With there’s always quite a lot of room to quibble over free agent rankings, there was really no debate regarding the top handful of talent in this year’s class. (At least, that is, once Marcus Stroman elected to accept the qualifying offer.) After Trevor Bauer, J.T. Realmuto, George Springer, Marcell Ozuna, and DJ LeMahieu — in whatever order; that’s how we had it — the drop-off to the rest of the board was rather pronounced.
As it turned out, those players signed contracts that hewed fairly closely to MLBTR’s predicted ranges. But the market, as always, had a few surprises for our in-house brain trust. In particular, Springer and LeMahieu came away with a fair bit more money than we had anticipated.
Trevor Bauer to Dodgers for three years, $102MM (with two opt-outs): If you’re of the opinion that Bauer is an ace-level hurler, then this deal represents a steal. The Dodgers are paying a premium rate, sure, but without any of the long-term entanglements. Then again, it’s only fair to note that Bauer has completed just one full season with a sub-4.00 ERA.
J.T. Realmuto to Phillies for five years, $115.5MM: This is a lot of coin for a free-agent catcher, but Realmuto is arguably the game’s best all-around backstop and the Phils got an up-close look at him before committing. If you value the hard-to-quantify contributions of a top-shelf catcher, this could be viewed as a bargain. On the other hand, Realmuto will turn thirty before the deal begins and the rigors of the position represent an ever-present concern.
George Springer to Blue Jays for six years, $150MM: Speaking of age, that’s the one real demerit in the situation of Springer, who’ll turn 32 at the tail end of the 2021 campaign. He’s a well-rounded masher who adds value with a versatile glove. If he can turn in a few more premium seasons and then settle in as a high-quality regular at the tail end of his career, Springer could easily reward the Jays for this contract.
Marcell Ozuna to Braves for four years, $65MM: Ozuna is significantly younger than Springer and easily bettered him at the plate in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. But Ozuna’s stretches of bliss have surrounded other spans of merely above-average play, and his glove is not as renowned as his bat. While there’s obviously some cause to temper expectations, there’s a realistic scenario where the Atlanta organization achieves huge value in this deal.
DJ LeMahieu to Yankees for six years, $90MM: The idea of a 32-year-old LeMahieu signing a contract like this … well, it still feels a bit preposterous to hot stove watchers of a certain age. But you can threw out what you thought you knew about the guy with the Rockies. He has been on a tear ever since he donned pinstripes. Throw in a quality glove and gravitas, and you’ve got a great finishing piece for any team with championship ambitions. The sixth year feels like a stretch, but it’s important to remember that it was designed to tamp down the annual luxury tax hit for the Bronx Bombers.
So, which of these contracts do you believe was the shrewdest investment from the team perspective? (Response order randomized; poll link for app users.)
Favorite: Marcell Ozuna. That deal was a steal, and I expect him to be very comfortable in that ATL lineup for a long time.
Least favorite: Realmuto. I’m just a pessimist when it comes to Realmuto, and I seriously think that 5 years down the road we will look back and say that it was a bad deal for a middling first baseman.
Here’s a question: What is the best free agent deal in recent memory? (from team perspective) I’m a homer, but the Adrian Beltre deal was a steal and a half.
Ozuna was an average hitter the previous 2 full seasons. He could easily regress back to that and not be a “steal”
Agree amk1920. Ozuna has had one exceptional season. He is okay but somewhat over rated.
Yes, but here’s why I think he can sustain it.
1. The Braves have shown the past few seasons to be able to do this to multiple hitters, not just Ozuna. I think the Braves can play a role in making him have sustainable success.
2. His 2020 was so incredibly good, that he could “comfortably regress” back down to the numbers he showed in 2017. I think he’ll do just that too. A 140 wrc+ hitters instead of a 179 one. Everything will fall a little bit, but he’s still going to be an amazing hitter.
And before anybody says “But he wasn’t good fr the past two years!!!” again, let me say this: Some of this is just me using my male, woman’s intuition. Part of it is just believing that Ozuna will do well.
A 140 wrc+ is pretty much a given for his regression. It could get a lot lower than that.
So you think he’s just gonna settle in for his career at the same level as the year where he had second highest career babip? And you think this cuz the braves have played a role in his luck? What an awesome evaluation and totally not just using reasons to justify an already reached conclusion.
@1984 . . . So what’s your own evaluation? At least he answered the question. All you did was evaluate a comment.
1984, seems like you and many others are forgetting that he also had a shoulder injury the effected his numbers. He’s healthy now and it shows. He also is just a good hitter. He isn’t just trying to hit homers. He can hit to all fields and shown he’s willing to give himself up to advance a runner and settle for a opposite field single if that’s what benefits the team the most. Too many people just want to look at numbers without watching a player or knowing the circumstances around him.
Look at his career…it’s not a 1 year thing. Yeah, he’s a good hitter. 2020 Ozuna was a great hitter. I agree that he’ll be a good hitter. People know the circumstances, they just aren’t homers that think players are going to continue to play at levels that far exceed their norm.
Pops – Maybe you should have read a little further down before commenting.
I hope you also understand the irony of trying to call someone out for only evaluating a comment, by posting a comment, that’s evaluating a comment.
He might have had middling results, but all of his secondary numbers, especially his advanced metrics pointed to a bit of bad luck for Ozuna.
His hard hit percentage, line drive percentage, exit velocity, etc. they were all pointing to the fact that Ozuna suffered from some bad luck the previous two seasons. They told AA, Snitker, Seitzer, and Castro that with a little better fortune and some minor adjustments that they could get Ozuna to perform at a much higher level than his basic stats from the previous two seasons.
