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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Baseball’s Shifting Financial Equation: Long-Term Security Over Free Agency - WSJ

Agents point to early extensions that now look like incredible bargains. Cleveland Indians righty Corey Kluber, for instance, signed a five-year, $38.5 million extension before the 2015 season that could’ve turned into seven years and $77 million with bonuses and team options. His 2.96 ERA since then is the best in the American League, and he has statistically already outperformed the entire contract by a wide margin with up to three years remaining.

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s Ricky Romero. He signed a five-year, $30 million extension with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010 with less than two years of service time. After an All-Star 2011, he fell apart, posting a 5.97 ERA in his next 36 games. He never appeared in the majors after 2013—but still received every cent of his contract.

“We all want to make an instant call on how good of a deal it is without really knowing what’s going on in a player’s life,” agent Jeff Beck said. “It may look bad at some point, but $45 million is a lot of money”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 19, 2019 at 07:13 PM | 1 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: free agency

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: February 19, 2019 at 07:43 PM (#5816659)
With a few exceptions, I think it's wise for players to sign these sorts of deals. Some are a few million low, some are a few million high. The pitcher ones in particular usually look "fair" to me -- high injury risk, high reward if they stay healthy. I am fairly risk-averse however.

The guys who get kinda stuck are late bloomers because they become FA too late. Probably moreso on the hitting side than the pitching side but the one that springs to mind is Kluber. He's a rich man by human standards but he may not reach FA until age 36. Bautista and Encarnacion kinda got caught in that too if I recall right.

Somebody like Bryant though may be better going year-to-year. I don't know what the Cubs may have offered him along the way but, once he won that MVP, he knew he was looking at a big arb award which virtually guarantees a 2nd big arb award if he could just survive 2017. With this year's salary, he's already up to $25 M career earnings plus whatever his draft bonus was. No reason for him to trade money for security cuz he's secure ... although one more season like last year and his FA future looks substantially less bright.

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