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A Brave, not-so-new path

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SOUTH HILLS –  Since the beginning of the New Year, the Braves have locked up five of their core pieces in Freddie Freeman, Craig Kimbrel, Julio Teheran, Andrelton Simmons and Jason Heyward, buying out all of their remaining arbitration years and some free agency years. They contracts cover 27 player seasons and cost $280 million dollars.

That’s an annual average value of $10.3 million per season per player, or $51.5 million per year for the group. Those five players are all in their early-to-mid 20s, so they should improve (Well, Kimbrel might have peaked but should remain elite). They combine for 17.5 WAR in 2013. In the market, that’s worth $87.5 million.

 

Now, these contracts increase over time and are typically back-loaded, but clearly the Braves have an outstanding chance to create significant surplus value (real compensation compared to market costs) over the life of these contracts. The Braves have locked up the majority of their core and have also locked in cost certainty at a time when amateur market restrictions and an influx of television cash are hyper-inflating the free agency market. Note: the Braves have an awful local TV deal like the Pirate (something like $20M per year through 2026 … but they are moving into a new stadium).

 

And we shouldn’t be surprised.

 

John Hart pioneered this strategy with the Cleveland Indians beginning in the early 1990s and he joined the Braves as an adviser in November. (Also, an interesting side note, Hart was greatly influenced in Cleveland while watching the break up of the early 1990s Pirates.)

 

 

Now, this trend of buying out arbitration years and free agency contracts is no longer a novelty. As I wrote about back in November, clubs had combined to sign 108 players to extension that bought out a combined 406 seasons of free agency. That explains in part why players’ share of revenues have been on the decline. That’s a lot of players and a lot of years.

 

This isn’t new, but what is new is just how aggressive the Braves have been in locking up their core this offseason. I can’t think of a club locking up this many core players in one winter.  I believe the Braves had not extended a homegrown player since locking up Brian McCann in 2007.

 

I spoke with Hart back in January for a several stories I’m working on this spring. I asked Hart with the free agency dollars in the game if there is less incentive for players to agree to such deals going forward. Just look at how undervalued Andrew McCutchen is. Hart said teams have target players even earlier, in some cases like with Teheran and Simmons, just after their first seasons.

 

“If anything, it tells you you need to do it earlier,” Hart said of the trend. “It takes two to tango. Neal (Huntington) understands that and the dynamic behind wanting to do it. But you have to have the player and agent amenable  to wanting to do a deal. You have to be prepared to take a risk with pitching because there is more volatility. I think with all that being said, it does make absolute sense to jump out in front on some of these guys. It’s a different world. A different era. There are some agents who absolutely have no interest in doing that.”

 

Like Scott Boras, which complicates things for the Pirates.

 

But the Braves and Hart have proven such a comprehensive, cost-controlling strategy is still possible … even with $20-plus million per year awaiting stars in free agency. Tampa Bay also did this with Matt Moore and Evan Longoria.  They signed Longoria nine days into his MLB career and Moore after just one season. If the Pirates are going to sign Gerrit Cole to an extension that buys out free agency years, now is the time. Cole might not be willing to do this. His agent is certainly against it. But the Braves proved this is still possible.

 

Hart in an interview with Baseball Prospectus this week (free article) :

 

BL: You once said that one of the things you had learned as a GM was that “Stability leads to flexibility.” You mean that once you have your core locked up, you can count on that amount of money being assigned to that amount of production, and then you can work around that?

JH: It really does. Every organization has a different mindset. I had to be a little more nimble in Cleveland. We maybe traded a few of our guys to gather payroll flexibility in certain points, but the idea of going in is that we can manage this payroll and this roster, and that will also allow us the ability to be creative if we find a free agent that we like. They’re our core players, they’re our better players and we know what we’re paying them. And that does lead to stability.

And I think in this case, every guy that’s been signed here, these are players that you’re looking to be stable with and build around them. That gives you the ability to do it, and quite frankly, I think that was a little bit of the mindset as to why these players wanted to sign here. I think Frank did a great job. His strategy was Freeman one, along with Heyward. I think Kimbrel, you read some of his quotes, it was like, ‘This makes sense to me because I know who I’m going to be with. This is showing me, number one that the Braves believe in me, and number two we’re going to have a core of good players that are going to grow together.’

