Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Wander Franco, Rays close to massive contract extension for 20-year-old star, per report

Shortstop Wander Franco quickly emerged as one of MLB’s best players this season and the Tampa Bay Rays are wasting no time locking him up. The club is inching closer to signing Franco to a record-setting contact extension, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The deal is expected to be in the 10-year, $200 million range. The team has not yet confirmed the news.

The current record contract for a player with less than one full year of service time is Ronald Acuña Jr.‘s eight-year, $100 million contract with the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves, a record Franco is poised to smash.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 23, 2021 at 01:02 PM | 41 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rays, wander franco

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: November 23, 2021 at 01:06 PM (#6054261)
12/$223 per Hector Gomez.
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 23, 2021 at 01:11 PM (#6054262)
@JeffPassan
Shortstop Wander Franco and the Tampa Bay Rays are in agreement on a 12-year contract that guarantees him around $185 million, sources tell ESPN. The deal is worth a maximum of $223 million. It is done, pending small details. The 20-year-old is going to be a Ray for a long time.
   3. reech Posted: November 23, 2021 at 01:14 PM (#6054263)
is it a no-trade?
   4. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: November 23, 2021 at 01:17 PM (#6054264)
To be 20 years old, and have $185 million guaranteed? And a good chance of $223 million? And have all this money come in before you turn 33? It is unfathomable - good for him. He is a very exciting player, and the fans in Montreal are going to love him!
   5. Buck Coats Posted: November 23, 2021 at 01:19 PM (#6054265)
Well, they'll love him half the time.
   6. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: November 23, 2021 at 01:22 PM (#6054266)
Also: To those wondering about his learning curve, because he is so young:

First 20 games, he hit .200.

The last 50 games? .323/.382/.502

Then in the postseason he had an OPS of 1.158.

Unreal how good this kid is.
   7. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: November 23, 2021 at 01:33 PM (#6054273)
Passan clarifies it's 11/$185 with option for 12th year that ups it to $223.

I would be curious about no trades or opt outs.
   8. McCoy Posted: November 23, 2021 at 01:36 PM (#6054275)
No way that option happens
   9. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 23, 2021 at 01:49 PM (#6054276)
And have all this money come in before you turn 33?
Maybe after this deal expires he'll sign a 17-year extension to go for Oldest Franco.
   10. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: November 23, 2021 at 01:49 PM (#6054277)
That seems like a really good deal for the Rays. Off the top of my head that's 5/150 give or take for his FA portion of that contract that doesn't start for another 6 years. At roughly the same age Lindor signed for 10/341.

Of course the 20 year old kid just guaranteed himself $185 million so it's not really a bad deal for him.
   11. McCoy Posted: November 23, 2021 at 02:03 PM (#6054280)
It’s a great deal for the Rays if he’s good 6 years from now. A problematic contract for them if he is not. Heck, who are we kidding they won’t be able to afford the contract even if he looks like a future HoFer.
   12. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 23, 2021 at 02:04 PM (#6054281)
Good for him. Now he can just play baseball and enjoy life.
   13. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 23, 2021 at 02:06 PM (#6054283)
That seems like a really good deal for the Rays. Off the top of my head that's 5/150 give or take for his FA portion of that contract that doesn't start for another 6 years.
I mean, Franco's track record is about as good as it gets for a 20-year-old, but man, that's a massive commitment based on very limited data at the MLB level. The Rays are taking on a lot of risk here, to state the obvious.
   14. BDC Posted: November 23, 2021 at 02:22 PM (#6054287)
a massive commitment based on very limited data at the MLB level

Worst case, it's like the Cardinals signing Garry Templeton for 10/$4M in 1976-77 (high but not absolute top money for that era). Although inflation in salaries in the 1980s makes it hard to draw a parallel. Ten years later, Templeton was actually making $1.1M. He also wasn't very good anymore, but his salary was only modestly high; $400K would have been a bargain for Templeton's better years in his early 30s.

