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  1. It’s just crazy to me to think of Bourn as a potential $100m player. Times are changing, I guess.

    Comment by Eminor3rd — September 27, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

  2. Rollins is at 4.8 WAR with WRC+ of 104 this year at the age 33. So he might be able to get on top of that first list with a solid final week.

    Comment by nik — September 27, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

  3. Bourn will get a 4y/55MM deal.

    Comment by Justin — September 27, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

  4. He’s going to do much better than that. Even if it’s just a 4 year deal, I’d bet he gets closer to $75 M than $55 M.

    Comment by chuckb — September 27, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

  5. Low power/high strikeout? Just turning 30? Comps to Chone Figgins?

    Welcome to Seattle, Mr. Bourn! You’ll fit right in. Would you prefer to cultivate hatred from the Mariner fanbase while batting 1st, 2nd or 9th? Lots of space available.

    Comment by Bourn Again — September 27, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

  6. Are there any attempts to see how much the free agent market values each component of WAR? It’s floated around that 1 Win is $4-5MM, but we know that not all 5 WAR players will make the same salary (even on a 1-year deal). For all we know, the value can be:

    1WAR from baserunning is $2MM
    1WAR from Fielding/Position Scarcity is $3MM
    1WAR from hitting is $6MM

    I’m obviously making up numbers, but for someone like Bourn or Rollins, their WAR is made up of components that seem to be undervalued compared to someone like Prince Fielder. It’d be nice to see if the components had established values.

    Comment by vivalajeter — September 27, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

  7. The chone figgins and Carl Crawford contract disasters are too fresh. I have an extremely hard time imagining bourn going higher than 5/60. In fact im willing to bet that’s what he gets. A GM should think the precedent for this type of somewhat late blooming bat is precipitous falloff. Therefore pay him for the speed and defense and an,avg bat. A 3 win player. 45 for 3 or 60 for 5. Year for and five for a speed and defense guy are dangerous. That kind of commitment,needs to,be hedged with a lower aav.

    though it of course only takes one.

    Comment by bpdelia — September 27, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

  8. Xactly that’s what im getting at below. Although maybe “undervalued” is wrong. Perhaps those components are properly valued considering how,much more commob they are. The,minors is LOADED with speed and excellent fielders while there are maybe 50 elite hitters in the world at any one time. This is why griffey, bonds, Rodriguez were paid so well. The combination,of these skills in a durable consistent player comes along once a decade at best

    Comment by bpdelia — September 27, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

  9. I’m really hoping the Braves just pass on Bourn this winter. They are already going to have to deal with Uggla’s declining offense over the next three years so I don’t want two guys like that clogging up a lot of the payroll.

    Comment by JT — September 27, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

  10. Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t comprehend a defensive specialist player being paid that much. When it comes to UZR I feel fWAR takes too much value out of UZR and not enough out of the other stats. Players’ values that are highly reliant on UZR are too fickle to be paid big bucks. Not to mention a speedy defensive CF isn’t difficult to find, granted most do not hit well, but nevertheless they aren’t scarce. Comparable players that are offensively and somewhat defensively similar to Bourn are Span, Gomez, and Crisp, all won’t make near the money Bourn will make. Bourn is amazing with the glove, hits, and steals enough bases to be an everyday player; however he’s no more than 10 million a year for 3 years IMO. As Dave mentioned as soon as those skills start to decline, this could very easily be a Figgins 2.0 situation.

    Comment by AJP — September 27, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

  11. Span and Gomez have never been free agents, so their salaries aren’t really relevant. Coco Crisp is a comparable hitter, but is three years older and has a long history of injuries, not to mention the gap in defensive value and baserunning. They’re really not very similar.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — September 27, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

  12. I agree 100%. It’s obvious that $5M/WAR model just doesn’t work since the various components of WAR are valued so differently. After all, it’s pretty clear that Bourn and other like players won’t be commanding contracts with an AAV of $25M+. It’s a one-size-fits-all formula that doesn’t actually fit all.

    Comment by jpg — September 27, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

  13. The problem is that teams buy packages of talent, so it’s hard to break out the individual parts. We can get at it by looking at the types of contracts signed by types of players, and there’s no question that hitters get paid more than fielders, but there’s a lot of variance there. Is Crawford a hitter or a fielder? What about Jayson Werth? Or Adrian Beltre? There have been some very good defenders who have gotten rich the last few years.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — September 27, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

  14. I agree that it’s hard to break out the individual parts, and it’s not something that most of us can do. But there are some extremely smart people out there. I’d think an MIT or Harvard student can do wonders with a senior thesis on this sort of thing. People ask how to get into that line of work. Breaking out those components would be a good starting point.

