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Nine-figure neighborhood…Seven Pirates among BA’s top 100

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SOUTH HILLS – Homer Bailey is Exhibit A on why clubs should never give up on a talented arm. The former top 10 overall prospect took his time in finding his way at the major league level, but over the last two years he has become a top-of-the-rotation pitcher. The Reds locked up Bailey to a six-year, $105 million deal this week, which seems somewhat remarkable given he is the owner of a middling 49-45 career record and 4.25 ERA. But remember the Reds are paying what Bailey is now and what he could be in the future — and there’s a lot of cash in the game.

Here’s what Bailey’s contract looks like: $9 million this year, $10 million in 2015, $18 million in 2016, $19 million in 2017, $21 million in 2018 and $23 million in 2019 and a $25 million option in 2020. (Gerrit Cole is going to be more expensive than this).

 

The Reds have also made a $100-plus commitments to superstar Joey Votto. Jay Bruce is locked up to an Andrew McCutchen-level contract, and Brandon Phillips is near the end of a pricey deal.

 

The Reds and Pirates are rooted in similarly sized-markets.  They are  similarly valued franchises: the Reds are worth $680 million, the Pirates $610 million, according to Bloomberg. They have similar lower-tier local TV deals (The Reds earn $10 million more per year in total media  rights, per Bloomberg). The Reds have enjoyed better attendance and higher ticket prices over the last several years, but the Pirates showed they can close that gap in 2013 simply by winning.  If you build it they will come to PNC Park. The Reds generated $205 million in total revenue in 2013, the Pirates $185 million, again, per Bloomberg.

 

What’s interesting is an examination of the two clubs’ future financial commitments:

 

REDS

2015: $70.8 million

2016: $54.5 million

2017: $55     million

2018: $46     million

 

PIRATES

2015: $22.3  million

2016: $25.9  million

2017:  $15.6 million

2018:  $1       million (Option on Andrew McCutchen)

 

Will the Pirates eventually rise to meet the Reds’ level of future spending? They’ll have to to keep the core together.

 

The Reds have shown a willingness to commit substantial dollars to core pieces. They are a smaller-market club and they have now shelled out two, $100-million plus contracts. For the Pirates to keep its core together ownership will have demonstrate a willingness to pay out nine figures. Pedro Alvarez will likely require a nine-figure deal in a power-depressed environment. If Cole is to pitch in Pittsburgh as a 29-year-old, he’ll require a nine-figure deal. If Francisco Liriano follows up his 2013 with a similar 2014 he could near nine-figure territory. If the Pirates want to make McCutchen a lifetime player, it will be a nine-figure deal.

 

The Scott Boras factor complicates things with Cole and Alvarez, who will likely test free agency. But the point is if the Reds can make such a commitment so, too, can the Pirates.

 

SEVEN PIRATES LAND ON BA’S TOP 100

The last major top 100 list was unveiled today, Baseball America’s 25th such ranking. The Pirates landed seven names on the list, which is an organizational record, I believe, and remember these seven prospects have helped the Pirates earn the No. 1 farm system ranking in the Baseball America Handbook.

Gregory Polanco (10)

BA: “After he takes a breather from his successful winter ball stint in the Dominican Republic, Polanco can set his sights on winning Pittsburgh’s right-field job by midsummer.”

*I was actually surprised by the aggressive Polanco ranking. Ahead of Francisco Lindor and Addison Russell? Wow.

Jameson Taillon (22)

BA: “Taillon has frontline stuff and has put himself on the cusp of the Pittsburgh rotation, and more consistent fastball command will get him his Pirates puffy shirt.”

Tyler Glasnow (46)

Austin Meadows (49)

BA: “Following a tight spring prior to the draft, Meadows played loose and free after signing. A repeat of that approach would serve him well in his full-season debut.”

Nick Kingham (64)

*I think Kingham could be a top 30 prospect next year: he has the complete package.

Alen Hanson (76)

Reese McGuire (81)

BA: ”The history of high school catchers drafted in the first round isn’t the greatest, but McGuire showed the defensive chops and bat to make good in his debut. He’ll just look to continue that trend in his first full season.”

*I’m higher on McGuire than most.

- TS

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Comments

  1. macchamp74 says:

    Travis, Cincinnati has ownership that is willing to write the check.
    Will Mr. Nutting? We will get the answer in a couple of years.

