The 2013 class of free agent catchers is taking shape. Yadier Molina and the Cardinals signed a five-year, $75MM extension this week, but Miguel Montero and Russell Martin have tabled extension talks for now and Mike Napoli expects to test free agency. Here are the latest notes on catcher extensions in MLB…
- One agent joked to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that Royals GM Dayton Moore “must have been wearing a ski mask” to convince Salvador Perez to sign a five-year, $7MM extension (Twitter link). I examined the extension earlier in the week, explaining what Perez will have to do for the Royals to break even.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports suggests the Diamondbacks and Braves might be ticked off by Molina's extension. The deal figures to shift the market for catchers and it may now cost more to retain the likes of Montero and Brian McCann. Rosenthal says the Cardinals' deal with Molina is an overpay, but an understandable one given the value of Molina's defense.
- David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News explains that the Molina deal isn't a fair point of reference for Carlos Ruiz. Though Ruiz and Molina have posted similar offensive numbers in recent years, the Phillies’ catcher won't hit free agency until he's entering his age-35 season and allowed stolen bases with much greater frequency than Molina in 2011.
“Rosenthal says the Cardinals’ deal with Molina is an overpay, but an understandable one given the value of Molina’s defense”
Sooo….what your telling us is that he is over paid, but his defensive value makes the deal OK…..so he’s not being over paid?
Molina’s deal only gives legitimacy to the expectations that McCann will go for $100M (5 years). I’m a Braves fan and I don’t want to sign him for that, though I love the guy. If we were an AL team with the DH, sure. But, we’re not.
Not sure that Molina serves as a good comparable to McCann. McCann is an offensive catcher, with below average defense. Molina is pretty much the opposite.
The advantage McCann has is that his bat can play at DH or first base (where Molina’s could not), but I’m not sure that he would be worth $20 million at either of those positions. His offense is exceptional at catcher, but would only be “above average” at first base.
I think McCann should be able to match the $15 million Molina got (or at least come close), but I don’t see him blowing it away. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a sixth year, though, given that he’s younger and can move to a different defensive position without hurting the lineup.
The problem is, where does he move? He’s way too slow to be in LF, and 1B is covered for the next 5 years at least.
I think McCann will go for 5/80 with a homedown discount.
In free agency, first base being covered isn’t an issue. Not all teams have the same luxury. As a catcher, McCann is valuable because his offense is more rare. However, he is also a bigger risk, because of his defense.
I think any contract he signs with Atlanta would have to include a discount, since he’s mostly stuck at catcher. Freeman -could- move to the outfield, but I don’t see that happening. If he goes to free agency, an American league team could afford to offer more, knowing that they can move him to DH (or first base, depending on the team) if they need to.
The best comparable I can think of for McCann is Piazza – Good offense, no defense. McCann is nowhere near Piazza’s abilities, so I don’t see him matching Piazza’s money, either. Piazza’s highest salary wasn’t much bigger than $16 million. Even adjusting for salary inflation (from 2004), I doubt he gets more than $20 million today (less than Mauer because Mauer adds good defense to his offensive abilitites). I don’t see $16 million per year for McCann being a significant discount. On the open market, I don’t think he goes much higher than that. If he stays with the Braves (and signs before free agency), I’d guess 5/$65, with a club option 6th year with an achievable vesting clause.
I see Molina’s deal as a floor for McCann talks. Molina posted his best offensive season in 2011, and even if he doesn’t replicate much of that, he’ll still be one of the best defensive catchers in the majors. The question is: is that worth that much? I didn’t think so. But I’m not paying him.
Take in mind that it’ll be 2 years before McCann hits free agency – if he even does. I’ve always seen McCann has similar to Mauer in terms of being a silver slugger, but Mauer has better defense, a DH spot in MIN to go to relieve him behind the plate, but he’s also injured more than McCann in recent year. Mauer got a $184M (8 years) deal from MIN. Even if you half that, that’s $92M over 4 years, which from what I’m being told by opinions on here, McCann won’t get that. So, did MIN grossly overpay Mauer (A: yes) or is Mauer’s deal a closer comparison than Molina’s to what we should expect to hear from McCann’s agent?
I like the 5/80 (with hometown discount) number. I think that’s a nice starting point. I think we should feel lucky to get that, but I can see it being closer to $90M, barring a serious injury from McCann.
And concerning McCann as DH, he’d do just nice filling in the DH hole for NYY. They’re said to want to get down below $189M by 2014, so signing McCann has a DH might be impossible, especially considering they have to think about re-signing Granderson/Cano before then, but it wouldn’t surprise me that they’d be in on him.
Mauer is also a better hitter than McCann (career OPS+ of 134 vs. 122), and the injury risk is mitigated by having open positions to move him to. Defense does have value as well. McCann’s arm allows teams to score more often, taking away from some of his offense. If he were average defensively, that would add to his value, but he isn’t.
