Sorry, Joey Bats: You Aren’t Worth $150 Million

Yesterday, Jose Bautista addressed his contract situation, and he didn’t exactly mince words.

“I did not go to them. They asked me a question, ‘What would it take to get it done?’ and I gave them an answer. It’s not an adamant, drawn lines in the sand or anything. Simply questions were asked, I felt like for this process to go down smoothly there didn’t need to be any time wasted and efforts wasted for either party. If this is going to happen, they should know what it takes, and I told them the number because they asked me,” he told ESPN’s Britt McHenry.

In comments to reporters Monday, Bautista said the Blue Jays came to him with their question two weeks ago. He said he is “not willing to negotiate.”

“I’m not going to sit here and bargain for a couple of dollars,” he said, adding later, “They either meet it or it is what it is.”

So, what is Jose Bautista’s magic number? Well, according to TSN, it’s five years, $150 million.

On Monday, meeting with media on the first day of spring training, Bautista said the five-year, $65-million contract he signed with Toronto in 2011 has amounted to a “five-year hometown discount.”

But in a meeting with Blue Jays officials two weeks ago in Toronto, Bautista and his financial advisors compared the Blue Jays outfielder to Miguel Cabrera and retired Yankees superstar Derek Jeter, in terms of his value to his club.

Cabrera is baseball’s highest-paid position player, earning $31-million per season with the Detroit Tigers. Zack Greinke is the game’s top-paid player overall, after signing a free-agent contract with Arizona worth $34 million per season.

Now, we shouldn’t necessarily just take this report at face value. For one, the team has a decent incentive to sway the public perception of the negotiations towards Bautista’s ask being unreasonable, so that if they don’t re-sign their franchise player, he looks like the bad guy for asking for too much money, rather than them coming off as cheap. Bautista went on to note that Rogers stock price suggests the team’s ownership has plenty of money, so he’s clearly trying to drive the narrative himself, and this could be their way of countering his comments. Since he didn’t say what his number was, we don’t actually know what Bautista asked for.

But if the report is correct, Joey Bats is in for a reality check next winter; he’s not worth anything close to $150 million. Not to the Blue Jays or any other team in baseball.

A couple of weeks ago, I tried to come up with a fair extension price for Bautista, looking at what other recent players in his age group have signed for in free agency. As noted in that piece, the closest recent approximation of Bautista’s free agent value is Victor Martinez, who hit .335/.409/.565 in his age-35 season while finishing second in the MVP voting that year. The market looked at a terrific hitter heading into his late-30s and rewarded him at a grand total of $68 million over four years.

Now, I don’t think there’s much of a question that Bautista will be able to beat Martinez’s deal. His track record is stronger — Martinez was basically coming off a career year that didn’t line up with what he’d done previously — and he’s not yet definitively a DH; Martinez’s knee problems likely eliminated NL teams from the bidding, and there would be some teams who would see Bautista as still playable in the outfield or at first base as he gets older. Toss in the fact that prices have only gone up since Martinez’s deal, and his 4/$68M contract looks more like Bautista’s floor than his ceiling.

But the market isn’t going to look at them so differently that they see an $82 million difference. There’s simply no way that Bautista is going to get more than double what Martinez got two winters ago.

Bautista can compare himself to Miguel Cabrera and Zack Greinke all he wants, but it’s patently incorrect to look at what other players are going to get for their age 36-40 seasons on deals that start earlier. You simply can’t look at Cabrera’s deal with the Tigers, which covers his age 33-40 seasons, and pretend that the Tigers would have paid the same price for the last five years of the deal if they weren’t also buying out his age 33-35 seasons, and Bautista won’t have those to sell. The same is true of Greinke; he got $34 million per year for a deal that covers his age 32-37 seasons; at age-37, Bautista will be on year two of his next contract. These contracts are just not comparisons for what Bautista is going to get.

Now, if he wants to be paid on par with those guys in terms of annual salary, he can probably make that happen; he’s just going to have to take a very short deal in order to do it. If he has a normal 2016 season and doesn’t show too much age-related decline, he probably could get something like 2/$60M as a free agent, putting him in that tier of players who make $30 million per year. But no one is going to pay him $30 million per year on a long-term deal, nor should they.

For 2015, Bautista projects slightly below a +4 WAR player. If he were a free agent this winter, we would have projected his free agent price to look something like this.

Jose Bautista’s Contract Estimate — 6 yr / $114.5 M
Year Age WAR $/WAR Est. Contract
2016 35 3.7 $8.0 M $29.6 M
2017 36 3.2 $8.4 M $26.9 M
2018 37 2.7 $8.8 M $23.8 M
2019 38 2.0 $9.3 M $18.1 M
2020 39 1.2 $9.7 M $11.7 M
2021 40 0.5 $10.0 M $4.5 M
Totals 13.2 $114.5 M

Assumptions

Value: $8M/WAR with 5.0% inflation
Aging Curve: +0.25 WAR/yr (18-27), 0 WAR/yr (28-30),-0.5 WAR/yr (31-37),-0.75 WAR/yr (> 37)

Bautista, of course, isn’t a free agent, so he doesn’t have the ability to include his 2015 value in his next contract. Take that year out, and the rest of the contract prices out at 5/$85M. But, maybe you think Bautista is going to age really well, and that projection is too harsh, given that he’s already shown that he can sustain his performance later in his career than a lot of other players. Let’s look at what he’d have been worth as a free agent this past winter if we gave him the most optimistic aging curve you could possibly imagine.