They took that gamble, and it paid off huge dividends for the Braves, and Ozuna also helped provide protection for Freeman, which ultimately helped lead him to an NL MVP Award!!
Now, I’m not entirely sold that Ozuna can honestly repeat his performance from last season, but I think his numbers will be alot closer to last season than they were the previous two seasons.
Barry Bonds was able to really help Ozina turn a corner back in Miami previously, and he showed everyone what Ozuna was capable of. I think ultimately Ozuna has refound his ceiling, and he will end up being a steal for the Braves moving forward!! That’s ESPECIALLY if the Owners and the MLBPA can finally agree to have a universal DH come the 2022 season and beyond!!
Amk I can see how you can say that, but Ozuna showed signs of drastic improvement in 2019 playoffs till NLCS. I was really surprised Cardinals didn’t extend him with what they gave up to acquire him, but they also had a lot jam of outfielders. He also had shoulder surgery that the Cardinals brass failed to address immediately after acquiring him. Had he gotten the surgery when he arrived I think his 2019 numbers would have been different. Being in a line up with Ozzie Albies, MVP winner Freddy Freeman, and Ronald Acuna Jr also helps.
“drastic improvements” = 130pt increase on babip. Which will normalize. He’ll probably be closer to a 3-4 win player (which isn’t bad) than the 6 win player he was on pace to be in 2020.
Ozuna is a very, very good hitter.
What you and others are describing is the career path of a free-swinger/aggressive hitter.
These hitters take time to mature at the plate and figure out what pitchers are trying to do to them and which pitches to attack and which ones to lay off and let go, They have to outthink the pitcher.. otherwise the pitcher will use their aggressiveness against them. It is a constant battle.
It’s a process. I’ll say that Ozuna has looked good though.. and that he’s figured it out.
I actually think all of these deals were good. I think Realmuto’s is second best after DJ’s insane Yankee friendly deal. Most people commenting here don’t know how good of a catcher he is. He frames incredibly well, throws out baserunners very well and the staff raves about him. Because of the position he plays it’s the safest deal of the five. There’s no reason to believe he won’t be a catcher till age 35. He keeps himself in incredible shape. His bat doesn’t sizzle but it’s good. Osuna could turn out to be great or a bust and the same with Bauer.
Scherzer. Worth every penny
Scherzer’s arms could fall off tomorrow, and the Nats deal would still be one of the best longterm deals for a pitcher. He has already done everything he needed to do and he still has more in the tank. That being, this entire article is talking about this year’s FA signings.
To me the only ones on this list who have demonstrated years of consistency are J.T. Realmuto and George Springer. That doesn’t mean they’re better than anyone else. It just means it’s a pretty safe bet that they’ll continue to produce on a high level for the next few years. I still can’t call either one of their contracts shrewd though.
I don’t actually think the Ozuna contract is a steal, because the NL hasn’t instituted the DH yet. His defense is so bad that it will weigh down his contract a bit. If the DH does get implemented, then I would change my opinion, but as of right now, I don’t like this contract.
In regards to the best free agent contract of recent memory, I would have to go with DJ Lemahieu’s contract with the Yankees two years ago. That was a great deal.
You don’t need that strong of a defender in LF, especially if Pache is playing CF. The Braves needed the bat more than the glove, and I’m pleased they made the move.
Realmuto will be 34 in year 5 of that contract,he could very well still be a good catcher at that point.
People compare him to Russell Martin,but Martin was hitting in the 230s & 40s well before he went to Toronto.He just had the great year in Pittsburgh before reaching free agency.
Yadier Molina,Joe Mauer,Pudge,Jorge Posada,Darren Daulton,Carlos Ruiz…. there’s plenty of examples of catchers being productive in their mid 30s.Plenty the other way as well,but you shouldn’t be so quick to assume he won’t.
Might want to go look at Mauer’s stats again.
Mauers stats were still good at 34,what I didn’t pay attention to was him not playing at catcher by the time he was 34…so you got me on 1 of the 6 I mentioned.
DJ LaMahieu on the 2 yr deal with the Yanks was an insane deal.
Best free agent deal was James Shields to the Padres, because they somehow turned him into Tatis Jr.
Ozuna is one of those players who needs stars around him. Much better fit in Atlanta than St Louis. I also think he fully recovered from surgery to alleviate shoulder impingement that sapped him of some of his power which is why we saw his numbers end up better than what they were with Miami before coming to St Louis. We also saw him take the ball the other way which helps open up his game more offensively. Don’t know how he ever won a gold glove though.
You’re forgetting ozuna has to play the field this year, he was awfully comfortable in the DH role
The Ronald Acuna deal 8/100 million with the Braves is an absolute steal. An even bigger steal is the 6/50 million deal that Luis Robert signed with the White Sox.
If you want to know the worst contracts jus look at any of the ones between the Angels and Pujols, Hamilton, the numerous one year deals with decrepit pitchers.
The worst contract is the one between the O’s and Chris Davis 7/161. If it wasn’t for the contract he would have been out of baseball years ago. Also, honorable mention to the Mets for the Cespedes deal.
So, in reading these comments I glean that several support the Ozuna contract as a steal because of his hitting? Okay.
1 – He’s a DH, or should be, so if you look at the amount he’s getting paid, is it a steal? And,
2 – remember, this will be a dead ball year, so his regression will be amplified, most likely.
I have no dog in the Ozuna contract discussion, just bringing up a couple observations.
Agreed on all points. The Ozuna contract was a steal and by far the best. I’m surprised he didn’t receive better offers. He was obviously holding out for one. He is a player that doesn’t seem to give max effort game after game though and teams tend to notice when offering contracts. I think the Yankees padding DJ’s contract because of his performance the past couple of years. He was a bargain and if he won’t have to keep up his current projection to be worth $15m a season. It could be worse. It could be the Yankees holding that Cano contract.
