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Monday, November 29, 2021

Report: Rangers Agree to 10-Year, $325 Million Deal With SS Corey Seager

The Rangers have reached an agreement to sign two-time All-Star shortstop and 2020 World Series MVP Corey Seager on a 10-year deal worth $325 million, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The move would cap a remarkably aggressive push from Texas’s front office with the franchise coming off its first 100-loss season since 1973.

Texas made a major splash on Sunday when they reportedly agreed to a seven-year deal with All-Star second baseman Marcus Semien. As it turns out, that wasn’t the last blockbuster addition to the team’s middle infield.

Seager, who turns 28 in April, hit .306/.394/.521 with 16 home runs in 95 games last season. The 2016 National League Rookie of the Year winner has spent his entire career with the Dodgers and has won two Silver Slugger awards.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 29, 2021 at 04:49 PM | 44 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: corey seager, rangers

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   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 29, 2021 at 04:50 PM (#6055201)
@enosarris
Looks so much better when you sign the best middle infield available to you in free agency:

2B Semien
SS Seager
1B Lowe
RF Calhoun
CF Taveras
DH Calhoun
LF McKinney
3B Kiner-Falefa
C Heim

Could maybe use another outfield bat, definitely another starting pitcher.


Yea, that is still a bad lineup.
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 29, 2021 at 05:01 PM (#6055205)
So that’s what, $556 million spent by the Rangers on three players this offseason?

Meanwhile, the Rays just laugh and win 97 games.
   3. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: November 29, 2021 at 05:01 PM (#6055206)
Hopefully the Rangers learned from ####### up after the ARod signing. They still need a lot more, but hopefully they don't regret this and trade him away in a couple of years.
   4. Booey Posted: November 29, 2021 at 05:03 PM (#6055207)
Oh wow. That's a long commitment and a lot of money for someone who's always injured, no matter how good he is when he actually plays. If he had his brothers durability (missed more than 8 games only once in the last 10 years), then I'd say it was a great signing. Between this and the Semien contract, Rangers are going to be paying a LOT of money for these guys decline years in their mid-late 30's.

That said, at least they're trying to compete, which is more than several other teams can say right now...
   5. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 29, 2021 at 05:22 PM (#6055212)
$556 million spent by the Rangers on three players this offseason?
That’s what, about half the budget for air conditioning the BDC Dome? May need to be a bit warmer to offset some of that cost.
   6. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: November 29, 2021 at 05:32 PM (#6055214)
With these signings, the Rangers are longer a 100-loss team. More like a 90-loss team. Instead of having one major-league hitter in their lineup, they now have three.
   7. Tin Angel Posted: November 29, 2021 at 05:45 PM (#6055218)
With these signings, the Rangers are longer a 100-loss team. More like a 90-loss team. Instead of having one major-league hitter in their lineup, they now have three.


You have to hand it to them, they are going all in trying to finish in third place in the AL West this year.
   8. BDC Posted: November 29, 2021 at 07:25 PM (#6055229)
Well, they've apparently managed to clone Calhoun … no wait, that's two different guys who aren't very good named Calhoun. My bad.

As laid out in #1, that's two guys who'll be good, one who is adequate, then six who will be terrible (in terms of hitting). Fortunately the Rangers are not counting on Taveras to play CF; Adolis Garcia will be out there and he was good in 2021. And it would be a mistake to hand 3B back to Kiner-Falefa, Gold Glove or not. He cannot hit well enough to play anywhere but SS, and they must bring up Josh Jung, who will be 24 next season, and get him acclimated to the majors and contributing. It would be a huge mistake to keep Jung in Round Rock batting .348 for any length of time.

So maybe they'll have five decent hitters (Semien, Seager, Lowe, Garcia, Jung), and that's three more than they had the second half of this year …
   9. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: November 29, 2021 at 08:03 PM (#6055235)
This is insane to me in both length and AAV.
   10. I Am Not a Number Posted: November 29, 2021 at 08:14 PM (#6055238)
Kiner-Falefa... cannot hit well enough to play anywhere but SS

Couldn't a whole bunch of teams use a player like K-F who figures to be a very inexpensive, 3-WAR shortstop for two or three years? Unless the Yankees intend on going big at shortstop, wouldn't this be an obvious solution that would not interfere with big spending at other positions?