Jose Bautista’s Contract Estimate — 6 yr / $150.1 M
Year Age WAR $/WAR Est. Contract
2016 35 3.7 $8.0 M $29.6 M
2017 36 3.5 $8.4 M $29.0 M
2018 37 3.2 $8.8 M $28.2 M
2019 38 2.7 $9.3 M $25.0 M
2020 39 2.2 $9.7 M $21.4 M
2021 40 1.7 $10.0 M $16.9 M
Totals 16.9 $150.1 M

Assumptions

Value: $8M/WAR with 5.0% inflation
Aging Curve: +0.25 WAR/yr (18-27), 0 WAR/yr (28-30),-0.25 WAR/yr (31-37),-0.5 WAR/yr (> 37)

If you see that $150 million figure there and think that maybe his ask isn’t so crazy, remember that this still includes the 2015 value. Since Bautista isn’t a free agent until next winter, this most-optimistic forecast still comes up at $120M over the five free agent years he’ll actually be selling. If Bautista has a really good year, and can convince someone that he’s an outlier when it comes to player aging, then maybe he can push up towards this $120M figure. Maybe.

But there’s zero reason for the Blue Jays to pay him that right now. They’d be paying a top-of-the-market price while also swallowing all of the risk that Bautista doesn’t have a great walk year, or blows out his knee, or one of the many various things that can happen to sap a player’s value overnight. When you’re signing a player in advance of free agency, you get a discount for buying up the risk the player currently owns. For the Blue Jays to sign Bautista now, they need to pay less than what he’d get in free agency.

Maybe Bautista thinks he deserves a premium because he’s been underpaid for the last five years, and the Blue Jays should make it up to him. That’s fine; he’s allowed to believe that. But the reality is that no one else is going to give him a make-good contract, and if he hits the open market, he’s not going to get anywhere near $150 million. To ask the Blue Jays to pay a significant premium in order to sign him in advance of free agency, and then state that you aren’t willing to negotiate off that number, is simply telling the organization that he doesn’t actually want to re-sign in Toronto.

If the $150 million report is accurate, Bautista will be a free agent at the end of the year. And if he goes into the winter expecting to get $150 million, he’s going to have a nice long vacation as an unsigned player, waiting for an offer that is never going to come.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Damaso
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Damaso
3 months 1 day ago

Jose Bautista, asked about the 5 x $30m rumor:

“False.”

Damaso
Member
Damaso
3 months 1 day ago

3yrs war before Free Agency:

Bautista: 6.4, 4.5, ???
Martinez: 2.1, 0.8, 4.2

Remind us how you figure that’s a good comparable again?

grandbranyan
Member
grandbranyan
3 months 1 day ago

Dave didn’t necessarily say that it was a good comparable, just that it was the closest & likely represented Bautista’s floor.

What recent free agent contracts signed by 35+ year old players do you find to be more comparable?

Damaso
Member
Damaso
3 months 1 day ago

I mean, if there’s no good comparable, then there’s no good comparable.

But i could easily make a statistical argument that Bautista is worth twice as much as Vmart was at the same point.

alang3131982
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Member
3 months 23 hours ago

Why do you even come to this site?

Damaso
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Damaso
3 months 22 hours ago

bro do you even lift?

Hayves
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Hayves
3 months 21 hours ago

Beltrans is more relevant. I don’t think Martinez’ contact sets the market for anything, it was widely panned at the time and has proven to be an awful investment

bbdawgrex
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bbdawgrex
3 months 1 day ago

Dude read the article. He’s not at all asserting VMart is a good comp.

It’s like you skimmed and saw the words Victor Martinez, then just raced to post your comment as quick as possible.

Damaso
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Damaso
3 months 1 day ago

why mention him if he’s not a good comp?

Roger21
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Roger21
3 months 1 day ago

“[T]he closest recent approximation of Bautista’s free agent value is Victor Martinez[.]”

I guess the argument goes that even the “closest” approximation is not a “good” approximation, but Cameron then emphasizes the fitness of the comparison by writing that Martinez, like Bautista, was “a terrific hitter heading into his late-30s.” He then defines Martinez as the “floor” for Bautista’s contract, implying that–even after salary inflation–the two overlap in absolute dollar value. That sounds to me like he’s using VMart as a “good” comparison, even if there are admittedly differences between the two players.

bbdawgrex
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bbdawgrex
3 months 1 day ago

Cuz he’s the only even slightly relevant data point… He spends twice as many words explaining why its not a good comp as he does making a comp.

Damaso
Member
Damaso
3 months 1 day ago

relevant as in “bautista has been worth 4 times as much as Vmart at ages 33-34, and if that continues this year he’ll blow Vmart’s contract out of the water” kind of relevant?

stansfield123
Member
stansfield123
3 months 21 hours ago

Because with players age 36 and up, age becomes by far the most important factor. There is too much history of good players declining rapidly, after that age. Not just in ability, but they also get injured more frequently, all contributing to diminished WAR.

