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Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Juan Soto Reportedly Turned Down Monster Contract Offer

Without an official start date for the 2022 season, players with expiring contracts will just have to wait to learn their fate. One person made headlines on the contract front earlier this afternoon.

Washington Nationals star Juan Soto reportedly turned down a massive contract offer from the team. According to ESPN’s Jeff Pass and MLB insider Enrique Rojas, Soto turned down a $350 million offer from the team.

“Juan Soto turned down a 13-year, $350 million contract from the Washington Nationals before the lockout, according to this @Enrique_Rojas1 report,” Passan said on Twitter. “In the story, Soto confirms the offer.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 16, 2022 at 02:26 PM | 67 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: juan soto, nationals

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: February 16, 2022 at 02:58 PM (#6065299)
Wow ... a rumor with years and dollars!!

He might just be waiting to see if FA eligibility rules will change. As it stands, the Nats have 3 years of control left. After the season he just had, surely he's in line for a raise from $8.5 to at least $15 and I'd guess a bit more. Once you take that into account, this offer would be trying to buy out 10 FA years for less than $300 M (and take him through age 35).

An easy comp is Machado whose 10/$300 deal also covers ages 26-35. Add his 3 arb years and he totalled 13/$332 but Soto is going to make a lot more in arb than Machado. For his last 3 super-2 arb years and 8 FA years (through age 36), Arenado gets $304 M so Soto at 2/$46 more than that but is substantially younger at signing. Seven years ago, Stanton got 13/$325 through 37 for 2 arb years and 11 FA years.

13/$350 is obviously a serious offer but I can see why Soto would turn it down. He might well be looking at $70 M over the next 3 arb years and would want more than 10/$300 for his FA years. Boras wants $400+ M here and, maybe with some deferral, can probably get it.
   2. Darren Posted: February 16, 2022 at 03:30 PM (#6065304)
Agree with Walt here. Clearly a decent offer but one that it's reasonable to turn down.
   3. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 16, 2022 at 03:41 PM (#6065307)
Soto could do $15M/$20M/$25M fairly easily over the next 3 years in arbitration, probably higher. That’s $60M, so adding another 10 years at $35M per season ($350M) would give Soto 13 years at $410M if he signed now. That’s a lot of money, but a reasonably fair deal. Soto would be compromising if he only signed through age-35, rather than tacking on some older, potentially over-priced, decline years, so the Nationals shouldn’t be looking at getting a lower annual average value, too. Soto might want an inflation escalator of some kind in case current trends persist.

Soto is worth more to the Nationals than any other team, so they shouldn’t be cheap here. They have yet to fully tap the potential of the DC market, and the pandemic cut deeply into their post-World Series marketing. Signing Soto is an opportune not to be missed.
   4. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: February 16, 2022 at 04:57 PM (#6065315)
Yep, he's looking at pulling in $60mil minimum over the next 3 years just being JUAN SOTO. FA at 26 as Ted Williams lite, he'd be offered at least 10/350 at that stage.

The offer really needs to be over $400 mil if they want Soto....er Boras to take it seriously.
   5. Sleepy was just “inspecting the bunker”, y’all Posted: February 16, 2022 at 05:54 PM (#6065320)
Are there any good examples of guys who were 6 fwar players at age 22 getting hurt or just collapsing before age 25/26?

It seems like a guaranteed $350m would be hard to turn down but I don’t know how to really estimate how much risk he’s taking.
   6. DCA Posted: February 16, 2022 at 06:35 PM (#6065321)
Grady Sizemore is my go-to warning case for guys collapsing from a HOF trajectory to worthless just as they should be peaking.

6.6 WAR at age 22, 25 WAR age 22-25, 2 WAR at age 26, then replacement level. Never got the big contract, career earnings $30 million.

Soto came up age 19 and was a 6 WAR player at age 20-22, which is two years younger than Sizemore's arrival, and that matters. But Grady's path would have him done by age 25.
   7. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: February 16, 2022 at 06:51 PM (#6065324)
Am I too cynical if I question why this leaked now? Obviously he's worth and can get more, but the headline of turning down $350mil can very easily be twisted to say players and paid too much and it's their fault ticket prices are so high. It's wrong, but it can help owners with their PR here.
   8. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: February 16, 2022 at 06:57 PM (#6065326)
Grady Sizemore is my go-to warning case for guys collapsing


A boatload of injuries will do that to a player. Back surgeries, knee surgeries, elbow surgery, groin surgery...and on it went. Grady did not collapse, his body fell apart. That is nothing like losing form.

If Soto stays healthy, he'll just continue to rake for another 12-15 years...he's that good.
   9. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: February 16, 2022 at 07:11 PM (#6065327)
If I'm Soto I do what Trout did. Sign a 5-6 year deal, give up a couple years of free agency for "no one I care about ever has to work again" money and still be a FA when you are 27/28, young enough that if you stay on the path you're on that you get the "sweet mother of Mary why not just give him ownership in the team" money.
   10. Hank Gillette Posted: February 16, 2022 at 07:17 PM (#6065328)
Are there any good examples of guys who were 6 fwar players at age 22 getting hurt or just collapsing before age 25/26?


Pete Reiser kind of fits, but his case is complicated by losing three seasons to WWII.

