It’s old news now, but both Wil Myers and Yangervis Solarte were signed to contract extensions recently. By Section 2, Clause 4b of the internet’s manual on baseball writing, we’re still allowed to write about it.
Myers inked the bigger deal: six years and $83 million with an option for a seventh year, a contract which buys out three—and potentially four—of his would-be free agent years.
It’s a good deal in a basic, big picture sense. Myers is fun and young and the Padres have money to spend. The payroll over the next couple of years is going to sink to near-embarrassing levels, and even though this deal won’t technically do much to raise it (for now), it’s still a good way for Padres brass to show that they’ll continue to shell out money when necessary.
The year is 2026. After a 10 year run of dominance in the National League West by the San Diego Padres, Jonah Keri has completed his fifth bestseller — Friar Fever: How Farhan Zaidi Took the Forgettable San Diego Padres from Cellar-Dwellers to the Top of the Baseball World.
Consider this passage, from the first chapter:
… Josh Byrnes was ousted after two-and-a-half years of mediocrity, as the 2014 Padres seemed destined by late-June for a third straight mid-70s win tally. His reign was more incomplete than it was ugly, however, and he didn’t leave the cupboard completely dry. Seth Smith, whom Byrnes acquired from Oakland in an ever-risky challenge trade with Zaidi’s former boss Billy Beane, was in the midst of a career year. In three months he had morphed from platoon outfielder to major league slugger, and Zaidi, taking the reins just prior to the July 31st trade deadline, had to cash in on his first big deal.
The Boston Red Sox — fresh off a surprise World Series title the previous year — were reeling, and their offense was in shambles. GM Ben Cherington gambled that Smith would remain an offensive force, at least for the rest of 2014, and sent third basemen Will Middlebrooks and mid-tier second base prospect Sean Coyle to San Diego in exchange for the 31-year-old outfielder. Middlebrooks, once a consensus top 100 prospect, regained his form with the Padres. Filling in for the departed Chase Headley at third base, he hit .260/.340/.475 through the end of ’14, and has since gone on to blow away Headley’s franchise-leading 18.5 career WAR mark for Padres third basemen. Coyle, considered a throw-in at the time of the trade, turned into a valuable utility infielder in San Diego until they spun him to Minnesota for current closer Michael Cederoth.
Back to reality.
Or “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Private Hotel Suite on Road Trips”
Yesterday, Dustin of The Sacrifice Bunt gave you a little insight into the perceived value of Gyorko’s extension. He looked at recent contracts given to players with similar service time, Starling Marte and Andrelton Simmons. Of the three players, Jedd Gyorko fell in the middle of both projected production and dollar values. Sounds good so far, doesn’t it?
But what about the perceived value of the contract compared to other contract extensions the Padres have handed out in recent years? How does that look for the Padres?
I was curious about that as well. So, I started to do a little research on all of the recent extensions given to Gyorko, Carlos Quentin, Huston Street, Cameron Maybin, and Cory Luebke.
Often as fans of a team, we end up (consciously or not) viewing the financial side of baseball from the owners’ perspective. We worry about how much our favorite team – the Padres of San Diego in this case – spends on its players, not because it’s our money on the line or because we’re worried about our team’s owners’ upcoming yacht payments, but because we want our team to spend its available dollars as efficiently as possible. In the end, after all things even out, efficient spending should correlate to more wins. And we as fans are generally in it for the wins.
So when the Padres signed* Jedd Gyorko to one of those team-friendly, long-term contract extensions that are all the rage these days, we rejoiced. Outside of small-scale deals for Cory Luebke, Cameron Maybin, and Nick Hundley, the Padres have generally avoided this kind of deal in recent years, sitting idly as other major league teams have locked down their young talent. Just since March of this year, Matt Carpenter, Jose Quintana, Starling Marte, Mike Trout, Yan Gomes, Chris Archer, and Jason Kipnis have signed long-term deals with their respective teams.
Extensions. We love to talk about extensions. Or a lack of extensions. But for now lets focus on a single extension candidate: Jedd Gyorko.
Gyorko came into the 2013 season as the Padres third best prospect per a handsome blogger and managed to lead San Diego’s offense in a disappointing season. Early in the season we examined giving Gyorko the Evan Longoria extension, and recently we asked ourselves why in the world they haven’t given Gyorko that extension.
Last week in a contract extension guide Dustin estimated that extending Gyorko would cost the Padres approximately $50 million over seven years, akin to what the Braves gave Andrelton Simmons. Contracts are all about comparable players. In this case Simmons profiles as the greatest defensive player in generations coming off a 4.7-win season, while Gyorko profiles as a potentially above average offensive-minded second baseman coming off a 2.5-win year.
Looking at contracts given to second basemen over the last few years we find a group of Aaron Hill, Brandon Phillips, Dan Uggla, Howard Kendrick and Marco Scutaro that provide a mix of contract extensions and free agent deals. This group averages out to an approximate average annual value (AAV) of $12 million, which will be our baseline for looking at a Gyorko contract. Read More…
Last May, I posted a piece regarding a Jonah Keri appearance on The Darren Smith Show where Keri talked about how he would, at that moment, call up Jedd Gyorko‘s agent and buy him out through the age of 31. That would buy out all of his arbitration years, plus one. At that time we were discussing the concept, Gyorko had 3 home runs and a .697 OPS. He went on to hit 20 more home runs, field a competent second base, and finished 6th in National League Rookie of the Year voting…one spot behind Julio Teheran, who the Atlanta Braves just signed to a 6-year, $32.4M extension (with an option for a 7th year).
It’s Valentine’s Day and instead of racing home to bend my knee and offer flowers to the lovely Mrs. AJM I called an audible – I designed a floral bonanza of love on the counter during the afternoon, wrote something witty in a card, made reservations for TOMORROW* along the water in a fine Coronado eatery and joined Craig Elsten for a discussion on the Chase Headley contract situation.
*Seriously . . . going to a restaurant ON Valentine’s Day is for complete amateurs.
It was awesome. We debated the idea of trading Chase now or extending him during Spring Training. We also discussed the merits of bringing home Chase Headley to date your daughters. Not my daughters . . . yours. We also discussed King Joffrey, an individual Craig and I both agreed would be a terrible suitor. Good times.
Give it a go [here]