 

Hart believes young players are still often looking for security so this approach of buying out arbitration years and free agency years is still relevant.

 

 BL: This was initially sort of a small-market club’s strategy to keep costs down, but it’s been embraced by larger-market clubs in recent years. Do you find that the discount has decreased? 

JH: You go back to what I was just saying. I don’t think you’re catching people by surprise. You’re finding players that have interest in stability. The general feeling that I’ve always had—and I think some of this is my field background—is that young players recognize and are interested in a level of security because of just the general toughness, the risk associated within the game as it is. There are a lot of good players in the major leagues. It’s very difficult to establish yourself as an everyday regular, much less an all-star. With every success story comes with five or six crash and burns, and the players are aware of that. If you present opportunities for these guys at a younger age, you are going to have a willing ear. Not that you’re always going to get a deal done.

 

Hart indicates there is something of a domino effect …The Pirates have already knocked down the first domino with McCutchen, who is signed to perhaps the most club-friendly deal in baseball. Now would be the ideal time to approach other core pieces …before it’s too late.

 

- TS

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Comments

  1. 21sthebest says:

    “If the Pirates are going to sign Gerrit Cole to an extension that buys out free agency years, now is the time. Cole might not be willing to do this. His agent is certainly against it.”

    His agent wasn’t against it for Jered Weaver.

  2. Travis Sawchik says:

    I’m sure Boras was against it but the player (Weaver) makes the ultimate decision. There are other examples of Boras clients accepting long-term, club-friendlyish deals

  3. Nate83 says:

    His agent has done it a few times with elite players if I remember correctly. I can see the Pirates doing this and possible extending players 2 years into free agency. Since those are by rule the more expensive years I don’t see them extending any player much beyond that. The risk would just become too great.

    I agree it will more then likely have to be done earlier and earlier in a players career the problem is nothing Alvarez did in his first two years would have made me comfortable with committing a large amount of money to him for those free agent years. A player like Simmons has value even if his bat is just adequate. Freeman and Heyward do a lot of things well not just hit home runs. Getting those 3 guys for an average of 10 million per year each seems like a good investment with little chance for complete failure.

    I also think signing Cole for his 2019 and 2020 free agent years for 25 million may sound just ridiculous for the Pirates but by the time those contract years come around I’m not so sure pitchers that are considered staff aces won’t be getting 30 million or more. If he pitches for the Pirates he is giving them more value then they are paying more then likely. If nothing else he becomes easier and more valuable to trade because of his below market pay.

  4. 21sthebest says:

    Maybe Cole will be for it but personally, signing a pitcher for longer than 3 years is pretty risky to me.

  5. Jim S. says:

    Even Cole, 21? I’d say the odds are very much in favor of him having 6 or 7 solid seasons. He could go down for one year in there.

  6. 21sthebest says:

    Cole’s probably a good risk but right now, I wouldn’t go into his free agent years unless the deal appears team friendly.

  7. Nate83 says:

    What is interesting is that everyone assumes if the Pirates sign Cole or Pedro to an extension through 2 or 3 of their free agent years that those guys will finish out their contracts with the Pirates. However locking players in for more years makes them more valuable to trade as well. In a scenario where the Cole is living up to staff ace status but the Pirates are average or worse he would have a lot of value to a team trading for him if they will have his services for 3 or 4 years instead of him becoming a free agent in a year or two.

    There will probably be the option of never paying the more expensive years of the contract by trading the player unless Cole just doesn’t even come close to living up to his contract. Even if the Pirates know they will never pay the last two years of any of these extensions it still might make sense to give the extension with all intentions of trading that player to somebody else when they are 2 years away from the end of the contract instead of 1 or 2 years away from free agency. It gives them another year or two with an elite player.

