Yes, Major League Baseball is a game. It is a game played by millionaires to the benefit of billionaires. But it also is a business. AF clearly went out of his comfort zone with Mookie Betts. But he was the long-term star needed for this team after the 2019 debacle. So $365MM for 13 years was what it took to extend Mookie through his 39 year old season. What can go wrong.
The first three years of the contract (Age 27-29) Mookie’s fWAR and value were as follows:
- 2020 – 2.8 fWAR – $22.4MM
- 2021 – 3.8 fWAR – $30.6MM
- 2022 – 6.6 fWAR – $52.8MM
Thus Mookie has theoretically earned $105.8MM of his $365MM, but in his prime years, with a body that has shown some deterioration. His salary for the next 10 years:
- 2023 – Age 30 – $20MM
- 2024 – Age 31 – $25MM
- 2025 – Age 32 – $25MM
- 2026 – Age 33 – $25MM
- 2027 – Age 34 – $25MM
- 2028 – Age 35 – $30MM
- 2029 – Age 36 – $30MM
- 2030 – Age 37 – $30MM
- 2031 – Age 38 – $27.5MM
- 2032 – Age 39 – $27.5MM
$265MM due Mookie over the next 10 years. He will need to produce at 33.13 fWAR over the next 10 years.
But it appears that AF does not want to go down that course again. He paid Trevor Bauer a huge number but for only three years. Just how upset do you think management would be if they thought they would have to pay Bauer for three – four more years instead of one.
They scaled down the years for Freddie to 6. In 2022, Freddie had a 7.1 fWAR that generated $56.7MM of value in production. Theoretically, Freddie needs to generate $105.30MM over the remaining 5 years on his contract. Freddie needs to produce a 13.6 fWAR over the next five years, or average 2.63 fWAR.
Of Freddie and Mookie, who has the better chance with their production value equating to their monetary value?
Is it any wonder why AF was hesitant to go 11-13 years for Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, or Xander Bogaerts? He wasn’t willing to pay Corey Seager 10 years, and Seager was homegrown. AF will pay high AAV’s with the ability to get out of the contract sooner. There is no way AF was ever going to sign Carlos Rodón for 6 years. AF/BG signed Noah Syndergaard $13.5MM for one year, vs $39MM for three years for Tyler Anderson. Could it be that AF/BG believe Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, Bobby Miller, Gavin Stone, Ryan Pepiot, Nick Nastrini, and Emmet Sheehan need to have a clear path to MLB? It appears more likely that AF will continue with the one year contracts to supplement the homegrown pitchers.
The team drafts far more pitchers than any other position, and have the requisite ability to develop them. They can afford to wait for their pitchers to develop to be ML pitchers because of the number of pitchers close to MLB that they have.
Not so much for position players. The Dodgers system is thin at most positions other than Catchers, DH, and utility players. Who is that “can’t miss” SS or CF in the system? The system has depth and players who can play those positions, but not one that owns it. So the Dodgers need to supplement their team with elite position players like Mookie and Freddie.
However, AF is not going to tie his hands with multiple boat anchor contracts. He has one potential in Mookie, so to have another is not something I would expect AF to do. The question now is, how many years will he offer Julio Urías, and realistically expect him to sign? With Scott Boras as his agent, I do not like the odds.
Will AF go back to the Mookie Model next year for Shohei Ohtani?