I guess we can't imagine that top salaries in 2031 are going to be ~$100M/yr, though.
   15. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 23, 2021 at 02:43 PM (#6054295)
I guess we can't imagine that top salaries in 2031 are going to be ~$100M/yr, though.
Yeah, there has to be an upper limit to growth.

Although inflation in salaries in the 1980s makes it hard to draw a parallel.
Plus, teams have had 45 years to learn about the risks of massive superlong contracts. Free agency was in its infancy in 1976-77, and teams were doing things like signing Wayne Garland for 15 years or whatever.
   16. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: November 23, 2021 at 02:44 PM (#6054296)
Even for the Rays, $17/yr in dead salary isn't going to cripple them. It sure would hurt though.
   17. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 23, 2021 at 02:48 PM (#6054297)
Even for the Rays, $17/yr in dead salary isn't going to cripple them. It sure would hurt though.
$17 million, or $17?
   18. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 23, 2021 at 03:08 PM (#6054300)
11/$185 with option for 12th year that ups it to $223.
That apparently also includes a series of $3M escalators based on MVP voting. I suspect it’s a better deal if the escalators kick in than if they don’t.
   19. Stevey Posted: November 23, 2021 at 03:34 PM (#6054303)
I mean, Franco's track record is about as good as it gets for a 20-year-old, but man, that's a massive commitment based on very limited data at the MLB level.


Steamer already has Franco projected to be roughly the 10th best position player in the league for 2022


Yeah, there has to be an upper limit to growth.


There doesn't seem to be one to revenue generated by owning a baseball team.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: November 23, 2021 at 03:34 PM (#6054304)
#16: The concern would be the $30 M/yr in dead salary in 6 years if he flops/injured.

Further from Passan: 11/$185 guaranteed and the 12th year option is actually only $25 M but increases by $3 M for each year he finishes top 5 in MVP voting starting in 2028 so a maximum of a $38 option (seems it should be $40). I don't imagine many folks other than Trout/Pujols/Bonds types manage to finish top 5 for 5 straight years but if he's good there's a more than reasonable chance he'll do it a couple of times. He says there is no NTC but Franco gets a $3M bonus when traded.

Not many comps:
Robert 6/$50 + 2/$36 on 0 service time, max $20, front-loaded
Acuna 8/$100 + 2/$24 on <1 service time**, max $17
Tatis 14/$340 on 2 service time, $140 over the first 9 years, $176 for 10 years (max $25, $36 in year 10)

So, Franco's covers the first 11 years of his career (by service time). Tatis had 2 years already so the first 9 years of the contract takes him through 11 years. Compared in that way, this contract is substantially more expensive than Tatis. Of course Tatis has another $200 M guaranteed after that so that's clearly not a fair comparison but gives a bit of perspective.

vs Robert -- Franco gets an additional 3/$100 + the option so that's pretty expensive.
vs Acuna -- Franco gets an additional 1/$60 + the option so that's very expensive.
Acuna vs Robert -- Acuna gets an additional 2/$36 which seems like a steal for the Braves.

Another way to comp them is the pre-FA portion. Robert gets $50, Acuna $56.5, Tatis $35, Franco ??

One of the articles pointed out that the Rays did this with Longoria back in the day. Back in 2008, that was 6/$17.5 + 3/$27.

** Acuna's first option year is for $17 but has a whopping $10 M buyout, so I've listed the "marginal" option ... technically $7 then $17. There's almost no chance Acuna won't be worth $7 M. Robert has two $2 M buyouts which I've also deducted although I'm not sure if the 2nd is guaranteed. His max salary in the guaranteed years is $15.
   21. Walt Davis Posted: November 23, 2021 at 03:54 PM (#6054305)
In valuing, it's important to keep in mind that the Rays had control over the next 6 seasons already. The first 3 would be essentially free. If he's as good as hoped than the 3 arb years would cost probably $60-70 M (call it $65). If he's not quite that good or misses a year in there, the arb years will be substantially less. Kris Bryant set the record for super-2 which I think at the time was also the record for all first arb awards and still his full 4 years ended up only costing $60 M due to missed time and a down year in 2018 and more missed time in 2020 so these things happen.