Or am I overestimating K-F? Was 2021 an anomaly?
   11. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 29, 2021 at 09:34 PM (#6055257)
Are these teams expecting 10% inflation for the next decade?
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 29, 2021 at 10:08 PM (#6055264)
Are these teams expecting 10% inflation for the next decade?

We're at 6% already, and no signs the printing press is getting shut down soon. The strength of the equity and real estate markets certainly supports an inflationary outlook.
   13. John Northey Posted: November 29, 2021 at 10:15 PM (#6055267)
Carlos Correa must be smiling ear to ear over this deal. The Tigers, Astros, Dodgers, Yankees, etc. all must be knocking on his door now. The Rangers taking 2 of the top shortstops out of the market makes the market much more lucrative for guys still there. Trevor Story also should be looking a nice payday from whoever loses on Correa. Javier Báez also is looking at a much better deal I figure.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 30, 2021 at 09:34 AM (#6055306)
Carlos Correa must be smiling ear to ear over this deal. The Tigers, Astros, Dodgers, Yankees, etc. all must be knocking on his door now.

Is there any sign the Yankees plan on spending money? I'd expect Urshela to be the starting SS at this point. Dodgers also appear to be cautious.
   15. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 30, 2021 at 10:23 AM (#6055318)

Are these teams expecting 10% inflation for the next decade?


It's almost like the industry is awash in cash.
   16. BDC Posted: November 30, 2021 at 11:22 AM (#6055331)
am I overestimating K-F? Was 2021 an anomaly?

No, I agree that Kiner-Falefa should be good for awhile yet. He had a bad K/W ratio most of last season – though he only struck out 90 times all year and I have to remind myself that that's not high anymore. But in August & September '21 he improved the ratio greatly and batted .299 over those two months. To me that's a very good sign; if pitchers were figuring him out for a while, he adjusted and started to figure them out.

He's a true singles hitter (led the league in 1B last year) and runs well, but is not a great leadoff option because he does not walk much. The Rangers batted him first or second most of the year because they were awful. On a good team that could put him in the bottom third of the lineup, IKF would be very acceptable.
   17. DCA Posted: November 30, 2021 at 12:59 PM (#6055356)
IKF has a clear role on this team. He'll begin 2022 as the regular 3B until Jung has spent enough time at AAA working on his defense or whatever.

Then he's the utility guy getting 60 starts a year at SS when Seager is out injured.
   18. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: November 30, 2021 at 01:09 PM (#6055358)
Seager's a great player when he's healthy. Which he almost never is. He'll probably be playing 1B or 3B by the end of this contract, too.

I guess this is just what guys cost now.
   19. Walt Davis Posted: November 30, 2021 at 03:36 PM (#6055400)
I wonder if there are big deferments in this deal. Length of contract is largely determined by age and deferment. This one takes him through age 37 ... almost always a "deferment year" but not at this AAV. That is, for a guy of Seager's quality/durability, 10/$250 would look like spreading out payments for the equivalent of 5 years of excellent production. This is a contract you dole out when expecting something like 35-40 WAR over the life of the contract. While he's a 5-WAR player when healthy, he's only got 21 career WAR to this point -- you need him to repeat that twice Which essentially means you're expecting him to become durable.

The proper valuation of fragile players is an area that could really use some work. Buxton is even more impossible to value.

I wouldn't be overly concerned about a position move in another 5 years or so. The bat's more than good enough and has been especially impressive over 2020-21. As a 3B he's probably about equal to Bregman (same age) right now so hardly a slouch. In the two FA years covered by Bregman's extension, he'll get $30.5 and that was signed a couple of years ago. As a 3B, he's probably better than Bryant (and younger). The Rangers will be happy if Seager is a reasonably durable 3B 5 years from now, probably even if the bat has started to fade.

   20. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: November 30, 2021 at 04:22 PM (#6055406)
They're paying him like he's going to be a hall of famer.

Let's look at some recentish SS's.

Seager has a 131 career OPS+, 21.3 WAR, 12.8 WAA


Through age 27 for all players:

Hanley Ramirez had a 132 OPS+. Hanley leads in WAR by about five, and in WAA by about 2.5.

