Nationals Baseball: Still nothing?

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Still nothing?

Jesus. It's not even worth checking in with the teams in the NL East as so little has happened with any of them. But what else are we going to do here?

Braves : They brought back Nick "The Stick" Markakis who continues his "Wait, Him?" March to 3000 hits. The key for Nick is being one of the healthiest players in history.  He's only missed more than 8 games twice in his career, his rookie year, where he "only" played in 147 games, and in 2012 where he had wrist surgery and then fractured his thumb on a HBP.  The end result is playing 2000 games before the age of 34. That's pretty uncommon to begin with (only 50 players in the history of the game have done that) and it's really uncommon for a guy who started in the majors at age 22. There's only one other guy to do that - Pete Rose. Rose, would go on to do it for the next 5 years as well and 7 of the next 8, which is why he was able to get that hits record. Will Markakis get that chance? Well... I mean if he can play full seasons and hit .275+ and be a positive offensive player and be not an embarrasment in the field.. sure! But I don't think he'll be able to put that all together for 6+ years which is what it would take to get into the momentum of chasing history to then take over.

Good signing but Braves still need that 1-2 pitcher or else they need a guy who isn't an ace now to become one and unless I'm missing something a reliever would be a good idea.

They are presumably on the outskirts of Realmuto discussions but a longshot. 

Phillies : Nothing. And again this is confusing as the Phillies 1) Need better players to be compete and 2) have a lot of money to spend. There is some talk of "Oh we'll just save our money and dig into NEXT year's FA class" - which has it's high points.  I always hate moves like that because you don't know for sure what will be available, how your team will change from then to now, and how your division will change from them to now. They've seen a potentially fading Nats team keep chugging along by signing the best pitcher available and a potentially rebuilding Mets team sagely realize they aren't going to find themselves with this type of cheap great starting pitching but once in a couple generations, and buy back in. With luck by next year either of these teams, or a rebuilt Braves hoping a bunch of young starting pitching comes together to finish the deal, will look like a dominant team for 2020-2021. You know you have a chance now and Bryce and Manny out there in FA. But enough about that

In short, they still need at least one big bat and a starter wouldn't hurt.

Mets : Did we ever talk about Jed Lowrie?  I think maybe we did in the comments. The Mets signed Jed Lowrie.  He's a better bet than the Nats' Dozier .He's old but he now has two years in a row with strong production and he's average in the field - maybe better now that he'll be over at third. He should decline but next year is a good year to bet on and he'll probably nicely fit into the place that Asdrubal left. Of course, Asdrubal did surprisingly well last year so it's not much of an upgrade, but with Cano and Ramos also along there's a net plus to be seen at the plate. Along with that they've signed Justin Wilson. He's been competent over the past few years, and very good against lefties last year (though traditionally better against RHB).  He should throw another quality arm in a bullpen for the Mets that might actually be a strength now. The Mets would be a sneaky bet to make it because if the starting pitching is healthy they have set up the rest to be good enough to have a very good year. But those words, "if the starting pitching is healthy", are the most fragile ones.

With Cespedes out, one more big bat would make them a true contender rather than an outskirt one depending on near complete SP health.

30 comments:

Jay said...

I don't understand why there is zero movement in free agency. Is bc of the Super Bowl? Is there anything to random tweets about Bryce and Philly custom bats, Vegas odds (though that rumor has proven false bc Vegas can't take prop bets on where Harper signs). Could Harper really be waiting to announce where he's going via MLB the Show video game release announcement next Monday or Tuesday? There are still a ton of other free agents as well. Not counting Machado, Kimbrel, and Keuchel would be great pick ups for many teams. This doesn't include all of the bullpen arms available, Marwin Gonzalez, Josh Harrison, Gio, Wade Mily, etc.

This offseason has been crazy.

Harper said...

Teams are trying to apply ... let's call it "win value" throughout their FA moves. IOW - a win is worth X, we project you to be worth Y Wins therefore we should pay you X*Y.