So they probably had Franco at a maximum cost around 6/$70, maybe an expected cost of 6/$60 and had protection against disappointment and injury. They've traded that for an additional 5/$125 + option ... which will save them probably $60-$85 M (over 12 years) if he's a super-duper star and about half of that if he's a regular star.

In short, this contract is like pretty much any of these -- it's great for the team if the player is great; it's probably about a break-even swap of long-term security for $ if the player is good; the player "wins" if their career gets sidetracked.
   22. Captain Joe Bivens, Elderly Northeastern Jew Posted: November 23, 2021 at 03:56 PM (#6054307)
I like this. Pay them young, let them beg when they're on the downside of their careers. It will result in a more youthful (better) league.
   23. Jack Sommers Posted: November 23, 2021 at 04:30 PM (#6054315)
He struck out 3 times in his last 97 PA

   24. The Honorable Ardo Posted: November 23, 2021 at 04:39 PM (#6054318)
If you're going to lock anyone up, he's the one. 5/$125 for his age 27-31 seasons is a great deal for the Rays barring catastrophe.

Cal Ripken gave the Orioles 35.5 WAR from ages 27-31. Even production akin to Robin Yount (21.3 WAR) or Derek Jeter (20.5 WAR) would be worth about $5/140 in today's dollars on the open market. Carlos Correa, entering his age-27 season, is going to get more than that.
   25. The Duke Posted: November 23, 2021 at 04:49 PM (#6054326)
Over / under on when the Rays trade him ? I’m not sure how the cash is Paid in this deal as opposed to the AAV but if it mimics what he would have gotten in arb he’ll be gone in 2-4 years. What a great deal by the Rays - they’ve converted him to a year by year contract determined by a nameless/faceless arbitrator into the most valuable and tradable contract in baseball.
   26. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: November 23, 2021 at 07:12 PM (#6054349)
He struck out 3 times in his last 97 PA


and to repeat...he's 20 years old.

I'm 56, have 5 kids....and all of them are older then Wander.
   27. Brian White Posted: November 23, 2021 at 09:11 PM (#6054389)
While scanning this headline, my brain registered this as a 20 year extension.

Which would have been a really bold move.
   28. McCoy Posted: November 23, 2021 at 11:12 PM (#6054437)
I did the same thing
   29. sotapop Posted: November 24, 2021 at 09:01 AM (#6054453)
One of those rare Rays fans here. My teenage son spotted this on the Rays' mlb.com page last night and ran to get me, just saying, "Dad, you have to go to the Rays page RIGHT NOW."

They've locked in young players before -- Longo, Kiermaier and Brandon Lowe -- but this, to us, is huge.

Franco put up 3.5 WAR in 70 games last year, as a rookie. Just spitballing here, but if he averages out as "only" a 5 WAR player, the Rays have a hell of a bargain-- 1 WAR = ~$7M, right?
   30. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 24, 2021 at 02:28 PM (#6054483)
The other benefit of signing him to a 11-12 year deal now is you guarantee you will get his “peak” age 26-30 year seasons without having to pay for the back end of his career if you don’t want to. If you wait for him to hit FA and then try to sign him, you’re going to have to pay him for another 10+ years if he’s as good as expected.
   31. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 24, 2021 at 05:29 PM (#6054524)
I’m in the ‘Good Deal For Both Sides’ camp. Franco gets guaranteed generational wealth (absent atrocious financial management) while removing the risk that early injury or a careless bus driver could drastically reduce his earning potential. He’ll also have a chance at adding another ~ $125M (probably more) in his next contract if he’s the player many, including the Rays, think he is.

