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Saturday, March 11, 2023

Sources: Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks agree on 8 years, $111M

Outfielder Corbin Carroll and the Arizona Diamondbacks are in agreement on an eight-year, $111 million contract extension, sources familiar with the deal confirmed to ESPN, tying one of the top prospects in baseball to the team through his prime seasons.

The deal includes a ninth-year club option, sources said.

Carroll, 22, debuted last year and lived up to the hype that had built up during his ascent to the big leagues. In 32 games, he hit .260/.330/.500 with four home runs, 14 RBIs and a pair of stolen bases. Still Rookie of the Year-eligible, Carroll is regarded as the favorite by oddsmakers going into 2023.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 11, 2023 at 03:44 PM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: corbin carroll, diamondbacks

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   1. The Duke Posted: March 11, 2023 at 06:13 PM (#6120201)
We are going to see a ton of these Braves deals now because the players haven't yet proven themselves and have a lot of risk of failure. The teams have the benefit of portfolio experience - if they do five and one goes badly, they are still ok.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: March 11, 2023 at 09:22 PM (#6120213)
Give or take, this is the Acuna deal depending on whether you think 11% inflation is enough between 2019 and 23 plus the Braves hold 2/$34 of options. It is also $39 M more than the Michael Harris deal signed earlier this offseason and the Braves hold two options there too. It is 3/$70 less than Wander Franco -- 10 years left, same baseball age as Carroll in 2023, so effectively 2/$70 less I guess.

Assuming the option is exercised, he'll be turning 31 when the deal ends, still plenty of potential money waiting in FA/extension.

I wonder what the rough estimate of $/WAR pricing on these sorts of deals is. I'm guessing in the range of $4 M per -- obviously with max $/WAR at the start and either still being ridiculously low by the end or about right. But I don't know how many of these players crush it and how many "disappoint." Carroll might well be a superstar but 25 WAR over 8 years is not easy. Acuna has 4 years of his deal done and, mainly due to injuries and 2020, it's 13.5 bWAR so far. As good as Acuna (5 bWAR/650) is a lot to ask; healthier is easier to pull off but that just helps you keep pace with his overall production.

Over the 8 service years (not ages) covered by this deal, Bryce Harper had 29 WAR but that does include 2020 (and $86 M per b-r). Correa over 7 service years put up 35 WAR for $62 M and will, give or take, likely hit about 40 WAR and $100 M this year. Machado was 35 WAR for $65 M over 8 service years. I don't think anybody expected Xander to turn out quite this good but he was either 29 WAR for $64 M (by service years) or 34 for $84 (by age).

It could be teams expect arb prices to really escalate (and they might) but many of these big buyouts are not the super-bargains they appear to be. I'd flip Duke's odds around a bit -- a lot of the potential value in these deals is the option years but I suspect those really pay off only 1 or 2 out of 5. It's not that teams are OK with one going belly up, it's that they are thrilled when one really pays off.

When I say "really pay off" -- the options will probably usually get exercised but mostly in a "still a solid player" way more than a "$45 M player for $18 M option" way. Teams can't go badly wrong with these deals because of MLB's salary structure (pre-arb, arb, FA) -- even 15-20 WAR would make the DBacks content. This deal is obviously much cheaper than shopping on the FA market, that's not in question. The question I'm intrigued by is "what is the going price for service years 0+ -- 8 when going through arb/FA or even "what is the cost of the first 12-13 years of a modern career and does that differ between buyout plus FA guys like Carroll vs year-by-year then earliest possible FA guys like Machado.
   3. The Duke Posted: March 11, 2023 at 11:44 PM (#6120220)
$5 million signing bonus
2023: $1M
2024: $3M
2025: $5M
2026: $10M
2027: $12M
2028: $14M
2029: $28M
2030: $28M
2031: $28M club option or $5M buyout.
   4. Jack Sommers Posted: March 12, 2023 at 01:05 AM (#6120223)
I think I can simplify this a little

If Carroll gets better at hitting lefties, and does not have an injury prone career despite his stature, then he'll blow away the dollar value of this contract. He will post 4-6 WAR seasons repeatedly throughout the deal with a peak 7 or 8 WAR season tucked in there somewhere.

But if he struggles against lefties and/or has a lot of injuries, then he becomes a 2 WAR player, and maybe reaches 15 WAR during the course of the first 8 years of the deal. (In which case the option doesn't get picked up.)

The fact that he already suffered a major shoulder injury swinging a bat makes the second scenario somewhat more than the proverbial "non zero chance"

And he only had a .777 OPS vs. lefties in MiLB last year despite playing in Amarillo and Reno, (i.e. orbit) and then followed that up by going five for 28 with 7 K's vs. LHP in MLB. None of that means he can't hit lefties at this level....but he hasn't proven he can yet. With young left hand bats I always play the waiting game, cuz you just never know. The good news on this front is he will definitely get every opportunity to learn to hit lefties. There will be no self fulfilling prophecy here with premature platooning.