  2. Jeff King says:

    I have this bad feeling of what’s about to transpire in the next several years regarding salaries. Was thinking about Liriano yesterday and came to the conclusion he’s gone unless he has a bad year. Ditto for Russell Martin. Pedro gone…. because Boros is going to ask for the moon.
    The problem is I really can’t blame them in some situations, such as the AJ saga. $22 million? c’mon.
    This is what I really hate about baseball. The owners, with the new TV contracts, have gone out of their minds again.
    Homer Bailey $105M?

  3. NMR says:

    The Pirates need to answer the question of whether or not it is actually a good idea to lock up core players before figuring out if they can afford it.

    Can somebody provide an example of this actually working out for a small to mid-market team?

  4. Jeff King says:

    That’s part of the problem. The Dodgers will have an extra $200M to spend from TV revenue and the Pirates $20M. As much as you want to say the Nuttings are cheap, is that really an equal starting point from which to spend?

  5. Travis Sawchik says:

    Depends on the definition of locking up. But I’ll assume we are talking about several years of free agency being bought out and we are not concerned too much with post-prime years.

    Cleveland Indians circa 1993 began the trend. Tampa Bay to an extent. And now the Braves … (Where my man John Hart is now a senior adviser)

  6. Travis Sawchik says:

    End of the day, I think you want as many Age 25-29 seasons from your core as possible

  7. NMR says:

    Tampa has done nothing like what we’re seeing from the Braves and Reds. Neither did Cleveland.

  8. NMR says:

    Sure. Sounds great. But at what cost?

    I think you’re mistaken if you believe teams will be able to keep locking up players at below-market rate.

  9. Nate83 says:

    105 million is too much for Homer Bailey in my opinion. I do not see Liriano getting more then a 4 year deal even if he has a repeat of last year. It’s just my opinion but I don’t think it’s likely he gets anywhere near 9 digits. I think it’s more likely he gets a Matt Garza type of deal in the 4/60 range.

    I agree that Alvarez is likely to get close to 100 million if not above and it will be too much for the Pirates to invest based on what I think they value in players. I could see Cole being the first 100 million player in Pirate history. I think over then next 3 or 4 years it will be pitching that consistently keeps the Pirates competitive. Not unlike the Braves when they had Glavine, Maddox and Smoltz they will decide to keep that commodity while filling in the pieces around it.

    Obviously the Pirates wouldn’t be able to pay 3 front line horses like the Braves did but Cole projects to be the most dependable and he is the first of the projected pitchers they have to make a decision on. Extending him and buying out 2 or 3 years of free agency will extend the window of being competitive and allow some extra time to make decision on Taillon and hopefully Kingham, Glasnow and others if they do indeed become starting rotation mainstays. It will help if they can get team friendly deals for players like Marte and Polanco who may be interested in cost certainty in exchange for a little risk from the team of committing to them for 6-8 years.

  10. The Czar says:

    I am already prepared for the day the Pirates trade away Pedro Alvarez. Just sense reality will set in and need to get something for him. Can’t let him walk for nothing.
    I’m all for trying to get him to sign an extension before he hits the open market. But we know his agent would never allow that!

  11. macchamp74 says:

    I hope they can work something out with Boras, he normally does not go down the road of buying out free agent years.
    Cole needs to tell him it’s something he wants to do or it will not happen.

  12. macchamp74 says:

    Should be able to get a couple high end prospects for Pedro….kind of like the deal Texas received for Teixeira from Atlanta.
    Among others, Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz , Matt Harrison and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
    Although in today’s climate of teams holding on to prospects, may never see a deal like that again.

  13. NMR says:

    Yeah, that trade was one of the biggest hauls in major league history. We can only wish!

  14. NMR says:

    Besides, the vast majority of players will already be under team control through the majority of their age 25-29 seasons.

  15. Nate83 says:

    All this assumes money will be spent when the time is right which has been said by ownership. I can only assume that in the grand scheme of things 2014 was that time based on what has happened so far this off season. I hope the vision is to increase payroll to the be ranked in the 12-20 range of teams in the league and the thought process is to use it to keep a young core and extend some of them into their free agent years. In theory these would be players you are familiar with and comfortable with going forward.

    Extending your own players still comes with risk but the chance of return of value on the dollar is much better then any open market free agent. No free agent the Pirates pursued this off season gave me the feeling as if they will more then likely receive their money’s worth on that deal. Loney, Drew, Moralas, Burnett…. all come with questions and I think that is why the proceeded with caution and didn’t want to go the extra year or dollars needed to sign some of these guys. I also feel as if this years team still has enough questions that it shouldn’t be an all in type mentality that they need to win this year because this is their best chance.