At age 22 he had 7.5 fWAR, then 4.4, WWII, 3.7, 3.4, and then he was essentially done.
   11. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: February 16, 2022 at 07:23 PM (#6065329)
#9, specifically? What about 6/190(he'll make $60K in the next 3 years anyway, then give him $40+ mil per for the next 3 years after that) and he's an FA at 28? If I'm the Nationals, that would totally work for me.
   12. JRVJ Posted: February 16, 2022 at 08:26 PM (#6065333)
The difference between 13/$350MM and 13/$450MM is not discernible for most people.

What I mean is that Soto's lifestyle would not be significantly different at 13/$450MM vs. 13/$350MM (I could see his lifestyle being different if it were 13/$1,200MM or something crazy like that). So this is probably driven by (a) Soto's competitiveness; (b) Boras being Boras and/or (c) MLBPA pushing for greener pastures.

Me, I'd be happy as a clam with 13/$350MM, but I guess that's because I remember the José Fernandezes' and Yordano Ventura's of the world.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: February 16, 2022 at 08:38 PM (#6065335)
Cesar Cedeno. Stanton -- pretty fragile from the beginning but produced at a 5.5-6 WAR/650 pace and was a much better OF than Soto. You'd be thrilled to have gotten Griffey at 13/$400 for ages 23-35 but you'd be extra thrilled if you traded him about the same time the Ms did.

WAR per se might not be a good way to look at. All three of those guys were much more athletic than Soto. And that's before you get to strong WAR comps that are very dissimilar to Soto -- Jim Fregosi had 45 WAR from ages 21-28; Nomar 41 WAR in 6 full seasons from 23-29.

More realistic comps are guys like Frank Thomas, Miggy, Pujols (more athletic), maybe Boog (inconsistent but some big years), maybe McCovey (hard to judge cuz the Giants wouldn't make him a regular starter but still 5.3 WAR/650 in his early days), Bryce Harper and Reggie can be added to the mix. (To be clear, for 19-22, Soto is as great as any we've seen ... get stuck on that and you'll have only Ted and Ott to comp him to.)

Here's where we need a handle on $/WAR. Obviously even with missed time, possible "early" decline, defensive sluggishness, Thomas' or Miggy's 60 WAR ages 23-35 for anything up to $400 M is a deal you take anytime as a team. Even the downside of Boog's 32 WAR wouldn't break your back at $350 M (you wouldn't like it). A reasonably durable Soto probably projects to at least 60 WAR over the next 13 years; even the injured variety missing two years of PT and some early decline probably makes it to at least 45.

I'll WAG (real WAG) at 10% of 70 WAR, 50% of 60 WAR, 30% of 48 WAR, 10% of 32 WAR. That comes out to about 50-55 WAR, $8/WAR, $400-$440 in value, Nats get a break for going early so around $400 in NPV sounds about right. (Deferrals might lead to a very different headline number.) As we've noted though, he doesn't have much risk at the moment -- say $15 in arb this year and, even if it's a disaster, $15 the year after and a Schwarerian $10 the year after that so about $50 M in career earnings if he's Grady Sizemore.

A boatload of injuries will do that to a player. Back surgeries, knee surgeries, elbow surgery, groin surgery...and on it went. Grady did not collapse, his body fell apart. That is nothing like losing form.

But it's still part of the risk profile ... plus we often don't know if the lost skills were injury-related or not. Sure, if they stay healthy, great young hitters usually remain great young hitters ... until they get hit on the wrist or develop plantar fascitis or find out they have a degenerative hip condition.
   14. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: February 16, 2022 at 09:17 PM (#6065337)
To be clear, for 19-22, Soto is as great as any we've seen ... get stuck on that and you'll have only Ted and Ott to comp him to.


Mike Trout is all like "what I am, chopped sushi?" From age 19-22 Trout played in ~30 more games than Soto, and produced ~10 more bWAR.

The guy that I always want to compare him to is Miguel Cabrera, but Soto has otherworldly plate discipline, whereas Cabrera's is merely good. Maybe Joey Votto who's not a late bloomer and has somewhat more power? (Which is really good, considering that late-blooming and relatively power-lite Votto has a fair chance at the hall of fame.)
   15. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: February 16, 2022 at 09:18 PM (#6065338)
The difference between 13/$350MM and 13/$450MM is not discernible for most people.

The difference between $4.7 billion and $4.6 billion is not discernable for anyone, yet we only manage to criticize the players and not the owners who try to shortchange the players every chance they get.

   16. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 16, 2022 at 09:29 PM (#6065340)
I don’t think ‘take $100M less than fair market value because you’re just a baseball player and it’s a lot of money’ is a good argument. Does anyone similarly expect team owners to not get the best deal they can even though they’re already making money hand over fist in the sports biz?
   17. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 16, 2022 at 10:07 PM (#6065342)
Me, I'd be happy as a clam with 13/$350MM, but I guess that's because I remember the José Fernandezes' and Yordano Ventura's of the world.

That makes no sense. They don't give a #### what they made or didn't make because they're dead.

If you're worried about your family, buy life insurance. At that age you can get $10M in coverage for <$5,000 a year. You don't need to leave your kids any more than that.
   18. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 16, 2022 at 10:25 PM (#6065347)
Mike Trout is all like "what I am, chopped sushi?" From age 19-22 Trout played in ~30 more games than Soto, and produced ~10 more bWAR.