I can’t think of a single long term catcher contract sans Posada’s with the Yankees that was worth the investment. Mauer, McCann, Martin all went down hill after just a couple of years. Posey seems like he will spend a good part of his at 1st but he might buck the trend. Catching is so hard on the body, expecting someone to perform those duties at an elite level for nearly 20 years is asking a lot.
Best contract I can think of would either be Jeter’s 10 year, Trout’s current (still a wait and see) or the Chris Sale contract he signed with the White Sox as a young player. Worst I can think of would be either Vernon Wells, Chris Davis or BJ Upton.
Rangers29 The Adriane Beltre deal was great for the Texas Rangers. I was looking at his numbers in MVP voting and was surprised how much he was being paid. He instantly picked up the slack that came with the departure of Vladimir Guerrero and helped Texas get back to the World Series. Fair to say it was one of the best signings ever. His years in a Rangers Uniform was a great way to wrap up a hall of fame career.
Ichiro was a great signing too for the Mariners
This Red Sox fan still can’t figure out why they didn’t figure out a way to keep Beltre
Lol if you said Bauer or JT
How is Bauer not a good deal? Short-term commitment which will essentially be off the books in two years. If he takes his third year option it will be a minimal contract for a starter – comparable to what the Braves gave Morton for one year. In four years this deal will be forgotten, meanwhile an albatross contract like Gerrit Cole’s will still be tied to NY for another five seasons. Pitcher’s can fall off quickly after their prime (i.e. Halladay after his age 34 season).
He’s getting paid 40 million a year and has a very wide range of outcomes plus this could prevent them from keeping Seager
I’m sorry, i don’t think the Dodgers’ front office is stupid enough to sign a contract like this that would prohibit them from keeping a player if they want to keep them. They have given us no indication that they’re incompetent.
If Bauer cannot match the season he had last year against strictly the NL and AL central which were the worst offensive teams in all of MLB then his contract will be viewed as an overpay. That’s where the argument comes from.
I said Bauer. For a team like the dodgers it makes a lot of sense. They know they’re very good in immediate future, so they’ve added even more talent to what is already an awesome roster and they didn’t have to commit long term to do it. It’s a ton of money in the short term, but the dodgers should be able to absorb that. Especially if they are making and advancing the in the playoffs.
You could argue that they would have done that without Bauer and I think that’s fair, but this increases their odds of advancing. Each round = a lot of income for the team and it increases as you get deeper.
I am not a Dodgers fan, but I think this deal made a lot of sense for that team.
For any other team I think it is a poor contract and a vast overpay for a pitcher who is more hype than substance, but for the Dodgers it is a good move. They can pay him like an ace but don’t need him to be, and they print money, so if they have the chance to do it again they probably do and should. If he settles in as a number 3 pitcher in the worst case scenario then I think they’ll be happy. Any better than that and they’ll be delighted.
Agree 1984. Bauer won the CYA , albeit with a drastically reduced season. However, folks seem to forget which team he was on. The Reds were decent in 2020 because of the short season, IMO. While revenue is an issue in Cincinnati, look at the tear down after the season. Makes no sense unless the FO realizes 2020 was an outlier and the team was not a powerhouse.
Realmuto was the best value, IMO. 22M per for top catcher who’s not that old in catcher years (see Molina, Martin, Posey, etc). The only hang-up I have with the deal is that the Phillies made it. As they don’t appear primed to contend soon and probably just maxxed out payroll, whatever Realmuto contributes will largely be in vain. By the time Philly takes the next step, Realmuto will be on the bad side of the contract.
Would have made a lot more sense for a win-now team like Twins, Astros, Rays, Yanks or even Nationals to pop JT
g4 – the Phillies brought back their key offensive players from a team that was 5th in runs scored last year. they added a few solid starters and some veteran relief pitchers. they are a very good team. they do lack a real closer but their biggest obstacle is Atlanta. that team is absolutely stacked. they almost (and should have) beat LA last year. their only weak spot could be their pen. plus, the Mets are going to be better as will Washington now that Strasburg is back. and of course, Miami made the playoffs last year. it’s a very tough division.
Springer was the top FA on the market, hard not to go with him.
I like Springer but that artificial turf will tear up his knees and back at 32.
The Big Yo
I know these were the biggest moves this off season but personally I think Trevor Rosenthal was a fantastic move and better than all of these particularly in terms of cash obviously. The Ozuna move is the best of these 5
usually its the smaller moves that provide the best bang for your buck. those moves are championship winners.
It would be but the A’s decided to defer his money. Ridiculous just pay him in 2021
Depends if he’d have been cheaper if you just paid it all in 2021. If not, then it makes sense to defer it.
what’s the point from his perspective realistically to defer and get nothing more?
I like the Rosenthal move, but I disagree that it was best because I think he’s being paid a very full salary for his abilities and with it being a reliever with injury history it carries a lot of risk.
i don’t know how you can say Bauer is a steal at ~40 million per. even if he’s 2018 good you’re still probably overpaying.
Because it was the shortest deal and if he pitches great he’ll opt out which is good for the team. Save the replies too people. I don’t care what you think when a player opts out it’s far better for the team. It means he had a career year and career means his best and will only decline from there. It means you got the best season out of him at great value and he can easily be replaced just like every single other player can be for cheaper amount.
and what if I think he had a career year in 2020 and will decline from there?
Then the deal is over in 2 years. The Dodgers overpaid in AAV to avoid paying for his decline in his mid to late 30s.
But was it worth investing in a guy like Bauer knowing Kershaw and seager are up at the end of 2021 and bellinger will be getting a crazy deal in arbitration?