Bogaerts - 113 OPS+, 24.3, 10.3

Story - 114, 22.5, 14.7 (I didn't realize he's that good defensively)

Nomar - 139, 28.3, 19

Following their age 27 seasons, I thought Hanley and Nomar were going to be hall of famers. Clearly differences in their game, but Hanley is a decent match in over-all value. I'd have given a 27 year old Hanley Ramirez a huge 10 year contract (and would have gotten burned by it). I don't think I'd do it for Bogaerts or Story though.


Then there's this guy:

Correa through age 26: 127 OPS+, 34.1, 23.3

He's producing WAA at about exactly the same rate as Nomar, and WAR at a slightly better rate. He's clearly better than Seager, and whoever signs him gets an extra year of prime-age control.
   21. Walt Davis Posted: November 30, 2021 at 04:28 PM (#6055408)
Some quick fragile comps for Seager (basically guys with a lot of WAR but not a lot of PAs through age 27 and were fragile):

Eric Davis -- not good
Trevor Story -- who knew? Missed two months in his first season, missed about 20 games in 3 other seasons
Larry Walker -- 49 WAR 28-37
JD Drew -- 27 WAR 28-35 ... had 3 WAR in a fullish season at 34, completely crapped out at 35 (-1 WAR in <300 PA) so maybe OK without that cliff
Trea Turner -- maybe, very durable the last few years
Bill Madlock -- 20 WAR 28-36 but a much worse defensive player than Seager ... 135 OPS+ through 27, 115 after
Barry Larkin -- 44 WAR 28-37
Paul Molitor -- 45 WAR 28-37

I'm sure there are plenty of others this is just what a search turned up. I guess it's about what you expect -- Walker, Larkin, Mllitor maintained their quality with differing degrees of fragility. Drew kinda maintained his quality while remaining fragile then cratered. Davis never got healthy; Madlock not nearly as good as these guys to begin with but also faded and averaged only about 500 PA per year. (I didn't have Madlock in my file as "fragile" before this.)

Based on that quick look, the deal looks a bit better than I expected. There is a reasonable chance Seager will deliver the 35-40 WAR he's gonna be paid for. If the deal is heavily deferred, maybe he only needs to reach 30-35. There's still a very good chance it's a terrible deal.

Note, the guys who immediately spring to mind for Seager are the "great SS who didn't last long at SS" -- Fregosi, Nomar, Banks, Yount. But those were guys who were pretty durable then had major injuries in their primes. In the case of Fregosi and Nomar, that meant a severe decline in value. But Seager's issue is more missing 20-30 games a year, closer to Larkin, Walker and Drew. Note Banks had 37 WAR 28-37 because he still had some massive years at SS left; Yount made it to 33 WAR. So including those 4 wouldn't change the picture much -- two terrible, two close enough.

End of the day, I'm liking the JD Drew comp. Just seems about right, doesn't it? WAR rates Seager as the slightly better hitter, Drew as the slightly better defender (overcomes the positional adjustment). Quite similar offensive profiles. Drew missed half his age 29 season, 1/3 of his age 32 season and otherwise was nursed through about 135 starts a year. Through age 37, Drew averaged 5.3 WAR/650, Seager 5.1. From 28-34, Drew averaged 4.9 WAR/650, a small decline in quality. Drew even maintained his defense pretty well putting up 0 dWAR in RF.
   22. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 30, 2021 at 04:34 PM (#6055409)
There is a reasonable chance Seager will deliver the 35-40 WAR he's gonna be paid for. If the deal is heavily deferred, maybe he only needs to reach 30-35.
You make a lot of posts with this type of analysis, and I notice that you keep inching the goalposts out as far as what's an acceptable/expected cost per WAR. Now it's up to $8.125-$9.286 million? Or even $10.83 million if it's deferred?
   23. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 30, 2021 at 04:43 PM (#6055411)
You make a lot of posts with this type of analysis, and I notice that you keep inching the goalposts out as far as what's an acceptable/expected cost per WAR. Now it's up to $8.125-$9.286 million? Or even $10.83 million if it's deferred?

MLB is awash in money and the U.S. looks to be entering a prolonged inflationary period. The $/WAR should be going up.
   24. bookbook Posted: November 30, 2021 at 05:54 PM (#6055430)
The idea that Seager could be Larry Walker has a certain appeal. Or maybe Paul Molitor. Given how amazingly sturdy Kyle has been, it’s hard to imagine Corey being that fragile.
   25. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: November 30, 2021 at 06:37 PM (#6055443)
Given how amazingly sturdy Kyle has been, it’s hard to imagine Corey being that fragile.