    Currently they would have to make a decision on Cole in 2017 or 2018 to trade him or just lose him to free agency signing him through 2022 would give them 1 or 2 years longer to make a decision or the could still trade him in 2018 and get a much better return then if they never gave him that extension.

  8. theplanisworking says:

    “If anything, it tells you you need to do it earlier,”

    This is going to put a super-premium on early scouting skills, and internal evaluations. Just think if a team decides to lock up a few players early, and they fail. Or, just think if a small market team like the Pirates decides to lock up a player for some $$$, and fails.

    Or, for better reference point, what if the Reds fail with the signings they have done recently. Sox/Yanks/Dodgers can afford to fail occasionally. Pirates, Rays, Indians don’t have that luxury.

  9. Jim S. says:

    To your point, Nate ….

    If Polanco, Meadows, etc. turn out to be as good as advertised, and Marte continues to develop, Cutch may not be wearing black & gold during the last 1.5 years or so of his current contract.

  10. Andrew says:

    Add Scott Kazmir and James Shields to the list of players that the Rays extended. David Price and paying him year to year through arbitration is more of the exception than the standard practice for the Rays. With Shields the Rays got 6 years than a trade piece, similar to what Nate is discussing above.

  11. NMR says:

    Exactly.

    I can’t see any reason to do any of these extensions unless they represent a significant value to the club.

    Baseball is too variable to guarantee eight figure salaries 6, 7, 8 years down the line for no reason.

  12. NMR says:

    If Cutch keeps playing like Cutch, the Pirates would never get equal value to what he’d provide over those years.

  13. I really don’t like this strategy for pitchers. However, I’m all for it with position players. If Polanco comes up at midseason and shows he will stick he would be the guy I would do this with next offseason.

  14. NMR says:

    Travis, how bout doing some research on how these extensions, especially to pitchers, have actually worked out for teams?

  15. NMR says:

    The Reds are already starting to fail due to their extensions.

    John Hart is dead wrong when he says that locking up homegrown players creates flexibility, and the Cincinatti Reds are clear proof.

  16. Andrew says:

    I think that Travis and Hart are trying to make a distinction, where you sign several players around 2 years of service time so you end up with 4-5 guys on 5-6 year deals around $25-40 million. You are then buying out arbitration plus age 29-30 free agent years, and accept that one or two of those deals might look bad, but other will provide surplus value throughout. Reds, a least with Bailey waited until his fourth year and are now paying him through his mid thirties at a much higher rate per year.

    I contrast this to what the Ranges did; signing Derek Holland early to 5/$28.5 million, with some option years, Martin Perez 4/$12.5 million with options years, and Matt Harrison 5/$55 million. The Harrison deal looks bad, given his injuries, but losing $11 million AAV is a lot better than $20 million locked up with Bailey.

  17. Nate83 says:

    Sheilds is an excellent example of what I was discussing above. The return for him was tremendous and that was for only two years of Sheilds who I consider a strong #2 but not a staff ace.

  18. Nate83 says:

    He’s not a stat monkey available for use whenever you want something. At least ask him please.

    Seriously though Travis what is the hold up. Please get started on this ASAP.

  19. Andrew says:

    @NMR if you have the time look at this article, http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-freddie-freeman-deal-as-a-market-correction/

    “If you stretch to include the borderline cases, you can maybe come up with 10 cases where the player probably came out ahead by signing, and in most of the cases, they ended up pocketing an extra $5 to $10 million that they wouldn’t have otherwise made. But these extensions have had something like a 75% success rate for the teams signing them, and when they’ve worked, they’ve saved far more money for the signing team than they’ve cost when they haven’t.”

    Granted the entire article is discussing why the price for extension will be going up, thus team will need to either accept an lower success rate or attempt to sign guys earlier.

  20. Nate83 says:

    Locking up the correct players for the correct amount of money does create flexibility in my opinion. Cutch obviously has a contract that give the Pirates some flexibility moving forward. As long as the player performs close to the value you are giving him you can always jump ship and trade them like Tampa has done a few times.