It is if they want to win championships. You worry about those free agents at the end of the season. Also, Boras is Seager’s agent and I’m pretty sure the Dodgers FO have a beef with him. I would not count on Seager returning
Yes, the shorter front loaded deal does not tie up a bunch of long term money. They can easily bite the bullet for the 1 yr that overlaps.
It’s only “not” worth it if Bauer prevents LA from keeping/replacing any of those guys
And If you think that’s the case, reality is going to hit you hard
It’s only “not” worth it if Bauer prevents LA from keeping/replacing any of those guys
And If you think that’s the case, reality is going to hit you hard
Still paying him 40+ a year the next 2 years,he has to be atleast close to his best to get the value they’re paying for.
Yeah, he does. And if you’re looking at this a straight $/war situation I think the Dodgers will lose this. They pretty clearly paid more money to lower their risk of having an albatross contract on their books in the future. It’s a move that wouldn’t make a ton of sense for a lot of teams, but I like it for the Dodgers with the current roster they have and the spending power they wield.
@iverbure: “It means he had a career year and career means his best and will only decline from there. It means you got the best season out of him at great value”
I know you said ‘save the replies’, but this makes absolutely no sense. You say ‘if he pitches great he’ll opt out’ and that ‘it means he had a career year’. No, it doesn’t. He could repeat his 2020 performance, opt out, sign elsewhere, then pitch even better somewhere else. Him opting out after 2021 does not preclude him from pitching even better somewhere else.
I don’t understand the logic of a player opting out = he had a career year = he will never be as good again = the team he opted out from is ‘far better’ off. He could have an 8 ERA, opt out for some reason, then sign a deal with a divisional rival, beat you repeatedly, and win the Cy Young. How would that be ‘far better’ for the original team?
How many teams can afford $40m per and are set up payroll wise to be able to pay it? Who else will go over the tax threshold in 22? He opts out only to renegotiate in LA which I don’t see happening. He’s there for three years.
Look at the structure. It’s 40-45-17. Barring injury, he’s gone after 2
Well that’s some owner-speak
But this is baseball so the market doesn’t exactly determine the market. As a percentage of team revenue the Bauer contract is the best deal. Of the five deals listed, the Dodgers are the team best able to afford their deal particularly if the player crashes. To me the Bauer deal has the highest floor because it is only three yrs and because the Dodgers aren’t dragging around a lot of other dead weight. In terms of revenue, the Yankees can certainly afford LeMahieu, but they are stuck with other bad contracts that forced them to make this a bad contract down the road. If Springer declines early, it will seriously derail the Jays. The same can be said about Realmuto in Philly. I agree that the Braves will get likely get good offensive production from Ozuna. But they are hoping the DH becomes a reality in the NL soon or where does he play?
Deadweight could now include Bauer and Price which could effect their ability to re-sign Kershaw and Seager after 2021. Plus bellinger will be due over 20 million in arbitration and they still have betts locked up for between 30 and 35 million for the bulk of his deal that runs through 2032
Isn’t Price only getting $16m from the Dodgers?
LAD is fine with overpaying on a short term commitment.
Far Beyond Driven
We’ll see about that
What’s there to see Far? They are the first team to do this type of free agent deal in 10+ years? Maybe longer? They also tried this with Harper and likely with other players. It’s reality
Funniest article I read on David Price was when he said what a relief it was to see his absence didn’t cost his team the WS.
Uh, yep, when you chose to sit out of work for a year, it probably was one of the reasons LAD won the WS, Price. He should try it again, but for about five more.
that doesnt make it a good contract, that just makes it potentially more stomachable.
Went with Springer but Bauer at that short a term deserves consideration.
Id bet Bauer won’t be worth 40 million in 2021, he will opt in, and the dodgers will be in trouble, already having betts and price on the books, plus bellinger making over 20 mill in arb all before having to re-sign seager and Kershaw who are FA at the end of 2021
Bauer is going to opt out after the second year.
I foresee tantrum boy spending all three years in LA with the results being similar to what he did in Cleveland and his first partial season in Cincinnati. The umps will be watching him.
The *only* way he opts in 17M in 3 years after this FA charade is he blows his arm out
Educate yourself on the contract your complaining about before complaining. Please
Lmao you must think morons run the dodgers
The Yankees got away with murder with DJ. I don’t see how this is particularly close either.
That’s my vote. I like Ozuna’s deal, but I don’t think anyone benefits more from any stadium more than LeMahieu in Yankee Stadium — and he’s not a lefty. Kudos for Yankees not thinking they needed to overpay someone.
It’ll be interesting to see if the change in baseball hurts DJ’s power numbers at all, but yeah I like that contract at this point for the Yankees as well. Especially being able to negotiate it the way they were for Lux Tax purposes.
I voted DJ, as much as I hate the Yankees he is tailor made for that joke park so they got him at a reasonable deal even if the last year or 2 are not great.
It’d definitely be Ozuna if he was only a DH but he’s a liability as an outfielder, It’s DJ or Springer depending on who ages better
His defensive issues are overblown. Sure he doesn’t cover a lot of ground but he makes the plays he’s supposed to make. Those ridiculous defensive metrics have taken over for people who don’t watch the actual games.
If DH comes to NL in 2022, that contract is going to be incredible.
DJ. Buy 4 years years get 2 free. Compared to Donaldson who was older and not as versatile.
Any deal going to age 38 is hard pressed to be the best value. How long till injuries cut into production?
The answer is Trevor Bauer. All these deals will have diminishing returns because they’re all 4 years or more except Bauer’s. With Springer and Realmuto, they were already have an injury history.