Eh, one kid got a bit more natural talent and the other got the staying power. Corey is going to make more coin in his lifetime, Kyle will probably out live him by 5 years. You just never know these things....
   26. Zonk demands an audit of your post Posted: November 30, 2021 at 07:11 PM (#6055450)
MLB is awash in money and the U.S. looks to be entering a prolonged inflationary period. The $/WAR should be going up.


The *world* is experiencing a significant spurt of inflation at the moment - whether it's prolonged is yet to be proven since its folly to look short-term (monthly or quarterly) YoY changes, especially given that we've a pretty unprecedented situation that's going to play all kinds of games with YoY numbers. The EU's central bank reported its biggest ever spike (again, YoY) today, too.

The ECB and BLS use different formulas and methodologies to calculate their rates (CPI v HCPI), but they do both generally try to use a broad-based sampling of sectors... and both the CPI and HCPI have shown a very uneven story: Namely, that the topline number is being overinflated because of spikes in 2 sectors: Housing and Transportation.... I wish the BLS would make things as easily readable as the ECB, but the YoY spike in both cases can ultimately be traced back to one factor: Energy prices have experienced a YUGE spike.

Break down the sectors to get the "energy" input - the EU saw a 27%(!) YoY spike, worse than the US readings (which, IIRC/not gonna dig) were more in the 20% range. This shouldn't be surprising - given that (as just one example) air travel is three times what it was at the same point last year, while vehicle traffic, etc YoY hasn't had quite the same spike (2X, IIRC), but is still a big spike.

Prior instances of actual inflation were much more broad-based -- late 70s inflation saw 7% spikes across the board. We're just not seeing that here.

What's more -- the US 10 yr and 30 yr bond yields just aren't tracking with a sustained inflation spike (I mean, we're talking 10 yr yields under 1.5 -- albeit a big dip the last week because of omicron fears and the 30 yr under 2). The story is similar with EU member bond yields -- if we're in for prolonged inflation, the traders who make their living planning for such aren't `buying it (Oddly, EU member bond yields are actually outpacing US bond yield growth by a handy clip but both are still poor bets at the moment). Even the supposed haven commodities (i.e., gold) are still trading below what they were before Covid slammed the world.

Obviously, it makes little difference to a consumer whether an underlying price spike is due to broad-based inflation, or, an extraordinary one-off factor blowing through the roof (though, if I'm a baseball team handing out a contract? It would be stupid NOT to understand the details rather than topline worries).

But - the evidence just isn't there... One can say "yet", sure.... but one can say "yet" since, well.... forever.

Anyway... If the Rangers landed on 10/325 for inflationary reasons - and figuring that a ~3 WAR player is worth ~20-25m but inflation means that's worth 30-32m, then they should fire whoever crunches their economics.

Of course, if, instead, they think Seager can finally stay healthy start posting 5+ WAR seasons consistently - they should probably fire the team doctor :-)

My bet is that ultimately - like any MLB team, they have plenty of money, they've got a new stadium, and they're just tossing money at a build-a-winner.... in which case - if it works - nobody's getting fired and everybody's getting extensions in a year or 2.
   27. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 30, 2021 at 07:20 PM (#6055453)
What's more -- the US 10 yr and 30 yr bond yields just aren't tracking with a sustained inflation spike

The Fed has been buying the large majority of Treasuries for a long time, and the regulators are forcing banks to hold all kinds of reserves. We don't really have a functioning Treasury bond market at the moment. The bonds just aren't being held by real investors anymore.

It's very hard to see how the vast fiscal stimulus of the last two years, which has been completely accommodated by the central banks, will not spur inflation. A huge chunk has been taken out of the labor force; that alone will cause wage inflation, which is going to get passed along in prices.
   28. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 30, 2021 at 07:22 PM (#6055454)
they're just tossing money at a build-a-winner.
When was the last time a team was able to win a championship by paying top dollar for a bunch of free agents? I remember people talking about the 2019 Nats in that way because of Scherzer and Corbin, but they definitely had a homegrown core - Rendon at 7.1 WAR, Strasburg at 6, Soto at 5, Robles at 4.4, Turner (acquired as a minor leaguer) at 4.
   29. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 30, 2021 at 07:31 PM (#6055457)
When was the last time a team was able to win a championship by paying top dollar for a bunch of free agents?


