Mookie Betts 2020 FA Watch

JimD

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Logically, he shouldn't regret it at all. He would have been leaving at least $50M on the table compared to what he would have received when he hit the market in 2021. It was the right decision and he can't kick himself for not anticipating a pandemic. I could have converted my 401K into gold at the end of last year, but I didn't anticipate a pandemic, either.
Or someone who received an offer on their house that was in the upper quartile of the local market values, but decided to decline the offer and hold out for 20 to 30 percent more.
 

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It also goes both ways. If it was a mistake for Mookie to turn down the 300M offer, it would have been a mistake for the Sox to have made the offer, had Mookie accepted it.
 

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One of the benefits to signing Mookie was the prime years the team would be paying for (I’m assuming part of the Sox’s previous offers were weighted in this regard as buying out the end of his arb years). This is his age 27 season (such as it is). I can’t see him taking a one year deal next year as his “big“ contract won’t start until he’s 29; He’s not getting a 10 year deal to take him until he’s 38.

The offers are going to go down as the total deal moves away from his prime and more towards his decline.
 

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One of the benefits to signing Mookie was the prime years the team would be paying for (I’m assuming part of the Sox’s previous offers were weighted in this regard as buying out the end of his arb years). This is his age 27 season (such as it is). I can’t see him taking a one year deal next year as his “big“ contract won’t start until he’s 29; He’s not getting a 10 year deal to take him until he’s 38.

The offers are going to go down as the total deal moves away from his prime and more towards his decline.
One of the benefits to signing Mookie was the prime years the team would be paying for (I’m assuming part of the Sox’s previous offers were weighted in this regard as buying out the end of his arb years). This is his age 27 season (such as it is). I can’t see him taking a one year deal next year as his “big“ contract won’t start until he’s 29; He’s not getting a 10 year deal to take him until he’s 38.

The offers are going to go down as the total deal moves away from his prime and more towards his decline.
Not discounting they're all dumb, but haven't we seen plenty of 8-10 year contracts taking players until they're 38 or older? I'd like to think maybe this all makes owners a tad smarter about it, but I'm not sure about that.
 

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Point taken, it only takes 1 owner to make a crazy offer and 2 to start a bidding war.

With that said, it sounds like a lot of underlying chatter suggests that the next FA market will fall back to next to the anemic spending as teams steer away from veterans and towards young talent (probably exacerbated by the removal of PEDs from the game). Machado and Harper were prizes worth 10 year deals because teams were buying prime FA years in front of the inevitable decline, and events are conspiring to hinder Mookie in this regard.

I through around Mookie's comps earlier in the off-season, and he still doesn't look like a good long term bet from a body type perspective to me, but here's hoping someone sees him as the next Rickey Henderson, and he can live up to that (just has to grow an inch).
 

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They were talking today about no qualifying offers this winter as a possible bargaining point, that would make this deal even more lopsided for BOS.
 

jon abbey

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I through around Mookie's comps earlier in the off-season, and he still doesn't look like a good long term bet from a body type perspective to me, but here's hoping someone sees him as the next Rickey Henderson, and he can live up to that (just has to grow an inch).
There is something to this from a run scoring perspective, but since I looked it up I have to share that Mookie's current season high in SBs is 30, he has played 5 full seasons. Want to guess how many seasons Rickey had more than 30 SBs? A ridiculous 21 different times.
 

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There is something to this from a run scoring perspective, but since I looked it up I have to share that Mookie's current season high in SBs is 30, he has played 5 full seasons. Want to guess how many seasons Rickey had more than 30 SBs? A ridiculous 21 different times.
I wasn't being too rigorous, but was surprised about the physical comp being that close and otherwise unremarked on. His offensive talents do map well, I'd chalk the SB difference up to the difference in approach between their respective eras (although that Rickey played so long as to traverse a couple eras is mindblowing).
 

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...I'd chalk the SB difference up to the difference in approach between their respective eras (although that Rickey played so long as to traverse a couple eras is mindblowing).
I’m not sure I’m tracking this. Do you mean that you think Mookie could be a similarly prolific base stealer if he had played in a different era? Henderson’s ability to throw his body around and stay relatively healthy, for well over 20 seasons, was unique. He beat Brock’s record and increased the all-time career stolen base ledger by 50%, which is almost unbelievable. Led the league (with 66!) at age 39. Stole more bases at age 41 than Mookie ever has.
 