    The key is not letting your pride or short term goals get in the way. Nobody knows their own players better then the teams they play for. You should be able to recognize if a player is starting to decline and minimize the damage or recognize the team isn’t good enough and maximize return for those players through trade by trading earlier instead of later. As you stated it may never make sense to trade Cutch even when he is making 14 million because he may be playing like a player that should be making 30 million.

  21. NMR says:

    Except that’s not what the Braves have just done.

  22. NMR says:

    Seriously, dude?

  23. MorselPix says:

    Even Boras clients have their price. Offer enough and they’ll sign an extension. But Pedro just led the league in HR’s,
    so that price will exceed what the Pirates are willing to offer. Remember, the Cutch deal came, smartly, after he batted
    .259. If we talking extensions, we should be talking to Neil Walker and his agent, now.

  24. Nate83 says:

    No not seriously. It was a joke and if I didn’t dislike emoticons so much and knew how to do them I would have put a smile face.

  25. NMR says:

    Thanks man! Can’t believe I forgot about that article.

    “…But these extensions have had something like a 75% success rate for the teams signing them, and when they’ve worked, they’ve saved far more money for the signing team than they’ve cost when they haven’t.”

    Statements like this are why I feal Fangraphs is better in the abstract of all Major League Baseball than for specific teams. They’ve saved far more money for the signing team than they’ve cost when they haven’t? That makes absolutely no sense unless you’re looking at the league as a whole.

  26. Andrew says:

    I think it is important not to lump all extension together, for the Braves Teheran, and Simmons both had a year of service time look like good ideas, they paid higher amount because teams are realizing it is better to pay to prime years than free agents. Freeman can be argued either way (I question it), and the Kimbrel deal is just dumb, the Braves are going against all established evidence about relievers and health.

    I do not know enough about what Hart actually did with Indians and have a hard time converting today’s dollars in 1990s, however I do not think the Reds are following Travis is advocating. The Reds with Bailey, Votto, waited until the fourth year of service time and Phillips was effectively a free agent. The Reds paid a premium for these players and shouldn’t serve as a model.

  27. NMR says:

    Haha, whew. Travis is a monster. I’d never question his effort.

  28. NMR says:

    Oh I agree, 100%, that all extensions aren’t the same. My point is that Travis doesn’t seem to be considering this.

    Now maybe he just hasn’t come out and said it in a way that I understood, but I didn’t see a single word in yesterday’s Reds blog that lead me to believe otherwise.

  29. NMR says:

    Sorry, my reply ended up below Nate’s above.

  30. NMR says:

    Two words, Nate McLouth.

  31. Jim S. says:

    I’m actually not convinced revenues will continue to rise at these rates for much longer.

  32. Jim S. says:

    But, if they don’t perceive as much of a need for him due to replacements, and if they know he won’t sign his next deal with them … don’t you think he’d be a candidate in a deadline deal one of those last 2 years? I don’t know if the rules will be different by then, but he’s worth more than a 1st rounder, right?

  33. NMR says:

    I also question their criteria for “success”.

    What benefit did teams get for their risk on players such as Anderson, Davis, Tabata, Baker, Floyd, Suzuki, Lind, Niese, Gaillardo, and Butler?

  34. Jim S. says:

    And, what do the Reds do with Latos? He and his wife will want some of that cabbage.

  35. Andrew says:

    It would be great if the time stamps worked.

    I didn’t really understand the comparison of the Reds and Pirates payroll either, and like I said do not think they are a model. The Reds are giving out essentially free agent contracts, but to their own players, with the expectation that at some point the player is going to be worth less than the money remaining, similar to what the Twins did in prior years.

  36. NMR says:

    Oh he’ll certainly be a candidate, but I personally don’t think you make that kind of move unless you’re not in contention.

    Who is going to replace Cutch’s production? That’s the problem with dealing a superstar of his level. The best player in the deal is always the star.

    Think about how hard it would be to somehow replace his value over those years. Almost impossible. If the Pirates are at the spot on the win curve where we expect them to be, Cutch HAS to stay.

  37. Andrew says:

    I agree Jim, there is a reason people keep referring to the sports television bubble.

