2039-40 Player Options: A Serial

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2039-40 Player Options: A Serial

Post by RonCo » Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:00 pm

After Ted’s great 4-part process back a couple years ago, I thought I’d revisit the overall cycle of players who had options, highlight what decisions they made, and discuss a bit about the validity of those decisions. As GMs, I figure it’s always interesting and valuable to see how our players are looking at things. I mean, for years and years I’ve heard GMs all over the place say “players always opt-out,” for example. And maybe that was true at one point. But it doesn’t seem true now...so, how true is it? How good of decisions are players making?

First, let’s go revisit the 2037 time period.


A Look at 2037-2038

To summarize Ted’s findings (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4), of 2037’s class of 18 players:
  • Good Decisions: 12 *
  • Push Decisions: 2
  • Bad Decisions: 3
  • Retired: 1
* - I note here that Ted called Gerardo Guzman’s decision “bad,” but I disagree with that, so I’ve changed it. Feel free to mentally adjust the numbers there if you disagree with me.

In this case, a “Good” decision is one that resulted in coming through the Free Agency period in a better situation than they would have been in if they’d chosen a different path. This is, of course, subjective—which is one reason I liked Ted’s Wisdom of the Crowds approach.

Bottom line: Either 13 or 14 players of 17 (discounting Sandcastle’s retirement) made decisions that wound up helping them. So (sample size be damned) that says players, on the whole, seemed pretty smart.

All right, let’s dig into what’s going on today.


2039: An Overview

This season sees a total of 24 players with player options. These range from big-ticket players with salaries upward of $25M, so guys with relative chicken feed to compare.

Here’s the list:
POSPlayerTeamAge20392040204120422043
RFAlfredo MartínezLOU34$31.3m(O)$25.3m$37.3m(V)$37.3m(V)
SPMauro FloresLV33$25.5m(O)$25.5m$25.5m(V)$25.5m(V)
3BCarlton Winson CCJ36$24.5m(O)$18.0m$18.0m
SPCristóbal HernándezCLG33$22.0m(O)$22.0m$21.0m$18.5m(P)
1BJon MickMAD34$20.0m(O)$20.0m$20.0m
3BJesús GonzálesSA34$20.0m$18.0m(P)
CShag HopkinsLOU33$17.0m(O)$17.0m(V)$16.0m(T)
CLuis BarreraCCJ31$16.0m(O)$16.0m(T)
RFSteve DempseyMAD33$15.2m$15.2m(P)
SSMark WarehamTWC31$14.0m(O)$14m$14m$14m(P)
RFMario BalderasBRK37$12.5m$12.5m(P)$12.5m(P)
CAntónio TobíasSA32$8.0m(O)$12.0m$15.0m(P)
3BGerardo GuzmánDM33$8.0m(O)$11.0m$9.5m$8.5m(T)$8.5m(P)
RPCelio MarinATC31$10.0m(O)$8.0m$8.0m$8.0m(T)
SSLloyd BraunATC33$11.0m(O)$8.0m$8.0m$7.0m(V)$6.0m(V)
CFWillard GagneNO28$8.4m$7.5m (P)$10m(T)
LFAlvin DickinsonWIC29$6.0m$6.0m(P)
RPChris AdkinsMNT36$6.0m$6.0m(P)
RFJean-Luc LacazeCCJ33$5.0m(O)$5m(T)
1BAlbert GaonaTWC31$5.0m(O)$5.5m$5.5m$5.0m(T)$5.0m(P)
2BCarlos GarcíaBRK33$2.2m(O)$5.2m
SPNetuno MerkertTWC27$1.96m$2.96m(P)
LFVíctor GuerraTWC33$3.6m$2.6m(P)
RPWayne MuirheadCCJ27$2.0m(O)$2.0m(T)
I note here that none of this data includes the buy-outs associated with Team Options or any bonuses included on their contracts. I'll try to note them in places that seem relevant.