This though is not consistent over the individual. Getting one win from a utility player is usually possible under the cost of a win. Getting the 4th, 5th, 6th wins from an elite player is worth more. Rather than "overpay" for those wins, they are trying to load up elsewhere and get the extra wins with overperforming young players still under contract cheap. And as long as everyone is doing it - they can. If your opponent is at 90 wins and you are at 89 and they don't make a move to get to ... 93 wins why pay another 20-30 million to move from slight underdog to slight favorite?

It used to be that having young cheap talent meant having the ability to grab these overpay guys. Now it's taken as having the ability NOT to. Setting a win total, rather than trying to MAX wins.

This in all - is why I find the Phillies perplexing. Other teams in the "if they spend could compete" you get. The Angels have some albatross contracts. The Rays/Twins never spend. But the Phillies? They aren't a win or two away. They are noticably worse than the other teams in the East and they seem to be saying "if we can't compete for a reasonable cost then we won't" And if you don't want to compete unless you can do it for cost or better... what the hell are we doing here? That means your ultimate goal isn't winning but cost control.

Jay said...

I agree. I think the luxury tax and the qualifying offer system have killed the offseason. It's so painful now. Even the Red Sox and Yankees are not going big via free agents. The Red Sox won the WS last year and now they've decided they can't afford Kimbrel... That makes zero cents to me. The down side from a competitive standpoint is that some teams are going to get relative bargains by signing these players. I think the Nats should be more motivated to sign Harper one to improve the team, but just as importantly keep him away from Philly - competition in the division. If Harper was signing with the Angels I would be sad but not nearly as worried if he signs with the Phillies.

W. Patterson said...

@Jay - I've been blaming the Super Bowl all along. Not that I know anything, but even a blind dog can find the sunny spot in the living room every once in awhile.

I check on things with my boss every morning. What's going on in the office, and if there's any news on Harper. So far, there's stuff going on in the office, and that's getting old. I prefer nothing in the office but lots of discussion on baseball. (Soon!)

billyhacker said...

Jay's question is great and adding on to Harper: The mindset appears to be that if 1) you want to get the playoffs and 2) already have a win expectancy above 90, why bother signing more players in free agency? This attitude is possible because so many teams are clearly not trying to win the division. If the Dodgers, Cleveland, Astros are in and many in their divisions are out, why spend? In the AL east, marginal gains are too expensive for Boston and Yanks and playoff expectancy is high anyway. The NL East has seen some spending from Mets, Nats, and Braves. The moderately open NL Central has also seen multiple teams spending. In summary, I think the amount of ongoing tanking makes teams that are projected to win now much less interested in FAs.

TwoGloves said...

Couldn't agree with you guys more - the baseball hot stove season as we knew it is no more. It has really turned into a slog. Personally, I'm glad that teams have finally wised up and have stopped giving out these ridiculous multi-year contracts. Hopefully this will lead to the end of the so-called super agents like Boras. THE worst thing that happened to baseball in my lifetime was the elimination of the reserve clause and Marvin Miller. I do think that players deserve their share of the pie and free agency can work if done correctly - see the NFL. Because of this new way of doing by business by MLB, I do think there will be a strike by the players when the current CBA is up.

Ric said...

Jay said: "Vegas odds (though that rumor has proven false bc Vegas can't take prop bets on where Harper signs)."

This is incorrect. Vegas can take prop bets on where Harper signs. And they are still up. (Ironically, the rumor that was proven false was that Vegas can't take prop bets on Harper.)

BxJaycobb said...