  38. Jim S. says:

    Monday is fine, Travis. Take tonight and all day tomorrow for whatever you had planned. I think if you get cracking on Sunday afternoon, that should give you time. :-) Totally kidding, of course.

  39. NMR says:

    Agreed on all points.

    The Braves have essentially done that with at least Freeman and Kimbrel, but I don’t necessarilly think it is a bad idea for Freeman considering his age.

    The Braves seem to really push their guys through the system getting them into the bigs at a young age. This inherantly means more of said players prime years will occur as a free agent, which makes locking up those years worthwhile.

    For a team like the Pirates who take a more traditional route, I’m not sure the risk outweighs the benefit given the vast majority of their players peak years will already be under team control.

  40. Jim S. says:

    I believe the thing we might be neglecting is the “peace of mind” factor, for lack of a better term. Why do young people with families buy term life insurance when, in all likelihood, they won’t collect any of the money?

    These guys get immediate lifetime financial security. They know going in that they could end up with more money if they don’t do the deals. Guys like Boras are drilling that into their skulls. But, if I’m Marte, and I have a shot at a guaranteed $50 million at 26 or 27, when I currently have a net worth of $500,000 – I’m grabbing it. Scotty B can say whatever he wants about how much more money each of us can have if all goes well over the next few years. Peace of Mind. Some guys need it, some guys roll the dice. But, $50 million is instant fabulous wealth for a lifetime if managed even reasonably well.

  41. Rob says:

    The last I heard (which was a few days before the start of spring training) from two sources, there were NO talks at present between the Pirates and Walker’s camp regarding an extension. And there was no mention of a multi-year deal from the team a few weeks earlier, when Walker signed for 2014 to avoid arbitration. Of course, that’s not to say the two sides won’t eventually discuss a longer deal. But for now, crickets.

  42. NMR says:

    Oh man, WHEN that happens…

  43. Jim S. says:

    Cutch and his agent must have been late to the BABIP/regression party then. :-)

  44. Nate83 says:

    I do not thing the Reds are a model they should match in terms of extending players and they are not a market size that can do what the Braves did in extending 5 players. If it’s not the type of extension that is in the 40-60 million range or just a flat out stud player that you see as a can’t miss you don’t extend.

    Cole is the only “stud” that I would even consider going to 100 million on and even then it would be with the assumption there is a good chance he doesn’t ever finish that contract with the Pirates. If Marte, Polanco and others are able to be extended for 35-50 million I still see that as a risk but nothing to the extent of what some others teams are doing.

  45. NMR says:

    We’re looking at this from the teams perspective, not the players.

  46. Jim S. says:

    Fair point, NMR. I believe Tampa wanted to do Shields II this winter with Price. But, the market was not nearly the same as they found last year when they fleeced KC, and they know they have as good a shot to win the AL East as anyone.

  47. Jim S. says:

    Agree 1000% on the Kimbrel deal, Andrew.

  48. Jim S. says:

    The Man. The Myth. The Legend.

  49. NMR says:

    Another point to consider is that Starling Marte will be a free agent the same year as Cutch. Crazy, right?

    Marte is the guy I’m trading if another outfielder is waiting in the wings.

  50. Jim S. says:

    If it is strictly about comparing talents, yes, Marte would be the one to go. But, if it is an expense question, or a question of who brings more in trade, then it is probably Cutch.

    But, your point about the contention status of the team is a good one. It would be hard to trade Cutch if this team is a clear contender.

  51. Andrew says:

    Agreed Nate, the outside Cole the Pirates really do not have any players that should be offered extensions. Marte needs to get on base without getting hit, and Polanco would have a serve time similar to Simmons after the 2015 season.

  52. Bizrow says:

    The FO talks about core players

    So far, the only potential for improvement with our club this season is thru growth of basically home grown talent

    I hope the FO knows what they are doing.

    I know Slick Frank, so I expect what we will get from him

  53. Arriba Wilver says:

    Neil’s a little old to be applying this strategy to. It would be closer to a Reds type deal.