My plan here will be to break these players down at the time they make decisions that bring their process to an end. So, the first major post after this one will be those who decide to opt-in and stay with their teams. If I get a chance, the second will be focused on asking prices of players who opted out. The third will be a look at deals players who opted out received…and the final bit will be an attempt at a summary. If that sounds a lot like Ted’s, well, that’s on purpose.

Anyway…hang on…I’ll be back in a second to look at players who Opted-in
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Re: 2039-40 Player Options: A Serial

Post by RonCo » Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:09 pm

A Look at the Opt-Ins

Of the 24 players eligible to make decisions on their future this year, 13 of them opted to stay with their teams. Of those decisions, I’d rank 10 of them “good” and 3 essentially pushes (though I’ll agree my thoughts on Steve Dempsey are arguably wrong).

Here are the individual cases:
POSPlayerTeamAge20392040204120422043DecisionGrade
RFAlfredo MartínezLOU34$31.3m(O)$25.3m$37.3m(V)$37.3m(V)StayGood
3BCarlton WinsonCCJ36$24.5m(O)$18.0m$18.0mStayGood
SPCristóbal HernándezCLG33$22.0m(O)$22.0m$21.0m$18.5m(P)StayGood
1BJon MickMAD34$20.0m(O)$20.0m$20.0mStayGood
3BJesús GonzálesSA34$20.0m$18.0m(P)StayGood
RFMario BalderasBRK37$12.5m$12.5m(P)$12.5m(P)StayGood
3BGerardo GuzmánDM33$8.0m(O)$11.0m$9.5m$8.5m(T)$8.5m(P)StayGood
LFAlvin DickinsonWIC29$6.0m$6.0m(P)StayGood
RPChris AdkinsMNT36$6.0m$6.0m(P)StayGood
SPNetuno MerkertTWC27$1.96m$2.96m(P)StayGood
LFVíctor GuerraTWC33$3.6m$2.6m(P)StayPush
RFSteve DempseyMAD33$15.2m$15.2m(P)StayPush
RPCelio MarinATC31$10.0m(O)$8.0m$8.0m$8.0m(T)StayPush
THE GOOD DECISIONS:

Of the top five highest-paid players on the list (Martinez, Winson, Hernandez, Mick, and Gonzalez), I think it’s quite clear they would not have gotten their current grub on the free agent market. One could suggest that either Martinez (age 34) or Gonzalez (also 34) might have benefited from taking less annually for more years, but I’ll stick with the idea that they did well to stick with what they had rather than trade for anything in the box Carol Wayne is standing beside (he says, dating himself horribly). Hernandez would have been an interesting discussion if he hadn't been hurt, but as he's convalescing, I can't see him doing better than $61.5/3, even in this environment.

37-year old Mario Balderas almost certainly wouldn’t have gotten $12m with an option for $12m more.

Gerardo Guzman was the contract I disagree with Ted on before, and I’d be happy to have someone argue he should have opted out. At age 33 and with that left-handed bat, he might have still gotten a pretty solid deal. But it’s hard to argue with $20m for two years (plus a $2.2m buyout if the team doesn't pick up the option that leads him to another two years for as much as $17m). Maybe an expansion team would have showered him with more…but I doubt it.

To my eyes, Dickinson and Adkins are clear over-pays at $6m each, and would have been silly to leave.


THE PUSH DECISIONS

I’ve categorized three players as having made “push decisions, meaning they would probably work out pretty close either way. The three spit differently for me though, in that if I’m wrong here, one made a good decision and two made bad ones.

The easier conversation in this two-player group is Celio Marin, who opted in for $8m over the next two seasons (with a $2.2m Team Buy Out for another $8m season under a team option). Assuming he can get back to starting full time, that seems like a pretty fair contract for Marin, so I call it a push. But the real question is whether a SP-starved BBA would have thrown a decent 31-year-old starter more money. If you think yes, then Marin made a bad decision. Of course, if you think he's going to stay in the bullpen all year, he made a great decision.

So, you tell me.