@Harper. Two points. On added wins, unless it’s an injury-prone player, a 5 win player is superior to 2 players worth 3 and 2 wins, because that takes up two roster spots. With the 5 win player you can add further value at the empty position. Of course the other side of the coin is distribution of risk re injuries, but sabermetric studies have looked at this and essentially the conclusion is: the injury risk angle isn’t nearly enough to compensate for the value of having the star and the ability to fill the other position. What I’m saying is—-unless you are platooning a ton or the players are injury prone—-you want the 5 win player, not the 2 players adding up to 5 wins.
(2) the thing is.....I have zero doubt in my mind the Phillies will end up with either Machado or Harper. Except.....w/ the improvements to every other team, I actually don’t think ONE of them is enough. I think to contend in the division the Phillies need either BOTH of them (won’t happen) or least Harper PLUS Keuchel. Or Machado AND Keuchel. Because even if they’re without shouting distance of the Mets’ median outcome right now, I don’t think they’re within shouting distance of the Braves or Nats. They seem more 7-ish wins behind those two.

Screech said...

Philly is a decent team in a good-sized market, with money to burn. But with all the FA product languishing on the shelf, they'd be foolish not to wait for the sales. That goes double for decent teams in small markets.

I've heard the talk, but I don't see how the MLBPA has any leverage to deal with the aging player inventory problem. Are older, spurned FAs the guys you want to go to the mat for? Are those older FAs motivated to diminish their remaining earnings so that youngsters will be able to come into the FA market a year sooner? Will young guys coming into the market sooner do anything to increase FA contracts for the old guys?

I think FAs are over-priced. I think tickets are overpriced. I think Bryce is over-priced. I think there are too many commercials on cable channels like MASN, which then contribute to the length-of-game problem. The latter, not teams' indifference to supposedly superior value of unsigned FAs, is the real threat to baseball's future.

Chas R said...

@Harper is this the new "Money Ball?" !!

sirc said...

$3.25 million for 1 year of Greg Holland.

I would have liked for the Nats to bring him back and at that cost I think they should have. Even with the incentives.

6 of the top 7 bullpen arms the Nats are expecting for opening day have major questions attached to them. Holland isn't a sure thing or anything but he is more of a sure thing than Rosenthal and the Nats are paying him 7 to 10 million.

Anonymous said...

Harper has been a 5+ WAR player twice in a 7 year career. He has been a 1+ WAR player 3 times. Harper/Boras is banking on the baseball world assuming he is going to became that 10 WAR player of 2015 over the next 10 years. Good bet? I'm not so sure. One thing is clear is that he is becoming a defensive liability. Watching him in right field with his stiff gate reminds me of Jose Canseco. Same muscle bound build that restricts any fluidity of motion. The key is Robles. Soto looks to be a match for Harper's output. Robles, if a real deal five tool guy, will provide measurable improvement to the outfield and what have the Nationals lost?

Josh Higham said...

@Anon, first of all, Harper has been a 5+ WAR blogger for 9 of 14 years, and those are the last 9 years. His low WAR offerings included an Expos year and the early DC days.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, well...uh...hmmm, okay.

BxJaycobb said...

@anon: 1. Of course they’re not counting on somebody thinking he’s going to be a 10 WAR player from now on. Theyre counting on somebody thinking he will average 4-5 WAR (that’s about what he’s done ages 19-25....totalling 30 bWAR) between ages 25-36, with one or two 7+ WAR MVP years thrown in. Which is not only reasonable....averaging 4-5 WAR per year would have a value of 30m/year (that’s what he’s been thus far in career, worth between 250 and 300 million dollars of production for the Nats). I love now you’re assuming (1) Soto will equal Harper’s output AND (2) Robles will turn into a 5 WAR/year player. Great! 2 MVPs in the outfield! It’s just as possible Soto will be an excellent AVG/OBP guy who never approaches Harper’s power and Robles can’t consistently hit.
The “is Bryce Harper worth 300m?” question is much less speculative than people think. Guess what? In 7 years he’s been worth about 30 WAR (and that includes years as a teenager). He IS worth 30 million a year on the open market. Re defense, he’s probably average or marginally below in field. Last year he very obviously was trying not to hurt himself. All you have to look at is how many times he dove (once. All year) compared to prior ones (10-15 times). Bryce Harper will probably win one maybe two more MVPs and hit 500 homers and be in the Hall of Fame. If you’re confident we should let that go fine. But acting like he sort of is mediocre is insane. He’s been one of the 3-4 best players before reaching 25 in baseball history in terms of production.