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I’m not sure I’m tracking this. Do you mean that you think Mookie could be a similarly prolific base stealer if he had played in a different era? Henderson’s ability to throw his body around and stay relatively healthy, for well over 20 seasons, was unique. He beat Brock’s record and increased the all-time career stolen base ledger by 50%, which is almost unbelievable. Led the league (with 66!) at age 39. Stole more bases at age 41 than Mookie ever has.
I think that's exactly what he's saying. If Rickey played now, he would still be an effective base stealer (as Mookie is) but his opportunities would likely have been greatly curtailed based on current philosophies. The reason the MLB leader in steals last year had less than 50 (Mallex Smith with 46) isn't because players are significantly less skilled in the art than Rickey or Vince Coleman or Lou Brock or Kenny Lofton (or anyone else who led the league with 70-80+ per year), it's because they're not given the perpetual green light that those guys had every time they reached base.
 

jmm57

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Rickey led the league 12 times in that era. Mookie has been 5th once. Mookies a fine base stealer, he’s not Rickey Henderson.
 

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It's hard to find a good historical comparison for Mookie, especially with how good defensively he is. He was compared optimistically to young Andrew McCutchen when he came up, but he is better than that. McCutchen, Yelich, Rickey, all of these guys have/had negative career defensive bWAR. A young Barry Bonds might be the closest, through age 26 season:

Bonds: 3643 PAs, bWAR 41.3, 11.1 of that is dWAR
Betts: 3629 PAs, bWAR 41.8, 10.3 of that is dWAR
 

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It's hard to find a good historical comparison for Mookie, especially with how good defensively he is. He was compared optimistically to young Andrew McCutchen when he came up, but he is better than that. McCutchen, Yelich, Rickey, all of these guys have/had negative career defensive bWAR. A young Barry Bonds might be the closest, through age 26 season:

Bonds: 3643 PAs, bWAR 41.3, 11.1 of that is dWAR
Betts: 3629 PAs, bWAR 41.8, 10.3 of that is dWAR
Bonds is a good comp. Of the greats... Griffey? Different body type, obviously. And probably better through age 26. Mays, Mantle, Hornsby - more comparable in size, but also better. Maybe Al Kaline? Not as much speed.

On the lesser career tiers... Andrew Jones? I dunno. You might be right!
 

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Bonds is a good comp. Of the greats... Griffey? Different body type, obviously. And probably better through age 26. Mays, Mantle, Hornsby - more comparable in size, but also better. Maybe Al Kaline? Not as much speed.

On the lesser career tiers... Andrew Jones? I dunno. You might be right!
In my mind’s eye, the closest comp to Mookie is Clemente. Roberto could match Mookie’s athleticism and his defense. His power doesn’t hold up but the game was different.
 

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OK, I did say I wasn't being too rigorous. I was thinking back to earlier ideas about Mookie's comps and potential longevity based on his body type since we're talking about any team paying for fewer prime years, and the comp list isn't all that great. Then I thought about another wiry strong guy with good/great all around tools who could hit for some power and put up a really good OBP as a counter example who had played for a really long time past his supposed prime.

I think the era these guys played in matters as to how they harnessed their tools, based on how they were coached, what was valued offensively , and what the teams they were on wanted them to do. I'm not saying that Mookie could lead the league in steals no question, but he was never going to get the chance on the most recent iteration of the Sox. But Rickey didn't get to play with teams that would idolize his OBP and ability to generate hard line drive contact. My reading is that the flash of Rickey's stolen bases made him a star, but the rest of what he did as a ball player was more valuable & underappreciated.
 

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Rickey is not just the alltime MLB leader in SBs (by almost 500, heh), he also passed Ty Cobb and is the alltime MLB leader in runs scored. Mookie has averaged 122 runs scored the last 4 seasons but he would have to do that for almost 14 more full seasons to barely pass Rickey’s ridiculous 2295.
 