Looking at Trout vs. Soto ages 20-22 numbers, they are really really close to each other as hitters. Similar slash lines, ops, ops+. The bWAR difference is due to games (covid), base-running, and positional advantage to Trout.

Soto's most similar at 22 is Trout, and vice versa.
   19. Sleepy was just “inspecting the bunker”, y’all Posted: February 16, 2022 at 11:02 PM (#6065352)
I wonder if it’s possible to insure, say, against a career-limiting knee or back injury. Could a policy for $360m could be had for the difference between what ge just turned down, and what he thinks he’ll get in three years.
   20. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: February 16, 2022 at 11:56 PM (#6065358)
The difference between 13/$350MM and 13/$450MM is not discernible for most people.


Speak for yourself. I'd definitely notice a $7 mil per year difference. $27 mil per, less the tax is what, $16 mil per? I can't even buy a decent house on Sydney Harbour for that, much less a holiday home in Lake Como or a nice apartment in NYC. By the time you throw in staff, cars etc...you're going to need that extra $7 mil per.
   21. Darren Posted: February 17, 2022 at 10:10 AM (#6065375)
If I'm Soto I do what Trout did. Sign a 5-6 year deal, give up a couple years of free agency for "no one I care about ever has to work again" money and still be a FA when you are 27/28, young enough that if you stay on the path you're on that you get the "sweet mother of Mary why not just give him ownership in the team" money.


I like this thought process but I wonder a couple of things:

a) How close is he to the "no one I care about" level without this contract? He stands to make ~$15 mil this year and already made about $10 mil. He could probably get an insurance policy of some kind that ensures a bit higher number for his career.

b) Can he get the best of both worlds by getting an opt-out? 12 years, $360m with an opt out after 5/$120m?
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 17, 2022 at 11:04 AM (#6065377)
a) How close is he to the "no one I care about" level without this contract? He stands to make ~$15 mil this year and already made about $10 mil. He could probably get an insurance policy of some kind that ensures a bit higher number for his career.

Yes. He's already set for life. He could easily sell off 10-20% of his future earning to put a floor of $25-50M under him.
   23. SandyRiver Posted: February 17, 2022 at 11:33 AM (#6065380)
Pete Reiser kind of fits, but his case is complicated by losing three seasons to WWII.

Also by his many losing battles with outfield fences.
   24. Russ Posted: February 17, 2022 at 12:54 PM (#6065385)
Am I too cynical if I question why this leaked now? Obviously he's worth and can get more, but the headline of turning down $350mil can very easily be twisted to say players and paid too much and it's their fault ticket prices are so high. It's wrong, but it can help owners with their PR here.


I think this is being leaked so that the Nationals can't reduce their offer (at least not without a public backlash) if the CBA changes in a way that might afford them that opportunity. Basically releasing this info guarantees the minimum that Sosa will get from anyone after, no matter what happens with CBA negotiations. If you think Boras cares about what the union is doing or wants, then I'm not sure we are thinking of the same Boras.
   25. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: February 17, 2022 at 01:06 PM (#6065387)
If you think Boras cares about what the union is doing or wants


Oh I think he does care about what the union wants largely because the union's desires generally line up with Boras and Boras' clients' desires. He knows that a success for the union is a good thing for his clients and by extension for him.
   26. JRVJ Posted: February 17, 2022 at 01:35 PM (#6065389)
17, are you kidding me?

Life insurance for $10MM is your solution if Soto gets killed in a car crash? What rational person who stood to earn in the hundreds of millions of dollars (with the related benefits for his family) would think his family will be "fine" with just $10MM?

20, if you're buying a new mansion and yacht every year, I could see your point.
   27. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: February 17, 2022 at 01:44 PM (#6065393)
I wonder if it’s possible to insure, say, against a career-limiting knee or back injury. Could a policy for $360m could be had for the difference between what ge just turned down, and what he thinks he’ll get in three years.


I thought Max Scherzer bought that sort of insurance policy before his last season with the Tigers. I recall him rejecting a big money extension and thought he bought some insurance after that, though not for nearly as much as what the Tigers offered him. The plan worked out well for him.
   28. cookiedabookie Posted: February 17, 2022 at 01:49 PM (#6065394)
Honestly, I think 13/$500 is the more likely target. That's $38.46 million per year - high, but not record setting AAV, and totally affordable for a larger market like Washington. Also, a quick and dirty list of players through age-22 with at least a 130 wRC+, 100+ off runs, and neg. def runs: Cobb, Ott, Williams, Foxx, Mantle, Magee, Harper, Shoeless Joe, and Soto. Pretty good company.
   29. Walt Davis Posted: February 17, 2022 at 05:00 PM (#6065413)
Mike Trout

Who? Is he one of those obscure NeLers added recently? Or maybe a 19th c guy?

Well, no team wants to be the first to hit the $500 M barrier. Trout remains the only one over $400 I believe and $500 M would be a $74 M advance on that. We love Soto, he's no Trout.

Also that's an absurd AAV because the first three years of this contract are arb years. He'll get a paid a lot but 13/$500 would be paying him about 10/$440 for his FA years. It would also be committing the team to 13 years while receiving no discount.

Now if you wanted to say 10/$380 for the FA years and $60 for the arb years to get to 13/$440 or thereabouts then there's a case to make.