DezoPenguin said...

@Bx: The problem with that analysis is, 4-5 WAR/year is basically a healthy Adam Eaton, and nobody's lining up to give Adam Eaton $30M/year. Bryce has more power, of course, but "chicks dig the long ball" is only valuable in arbitration hearings, which is why Chris Carter went from "lead the league in home runs" to "out of a job" in one offseason. And I really would prefer his bad defense be because of lingering effects of 2017's injury rather than "trying not to get hurt" because players who don't try aren't players I want on the team. The real buzz on Harper is his top-pick draft status, his great teenaged emergence, and his Troutian 2015. The Bryce of the last three years, however, has been merely above-average, not a superstar. A guy every team would like to have except maybe the Yankees (Stanton/Hicks/Judge is as good or better in all three slots unless they're going to move Stanton to DH), but not a guy who's worth a game-changing, best-contract-ever. Would I like him back on the Nats? Sure--he's as good as Eaton, with a much higher hypothetical ceiling. But not at $30M/year unless the Lerners and Rizzo have decided to say "screw the luxury tax" on a permanent basis going forward--because Anthony Rendon is actually worth that kind of money based on his actual year-to-year play and if signing Harper costs us a Rendon extension, it's just not worth it.

Ole PBN said...

Thank you Dezo. That’s what every anti-Bryce person has been saying since November. Since when is 4-5 WAR worth breaking the bank over? And that’s why we haven’t seen this long line of teams salivating over his services. He has ever right to ask for $30-40M per year. Only a fool would pay that and I always hoped it’s not us. Bx, I think you’re taking it to the extreme. No one here is saying Bryce has no value. But you don’t need to go so far as to convince us how 4-5 WAR is worth being the highest paid player on our team, if not the entire MLB. Two things can be true at once: 1) Bryce is a valued asset worth 4-5 WAR, and 2) He ain’t worth $30M per year

Josh Higham said...

@Dezo and Ole PBN what you're saying is true of a typical FA single season. A likely 5 WAR guy would not get a $30m 1 year deal at a typical FA age of around 30. Bryce is reasonably likely to average 4-5 WAR for the next 6+ years and if he has just 2 monster seasons his mean WAR for the next 10 could easily exceed 4. Years and years of excellence, even with the risk of a Pujols style albatross is worth risking big money for. It's totally fine to argue that Bryce isn't going to be good for 4+ WAR on average over the next 10 years. But it's ridiculous to claim that he could be worth 4+ a year (on average) for the life of a long term contract and then claim he isn't worth the money.

The "don't pay Bryce" camp depends on a Totally Reasonable™ assumption that he won't be a star for long enough to deserve 8, 10, or 12 years of star money. But you can't say "yeah he'll be a star but don't pay him like one."

Also the Eaton comp is unfair. Peak Eaton depended on speed and defense to a degree that made steep decline a near certainty, even without injury, and he was older when he started performing like a star. Power and patience age relatively gracefully, especially if Bryce were to sign with an AL team (which could still happen).

blovy8 said...

Right, the issue with just looking at his past numbers, is that it implies that Harper can't get better. He's not even at that magical age 27 peak yet. The first few years of this contract could easily beat that estimate, but I won't argue those 4-5 WAR numbers as an average over the course of a long-term deal. The crappy OF defense isn't limited to last year as he was fairly negative during his MVP year too. Is he going to be a guy who continues to have injuries? Will he be a guy who sits when they affect his play? His approach is really inconsistent, but maybe he can get older player skills faster since he started sooner?

Anonymous said...

