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Todd Frazier And MLB Collusion Allegations

With many of the upper echelon free agents yet to sign, we have seen a war of words begin to emerge with players and agents on one side and owners on the other.

Brodie Van Wagenen of CAA notes MLB owners behavior has “changed dramatically,” and their behavior “appears coordinated.

Joshua Kusnick, a self-proclaimed boutique agent, asserted it feels “an external force has held things up.” After summing is his opinion, he invoked the legal doctrine of res ipsa loquitor, which in the given context, can be inferred to mean if it looks like collusion, it’s collusion.

MLBPA President Tony Clarkissued a statement, which in part, said, “This year a significant number of teams are involved in a race to the bottom. This conduct is a fundamental breach of the trust between a team and its fans and threatens the very integrity of our game.”

At this point, MLB was compelled to respond, and unsurprisingly, they put the blame on the players. In fact, they noted players have “substantial offers” that reach nine figures. To that end, MLB blames agents for failing to properly advise their clients as to what their real value is.

Right on cue, Scott Boras chimed in noting teams sharing information on offers given to free agents is a violation of the CBA. As is typical with Boras, he dropped a bombshell:

Certainly, this has been an offseason unlike any we’ve seen in 30 years, and as a result the question of what exactly is happening needs to be investigated.

Specifically, Mets signing Todd Frazier merits consideration.

In his final arbitration year, Frazier made $12 million. After a season where he posted a 3.4 WAR, the 31 year old took a pay cut signing a two year $17 million ($8.5 million AAV) deal.

Now, arbitration and free agency are completely different animals.  The real question is whether Frazier received his true fair market value on the free agent market.  One way to do that is to gauge the other multi-year deals given to the top free agent third baseman available on the market:

2017

Justin Turner   Luis Valbuena
Age 32 Age 31
2016 WAR 5.0 2016 WAR 2.6
Years 4 Years 2
Contract $64M Contract $15M
Cost/WAR (AAV) $3.2M Cost/WAR (AAV) $2.8M

2016

None

2015

Pablo Sandoval Chase Headley
Age 28 Age 31
2014 WAR 3.4 2014 WAR 3.5
Years 5 Years 4
Contract $95M Contract $52M
Cost/WAR (AAV) $5.6M Cost/WAR (AAV) $4.1M

 

What is interesting to see here is the annual cost paid per WAR on a multi-year deal has decreased on a continual basis. Sandoval, who was fresh off another great World Series performance, received $5.6 million per WAR on his five year contract.  Fast-forward a few years, and Turner, who was coming off a terrific postseason run himself only received $3.2 million per WAR on his multi-year deal.

Yes, there were some mitigating factors to consider.  By and large, the Sandoval and Headley contracts have been deemed to have been terrible deals, and as a result, we have seen both players wind back up with the teams they made their Major League debuts.

Some will also point out how Turner wanted to stay home with the Dodgers.  Naturally, limiting his market also would serve to limit the amount of money he could make on the free agent market.  However, it is still a stark drop from $5.6 million per WAR to $3.2 million.  That goes double when you consider Turner was coming off the much better season.

If you want to note Sandoval, despite his “bad body” was younger, then look at Headley, who was the same age as Turner when he entered the free agent market.  Headley’s $4.1 million per WAR was a better deal than Turner’s even if Turner did receive $12 million more in his deal.

Looking at Frazier, he is being paid just $2.5 million per his 2017 WAR.  That’s less than half of what Sandoval was paid in 2015, which is interesting considering both players amassed a 3.4 WAR in their free agency walk year.

Depending on your point of view, you could twist these numbers to prove either collusion or a correction in the market.

Personally, I find it a struggle to believe this is every team ultimately becoming smarter.  A productive player like Frazier took a pay cut and received a deal less valuable than the ones signed just three years ago.  This happened despite MLB revenues continuing to increase and the owners receiving a $50 million payout for the sale of BAMTech.

It may not be collusion, but something strange is certainly happening in baseball right now.