  16. Jeff King says:

    There is no sanity in baseball. If AJ can get $22M+ for two years there will definitely be some team that will put a fifth year out there for Liriano. Pitchers especially scare me because their pitch could literally be their last.
    People try to compare baseball spending with the other sports and that’s insane.
    In the other major sports you can sign a guy to a 15-year $10 zillion contract and if he gets hurt, you just cut him and you’re off the hook for the most part other than the signing bonus. In baseball, you’re on the hook for the $10 zillion.

  17. macchamp74 says:

    In Neal Huntington we trust! :)

  18. NMR says:

    I don’t think Liriano and Pedro get close to $100m in free agency.

    Nobody is giving Liriano enough years to get close, even if they splurge on average annual value.

    And the same goes for Pedro. I really have a hard time seeing him get more than five or six guaranteed years. Teams just aren’t giving those contracts out to non-superstars. At that point, he’s going to need an annual salary in the $20m range. What kind of players similar to Pedro are getting $20m per year right now?

  19. Nate83 says:

    I agree NMR. I would think 5 years at 18 million per would be his max based on what we know about him now and how long contracts for power hitters have worked out for other teams in the past. Then again it only takes one team so you never know.

  20. macchamp74 says:

    His batting average, awful stats against LH pitching and strike out rate would hinder him for that big contract.
    Of course, I never say never on big money deals when it comes to Scott Boras….he can spin his players into gold.
    It is really going to be a fascination case when he is ready for open market.

  21. NMR says:

    You’re certainly correct on Boras. But then again, even he hasn’t been able to extract insane money for guys with qualifying offers attached. Merely something closer to what their actually worth.

    I just can’t see a guy like Adrian Beltre, a supremely talented player, getting “only” 5/$80m and Pedro getting $20m+ more.

    I highly doubt any team will be seeing him as a 3B by the end of a hypothetical long-term contract anyways.

  22. BostonsCommon says:

    I don’t know. With 2 more years before FA, I think Pedro still has some time to earn his 9 figure deal. Lets say he puts up 80+ HRs over the next two season. That means his last 4 years as a Pirate, he would have hit (30, 36, 40*, 42*) going into his age 29 season (prime time for power hitters).

    I could easily see someone saying, ‘I’ll pay $100M for him to play 3B for me and hit 200-225 HRs over the next 5 seasons’.

    Depending on how the next two seasons go, I could even see him signing with the pinstripes on a 7 year contract in the neighborhood of $140-150M

    That said, I could also see things not going so well and him ending up with an Adam Dunn like contract. That’s probably the floor.
    *estimates

  23. Bizrow says:

    Remember though, we’re talking about two years in the future with Pedro.

    If Homer got 100 MM, I’m betting Pedro is a lock if he even keeps up his current stats

  24. Andrew says:

    I agree with NMR, the Pirates need to make deals like the Rays did with Matt Moore and the Braves with Teheran. I honestly do not understand >$100 million dollar deals for pitchers, and the if the Pirates truly have developed a defensive system and have a run suppressing park why pay the market rate for pitching?

    Travis, I wanted to believe the Indian’s example but I looked at their payroll rank from 1998-2003, 4th, 5th, 8th, 4th, 9th, then the teardown, 26th.

  25. Steelkings says:

    Lock Cole up now while he is still a risky prospect. Until he proves he can remain successful over the long haul there is still risk. Boras’s words, not mine. Prospects are risky. Gamble now, bucco’s!

    But once he proves it—–Hes figuratively gone!

  26. Steelkings says:

    The problem is that the bar set at a Beltre 5/80 is already too high for the Pirates.

  27. Bizrow says:

    I hate to get into the spending thing, but, what with being unable to spend so much on draft picks, international free agents (LA), has the PBC really increased their spending??

    Unless they are paying management megabucks, I’d say no

  28. PetroSteel says:

    Ok. I understand the numbers above comparing the Reds upcoming payroll commitments to the Pirates upcoming payroll commitments. I also see that the core players are not quite where they are in years of service compared to the Reds right now…

    You can’t give Cole, Marte large long term commitments yet. It’s way too early to take that chance on guaranteed contract.