So, despite Bautista being way better in his age 33-35 years, his projected WAR, after he turns 38 or so, isn’t much better than Martinez’. No one’s is. He could’ve put up a 10 WAR every year for the last 10 years, and it would still be a good bet that, by age 40, his WAR will be around zero.

That’s why contracts shrink rapidly, for old players. There is NO ONE who could get $150 mill., by hitting free agency at 36. No one. Doesn’t matter how good they are.

Joser
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Joser
3 months 1 day ago

[citation needed]

Damaso
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Damaso
3 months 1 day ago
Baron Samedi
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Baron Samedi
3 months 1 day ago

BALLS!

Seriously, though. Pay the man.

Jason B
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Jason B
3 months 1 day ago

…but not that much.

Baron Samedi
Member
Baron Samedi
3 months 1 day ago

You’re right; he deserves significantly more.

descender
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descender
3 months 1 day ago

I am going to jump on this train. I hope the Bluejays pay him more (and handcuff their team payroll for the next 5 years as they slowly fall back to last place).

JimmyD
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JimmyD
3 months 52 minutes ago

4 years, $100 million. Do it.

Baron Samedi
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Baron Samedi
3 months 1 day ago

If you don’t think that bat flip added at least 100MM in surplus value, I question whether you have a soul.

BlueBlooded
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BlueBlooded
3 months 1 day ago

This analysis is sorely lacking in BFAR, or Bat Flips Above Replacement.

MajesticOwl
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MajesticOwl
3 months 3 hours ago

He’s not even going to lead the league in that stat.

If the Blue Jays really wanted that kind of production, they would have gotten it cheaper by bidding a little higher on Park Byung-ho.

The Ghost of Johnny Dickshot
Member
The Ghost of Johnny Dickshot
3 months 23 hours ago

Listening to and reading all the butt hurt “traditionalists” decry the bat flip was a hilarious time. That was seriously one of the best things I’ve ever seen in baseball, capping off the most amazing 45 minutes or so of baseball we may never see again.

Mark Davidson
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Member
FinethanxandYou
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FinethanxandYou
3 months 3 hours ago

The only time I heard a crowd erupt as loud or as long was the final play in the ’14 WC game between Oakland and KC. My god that was loud, but the bat flip was louder.

Monte Burns
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Monte Burns
3 months 1 day ago

You keep saying 2015 in the article, when you mean 2016.

Jason B
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Jason B
3 months 1 day ago

You keep saying Monte, when you mean Monty.

Daniel the Maniel
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Daniel the Maniel
3 months 2 hours ago

Monty was taken…

josephabats
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josephabats
2 months 29 days ago

this is very confusing if you don’t replace 2015 with 2016.

vivalajeter
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vivalajeter
3 months 1 day ago

I agree with the main point of the article. I can’t see him getting that on the free agent market. But your last set of numbers is not the most optimistic assumption that someone can make. He put up about 11 WAR over the last two years, 4.5 WAR last year, and the fans are projecting him for 4.8 WAR. Steamer might be the most reasonable projection, but an optimist would assume that he easily surpasses 3.7 WAR next year. And if you bump up his 2016, then follow the same aging curve, then the numbers will be higher.

Damaso
Member
Damaso
3 months 1 day ago

yup, if we use say Zips’ 4.1war 2016 projection:

2015 4.1

2016 3.9 x 8.4 = 32.8
2017 3.6 x 8.8 = 31.7
2018 3.1 x 9.3 = 28.8
2019 2.6 x 9.7 = 25.2
2020 2.1 x 10.0 = 21.0

Total $139.5

Huh. Maybe he should ask for $150m, even though we know he hasn’t.

Of course, Dave likes giving mysterious 1st year 0.5war bumps only when talking about red sox contracts like Panda Hanley and Porcello.

When talking about a team like the Jays who continually defy his predictions, he’s not so generous.

Damaso
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Damaso
3 months 1 day ago

ach my years are all one off but the numbers are still correct.

The Ghost of Johnny Dickshot
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The Ghost of Johnny Dickshot
3 months 23 hours ago

Why do you even come to this site?

The Dude of NY
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The Dude of NY
3 months 1 day ago

Panda is 29. Ramirez is 32. Porcello is 27. Bautista is 35, and will be 36 when his next contract starts. Aging curves are far more pronounced as a player gets older.

Damaso
Member
Damaso
3 months 1 day ago

all of them used the same aging curves. the issue was the starting first year value.

I remember Dave specifically using a first year figure for Panda that was well higher than anything he had done in years, while his first year number for Bautista is very low compared to standard aging data and the average of projection systems.

Shirtless Bartolo Colon
Member
3 months 1 day ago

Those aren’t the only curves that get more pronounced as you get older.

stansfield123
Member
stansfield123
3 months 21 hours ago

Ummm…you’re projecting him to average a WAR of 2.5, aged 38-40? Why? You really think that’s what the average is for good hitters at that age?

It’s not. First off, most good hitters retire before that, BECAUSE they can no longer perform at the major league level. So, the most likely scenario is that Bautista will sit on the bench, counting his money, by age 40…if someone is foolish enough to pay him, that is.