The '96-97 Marlins come to mind, but even then the 1995 Marlins weren't god awful, and they hadh decent core pieces in Gary Sheffield, Charles Johnson, Edgar Renteria, Jeff Conine, and Robb Nen already in place before the spending spree.

The expansion Diamondbacks went from 65-97 to 100 wins in one year by splurging on free agents and big trades, eventually winning a title by 2001.
   30. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: November 30, 2021 at 07:44 PM (#6055459)
When was the last time a team was able to win a championship by paying top dollar for a bunch of free agents?


I don't know if they were all free agents, but the 2001 D-backs had just one homegrown player see significant time -- closer Byung-hyun Kim, all 98 innings of him.

Their starting lineup had nobody under 31, most of them over 33. Their rotation was much the same story, though the spring chicken was Albie Lopez at 29. Even the backups were mostly rentals -- the only home-grown guy to get many ABs was Ruby Durazo, who played in 92 games and mostly backed up the getting-to-be-over-the-hill Mark Grace.

Their best players were Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, and Luis Gonzalez. It looks like Schilling and Gonzalez were both acquired by trade, Gonzalez in a pure salary dump from Detroit and Schilling coming over from Philly for some can-miss prospects plus Travis Lee, who was a big name at the time but never turned into anything. Johnson, of course, was a pure mercenary.

   31. Zonk demands an audit of your post Posted: November 30, 2021 at 07:51 PM (#6055460)
The Fed has been buying the large majority of Treasuries for a long time, and the regulators are forcing banks to hold all kinds of reserves. We don't really have a functioning Treasury bond market at the moment. The bonds just aren't being held by real investors anymore.

It's very hard to see how the vast fiscal stimulus of the last two years, which has been completely accommodated by the central banks, will not spur inflation. A huge chunk has been taken out of the labor force; that alone will cause wage inflation, which is going to get passed along in prices.


"Quantitative easing" has certainly led to record FED bond ownership, but it's still (pretty distantly) behind other entities - and well off the rate of increase from the ~2008 heyday.

Indeed - the biggest spike in bond purchases (in 2021 at least) has been banks; outpacing the Fed's purchase program by a pretty good clip... Sure, as you say - regulatory requirements on reserves.

But - it's a cake and eat it too thing... if inflation is the concern? The last thing you'd want to do is loosen reserve restrictions and let banks - sitting on a ton of capital - start lending like drunken sailors.

It's certainly fair to say that MMP means one shouldn't wholly use the old benchmarks to gauge inflation via bond yields... but it's a overbid to think the current historic low yields would be more like the double digit+ yields one would have seen 40 years ago. The numbers just don't add up.

Regardless, I'm just saying that bond yields are one among several pieces of evidence to the contrary.
   32. Walt Davis Posted: November 30, 2021 at 08:02 PM (#6055461)
Well, per fangraphs (ca 2017) $/WAR passed the $8 M per WAR mark between 2014 and 2015. They had it over $10 M in 2017, projected it to $14 M for 2022. Now that was clearly wrong and salaries have stagnated a good but but there's no reason to think $/WAR has gone down in the last 7 seasons (at least for star contracts). Yet, in fact, it seems that they currently just stick it at $8 and pretty much leave it there.

Next, 10 years is a lot of time to factor in inflation. Is $8/WAR NPV the right price or is it $8/WAR raw? And finally, nobody really cares much if it's 35 or 40 or 45 in the end ... those last 5-10 WAR are likely to be spread out over the last 4-5 years of the contract anyway as an average/below-average player ... they're more "nice to have" than required. Let's also not pretend our abilities to project are remotely close to reliable ... a guy who projects to 40 WAR over 10 years is, at best, projecting to a range of 35-45. In the end, nobody gives a #### whether you ended up paying $10 M per WAR or $7 M per WAR ... a contract only becomes "limiting" when you're paying something like $20 M per WAR. There's also the issue whether a crap team like the Rangers has to pay a premium to be preferred over offers from other teams (who knows?) and whether they should do so to "make a splash" (who knows but probably not). And finally, all auctions carry a winner's curse, MLB FA is no different -- but you really have no choice but to pay the curse or to never sign a big FA.