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Rickey stole more bases in 1982 (130) than Mookie has in his whole career (126). In fact, Rickey had almost that many steals in his age 39-40 seasons (103) even though he only played in 121 games at age 40.
 

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In my mind’s eye, the closest comp to Mookie is Clemente. Roberto could match Mookie’s athleticism and his defense. His power doesn’t hold up but the game was different.
I think the comp is pretty spot on, with the caveat that Mookie has a ways to go to match Clemente's career.

Also important to remember that Clemente may have been the GOAT in terms of right field defense.
 

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I looked at Clemente, but he started rather slowly. His breakout season was at age 26. Mookie was significantly better through age 25. More valuable overall, more power, more SBs. Joe Morgan is another guy who didn‘t become consistently great until going to Cinci in his late 20s but overall seems like a decent Mookie comp (and was even smaller!).
 

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The Baseball Reference highest similarity scores through age 26 are Duke Snider (good), then David Wright, Matt Kemp, Grady Sizemore, Del Ennis (not good). They're obviously not great comps since they're all bigger physically and the score is based on raw offensive counting stats, but it shows how quickly things can go downhill even for players who have huge offensive production in their early 20s.
 

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The Baseball Reference highest similarity scores through age 26 are Duke Snider (good), then David Wright, Matt Kemp, Grady Sizemore, Del Ennis (not good). They're obviously not great comps since they're all bigger physically and the score is based on raw offensive counting stats, but it shows how quickly things can go downhill even for players who have huge offensive production in their early 20s.
When I saw these the other day, I thought "BR really needs to examine how these are determined more closely" because given the numbers I cited above, how is Barry Bonds nowhere on that list?
 

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I think the comp is pretty spot on, with the caveat that Mookie has a ways to go to match Clemente's career.

Also important to remember that Clemente may have been the GOAT in terms of right field defense.
Obviously, I agree. RF is usually reserved for big hitters with cannon arms. Like Babe Ruth! Reggie played right ... poorly. Kaline had the arm but did not move the way Clemente and Mookie could. They both could have played CF. Mookie did for a while and was stunning.
When you are sitting in the Fenway stands with a good look at RF, watching Mookie on every pitch is (was) more fun than watching the pitcher. It’s really my favorite position to watch, as a fan.
 

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When I saw these the other day, I thought "BR really needs to examine how these are determined more closely" because given the numbers I cited above, how is Barry Bonds nowhere on that list?
Bonds is his 8th closest comp on there.

Full list (age 26):

Duke Snider
David Wright
Matt Kemp
Grady Sizemore
Dale Ennis
Greg Luzinski
Dick Allen
Barry Bonds
Jack Clark
Gus Bell
 

section15

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They were talking today about no qualifying offers this winter as a possible bargaining point, that would make this deal even more lopsided for BOS.
If there's no season, and no qualifying offers made, and the market for Mookie is somewhat under 300/10 (or 270/9, in reality) - Chaim Bloom will go down in history as pulling an all-time swindle if they re-sign him.
 

CarolinaBeerGuy

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I believe our odds of re-signing Mookie are worse if there is no season. He seems to like LA and I think he'd at least want a shot at playing there. I can't imagine the Dodgers wouldn't match whatever Boston is offering.
 

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I believe our odds of re-signing Mookie are worse if there is no season. He seems to like LA and I think he'd at least want a shot at playing there. I can't imagine the Dodgers wouldn't match whatever Boston is offering.
What information could you have possibly seen to determine that he seems to like LA? Has he even been there?
 

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What information could you have possibly seen to determine that he seems to like LA? Has he even been there?
He seemed excited to join the organization based on his spring training interviews and introductory press conference (I know, everyone says that). Dave Roberts seemed to indicate the same thing here:

 

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I believe our odds of re-signing Mookie are worse if there is no season. He seems to like LA and I think he'd at least want a shot at playing there. I can't imagine the Dodgers wouldn't match whatever Boston is offering.
If the Sox offer Mookie the most money he'll come back. Mookie made it clear he likes money. The Sox aren't likely to offer him the most money.
 

