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Rutschman: Let’s Make a Deal

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None of us really want to see the O’s have to play service time games with Adley Rutschman.   Should we avoid that by signing him to a long term deal this winter?   And if so, what’s a logical deal right now that would be attractive to both sides?

Famously, before Matt Wieters ever played a major league game, poster JTrea81 proposed signing him to a 10 year, $100 deal.   That would have been a huge loser, as Wieters only made about $59.5 mm in his first 10 years, and  $61.75 mm over his career.    So what does that tell us about Rutschman?

Looking around, I see only two catchers who made more than $22 mm in their pre-FA years:  Posey, who signed a long-term deal about three years into his career and earned $38.5 mm in his first 3 Arbr aaa years and $20 mm in his 4th; and Realmuto who earned $30 mm.  Beyond them, the top pre-FA totals I see are Mauer $22 mm, Wieters $21.5 mm, B. McCann $17.7 mm.   Russell Martin, a Super-2, earned about $12.5 mm through his first 3 Arb seasons and $7.5 mm in his 4th.   Guys like Brian McCann, Yadier Molina, Yasmani Grandal and Salvador Perez made between $11-18 mm in their pre-FA years.

Post-free agency, Realmuto tops the AAV list at $23.1 mm, Mauer $23 mm, Posey $22.2 mm, Martin $20 mm.   Perez has a ceiling of $22 mm, Grandal $18 mm, McCann $17 mm.

So with that in mind, and knowing the risks of injury or underperformance, is there a deal you’d offer Rutschman?  How about this?

- 6/$27 mm guaranteed

- Team options at $18, 20, 22 mm the next three seasons.

- Player options at $15, 17, 19 mm those seasons if the team doesn’t exercise its, but these only vest If Rutschman has 350 PA in the season preceding the option.

Does either side say no?    Do you have a deal you think makes more sense than this one?

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I would sign him 1/the minimum. 

I don't think Elias will sign long term agreements.   He will see how players do and what they will get in arbitration before he trades them.  He has already signed what he hopes is Adley's successor.  Creed Willems in 5 years.  And Elias will draft other catchers to hedge his bet.

The Tampa model is to trade for prospects before FA.   That is how I think Elias rolls.

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Just now, wildcard said:

I would sign him 1/the minimum. 

I don't think Elias will sign long term agreements.   He will see how players do and what they will get in arbitration before he trades them.  He has already signed what he hopes is Adley's successor.  Creed Willems in 5 years.  And Elias will draft other catchers to hedge his bet.

The Tampa model is to trade for prospects before FA.   That is how I think Elias rolls.

I thought he was going to use the Astros model?

The Rays have a history of signing guys to extensions early in their careers.

I highly doubt that Elias is penciling Willems into any projected 2026 lineups.

My gut feeling is that he's going to want more upfront and would probably rather wait until the CBA shakes out before signing a deal.

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I wouldn't sign him long term for exactly the reason the OP stated - Wieters. There's no such thing as a can't miss guy, no reason to extend a guy before he's even played a major league game, especially in this long, long term rebuild. 

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9 minutes ago, Can_of_corn said:

I thought he was going to use the Astros model?

The Rays have a history of signing guys to extensions early in their careers.

I highly doubt that Elias is penciling Willems into any projected 2026 lineups.

My gut feeling is that he's going to want more upfront and would probably rather wait until the CBA shakes out before signing a deal.

So 1/the minimum, right?

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Just now, vab said:

I wouldn't sign him long term for exactly the reason the OP stated - Wieters. There's no such thing as a can't miss guy, no reason to extend a guy before he's even played a major league game, especially in this long, long term rebuild. 

There is a reason.  You can get him to sign for more favorable terms than you would be able to otherwise.

You might not decide to do it in this instance but it is a valid reason.

Yes you would have to have faith in your process and in the player.

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1 minute ago, wildcard said:

So 1/the minimum, right?

I'd be interested in signing him to a deal, I'd have been MORE interested this time last year. 

I don't know what numbers would work but I'd at least consider it.

I do think doing this last year would have given you rather better terms.

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1 hour ago, vab said:

I wouldn't sign him long term for exactly the reason the OP stated - Wieters. There's no such thing as a can't miss guy, no reason to extend a guy before he's even played a major league game, especially in this long, long term rebuild. 

Exactly. Anyone remember the thread about signing Austin Hays to the “Scott Kingery” deal the Phillies did and how well that worked out?

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4 minutes ago, Aristotelian said:

So if Rutschman gets hurt he gets no guaranteed money after the initial $27M? There is no way he gives us control of three extra years for essentially no guaranteed money. 

Maybe you have a buyout clause of 15M if the O’s decline the option and he doesn’t get 350 PA for his to vest. That guarantees him 42M over 6 seasons with an option for as much as 9/87. 
 

If he goes year to year and leaves in FA, he’ll be much younger and more likely to get a big contract at 30 than 32. I could see his reasons for not taking anything given his age and position. Get the FA contract as soon as you can. 

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5 minutes ago, Legend_Of_Joey said:

Exactly. Anyone remember the thread about signing Austin Hays to the “Scott Kingery” deal the Phillies did and how well that worked out?

When did they want to sign the deal- before 2018?  That would give the O's two more seasons on the deal.

I mean 24M for 4.3 wins plus two more seasons doesn't look like it would be a bad deal.  It isn't an argument against signing a guy.

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2 hours ago, wildcard said:

I would sign him 1/the minimum. 

I don't think Elias will sign long term agreements.   He will see how players do and what they will get in arbitration before he trades them.  He has already signed what he hopes is Adley's successor.  Creed Willems in 5 years.  And Elias will draft other catchers to hedge his bet.

The Tampa model is to trade for prospects before FA.   That is how I think Elias rolls.

If Elias is banking on the 18 year old with the .500 OPS in rookie ball to eventually replace Rutschman, this franchise is truly screwed. 

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44 minutes ago, waroriole said:

Maybe you have a buyout clause of 15M if the O’s decline the option and he doesn’t get 350 PA for his to vest. That guarantees him 42M over 6 seasons with an option for as much as 9/87. 
 

If he goes year to year and leaves in FA, he’ll be much younger and more likely to get a big contract at 30 than 32. I could see his reasons for not taking anything given his age and position. Get the FA contract as soon as you can. 

Adley already being 23 and having four years of wear and tear of college ball really makes this difficult. With Manny you could offer 8-9 years guaranteed and he could still hit free agency around age 30. If Rutschman signs an 8-9 year deal with us, it's going to be tough for him to get a long term deal as a 33 year old catcher. If I am Rutschman I don't think I would sign for much less than 10/$100M guaranteed. I definitely am not agreeing to any 350 AB incentive option. 

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8 minutes ago, ArtVanDelay said:

If Elias is banking on the 18 year old with the .500 OPS in rookie ball to eventually replace Rutschman, this franchise is truly screwed. 

What are the odds Elias is even with the O's in five more years?

If the rebuild doesn't work he's likely to get fired.

If it does work he's likely to get hired away by another team.

How often does a GM spend eight years with the same team I wonder?

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