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Freeman Contract (and what it means to Trout)


Hubs

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Freeman is entering his first year of arbitration. His contract basically paid him for last season's performance when he finished fifth in the NL MVP voting. His first two years weren't nearly as good.

 

I bring this up only to show all the Trout extension people what the Braves paid for a young player to acquire 5 free agent years and all three arbitration years.

 

The article I read says that even if you assume that he would've taken home $30 M for the three arbitration years, which is a high estimate, they paid an AAV of $21 M for his five free agent years. Is Freeman a $21M a year player? Maybe by the first free agent year, but they are certainly gambling on potential here. 

 

It's not as bad as the Andrus contract, that was a gigantic waste of money for a guy who doesn't even hit well. Andrus is the superior fielder to Aybar, but Aybar has hit better, and considering that they guaranteed $90M more to him over what 8 years? 

 

But back to Freeman/Trout. Trout has one more year of club control where they can set his salary. Next offseason, they are going to go for his first year of arbitration. Similar to Freeman, that would be a point where you can extend him for eight years, seeing if he'll sell his first five free agent years to get a little security.

 

Will his contract blow Freeman's out of the water? Surely. Freeman as I said earlier didn't perform to the level of year three in years one and two. Arbitration hearings take into account the two previous years, not just the year prior. The Braves I think filed in the mid $4M range and he countered with just over $6M.

 

Now Trout is sure to file for $12M+ to set the record for a first year arbitration case. Maybe as high as $15M. Now the Angels are likely to counter around $10M. Trout's 2nd year was better than his first and if his third year is better than his second, he'll have cause for that kind of dough.

 

Even if you assume that Trout will set records in all three free agent years and then be on par with Kershaw for his free agent seasons, that contract looks like maybe as high as $60M in arbitration and then $30M annually? 8/210? Maybe a discount to 8/200?

 

I'd say the Angels have the leverage here, as they don't have to extend him, so they can try to get some sort of discount if they try next offseason to extend him. I don't think they'll sign him to a $300 M contract, unless they don't extend him until his final year, before free agency, but still, this Freeman contract shows how much teams are willing to reward success at a young age.

 

Buster Posey currently came in higher and there is one other player that got more guaranteed money after year three in the majors, but I can't recall. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Freddie Freeman has accumulated a 9.3 war over his time in the majors. If Trout were retired today it would take Freeman over 3 more years to catch him. I have the feeling Trout's extension is going to be in line with Freeman's as closely as their WAR numbers represent each other.

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Freddie Freeman has accumulated a 9.3 war over his time in the majors. If Trout were retired today it would take Freeman over 3 more years to catch him. I have the feeling Trout's extension is going to be in line with Freeman's as closely as their WAR numbers represent each other.

 

Hell fangraphs has freeman at 7.3 WAR.

 

If trout has a similar season this year, his total WAR would be over 30.

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Freeman is entering his first year of arbitration. His contract basically paid him for last season's performance when he finished fifth in the NL MVP voting. His first two years weren't nearly as good.

 

I bring this up only to show all the Trout extension people what the Braves paid for a young player to acquire 5 free agent years and all three arbitration years.

 

The article I read says that even if you assume that he would've taken home $30 M for the three arbitration years, which is a high estimate, they paid an AAV of $21 M for his five free agent years. Is Freeman a $21M a year player? Maybe by the first free agent year, but they are certainly gambling on potential here. 

 

It's not as bad as the Andrus contract, that was a gigantic waste of money for a guy who doesn't even hit well. Andrus is the superior fielder to Aybar, but Aybar has hit better, and considering that they guaranteed $90M more to him over what 8 years? 

 

But back to Freeman/Trout. Trout has one more year of club control where they can set his salary. Next offseason, they are going to go for his first year of arbitration. Similar to Freeman, that would be a point where you can extend him for eight years, seeing if he'll sell his first five free agent years to get a little security.

 

Will his contract blow Freeman's out of the water? Surely. Freeman as I said earlier didn't perform to the level of year three in years one and two. Arbitration hearings take into account the two previous years, not just the year prior. The Braves I think filed in the mid $4M range and he countered with just over $6M.

 

Now Trout is sure to file for $12M+ to set the record for a first year arbitration case. Maybe as high as $15M. Now the Angels are likely to counter around $10M. Trout's 2nd year was better than his first and if his third year is better than his second, he'll have cause for that kind of dough.

 

Even if you assume that Trout will set records in all three free agent years and then be on par with Kershaw for his free agent seasons, that contract looks like maybe as high as $60M in arbitration and then $30M annually? 8/210? Maybe a discount to 8/200?