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When the trade happened I had hope that the lowering of ticket sales and tv ratings without Mookie and the likely changes to the cbt limits and penalties that the mlpa would insist on when negotiating the next cba would convince them to top the highest offer any other team would offer him
 

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Mookie is trending on Twitter and it's pretty entertaining since most of the posts are positing that he never plays a game for the Dodgers..
Also, the entire Dodger roster is FA in 2020 and 2021, so they are at a major crossroads.
 

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Mookie is trending on Twitter and it's pretty entertaining since most of the posts are positing that he never plays a game for the Dodgers..
Also, the entire Dodger roster is FA in 2020 and 2021, so they are at a major crossroads.
This would really close the Dodgers window. Burning a year of Kershaw is also a killer.
 

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This would really close the Dodgers window.
I don't think this is anywhere close to true, they have Bellinger and Buehler and the 3rd ranked farm system according to Fangraphs currently (including 3 of the top 11 prospects in all of MLB in May, Lux and Ruiz), plus a huge amount of spending flexibility if they choose to use it.
 

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I don't think this is anywhere close to true, they have Bellinger and Buehler and the 3rd ranked farm system according to Fangraphs currently (including 3 of the top 11 prospects in all of MLB in May, Lux and Ruiz), plus a huge amount of spending flexibility if they choose to use it.
Guess I mean for the Turner/Seagar/Pederson core. And Kershaw will lose a precious year of whatever is left of his prime. They will reboot and be very good quickly, yes.
 

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Have there been any studies or examples of healthy players (other than, say, Teddy Ballgame) missing a full season with no health issues? Not throwing a competitive pitch, would it really burn a season of Kershaw's prime? Or just push that period out another year. Or some 75% approximation...
 

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Have there been any studies or examples of healthy players (other than, say, Teddy Ballgame) missing a full season with no health issues?
Only guy I can think of is Johnny Kling, the catcher for the 1908 Cubs, actually even got a single vote for the first ever Hall vote. Noisy, as he was called, avoided smoking or drinks, and actually was genuinely kind to umpires, all of which were rarities 110 some years ago, and as much, found real estate post playing career for his savvy and smarts. He played zero innings 1909 and was perfectly healthy. His OPS+, wOBA, and wRC+ in 1908 (age 32) and 1910 (age 34) respectively: 118/.339/119 and 109/.353/110, although he rapidly declined in playing time after 1910, but personally I speculate this due to aging rather than a missed season. His 1912 was nice, yes, but in a limited sample size.

So, the story as to why goes a little something like this: Cubs beat the Tigers 4-1. Truly a dominant stretch, as the Cubs had won three National League pennants in a row, joining only Pittsburgh across baseball with that many since the Western League declared itself a major league and rebranded to the American League in 1901.

So Kling, ever the businessman, wins the world pocket billiards championship, a title of which he would fail to retain in 1909 after this all went down, and would warn against future players doing the same. He then subsequently invests $50,000 (about $1.4M today) into KC billiard emporiums. Cubs owner Frank Murphy was informed and let Kling enjoy a leave of absence. Murphy was fine with this on the initial onset, and just wanted to be sure Kling had his business in good hands. Contrary to belief of news media at the time, this wasn't a back and forth holdout. The Commissioner’s report in the matter stated that Kling still had a year left on his contract for 1909. Despite being granted this leave, Kling was still fined $700 for not showing up, and his salary in 1910 was $4,500, same as he made in 1908.

It only took 108 seasons for the Cubs to win a title after that...
 

DeadlySplitter

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I mean, I could sit here and say burning the last year of pre-arb Devers is a killer. Or for the Yanks, Cole in his prime when you're expecting to get a lot of value out of that mega contract early on.

every team is going to have challenges from lost time... the teams actively tanking with little ML talent on the clock (hi Orioles, Royals, Marlins) will be the least scathed.
 

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Cole threw just under 250 innings last year including three rounds of the postseason and his first kid is due this month, so I think it actually works out fine for him.
 

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Have there been any studies or examples of healthy players (other than, say, Teddy Ballgame) missing a full season with no health issues? Not throwing a competitive pitch, would it really burn a season of Kershaw's prime? Or just push that period out another year. Or some 75% approximation...
Not a pitcher but Ryne Sandberg sat out a year in his mid-30s.
 