    Walker? Yes and they’ve tried. But he has to stay healthy and continue to improve or he can be fairly easy to replace.
    Pedro? Yea, we need to lock him up this spring or right after the session.
    Cutch? We are good for now with him.
    FL? We have way too much pitching coming to make a long term commitment to him. Same with AJ. 1 year and 12M seemed about right for him. Sure we should have done the QO but he said he was coming back if he didn’t retire…How were they supposed to know that it was all about money???
    Martin? He is going to want a long term deal. I would love to give him 2 years but he will want more. Sanchez better be ready by then.
    Polanco? Can you say Chad Hermensen? We just don’t know enough yet.

    The bottom line is that the Pirates core is younger (years of service younger) then the Reds. Therefore, it’s not a good comparison to what the Pirates are committed to at this point.

    Nutting IS spending money. The number one minor league system did not happen for free!

    Let’s be patent (yea, I know. I lived through the pain of 20 years too). This year could be a step back. 2015 – 2020 could be dominate!

    I like everything they are doing thus far. They better sign Pedro or they better get a heck of a return for him!

  29. NMR says:

    Exactly.

    The closest examples I can think of for what the Reds specifically are doing is Minnesota with Mauer/Morneau and Baltimore with Markakis/Jones, and those are both weak comps considering the magnitude of money the Reds are spending on just a few players.

    Think about that 2018 season Travis listed above, the one with the Reds ALREADY committed to $48m. That money will be paying two players. TWO! Even as soon as 2016 the Reds will be spending $65m on only four players! I don’t give a crap where they come from, that is poor roster construction.

    How in the world are you going to construct a roster around that albatross without having a $150m+ payroll? Better start pumping out league-min starters in a hurry.

  30. Travis Sawchik says:

    @Andrew,

    The Indians began their practice of arbitration and free agency buy outs in 1992, I believe, before they moved into their new park. Their payrolls were among the lowest in the game then. The Indians’ payrolls began to increase in the mid 1990s. But it was a perfect storm with the Browns gone, the new stadium and the exciting team that allowed for 3 million+ in attendance.

  31. Travis Sawchik says:

    Braves are taking this to the extreme, true. Tampa does have a little $100 million player named Evan Longoria.

  32. JuniorKrz says:

    I would only give Liriano a QO and not a long-term deal. I simply do not trust him over the long haul and what that long haul would cost in terms of $$$ and years. By giving him a QO, we will either have him for another year at $14M+ or we get a draft pick. It’s a no lose situation, IMO.

    As the new cable TV money starts flowing into the game from these super sports channels, the game is going to change dramatically, IMO. It is going to go from the haves and have-nots to the super rich, the haves and don’t have a pot to pxxx in.

  33. Ghost says:

    I don’t enjoy saying this, but going forward, a lot more players are going to be making those nine-figure contracts. 2014 is the year those huge payments from ESPN, Fox and TBS start kicking in. Those revenues are more than *doubling,* compared to 2013. At the individual franchise level, the Dodgers mammoth TV contract is still pending, but we know it will be approved. Not every club sits in the So. Cal market, but the Dodgers deal still will only raise the bar for all the other franchise broadcast rights about to come up for bids. Nine-figure contracts have already been around for over a decade. This explosion in revenues is more recent. Too much money is about to slosh around for another round of salary inflation to not take place. Frankly, I fear nine-figure contracts that grab headlines will become things of the past fairly soon. The current trepidation in committing big bucks to FA we’ve been seeing is just the lull before the storm.

  34. Ghost says:

    “Unless they are paying management megabucks…”
    Aw, what the hell. HI FRANK!

  35. Bizrow says:

    What I was saying, or trying to do, is that the math doesn’t work, no logical way the cost of payroll, now cap on draft and FA we now have is increasing exponentially with the increase in income, if that makes sense

    So you can’t spend 10 mm on overslotting, you are now limited

    That extra $$ did not go to payroll, considering the more $$ coming in with the new TV $$ and Slick Frank crowing that the club will break attendance records, not to mention the price increase in tickets

  36. Andrew says:

    @Travis, I misread the time period, should have known better to argue about the Indians and the strategies of friend of the program John Hart. You have probably seen this article, but that final chart further adds to the Hart’s credentials, 42% success rate with top prospects over 1990-2003 period.

    http://www.royalsreview.com/2011/2/14/1992424/success-and-failure-rates-of-top-mlb-prospects

  37. Bizrow says:

    Interesting times

  38. Travis Sawchik says:

    John Hart=Beast

  39. Ghost says:

    Hi Biz. Yes, I completely understand what you are saying. Just couldn’t resist the “Hi Frank” gag — one of my favorites. ;-)
    But in all seriousness, now that NH is holding up his end of the bargain and finding inventive ways to make the Bucs competitive, the spotlight will shift to Frank if he is not maximizing the resources we have (or *should* have had, like local TV contracts, etc.). Or else it might be, “Bye, Frank.”

