settling on a one-year, $18.6 million deal, it was announced Friday.

Bryant, whose name had surfaced in trade rumors this offseason, had a .282 batting average with 31 home runs and 77 RBIs last season. He was eighth in the NL with 108 runs scored and drew enough walks to post a .382 on-base percentage, 16th best in the majors.

He missed the final week of the regular season after spraining his right ankle when he landed awkwardly on a wet first-base bag while trying to beat out a double play.

There also is the matter of a service time grievance against the Cubs that was filed on Bryant’s behalf by the MLBPA. That grievance is expected to be resolved in the next two weeks, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Which, of course, means that the story is beginning with this contract, not ending…..

 

QLE Posted: January 11, 2020 at 12:31 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: contracts, cubs, kris bryant

Miguel Sano agrees to three-year contract; five other Twins avoid arbitration

The Twins finally agreed to a long-term contract with a slugging All-Star third baseman on Friday, but it wasn’t the one they’ve been pursuing for the past month.

Miguel Sano, who figures to move across the diamond to first base if Josh Donaldson accepts the Twins’ month-old free-agent offer, signaled his apparently willingness to do so by agreeing to a three-year contract with a team option for a fourth, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the deal.

Sano is guaranteed $30 million over the next three seasons, pending a physical, the sources confirmed, a number that jumps to $41 million over four years if the Twins pick up his option for the 2023 season. The deal capped a day in which the Twins also agreed to spend $18.68 million on five other arbitration-eligible veterans in 2020 — but failed to negotiate a deal with All-Star righthander Jose Berrios.

Berrios and the Twins have three weeks to work out a deal, or an arbitrator will choose from among the sides’ proposals in February. Berrios, who won 14 games and pitched in an All-Star Game for the second time in 2019 while earning $620,000, is seeking a $4.4 million salary this summer, while the Twins offered $4.025 million, a seemingly paltry gap to bridge in a payroll that totaled $119 million last year.

 

QLE Posted: January 11, 2020 at 12:25 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: contracts, miguel sano, twins

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Royals sign 3B Franco to $2.95 million contract

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Royals signed third baseman Maikel Franco to a $2.95 million contract Friday to be their everyday third baseman next season.

The deal, which was agreed to earlier this week, includes up to $1.05 million in incentives.

 

QLE Posted: December 28, 2019 at 02:01 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: contracts, maikel franco, royals

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Report: Dellin Betances, Mets agree to deal

Dellin Betances, among baseball’s most dominant relievers when healthy, has reportedly agreed to terms with the New York Mets, according to SNY’s Andy Martino. The deal is for one-year that includes two player options, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

The hard-throwing righty missed nearly all of 2019 with the New York Yankees while dealing with shoulder issues, then partially tore his Achilles tendon when he finally returned to the mound for two-thirds of an inning in September.

While the injury-riddled season could not have come at a worse time for Betances, the four-time All-Star is expected to make a full recovery in time for spring training after opting for rehab instead of surgery.

He will join a Mets bullpen that finished 25th in baseball with a 4.95 ERA last season and could slide into the setup role along with Seth Lugo.

As a side thought- any theories involving why the hot stove season has been so much warmer, compared to the last couple of years?

 

QLE Posted: December 25, 2019 at 01:09 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: contracts, dellin betances, hot stove, mets

Monday, December 23, 2019

Blue Jays To Sign Hyun-Jin Ryu

The Blue Jays have signed left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu to a four-year, $80MM contract, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link).  Ryu’s deal doesn’t have an opt-out clause, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter link), while MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports that there is a partial no-trade clause involved.  Ryu is represented by the Boras Corporation.

The news ends a spirited market for Ryu’s services, as at least six teams (the Dodgers, Angels, Braves, Padres, Cardinals, and Twins) were all known to have some degree of interest in the southpaw this offseason.  While all of those teams were either playoff clubs in 2019 or are planning to contend in 2020, it was the rebuilding Blue Jays who made the big strike, announcing that their own return to contention is coming sooner rather than later.  The Jays were known to be looking at both the top tier and the lower tiers of the pitching market, though the signing still comes as a surprise, given how Toronto’s previous acquisitions had been more modest.

Ryu joins Tanner Roark, Chase Anderson, and Shun Yamaguchi as newly-acquired members of Toronto’s rotation, completely overhauling a starting staff that was expected to be a major point of emphasis this winter.  Yamaguchi could wind up in the bullpen if the Jays go with some combination of in-house candidates Matt Shoemaker, Trent Thornton, Ryan Borucki, Anthony Kay, or Jacob Waguespack for the final two rotation places.  Star prospect Nate Pearson is also expected to make his big league debut at some point in 2020, so one of those rotation spots could ultimately be earmarked for him down the stretch, or the Jays could ease Pearson into the majors as a reliever.