Steve Dempsey is more interesting. The fact is that he’s lumping as I speak. There is zero chance that he’d ever get a $15m contract for next year. But if you’re trying to optimize your income, that’s not really the question. The question real question is: Can I get more in Free Agency now than $15m plus what I’ll get next year? There’s every chance that Dempsey will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt this coming year that he’s done—in which case, that $15m is it. So that means if he opted out and grabbed something like a three-season deal at $6m, he’d do better. I figured this was possible. Heck, with Wilson around, he could wind up with a bigger piece of pie. [grin]

Anyway, the real chances are that if I’m wrong in calling Dempsey’s decision a push, it’s in the opposite direction of how I’m wrong with Marin. It’s more likely he made a very good decision to stay than he made a very base one.

Guerra is an interesting conversation. He agreed to stay in Twin Cities for $2.6m. I'm not sure he'd get a better deal--though maybe he would have if he was willing to go to the Middle East. I'm calling this even...but I could see a valid argument that he might have gotten two or three years this time through that he'll probably not get in next season's pool.

SUMMARY OF OPT-Ins

At the end of the day, I’d suggest these 12 examples say that when players decide to stay with their teams, on the whole they are making pretty good decisions. This seems to fit with Ted’s findings from before, so if nothing else it adds to the sample size of OOTP decisions. I think Ted’s data was done in the v19 time period, so this suggests that players in the v20 world seem at least as “smart” as those in the earlier version—perhaps better?

I dunno.
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Re: 2039-40 Player Options: A Serial

Post by RonCo » Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:17 pm

Had to bump this to add back in Victor Guerra's decision to stay with TWC.
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Re: 2039-40 Player Options: A Serial

Post by bigmike13 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:19 pm

I sure was hoping that Gonzales would decline his option but no such luck. Can't blame him either.
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Re: 2039-40 Player Options: A Serial

Post by RonCo » Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:27 pm

bigmike13 wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:19 pm
I sure was hoping that Gonzales would decline his option but no such luck. Can't blame him either.
At least he's only got the one year. With you r budget rising a bit, you could almost decide to eat his $18m if a better opportunity arose. It would be pretty tight, though.
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Re: 2039-40 Player Options: A Serial

Post by JimBob2232 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:27 pm

I have to believe Gagne made a good call. He had a great season (probably his best), and will likely command more than 7.5M guaranteed. That team option in 2042 is risky for him, especially if he underperforms next year. 28 years old helps him too.
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Re: 2039-40 Player Options: A Serial

Post by RonCo » Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:28 pm

And, BTW ... just to be clear, everyone should feel free to tell me I'm wrong in my assessments. Part of what I liked about Ted's work was that it represented a collective idea of good and bad decisions. :)
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Re: 2039-40 Player Options: A Serial

Post by handaspencer » Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:38 pm

totally agree on Adkins, i worked really hard to get him angry hoping he would walk away from 6 mill. At 36 I guess you just milk it no matter how upset someone makes you.

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Re: 2039-40 Player Options: A Serial

Post by 7teen » Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:38 pm

Obviously I'm biased on Dempsey. But do agree with your assessment. I think he has some value for a team looking to add a high contact, speed guy. That team would have to put him at DH which would be unconventional. Or maybe even use him as a Dusty Rhodes/Mons Raider type 1B.

Of course is there are market for a 1B/DH type who can hit .330, swipe 35 bases, and have 30-35 doubles in a season? Not sure. I think he provides a higher WAR as a 1b/DH that he does RF obviously. But not sure he'd produce the WAR at that spot to make it worth paying him the $6 million figure you came up with.

To counter whether he'd have been better taking 3 years at 6 (18 total)... I think in the end he makes more than 18 million for the rest of his career. Assuming he doesn't decline much this season against RHP, I could see a 3 year deal at $2 million per easily for him which would land him a total of $21 million. We all know I'd throw $2 million at him no problem next off-season. haha
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Re: 2039-40 Player Options: A Serial

Post by RonCo » Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:05 pm

WHAT THEY ARE ASKING FOR…


All right, we’re into the opening gambits of Free Agency, so let’s look at these players who opted out, and what they think they’d like from the Free Agent market relative to what they left on the table. We have a total of eleven players left in the game. The “good news” here is that at least nine of them are actually asking for better deals than they had (and, depending on your view, maybe all eleven).