  40. Andrew says:

    I honestly cannot figure out what the Reds are doing, I do not understand the Bailey contract, and weren’t they trying to move Phillips earlier? The Pirates need to avoid > $100 million contracts, that is an absurd amount of payroll tied up one player.

    I think the best way forward for the Pirates, rifting what I have seen elsewhere, is lock up players earlier into their service time, if you wait for a track record, it will cost tens of millions and price the player out of the Pirates range. David Cameron cited what the Blue Jays did several years ago with Lind, Encarnacion, and Bautista, lock up several guys who aren’t very establish, in order to disperse the risk, yes it has not work out with Lind but the value from the other two contracts makes up for Lind.

    Another example the Rangers and locking up Derek Holland, and Martin Perez. Look for projectable skills and sign players early, the Pirates did this with McCutchen, if he waited a year he could have demanded twice as much.

    The only issue with this is I am not sure the Pirates currently have any worthy candidates, the best options might come in the next wave of talent.

    Cole would be best option, but there is the Boras issue.
    Alvarez’s skill set is very limited and the Boras issue.
    Marte, needs to show some better plate discipline, the caveat being if he improves an extension will cost more, however players who derive value from defense do not become expensive in arbitration.
    Walker, yes super two players get paid a lot in arbitration, but I think year to year is a better option, 2nd basemen do not age well and he does nothing at an elite level.

    There are my 280+ words on the Pirates.

  41. brendan says:

    I’d argue that if you’re going to sign Cole and Marte to extensions–if being the key word–now is the time. If you want to enjoy the benefits of a team friendly extension you have to be willing to assume some risk. If you wait too long, to avoid the risk, the odds of a team friendly deal will decrease decidedly.

  42. Thundercrack says:

    Does anyone think Homer Bailey will be worth $20+ million per season?

  43. Bizrow says:

    Hi Ghost, how are things?

    Yes, as I think I have said, NH gets a pass, he’s once again trying to work magic

    And yes, its interesting that no one so far has asked Nutting about the Slicksters contract

    What the hello does Frankie do other than piss most PBC fans off??

  44. Bizrow says:

    No, but it does raise the bar

    Morton is a steal

  45. Tampa also bought out Matt Moore’s free agent years very early. Ben Zobrist too. What is obviously fueling the Braves spending is the anticipated revenues of their new stadium plans. Makes me think we still have some time before the Bucs start doing this on a grand scale. New TV deal in 2019 might be what it takes. Who will be the Bucs first $100 million player, Reese McGuire or Austin Meadows?

  46. Bizrow says:

    You gotta have chuzpas to do that.

    With Marte, in a year or two, I hope they take that flyer

  47. theplanisworking says:

    The easy answer is no, he isn’t worth near that.
    But maybe the Reds locked him up now………. fearing he would be even MORE expensive in the future? Or, he signs elsewhere?

    It’s simply maddening the way dollars are being thrown around.
    Smallish payroll teams like the Bucs are going to have a hard time staying in the game.

  48. Steelkings says:

    ****““He is the better ‘Call of Duty’ player,” Wacha said. “I’ve been working on it. He recently upgraded to (PlayStation) PS4, so I’ve got to go get a PS4 pretty soon so I can still game with him.””*******

    I’m going to keep in mind while commenting that many of these players are still very much ..Kids

    Read more: http://triblive.com/sports/pirates/5631381-74/taillon-wacha-march#ixzz2txWBsVhY
    Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

  49. Steelkings says:

    Ghost and Biz

    Those passes get distributed based on this years result. I mean if after losing AJ Burnett, Edison Volquez flames out and Adam Lambo continues to whiff 1 out of every 3 at bats, the Neil Huntington statue will be coming down from in front of PNC park.

  50. NMR says:

    The more this process evolves, the more I’m leaning the opposite way, Andrew.

    How much risk is a year or two of free agency really worth?

    If the majority of these players peak years are already occuring during team control, I think I prefer the flexibility of arbitration over the possible cost savings and year or two of free agency. Especially pitchers.