41 thoughts on “Todd Frazier And MLB Collusion Allegations”

  1. Five Tool Ownership says:

    Owners changed?

    No, the Morenos got smart, the Pizza moguls moved on and under Jeff Wilpon Sandy seized the moment.
    The Yankees have youth and other commitments and the Dodgers are not going far enough with their old spending ways.
    Houston’s formula was not created from free agency.
    Bill James is much more of a factor.

    Teams realuze that they burned cash before.

    How many fans would say that $125/5 for JD Martinez was collusion?
    If he pissed off Dombrowski and Henry with his latest tantrum and now he may subsequently choose or be forced to sit out for 2018 completely.

    https://www.si.com/mlb/2018/01/05/jd-martinez-free-agency-arizona-diamondbacks-boston-red-sox

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Sorry, but I find it hard to believe a year after Desmond got $70 million to play out of position, each owner, on their own volition said, “Stop spending money on free agents!”

      1. Five Tool Ownership says:

        Do you have a list of 2017 FA signings?

        The Heyward deal was the inflection point?
        The bottom line will be what contracts are ultimately signed.

        How much have the relievers been getting.?
        too little?

        You believe that seven year contracts are good investments?
        $30M a year?

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Ultimately, I have no issues with seven year deals. Typically speaking, they’re necessary to get the upper echelon free agent.

          Think of it this way, if the Mets didn’t go to seven years, they miss out on Piazza and Beltran. Piazza’s in the Hall. Beltran will be there in five years.

          That adds value to a franchise.

  2. OldBackstop says:

    Well, to be brief:

    — JD Martinez played 57 games last year and played over 123 games once. Is he going to answer the bett more in his 30s?.
    — I’m happy to see Frazier on the Mets, but….dude hit .213 last year with only 27 home runs. .213. Adam Dunn retired.

    JD Martinez is apparently “fed up” with the Red Sox not budging off their 5/$125 million. And he is going to hold out.

    Have fun golfing. Hope you can find more than $25 m per year selling insurance…..

    1. metsdaddy says:

      1. Martinez played 57 games . . . for the Tigers. He was then traded to the Diamondbacks where he put up better numbers than Cespedes did with the Mets in 2015.

      2. Frazier is a terrific defensive third baseman, and he had a good OBP, so let’s not denigrate him based on batting average alone.

      3. I’m for anyone in any walk of life fighting to get what they perceive to be their value.

      1. Bench Coach says:

        God bless him and his superior WAR.

        I saw the Mets pay Cespedes for more than WAR.
        Maybe I think differently?

        If the Mets had Goldschmidt / Pollack do you seriously believe that the flaky, let me retire as a Oakland A, I am buckling under the pressure in the spring let alone the expected, usual, ALWAYS disappearing in Sept/Oct Cespedes would have gotten more than two years from the Mets.

        Seriously?

        Do you believe that Reyes and Cabrera are not here partially to be baby sitters for Cespedes?

        If the MLBPA association did not agree to the compensation or loss of Intl money and draft pick to stop the WEALTHY TEAMS do you think by now Lance Lynn etc would have signed?

        To then give up the same money and pick for a one year deal did not change the market? The intl money is now the game changer?

        I say that if anything it is the owners against Boros….
        The relievers got their money There Were No Complaints!

        We know that success is signing your own players before FAgency.
        That historic data shows that these FA deals, especially past 30-32 have had dubious returns.

        How old is Jake Arrieta what has he done in the last four years sequentially what do you think, what CAN YOU DEMONSTRATE, STATISTICALLY, OR VIA SPLITS what he is worth in a deal past four years?

        What about Yu Darvish, if Kershaw gets $30-33 do you pay Yu even $24M…..

        1. metsdaddy says:

          1. Mets paying Cespedes doesn’t mean he was better than JD Martinez

          2. If the Mets had Goldschmidt & Pollack, they never would’ve needed Cespedes.

          3. Reyes and Cabrera being here has nothing to do with babysitting Cespedes. Given joe personal history, Reyes is the last person you want babysitting anyone. Given Cabrera’s me-first attitude, I don’t see how he helps baby sit anyone.