But I also thought I was pretty clear -- this is not a good deal. He basically has to repeat what he's done so far twice -- it took him a bit over 6 years service time to do it once, this contract only runs 10 years so even if he doesn't decline in quality, he needs to increase durability. Basically, at average production rate to date, he needs to reach about 5500 PA during this contract to break even. It has almost no chance of working out in the Rangers' favor, is probably no more than a 50% chance of breaking even and, given his injury history, has a solid chance of being a bust. I am expressing surprise that the chances of him fulfilling the contract are that high. I assume that a more thorough search for comps would turn up more busts. Still, three guys pulled it off and Drew was on an acceptable pace before the abrupt end.

So yes, if Seager makes it to 35 WAR, the Rangers and their fans will be happy (until those age 34-37 seasons) even though that is sub-optimal relative to $8/WAR. And let's what to see what the deferment might look like before we declare that it's a 40-WAR contract.

But my other point is simply who the F knows. If he becomes durable (it happens), this contract is fine ... heck it might even work in the Rangers' favor. As I said, work needs doing on how to project somebody like this. But there simply aren't very many guys producing at 5-WAR level in their 20s who are fragile.

The "magic formula" for figuring out the length/$ of a long-term, young star contract is not that hard. Step 1: What do you project for the player through age 33 -- this is just about all you care about. Step 2: how much is the total cost of that. Step 3: are you willing to pay $40+ M per year through age 33 (the answer so far has been no for everybody but the Dodgers and now maybe the Mets-Scherzer). Step 4: so now we have to figure out a deferment schedule achieved through adding years after age 33 ... of course the player is likely to provide some value in these years so you can't just turn 7/$280 into 10/$280, you have to turn it into something like 10/$300.

The problem with this contract is that Seager is going to be paid like a durable 5-WAR player (a HoFer)

Re: Hanley for example. Hanley was extremely durable right up until that age 27 season. He did produce at a fairly similar level (4.6 WAR/650), the main difference being his poor defense. Hanley's an example that past durable consistency doesn't guarantee future durable consistency. Whether that should have any effect on our projection for Seager is unknown.

They're paying him like he's going to be a hall of famer.

Which of course he might although he's more likely to get cut off at HoVG. In terms of total $, there are already 6 bigger contracts and presumably Correa will be a 7th. It's only $25 M (8%) higher than the contract Machado signed 3 years ago (MM was 2 years younger), is the same AAV (but 2 years longer) than the original extension Arenado signed 3 years ago at the same age, it's a lower AAV than Rendon two years ago but also extends to 37 not 36. Those guys through 27:

Seager 21 WAR, 5.1 WAR/650
Machado 40 WAR, 5.2 WAR/650
Arenado 31 WAR, 5.5 WAR/650
Rendon 18 WAR, 4.3 WAR/650

So Seager is as good as those guys but nowhere near as durable as Machado and Arenado were. The legit question is why hasn't he had to pay a bigger penalty for being fragile. I have no idea. I'd certainly rather give out this sort of contract to a 26-yo Machado or a 28-yo Arenado than a 28-yo Seager. The Rangers are gamling he becomes durable while maintaining quality, that's probably a bad bet.
   33. Zonk demands an audit of your post Posted: November 30, 2021 at 08:05 PM (#6055462)
Well, I presume Ranger fans will be happy if Seager wins a WS in a Rangers cap regardless of how much his production gets them there.

I mean, we can run the numbers on Heyward's putridness -- and it obviously becomes more annoying as 2016 fades -- but whatever... It was an expensive speech during the game 7 rain delay, but not my money so... :-)
   34. Zonk demands an audit of your post Posted: November 30, 2021 at 08:10 PM (#6055463)
It's really more the Semien AND Seager that puzzles me... I can gambling higher on Seager if you miss out on Semien, but... well.

Who knows, maybe it's like an OTP thing where you offer 2 contracts to guys that play the same position and you get stuck with both because both accept before you can withdraw the other one :-).

I guess, if you think you're still a year away or so - it's not like tossing Mets money at Scherzer and just ONE of Semien/Seager makes more sense.
   35. McCoy Posted: November 30, 2021 at 08:17 PM (#6055465)
My view is that virtually all big FA contracts look reasonable in hindsight based on $/WAR except for the obvious nuke it from orbit disaster contracts and that can't really be true.
   36. Walt Davis Posted: November 30, 2021 at 09:00 PM (#6055469)
Finally on #22 ... it's not clear to me you understand the role of deferment. It is only convenient to consider taking the headline total and dividing by WAR to determine the $/WAR of a contract.