@BX...I love how you assume Bryce's continued greatness (or "very goodness") and pooh-pooh Soto's. Soto has a much better approach to hitting than Bryce and that plays over the long term. Soto not approach Harper's power? Really? 22 homers at 19. Most hitters develop more power with age. Here's the deal...Eaton, Harper and Soto delivered a cumulative 5.4 WAR last season. My guess is Soto, Robles and Eaton (barring injury) will deliver a higher WAR this season.

BxJaycobb said...

@DezoPenguin: Two points.

1. Averaging 4-5 WAR a year over a long period is *fantastic. It means your average year is All-Star worthy. It means your best years are MVP level and worst years are solid starter. 5 WAR IS worth 30 million a year. You’re just surprised because you’re used to players getting drastically underpaid before free agency. Don’t believe me? Patrick Corbin has averaged what? Maybe like 3 WAR a year? Less? He’s making 23/yr. What does Stras make? 25/yr? He probably is worth exactly that, if he has averaged 4 WAR per year. And....a healthy Eaton? I think Eaton has one 5 WAR year? He doesn’t average that over his career, even before you get to his injury. What do you think justifies 30m/yr? Mookie Betts? Trout? Lindor? Arenado (who is an offensive fraud....look at his AWAY numbers)? Those guys will all make more than 30/yr when they reach FA. (Unless people realize Arenado away from Coors is Ryan Zimmerman).

(2) I don’t understand. How is Anthony Rendon is worth that money but Bryce isn’t? Rendon and Bryce are going to end up with comparable value by WAR at the time of their free agency. Roughly 30 WAR, give or take a few wins. Except Bryce accumulated that value starting at age 19, not 23. So you’re bidding on a player entering his prime, not leaving it. (And yes, Rendon is showing hints of decline on defense....last year he was average at 3B if you look at DRS, a big drop off from his prior elite.) There is literally no GM in baseball—none—who would pay more money to a 29 year old Rendon than a 26 year old Harper. I’m not claiming Harper is a better player right now. But he’s 3 years younger. He also (and people seem to just ignore this) is a former MVP who had a 10 WAR season, IOW his ceiling is higher than Rendon’s by any evaluation. Is his floor lower? It’s been lower when they were each in their mid 20s....I doubt it will be lower when Rendon enters his mid 30s and Bryce is entering his 30s. I’ll take Bryce ages 26-33, and you can have Rendon ages 29-36, and we’ll see who accumulates more value. And again, Rendon may be more consistent, but Bryce has a totally different level ceiling, which is why they both average about 4-5 WAR/year. I assume folks think Bryce had his peak freak career year at age 22....which....doesn’t happen in baseball. And I assume people think he’s hopelessly declining on defense....despite not losing any speed by Statcast data. Again, I don’t agree. But time will tell. I think he will win another MVP award at some point and be in the Hall of Fame. I guess I’m in the minority.
@Anon: oh, on Soto. What do you mean? Soto is amazing! But....I’m also not ready to say he is going to be superior to Bryce Harper. Bryce is the youngest unanimous MVP in league history and he was twice as valuable at 19 after all (not as good offense, FAR superior defense and base running.....Soto will be a great hitter, but he is a one dimensional player even at 19.) But anyway, that’s not the question. The question is would you rather have Bryce and deal Eaton for a pitcher....or Eaton, who can’t play more than half a season. And I mean. Are you joking?

BxJaycobb said...

Anon: on your WAR outfield prediction....I mean. Robles wasn’t on the team last year. He’s a true center fielder and i bet will be great and accumulate good value, since center fielders automatically have a positional adjustment upward—but to the point you are making: yeah, Harper had a down year last year. No question. But most of his “horrible value” is due to defensive metrics, which are just not that precise. After all, fangraohs has him at 3.7 fWAR last year. I think bWAR is 2 WAR lower. I don’t see how we put as much stock in defensive metrics as offensive stats when defensive metrics disagree THAT much based on which you evaluator you choose——whereas offensive stats are so objective. I mean, i guess you can average the two, but when one tells me he was 3.7 and one says 1.5....that’s just ridiculous. He was bad on defense last year, no doubt. But the precision is not there yet.