 

I'd say the Angels have the leverage here, as they don't have to extend him, so they can try to get some sort of discount if they try next offseason to extend him. I don't think they'll sign him to a $300 M contract, unless they don't extend him until his final year, before free agency, but still, this Freeman contract shows how much teams are willing to reward success at a young age.

 

Buster Posey currently came in higher and there is one other player that got more guaranteed money after year three in the majors, but I can't recall. 

 

Trout will not average 30 million for his FA years.  He will be over 25+ of course, but no one has come close to 30 million a year so that isn't setting records, that is shattering them.

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It seems like the floor of free agent contracts is going up much higher than the ceiling.

 

Luxury tax aside, Trout's value can't get much higher - even if he puts together another 10 WAR season. He's already established a level that is just about unparalleled, so he's going to bust the bank no matter what. The question is to what degree.

 

I don't think Trout will get $60M in arbitration for three years. $50M, maybe. I could see something like this:

 

2015 (arb1): $12M

2016 (arb2): $18M

2017 (arb3): $20M

2018 (FA): $25M

2019 (FA): $25M

2020 (FA): $30M

2021 (FA): $30M

2022 (FA): $35M

2023 (FA): $35M

2024 (FA): $35M

 

You put a player option out after 2021, so its either: 7/$160M or 10/$265M.

 

I'm also hoping the Angels give him a feel-good raise this year, maybe $3-5M for 2014. Let the kid buy his parents a new house.

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I don't think the Freeman contract will have any bearing on Trout.  It's just too different worlds.

 

I also still don't think Trout will sign anything more than a 6 year deal, buying out 3 years of free agency.  By the end of the 6 year contract, Trout would be 29.  More than likely still in his prime, and able to get a 10+ year deal.  You add 4 years to that, and he's 33.  Might be on his downslope.  But just the ability to get a 10 year deal is a lot easier when you are 29, than when you are 33.  In the end, it'll be up to Trout.  Wouldn't be surprised if he takes a 10 year deal, 6 year deal, or rides out his arbitration years.  Angels can only force him to play the next 4 years.  That's all the leverage they have.

 

Now after saying all that, Freeman's contract might have a bearing on Stanton like Juan Rodriguez of the MIami sun sentinel says.  

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Is there any reason to think he won't?

 

I don't think there is any reason to think that Trout won't continue to be a great player, although it is possible to think that he won't be AS great.

 

If you look at recent players who were similarly great at an early age, you come up with a very short list - really only Pujols and A-Rod - which makes precedents almost worthless. Both Pujols and A-Rod maintained a similar level of greatness for about a decade further, through their 20s, with their very best years scattered throughout. By fWAR, Albert's three best years were at age 23, 28, and 27 (in order), and A-Rod's at 26, 31, and 24. But A-Rod's age 20 season was basically as good as anything later on, and Albert's rookie year at age 21 wasn't substantially lesser than his best years.

 

The point being, chances are Trout has some even better years ahead, but they probably won't be hugely better.

 

Could he be worse? Could his age 20-21 seasons be the best of his career? Its dimly possible, but unlikely. A few players did peak early on - Cesar Cedeno comes to mind - but for the most part, players that are great in their early 20s remain great for years to come and are more likely to surpass early greatness than fall below it.

 

That said, even if Trout drops to a merely mortal greatness of 7-8 fWAR per season, he'll still be among the best players in the game - just not clearly above everyone else. A 7 fWAR player is an MVP candidate and among the half dozen or so best players in the game. That's David Wright, Evan Longoria, Ryan Braun, and Miguel Cabrera. To be there, Trout would have to be more like a .300/.900 hitter with 25 HR and 30 SB, and merely good CF defense - sort of like what Grady Sizemore used to be. Its hard to imagine him falling to that, but you never know.

 

The simple fact is that we've never seen a player like Mike Trout. People like to compare him to Mickey Mantle, and I think their skill sets are similar (although Mantle probably had more power, and Trout more speed - or at least more SB), but we might have to look to Willie Mays for a closer comparison career-wise, because Mantle's career was shortened by his alcoholism. But Mantle, at his very best, was slightly better than Mays. Looking at Mays' career, he was a truly great player from age 23 to age 35 (although he missed most of age 21-22 due to the Korean War), and remained very good through age 40, retiring at age 42. Mays played in 22 seasons, with WAR ranges as follows:

 

10+: 4

8-9.9: 7

5-7.9: 4

2-4.9: 4

<2: 3

 

Trout's already halfway to Mays' 10+ WAR season total, and only two years into his career. Interestingly, Mays' best four-year span was age 31-34, while Mantle's was 23-26.

 

No conclusions here, just ruminating.

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He likes the basement he is living in. Don't mess with the mojo.

