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Thursday, September 08, 2022

Baseball’s new pre-arbitration bonus program includes money based on new version of WAR, according to memo

A memo distributed to teams Thursday outlined the plan to enrich standout players in the early parts of their careers who still make around the major league minimum, which this season is $700,000. The memo, obtained by ESPN, also included the totals for the new version of WAR created by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association to reward players.

The $50 million pool, agreed to in the new collective bargaining agreement and funded by the league, starts by distributing money to players who place high in awards voting. Those who are not yet in arbitration, in which players typically with three to six years of service negotiate their salaries, receive $2.5 million for winning the MVP or Cy Young awards; $1.75 million for second place in either and $1.5 million for finishing third; $1 million for fourth- or fifth-place finishes or first-team All-MLB honors; $750,000 for first place in Rookie of the Year voting; and $500,000 for second place in Rookie of the Year and second-team All-MLB.

Once those awards are handed out, the remainder of the pool—which would have been $39.75 million last year—is split among the 100 players in the group with the highest WAR.

Tops in the group right now is Murphy, the 27-year-old catcher who is hitting .252/.333/.442 this season. While his offensive numbers pale compared to some of his peers, Murphy gains significant value from his fielding numbers and the positional adjustment that rewards more difficult defensive positions, such as catcher and shortstop.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 08, 2022 at 11:19 PM | 5 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: labor deal, war

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: September 09, 2022 at 03:06 PM (#6095482)
It doesn't seem to be either bWAR or fWAR. In the article it says Murphy currenntly leads -- he's at 3.1 bWAR and 4.5 fWAR. In the article they say Murphy currently leads with 5.2 WAR. It apparently does include framing which is hilarious. They also apparently use statcast for defense.

This WAR achieves "a high degree of correlation with publicly available WAR metrics." For pitchers, they use a "combination" of RA9 and FIP.

Anyway, maybe it's just cuz the A's stink but I don't recall us talking much about Murphy given he's apparently the top pre-arb player.

The pool is not a big deal. It's $40 M spread around 100 players, so an average of $400 K. Probably about $4 M of that will be skimmed off the top for MVP and RoY finishers so maybe an average bonus of $360 K, about half the min salary. It's pro-rated based on a player's proportion of all WAR generated by the top 100 so ... maybe a top around $700 K and a bottom of $200?? Trout probably would have gotten $1-1.5 M in bonus.
   2. The Duke Posted: September 09, 2022 at 05:04 PM (#6095509)
That money isn't huge by payroll standards but for these guys, that pays their taxes for the year. Players should have fought harder for more here but as I understood it, this was a drop dead issue for owners and you can see why. Get a good players salary up around $2 million and it puts an end to the deals that buyout free agent years.
   3. BDC Posted: September 09, 2022 at 08:23 PM (#6095546)
I saw Sean Murphy hit two home runs in a game recently … he has a career OPS of 1.131 at the BDC Dome (8 HR in 83 PAs) which of course does not include his 1.792 in two games at the old Ballpark. He is one of those guys I assume is headed straight for the Hall of Fame :-D
   4. Walt Davis Posted: September 09, 2022 at 09:35 PM (#6095554)
Well, MLBPA proposed $80 M; MLB proposed $30 M. So the union got an extra $10 M out of them (and of course this is all $40 M more than they used to get so half of what MLBPA wanted). This might well be a case where it's more important to get it into the contract that to fight over the higher amount. They can fight for a higher amount or more players covered next time but there's essentially no doubt that the next CBA will include a bonus for top performing young players.

I am slightly surprised that service time doesn't seem to enter into it at all. I'm also not sure it's a good idea for MLBPA to accept a performance-based measure and they may regret having some form of WAR "officially" recognized. No doubt WAR is already being used in arb hearings/negotiations but it's now easier to say "he's only 20% better than this guy who got $3 M in his first arb" and the "bad starter" (i.e. guys who aren't very good but were full-time anyway) category may be less lucrative. (To be fair, I'm not sure anybody but me believes the unofficial bad starter category exists.)
   5. John Northey Posted: September 10, 2022 at 01:25 PM (#6095599)
An interesting tool but I do find it odd to see Sean Murphy listed as higher in this WAR than Adley Rutschman or Alejandro Kirk. Kirk has a 139 wRC+, 3.8 fWAR (14.1-7.5 Off-Def); Rutschman 135 wRC+ 4.1 fWAR (18.4-9.2 off-def); Murphy 127 wRC+ 4.6 fWAR (13.4-13.9 Off-Def). Kirk & Rutschman put more value in the offensive side, while Murphy is almost even. Kirk hurt by his running (which is fun to watch, especially on his many infield hits which always blow ones mind, but yeah), Rutschman helped, Murphy hurt (but not as much as Kirk).

Nice group of young catchers. Should be fun to watch over the next decade how they all do - if any can last long enough to reach the 2000 game plateau, if any are HOF'ers. Murphy is the geezer (age 27 season), Rutschman middle (24), and Kirk the kid (23) despite having over a years service time pre-2022. (Murphy has over 2 years in the bigs). For Murphy the cash from this will be a big deal as by the time he reaches free agency he will be 'too old' for a longer term deal, especially as a catcher.

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