$223M is a lot of money for any team, especially the Rays, but that’s what it takes to sign such a player. The alternative is to content yourself with his minimum-salary years, maybe a few record arbitration years, and then trade him before free agency, alienating the fans and consigning the team to endlessly repeating the same cycle on their better players. Maybe the signing will even help the stadium negotiations. An attractive ballpark where fans can watch a potential inner-circle Hall of Fame player might just turn the franchise around.

The downside is that if Franco somehow flops, the franchise is doomed, but everyone in MLB seems to think he’s the real deal, so go for it.
   32. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: November 24, 2021 at 05:49 PM (#6054525)
everyone in MLB seems to think he’s the real deal, so go for it.


Outside of the otherworldly development and stats he's put up thus far, the fact that the Rays are willing to do this deal tells me it's about as close to a sure thing as you can get in MLB. The Rays don't make a lot of analytical mistakes so if their guys think it's worthwhile, then that's good enough for me.

As Duke points out in 25, if he's anywhere close to what we think he can be, then it becomes far and away the most valuable and tradeable contract in MLB. It really is pure genius on Tampa's part.
   33. John Northey Posted: November 24, 2021 at 06:31 PM (#6054531)
Montreal fans will love him I'm sure :)
   34. cardsfanboy Posted: November 24, 2021 at 07:32 PM (#6054540)
Over / under on when the Rays trade him ? I’m not sure how the cash is Paid in this deal as opposed to the AAV but if it mimics what he would have gotten in arb he’ll be gone in 2-4 years. What a great deal by the Rays - they’ve converted him to a year by year contract determined by a nameless/faceless arbitrator into the most valuable and tradable contract in baseball.


Do the Rays usually trade early on their big signings? I know they haven't had many, but they are a pretty smart organization and like winning, they aren't the Marlins who give up every time the payroll reaches the cost of paying 25 McDonald's employees $1 over minimum wage.
   35. cardsfanboy Posted: November 24, 2021 at 07:51 PM (#6054545)
Franco put up 3.5 WAR in 70 games last year, as a rookie. Just spitballing here, but if he averages out as "only" a 5 WAR player, the Rays have a hell of a bargain-- 1 WAR = ~$7M, right?


Roughly right, but I take first 200 pa as mostly meaningless. His track record in the minors, scouting expectations and other things matter and they are all good, but very few players average 5 war over the course of their first 10 years. Over the course of his contract, based upon what you get from pre-arby years, arby years and locked in years, you have to look at the break even point based upon those numbers.

Assuming $7 mil per year is 1 war, and that is based upon free agent cost... you are looking at he needs to produce 3 war per year in the last 5 years of the contract for it to be break even just in those years.(100 mil where he might be underpaid in those years) (note: Not talking about the nature of the contract, just looking at the raw money and no inflation or anything) So you have 5 years where the team had a say in his contract, the first two they could have dictated any price they wanted, so what he does in those first two years is utterly meaningless in any analysis of this contract from a business perspective. In his fourth year he becomes arby eligible, the record for a first year arby eligible player is 11.5 mil (Cody Bellinger) so assuming he earns enough to make that amount, he is still 10 mil over paid for that season (basically they have paid 60 mil for a guy that if the team wanted to, could have paid 13mil) . The record for an arbitration eligible player is 27 mil (Mookie Betts) Basically if he equals the record for arby eligible players he still is on average being overpaid for those years.

For this to be a 'bad contract' for Franco, it means he would need to be a plus 5 war player in the last two years of his arby years, healthy and a free agent to be, while at the same time he more than likely would have thrown away 30 to 70 mil in salary that he wouldn't have had. This feels like one of those things that is great for the player, good for the team, with the team actually taking the risk this time, and I'm happy for that.