And even if the team that signs him gets lucky, and he can still contribute, the odds of him staying healthy and good enough to contribute that much WAR as a DH (or a way below average defensive player) are very, very small.

You’re assuming a one in a hundred best case scenario, and you want teams to pay him as if it’s a given that it will happen. No team will do that. Bautista doesn’t have $150 mill. coming his way, from free agency. He doesn’t even have $100 mill. He will probably get about $75 mill. (if he stays healthy in 2016), and he should count his lucky stars for it.

Damaso
Member
Damaso
3 months 1 day ago

if we just apply the standard aging curve data Dave uses to Jose’s 2015 number, then his 2016 starting number is 4.3.

2016 4.3

2017 4.1 x 8.4 = 34.4
2018 3.8 x 8.8 = 33.4
2019 3.3 x 9.3 = 30.7
2020 2.8 x 9.7 = 27.2
2021 2.3 x 10.0 = 23.0

Total $148.7

huh.

(Don't)Pitch To Contact
Member
(Don't)Pitch To Contact
3 months 1 day ago

The standard aging curve would be -.5 for ages 31-37 and then -.75 for >37.You are referring to the optimistic aging curve from the second figure where Dave was being optimistic and trying to get Jose to $150MM.

Damaso
Member
Damaso
3 months 1 day ago

ah yes my bad. lemme do this last one again then.

2017 3.5 x 8.4 = 29.4
2018 3.0 x 8.8 = 26.4
2019 2.25 x 9.3 = 20.9
2020 1.5 x 9.7 = 14.6
2012 0.75 x 10.0 = 7.5

Total: 98.8

makes more sense.

Charles
Member
Member
Charles
3 months 1 day ago

You should never use WAR from a prior year and apply the aging curve when you have a projection available.

Damaso
Member
Damaso
3 months 1 day ago

Pecota 4.5
Zips 4.1
Steamer 3.7

= 4.1 average for 2016.

Standard aging curve:

2017 3.6 x 8.4 = 30.2
2018 3.1 x 8.8 = 27.3
2019 2.35 x 9.3 = 21.9
2020 1.6 x 9.7 = 15.5
2021 .85 x 10 = 8.5

Total $103.4

Optimistic aging curve:

2017: 3.85 x 8.4 = 32.3
2018: 3.60 x 8.8 = 31.7
2019: 3.10 x 9.3 = 28.8
2020: 2.60 x 9.7 = 25.2
2021: 2.10 x 10.0 = 21.0

Total: $139.0

scott
Member
scott
3 months 1 day ago

I think 5/125 is in the realm of possibilities. Depleted market. Will still remain valuable if he declines with his great bb rate and presumably still good enough power. It is probably 1 year too many, but in a depleted market, likely will have to overpay. I also think a team option after the 3rd or 4th year is something that can make sense in regard to Bautista. Front load the contract some.

scott
Member
scott
3 months 1 day ago

5 years 125mil with a team opt out after year 4, 27.5mil per first 4 years, 15mil year 5.

mike sixel
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mike sixel
3 months 1 day ago

The depleted market, imo, will drive up the price some, agreed.

Shauncore
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Shauncore
3 months 1 day ago

Do we know for sure that teams pay more money is a weaker overall class? Kind of seems like an assumption more than something that’s been researched.

Shauncore
Member
Shauncore
3 months 1 day ago

“Bautista went on to note that Rogers stock price suggests the team’s ownership has plenty of money”

Since Bautista signed his extension, Rogers stock (RCI) is up just 4% in ~5 total years and is down 30% since April of 2013.

He then went on to quote RCI’s EPS (which by the way is)

RCI EPS by quarter (2015):

Q1: 0.43 (down from Q4)
Q2: 0.65
Q3: 0.70
Q4: 0.48
Q1: 0.39 (2016 estimate)

But let’s compare that to the previous years EPS:

Q1: 0.60 (’14) 0.43 (’15)
Q2: 0.77 (’14) 0.65 (’15)
Q3: 0.72 (’14) 0.70 (’15)
Q4: 0.61 (’14) 0.48 (’15)
Q1: 0.43 9’15) 0.39 (’16 estimate.)

So no Joey…it doesn’t appear that their earnings per share are doing better. Their Q4 EPS missed by 7%.

output gap
Member
Member
output gap
3 months 1 day ago

Canada entered a recession over that time period. In 2014, the oil price was in the $80 range. In 2015, is was $30 or more lower on average. Canada is an economy dependent on exporting petroleum products.

Shauncore
Member
Shauncore
3 months 1 day ago

Their EPS dropped significantly from 2013 to 2014 too ($0.90 per share some quarters). Again, the stock is down 30% since early 2013.

troybruno
Member
Member
troybruno
3 months 1 day ago

Seems like hte best comp might be Big Papi. Hit-first, hometown hero with similar wOBA as Bautista. Ortiz signed for $15m AAV — add inflation and you are probably in the low 20s. Add the value of RF versus DH and you could be in the mid-20s or higher.

I get that its a stretch to get to $30m AAV, but it seems like that’s your comp.

Cory Settoon
Member
3 months 1 day ago

I agree on most of this. I don’t think you add in much value for him being a RF. He isn’t very good out there. He was actually given a worse Def score this year than Papi (-18.9 to -15.2). That’s by no means exact science, but there are a lot of things that tell you Bautista’s days in the OF are numbered.