BxJaycobb said...

@Ole PBN: I don’t understand what is confusing to everybody. Listen very carefully and I’ll go slowly. Ready? A guy who averages 4-5 WAR per year, who started at 19....and is 26 now.... is an easy Hall of Famer if he plays 8 good years at that rate ...for Bryce that would be through age 34, followed by decline)....that means the player is going to finish with 75 WAR career! What am I missing? Are you saying that you expect a 30m/yr player to average 6-7 WAR from ages 19-25? 8-9? Good luck getting an opportunity to pay those guys in their prime.....it’s probably limited to ARod and Griffey in the last quarter century....Trout signed an extension, Judge, Lindor, etc are older. (And Lindor will get 35-40m/year.) you can argue “no player should get 30 million a year” I suppose.....that would be weird for a team that can obviously afford it and pays other players 25 and 30m. But the idea that Bryce specifically isn’t worth 30/yr is not supported by the data. Look at Bryce and Stanton through age 25. Roughly the same value....Stanton got a 30m/yr.....325. It’s WHAT. HE. IS. WORTH. And it’s super strange to see fans advocating that their richer than anybody owners be penny pinchers. There is no reason on earth for the Lerners to care about the luxury tax. Do you know what they would pay in luxury tax this year if they went 25 million over? Like 10 million. The cost of Tanner Roark.

Anonymous said...

@TwoGloves, "THE worst thing that happened to baseball in my lifetime was the elimination of the reserve clause..."

Really?

I'm with you on that players deserve a share of the pie, but before elimination of the RC players were slaves and did not have the right to work (which was a huge movement in the 1970s), there was clear collusion between owners, and it was a violation of anti-trust regulations.

Ole PBN said...

@Bx - I hear you loud and clear buddy. You're taking into account what Bryce has already done by pushing the potential 75 WAR argument. 75 WAR by the time he's 34 is no doubt impressive - it's hall of fame worthy. No one is disputing that. We disagree on what to pay him and is the future level of production worth the hefty price tag? I'm not paying a guy for what he's done (we already benefited from that), I'm paying him for what he's going to do. Would you break the bank for a 39 year old Pujols then? He's collected 100 WAR over his career (dwarfing Cabrera's 69 WAR) and a first ballot HOF? I don't think so, and that 75 WAR argument strays from your point (just a fair criticism).

You seem to be arguing what he will/should be paid. I'm not. I'm saying WE shouldn't pay that. Let some other team. Take the Stanton deal. I think one could argue that Bryce might be better than him, but are you really saying the Stanton deal is a good one? The market will dictate what he gets paid. Just because you put an item up for auction at $1 billion, doesn't mean it's worth that much... that is, until someone pay $1B for it. We'll see where he lands, but regardless, I don't want the Nats paying $30-40M a year for him. Sorry.

But... at the end of the day, it's not my money. And all we've heard over the past 5-7 years is how the Lerner's can't afford a contract like that AND keep their team afloat at the same time. But now we learn that they - to borrow a line - have stupid money, and the luxury tax shouldn't matter. Fine! Go get him! For $600M if you can afford it lol. Bottom line, if this contract costs us Rendon, its a bad deal.

Anonymous said...

Honestly Bx, all your arguments for Bryce getting all that cash is that money literally doesn't matter. And if it doesn't... YAY! Let's get Machado, Keuchel, Kimbrell, and keep Rendon (or Arenado next year - cuz I mean, take your pick - it's a candy store after all! Pick your flavor!) All because our owners are super rich? I agree with PBN, it's not our money.

But somehow I think this logic doesn't hold any water.

Jay said...