  54. Nate83 says:

    If they are smart they act as if he doesn’t exist in terms of an extension and hope they get the good Latos until the end of his contract. The guy is very inconsistent and a little bit of a nutcase.

  55. Travis:

    I come on here for commentary from you, not John Hart! Yeah, this is a new era, can’t worry about Ian Snell’s extension anymore, ha.

  56. Bizrow says:

    Good to see you, JBS, good point

    Neal has to quit sitting on his thumbs though

    We will see what happens

  57. Jim S. says:

    Exactly, Arriba. Marte might be first out of the chute if he has another solid year. If Polanco’s play matches the hype, then I see them approaching him in a year or so. Cole will probably reject it. We’ll see about Taillon. But, those are the guys who are the candidates, not NW at this point. To me, Marte and Polanco will be motivated to do it because they don’t have the security that even Cole and Taillon have.

  58. Steelkings says:

    After thinking this through a little, Why would you extend Cole? Or any other player you have control of through 2017. I mean, why extend someone when you dont know what the rules will be? The collective bargaining agreement expires in December of 2016. You could have a work stoppage. There could be a salary cap with in the new agreement. There could be better player control rules.
    A team like the Pirates really need to know what the rules are.

    NRM…Get out that crystal ball!

  59. U-2 Bizrow, good to be seen. Wonder where Ervin Santana ends up?

  60. tedwins says:

    Cruz gets 8 million, plus 750k in incentives, for 1 year… wow??… good for Baltimore and who knows the impact on remaining 3 Fa’s…if any….

  61. Jim S. says:

    They gave up another draft pick for one year of a guy who may not be as good of a hitter now that he is off PEDs? Seems like a lot to me. I would have wanted a few years.

  62. Andrew says:

    Exactly, and like I posted above, Polanco decision would come after 2015, unless you pull a Longoria.

  63. Jim S. says:

    BTW, not sure if anyone saw this or even if it mattered to anyone … MLB Network aired their Top 100 MLB players lists last night and this morning (20 per hour; countdown from 100 – 1).

    Jeter was the ceremonial #100. Lots of luck Yanks with a 40 yr old SS with already awful range, who is now going to be playing the most demanding IF position on a surgically repaired ankle. I’m sure he’ll be fine in the field. Pencil him in for 150+ games at SS.

    Gerrit Cole checks in at #94. Then, amazingly to me, the Cards trio of Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha, Trevor Rosenthal gets slotted at #93-91. If you want to put Wacha ahead of Cole, ok. Miller is arguable. But, Trevor Rosenthal? He was an 8th inning pitcher last year. I guess closer this year. Gee, I wonder if NH callled the Cards, would he be able to pry away Rosenthal straight up for Cole?

    Pedro at #79 seems about right. Cutch at #4 also seems about right. I would argue for Liriano, Marte and Martin – none of whom made it. But, I guess those are not huge snubs.

    I haven’t watched the whole thing to see just how they slotted Yadi Molina, but I’m sure he’s far up the list. I hope that fuels Martin every single day.

  64. Andrew says:

    If anything it means less first base trade candidates, than if Cruz would have signed in Seattle or Texas. Honestly not a terrible move by Baltimore, Cruz has offers power and little else, and he can launch a few in Camden Depot. The draft pick hurts but a 2nd round pick is less valuable, and there is no risk in one year deals.

  65. tedwins says:

    I guess, I agree if you give up a pick it would be nice to have a quality guy for 3 years or so but hard, for me, to say that isn’t a good contract for Baltimore

  66. Jim S. says:

    I hear you, Andrew. But, Baltimore has to build through the draft. They can’t compete in that division w/o being smarter than the other teams. They have now given up their #1 and #2, right? And, they have Ubaldo Jiminez for 4 years and Cruz for 1. Yo-yo Jiminez eats up $12.5M per year. Cruz didn’t cost much, and I know #2 draft picks don’t often become stars. But, 1 year of Cruz amounts to not very much to me. I’d rather have the pick. They’ll also be losing Davis and Wieters soon.

    As frustrating as the Bucs can be with their tightfistedness (new word, I know), I’m glad Duquette is not running this org.