TKDC
Member
Member
TKDC
3 months 1 day ago

Ortiz signed a series of shorter, lower-risk deals. I think Bautista’s only hope of getting to $150 million would be a shorter deal, graceful aging, and another shorter deal or two. It’s worked out for Ortiz.

dmlo
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Member
dmlo
3 months 17 hours ago

TKDC, I think you have the most insightful comment in this whole thread.

Lenny
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Lenny
3 months 1 day ago

Pretty funny that as soon as this perennially overrated franchise puts together a decent team the window will be shutting.

EroticWaffles
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Member
EroticWaffles
3 months 1 day ago

Nothing says perennially overrated like the Toronto Blue Jays.

Mooser
Member
Mooser
3 months 1 day ago

So based on Dave’s model, JoeyBats needs ~16 WAR to make a $150MM over 5 year deal work. Only 16 players in the history of baseball have that much WAR from age 36 to 40.

Damaso
Member
Damaso
3 months 1 day ago

well he is top 50 all time with 26.1war between ages 30-34.

LHPSU
Member
LHPSU
3 months 1 day ago

50 > 16

Damaso
Member
Damaso
3 months 1 day ago

true, top 50 from ags 36-40 would put him about 10.5war.

making him worth about $100m.

Walter
Member
Walter
3 months 1 day ago

$150M > $100M

YABooble
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YABooble
3 months 23 hours ago

Joey Bats > Tebow

FrancoLuvHateMets
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FrancoLuvHateMets
3 months 23 hours ago

And how many of those guys played during the steroid era?

some guy
Member
Member
some guy
3 months 1 day ago

Hometown discount?
“Knowing what’s gone on here, knowing that we’re very close to being in contention for playoffs, loving the city, loving the team, why wait? I didn’t see a reason to do it. THEY TREATED ME FAIRLY. I was going to be here for one more season, but I wanted to be here for longer.”
http://m.mlb.com/news/article/16659082/

Dave’s comments on the original 5/$65m contract:
http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/jose-bautista-cashes-in/

Also, just because we haven’t had a Dan Uggla sighting in a while:
“Ultimately it was a question of how far above Dan Uggla should he be?” – A.Anthopolous
http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/mlb/jays-bautista-4/

free-range turducken
Member
free-range turducken
3 months 1 day ago

If you go by the trend in his Wins Above Dan Uggla, Bautista’s gotta be worth like $400 million over the next five years ;)

dmlo
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Member
dmlo
3 months 17 hours ago

Has anyone done the f(orearm)WAR math?

some guy
Member
Member
some guy
3 months 1 day ago

Dave,

Do you do an analysis on the inflation % for the cost of a single WAR? I ask because the numbers are curious – in your original piece (linked above), the 2015 projected cost per win was $6.08M but the current cost/WAR = $8M. Which leads me to think the inflation rate in WAR calculations should be higher than 5%.

On the other hand, US inflation rate has never exceeded 4% over the past 10 years, so why presume the rate of inflation for a WAR is going to exceed the US rate of inflation?

SG

Easyenough
Member
Member
Easyenough
3 months 1 day ago

Isn’t this just a solve for X question? How much 2016 WAR does Bat Flip need to put up to earn $150 over 5 years with the standard decline curve? X = 4.34 WAR. His last three years would be 6.4 4.5 4.3. If he does that or better, why wouldn’t he get the $150 million?

Easyenough
Member
Member
Easyenough
3 months 1 day ago

Age WAR $/WAR est contract
2016 35 4.34 8
2017 36 4.09 8.4 34.356
2018 37 3.84 8.8 33.792
2019 38 3.34 9.3 31.062
2020 39 2.84 9.7 27.548
2021 40 2.34 10 23.4
16.45 150.158

Easyenough
Member
Member
Easyenough
3 months 1 day ago

Better formatting, I hope:
Year Age WAR $/WAR est contract
2016 35 4.34 8
2017 36 4.09 8.4 34.36
2018 37 3.84 8.8 33.79
2019 38 3.34 9.3 31.06
2020 39 2.84 9.7 27.55
2021 40 2.34 10 23.40
Total: 16.45 150.158

ice_hawk10
Member
ice_hawk10
3 months 1 day ago

this is all about trying to shame Rogers into giving him what he wants, but I dont believe for a second he asked for 5/$150mill. he knows as well as anyone else that no player in his age category has even approached $100mill, nevermind $150mill. I imagine the $100mill bar is the one he is shooting for.

vivalajeter
Member
vivalajeter
3 months 1 day ago

Barry Bonds signed a $90MM contract in 2002, when he was 37-38.

Malcolm-Jamal Hegyes
Member
Malcolm-Jamal Hegyes
3 months 23 hours ago

And Bonds shot up from a 3+ WAR at age 35, like Bautista’s projected to do, to 55 WAR at ages 36-40. So there’s a precedent for Bautista getting $30MM a year and still being worth it.

Oh, wait a minute…

jpg
Member
jpg
3 months 1 day ago

He’s not getting 5/$150M but he’s going to blow away Dave’s 4/$77M valuation. I could see him getting something along the lines of the Cespedes contract: 3/$75M with the opt out after one year. I think a fair deal for Bautista would be 3/$100M guaranteed with a fourth year vesting option.