And marketing on this is great. My friends know I'm a Cardinal fan, and pretty much every year I get asked "what uniform with a name on it should I buy so it has lasting power" (and no I'm not kidding, that is the spirit of the comment)
   36. The Duke Posted: November 24, 2021 at 09:58 PM (#6054572)
From Dan at fangraphs on what Franco could earn going year to year.

In the 50th-percentile projection, with near-minimum salaries in 2022 and ’23, arbitration projections, and free-agent contract projections, ZiPS estimates $297 million over the next 12 years. This is well above the $223 million he can max out at, but that’s not the whole story, either. The upside isn’t tremendously high, with the 90th-percentile projection going up to $360 million. And the downside is significant. His 10th-percentile result ends up with him making less than $20 million over his career, and in 35% of the simulations, he falls short of $182 million.
   37. cardsfanboy Posted: November 24, 2021 at 10:38 PM (#6054586)
Mind you, if I'm Wander, I play another year before I even broach the subject of a long term contract. If I'm arrogant enough (which is honestly the standard I assume for every great player) to think I'm going to be great, give me a full season to prove.

At the same time... I would love to have guaranteed money... And if you give me a few mil today instead of the 800k.... I might be interested.....
   38. Walt Davis Posted: November 26, 2021 at 08:07 AM (#6054655)
He struck out 3 times in his last 97 PA

Sure, when you cherrypick, everybody looks good. :-)

Amazing stuff. It's interesting that he didn't hit THAT well during that streak, "just" 337/392/506. It is actually kind of poor on-contact production.

Do the Rays usually trade early on their big signings?

As far as I know, Longoria's the only thing they've had close to this. The original deal was for 6 years plus 3 option years. AFter year 5 of that deal they exercised the 3 options and extended him for another 6 years beyond that, taking him through 2022. They dealt him with 5 years left on that extension which are the most expensive. They also had to eat a bit of money in that deal (maybe ... it's such a complicated deal, the amount they paid seems similar to the amount of salary deferred so maybe that's more an accounting thing as to who pays that off. That they had to add money suggests that wasn't necessarily a "too rich for our blood" deal as much as a "he's not worth even the meager amount he's owed" trade.

They traded ARcher with 2.5 years left on his buyout which were the most expensive but also less than $10 M each -- either they are very cheap or they really liked the deal ... or both.

Now, back to being a downer ... the downsides for Franco

Vada Pinson: 6.5 WAR in his age 20 season. He put up 44 WAR over the next 11 seasons which would be excellent obviously. But 34 WAR were in the first 6 years, the years Tampa already controlled. Over 27-31, he put up just 10.5 WAR -- hardly a disaster for $125 M, maybe especially in 2028-32 prices, but not a bonanza.

Jim Fregosi: He wasn't that good at 19-20 but was a 4-WAR player at 21 then really took of. From 21-31, he put up 46 WAR. But again, 32 WAR in the first 6 years then 14 WAR -- solid for 5/$125. He had nearly 13 WAR at 27-28 then all the injuries ruined him.

Cesar Cedeno: Just 1.9 WAR at 20 then nuts. From 21-31 was 47 WAR in a 36/11 split.

Grady Sizemore: Not amazing at 21 but pretty amazing at 22. 28 career WAR

Tulo: 17 WAR from 27-31, about break-even for $125 M.

McCutchen: 17 WAR from 27-31.

Hanley: 10 WAR from 27-31.

Those are all guys who were really good at 21-26 although almost none were as good as Franco at 20 or (presumably) 21. And while that's a fairly long list, the list of those who were amazing for 21-26 were still more than good enough from 27-31 to justify 5/$125. One big difference of course is that I generated a list of guys who were really good from 21-26 and Franco hasn't done that yet.

Which is how such a deal is supposed to work. I wouldn't be surprised if Franco's projected value over the next 11 years would have an expectation of, say, $225 M. But you're not going to commit for 11 years when having 6 of them already under control unless you get a discout on the expected value. Similarly it's one thing to turn down $2.50 guaranteed when the expected return is $3, it's a whole other thing to turn down $185 just because, in years 7-11, maybe your expected outcome is $30 M more.