  67. tedwins says:

    Agreed, good post

  68. Jim S. says:

    That’s fair. The Cruz signing isn’t a disaster. I just think the decision of waiting so long and then snagging the two guys they did this week seems curious, at best, to me.

  69. tedwins says:

    Suppose Duquette was waiting out the market…. maybe he is proven right, maybe not

  70. tedwins says:

    If jimenez and Cruz produce and fans are in the seats then may be thoughtful… we will see but get your point

  71. NMR says:

    Not so sure Marte ends up costing much less than Cutch if he continues this pace, Jim.

    You gotta figure he’ll top eight figures by his 3rd time through arbitration.

  72. NMR says:

    Seems smart to me, Jim.

    If you’re willing to give up the draft pick(not necessarily smart), waiting til the end of the offseason has proven to land good deals the last two years. Contractually, you can’t argue with what the Orioles got either of these players for, right?

  73. NMR says:

    Gotta think about the win curve, Jim.

    That hypothetical draft pick will have little chance of playing with Weiters, Davis, Jones, Markakis, and Hardy.

    Sometimes you gotta know when to take your shot.

  74. NMR says:

    Rosenthal was an 8th inning pitcher? When did they change the length of Major League Baseball games?

  75. Jim S. says:

    Not sure what I’m missing, NMR.

    He wasn’t the closer until the playoffs, or close to it.

  76. Jim S. says:

    I don’t think Cruz and Jiminez guarantee anything for the O’s. Maybe a couple more wins. No one is picking the O’s for this season that I know of.

    And, if they are going to lose their stars, shouldn’t they be trying to build up the system rather than giving away picks?

  77. Jim S. says:

    I would rather have Garza than Jiminez. Garza got about the same money, right?

  78. Steelkings says:

    I wonder if it is a coincidence that the Pirates have 6 players becoming free agents and two others with a club option directly after the CBA expires. 8 is a lot of dudes when 6 are everyday type players. Mortons new contract has a club option in ’17. Pretty slick! Maybe they are the BMTIB and see a work stoppage coming.

  79. Andrew says:

    Jim I agree, I would rather have Graza, but Jimenez is a likely a 2.0-2.5 win pitcher, and Cruz is better than the replacement level guy they would be running out at DH. It is tough for the Orioles given the division but they have a core of talent if not much depth at the MLB level, and two top 20 pitchers in the high minors. I agree that they are still on outside looking in, but they are closer. Also if Orioles do loss Wieters and Davis they will likely gain two compensation picks.

    However, I understand your argument and there were certainly better and more impactful moves the Birds could have made.

  80. 21sthebest says:

    54 of his 75 innings were in the 8th. 3 saves and 5 blown.

  81. Travis Sawchik says:

    @Nate, NMR & Jim, I’ll get on that ASAP! Haha. It’s really not a bad story idea

  82. Steelkings says:

    Ha Ha! I know a right handed tatted up pitcher that would tell you that 50 Million isnt near enough.

  83. Nate83 says:

    Jim the definite distinguishing point you made was his current net worth and how early in his career he is. If he continues to play this well or even better he is only two years away from getting 5-7 million in his first year of arbitration. That’s not 50 million but it’s almost a guarantee of 8-9 the next year and 10-11 the year after that. He will be more then half-way towards that 50 million. Once he get close to that first year of arbitration it will be more difficult for him to see a scenario where he doesn’t end up making North of any extension he would sign.

    The financial security is very important to him right now. I’m sure he’s confident but I’m also sure he has some doubts and what if fears. The first 3 years have to be a nervous time for young players that didn’t have large signing bonus. I can’t see the Pirates waiting much longer then next off season to extend Marte. They would be taking on more risk but Marte would be sacrificing a good chunk of money for piece of mind. Any later then that he won’t need as much piece of mind and an extension would become more expensive.

  84. NMR says:

    No free agent evers guarantees anything, Jim.

    And of all people, I wouldn’t pick you to put much stock in who other people are picking considering your rants this winter.

 
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