2017-2019: $30M
2020: $25M vesting option w/ a $10M buyout

I think this kind of deal makes both sides pretty happy. Bautista gets his round numbers for AAV ($30M) and guarantee ($100M). Toronto locks up it’s franchise face without having to pay him huge money when he’s likely to be completely washed.

Shirtless George Brett
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Shirtless George Brett
3 months 1 day ago

Maybe its just me but that seems like an insanely bad deal for the Jays.

Cespedes got 3/75 even though he is 6 years younger then Bautista and is coming off a 6 win season. I really dont see how you get the math to work out that Bautista is worth 3 years $90 million.

TKDC
Member
Member
TKDC
3 months 1 day ago

For a guy that is 36, there’s not a huge difference between 3/$75 million and 4/$77 million. It’s very unlikely 39-year old Bautista gets more than about $12-14 million. Could get a little more. Could get donuts.

jpg
Member
jpg
3 months 18 hours ago

@Shirtless – Yeah he’s older but he’s also got a track record of being a much, much better player than Cespedes. Also, teams absolutely, to their detriment, give out contracts as a reward for what a player did, rather than what he’s going to do.

@TKDC – There is a huge difference between the two, at least in terms of perception. And perception means something to these guys more often than not. I can’t buy that Bautista, coming off say another 40 HR year, is going to find a contract that pays him less than $20M annually acceptable, especially after greatly outplaying his last contract. Albert Pujols essentially took the same “I gave you insanely good discount already, it’s not happening this time” approach. And when it was all said and done, he was willing to walk away from St. Louis, and all that came along with being an immortal there, to take the biggest deal. Jose strikes me as a guy who will do the same.

Shirtless George Brett
Member
Shirtless George Brett
3 months 4 hours ago

age outweighs track record at a certain point. Basically the point JB is at right now.

I dont see a whole lot of evidence that JB would get that kind of offer. But who know’s.

Arjon
Member
Arjon
3 months 1 day ago

How much would his WAR decrease if JB hits the same but as a 1B or DH?

Damaso
Member
Damaso
3 months 1 day ago

his defensive numbers in RF were so bad last year that it wouldn’t change his war much.

Shirtless George Brett
Member
Shirtless George Brett
3 months 1 day ago

Yeah, he was pretty much exactly as bad in RF as the position penalty would be.

The positial adjustment difference between DH and RF is -10 runs. His fielding runs last year was 9.9. So switching from RF the DH (assuming same production at the plate) wouldnt lose or gain him anything.

Unless I’m missing something which is always possible.

Shirtless George Brett
Member
Shirtless George Brett
3 months 1 day ago

that should be -9.9 fielding runs.

Give us a damn edit button! lol

rosen380
Member
rosen380
3 months 1 day ago

For some comps I grabbed all players since 1950 with +/- 10% of JBs PA ages 32-34 AND +/- 1.0 fWAR of his fWAR/600PA rate AND +/- 10 points of wRC+… 15 comps.

Just to further identify some similar player types, dumped anyone with a BSR/600PA more than 10 runs from Bautista [getting rid of Henderson, Morgan and Giles].

Lets see how these guys did ages 36-40:

36: 1.9
37: 0.9
38: 0.8
39: 0.9
40: 0.4

Ouch.

And that just leaves out players who retired, rather than counting them as a zero or a negative. Would JB retire and forgo the remainder of his contract if he became ineffective, with $30M per year due to him to help out the team… or would he stick it out to the bitter end? I guess the above assumes the former.

Figure in 0 fWAR for the missing players [except for A-Rod’s suspension, age 38 and A-Rod’s 2016, age 40]:

36: 1.9
37: 0.9
38: 0.5
39: 0.4
40: 0.2

Or figure in -1 win?
36: 1.9
37: 0.8
38: 0.1
39: -0.1
40: -0.5


The comps don’t look so good.

rosen380
Member
rosen380
3 months 1 day ago

FWIW– here are the 12 players that I came up with:
Alex Rodriguez
Frank Robinson
George Brett
Reggie Jackson
Harmon Killebrew
Gary Sheffield
Billy Williams
Lance Berkman
Ken Singleton
Frank Howard
Ken Caminiti
Sid Gordon

Walter
Member
Walter
3 months 1 day ago

Yeah, the late 30’s aren’t kind to just about anyone.

Cory Settoon
Member
3 months 1 day ago

Does he know that if he gives his team a discount on his last contract, they are no more likely to overpay him for worse production in his next contract?

rosen380
Member
rosen380
3 months 1 day ago

… and while it might look like a discount now, when he signed it he was coing off of a 6.4 fWAR season as a 29 year old. Great. Through age 28? +0.3 fWAR in 2038 PA.