  51. Nate83 says:

    I’m sure they would love to but it takes two to tango and I’m sure Boras isn’t a willing dance partner right now. He know’s what Cole is capable off becoming and he also knows Cole’s floor is pretty high so he is willing to roll the dice and hope he ends up closer to Kershaw money then he does to Homer Bailey money.

  52. Nate83 says:

    Not even close. It’s a very strange deal in my opinion. He just hasn’t been consistent enough to invest that much money over that much time. They can’t afford to pay to many players that amount. The essentially just said that this guy is a franchise player along with Votto that they will build around. I don’t look at Bailey as that sort of shut down ace.

  53. NMR says:

    I think the Homer Bailey that pitched last year is absolutely worth $20m. He was really, really good.

    Doesn’t mean it was the right move for the Reds, specifically, but that isn’t because Bailey isn’t worth it.

  54. Nate83 says:

    I tend to agree to an extent plan but at the end of the day the Reds only have so much money to spend. Best case scenario is Bailey pitches well enough to justify that contract but they still only have so much money to fill in around him. Worse case scenario is Bailey never becomes more then a #3 starter that is way overpaid and the team can’t make up value elsewhere because they don’t have the money available.

    Even if Bailey pitches to that contract it’s still not even close to the value we are getting out of Cutch compared to his contract. Smart moves that make sense in the long term usually are not as exciting but often pay off in the end compared to overspending for free agents.

    The Pirates still can compete by continuing to do what they do well and not panic and overspend on a player like Pedro. They also can compete by taking advantage of other teams being aggressive and knowing when to move on from a player and trade them for good prospects to those win at all cost teams.

  55. Nate83 says:

    I agree Bizrow because at the end of the day we are talking about maybe 10-20 million on the actual draft over a 4 year period. So maybe 5 million per year at the most. Now with the slotting system the ability overspend on that part of the team is even less. Maybe they have a few more scouts but I can’t imagine it would justify spending 20-30 million less on MLB team payroll then similar market teams.

  56. Keith says:

    Travis probably said it best when he said 25-29 years. McCutchen and Tabata contracts lock up until then, after which only one of a few big names can be held going forward (Cutch). Surround him with new 25-29-year-olds and cut loose Walker, Pedro, Cole, etc. and see how the system fills in. It should work in theory.

  57. Jim S. says:

    Cleveland had this little thing called “no NFL team in town” that led to so much discretionary money being poured into a very good Tribe team for a number of years. They had gotten screwed out of their NFL team. Once they got their football team back, bingo, small market again.

  58. Jim S. says:

    John Hart: MLB GM/Team President. “That’s what they look like.”

  59. Jim S. says:

    I have reservations – aside from the financial ones – about what the Braves are doing if I were a fan of theirs. Once you ink 5 guys or so, what about the other guys who come along and think they are part of the core? What message are you sendng the other 20 guys on the team? Does anyone else feel a bit slighted? Does dissension set in? I’m just wondering. Lots of egos in play here.

    From a financial standpoint, I believe they are going to turn into a juggernaut. Atlanta is a huge market, and while it is a very transient one, it is also a baseball crazy market. They are taking the stadium closer to where the people who love baseball and can afford to support the team are located. Their TV deal apparently sucks, but as I have said before, is it not possible for them to ask their broadcasting partner to consider a renegotiation if a deal is obviously lopsided? Does that partner not want a happy partner if that partner cannot be easily replaced?

    I think the Simmons deal could turn out huge. Check out his K/BB ratios for such a young guy. The bat is not all the way there, but I think it has a chance to be pretty good and the glove is other-worldly. I don’t get locking up closers to 8 digit per year deals for 4 years.

    I still say the brothers Upton will prove to be a problem.

  60. Jim S. says:

    Travis:

    Doesn’t “Your boy, Brandon Phillips, aka BP, ‘dat dude on Twitter” still have 3 years left? The Reds might wish his deal were coming to an end.

  61. The Gunner says:

    hopefully we don’t acquire Bobby Hill, Jr. in return when the BMTIB moves Daydro

  62. Jim S. says:

    Agree totally on Liriano. Even with another solid year this season, I think he is looking at something like 4/$65. Not that it isn’t good money if you can get it.

    I wonder what will happen to Pedro’s value if he goes 40+ in ’14 & ’15. Could be $100 million guy with the new TV money.

