A Bu$ter Po$ey Po$t

Pre-MVP Buster Posey at Florida State

So often it is that when one person begins to discuss something, others follow. Chris Quick of Bay City Ball wrote up a piece on paying Buster Posey and it’s a good read, so you should check it out if you haven’t already. Can I do a better job of predicting a Posey contract? Probably not, but predicting long-term contracts are a fun off-season past time, like rosterbation. It should be noted though, that just as much as we might want Posey to get a contract to buy out his arbitration years, we could be seeing something of a repeat of a Tim Lincecum situation where his first two arbitration years get bought out (at that time for a 2 year/$23MM deal), and then another two year deal is made later. Now that I put that to paper, I actually believe that if it’s all coming down to the player getting paid, unless the Giants bring up some outstanding money, this is what will happen. Just in case you weren’t sure, these are the projected arbitration numbers for the Giants and their players, and much like Jim Bowden and his FA predictions, MLBTR is known to be pretty close to their projected figures:

$5.9MM in year one of arbitration, so you can definitely put down the pipe dream of getting a Salvador Perez” href=”http://www.royalsreview.com/2012/2/28/2829816/salvador-perez-contract-breakdown” target=”_blank”>Salvador Perez-type deal, because if they wanted that, they should’ve tried for it the moment Posey came up. Gosh, that’s a beautiful contract. Looks like the type I would sign my “A-potential” prospects to in MLB the Show 12, except it’d be for 10 years and less than $10MM, assuming they’re age 22 or younger. Anyway, you’re not getting Posey for cheap, and even if he switches to 1B, he’s still going to cost eight figures through his age 34 season at the very least.

There are two catchers in the 21st century who have put up an fWAR (Fangraphs version) and an rWAR (Baseball-Reference’s version) over 7.0 in a season. They are Buster Posey and Head and Shoulders’ Joe Mauer. Joe’s contract (seriously, what’s with the cover picture) is paying him $23MM/year over 8 seasons, so what makes you think Posey won’t want/get more? Compare the accolades on Baseball Reference all you want, two World Series rings in three seasons, with both of those rings coming in healthy Buster Posey seasons only makes his agents salivate at the thought of the green the kid from Leesburg, GA will make them.

If you want to discuss the Fangraphs value stuff, Posey was valued at $36MM this year. Mauer was valued at $35.6MM before he signed the Michael Jordan deal. Figure that front offices have their own stats to value metrics, and I have no idea how close they are to Fangraphs, but I will bet that they both said that Mauer and Posey had awesome seasons in 2009, and 2012, respectively. With everything in mind now, it’s time for predictions. I’m going to make them for every scenario I think could happen (each scenario assumes they don’t go to arbitration hearings): 1) the one-year deal, 2) the two-year deal, 3) the buying-out-of-arbitration-four-year deal, 4) the get a FA year for free* four-year deal with option

1) The one-year deal: Giants sign Buster Posey for $6.4MM. Why: The Giants signed Buster Posey for $6.2MM out of the draft, with two extra $100K in there for the two WS rings he’s had while on the team. I’d think that I’m stupid for playing with numbers, but seeing the way they played with the numbers a little with Timmy, I think it’s possible.

2) The two-year deal: $20MM, paying him $7MM in 2013, $13MM in 2014. Why: pay him a little more than he’s asking for in ’13, give him his due raise in ’14. If he’s healthy, you’re still likely getting your money’s worth.

3) The buy-out-four-year deal: $55MM, the payout being something like $6.5MM in ’13, $12MM in ’14, $16.5MM in ’15, $20MM in ’16. You’re giving him a higher AAV than Mauer, and I understand not higher than Lincecum, but he would approach that territory in option two after his first two-year deal. This deal may be on the optimistic side.

4) The get a FA year for free* deal: $80MM, the same deal as the four-year, with the vesting option being for $25MM. Why: With money flowing in to the organizations as they are, this money is the type you will see handed out to the superstars of the game, unless you’re Mike Trout, then you’ll probably get $30MM.

Those are the four ways I could see it being played out, and if anything, I bet on option number two happening. There’s just so much money to be had for Posey, I’m not sure why he’d go for options 3 or 4, but then again we saw with Lincecum that leaving money on the table might not always be the best idea.

*-$25MM

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