I’ll note that this is the barometer I’m using right now—I’m not judging the actual decision to opt-out until after any player signs another contract. All I’m doing here is taking a process check for whether players who opt-out are actually seeking better deals. The answer right now seems to be a pretty solid “yes.”

Let’s take a spin through them:
SP Mauro Flores:
Left 1 year at $25M (and two vesting options)
Asking: $10.5M/Six years ($63M)

I suggest Flores (probably wisely) ignored those two vesting options. I’d be shocked if he got six seasons, but at least the deal he’s proposing makes sense for him. He’s 33 now, and the six years would run him through age 39. If he’d stuck with his original deal, he’d have to make $35M in the next five seasons to match his ask, and he’s probably more likely to get $10M/6 in 2040 than $7M/5 in 2041 when he’ll be 34.

We’ll see what happens.
C Shag Hopkins:
Left: $17M (and a vesting option)
Asking: $19/$19/$19/$17/$17/$14(P) ($105M)

Yeah, that’s a bigger ask right there [grin]. It will obviously shock everyone if he gets anything close to that—but, yes, at least he’s not opting out and asking for less. Hopkins is 33 years old, and is unlikely to beat $17M next year, so like with Flores’s case the final wisdom of his decision will weigh on how many years he can get at 33 vs. what you think he’d have gotten at 34.
C Luis Barrera:
Left: $16M team option
Asking: $12.5 x 6 ($81M)

I figure it’s likely CCJ would have dumped him back to the FA market anyway, but Barrera took the plunge himself, and at age 31 is more likely to get six seasons than Flores or Hopkins. If he’d, played his last year he’d likely ask for something similar next year, but with every year that goes on I figure the chances of him getting it reduce. I doubt he’ll get this in 2040, either, but it’s probably a good enough ask. Barrera is one of the guys I’m most interest to see the end game for.
SS Mark Wareham:
Left: $14M x 3 ($42M)
Asking: $16 x 6 ($96M)

Well, here’s the thing. If we were real people and couldn’t see ratings bars, it’s not illogical to think a guy like Wareham (solid offensive shortstop with a flagging glove … dare we say Derek Jeter?) would get his $16M or more, though at 31, perhaps not the six years. His numbers are still solid. And, to be clear, if the OBP stays sweet and a GM gets thinking he’s the last piece to a big pie, that $16M could still happen. So, yeah, except for the fact that we can see his ratings sliding, it’s a reasonable ask. Another guy I’m watching as entertainment.
C Antonio Tobias:
Left: $12M/$15M ($27M)
Asking: $12/$12/$12/$12/$10/$10 ($68M)

Being 32 and coming off a better than solid season, this is probably a pretty good ask. I could see someone doing this, anyway, and I could see a team agree to overpay at the end for good veteran performance up front. Again, I’m not making the final call, but I think the ask is quite interesting.
SS Lloyd Braun:
Left: $8M/$8M ($16M), and two vesting options
Asking: $10.5 x 5 ($52.5M)

Bottom line, the player seems to ignore the two vesting options … or does he? You can’t really tell here because the bottom line is that the 33-year-old shortstop is asking for a raise across the board. Though I’d guess the five seasons is too extravagant, he may well get it, too. I don’t begrudge the ask for five seasons, though. He’s still producing, and it would run him to 38. Why not take a chance and see it some GM will Pujols him? Going to be interesting to see if he comes out ahead here.
CF Willard Gagne:
Left: $7.5M and a $10.5M Team Option
Asking: $8M/$9.5/$11/$12/$12.5/$12.5 ($66M)