Springer averaged 141 games per year between 2016 and 2019. He then played 51 out of 60 games in the short season. If you take out the short season and the outlier 2019 when he played in 122 games, he averaged 148 games between 2016 and 2018. I don’t see much in terms of injury concerns there. Realmuto is a catcher. Catchers aren’t expected to play 162 games. He has averaged 132 games since his first year as a full time starter. 2019 was a career high in games played. I don’t see much cause for injury concerns there either. .. Bauer won’t replicate what he did in the half season,or what he did in 2018 BEFORE HE GOT HURT, and he will opt in after 2021 which will hinder the dodgers ability to bring back Kershaw and seager
So neither Springer or JT’s issues should be taken seriously, but Bauer’s should? Sounds kinda biased. Games played is also not the only thing to look @ for injuries. JT has hip issues, something that can be problematic for a catcher. I agree and wouldn’t be too concerned about Springer getting hurt, just naturally aging out of CF.
Ducky Buckin Fent
I really can’t say which contract I feel is the best, or whatever. They all have pretty noticable strengths & potential pitfalls.
But I do like what Cash was able to work out with DJ LeMahieu. So I went with the devil I know.
If there’s anything to the $8MM/WAR estimate than there’s a realistic chance that LeMahieu will earn his contact sometime before the end of the third year (’21 projected WAR of 4+).
DJ signed as a UTIL for an AAV of $12 mil. He’s been a legitimate MVP caliber player for us. & Cashman somehow got him back on an AAV of $15MM. That seems pretty savvy to me.
I realize that the last couple years might be rugged. But – again – it’ll be “only” 15 mil which is hardly onerous for any MLB franchise let alone the New York Yankees.
Old User Name
Ducky.. The Athletic did an article sometime back showing the $8 million per WAR was not correct. When that estimate was done, it counted relief pitchers and that skewed the numbers. They figured the numbers to be tiered with lower WAR players getting around $4.5 million and higher WAR players getting a bit over $5 million per.
Even with these numbers, DJLM will earn his contract easily.
Did they break it out further for position players vs. Non-RPs and find that those were similar?
Old User Name
It was written by Eno Sarris so there were a lot numbers. Mostly it dealt with position players. Here is a chart from the article showing position player WAR and the dollar amount.
For what ever reason, I can’t seem to add a link but search the article:
The Athletic Eno Sarris: What all those non-tenders can tell us about how players are being valued
This article is from December 2019 so these numbers won’t be completely accurate but should still be somewhat similar.
Ducky Buckin Fent
That’s a pretty big change. I’m used to seeing $7-10 mil estimates.
I must not be thinking about this correctly, however. WAR doesn’t do a very good job with relief pitchers.
But: including those contracts increases that dollar amount – if anything.
What am I missing here?
Old User Name
Ducky.. See above post.
If you don’t have a subscription to the Athletic, you won’t be able to read the article but it explains it a lot better than I can. If you don’t mind the fairly high cost of the subscription, The Athletic is well worth getting.
Ducky Buckin Fent
Yeah, thanks @Joe-
I see my first mistake. They were precluding relief pitchers. Man. Poor reading on my part.
That starts to make a lot more sense. The numbers were driving me nutty.
I’ve heard mixed reviews on the Athletic. Trust your judgement as much as anyone around here.
Thanks for the response.
Have a great day, Joe.
Old User Name
Ducky.. Just for a clarification on The Athletic: it isn’t like MLBTR, so you won’t be getting breaking news and signing info so much but you will get great articles. With writers like Marc Carig, Ken Rosenthal, Jayson Stark and Eno Sarris it’s gotta be good. The Yankees beat writer, Lindsey Adler, is awesome too.
This was informative, thanks guys. Those writers are excellent.
Bauer is going to make the Barry Zito contract look like a bargain by comparison. He has a loooong track record of being a mediocre starter, and guys who lean as heavily on their fastball as he does always fall off a cliff the second they lose any kind of velocity.
Can’t wait for him to throw up an ERA of 6.50 in year 3 of the deal and for everyone to act like no one could have seen it coming hahaha.
Zito had a much longer contract. Bauer can pitch himself right out of starting rotation and it wont be as bad of a deal as Zito’s as LAD are not married to him for very long.
It’s frikin impossible for bauer contract to be a steal. If he has a 3.5 Era or higher that’s a major disappointment. Yes he’s had one season under 4 Era so at best the contract will have been “satisfied”. They paying him 40 million
And guess what there is zero bad back end years they would have to deal with like the Strasburg and Cole deals will. Pay more now and don’t have him for the decline. What a concept.
As long as Bauer is productive for 1 or 2 years, it is absolutely the best value here
It’s the ONLY contract where a team doesn’t have 35+ to deal with. The dodgers are paying for 2 prime years. The whole point is, barring injury, he’s gone in 2 years. He’s a 2 year mercenary. If he pitches like a #2 as the 4th starter, he’s a steal
Again, just because there is no cap in the MLB it doesnt the signing a steal. At what does it not become a steal in your eyes? $60M/year? $70? Even if it was the Pirates or Rays paying Bauer $40M+ a year and their payroll still well below average it doesnt make the contract a “Steal”.
no, it isnt. if he’s only productive one year then you’re spending 40+ another year for garbage. wity Bauer’s track record you could be paying a record premium and get nothing out of him. The other four at least present some certainty to at least produce solidly for most of the deal.
There’s ZERO certainty that Springer or Realmuto will be productive for their contracts as they age
Springer on AstroTurf? With bad knees? What could go wrong
JT is already hurt before this year begins. Couple injuries and he’s not catching anymore. Then what, he’s a mediocre offensive 1B?
