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Toronto Signs J.A. Happ


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Resume of standard Duquette target, no?

Absolutely. He traditionally does not spend 36 million for his long shots. Traditionally. Listen. This is all about not bringing Price back. He wanted to move on from that and he did. Diversified risk as Mark Viviano says.

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Absolutely. He traditionally does not spend 36 million for his long shots. Traditionally. Listen. This is all about not bringing Price back. He wanted to move on from that and he did. Diversified risk as Mark Viviano says.

I've never known Shapiro to throw away bad money for the sake of removing discussion of pursuing another FA, but I'm not in the offices there.

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I've never known Shapiro to throw away bad money for the sake of removing discussion of pursuing another FA, but I'm not in the offices there.

I just meant that it is settled. He got his left-handed started and moved on. He obviously does not htink it is bad money. Just the money ot took to do what he wanted. Hey. I wanted Happ in Baltimore. For a lot less.

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I've never known Shapiro to throw away bad money for the sake of removing discussion of pursuing another FA, but I'm not in the offices there.

“We obviously had multiple holes to fill in our pitching staff, and our front-office team felt diversifying the risk among multiple pitchers who could start was important, both due to our need at the (big-league) level and our lack of Triple-A depth starting pitchers.”

Shapiro

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“We obviously had multiple holes to fill in our pitching staff, and our front-office team felt diversifying the risk among multiple pitchers who could start was important, both due to our need at the (big-league) level and our lack of Triple-A depth starting pitchers.”

Shapiro

Right, but that points to a general desire to sign multiple starters. It doesn't address the timing/decision to get Happ specifically.

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I don't know enough about the reasoning behind the signing to have a strong opinion, but I wouldn't be surprised if the FA "value" of the deal ends up requiring around 4-4.5 wins of production over three years to be "worth it." So, my gut is less "this is Toronoto being stupid" and more "holy cow inflation is going to end-up bailing out a lot of contracts I thought were questionable when doled out."

Your analysis implies a value of $8-9 mm per 1 WAR. That sounds crazy, but it looks like fangraphs has valued 2015 WAR at close to $8 mm, so maybe it's not.

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I don't know enough about the reasoning behind the signing to have a strong opinion, but I wouldn't be surprised if the FA "value" of the deal ends up requiring around 4-4.5 wins of production over three years to be "worth it." So, my gut is less "this is Toronoto being stupid" and more "holy cow inflation is going to end-up bailing out a lot of contracts I thought were questionable when doled out."

At some point you have to question signing on for the supposed certainty of that low level of production. If you're expecting 1.5 wins a year aren't you better off going year-to-year at a vastly lower cost? The difference between the MLB minimum and the cost of a win in free agency is going to make for some interesting decisions.

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At some point you have to question signing on for the supposed certainty of that low level of production. If you're expecting 1.5 wins a year aren't you better off going year-to-year at a vastly lower cost? The difference between the MLB minimum and the cost of a win in free agency is going to make for some interesting decisions.

I don't believe a team signs a player to that deal *expecting* low level production. That's why I think it's silly when folks use $/fWAR as an estimate for what a player at either end of the talent spectrum should be paid. It isn't a clean conversion and ignores other available relevant variables.

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I don't believe a team signs a player to that deal *expecting* low level production. That's why I think it's silly when folks use $/fWAR as an estimate for what a player at either end of the talent spectrum should be paid. It isn't a clean conversion and ignores other available relevant variables.

They may be hoping for more, but doesn't everyone have some semi-plausible reason why their guy will buck the odds?

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They may be hoping for more, but doesn't everyone have some semi-plausible reason why their guy will buck the odds?

I don't understand your question. I didn't say Toronto signed a player hoping for 4-4.5 wins worth of production. I said that looking back at the end of the deal I wouldn't be surprised if the $ spent would require around 4-4.5 wins worth of production to be seen as "worth it." It's wholly a reflective matter. For projecting a player, you really have to look at expected outcomes, team needs, back-up options, and a whole host of other variables in setting a salary that is tolerable to a team.