Something some might want to consider though is if you have any belief that a player's work ethic, focus, and character can help him achieve the limits of his potential, then Carroll is your guy. He's a pretty special person.

There's risk here, but I believe the risk/reward calculus is in the Diamondbacks favor. He's got a high floor, and everything it takes to achieve his ceiling. He basically just needs good health.

   5. Walt Davis Posted: March 12, 2023 at 02:57 PM (#6120251)
There's risk here, but I believe the risk/reward calculus is in the Diamondbacks favor. He's got a high floor, and everything it takes to achieve his ceiling. He basically just needs good health.

That's the beauty of the system for the teams -- getting to underpay players substantially for the first 6 years means that deals like this are pretty much never high risk unless maybe they go to the extreme of the Tatis deal. So the upside is always in the team's favor.

But that was the point of my quasi-random (who I could think of) or subconsciously cherry-picked examples. It would be asking a lot for Carroll to be better than Harper over the start of his career but they will be paying him at least $25 M more (8 years later). Trea Turner put up 30 WAR in his arb years which cost $46 M ... Carroll will get $50 through his arb years. The two FA years at $28 while Turner gets $27 (and then 9 more years of 27). $28 in those first 2 arb years isn't cheap -- it's not outrageous but it's not cheap. atis doesn't make that much (more) until 2029 (same year as Carroll).

They are paying what has been pretty much full arb price ($50 M) for a Turner-level player and then two not cheap FA years (and one reasonably cheap option). This is "expensive" by the standards of these deals. It's not until he reaches that Correa-Machado level that the DBacks start to really come out ahead relative to market.

But good to see the RSN mess hasn't kept the DBacks from at least doing these kinds of dals.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: March 12, 2023 at 04:12 PM (#6120255)
In today's WTF, the b-r search box is only looking at the manager database today. :-) So let's continue the comp to Tatis. Over the same service years, Tatis will make $74 (ignoring the suspension) and Carroll $111; if the DBacks exercise the option, the comp is $99 to $134. Now the DBacks avoid that small matter of 7/$241 and, without that 7/$241 Tatis was never going to agree to 8/$74 and maybe not even 8/$111. Still, paying a guy with a handful of PAs under his belt similar to Tatis after two full service years (granted one was 2020) is not a bargain relative to market.
   7. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: March 13, 2023 at 07:38 AM (#6120287)
Fun fact: In OOTP, Corbin Carroll (born in Seattle) is eligible to play for both the USA and Taiwan. So, in my imaginary World Winter Baseball League, Carroll was the starting center fielder for the Taipei Brother Elephants, the all-Taiwanese* team.

*I refuse to say "Chinese Taipei". Fight me.
   8. Jack Sommers Posted: March 13, 2023 at 10:29 AM (#6120294)
Walt, I don't think there was anything wrong with your analysis at all. I'm not saying it's great deal for the D-backs relative to the market. But I think things will work out for the D-backs. They wanted this player to stay for a long time real bad. They might have overpaid a little to make it happen, but that's ok. They most likely will not end up regretting this contract.

One thing I was thinking about:

He makes $45M in salary plus the $5M bonus, total $50M from 2023-2028. 2026 thru 2028 would be his arbitration years, and account for $36 million of that.

The question becomes how much is the team saving through those first 6 years at 50M should he perform at a high level ? Would he do better than $36 million in three cracks at arbitration ?

I think they believe he is a Mookie Betts level talent. Betts made $57M in 18-19-20. Seems a stretch to say he will be as good as Mookie was and command that kind of arb salary. But it feels like this is what they are protecting against. They worried that if he broke out his price tag goes up exponentially month by month. And as I said, they really love this player and wanted to keep him around a long time.

Here are a couple of AZ Central articles worth checking out. Not sure if you can get around the paywall. You can probably get two free articles. (If you've clicked on any AZ Central lately, then delete dem cookies) Nick Piecoro, who is an extremely smart and analytical beat writer, wrote two articles worth checking out.


Diamondbacks Double Down on Corbin Carroll with 111 Million Extension


How Corbin Carroll and Dbacks Hammered out Record Setting Deal

The below NON PAYWALLED article contains two videos of Hazen and then Carroll talking about the extension as well. Carroll is always so measured and thoughtful in the way he answers questions.

Corbin Carroll Extension a Result of Commitment and Trust

   9. Walt Davis Posted: March 13, 2023 at 02:44 PM (#6120314)
#8: I think I said in one of the other threads that maybe teams are worried that arb is about to explode. And given some of the FA deals signed recently or the fact that these buyouts seem to pay every kid the max arb amount, maybe they will.