Ultimately, Gagne is just asking for some team to guarantee more year here, and at age 28 with a string of 3.5 WAR seasons behind him, this makes sense in that he’s far more likely to get this kind of security now than he will be at age 30. To be honest, this ask actually makes me smile. We’ll see if he has to come down any on it, but at first blush it seems like a perfectly great ask for his situation.
RF Jean-Luc Lacaze:
Left: $5M Team Option
Asking: $5M x 2 ($10M)

Okay, you have to figure Lecaze was getting dumped by Charm City anyway, but for the moment let’s ignore the fact that he left a buy-out on the table. His offer is technically not horrible. He wants his $5M and another year of the same. One can at least understand the concept. At issue, though, is that—despite his .366 OBP last year—Lecaze hasn’t been a major positive for three seasons…there I go, though, breaking my rule of judging the full process too early. Bottom line, it’s a fine enough ask for a 33 year old guy who may well be fading.
1B Albert Gaona:
Left: $5M/$5M/$5M(T)/$5M(P) ($10M)
Asking: $11M x 5 + $10M(P) ($65M)

Gaona’s been about a 4 WAR player for the past four seasons and wants to be paid like it. One assumes he and his agent essentially discounted the last two years of the original contract, as he should have, and—at 31 years old—is asking for a pretty fair value for his services today, but also asking teams to pay him that kind of cash out until he’s 37. It seems like a great ask for a guy in his slot. I note that if he’s opted-in and played those nest two seasons, he’d be hitting the market at age 33. Foreshadowing things a little based on what I think will happen, this is looking like a great decision for Gaona from start to end.
2B/CF Carlos Garcia:
Left: $5.2M
Asking: $12.5M x 4 + $11M(P) ($61M)

Garcia is 33, so I’m guessing that five-season structure isn’t going to happen. And, yeah, $12.5? Seriously? Yes, he’s an ex-Nine, and he’s about a 2-WAR player, and yeah, I love that OBP with wheels. Yes, this qualifies as a “good ask” in that it’s clearly a better deal for him than he left. But it’s way far out there. That having been said, as an observer of Carlos Garcia throughout his entire FA career, this is par for the course for him. He always asks high—which leads me to ponder that High Greed thing.
RP Wayne Muirfield:
Left: $2M Team Option
Asking: $3M (unknown years)

Murifield won’t talk to me, so I don’t know how long of a deal he wants, but he’s clearly feeling his oats having been paid by CCJ for a few months just so he could then go to the market. I have no idea if he’s going to get $3M. I suspect he might get close. But mostly I like seeing players the “smart enough” to play GMs when we let them.
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Re: 2039-40 Player Options: A Serial

Post by jleddy » Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:51 pm

Nice analysis...so safe to say this crop of opt-outs did fairly well in their asks to get a larger payday than what they walked away from?

Now whether they get rewarded is an entirely different story, but at least the AI/contract engine seems to be somewhat working.
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Re: 2039-40 Player Options: A Serial

Post by udlb58 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:11 pm

jleddy wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:51 pm
Nice analysis...so safe to say this crop of opt-outs did fairly well in their asks to get a larger payday than what they walked away from?

Now whether they get rewarded is an entirely different story, but at least the AI/contract engine seems to be somewhat working.
We'll see what they end up signing at. Their asking price could be wildly different than their actual payday.
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Re: 2039-40 Player Options: A Serial

Post by RonCo » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:14 pm

I'm sure they will be quite different.
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Re: 2039-40 Player Options: A Serial

Post by ae37jr » Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:48 pm

Garcia better lower his demands soon. I want that draft pick and I know nobody is giving him $50 million.
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Re: 2039-40 Player Options: A Serial

Post by bschr682 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:11 pm

Flores is, lucky for me, such an idiot. The difference between the deal he signs this offseason versus the deal he would have signed next offseason will not equal 25 million.

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Re: 2039-40 Player Options: A Serial

Post by RonCo » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:49 pm

ae37jr wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:48 pm
Garcia better lower his demands soon. I want that draft pick and I know nobody is giving him $50 million.
He's dropped in late January in the past, but who knows what he'll do this time. To me, he is the one who is the most... optimistic.
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