FTjr signed his 14-year deal after 2 years of service time but still it covers 3 arb years and 10 FA years through 35 -- i.e. the same as a 13-year contract would now for Soto. That deal was $340 M -- again $350 M is a solid offer, it even provides a small ego boost for beating FTjr's contract. Anyway, $375 and especially $400 would be a lot more than the most comparable contract. Stanton's 13/$325 covered 2 arb years and 11 FA years and was heavily backloaded ... so is Tatis's contract.

A major difference is the arb situation. The Padres will be paying just $27 M for Tatis's 3 arb years -- as it stands the Nats are looking at something like $60 M for Soto's. The Padres then get the first 3 FA years for just $93 M. The last 6 years will cost them (or somebody) $220. So one way for the Nats to substantially top Tatis' contract without creating a huge headline number is to play it straight -- something like $50 M for the next 3 years and 10/$300 in equal installments -- that 13/$350 will be a bigger step over Tatis' 13/$340 than it looks. But I would guess that the Nats used the Tatis contract as a rough template and the $350 offer was pretty heavily deferred.
   30. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 17, 2022 at 06:01 PM (#6065415)
Now if you wanted to say 10/$380 for the FA years and $60 for the arb years to get to 13/$440 or thereabouts then there's a case to make.
Soto may be able to do a bit better. MLB Trade Rumor's arbitration projection has Soto at $16.2 for 2022, a new CBA could provide a more player friendly arbitration climate, and continued inflation may make current numbers look a bit low, too, so something like $16M/$24M/$30M over the next 3 seasons could be in range if Soto continues on an inner-circle HoF path. That’d be ~ $70M for the arbitration years, and that performance might earn him 10 years at ~ $35M-$40M per season. So, ~ $420M - $470M for 13 years, maybe more if a team goes 11 or 12 years, or the competition is intense. Even $500M isn’t out of the question.

Three years is a long time, and injuries or performance could shave off some of that value, as could likely being without much line-up protection during those arbitration years, but Soto has a legitimate chance to set some salary records. The Nationals should make a better offer, before another team has a chance to do so.
   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 17, 2022 at 06:05 PM (#6065416)
17, are you kidding me?

Life insurance for $10MM is your solution if Soto gets killed in a car crash? What rational person who stood to earn in the hundreds of millions of dollars (with the related benefits for his family) would think his family will be "fine" with just $10MM?


Then buy $50M of life insurance. Still not going to cost even 10% of the minimum salary.

But, really, if you think your family needs "hundreds of millions of dollars" to be fine, you're insane. 99.999999% of the people on earth will never se $10M. Literally anyone on the planet would be fine with $10M.
   32. The Duke Posted: February 17, 2022 at 06:41 PM (#6065421)
$27 million a year for a guy who might put up 6 WAR on average seems fine. If you paid 13 a year for two guys each projected to get you 3 WAR, you’d be pretty happy. Getting it all in one player is even better. Seems like he should be able to “best” that by quite a bit
   33. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: February 17, 2022 at 07:31 PM (#6065425)
Then buy $50M of life insurance. Still not going to cost even 10% of the minimum salary.


I don’t know the ins and outs of the insurance industry but I would assume there is a point where the insurance companies just aren’t going to be interested in taking the risk.

But, really, if you think your family needs "hundreds of millions of dollars" to be fine, you're insane. 99.999999% of the people on earth will never se $10M. Literally anyone on the planet would be fine with $10M.


The advantage of 100s of millions versus 10s of millions is who you can set for life. Just thinking about myself I think I could get to 50 people without breaking a sweat that I’d like to be able to help retire tomorrow if I could (my parents are retired but, well they’re mom and dad right?). And that’s without thinking about good causes that I’d love to be able to contribute too. That 150, 200, 300, 500 million dollars is going to someone, I’d rather it go to Soto than Lerner.
   34. Jack Sommers Posted: February 17, 2022 at 08:05 PM (#6065432)
I think offensively he's a lot like Dick Allen, with more walks.


He would be wise to accept anything between 350M-400M guaranteed.

   35. Adam Starblind Posted: February 17, 2022 at 10:48 PM (#6065444)
. $27 million a year for a guy who might put up 6 WAR on average seems fine. If you paid 13 a year for two guys each projected to get you 3 WAR, you’d be pretty happy. Getting it all in one player is even better.


Of course it’s better. That’s why a 6 win player is worth more money than two 3 win players.
   36. KronicFatigue Posted: February 18, 2022 at 07:27 AM (#6065450)
I don’t think ‘take $100M less than fair market value because you’re just a baseball player and it’s a lot of money’ is a good argument. Does anyone similarly expect team owners to not get the best deal they can even though they’re already making money hand over fist in the sports biz?


But that's not what the argument is. A player has a lot more risk than an owner. A player starts with a lot less wealth than an owner. As others have mentioned upthread, the lifestyle that 350 million affords is almost identical to 450 million. But if he were to follow the Sizemore career path, his lifestyle would look a lot worse than the 350 million.

#9's suggestion is probably what I would do if I were Soto. Give me my generational wealth, but still have a window for one last contract. Nah, if I'm being honest, I'd go the Shawn Kemp route: sign the big contract and then get fat and lazy.
   37. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: February 18, 2022 at 08:36 AM (#6065454)
And multiply.
   38. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: February 18, 2022 at 09:13 AM (#6065456)
sign the big contract and then get fat and lazy.


Boy are you a loser! I've already done 50% of that!!!
   39. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 18, 2022 at 10:26 AM (#6065460)
But that's not what the argument is. A player has a lot more risk than an owner.