I think Mookie's $57 is the record for 3 arb years or at least the non-Trout record. Carlos Correa put up an injury-plagued 22 WAR in his 3+ pre-arb period and his arb cost just $25. Turner's 4 arb years cost $46. Judge's 3 arb years cost $39. You can get a lot of ballplayer for $50 arb money. Bryant set the 1st year (super-2) arb record with an RoY and MVP and ring and 18 WAR and his 4 years cost $62 (granted he'd have made a lot more if he'd continued that 5-6 WAR pace). Cody Bellinger broke Bryant's record but let's not go there.

So it's possible Carroll will be here in 3 years with 18 WAR under his belt and 18 more to come regretting this deal. If he outperforms Correa, Machado, etc. and ends up at 40-45 WAR in 8 service years (Arenado), this deal will be a bargain. Mookie has made it to 56 WAR in his first 8+ service years. Of course if they think he's that sort of talent, then you have to consider offering him a Franco/Tatis type deal.

I would really like to be Adley Rutschman's agent.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 13, 2023 at 02:48 PM (#6120315)
I think they believe he is a Mookie Betts level talent.

That's a bad bet to make on any player.
   11. Mayor Blomberg Posted: March 13, 2023 at 03:51 PM (#6120327)
Carroll is always so measured and thoughtful in the way he answers questions.

Lakeside High grad.
   12. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 13, 2023 at 03:56 PM (#6120330)

One advantage of a deal like this is you get the first few free agent years without having to sign the guy to an extension that takes you into his late 30s. If you just go year-to-year through the arb years, then you end up with free agent in his late 20s and you potentially have to sign him through his late 30s when you only really want him through age 33 or 34.

Yes, only signing him through age 31 means you might miss a couple of good years after that. But if you subscribe to the theory that it's better to let a guy go a year too early than a year too late (and it's much better to let a guy go 2 years too early than 4 years too late), then this kind of deal makes sense.
   13. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 14, 2023 at 12:58 PM (#6120405)
Carroll is always so measured and thoughtful in the way he answers questions.

Lakeside High grad.

I was going to mention that...
   14. Darren Posted: March 14, 2023 at 05:00 PM (#6120415)
I have a hard time seeing this as anything but a great deal for Carroll. He is only really underpaid if he becomes a really good player (perennial All-Star). If he doesn't reach that level, this probably overpays him or at least pays him fairly. And he doesn't have to worry about having a tough stretch and getting sent down long enough to mess with his service time.

If he is a really good player and the Diamondbacks pick up his 2031 option, he gets to free agency at age 31. Obviously, not ideal age-wise, but since he's a really good player, he's still young enough to get a 4 or 5 year deal (assuming the weird burst of deals that carry into players' 40s has passed) at very good money. So in this case, he would have likely sacrificed:

--During the contract: Estimating about $12M/$18M/$25M for arb years and $40M/year for his two post arb years (see below), that's about $135M. So by taking $111 mil, he loses $24 mil.
--The option year: They get him for $23 mil., but as a free agent, he's probably making ~$40 mil/year on a long term deal that started at age 28. Another $12M lost.
--Post contract: If he had not signed and went to free agency at age 28, I'm guessing something like 10/$400M (?) carrying him through age 37. That 4-5 year deal he gets at 31 is probably for less but not a ton less, say 5/$150M. Then another 2 years where he's probably not great, maybe 2/20M. That's a deficit of $110M.

So in total, with this contract he makes $316M ($111M + $23M + $170M) instead of $455M ($55M + $400M). And that's if and only if he's really good, a perennial all-star type. All worse outcomes, and he comes out ahead. That's a no brainer.
   15. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 14, 2023 at 05:16 PM (#6120418)

Yeah, per my #12, the "downside" scenario for Carroll is if he ends up being one of those guys who is really good through age 30 and then falls off a cliff. He'll have missed his chance to get a big free agent payday in his late 20s before the cliff. But that's not a scenario you plan for.
   16. Darren Posted: March 15, 2023 at 09:24 AM (#6120459)
One advantage of a deal like this is you get the first few free agent years without having to sign the guy to an extension that takes you into his late 30s. If you just go year-to-year through the arb years, then you end up with free agent in his late 20s and you potentially have to sign him through his late 30s when you only really want him through age 33 or 34.

Yes, totally agree. A big factor here is Carroll being so young. Go year to year and you risk losing his still-prime age 28-30 seasons. If he's 23 instead of 21, going year to year means maybe losing him at age 30 and that's not so bad.
   17. Darren Posted: March 15, 2023 at 10:51 AM (#6120462)
Another important thing to consider is that a lot of Carroll's value comes from his defense, which doesn't usually translate into great arb results or the largest contracts.

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