DJLM is paid till he’s 38. Enough said
The dodgers are banking on Bauer’s last 3 seasons, where’s he’s been a top 15 SP. over the last 3 years, not 1. If he repeats 2020, he’s gone end of 2021. If he doesn’t, he’s still gone 2022. He’s not taking 17M as a 32 year old, unless he’s hurt
All the hate on Bauer. Do you actually look at his stats? His cumulative stats? Doesnt seem like it
Realmuto will be 34 in the 5th year,so there’s no 35+ years there.
Oh goodie. He’s only a 34 year old catcher being paid 23M, whos already had multiple lower body injuries. What could go wrong?
Far Beyond Driven
Springer made Jays the AL East favorites in my opinion
People say Bauer is going to decline. Are we forgetting he’s on the DODGERS. A team that knows how to get the best of their pitchers. Bauer is going to be fine.
That is a definite possibility. However, Bauer also has a reputation for ignoring suggestions from others and insisting on doing his own thing. Not necessarily a bad thing as it’s gotten him pretty darn far.
None of them
I’ve said this on several threads, but I love the Ozuna contract just because I believe it represents everything free agency negotiations should be. Ozuna gets a good penny at $65 million along with an option that could make it $80 million. Combine that with the $18 million from 2020 before being prorated and the Braves will have committed either $98 million over six years or $83 million over five. I don’t consider either of those terms to be team friendly or an overpay.
Now add in the structure of the current contract. It’s backloaded, so he’ll make $12 million this year to presumably play a bad left field then transition to the DH in 2022 at which point he’ll make $53 over the next three years. Essentially, the majority of the money is tied into the years when the Braves benefit from his bat without the drawback of his defense.
Some players just fit into certain clubhouses. I think it’s fair to assume he could’ve made over $20 million on a one-year deal somewhere after his 2020 season, then re-entered the market when all 30 teams could add him at DH. He wanted to be back in Atlanta and the Braves wanted him back.
It’ll never be confused for a bargain or steal, but Ozuna’s deal is one of the fairest deals for both sides in recent memory.
DJ was the least as far as risk.
Goes to age 38. All that needs to be said
and the Harper/Machado/Betts contracts go well into their 30s. no one is excepting the player to be great on the backend of a huge deal. as long as the player is as advertised up front and not a massive liability on the backend then that’s exactly what you want.
And all those deals started age 26/27 dark side.you’re comping that with a deal that STARTS age 32. So it lost SIX years of that front end production you claim with save the contract. No, it’s not the same
Bauer and Ozuna are players that benefited from a small sample size last season, and who have proven to be more average than exceptional. Not saying their pay is not mostly justified… more that I don’t find them to be especially good deals for the teams.
Realmuto is a beast! My only concern would be the aging of a catcher. If he were to move to 1B, for example, for the end of this contract, then suddenly he’s wickedly overpaid. He could still be a top-caliber C by then, and this would be close to a steal. But again, not an especially good deal for the team.
Springer is great. Probably deserves that contract. Not sure if I’d consider it a great deal or steal however, probably good market value. His make-up gives confidence (more so than with Ozuna, Realmuto, and Bauer) that he will live up to this contract, obviously barring significant injury or similar circumstance.
This brings me to LeMahieu. Of all the players listed here, LeMahieu is the one I’d be most confident in concluding would still be highly valuable at the end of the contract. The biggest factor for me, however, in deciding between Springer and LeMahieu is the dollar amounts of their contracts. Is Springer almost 2x as good as LeMahieu? I don’t think so. In fact, they’re probably pretty equal in most ways.
To me, this makes the LeMahieu signing the best of the 5. He’s most likely to live up to, and even exceed, the value paid for. The Bauer signing is the only one I simply don’t like. His inconsistency and temperament/attitude do not seem deserving of $36M/year. This one is most likely to look silly. Even more peculiar is how good the Dodgers rotation was without him… Is Bauer REALLY going to significantly outperform someone internal like Gonsolin? Or Odorizzi as a free agent? No way. The other contracts are more than fair.
I will enjoy laughing in the faces of everyone here who claims Bauer is going to decline while going to the most savvy team in the league
It’s a likely 2 year deal for a 30 year old coming off his best season. The structure is 40-45-17. Unless he’s hurt, why does he stay in year 3? If you don’t understand the value in that simple fact, it’s not worth the conversation
Also 2021, teams will be lucky to use 7 or fewer starters. There will be PLENTY of innings
he stays if he sucks. then you’re out over 100 million over three years and perhaps get nothing. I dont care that he’s coming off a career year. it wasn’t a full 162 and look at what he did in 2019 coming off 2018.
Top 15 pitcher over the last 3 years. 40-45-17 structure. He’s not staying 3 if he’s healthy.
Educate yourself before commenting on every one of my comments. I will respond
Amazing all these people ripping the Bauer deal, yet they clearly have no idea where the dodgers payroll sits or how the contract is structured
Spoiler everyone. The dodgers are going to pay the luxury tax for more than one season. Get over this fact.How can they afford Bauer? It’s called player development filling out most of the roster+ an owner who actually wants to win
Educate yourselves before making bold statements
Another thing. David Price is making 15M this year. He’s not a payroll drain, if you have competent people running your team. If you cannot fathom that fact, blame your favorites team front office for failing you as a fan
I’m kinda one of those guys. I know the Dodgers can afford him which is cool, but Bauer is not worth 40 mil. If it was the Mets making the deal I think it would be worse, but its the dodgers who may get a good Bauer or shet Bauer
I’m not ripping the deal,but paying someone the highest salary in the league can’t be looked at as a steal,or a shrewd move.They’re team salary or their ability to eat a bad contract,if it don’t work out,isn’t a consideration when comparing this one deal to others.The Yankees aren’t exactly a broke team either.