There's actually some potential truth to this. Its crossed my mind what will happen when Trout becomes truly wealthy. As much as most of us would love to make $500,000 a year, there's a big difference between that and $25M+. There's something really innocent about Trout - he seems like a throwback to an "all-American" goodness that never truly existed, but kind of existed "back in the day." I hate the thought of him becoming a jaded, spoiled multi-millionaire.

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AJ - nice synopsis on Trout and his comps. 

 

One thing I think needs to be considered is the potential sustainability of his BABIP.  A big part of that right now is speed based.  Not all of it, but a decent portion.  As we know, speed doesn't last forever.  He will likely always be pretty damn quick and fast, but I have to wonder how much longer he's going to have the absolute elite speed that he has. 

 

That said, factoring in his age creates a whole different scenario.  It's scary to think that a lot of what he is doing is being accomplished with raw ability as opposed to experience.  At some point, the ability and experience curves are going to intersect. 

So perhaps he can sustain an unusually high BABIP going forward.  Maybe not to the .366 that he's shown currently, but perhaps above .350. 

 

An interesting hitting comp for Trout is Joey Votto. 

Votto has a career .359 BABIP.  We've seen his BB rate increase to where it may have leveled off around 19%. with his k rate probably leveled off around the same.  Their avg, obp, and slg are fairly similar.  Of course Trout has a couple of distinct advantages. 

He is an excellent defender at a position that gives him additional value

He is a tremendous baserunner and even if his speed declines a bit, his experience will make up for some of that

He started producing at a very young age.  Almost three years earlier. 

 

Votto has been a fairly consistent 6-7 WAR player the last three years who has gotten dinged pretty hard for defense and baserunning ability. 

If Trout can offset a slow decline in speed with experience and sustain a similar level of offense then he should be able to produce at a similar level. 

 

There is also the potential increase in power production from Trout that I think is coming very soon.  I truly think that he's going to have a string of 30-40hr seasons.  

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Trout will get at least 200 million, most likely around 225-250 million. 

 

The Angels have leverage since they're the only ones negotiating with Trout. I highly doubt Trout would pass up that kind of money just for the potential to get more. If he gets hurt or regresses, he misses out big time. 

 

Offer him up 8 years 230 million and call it a day. 

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One thing I think needs to be considered is the potential sustainability of his BABIP.

Yes his speed does help him to run out balls hit on the ground which contributes to his higher BABIP but the main component of BABIP is Line Drive % of which, over the last two season of players with more than 1000 PA's, Trout is ranked 31st out of 123 players that qualified at approximately a 23% LD rate. He has no noticeable split either, hitting LHP and RHP at a similar rate.

His ground ball percentage is 63rd in the middle of the same group of players at 42.9%. However as Doc mentioned his speed allows him to beat our more throws than the average player in the group making his BABIP inflate a bit. As Doc also suggested as time goes by and Trout gets into his late 20's/early 30's his BABIP will likely creep down ever so slightly year to year. Just depends on how his body ages and its effect on his athleticism.

Also his flyball rate is 55th (34.4%) out of that group of 123 and notably his HR/FB ratio is 11th at 18.8%. This is simply saying that Trout hits slightly less fly balls and those fly balls he does hit tend to leave the park a lot more often than the average player in the group. This also inflates his BABIP slightly.

The interesting thing is that Trout is still young enough that he can improve! As long as he maintains the current LD% rate he will have continued success for many years.

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I love the responses that call for 20 / 500. 

 

LMAO. 

 

OK, so first off I understand the differences between Freeman and Trout. I'm also aware of the fact that Freeman would have had to double his WAR output last year to equal Trout's. However, I will also say that the comparison is valid because it's about giving a player a ton of money following his third year in the majors. 

 

The largest extension ever given to a player with Trout's experience is Buster Posey's 167M deal. He won the MVP the year before and carried his team to a World Series Victory. And that is actually one more year of experience.

 

Even then, that's so far below the amounts I see thrown around here, it's not even funny. 

 

If Trout wants to test free agency before the age of thirty, next offseason I'd offer him somewhere between 167 and 210 over 8 years.

 

If they offered him a contract now it would be in the range of Ryan Braun's first deal, or maybe Troy Tulowitski's…not their ones they've signed to replace those.

 

Joey Votto had four or five years in before he got his 214 M deal…and that's the player with the most comparable production WAR wise, to Trout.

Edited by Hubs
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The highest contract ever given to an outfielder by AAV:

1. Hamilton $25M

2. Manny $22.5

3. Ellsbury $21.6

4. Braun $21

5. Crawford $20.3

 

The highest contract ever given to an outfielder by total value

 

1. Manny Ramirez $160

2. Kemp $160

3. Ellsbury $153

4. Crawford $142

5. Soriano $136

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