I wonder how often a 29 year old has a break-out season after a couple of thousand replacement level PAs that they end up being a superstar versus falling back down and being forgotten…

Sovtechno
Member
Sovtechno
3 months 1 day ago

Is it typical for players to cite their employers stock prices as reasoning to pay him what he wants? My gosh. Bautista needs to learn that he is a player and not management. It seems like every year he is either trying to pressure the team to make a deal he wants (Santana) or criticizing something that the team does (Reyes Trade). I have loved watching this guy play, but cut the strings. I can’t be the only one who is tired of this act.

xbossx
Member
xbossx
3 months 1 day ago

Actually as a member of the fanbase it is super refreshing to have a player that actively calls out ownership on their shit. So much of the angst that everyone has because Rogers are garbage owners gets put on the Blue Jays management, especially since Rogers owns the main media outlets that cover the team.

Bautista has been essentially exploited by a faceless corporation for a half decade now and it’s time for the main to get paid what he’s owed.

Shirtless George Brett
Member
Shirtless George Brett
3 months 1 day ago

Jays fans hatred of Rogers really makes no sense. I have no idea why so many people are convinced the are “garbage owners”.

They have consistently increased payroll when they have needed too. They spent hundreds of millions on renovating the Rogers Center and are continuing to do so by installing a dirt infield this year. They dont overtly stick their noses into team business and largely stay in the background. They have an entire nationwide sports network dedicated to the team.

If you think that is a “garbage owner” then you guys should spend some time cheering for other teams.

noah2112
Member
noah2112
3 months 21 hours ago

A lot of Jays fans are also Rogers customers. That is where a lot of the hate starts.

biffyclyro2
Member
biffyclyro2
3 months 23 hours ago

Playing out a contract one willingly signed =/= exploitation

Chill
Member
Chill
3 months 22 hours ago

Exploited? Exploited??

The jays paid a career journeyman with no particular pedigree and exactly one good season to his credit tens of millions of dollars. I don’t think that qualifies as exploitation even in the broadest possible sense of that term.

Dave Stewart
Member
3 months 1 day ago

What’s the over/under on how many comments we’ll get from Damaso here?

(Don't)Pitch To Contact
Member
(Don't)Pitch To Contact
3 months 1 day ago

25.5

Damaso
Member
Damaso
3 months 1 day ago

I’ll take the over.

Dave Stewart
Member
3 months 1 day ago

Damn, the line just shot way up.

Grant41
Member
Grant41
3 months 1 day ago

I think Damaso may actually be Joey Bats. Trying to get the fangraphs community on his side.

DCE
Member
DCE
3 months 22 hours ago

Something something Red Sox overrated

noah2112
Member
noah2112
3 months 1 day ago

Dave’s entire argument hinges on Steamer’s 2016 projection of 3.7 WAR. The Fans’ projection is 4.8 and Baseball Prospectus has it at 4.5. Use either of those numbers and you get much closer to a 5 year/$150M projected value. If Bautista puts up a 4+ WAR season in 2016 and then hits free agency, I have little doubt he will get what he is looking for.

As for the Jays, if they actually want to keep him, they should tear up his current deal and offer him a new long term deal. Paying him more now might save them a year down the road. I doubt that will happen as I also doubt the Jays plan on keeping him.

Damaso
Member
Damaso
3 months 1 day ago

Dave is Steamer’s battered wife.

alang3131982
Member
Member
3 months 1 day ago

as is the case with most of your comments, great comment bro!

Damaso
Member
Damaso
3 months 23 hours ago

thank you, kind sir!

Walter
Member
Walter
3 months 23 hours ago

But he also gave him a very generous aging curve. You can’t really both give him the best possible estimate of his current skills and his best possible decline and think its a realistic scenario.

If you go with 4.3 WAR in 2016 (the average of the three projections above), and give -.3WAR/year for 2 years, then -.5 WAR/year after that, you still have a player with 2.2 WAR at age 40.

There have been just 9 player-seasons by someone age 40 or old, at or above 2 WAR since 1950. Only 20 over even replacement level. The reasonable expectation should be that you’d be lucky to get replacement level production out of him at 40.

Pretty much no matter what you do, it seems awfully optimistic to think Bautista could actually “earn” $150M over the rest of his career.

Shirtless Carson Cistulli
Member
3 months 1 day ago

I have a feeling this could be quite ugly.

Huron
Member
Huron
3 months 23 hours ago

If you actually believe that rumour…sigh

soupman
Member
soupman
3 months 22 hours ago

since 2000 rogers’ has afforded the jays an opening day payroll 25% below the divisional average. last year, a year where they were believed to have maxed out their “payroll parameters”, they fell a mere 13% behind the ALEast average.

the jays cry poor with him at $14million (or whatever he’s at now) – so it’s a real stretch to think they’ll pay market price (or anything close). with the way rogers allots cash, they can’t afford to pay for years past prime. until i see evidence they’re willing to take on dead money, i’ll go with the ~15 years of history that tell me how the team will budget its payroll.

Paul22
Member
Paul22
3 months 22 hours ago

Rogers is a publicly owned company with shareholders to worry about. Blue Jays financials are part of the corporate financials, which means the Jays budget can impact share prices

Eric B
Member
Eric B
3 months 20 hours ago

What Rogers doesn’t understand is how much good will and positive PR supporting the Jays.

I cancelled my Rogers cable the day Alex Anthopoulos quit and switched to Bell. Yes it was petty of me, but it felt good and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.

