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(Yahoo)   Pirates offer prospect ten-year major league deal, get typical Pirate result   (sports.yahoo.com) divider line 17
    More: Obvious, pirates, Gregory Polanco, Escobar, Astros, minor leagues, expectations  
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1846 clicks; posted to Sports » on 07 May 2014 at 6:39 AM (28 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



17 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-05-07 03:41:03 AM  
Keelhauled?
 
2014-05-07 07:07:10 AM  
I can't fathom turning down that much money. Especially when you are one injury away from having to switch careers to Home Depot Assistant Manager. I guess he's probably insured against a career ending injury, but I think I'd take my $25 million guaranteed and shoot for the big payday at age 29.
 
2014-05-07 07:09:52 AM  
FTA:  The situation with Polanco is even more naked.

Why did  the author describe it that way?
 
2014-05-07 07:20:50 AM  
$25 million is a lot of money for an unproven player. Lots of guys put up big numbers in the minor leagues and flop when they get to the major leagues.
 
2014-05-07 08:16:23 AM  
$2.5 per year for a baseball contract is not that great if everybody is telling you that you are going to be a solid starting outfielder in the bigs ... especially if you are locked into it for 10 years. Yeah, it's more money than most of us will ever see, but compared to his peers and future peers, not so great.
 
2014-05-07 08:52:49 AM  

ksobby: $2.5 per year for a baseball contract is not that great if everybody is telling you that you are going to be a solid starting outfielder in the bigs ... especially if you are locked into it for 10 years. Yeah, it's more money than most of us will ever see, but compared to his peers and future peers, not so great.


The $25 was for the first 7, supposedly the last 3 were option years that could have taken it to $50-$60 mil total.  Still, I get why he turned it down.  But it wasn't a terrible offer and a fair try for a small market club trying to build on something...
 
2014-05-07 08:58:51 AM  

Three Crooked Squirrels: I can't fathom turning down that much money. Especially when you are one injury away from having to switch careers to Home Depot Assistant Manager. I guess he's probably insured against a career ending injury, but I think I'd take my $25 million guaranteed and shoot for the big payday at age 29.


Except it wouldn't be 29, it would be 32.  This is a 7-year deal with 3 club option.

I've pointed to Gerardo Parra as an example in this discussion.  Parra is a slightly below-average hitter (95 Career OPS+) and he's on pace to make $15 million before he reaches free agency.  Given four years of salary inflation (Parra debuted in 2010), there's no reason that an average outfielder shouldn't be able to make $20 million through arbitration.  That would make Polanco 28-years old (in the prime of his career) when he hits free agency.

Now let's assume Polanco is the slugger everybody thinks he is.  Well he should be able to clear $25 million easy through arbitration which means he'd basically be giving the Pirates a free year and the options would be able to buy out his prime years at below-market rate.

I don't think 7 years, $25 million is a terrible deal, given the risk of injury/under-performance.  But it's not a great deal by any means.  Starling Marte got 6 years, $31 million just last year after after 1/3 of a season in which he was an average hitter.  The options just make it that much worse.  If they were mutual options, sure take the deal.  But giving up the prime of your career for (relative) peanuts when you're projecting out to be a star doesn't make sense at this point.
 
2014-05-07 09:15:18 AM  
I like a player that has the balls to choose the mystery box.

static.tvtropes.org
 
2014-05-07 09:35:04 AM  
And I predict that if the Pirates screw him over, when his contract is up, he'll take the big payday from another club and tell the Pirates to eat it and go elsewhere.  That is, of course, if he actually pans out and becomes the superstar he expects to be.
 
2014-05-07 10:35:12 AM  

rugman11: Three Crooked Squirrels: I can't fathom turning down that much money. Especially when you are one injury away from having to switch careers to Home Depot Assistant Manager. I guess he's probably insured against a career ending injury, but I think I'd take my $25 million guaranteed and shoot for the big payday at age 29.

Except it wouldn't be 29, it would be 32.  This is a 7-year deal with 3 club option.

