Monday, May 19, 2008

Don't Hold Your Breath on a Fielder Long Term Deal

Interesting story in the LA Times about the wave of young players signing long term deals (a la Ryan Braun).

Brewers owner Mark Attanasio is quoted in the story, talking about how it is to the advantage of the big market clubs to not sign their young players to long term deals, as opposed to what Milwaukee did with Braun.

"You have a lot of advantages when you're a bigger-revenue club," said Mark Attanasio, the Brewers' owner. "You can afford to wait."

Here's why: Teams control a player for six years, with salaries determined solely by the club for the first three years and subject to salary arbitration for the final three. Then a player can try free agency.

"You have to get to them early," Attanasio said. "The sooner you can get to them, the more you can keep the contract at a manageable level."Once the players get a smell of free agency, it's very hard to do anything. At that point, the Yankees and Red Sox can afford it, and clubs like ours can't."

And it sounds like you can forget about Prince Fielder signing a similar deal, at least while he's represented by Scott Boras, who thinks that clubs who offer these long-term deals aren't really taking much risk:

"You see those contracts, and to me the risk is substantially rewarded," said agent Scott Boras. "They may be paying 30 cents on the dollar."

Boras says he has been approached by players years after they signed such a deal, regretting how many millions they might have lost. He said teams generally limit such offers to premium players.

"The teams are not usually wrong about their talent assessment," he said. "If the teams aren't wrong about their talent assessment, then someone is wrong for taking it."

Basically, Boras is calling any agent an idiot for taking the Braun-type deal for their client rather than letting them hit arbitration and then free agency. This statement makes it rather unlikely he'll be advocating this position for Fielder, his client. If you hear that Fielder has fired Boras, however, that could be a pretty clear indication that he wants to do a Braun-type deal.

Finally, Pat Gillick, the Phillies GM, didn't think that the Braun signing was a good idea...for the Brewers:

"If the guy goes in the tank, they're sitting on a contract they can't move," he told reporters in Philadelphia.


Anonymous said...

The plan should be to keep Fielder this offseason - his arby number shouldn't be that painful to swallow next year - and then trade him at the deadline next year. He's proving to be a malcontent and that he can't adjust to pitchers after they figured him out this year. His defense is also a liability. Let him DH in the AL and hit 35 HRs per year for $10-12 million.

Have LaPorta move back to 1B, and then keep him for 4-5 years (since Boras is his agent too, ugh) and hope someone else is ready to play by then or that LaPorta is just an above-average player that you can afford.

Woz said...

Somebody save that quote from the Phillies GM.

Asinine. Obvious. Stupid. Foolish. Waste of time.

Keep on talking bad things about Ryan Braun. Please keep it up. He seems to enjoy it.

AP said...

I love Fielder. Love him. It just seems like he's got to go at some point.

The guys's a beast. However, his defense sucks, guys of his size don't tend to have long careers, and like this story points out he has an agent who is trying to get him into a bigger market for bigger money.

More than that though, lately Fielder just seems like less of a team leader and more of a guy who is just plain quirky. He didn't like his contract, although he could get more money tomorrow if he wanted. He didn't like his diet. He never likes his bats and uses everyone else's but his. He didn't like his arm sleeves on his jersey. He made an error this weekend and grabbed a different glove. He doesn't get along with his dad. Individually, none of those things are scathing indictments of Prince, but put together it just seems like he's not a guy you can hope to make happy with anything.

matt said...

That Gillick quote is especially dumb considering that it's coming from a guy who has done one of these deals himself - before last season Chase Utley signed a deal buying out a couple years of his free agency, I believe.

For a hell of a lot more money than what Braun got.

I'm sure Gillick thought that was a dumb idea on the team's part...