          4. I think Lynn is a free agent because he’s not great.

          5. Players don’t want to get one year deals because next year’s free agent class is a monster, and they don’t want to get lost in the shuffle.

          6. Aside from Davis, it’s not like any reliever got a big deal.

          7. FA deals for 30+ year old players vary. The Rangers have done great by signing Adrian Beltre.

          8. I can’t predict what Arrieta will do, but typically pitchers age better than position players.

          9. I’d definitely give Darvish $24 million. He’s a front line starter.

          1. Saul's Colorist says:

            How did Darvish and JD perform in the playoffs?

            Are they big gate draws?

            Maybe Tony Clark needs to raise the Luxury Tax threshold and the poor teams or small market must eventually move?

            Blame the union deal!

          2. metsdaddy says:

            Darvish didn’t have a great postseason, but neither did Kershaw. Does that mean Kershaw shouldn’t get the money?

            JD Martinez hit .364 in the NLDS. Does that now mean he’s worth double what he’s asking for?

            And blaming the union deal is a red herring. Was is a good deal for the players? Well, I didn’t think it was at the time. However, the deal should not be a barrier to players receiving their FMV.

      2. Neil Raymond says:

        1. Martinez is a poor defender who has only played over 130 games in a season once. 5/125 is more than fair.

        2. When your 3B hits .213 that’s all you need to know. He’s worth his contract.

        3. A lot of people perceive their value higher than it is. Hosmer thinks 7/140+ is too low for him, Arrieta wants 6/160, Cobb rejected 3/47…

        1. metsdaddy says:

          1. For three straight years, Martinez has been worth over 4 wins a year. As noted by Fangraphs, 1 WAR is worth $10.5 million. https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-recent-history-of-free-agent-pricing/

          2. It’s 2018, we can stop judging value on batting average alone.

          3. You can have a situation where players reject offers they should’ve taken and have MLB owners colluding to drive down FA contract values.

    2. Ventura Zeile Olerud says:

      What are the pluses and minuses of the two other KC Royal free agents?
      Why has the Royals seemingly let these sub 30 guys go?
      Forgeting annual salary how many peak years do they have left?
      Did you look at the dWAR, team stats, SB etc… Post season batting?
      Are these guys those special ones like Harper, Machado?
      Are teams in hope, waiting to give $30 M to Machado and would highly prefer giving Machado $35 x 7 to JD Martinez at $30 x 5?
      Can you trade a declining JD Martinez at $25 m, paying cash to a team?
      Who will risk giving JD $25, be able to subsidize trading him ($30 for a three year dump) and who would paying the other $15 if JD is available at 33 years old? Especially if JD has not yet changed any post season game yet?

      1. metsdaddy says:

        I haven’t looked at Hosmer in depth because he was never going to be on the Mets radar.

        Moustakas is a rapidly declining player. His body has been failing him, and despite the reputation, he’s not good defensively.

        As for JD Martinez, dude can flat out rake. He belongs on an AL team, so he can DH at some point in a lengthy deal.

  3. Gothamist says:

    The Mets have designated infielder Matt Reynolds for assignment in order to clear a spot on the roster for newly signed Todd Frazier, tweets Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.

    The 27-year-old Reynolds (not to be confused with the veteran lefty reliever of the same name) has appeared in parts of two seasons for the Mets, hitting a combined .228/.300/.351 with four homers in 226 plate appearances. While he’s never provided much value with the bat, he’s provided some defensive versatility by appearing at all four infield positions and in both outfield corners (with the bulk of his work coming at third base and shortstop).

    Reynolds has a much better track record in Triple-A, albeit in a hitter-friendly environment (Las Vegas / the Pacific Coast League). Through 1234 PAs in Triple-A, Reynolds has slashed .289/.348/.419 — including an impressive .320/.396/.484 line this past season in limited action (144 PAs).