Not once he's guaranteed $25M.
   40. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 18, 2022 at 11:30 AM (#6065464)
I don’t think ‘take $100M less than fair market value because you’re just a baseball player and it’s a lot of money’ is a good argument.
If the argument is "you're just a baseball player and baseball isn't that important," I agree with you. But if it's "you're just a baseball player; all your eggs are in one basket," it's a better argument. If MLB's business model collapses due to, I dunno, a pandemic, then Mark Lerner can invest his money in something else. If MLB's business model collapses due to, I dunno, a pandemic, then Juan Soto is going to be appearing as a spokesperson in crypto ads. In addition to the obvious risks like injury.
   41. Adam Starblind Posted: February 18, 2022 at 11:47 AM (#6065465)
. I dunno, a pandemic, then Juan Soto is going to be appearing as a spokesperson in crypto ads


An industry far more likely to collapse than baseball!
   42. John Northey Posted: February 18, 2022 at 12:24 PM (#6065469)
What I find interesting, as a Jays fan, is to compare Vlad to Soto. Vlad is now a 1B vs Soto a RF. Neither known for their glove, but both working on it with better numbers in 2021 than 2020. Their bats will carry them. Neither is hard up for money. Soto a free agent after 2024, Vlad after 2025. I suspect whatever Soto gets, Vlad will want to beat. Right now Soto is the better player, but in 2-3 years who knows? Both will want $400+ mil deals, and will try for $500 if the rules allow it. In 5 years I suspect with all these long term deals being handed out it'll be interesting to see which deals work out and which don't. I suspect a few will look really, really bad. One bad injury, controversy, or performance decline is all it takes.

Players at the ML level are super-competitive by their nature. You bet every last one wants the first $500 million contract, even if they are guaranteed the A-Rod treatment (pre-PEDs being an issue he was seen as scum by all but fans of his own team and at times even by them for daring to make so much money).
   43. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 18, 2022 at 01:03 PM (#6065476)
Soto doesn’t have Guerrero’s weight issue, and has a longer track record, so I’d expect him to get more money. Guerrero has a few years to close the gap, but even in his 2021 ‘best shape of his life’ he looked a bit heavy, although less so than in 2020. The fear of a Pablo Sandoval 2.0 make Guerrero’s post-30 seasons more of a gamble.
   44. Walt Davis Posted: February 18, 2022 at 01:25 PM (#6065480)
#30 ... agreed. I mentioned way back in #1 that he might just be waiting to see if the next CBA improves his position substantially (with a teeny risk he'll be worse off). So sure, his arb years might well top $60. But in the end, $60 or $70 for his arb years isn't going to make a big difference to the headline number here.

#42 ... no doubt some of this super long-term deals for young guys will go bad. The Stanton one probably already has. But I think it's important for us to remember that, even in contracts like this, the out years aren't that big of a deal. From 23-30, Miggy put up 45 WAR; Griffey 55; Reggie 49; even McCovey 35 (playing time plus he was huge at 31-32). You'd love to have Griffey at $350-400 M even if he produced nothing from 31-35 (he produced another 7 WAR). Miggy and Reggie at $350 M would have hit the $8/WAR mark at 30; even McCovey, the worst-case scenario would be the team had paid $10/WAR which is hardly a disaster.

Tatis earning $36 M at ages 33-35 might indeed be a disaster. But ages 23-30 are only costing the Padres $150 M or so and he might well produce 40-50 WAR. Anything after that is gravy. Of course as fragile as he's been, he might be Sizemore.

Stanton's not likely to work out. We're 7 years in and it's just 22.5 WAR. That's mainly due to injuries -- he's producing at 5 WAR/650 but he's under 3000 PA for 7 years. 2020 is part of that but even then he played less than half of it. He's still hitting pretty well but is mostly just a DH now. Obviously he could be the next Nelson Cruz but is more likely to be a poor man's Frank Thomas ... so maybe 10-15 WAR over the next 6 seasons.
   45. John Northey Posted: February 19, 2022 at 12:05 AM (#6065516)
I did a quick and dirty summary of $250+ million deals on Batter's Box - TLDR - 12 deals of that value exist. I saw lots of 'this could be bad' and few easy wins. Potential 'wins' Tatis, Harper, Cole, Machado, A-Rod's first deal was (despite media hatred). Most likely to blow up are Betts (too many late 30 years), Lindor (same), Stanton, Seager I'd be shocked if he comes close to $10 mil per WAR, I expect he'll produce at half the rate they need once it is all said and done. A-Rod's second deal was a bad deal at the time and looks dumber after the fact, the Yankees should've let him finish the first deal then tried to re-sign him.