    Comment by vivalajeter — September 27, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

  15. well done.

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — September 27, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

  16. From who? is my question – it seems most of the usual suspects are going to be out of the bidding, either because their outfields are set, their money is already tied up, or they have different organizational philosophies.

    Comment by James — September 27, 2012 @ 4:20 pm

  17. What drives a player’s contract is supply and demand. I could see him getting anywhere from what a low end proposal (3 years $30 million) to a high end (5 years $90 million) totally based on what teams are interested and how interested they are. If it comes down to the Rangers, Braves and Dodgers, it’s going to be a lot different than if only KC is really interested.

    It should also be pointed out that his defense is going to be more valuable to some staffs and in some parks than it will be in other places.

    Comment by The Real Neal — September 27, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

  18. But, but,.they are both fast…

    Comment by Josh — September 27, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

  19. much better than $55M for 4 yrs?! that’s crazy talk. who is going to be that crazy?

    Comment by Spike — September 27, 2012 @ 5:14 pm

  20. you’re right that supply and demand is what drives prices and with Upton and Pagan also viable CFers available this winter, Bourn may not get what he might in another year.

    Comment by Spike — September 27, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

  21. I think his contract’s value will depend on how the market values his defense. He truly is a gold glove caliber CF and has had a remarkable year in the field. But he’s worn down at the plate in the second half and it looks to me like he’s already starting to lose a half-step stealing bases. If his offense was more dependent on walks, a skill he’d be less likely to lose as he slows down, I’d be willing to sign him for 4-5 years. He needs to hit around .300 to maintain his offensive productivity, which is no sure thing if he loses any speed.

    Comment by Phantom Stranger — September 27, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

  22. It doesn’t seem like it should be so difficult, at least to build a crude model, anyway.

    AAV = gloveval + batval + bsrunval + posval + replval + ageatsign + contractyears

    The added benefit is that you could build a second model and include a term for overall WAR to see whether it’s worth splitting it up into components or not.

    Of course, there is a problem that many of these factors interact with one another (speed affects hitting, fielding, position, etc.) but I’d think the model would deal with that all right.

    Comment by jessef — September 27, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

  23. oh absolutely. its difficult to tease it out. aside from ss and catcher however, Cf defense and speed are pretty well represented in the minors and you can fill both those needs with one roster spot. this is why bourn will be fascinating to watch. Crawford didnt play a premium position,but had a longer stretch of offensive success and a strange aura that had Dec
    veloped that had people thinking a power surge was always just around the bend. bourn is not going to be paid like an,offensive supersyar. if we think,that teams value bourn as a 2 win hitter going forward just subtract 10 million from his salary perhaps we will see how Cf defense and baserunning is being valued. I doubt any GM assigns bourn more than 10 million in pure hitting ability. so if he makes 15? just spit balling ideas but he is a real nice study on how Cf defense and baserunning is valued going forward.

    Comment by bpdelia — September 27, 2012 @ 6:55 pm

  24. I think any team needing a center fielder would gladly give Bourn 4/55. He will probably be able to get a fifth year thrown in for 5/70.

    Comment by Krog — September 27, 2012 @ 7:12 pm

  25. San Francisco might make the sense. Maybe he get’s Melky’s money. His nine home runs this year are actually impressive given his high ground ball % and 160 strikeouts.

    Comment by Spit Ball — September 27, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

  26. Crawford: Fielder, almost a third of his career WAR is from defense.
    Werth: Hitter, the Nats were definitely paying more for the .385 wOBA
    than the above average RF defense.
    Beltre: Hitter, he had to take a one year deal coming from Seattle as a great defensive 3B. Then he got a huge contract coming from Boston as an elite hitter.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — September 27, 2012 @ 9:36 pm

  27. I was just gonna say Spit Ball. Why do I get the feeling that I’m going to be throwing up this winter after SF signs Bourn for 5/$90?

    Comment by Travis — September 28, 2012 @ 9:33 am

  28. “Xactly”?

