2,000+ votes later, I’d say you guys are somewhat interested in this contract crowdsourcing idea, which is great. This will be a regular feature on FanGraphs leading up to free agency. We’ll try and do as many of the upcoming free agents as we can.
Let’s talk about the results of the Crawford survey. Just a few numbers to start off:
Average length: 5.5 years
Average salary: $16.4 million
Median length: 5 years
Median salary: $17 million
Standard deviation, years: 0.93 years
Standard deviation, salary: $2.91 million
Agreement was high among the group, especially in length. 78 percent of all submissions projected either a five or six year contract for Crawford, while 49 percent projected an annual salary of 14 to 17 million per season. It didn’t take long at all – about 25 ballots – before the data stabilized right around 5.5 years and $16.4 million, and it stayed there no matter how many additional ballots poured in.
So, I think we can say with some confidence that the crowd expects that he’ll get something around 5/80 or 6/100. This is why I’m glad we’re doing this exercise, because I figured the number would be a bit higher – I had him pegged at something like 7 years and $120 million.
Matt Holliday, a comparable player in value, got 7 years and $126 million with no bidding war to speak of last winter. Certainly, he benefited from the market’s premium given to power hitters, which Crawford will not get, but I’d expect that multiple teams will be bidding Crawford’s services up, which could drive the price beyond what the group consensus is. If I had to bet, I’d take the over on Crawford’s deal compared to the crowd’s average, but again, I’ve generally been lousy at estimating what players will sign for, and it’s likely that the crowd will be more accurate at projecting these deals than I will be.
Given these expected prices, though, I do wonder if Tampa Bay should make a serious run at keeping him. At least in the short term, $16 million a year for Crawford’s services is a bargain, and retaining him would keep their window of contention open longer. If they could get him to take a shorter deal, reducing the long term risk for the franchise, they might just be able to keep their franchise left fielder.
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