WAR summary... I used $10 mil per WAR as the 'goal' for teams to get - do more 'woohoo', do less 'oh crap'
Mike Trout - $426.5 mil (2019-2030) - should be good overall, age 27-38, 11.5 WAR so far. Just 32.5 WAR to go to break even.
Mookie Betts, $365,000,000 (2021-32) - age 28-39, yikes. 4.2 WAR last year. I see lots of risk here.
Francisco Lindor, $341,000,000 (2022-31) - age 28-37. 3.1 WAR last year - has to be above that level to make it a good deal. I wouldn't bet on it.
Fernando Tatis, $340,000,000 (2021-34) - age 22-35, early years a lock to be great value, the later will be the question 6.6 WAR last year, I like the odds of him averaging 3-4 WAR throughout.
Bryce Harper, $330,000,000 (2019-31) - age 26-38, 12.3 WAR already (1 MVP), I like the odds of him getting them 20+ WAR over the next decade.
Giancarlo Stanton, $325,000,000 (2015-27) - ugh. age 25-38, started out good, 22.5 WAR so far, but slowed drastically with just 4.1 over the past 3 years. 6 years left to get 10 WAR, could happen he has the raw power to do it in one or two years easily but the Yankees right now would probably love to dump him.
Corey Seager, $325,000,000 (2022-31) - age 28-37 - just 3.7 WAR last year, they need him to average roughly that over the next decade. I don't like the odds. 2017 was the last time he had 3+ WAR. I expect this to become an anchor on the Rangers in 3 years.
Gerrit Cole, $324,000,000 (2020-28) - age 29-37, opt out after age 33 season or Yankees can guarantee $36 mil for his age 38 season to lock him in. Smart move by his agent. 7.8 WAR so far, so good. But with pitchers I always get very nervous about long term deals at record dollar amounts. See David Price for an example.
Manny Machado, $300,000,000 (2019-28) - age 26-35, 10.8 WAR so far, 20 more needed. Looking good so far but my gut says this won't end well. Could easily be very wrong.
Alex Rodriguez, $275,000,000 (2008-17) - age 32-41, didn't play at 41 or 38 (PED suspension). 23.1 WAR so not horrid but not what was hoped for obviously. Even before factoring in the media circus (bad levels even for NY).
Nolan Arenado, $260,000,000 (2019-26) - age 28-36. 12.8 WAR so far, so 24 more needed over 5 years to break even, not easy but could happen. You can see why the Rockies had to pay a chunk of the salary to deal him.
Alex Rodriguez, $252,000,000 (2001-10) - age 25-34 (Yankees bought out the last 3 years as part of his next deal) 71.4 WAR. Actually a very good contract if you look at it objectively, but the Rangers did tons of stupid moves around it and ended up needing to trade him to avoid massive money trouble

My rule is NEVER sign long term deals past age 32/33 unless you are willing to eat those years. Only a few players produce significant value post 33 and those normally are guys who are going to the HOF when they retire or guys who had late starts thus never were candidates for a mega deal. I'm guessing the wear and tear on a body to stay at a ML level just ends careers by the mid-30's unless you have an exceptional player in some way (David Wells, and Bartolo Colon point out you don't need to be what most think of as an athlete to do it). I see all these 10+ year deals being handed out as foolish by teams unless they expect salaries to skyrocket the next few years (thus making eating 3 or 4 years of some of those deals as acceptable).
   46. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: February 19, 2022 at 12:37 AM (#6065518)
the Yankees should've let him finish the first deal then tried to re-sign him.


The Yankees should've let him finish the deal and then let him walk. He was a 34 year old coming off of a pair of 4 win seasons. Players that old don't get better. (They might luck their way into a better season, but they themselves don't get better.) It would have been hard to predict his collapse, but it would have been easy to predict him becoming a fairly ordinary player.
   47. John Reynard Posted: February 19, 2022 at 02:57 AM (#6065519)
I don’t know the ins and outs of the insurance industry but I would assume there is a point where the insurance companies just aren’t going to be interested in taking the risk.


Most insurance policies are reinsured. Reinsurers generally want some diversification in the basket of insureds they're buying. We already have cases of corporate executives taking out $20-100M life insurance policies on themselves. You simply basket those folks with a ton of well-diversified $1M or lower policies (and I mean a ton of them) to get a numbers the reinsurers will accept.

Did you probably limit yourself to only 2-3 buyers making the basket that big? Yeah, probably. Are there more than 2-3 buyers who you'd probably sell to anyhow? No, not really.

Yeah, you might lower your margins on the contract by 12-15 bps, so, just charge Soto a little mark-up above what you'd charge a typical 22 year old for a 10-year term policy to cover the lost margins and everyone is happy, even the reinsurer. If you're unclear on how much the reinsurers will hit you for that lump contract being in there, call and ask ahead of time so you can price appropriately.

I mostly use life insurance to do trusts for obscenely rich families. But, I've written a respectable number of term policies in my life as well and since I'm independent, I've learned a few of the ins-and-outs of bundling because of it. If I worked for an insurance firm, I'd know none of this stuff I imagine, some back-office person would do it.

-------

I think Soto is supremely confident that he can continue to improve. Look at what he did in the 2nd half of 2021: .348/.525/.639. That is what Soto thinks he is. He may even think he has upside on that. There is a possibility he DOES have upside on that. How? He's doing that while putting up a .548 OPS in more than half his plate appearances on groundballs. He's doing that without doing the launch angle revolution. Vlad Jr improved massively in 2021 by lofting the ball more. Its quite possible that Soto still has another gear (note, I'm not saying he does have another gear; I'm just saying its possible to see it being there).

I don't think Soto would take less than 13/$500M given how confident he is. Maybe he won't be any better than he's been but he'll luck out and crush the offer because we re-live the 1970s? Its not like the Nats are paying him in TIPS (inflation adjusted security), right?
   48. Adam Starblind Posted: February 19, 2022 at 09:28 AM (#6065523)
A-Rod opted out of the first deal. And with typical A-Rod social skills, he announced it while the playoffs were ongoing.