It’s only technically the highest salary in the league. If stars ever took short term contracts, there’d be guys getting paid $60M a year at least.
Would you rather have one Trevor Bauer, or 3.64 Drew Smylys? 5 Robbie Rays?
(But DJLM is clearly the best contract.)
Age 32-38 for a guy who relies on hand eye coordination. It’s a long deal
Again. You pay to reduce the risk. If Harper took a 2 year deal, they were prepared to give him 45-50M. Possibly up to 4 years. Other teams are at those numbers too. Heck we know the Mets offered more, just a different layout
Doom & Bloom
I just don’t see Bauer being 2020 Bauer. Dodgers, whether they can afford or not, spent way too much for him based solely on 2020. We will see.
Agree. But of all of the contracts, it was the shortest term. Generally, it’s the years that kills the team, not the money. Bauer will likely be overpaid in year 3 of his contract, but I don’t think it will be as big an overpay as some of the others
Bauer is making less than 20m in year 3 of his contract. I guess if he hasn’t opted out by then, you’re probably right that he’ll be over paid because it’ll mean his right arm is no longer attached to his body (obvious hyperbole).
Bill you critique the dodgers contract but use the Mets contract offer as your ammo
If he’s overpaid at 17M in 3 years, something went very wrong. It wasn’t just his era was 4
Matt Moore, Phillies $3 mil. Sometimes, left handers develop late. He was healthy and solid in Japan. Obviously, the Phillies did their homework on this before signing him. Little risk with the potential of a good payoff. Moore knows this is his final MLB chance. This signing will be interesting.
Definitely a storyline to watch. Cliff Lee had an ERA over 6 in 07. The next year he was lights out.
Moore was great in 2013. But 85 innings in Japan doesn’t convince to ignore 6 years. Showing a flash of his former self doesn’t mean it’s coming back full time.
The only downside to Bauer’s contract is the short-term effect it might have on the club’s desire to re-sign Kershaw and Seager and if the club is willing to take the luxury penalties. Even then, the Dodgers have probably had offers for Price and others, albeit probably awful offers.
Bauer is the reigning Cy Young winner walking into a pitcher-friendly park. There is a good chance he will be great in LA.
Anyone who thinks this front office is allowing a free agent to preclude them from retaining or replacing a star really hasn’t been paying attention for the last 8 years
Ozuna’s career WRC+ is 117, which includes a couple poor early years. His 2019 campaign was a fluke marred by poor luck; his BABIP was 62 points below his career average.
Ozuna’s batted ball numbers almost all profile at the very top of the league & he’s still improving. We’re talking 98-99th percentile. And that’s not just 2020.
The low end is a 2-3 WAR DH that is still a clubhouse leader & the source of energy for the team. The high end is an MVP campaign (some have opined that he would’ve been MVP in 2020 if he’d kept that up over 162…but that’s another story).
For less than half the price of a much older Springer? Wow.
The only way the Braves lose on this contract is if Ozuna is hit by a train.
2018 was pretty close to career babip, he was a 2.8 fWAR player. I think that’s pretty much what you should expect from him for a couple of years until he ages and declines, I wouldn’t call that the low end, more the middle.
I don’t really like the Springer contract, but you seem to just gloss over the fact that one of them can play CF and the other shouldn’t be in the field. That’s a pretty big difference in value.
I thought it was obvious which deals are garbage but then I read some of the comments. Ozuna is on a four year deal worth around $16 million per so that could have been worse actually I like that deal. To me the Bauer deal and the Springer deal are absolutely horrible. Bauer has yet to prove he’s that guy. One good year in Cleveland and one small stretch of starts during the Covid nonsense season does not make him a $40 million a year arm, not even close. The Dodgers wasted that money because quite simply they didn’t need him As for Toronto well good luck there’s nothing like signing a guy for the sole reason of not pissing off your fan base. Toronto didn’t need that bat they needed pitching pitching and pitching.so they go out and sign a guy with question marks all over him. Can he hit without the trash can? Maybe but maybe not and it’s not even the trash can situation he was a decent bat but it ended there. If you’re gonna pay $25 million a year for a bat it has to be better than Springer.
Signing the best free agent available did not “piss off the fan base”. Sure, people might not like it at the end of the deal, but that’s the same for almost any FA.
You seem to be more upset that he was an Astro more than anything else.
“The bat has to be better than Springer” okay my lad, show me the FA!
I think that the results Kevin Seitzer and the rest of the hitting coaches in Atlanta, combined with their analytics department is VASTLY under discussed. It has certainly been vital to the Braves the last few seasons.
Does it make your Babip 70 points higher than your career norm or is it SSS luck that does that? I don’t think the Ozuna deal is bad by any means, but if people are expecting him to be similar to 2020 Ozuna, I think they’re going to be disappointed.
Yankees getting DJ deal done was the best. Not close
How is paying Bauer $40M a year a steal? Even IF he wins a Cy Young, I wouldn’t even call it a steal, I would call it a fair contract.
Because you get to wave goodbye to 32 or at worst 33 year oldBauer. That’s the value
DJ’s deal is the most bang for the buck… great hitter that can play 1’st 2nd and 3rd base at a high level. And Taylor made for Yankee stadium
It’s tough calling any of these deals shrewd, but the market worked out in the Phillies favor. and they got Realmuto for far less than what he was projected to get. I like the Ozuna deal too.
Sad MLBTR Closing
By definition, Ozuna is the shrewdest deal. They got a good player at market rate, while not having to commit as many years as the other top players got. I don’t think he’ll provide the most value of the five though.
tom brunanskys black sock
If NL gets DH in the next year or two, Braves will look very smart.