  63. Jim S. says:

    Cole also had, what, $6 million from his 1st deal. I think Boras would ask so much for him – especially if he puts a solid full season together this year – that it just won’t be do-able. Don’t get me wrong. I’d love an extension for him that the Bucs could afford. I just don’t see the bloodsucker agent doing it.

  64. Jim S. says:

    +++, Brendan. “Shared” risk is the term they toss around, I believe.

  65. Travis Sawchik says:

    I think the chance Cole signs a Matt Moore-like extension is about 2.7 percent. But I’d still ask. Marte is worth approaching as well. I think the ship has sailed on Alvarez.

    I think the risk is actually pretty low with Cole. He could blow out a shoulder, but even if he needs TJ once during an 8-year contract, that’s not a terrible thing. The reward is a No. 1 stud anchor for nearly a decade and his body type suggests he’s a built for innings. I’d be more worried about Marte’s long-term approach at the plate.

  66. Jim S. says:

    I say that it is a gamble, TC. But, he had a very solid year in ’13. He turns 28 in May, and the Reds are obviously banking on him entering his prime. I think he is better than people give him credit for when just looking at his W/L record.

    Last year, he threw 209 innings, 181 hits allowed, 20 HR, 199/54 K/BB, 3.49 ERA.

    We also need to remember where he pitches half his games, because his road stats are pretty darn good for his career:

    Home – .270/.335/.436
    Road – .249/.307/.378

    I think he is taking a step forward. Would I have committed 5/6 years to him? Probably not. But, there are a lot riskier deals still be given to pitchers elsewhere.

    I’d rather have him than anyone on the open market this winter for the deal he got vs. what everyone else got – unless I forgot someone.

  67. theplanisworking says:

    All good points.

    I would add that if Bailey doesn’t pitch up to the contract, there is always one GM willing to trade for pitching…….. bad contract or no.

    And, if you want to see a bad contract traded, look no further than Prince Fielder. I am amazed Detroit was able to trade him. Forget the players involved, that is a lot of $$$$$ to be tied up in one player.

  68. Jim S. says:

    Except that shut down ace money is now $30.714 million per season (Kersh).

    #2.5 in the rotation money is apparently $25 million per season (Tanaka – and, yes, I count the hush money to the Japanese team!).

    Homer is a pretty good pitcher just entering his prime. And, he’s a horse who has remained healthy.

    Still a big risk for a small market team, though. Maybe that is the distinction. Great deal for largest 15 teams. I don’t even bat an eye. But, for 15 bottom market teams – I raise an eyebrow big-time.

  69. cmat0829 says:

    It’s pretty clear — and the Pirates haven’t denied it I don’t think — that there is $12-15M available to be spent in 2014 on the major league team. If – and how – they spend it is another story. I’m ok for now, that they haven’t spent it so far…not sure the value was there.

    It has also been written A TON OF TIMES that it isn’t about ‘market size’ it is about ‘local media revenues’… and to a lesser extent ‘ballpark revenues’.. the Pirates are near the bottom on both. Can they spend more? Yes, and that includes RIGHT NOW. But to really get the spending up where it needs to be they need to raise ticket prices substantially and get a better local media deal as soon as it is possible.

    AND lastly, WHEN they do have the $$s to spend somewhat competitively, it will / should be spent on locking up core players NOT on FA splurges. Picking the right core — the Marte discussion from today’s thread — will become the most important focus for NH.

  70. cmat0829 says:

    The model to follow, it should be clear to all by now, is TAMPA…not Cincinnati…and certainly not fools like Milwaukee, Baltimore or Philadelphia. You HAVE TO lock in the key star (Longoria in TB, Cutch in PIT)… you can also look to lock in another ‘max’ piece (Cole would be the best target for the Bucs)…. and then you can also always try to be opportunistic with cheaper pieces (Tabata was a gamble that didn’t pan out too well, Walker would be an example of this).

    BUT… you can’t have 50-60% of the payroll locked into 3 pieces….and you need not overpay in extensions for commodities that can be replaced. IMHO Neil Walker is a nice player but if he goes elsewhere you can get someone to play 2B at a serviceable level without losing too much. Bailey is a good starter but I don’t put him in ACE category and I think teams like Cincy or Pitt need to only be shelling out those types of $s for their #1 GUY. Homer was that last year… but before that he was inconsistent. Is he a shutdown #1, no doubt about it, for the next 5 years? I wouldn’t bet on it, so I wouldn’t spend the huge $$ on him.

    But

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