While Pearson may be the ace of the future, Ryu is now firmly the ace of the present.  The lefty finished second in NL Cy Young Award voting last season on the heels of a league-best 2.32 ERA and 1.2 BB/9, as well as a 6.79 K/BB rate, 8.0 K/9, and 50.4% grounder rate.  ERA predictors weren’t quite as impressed (3.10 FIP, 3.32 xFIP, 3.77 SIERA) with Ryu’s performance, while his modest 90.6mph fastball finished in the bottom 11th percentile in both fastball velocity and spin rate.

Well, we shall see if this was the right move for the Blue Jays to make.

 

QLE Posted: December 23, 2019 at 01:22 AM | 40 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, contracts, hyun-jin ryu

Friday, December 13, 2019

Yankees, Brett Gardner reunite on one-year, $12.5 million deal

George A. King III of the New York Post reports that the Yankees and outfielder Brett Gardner are back together on a one-year, $12.5 million contract. The deal includes a second year option worth $20 million.

Gardner, 36, is coming off of the strongest offensive season of his career, batting .251/.325/.503 with 28 home runs, 74 RBI, 86 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases over 550 plate appearances. While he has certainly lost a step or two with age, he still rates as an above-average defensive corner outfielder as well.

So, what chance do you support Gardner has of getting the club option picked up for 2021?

 

QLE Posted: December 13, 2019 at 12:49 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: brett gardner, contracts, yankees

Friday, December 06, 2019

Report: Nationals bring back postseason hero Howie Kendrick on one-year deal

The World Series champion Washington Nationals and Howie Kendrick, the National League Championship Series MVP, reportedly agreed to a free-agent contract on Friday.

Kendrick’s deal with the Nationals is for one year and $6.25 million, and it includes a mutual option for 2021. In 2020, he’ll make more than he did in the past two years combined — the most recent contract Kendrick signed was the two-year, $7 million deal he inked with the Nationals after the 2017 season.

A 10th-round pick in 2002, Kendrick is a .294 hitter over his 14-year career. He’s thrived in what’s become more of a part-time role. Over the past three seasons, he’s batted .325 with an .888 OPS. This past season in Washington was one of the best of his career.

During his age-35 season in 2019, Kendrick was one of the most productive hitters in Washington’s lineup. He mainly platooned at first and second base, and played 15 games at third. That setup kept him 132 plate appearances shy of the batting title, as he posted a .344 average and .966 OPS in 121 games.

Well, at least that’s one player the Nationals will bother to re-sign….

 

QLE Posted: December 06, 2019 at 11:07 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: contracts, howie kendrick, nationals

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Report: Twins, Michael Pineda agree to two-year, $20 million contract

Pierre Noujaim of Fox9 Minneapolis reports that the Twins and free agent starter Michael Pineda have agreed on a two-year contract. The Athletic’s Dan Hayes confirms Noujaim’s report and adds that the deal is for $20 million.

Is it just me, or is the hot stove a little hotter than it has been the last couple of years?

 

QLE Posted: December 05, 2019 at 09:55 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: contracts, michael pineda, twins

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Report: Zack Wheeler has at least one nine-figure contract offer

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that free agent starter Zack Wheeler has already received at least one $100 million contract offer and is expected to eventually command a deal of at least five years in the nine figures. Rosenthal adds that the White Sox, Twins, Reds, Rangers, and Blue Jays are known to be in pursuit of the right-hander.

So, what do we make of such offers for someone who had a 102 ERA+ last season and has never been among the top ten pitchers by WAR in their league?

 

QLE Posted: December 03, 2019 at 09:40 PM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: contracts, zack wheeler

Monday, December 02, 2019

Sources: Mike Moustakas agrees to 4-year, $64M deal with Reds

Infielder Mike Moustakas and the Cincinnati Reds are in agreement on a four-year deal worth $64 million, league sources tell ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Moustakas, who turned 31 in September, was a free agent for the third straight offseason after earning $18.7 million in a pair of one-year deals.

He hit .254 with 35 homers and 87 RBIs last season for the Milwaukee Brewers, earning his third All-Star selection. After starting the season at second base, he moved to third when Travis Shaw slumped.

The Reds plan to play Moustakas at second base.

Someone here will be awfully pleased by this news…..

 

QLE Posted: December 02, 2019 at 09:19 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: contracts, mike moustakas, reds

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Charity work, singing lessons had a hand in Waino’s decision to return to Cardinals

Jumping ahead….

The 2020 season is also the last covered under the contract of Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, whose close relationship with Wainwright has led each to describe the other as a brother at various times. Wainwright said Tuesday that he and Molina hadn’t had any formal conversations about “riding off into the sunset upon retirement,” before hastily adding that his daughter Macee is planning for a future which includes the two families sharing one oversized roof.

Sources have intimated that Molina may be seeking an extension to his contract and would likely be willing to accept a pay cut from his current $20 million-per-year salary in order to complete such a deal.

If Molina does sign an extension in St. Louis, it’s unclear whether Wainwright would plan to join him for 2021 or beyond. Wainwright joked Tuesday that his representation approached the Cardinals about a guaranteed six-year pact but conceded that “at the moment we are going year to year and with the likelihood of this probably being it.”