One of the most entertaining moments in Red Sox history in my opinion is the team about to sweep the Rockies out of the World Series and the Fenway Faithful chanting “DON’T SIGN A-ROD” *clap clap clap-clap-clap*.
   49. bookbook Posted: February 19, 2022 at 10:24 AM (#6065524)
Based on the dollars actually committed to Seager, Lindor, Betts, and Cole, it’s hard to argue that Soto should accept less than about $450 million. Given how all 4 of those contracts are likely to play out, I can see why most teams would not want to make that kind of commitment. This feels to me like the Nationals trying to steal a bargain. If a deal gets done, it will break $400.
   50. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: February 19, 2022 at 10:45 AM (#6065525)
The Yankees should've let him finish the deal and then let him walk. He was a 34 year old coming off of a pair of 4 win seasons. Players that old don't get better. (They might luck their way into a better season, but they themselves don't get better.) It would have been hard to predict his collapse, but it would have been easy to predict him becoming a fairly ordinary player.


I think you are forgetting that A-Rod opted out after 2007. He was entering his age 32 season and had just been AL MVP with a 9.5 WAR season (his second such season in the last three).
   51. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: February 19, 2022 at 11:45 AM (#6065529)

But that's not what the argument is. A player has a lot more risk than an owner. A player starts with a lot less wealth than an owner. As others have mentioned upthread, the lifestyle that 350 million affords is almost identical to 450 million


You seem to be arguing that $100 million means a lot more to an ultra-wealthy person than to just a normally-wealthy person.
   52. sanny manguillen Posted: February 19, 2022 at 12:52 PM (#6065537)
They're saying that he's holding out for a Munster Contract Offer, but I don't think he'll get it.
   53. John DiFool2 Posted: February 19, 2022 at 01:55 PM (#6065541)
I don't think Randy Lerch ever got one, either.
   54. Walt Davis Posted: February 19, 2022 at 02:38 PM (#6065549)
Minor nitpicks on #45: We will need to adjust for 2020 for contracts that were active then -- not a big deal but, on average, we could whack about $15-20 M off the cost before doing the $/WAR calculation. Slightly more important is ARod -- the Yanks also didn't pay him for age 38 so the total value of the deal is more $250 M for which they got 23 WAR so $11 M per WAR which is not nearly as bad as we think that contract was. (This is more important for Cano who has gone unpaid for 1.5 of his seasons. Not that missed seasons for PEDs are good for the team necessarily but at least they don't have to pay for them.)

More importantly, not that there's an easy way to do this, we really need to come up with a NPV $/WAR (or at least inflation-adjusted). Mookie's deal for example is massively backloaded. It's really a 24-year contract with nearly 1/3 of the contract deferred until after the contract ends. MLBPA gives it a NPV of $306, a full $60 M (arguably 6+ WAR!) less than the headline $365. (And historically MLBPA NPV's are very conservative but maybe that has changed.) Mookie making it to 30 WAR is substantially more likely than making it to 36 WAR.

However, (1) a lot of these mega-contracts are heavily deferred although Betts is pretty extreme; (2) you probably have a built-in control for these by settling on $10/WAR as acceptable. So I think your conclusions are fair enough but it would be nice if some nerd out there would give us a NPV $/WAR figure to work with. Or probably somebody has but it hasn't caught on.

Let's not write off Mookie just yet. He's been very durable until last year -- which was still 550 PA. 2020+2021 is just over a full season producing at a 6.5 WAR pace. He's still only turning 29 so he's got 5 seasons through age 33 and, being Mookie, might well have his 30 WAR by then. If he's not close by then, it's unlikely to work out.
   55. John Northey Posted: February 19, 2022 at 03:33 PM (#6065553)
Excellent points on the A-Rod 2nd deal coming after an MVP season when he opted out (very smart on his part). He was entering his age 32 season, which by most measures is the year players start to decline rapidly. There were reasons to be optimistic given A-Rod's history (3 MVP's in past 5 years) but also reasons to be pessimistic (age, position shift, had changed workouts so he was getting more bulky iirc - probably also due to PED's given what we know now). Still, handing him that much money at that age is beyond moronic. Only a few teams could've even thought about paying him close to that amount and the Red Sox, iirc, were tapped out financially at that point, the Dodgers hadn't started going nuts yet. Yankees were the only team blowing $200+ mil a year, Red Sox next at $143, 3 more teams over $100 (Mets, Angels, ChiSox, Dodgers, Mariners, Cubs) with the next 3 being Tigers/O's/Cards/Giants (in the 90's). Few had any thoughts of touching A-Rod due to the negative media he generated by then mixed with few willing to spend what it would take to get him. I give Boras full credit for sucking that much out of the Yankees when no one else would go that far I figure. Also by then we'd already seen the Alomar story unfold (MVP candidate at 33, sub 2 WAR every year after)
   56. You can keep your massive haul Posted: February 19, 2022 at 04:44 PM (#6065558)
You guys haven't mentioned inflation yet. Is it going to get to double digits? Has it already?
   57. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 19, 2022 at 04:59 PM (#6065559)
I think Soto is supremely confident that he can continue to improve. Look at what he did in the 2nd half of 2021: .348/.525/.639.
Thats quite similar to Soto’s Covid-shortened 2020 season when his .351/.490/.695 produced a 217 OPS+. Would be interesting to see what a full season like that would do for his contract negotiations. Might be difficult to do that without much line-up protection, but perhaps such factors don’t really apply to Soto. Bold prediction: Juan Soto will draw a lot of BB in 2022!
   58. Adam Starblind Posted: February 19, 2022 at 06:45 PM (#6065563)
Have studies borne out that lineup protection is a real factor? Intuitively it seems like it should be real, but I have a vague recollection of the statistics not supporting it.
   59. Howie Menckel Posted: February 19, 2022 at 07:15 PM (#6065565)
Bill James did I think the first "protection" study in a 1980s Baseball Abstract.