I've pointed to Gerardo Parra as an example in this discussion.  Parra is a slightly below-average hitter (95 Career OPS+) and he's on pace to make $15 million before he reaches free agency.  Given four years of salary inflation (Parra debuted in 2010), there's no reason that an average outfielder shouldn't be able to make $20 million through arbitration.  That would make Polanco 28-years old (in the prime of his career) when he hits free agency.

Now let's assume Polanco is the slugger everybody thinks he is.  Well he should be able to clear $25 million easy through arbitration which means he'd basically be giving the Pirates a free year and the options would be able to buy out his prime years at below-market rate.

I don't think 7 years, $25 million is a terrible deal, given the risk of injury/under-performance.  But it's not a great deal by any means.  Starling Marte got 6 years, $31 million just last year after after 1/3 of a season in which he was an average hitter.  The options just make it that much worse.  If they were mutual options, sure take the deal.  But giving up the prime of your career for (relative) peanuts when you're projecting out to be a star doesn't make sense at this point.


An average hitter on my dear Pirates is a welcome overpay.
 
2014-05-07 10:59:22 AM  
I honestly think the hangup on this contract is the 3 team options part of it.  If he signed a 7 year deal, he would essentially give up his first year of free agency in exchange for the guaranteed money.  Of course, as others have already pointed out and he is as good as he is supposed to be, he'll probably make more than $25 million during his club controlled years.
 
2014-05-07 11:00:37 AM  

rugman11: I don't think 7 years, $25 million is a terrible deal, given the risk of injury/under-performance. But it's not a great deal by any means. Starling Marte got 6 years, $31 million just last year after after 1/3 of a season in which he was an average hitter. The options just make it that much worse. If they were mutual options, sure take the deal. But giving up the prime of your career for (relative) peanuts when you're projecting out to be a star doesn't make sense at this point.


You're not accounting for diminishing returns.

Pittsburgh is guaranteeing $25M.  Sure, Polanco could hold out, have a good career, hire a good agent, win big in arbitration, and end up with $35M or $40M before hitting the free agent market.  What's the functional difference between having $25M in the bank and $35M?  Either way, you're set for life if you have a modicum of self-control.  Buy a nice house for yourself, one for your parents, get a financial planner, and live quite well off interest and dividends for life.  (Say, $20M at 8%. minus 3% to offset inflation, means a permanent income of $1M/yr, minus capital gains taxes.)

If he holds out for the big pay day, he could rip up his knee, or just go the way of any number of guys who tore up AAA and flopped.  Then he's spent his youth developing a skill set with no other applications, and has his $150K signing bonus and some minor league salary to live off of.  He's from a working class family in the DR, so odds are he doesn't have a massive nest egg to fall back on.

There's a strong case to cash in, take the $25M, and anything else you earn as a free agent is gravy.
 
2014-05-07 11:31:14 AM  

ladodger34: I honestly think the hangup on this contract is the 3 team options part of it.


100% agree. Team options on a long contract are basically no-win situations for players. Unless there were some large buyouts involved (like in Longoria's first deal), there's no way any player would take that.
 
2014-05-07 12:01:05 PM  

chimp_ninja: rugman11: I don't think 7 years, $25 million is a terrible deal, given the risk of injury/under-performance. But it's not a great deal by any means. Starling Marte got 6 years, $31 million just last year after after 1/3 of a season in which he was an average hitter. The options just make it that much worse. If they were mutual options, sure take the deal. But giving up the prime of your career for (relative) peanuts when you're projecting out to be a star doesn't make sense at this point.

You're not accounting for diminishing returns.

Pittsburgh is guaranteeing $25M.  Sure, Polanco could hold out, have a good career, hire a good agent, win big in arbitration, and end up with $35M or $40M before hitting the free agent market.  What's the functional difference between having $25M in the bank and $35M?  Either way, you're set for life if you have a modicum of self-control.  Buy a nice house for yourself, one for your parents, get a financial planner, and live quite well off interest and dividends for life.  (Say, $20M at 8%. minus 3% to offset inflation, means a permanent income of $1M/yr, minus capital gains taxes.)