BaseballJones

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Kershaw is already past his prime. His prime was from 2011-2017:

2.10 era, 2.36 fip, 179 era+, 0.91 whip, 10.1 k/9, average FB velocity between 93.0 and 94.2.

Last two years:

2.89 era, 3.54 fip, 139 era+, 1.04 whip, 9.1 k/9, average FB velocity between 90.5 and 91.4.

Last year:

3.03 era, 3.86 fip, 137 era+, 1.04 whip, 9.5 k/9, average FB velocity 90.5.

I mean, still fantastic, but past his prime. Looks like he's made the adjustment nicely to diminished velocity, adding a different (slower) slider that hitters had trouble with. So he'd still be the ace of the Red Sox' staff, but he's not peak Kershaw.

In any event, how a year off would impact him, I don't know. I can't imagine losing his age 32 season would be good.
 

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I'm not sure why a full year off would be all that detrimental, assuming he's still working out and throwing during the down time. Guys miss full seasons due to injury and come back to be just as effective, and that involves true down time where they're not able to work out or throw or hit or whatever. A healthy off-year would likely be neutral or beneficial to most players, I would think.
 

Humphrey

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Have there been any studies or examples of healthy players (other than, say, Teddy Ballgame) missing a full season with no health issues? Not throwing a competitive pitch, would it really burn a season of Kershaw's prime? Or just push that period out another year. Or some 75% approximation...
Jackie Jensen, 1960. Led the AL in RBIs in 1958 and 1959, OPS went from the 900s to the 700s in 1961, the year he returned. Then he hung it up for good.

You could call it "health reasons". He couldn't stand flying.
 
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Have there been any studies or examples of healthy players (other than, say, Teddy Ballgame) missing a full season with no health issues? Not throwing a competitive pitch, would it really burn a season of Kershaw's prime? Or just push that period out another year. Or some 75% approximation...
Mike Donlin posted a 136 OPS+ in 1906, but got hurt early in the season. He took 1907 off to appear in vaudeville, then came back and posted a 154 OPS+ in 1908. Then took two more years off for vaudeville, came back and put up a 120 OPS+ in 1911 and a 122 OPS+ in 1912.
 

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Only guy I can think of is Johnny Kling, the catcher for the 1908 Cubs, actually even got a single vote for the first ever Hall vote. Noisy, as he was called, avoided smoking or drinks, and actually was genuinely kind to umpires, all of which were rarities 110 some years ago, and as much, found real estate post playing career for his savvy and smarts. He played zero innings 1909 and was perfectly healthy. His OPS+, wOBA, and wRC+ in 1908 (age 32) and 1910 (age 34) respectively: 118/.339/119 and 109/.353/110, although he rapidly declined in playing time after 1910, but personally I speculate this due to aging rather than a missed season. His 1912 was nice, yes, but in a limited sample size.

So, the story as to why goes a little something like this: Cubs beat the Tigers 4-1. Truly a dominant stretch, as the Cubs had won three National League pennants in a row, joining only Pittsburgh across baseball with that many since the Western League declared itself a major league and rebranded to the American League in 1901.

So Kling, ever the businessman, wins the world pocket billiards championship, a title of which he would fail to retain in 1909 after this all went down, and would warn against future players doing the same. He then subsequently invests $50,000 (about $1.4M today) into KC billiard emporiums. Cubs owner Frank Murphy was informed and let Kling enjoy a leave of absence. Murphy was fine with this on the initial onset, and just wanted to be sure Kling had his business in good hands. Contrary to belief of news media at the time, this wasn't a back and forth holdout. The Commissioner’s report in the matter stated that Kling still had a year left on his contract for 1909. Despite being granted this leave, Kling was still fined $700 for not showing up, and his salary in 1910 was $4,500, same as he made in 1908.

It only took 108 seasons for the Cubs to win a title after that...
I mean I know we're not supposed to "like," but if I could associate any particular words with any particular poster the question "are there any examples of" is like a search light over the City for Brand Name, and the answer is always 100 percent awesome.