Let's say we think a player will produce about $280 M amortized revenue over the next 7 years (and let's call that 35 WAR). 7/$280 works out to a NPV (5%) of $231 M. So is it $8/WAR or is it $6.6/WAR? Really we should always use real $ but we're lazy.

Now note that contract further establishes a precedent of a $40 AAV which also possibly costs us money in CBT. So how about 10/$325 instead? Well that has a NPV of $251. Adding $45 M to the headline number only costs us $20 M in real dollars. And over those extra 3 years, we get whatever that player might produce ... which at (real) $6.6/WAR is only 3 WAR or even at (nominal) $8/WAR is 5.5. Either way, we aren't paying for much extra production and the key outcome is whether he produced the initial 35 WAR we expected.

Now maybe you spread out the deferment even more ... It's still 10/$325 but maybe it's paid out as 10/$250 with $75 deferred over the 5 years after the end of the contract. Well the NPV on that is $233 ... the exact same as 7/$280 except the team gets those extra 3 years for free. Since players (or at least their agents) aren't idiots, that's not going to happen if the player can get 7/$280 or its equivalent elsewhere. If we saw a contract like that, we'd conclude that it's really something like a 7/$245 contract (30 WAR, Rendon's contract, NPV of $202) with 3 years priced with an assumed production of only about 5 WAR added onto it. (Shazam, 35 WAR)

(Conveniently enough, 7/$280 and 10/$300 have the same NPV too. Keep that in mind ... 7/$280 no deferment, 10/$300 no deferment and 10/$325 with substantial deferment are the same NPV ... give or take depending on assumptions about return rates. so, 10/$325 is 7/$280 with minimal deferment and a bit of cash for the extra 3 years of control.)

The big question then is whether Seager is worth 7/$280. Now there are reasons I've already mentioned why that contract probably shouldn't have been offered to Seager but whether he's worth the additional 3/$45 is a trivial issue. FWIS, it's probably better to pay Seager 10/$325 through age 37 rather than Rendon 7/$245 through age 36 because the latter is really counting on Rendon remaining quite productive from 34-36 while Seager's contract really isn't. How much better depends on whether/how Seager's contract may be deferred. In short, Rendon is being paid to produce about 30 WAR from ages 30-36; Seager only about 25 WAR from 30-37, assuming he can produce 10 WAR at 28-29.

Regardless, at the end of the day, the alternative leads to at least one of two untenable positions. Either teams are so stupid that they are paying $8 M per WAR when the real price is more like $5 or teams are projecting players to 35 WAR when they should be projecting them to 20 WAR. Now I'm a big believer in the irrationality of markets and certainly the latter still happens occasionally (quite possibly in Seager's case) but if a bunch of twits on the internet can figure out that Corey Seager (and Rendon and Arenado and Cole and ...) are only worth at most 2/3 of what they're paid, surely the folks with hundreds of millions on the line can figure it out too -- but what, all these Wall Street traders buying teams don't understand the concepts?

But even that doesn't matter a whole lot. If you want to add Corey Seager to your team, you're gonna have to pay something like 10/$300 whether he's "worth that" or not because some other team will. If you can figure out ways to get the production without spending that money (i.e. you're the Rays) then you should do so. Alas, if you can make as much profit while neither paying Seager nor being as smart as the Rays ...
   37. McCoy Posted: November 30, 2021 at 09:25 PM (#6055472)
But here's the thing, clearly no other team did want to pay him 10 years/300 million.

Take the original ARod FA contract. No one else was offering 10/250 million. No one else was even close.
   38. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 30, 2021 at 09:50 PM (#6055473)
Finally on #22 ... it's not clear to me you understand the role of deferment.
I understand how deferment works, thanks. It's just that you keep making the argument, which essentially boils down to "the last few years don't really count because they've already (hopefully) gotten the expected production for the life of the contract," but there's no evidence that ownership and FOs actually take that view when the rubber meets the road, i.e. when the dead-money years have started. In fact, all the evidence is to the contrary - ownership very much views those contracts as still part of the current payroll, with whatever resulting constraints that entails.