He added, “but who knows how those things work, man?”

Seems a bit optimistic, doesn’t it?

 

QLE Posted: November 14, 2019 at 12:24 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, contracts, yadier molina

Friday, November 01, 2019

Report: MLB proposed deadline for multi-year free agent contracts

The Athletic’s Evan Drellich reports that Major League Baseball made a proposal to the MLB Players Association, suggesting a deadline for multi-year contracts for free agents. The deadline would have been set for the end of the Winter Meetings, which this year will take place December 8-12 in San Diego. Unsurprisingly, the union rejected the proposal.

At face value, MLB’s goal with the proposal would be to speed up the rate at which the bigger free agents sign contracts. Bruce Meyer, hired as the union’s chief negotiator last year, said, “After due consideration, we rejected their proposal as not being in the best interests of players. We asked if MLB was interested in discussing other, more direct and tangible ways of incentivizing early signings and they weren’t at this time.”

MLB suggested the deadline could create a bidding frenzy for free agents. The union didn’t see it that way, instead correctly surmising that teams would wait out the deadline and then make, as Drellich put it, take-it-or-leave-it offers.

As always, my apologies- the quoted source is behind a paywall for me.

 

QLE Posted: November 01, 2019 at 12:29 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: contracts, free agency

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

What “Sustainable Success” Really Means

We live in a time in which Major League Baseball front offices are increasingly cutting payroll and are seemingly happy to be “competitive” while eschewing — and sometimes even fearing — taking shots at being truly great. As we’ve discussed a lot around here over the past couple of years, a number of buzzwords — and tortured justifications for low payroll — spin out of that philosophy.

“Financial flexibility” is one we’ve had a lot of fun with. And to be sure, there are way more ridiculous ones. But there’s one you hear more often than all the others lately. Indeed, I can’t remember the last press conference from an owner or head of baseball operations that didn’t nod to it. What is it?

“Sustainable Success.”

If you want to see it in action, look no further than yesterday’s introductory press conference of new Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom. Both he and team president Sam Kennedy used the term on multiple occasions when referring to the future goals of the Boston Red Sox.

Bote Man Posted: October 29, 2019 at 11:30 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: cheap owners, contracts, revenues, spending

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Do Giants’ Buster Posey, Johnny Cueto have two of worst MLB contracts?

The Giants ended the 2019 MLB season with the 13th-worst record in the league at 77-85, but the fifth-highest payroll at $178.5 million. A large chunk of that went to a pitcher who only appeared in four games this season.

Johnny Cueto has pitched in just 13 games the past two years after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and also has earned $21 million in each of those seasons. Cueto, 33, will be paid another $21 million by the Giants in 2020, too.

He isn’t the only aging Giant that will earn a large chunk of change next season. Michael Ginnitti of the contract expert website Spotrac lists two Giants in his 10 toughest MLB contracts for 2020. Joining Cueto on the list is catcher Buster Posey.

For the fifth straight season, Posey, who mainly batted in the middle of the Giants lineup this season, saw his power numbers dip to a staggering career low. The former NL MVP only hit seven home runs this year—actually up from five in 2018—but drove in just 38 runs and had a .368 slugging percentage.

So, how many rival contracts could we argue have this honor?

QLE Posted: October 16, 2019 at 01:29 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: buster posey, contracts, giants, johnny cueto

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Cubs are living to regret Craig Kimbrel’s $43 million contract

Over his first nine seasons in Major League Baseball, no moment seemed too big for Craig Kimbrel.

The flame-throwing closer dominated in stints with the Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres and Boston Red Sox, racking up 333 saves, 868 strikeouts and seven All-Star appearances.

It’s been a different story in 2019.

The now 31-year-old veteran hasn’t just looked human on the hill. He’s looked overwhelmed. As if there were no answers as to why his dominance has disappeared after signing a three-year, $43 million contract with the Chicago Cubs back in May.

Is it just me, or does that title have somewhat unfortunate implications?

 

QLE Posted: September 22, 2019 at 12:18 AM | 52 comment(s)
  Beats: contracts, craig kimbrel, cubs

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Vin Scully’s 1st Broadcasting Contract with Brooklyn Dodgers for Sale at Auction

Baseball fans can own Vin Scully’s first contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

SCP Auctions listed the contract with a starting bid of $4,000 (h/t TMZ Sports).

In a letter dated Dec. 23, 1949, Scully wrote to Dodgers president Branch Rickey, outlining his expectations upon taking over as a Dodgers’ radio and television broadcaster. He asked for a salary of $100 weekly in 1950 and raises of $6,000 and $7,500 for each of the next two years.

Rickey signed the second page of the letter, certifying he agreed to the terms.

It turns out that Branch Rickey was just as cagey with his contracts for off-field personnel as he was for players.

 

QLE Posted: September 12, 2019 at 04:15 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: contracts, vin scully

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)
  Beats: bryce harper, contracts, dollah dollah bills, y'all, mookie betts

 

 

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