When judging McCann, I don’t look to Mauer, I look to Piazza. McCann is nowhere near as good as Piazza, but they are similar type players. Molina just doesn’t serve as any kind of comparison, floor, base, comp or otherwise. The two players are so different that I don’t think you can use one contract to judge the other.
The question is does the NL eventually adopt the DH after the re-alignment. That would help teams in making those decisions on long term deals to 1B and C who could need to move to DH.
Haha…I wouldn’t bet on that. And as a long-time baseball fan, I’d love the game a little less if the NL adopted the DH.
I know AJ Burnett wouldn’t agree with me.
I really hate the overhype our fan base gives to Carlos Ruiz. He’s not even in the same class as Yadier Molina.
He’s a very good defensive catcher in terms of his ability to run a pitching staff but really, they aren’t that comparable.
He has been a better hitter than Yadier. So there is that.
Where did the Phillies fans say anything comparing Ruiz to Molina?
I see it all the time where people compare them and I’m assuming that’s the only reason Murph felt the need to write the article.
I’d imagine that Molina got pretty close to fair market value (what he would have gotten on the free agent market). It could be considered an over-pay because teams normally get a bit of a break when it comes to signing players to long term extensions prior to them hitting free agency. The player sacrifices potential earnings for the security that the deal offers, meanwhile the team takes on additional risk. His defensive value helps the deal seem more reasonable, but it can still be considered a bit high.
If Frank Wren is anything like he appears to be then I doubt he’s ticked off. It never seems like the guy lets anything regarding free agency, extensions or the trade market bother him that much. But then again that could be like trying to interpret the true feeling of a reality show contestant. You only know what’s made public.
I don’t necessarily want to see players ripped off…but after Mike Sweeney took KC to the cleaners and financially crippled the organization for five years I can’t say that I feel too sorry for Perez.
Have to wonder who is going to be paying all of these deals being proposed on the boards of late and the teams that used to throw big money around, all of a sudden talking of cutting salary..
I see mcCann being mentioned here of 5/100m for example.. The guy can hit, right on, but a team has to be willing to pay him 20m per for that. NYY, Boston both seem to be cutting salaries, Philly has problems of their own the next couple of years it looks like retaining players. detroit also with the people they have. Anaheim is highly stretched now..
Are teams counting on the LAD new owner to be bidding up all of these new players? think.. Now many other big markets left which figure to be competitive over the next couple of years.. Cubs and mets? Full blown rebuild mode.. Rangers? Still mid market and they have problems of their own with players to retain.
Don’t be expecting Loria to going on another feeding frenzy again soon.. Cardinals? they seem to be spent as a mid market for awhile. and nobody figures the lower echelon of spend thrifts to ever commit dollars.. Rays, Padres, Royals, Pirates etc..
People ned to take a step back and think some here before projecting these salaries other than for SP and then, legit #1-3SP.
I would have guessed that Anaheim wouldn’t be able to pay Pujols OR Wilson, much less both, after they acquired Wells and his salary. There was no way to bet on Detroit being willing to fork over $200 million to Prince – they’ve already got Cabrera.
As much as watching teams and what money they are likely to have available can be helpful, there’s always an owner who spends more than we guess. There’s also no way to predict new revenue sources, or changes in strategy. If the A’s finally move, can they increase their budget? Maybe. Cubs are in full rebuild, but under the new CBA, it is harder to do so with prospects. If they can get a player that helps them in 2 years when they are ready to compete (and Soriano’s contract is gone), would their owner be willing to overspend now? Could be.
I agree up to a point – projecting what a player is “worth” and what he’ll actually get are two totally different topics, but I’m not willing to limit what a player will get simply because I don’t think teams will be able to spend. I’ve been surprised too often by teams spending far more than I would have ever imagined.
Agree with you on Oakland going into a splurge mode “possibly” for a season or 2..But only after they have a new location and stadium deal done. Oakland never drew when they won 3 consecutive WS in Oakland and see no reason for them to draw, regardless of whether or not they built a stadium in that city or not. Beane has to know that and IF he does get the sign off for a Loria type splurge.. it would hinge on the San Jose (or other city) move, but then probably a temporary one only until they can gather information on how much they are going to make also in the new market.
Cubs and Mets will be spending some for sure, though I am not so sure they will be throwing around 20m+ AAV deals, even though they can afford it in their markets and remember this.. The lower teams still get more draft money to play with.. The Astros for example have over 11m in 2012.. Imagine what Epstein can do with that? he only went that high once (generally 9-10m) with Boston and most seasons (until 2011) still had a guy getting 3m area for a bonus.
There may/will be some wildcards thrown in for spenders, but that list is going down.. Rich owners and markets to pay for them.. The league is getting short of markets that can sustain 120m+ payrolls for teams not already closing in on that figure already.