Eric B
Member
Eric B
3 months 20 hours ago

Sorry meant to say: “how much goodwill and positive PR supporting the Jays would generate increased cable and phone packages for them”.

noah2112
Member
noah2112
3 months 20 hours ago

Rogers annual revenues are over $13 Billion a year. The Jays payroll does not have a big impact on the bottom line and is not, as far as I know, even broken out on financial statements.

On top of that, Rogers makes a lot of money off the Jays, more so last season during their playoff run. Few people realize this, but the Blue Jays have the largest market in MLB and when they are winning their TV ratings are multiples of every other team’s, more, in fact, than the Yankees and Dodgers combined.

soupman
Member
soupman
3 months 19 hours ago

Labbatt’s was also a public company that ran the highest payroll in the MLB and was demonized as the group responsible for the explosion of FA salaries in the early 1990s.

Paul22
Member
Paul22
3 months 22 hours ago

Pretty sure Bautista knows he is not getting 5/150. I think this is just what it takes to stay in Toronto, which means he wants out. Might be hoping a spot opens up in Boston with Ortiz retirement, or the Yankees if Judge does not hit AAA pitching any better this year with Beltran and Teixera moving on.

Eric B
Member
Eric B
3 months 20 hours ago

If I wasn’t a Blue Jays fan I’d find a lot of enjoyment watching droves of Red Sox or Yankee fans suddenly embrace Bautista after calling him a classless steroid user on their forums for years. Yes I know not all of their fans are like that.

waitzsauce
Member
waitzsauce
3 months 21 hours ago

“Maybe Bautista thinks he deserves a premium because he’s been underpaid for the last five years, and the Blue Jays should make it up to him. That’s fine; he’s allowed to believe that.”

I can’t understand the thought process behind that. Anthopoulos took a huge risk betting on Bautsita’s 2010 breakout not being a fluke, and the signing was not considered a slam dunk by any means that offseason. You can’t ask for a “make-good” deal because that doesn’t exist.

Eric B
Member
Eric B
3 months 20 hours ago

I don’t think Dave agrees with that line of reasoning either, he’s just saying Bautista can believe whatever he wants and will probably be in for a rude awakening if he goes into the free agent market expecting $150M.

I’ve been yelling about how cheap and coldly bureaucratic Rogers is for over a decade, but even I wouldn’t want to see them hand out that much to a 36 year old.

fromthemachine
Member
fromthemachine
3 months 20 hours ago

If they want an aging hitter on a long contract, they could trade him to the Angels for Pujols and save $6 mil a year …

stansfield123
Member
stansfield123
3 months 20 hours ago

Joey Bat Flip did not give his team a discount last time out. Far from it. He got paid market price. There was nothing in his history at the time to suggest he deserved a cent more than what he got. His consistent, year after year offensive numbers came after he signed, and are irrelevant to what he deserved before that.

And now it’s too late. The aging curve you are using (which subtracts a fixed amount of WAR) seems simplistic (and too optimistic). I’m sure the average guy only drops that much, at those ages. But the average guy hits .750 OPS, and has a WAR of one or two. Not much height to fall from.

Bautista has had an over .900 OPS driving his high WAR. He’s not a well rounded player, his only strength is hitting. And hitters that high in the stratosphere tend to drop sharply, late in their 30s. Much more sharply than the few OPS points it would take to cost Bautista between .25 and .75 WAR.

A more sensible prediction is that, at some point, most likely close to the middle of his five year contract, his OPS is going to suddenly drop .150, .200 points (that point got temporarily delayed in the steroid era, all the way to age 40 in Bonds’ case, but it’s safe to assume it’s back down now). So odds are that, because his defense is already barely tolerable, he’ll be worth exactly ZERO for the last two years of his contract.

That’s why I think his ceiling, as far a one time, five year contract, is $100 mill. His only chance to beat that ceiling is to bet on himself, by taking a two year, $60 mill deal, and then take it into free agency each year, hoping the dropoff doesn’t come. If he does that, then yeah, he might get to $114 mill. Still not to $150 mill. though.

Slappytheclown
Member
Slappytheclown
3 months 19 hours ago

Best of all time OF, 36-40 WAR:
Mays 24.4
Aaron 23.9
Williams 27.6
Musial 14.6
Average 22.62/4.52yr

2nd Best of all time OF, 36-40 WAR:
Yastremski 13.8
Kaline 7.5
Average 10.65/2.13yr

Comps to be scared of:
Edmonds 4.9
Billy Williams 2.9

Ouch. Best case scenario he gets 5 and 90mil, even then I doubt it. Ortiz and the Red Sox negotiations these past few years come to mind, along with Beltran. No NL team is going to pay him, we don’t know if he can play 1B. So, he’s best off going for 2yrs on max money, but his OF skills are deteriorating rapidly.

JaysSaskatchewan
Member
JaysSaskatchewan
3 months 6 hours ago

If he happened to have a year with 6+ WAR he could get $150M, no?

Of course, he could also have 0 WAR and not have much value too.

Jon L.
Member
2 months 29 days ago

“If you see that $150 million figure there and think that maybe his ask isn’t so crazy, remember that this still includes the 2015 value.”

I’m pretty sure this is a typo, and should read “the 2016 value.”

Jon L.
Member
2 months 29 days ago

Poor Joey.

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