I actually agree that we should sign Harper. He is a future HoF player and everyone is like - we don't need him. Sorry, but that is sort of crazy. I love Rendon as a player, but he hasn't even made an All Star game much less won an MVP (he finished top 5 once). Don't get me wrong I think they need to keep Rendon too. Zim will be falling off payroll soon ($18 million) and that will help. Eaton is $8.5 million. Trade Eaton and Zim goes next year and that pays for Rendon (who is already making $18 million this year). It's possible to sign both.

Anonymous said...

The question is which Harper are you getting? That is the only question vis a vis money he's demanding. Harper 2015 is the outlier. That Harper is worth more than $300 mil. The Harper of the past three seasons is not that rare a commodity in the game and clearly the older he gets the worse he gets on defense. This Harper is not worth what he is asking. So it comes down to faith. If you are wrong you have hamstrung the team for the foreseeable future. If you are right you're getting what you paid for. Nothing more.

DezoPenguin said...

@Bx: Bryce Harper at age 19: 4.4 fWAR in 597 PA. Juan Soto at age 19: 3.7 fWAR in 494 PA. In no universe was Bryce "twice as valuable" as Juan. Soto also had a 142 wRC+ to Bryce's 121 wRC+; the more accurate statement is that Bryce's defense and baserunning allowed him to be as good as Soto despite his inferior bat.

And yes, when a guy has three good-but-not-superlative years, then explodes with a Troutian MVP season, then goes and has three good-but-not-superlative years, I *do* think that the one outlier was a freak career year. Bryce has been a major league baseball player for seven years now; despite his youth he's not some rookie, and his past performance has actual statistical significance.

Bryce's seven seasons by fWAR: 4.4, 4.1, 1.6 (injury-shortened), 9.3, 3.0, 4.8, 3.5.

Harper is good! And he is young, meaning that he's likely to continue to be good. But...he's also projected for 4.9 fWAR, and that's a number that he's hit exactly once in his career, so it's a highly optimistic projection (it's also an interesting example of the value of a 148 wRC+, because he's projected to be league-average at baserunning and plain old bad on defense).

Now let's look at Rendon. His six seasons by fWAR: 1.0 (394 PA), 6.4, 1.1 (injury-shortened), 4.3, 6.7, 6.3. He's projected for 5.1 fWAR. That projection is much in line with virtually every other non-Trout player's projections, in that it's conservative, a respectable average of half his seasons. If he's healthy (which he's been for four out of five years), I expect that Rendon will produce 5-6 wins, and very likely better than that. And he's only 28, so it's not like he's going to crash and burn suddenly, either.

So yes, I would give Rendon more AAV on his contract than I would give Bryce because of the two simple facts that Rendon is a better baseball player, and it's easier to find a 5-WAR corner outfielder than it is to find a 5-WAR third baseman. Because Bryce is younger, I would give Bryce more years (and possibly more total money).

(For that matter, speaking of 5-WAR third basemen, I would give Manny Machado more money than Bryce. The main questions with him are entirely character-based: would he insist on playing SS despite being better at 3B? Is there anything to his "hustle" comment and incidents of dirty play? These are questions that a competent GM, a baseball insider, can readily obtain answers to even though the fans can't.)

And lastly, you can say all you want about players being "worth" a certain amount of money, but $30M AAV contracts are exceptionally rare. Max's caused jaws to drop and half of it's deferred.

Mark said...

DezoPenguin is spot on... In the last three years, Anthony's fWar was better then Bryce's by 1.3, 1.9 and 2.8. If the Nationals had a major hole in the outfield, you could make a strong case that it would be worth $30+ million to sign him. As it is, the Nationals have a very good, cost controlled outfield where Bryce MIGHT be an improvement, mostly based on OPS if Bryce replaced Adam. Anthony has been more valuable, is not readily replaceable, and likely will cost less than Bryce would. 2019 Payroll would likely be north of $250M with both Anthony and Bryce on the roster. Keeping Anthony over Bryce is a not brainer to me.