He kept hearing the same thing, and tried to think of a stud hitter who often did AND often didn't have a quality bat behind him.

he landed on Dale Murphy and Bob Horner, the stocky and oft-injured 3B for the Braves.

iirc, he couldn't find any significant correlation.
   60. John Northey Posted: February 19, 2022 at 07:18 PM (#6065566)
Protection has never been shown to be a thing. I remember years ago some sportswriters were talking about how critical protection was for Dale Murphy as he hit so well with Horner after him never once figuring out that he actually hit better without Horner after him (mid 80's). An interesting article is here. Basically you might see a slight uptick in walks for a great hitter without 'protection' but the effect isn't universal nor easily found. Players think it exists, as do managers, but both refuse to 'give in' to it. IMO the biggest effect it has is maximizing run production - the fewer weak hitters, the longer the offensive chain goes and the more runs you score. Simple as that. When Bonds set records for intentional walks in the early 00's the most common #5 hitter was Edgardo Alfonzo (95 OPS+), then Pedro Feliz (100 OPS+), then A.J. Pierzynski (86 OPS+). Geez, what the heck were the Giants thinking with guys like that playing everyday in the 5 hole? Especially with JT Snow around (146 OPS+ that year) who was 5th 21 times, 3rd 17 times. Must have been the old 'L/R' thing. Ugh. OK, in that extreme case it might have helped Bonds shatter walk records (232 walks, 120 intentional, I suspect many of the others were semi-intentional). Only 2 regulars in that lineup outside of Bonds were over 100 for OPS+ but combined they were just equal to Bonds 263 (Snow 146, Durham 117 = 263). Yeah, that was insane, even factoring in PED use. Clearly the Giants royally screwed up being unable to find anyone to hit other than Bonds (with Snow doing well that one year but appears very fluky given he was sub 100 every year after).
   61. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: February 19, 2022 at 07:34 PM (#6065567)
I don’t think protection matters in terms of Soto’s general ability to hit but I think the OBP is a bit artificially inflated because teams just aren’t pitching to him. Just watching the series they played against the Red Sox he walked 6 times in 14 PA in a series the Sox had to have and all the games were close. Obviously he has a great eye but I think there is some inflation there.
   62. shoelesjoe Posted: February 19, 2022 at 07:54 PM (#6065570)
Anybody know if Soto is one of the players who signed with Big League Advance? If they’re taking 10% off the top he’s probably right to hold out for that extra $100 to $150 million that should be available when he hits free agency.
   63. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 19, 2022 at 08:47 PM (#6065573)
Soto got a $1.5M international free agent signing bonus at age 16 in 2015, and was in the big leagues by 2018, so he had little time or need to sell off any of his future earnings, and I haven’t seen any mention of it.
   64. John Reynard Posted: February 20, 2022 at 05:30 AM (#6065581)
I don't believe a lack of lineup protection has an impact on the very greatest players other than perhaps trading some RBI for some IBB and semi-IBB. Bonds' 2004 is a perfect example of this phenomenon; at least he got to 101 RBI with his .600+ OBP and .800+ SLG.

I kind of hope Soto has another gear left and can put up some .600 OBP years with .700 SLG to show people the limit of what can be done in modern MLB -- perhaps he's already at the limit though.
   65. McCoy Posted: February 20, 2022 at 07:35 AM (#6065582)
Protection isn't real but reverse protection is. It really helps your stat line to have people get on.
   66. Rally Posted: February 20, 2022 at 09:23 AM (#6065583)
What I find interesting, as a Jays fan, is to compare Vlad to Soto. Vlad is now a 1B vs Soto a RF. Neither known for their glove, but both working on it with better numbers in 2021 than 2020. Their bats will carry them. Neither is hard up for money. Soto a free agent after 2024, Vlad after 2025. I suspect whatever Soto gets, Vlad will want to beat. Right now Soto is the better player, but in 2-3 years who knows? Both will want $400+ mil deals, and will try for $500 if the rules allow it. In 5 years I suspect with all these long term deals being handed out it'll be interesting to see which deals work out and which don't. I suspect a few will look really, really bad. One bad injury, controversy, or performance decline is all it takes.


I saw them both in a minor league game 4 years ago. A few months after that game I looked back and wondered how I thought Soto was only the second best 19 year old hitter on the field. Vlad hit hard line drives all over the field, very impressive. Soto? He just drew a bunch of walks. Hard to tell in just a single game that he had historically great strike zone recognition, as opposed to the story that most minor league pitchers can’t throw the ball over the plate.
   67. Ron J Posted: February 21, 2022 at 02:44 PM (#6065675)
#66 Reminds me of a scouting report that complained about the kid taking too many pitches. The scout was there to evaluate his swing.

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