   39. DCA Posted: November 26, 2021 at 09:00 AM (#6054656)
Looking at comps who were as good as Franco at age 20, it's mostly a list of good to great players. The closest comps are probably Correa and Tatis; Albies and Jose Reyes are also similar, but Franco is clearly better. For 3/4 of those, it's too soon to say how well they will age but portends well for the immediate future. The bust guys tend to be OF or glove-only IF, poor plate discipline, and/or not highly regarded as prospects.

Realistic cautionary tale: Gregg Jeffries. Even then, Wander's glove is much better, so he probably is worth or nearly worth the contract even if his offense trends that way.
   40. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 27, 2021 at 06:32 PM (#6054898)
The contract details:
Franco will receive a $5MM bonus right off the bat. The shortstop will earn $1MM in 2022, $2MM in both 2023 and 2024, $8MM in 2025, $15MM in 2016, $22MM in 2027, and then $25MM in each of the 2028-32 seasons. Franco would receive an extra $3MM in the event of a trade, but there isn’t any no-trade protection involved in the extension.
An affordable $33M for 5 years, and then he gets a bit more expensive, but worth the price if he’s the player most expect.
   41. cardsfanboy Posted: November 27, 2021 at 08:08 PM (#6054930)
Looking at comps who were as good as Franco at age 20,


Generally speaking if you are looking at mlb players who had anything close to a full season at 20 years old, you are going to automatically have a list of good to great players.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Hombre Brotani
for his generous support.

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogMLB, union stopped blood testing for HGH due to pandemic
(23 - 4:31am, Dec 03)
Last: Ben Broussard Ramjet

NewsblogNBA 2021-2022 Season Thread
(1250 - 3:32am, Dec 03)
Last: Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB)

NewsblogThe 100 Best Baseball Books Ever Written
(73 - 11:54pm, Dec 02)
Last: Tom Nawrocki

NewsblogFormer Cy Young Winner LaMarr Hoyt Reportedly Dies At 66
(56 - 11:02pm, Dec 02)
Last: The Duke

NewsblogReport: MLB Owners Vote Unanimously to Institute Lockout
(31 - 9:57pm, Dec 02)
Last: bookbook

Sox TherapyLocked Out and Semi-Loaded
(9 - 9:27pm, Dec 02)
Last: Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms

NewsblogSources: Boston Red Sox in agreement with Rich Hill
(16 - 9:19pm, Dec 02)
Last: villageidiom

NewsblogA’s reportedly eyeing Tropicana site for possible Strip ballpark
(21 - 8:01pm, Dec 02)
Last: Walt Davis

Newsblog'Chicago!' Stroman says he's joining Cubs
(48 - 7:27pm, Dec 02)
Last: Never Give an Inge (Dave)

NewsblogDoes Major League Baseball need an offseason transaction deadline?
(6 - 6:53pm, Dec 02)
Last: The Duke

NewsblogMarcell Ozuna was choking wife as cops burst in, police video shows
(32 - 6:50pm, Dec 02)
Last: The Duke

NewsblogOT Soccer Thread - Domestic Cups, Congested Fixture Lists and Winter Breaks
(27 - 5:27pm, Dec 02)
Last: AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale

NewsblogMcCaffery: Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard passed Hall of Fame eye test
(67 - 5:12pm, Dec 02)
Last: taxandbeerguy

NewsblogSources - Cy Young winner Robbie Ray, Seattle Mariners finalizing $115 million contract
(9 - 4:40pm, Dec 02)
Last: Infinite Yost (Voxter)

NewsblogJackie Bradley, Jr. back to Boston in deal with Crew
(17 - 3:15pm, Dec 02)
Last: Walt Davis

Page rendered in 0.3179 seconds
48 querie(s) executed