If he holds out for the big pay day, he could rip up his knee, or just go the way of any number of guys who tore up AAA and flopped.  Then he's spent his youth developing a skill set with no other applications, and has his $150K signing bonus and some minor league salary to live off of.  He's from a working class family in the DR, so odds are he doesn't have a massive nest egg to fall back on.

There's a strong case to cash in, take the $25M, and anything else you earn as a free agent is gravy.


The difference to me, is not $25m vs. $35m.  It's the three option years during his prime that were apparently going to pay him $25m-$35m (which, given current salary inflation, is more like $17m-$24m in today's terms).  On the open market, at age 29, it's not unreasonable that Polanco, even without becoming a superstar, could get a $200m deal (basically what Freddie Freeman got this year).  At age 32, he's not getting that same deal.

Is it possible he does nothing?  Yes.  I'm sure he's insured against injury, but what's his floor, really?  Maybe Jack Cust?  Cust had strikeout problems that Polanco doesn't but despite being a huge bust, he still made $10 million in his career.

And I would also point out that he's not just tearing up AAA.  He's tearing up AAA at 22-years old.  By comparison, here's a list of all the players since 1990 who have had an OPS over 1.000 as 22-year olds at AAA (Polanco is currently at 1.070):

Nomar Garciaparra
Manny Ramirez (21)
Rondell White (21)
Jim Thome
Adam Dunn
Jay Bruce

Obviously, there's a lot of season left to play, and his hot streak might not continue.  But if that's the company you're keeping at this age, wouldn't you think that you're destined for big things?

Like I said, I think that 7 yrs/$25m is a fair deal.  It properly mitigates his risk of injury/bust and the team's risk that he turns into Ryan Howard and earns $50m through arbitration.  But those option years are only going to benefit the team and they'll be coming during the prime of his career when he could potentially be signing a deal worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

It's easy to say "take the money" when (assuming you're like me), it's more money than you'll ever make in a lifetime.  But this wasn't the Longoria deal and it wasn't even as good as Marte's deal.  I hope it works out for him, though, and I'm not even a Pirates fan.
 
2014-05-07 02:09:29 PM  

rugman11: And I would also point out that he's not just tearing up AAA. He's tearing up AAA at 22-years old. By comparison, here's a list of all the players since 1990 who have had an OPS over 1.000 as 22-year olds at AAA (Polanco is currently at 1.070):


With the caveat that he's played 31 AAA games, I agree that right now he looks like one of the safest bets in the minors.  (That said, last year he put up a .762 OPS in AA ball, so his true skill is very likely in between.)  He'd be in the majors already if it wasn't for baseball's stupid anti-competitive rules about gaining a service time advantage by stuffing a top prospect into AAA until June.

I think it's a fair deal from the team's perspective.  As the player, I'd want to err on the side of "set for life at age 22" even if it's not the deal with the best median outcome.

Simplified: If Box A was "$25M, guaranteed." and Box B was "90% likely to be $50M and 10% likely to be $500K", I'd pick Box A because of diminishing returns on marginal dollars added.
 
2014-05-07 03:44:06 PM  

Da Bum: And I predict that if the Pirates screw him over, when his contract is up, he'll take the big payday from another club and tell the Pirates to eat it and go elsewhere.  That is, of course, if he actually pans out and becomes the superstar he expects to be.


...I think that if the Pirates think he'll do that, they would have traded him instead of offered him.  Basically, he turned down $2.5 million/year guaranteed for chicken scratch the first couple of seasons with the possibility he'll make far more than $2.5 million/year in arbitration.  In other words, he gambled.  It's not an affront to the Pirates, who are now just doing what every other MLB team has done, thanks to the screwed-up Super 2 rules.
 
2014-05-08 10:10:19 AM  
I'm patiently waiting for an outfield to rival the Bonds, Bonilla & Van Slyke days.

/old pirate fan
//bring him up in June
///go bucs
 
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