Regardless, at the end of the day, the alternative leads to at least one of two untenable positions. Either teams are so stupid that they are paying $8 M per WAR when the real price is more like $5 or teams are projecting players to 35 WAR when they should be projecting them to 20 WAR. Now I'm a big believer in the irrationality of markets and certainly the latter still happens occasionally (quite possibly in Seager's case) but if a bunch of twits on the internet can figure out that Corey Seager (and Rendon and Arenado and Cole and ...) are only worth at most 2/3 of what they're paid, surely the folks with hundreds of millions on the line can figure it out too -- but what, all these Wall Street traders buying teams don't understand the concepts?
A couple of things: 1) as others have noted, the offers that get accepted are (almost) invariably the "dumbest" ones from the team's perspective, plus the players who get these contracts are going to be paid among the highest in the game for many years. There's almost nowhere to go but to underperform expectations - if you're already at the very top of the line, the only potential upside for the team is if there is continued inflation while you maintain your elite performance. That is more than counterbalanced by the many players whose elite performance vanishes with age. So if I were running a team, no, I would not think it is good value to pay based on historical averages of only the highest offers that include a lot of busts and relatively few players who actually maintained their value. I do think a historical ($/projected WAR at the time of signing) number would be a lot more useful than ($/WAR produced).

And 2) Irrationality of markets indeed - it's pretty clear that some of these deals are influenced by factors such as wanting to "make a splash" or "establish a team's seriousness as an FA destination," or "I'm Steve Cohen and I have a ton of money, so who cares." YMMV as to whether they should be included as "market" factors, I suppose.

But even that doesn't matter a whole lot. If you want to add Corey Seager to your team, you're gonna have to pay something like 10/$300 whether he's "worth that" or not because some other team will. If you can figure out ways to get the production without spending that money (i.e. you're the Rays) then you should do so.
True that. With the caveat that the Rays model may create some issues with building a loyal fanbase, although there are some conflicting data and chicken/egg questions there.
   39. dejarouehg Posted: December 01, 2021 at 04:48 AM (#6055501)
Have to wonder if this was Seager reading the tea leaves that this is as good as it can get financially (who cares about winning at this point?) and refusing the standard Boras advice to wait it out. With no state income tax, this is probably better than Lindor's deal.

Of course, there won't be any winning for some time with the rest of that team's squad.

If this were the NBA, he could sign the contract and then whine his way on to another team after a few years of losing.
   40. Rally Posted: December 01, 2021 at 10:12 AM (#6055524)
If we’re at 10 million per win right now, 6% inflation will push that up to 17 million by the end of a 10 year deal.

The effects of inflation are not even though. In the last 2 years there has been a very lopsided increase in wealth for those who were already the richest, and these people are the ones who pay baseball players. I can see a very good case for thinking the baseball salary inflation will be higher than the price increases the rest of us see.
   41. The Yankee Clapper Posted: December 01, 2021 at 01:50 PM (#6055593)
And it would be a mistake to hand 3B back to Kiner-Falefa, Gold Glove or not. He cannot hit well enough to play anywhere but SS, and they must bring up Josh Jung, who will be 24 next season, and get him acclimated to the majors and contributing. It would be a huge mistake to keep Jung in Round Rock batting .348 for any length of time.
So, it won’t take much for the Yankees to trade for him? Maybe a middling prospect and some cash to help with that humongous air conditioning bill?
   42. sunday silence (again) Posted: December 01, 2021 at 05:02 PM (#6055658)
Can anyone comment on the Starling Marte contract? In the wake of all these signings I think this one went unnoticed by Primate Radar.

Fascinating discussion really enjoying this.
   43. Zach Posted: December 01, 2021 at 05:54 PM (#6055669)
Either teams are so stupid that they are paying $8 M per WAR when the real price is more like $5 or teams are projecting players to 35 WAR when they should be projecting them to 20 WAR.

Well, they are dropping 325 million dollars on the single most expensive source of future wins.

My way of thinking is that the further you go in the future, the more you should be paying based on the *average* cost of wins, rather than the future price for star players. If you've got eight years to get your act together, you should be able to get 4 wins of talent for less than $17 million per win, or whatever it comes out to.
   44. GregD Posted: December 01, 2021 at 06:06 PM (#6055675)
Can anyone comment on the Starling Marte contract? In the wake of all these signings I think this one went unnoticed by Primate Radar.
other people can do better than me in assessing the money and risk. He’s an amazingly dynamic player and tremendous fun to watch. There were stretches in late summer where he just took over games on the base paths and at plate in a shocking way.

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