My interest in that particular deal is two-fold:

1) Why did Toronto decide to make THIS specific move right now?

2) Wow, given the direction of salaries is it possible that even a bad outcome for this player ends-up not looking so bad in 2017/2018 based on what folks are paying for comparable players then?

Point 2 can also be applied to talents signed this year and how it all comes out in the wash.

Part of what the Adam Jones contract taught me was that a contract that looks risky on the back-end because of expected/likely production won't necessarily be an issue in the context of other players available at the going rate during those later years. I mean, I looked at the deal as if Jones needed to be a four-win player towards the end of his deal (if I remember right), and honestly if he's a two win player each of his final years it really isn't horrible from a $/value standpoint compared to what you'd have to pay on the market to get that production.

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I don't understand your question. I didn't say Toronto signed a player hoping for 4-4.5 wins worth of production. I said that looking back at the end of the deal I wouldn't be surprised if the $ spent would require around 4-4.5 wins worth of production to be seen as "worth it." It's wholly a reflective matter. For projecting a player, you really have to look at expected outcomes, team needs, back-up options, and a whole host of other variables in setting a salary that is tolerable to a team.

My interest in that particular deal is two-fold:

1) Why did Toronto decide to make THIS specific move right now?

2) Wow, given the direction of salaries is it possible that even a bad outcome for this player ends-up not looking so bad in 2017/2018 based on what folks are paying for comparable players then?

Point 2 can also be applied to talents signed this year and how it all comes out in the wash.

Part of what the Adam Jones contract taught me was that a contract that looks risky on the back-end because of expected/likely production won't necessarily be an issue in the context of other players available at the going rate during those later years. I mean, I looked at the deal as if Jones needed to be a four-win player towards the end of his deal (if I remember right), and honestly if he's a two win player each of his final years it really isn't horrible from a $/value standpoint compared to what you'd have to pay on the market to get that production.

Forgive me, I have a bad habit of thinking or free-associating out loud. I agree that salary inflationis an often-forgotten aspect of long-term deals. If you assume $7M a win forever a lot of things look bad.

But my point was that maybe there are unintended or unforeseen consequences of allowing the price of free agents to more wildly diverge from the league minimum. Just a few years agoa win was $4-5M in free agency, maybe 10 times the minimum. What are or will be the consequences of it being 20 times? At some point I would think teams would change their calculations about what they'll pay for.

Nick Markakis is a good example, I still don't understand why the Braves would sign on for basically 1+ wins a year throughhis deal when you can go out and find random bodies to give you the similar production with a little higher risk but a tiny, tiny fraction of the cost. I guess I just don't understand why the mid-bottom of the free agent market hasn't totally collapsed. I would never sign Happ to that deal, but then again I'm not employed by a MLB team.

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Forgive me, I have a bad habit of thinking or free-associating out loud. I agree that salary inflationis an often-forgotten aspect of long-term deals. If you assume $7M a win forever a lot of things look bad.

But my point was that maybe there are unintended or unforeseen consequences of allowing the price of free agents to more wildly diverge from the league minimum. Just a few years agoa win was $4-5M in free agency, maybe 10 times the minimum. What are or will be the consequences of it being 20 times? At some point I would think teams would change their calculations about what they'll pay for.

Nick Markakis is a good example, I still don't understand why the Braves would sign on for basically 1+ wins a year throughhis deal when you can go out and find random bodies to give you the similar production with a little higher risk but a tiny, tiny fraction of the cost. I guess I just don't understand why the mid-bottom of the free agent market hasn't totally collapsed. I would never sign Happ to that deal, but then again I'm not employed by a MLB team.

I think good front offices already realize that the $/fWAR isn't an amount that should be paid to a 1 WAR player. Likewise, teams realize they aren't going to have to shovel out $42 MM per year for a 6 WAR player. I don't THINK Happ was signed with the intention of having a 1.5 WAR arm in the rotation for the next three years. I do believe there was SOME analysis that leads Toronto to believe they are getting a good deal here, with risk mixed-in. I don't know how to view it in the grand scheme without knowing what else they are doing/intend to do.

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