    Comment by fmf — September 28, 2012 @ 11:03 am

  29. Way too much power to be a Bourn comp, though.

    Comment by philosofool — September 28, 2012 @ 11:08 am

  30. This is a very cool idea. I’m not sure how you would approach developing the model.

    Part of the equation has to be risk factors. Take a guy with +5 base running. A total collapse isn’t going to cost you more than 10 runs, and realistically, a total collapse of that skill probably ends up costing you more like 5 runs. Plus, a reasonable projection of base running probably regresses about three seasons to the mean using a 3/4/5 weighting of the player’s past three years, so most guys will get something like +/- 3 runs in that score. Over the course of a five year contract, you aren’t going to expect more than about a 5 run decline in base running value.

    Also, if a guy’s bat declines, he gets moved down the order, reaches base less, and can’t be as much of a factor on the base paths.

    Now take a guy with a 100 wRC+. How much can he fall? Almost infinitely, certainly to the point that no amount of defense will make up for it. A player can hemmorage loads of his past offensive value with a sudden collapse. There’s real risk in paying for RC that simply doesn’t exist in base running.

    Comment by philosofool — September 28, 2012 @ 11:22 am

  31. Times have changed. Cameron says that an RBI-less, excellent fielder/baserunner will be overpaid in years and money. He’s wrong.

    Times have changed for the better. Boras’s clients last winter actually suffered a bit because he’s no longer a wolf dealing with sheep. Front Offices are smart enough to evaluate not only proper value, but value to an organization. (Detroit’s not trying to win the $/WAR title. They spent extravagant money because the have the tremendous opportunity of playing in the weakest division.) Michael Bourn will be a reasonable gamble. No one knows how he’ll retain his fielding and base running value… But he’s now led the NL in SB and UZR for the last four years! I can’t imagine him going from 1st to sunk cost in three years. Even Andruw has never had a negative UZR season, and he’s been woefully out of shape. Figgins and Rollins have to deal with short hops. Bourn will have to deal with sinking liners. Infield defense is a much less predictable event. I think he’ll get a five year deal from a team with a spacious outfield and he’ll be well worth the money even after his contact dissipates.

    Comment by RMD — September 28, 2012 @ 11:30 am

  32. Plus Hamilton and Victorino.

    Comment by hk — September 28, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

  33. “Figgins…had a little more power” – So strange to read, in any context

    I was thinking Bourn looked like a good candidate for the M’s outfield this off season, but that comparison…it scares me more than I can articulate.

    Comment by eDUB — September 28, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

  34. I don’t think I buy the argument that Michael Bourn is “simply too small” to add much power going forward (although I actually agree that he won’t). I tried to think of a counter-example, and Joe Morgan came to mind. One of the smallest players in baseball, and he experienced a leap in ISO from ages 29-33.

    Comment by Jon L. — September 29, 2012 @ 5:02 pm

  35. Really interesting that players rarely succeed in this manner for very long. I’ve often been surprised by very successful, good-fielding veterans who peaked defensively when they were very young, often in their early 20′s. Is there evidence that speed on defense erodes faster than speed on offense? It’s non-intuitive, but fits some of the stats I’ve seen. Also, could this be an exploitable imbalance in the marketplace, with the most elite fielders often being young and cheap? (Or is the cost on offense too great?)

    Comment by Jon L. — September 29, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

  36. I’m looking at the fielding and baserunning numbers for Crisp and Bourn right now, and I’m not seeing the gap you’re talking about. Crisp’s top 3 fielding seasons are +25.0, +18.1, and +17.7 compared to +21.3, +19.4, and +9.9 for Bourn. Crisp’s top 3 baserunning seasons are +5.7, +3.8, and +3.6 compared to +7.2, +5.3, and +3.8 for Bourn. Yet you say “they’re really not very similar”? How so, exactly?

    Comment by Tom — September 29, 2012 @ 10:09 pm

  37. So who should get a bigger contract between Bourn and Nick Swisher? Who will? I think 4 year 50-60 million is reasonable for both, with 5/75 being the high end.
    Personally I would like to see the Yankees sign Bourn and move Granderson to RF.

    Comment by Mike — September 29, 2012 @ 10:33 pm

  38. You mean when he moved from the Astrodome to Riverfront? OK that was actually at 28, but still….

    Comment by Ivan Grushenko — November 2, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

  39. How is war used to calculate salary?

    Comment by Kevin — February 12, 2013 @ 1:35 pm

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