I really didn’t like this years top FA options and I feel most got overpaid by desperate teams who felt they needed to make a move. As far as what a player means to a team, the Yankees deal with DJ was the best move. Without him their offense is homerun or bust and if he can produce at the level he has over the last few years that 15 mil per year will look like a bargain even at the end of the deal. The Dodgers signing Bauer to such a pricey contract (even if it’s only short term) pretty much cements the fact they’ll be letting either Kershaw or Seager walk next offseason. Still waiting for them to extend Walker and that won’t be cheap.
My favorite move was hands down the Michael Brantley signing. DJ level production and major clubhouse presence without having to give him the long term deal. Huge for the Astros present and future.
Charlie Morton 1 year/ $15M?
Braves had a patchwork rotation last year and to bring Morton back to help fortify it without breaking the bank for multiple years is a good move.
He wasn’t that good in RS and had some iffy moments in post, but it was a good signing. The only problem is his age, he also had some injuries
It’s funny how people in here think they’re smarter than Andrew Freidman. You could probably list his bad moves on one hand while he’s been with the Dodgers
1. Signing Kazmir
2. Trading Yordan Alvarez
3. Signing McCarthy
Those are the only egregious moves. Bauer is not going to go back to having a 6 ERA now that he’s on Baseball’s version of the Spurs, folks. He’s going to have 2 seasons like he did in 2018, barring injury, and then he’ll move on to another team.
Bauer is not going to be horrible, he just isnt worth $40M+ to any team that is not the Dodgers or Yankees (unlimited payroll). So its not a bad move as there are no bad moves when you dont have a cap. Even if he is injured or horrible it doesnt really matter as its only money. The point is, it isnt a “shrewd” or “good” deal as this thread is about, they simply overpaid because they could.
Bauer had to face only one good lineup last year (CHW). The Twins were around average; the rest of the teams were below-average to awful. Easy to put up amazing numbers against crappy lineups. I don’t think he’ll be bad, but I’d bet he’s in for significant regression.
Spurs of baseball? Your an idiot, the Spurs don’t have the payroll and most importantly the Dodgers have an idiot manager while the Spurs have a top 2 or 3 coach ever. Roberts makes poor decisions championship or not
Luc 2, you don’t think in a salary capped league the Dodgers wouldn’t be as successful? The Dodgers have the best player development and would still get free agents because players want to play in LA
They’re the best run team in baseball. If you disagree with that, I’d like for you to tell me who you think the best is.
Basketball you don’t rlly develop players like baseball. When did I say the Dodgers were gonna be good lol. I said the Dodger don’t have coach Pop, they have the opposite of him. I don’t know if you can read
There is no baseball manager as valuable as Pop or the best NBA coaches. Coaching is more important in the NBA.
The guy that decided not to have Duncan on the floor before Ray Allen hit the big basket to sink the Spurs in the NBA Finals? The guy who did nothing before or after Tim Duncan? Yes, soooo valuable. Popovich is overrated and owes his rings, his house and half his life savings to Tim Duncan.
The Dodgers would’ve been WAY better off had they just resigned Ryu
Bauer’s ceiling is higher than Ryu’s. Ryu also wasn’t the same pitcher away from Dodger Stadium.
From the team perspective, I would have selected “none”; but given a forced choice, I would say Ozuna. I wouldn’t call any of these contracts high on team value (given the dollars or years committed). DJ at 6 years was very eye opening. Most of these guys are being paid into their late 30s.
Hopefully the CBA will change the structure so these guys get paid during their high value years. Paying a guy 6 years in the hope that his first 3 years are great and his last 3 are mediocre just doesn’t make business sense. This is especially true considering statistically, a player’s talent apex is 27-29 years of age.
Marcell isnt “significantly younger” than Springer. he is a few months younger.
I voted DJLM. Yankees essentially signed him for six years at the price most people were expecting for four. Springer got a year longer than I thought at the same AAV, Bauer and JTR got overpaid, IMO. I think the Ozuna deal was great for the Braves, especially if/when there’s a DH in the NL, but I don’t think he’s better than DJLM for roughly the same AAV.
1. LeMahieu. 2. Realmuto.
Cap & Crunch
Dj – Fell off a Truck A+
Jtr- Market Fish -B+
Ozuna- Monday Sushi – C+
Bauer- Too much/too furious – C-
Springer- Newport Beach housing – Nice but not worth sticker – D
How could it ever be called a “steal” to simply tell a player you’re interested, tell him to offer terms, tell him you prefer short term options, and allow him to dictate terms and opt outs which enable a player with one elite season – that was 1/3rd the length of most years – to earn more than a truly dominant elite pitcher with many years of success like Degrom or even more per year than Cole? Especially learning of his intent to use the NYC market to get LA to offer whatever he wanted, as a Met fan I’m relieved as hell he didn’t sign in NYC.
You can say LA wanted the guy and he wanted them so they still decided to pay him top dollar and so be it. But steal? You can’t use that term for the highest paid player in the sport. When he plays 6, 7 innings 30 times a year and may not be a top 10 player at his position.
I’m also not sure how it is “shrewd” to resign your own players after you actually were shrewd and got over performance on great contracts.
Jays get the nod simply because they saw a guy they liked who can help a young talented lineup play better than they could have and allow themselves a chance to compete with the teams above them to try to surprise. Spent money to get better. Even though in 3 years when he’s not in Cf and maybe not in the field, his contract will be just as brutal as any other signed to a 30 plus player in a market that the player can stand out in. Gotta overpay to get a guy to move countries and play for a team not likely to win.
I think the Springer contract was the best as it was a win-win for both Blue Jays and Springer