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Reynolds was once an interesting prospect, but he never quite materialized. I wouldn’t be surprised if he made his way back on a minor league deal.

  4. metsdaddy says:

    You cannot cut and paste other articles in the comment section. It’s plagiarism.

    1. OldBackstop says:

      Actually, if you type in a link with it, they might you pay per click. They sure aren’t suing a free web community unless you embed a defense of necrophilia in the middle of their article..

      1. metsdaddy says:

        I’ll put it much more succinct. I’m not going to allow copy and pasted article from other sources to be placed in the comments.

          1. metsdaddy says:

            Saying they’re friends is much different than saying they’re there to babysit Cespedes.

            And another point: if the three of them together resulted in Reyes’ worst ever season, Cespedes returning to his pre-Mets form, and Cabrera being a malcontent, maybe the Mets should break up the band.

        1. OldBackstop says:

          Hey, I’m a capitalist and you paid for this microphone, that is a good answer. I appreciate the discourse, as a new participant.

          1. OldBackstop says:

            Oh, PS: it is only plagiarism if you don’t cite it and imply it is your own.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            Copying and pasting a full article without indication of the news source and/or passing off an entire article as a comment constitutes plagiarism

  5. OldBackstop says:

    Say, just to address the premise, if you see hoofprints, think horses, not zebras. If you cite five peer deals and say two of them were a disaster…..the GMs know it too.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      The “diasterous” Mets deals were not of the huge seven year type. They’re more the “more reasonable” four to five year deal.

      At this point, why not just eliminate all risk and go back to the reserve clause? I mean if the name of the game is to make sure players don’t get FMV and to eliminate all risks for owners.

      1. Five Tool Ownership says:

        Inquisitiveness, open mindedness, changing one’s mind, reading extensively, listening, resisting the urge to be sensational vs doing the hard work or saying nothing when I really want to talk are things I always have to work at.

        Silence is tough. Yet if I say ten relevant things and one is completely wrong then the other nine depreciate significantly.

        If I say four relevant vs nine plus one example above then people will have more confidence in me. I see it differently but that has been my experience.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Wrong. Saying one wrong thing does not detract from the other 10 things. And if someone feels that way, it speaks more to their intelligence than the person who dared and uttered one wrong statement.

          1. Five Tool Ownership says:

            Ah, it was not a judgement.
            I was not meant as a thesis.
            It was my experience about others and their preferences to decide their own way in response to me.
            Sure, it has me gun shy…Sure, it is unfair…
            Maybe I read too much now before I speak vs too little when I was younger.
            I wanted to sound like an expert too often knowing too little and saying too much..

          2. metsdaddy says:

            Deal with smarter people

  6. Gothamist says:

    I think this collusion thing will be forgotten by June. The players, agents and association are just anxious.

    There are no 27 year old Beltrans here.

    Darvish got the standard smoke and mirrors offer from Teddy Lerner of the Nationals. He offered $25 per but most back loaded more so than Scherzer’s deal.

    Milwaukee offered closer to $20M and the Yankees had previously offered less with heavy incentives.

    JD was offered five years and less than $125.
    If I had a young AL team with quality mainstays in the lineup then I would be very interested.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      The only way the collusion is forgotten is if next year’s free agent market is making money hand over fist. If not, the players agents won’t let their clients forget this offseason.

      1. Bench Coach says:

        I think that Wade Davis, Addison Reed and the eleven other relievers who already signed should file a grievance now and it will scare the owners to pay starting tomorrow.?

        These pitchers were underpaid by how many percent via collusion?

        Davis, Reed, Neshak, who got paid below market?

        Let’s do a compilation collectively?

        https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018-mlb-free-agent-tracker

  7. Saul's Colorist says:

    Yeah!

    Who are the Piazzas here?
    Who had that amazing post season as Beltran had in Houstom before the Mets topped the Yankees last offer?

    If that Beltran was here how much- $50 million more than Hayward?

    Yeah, of all the pitchers who signed this off season are there any complaints about their contracts?

    Murphy willed the Mets to the WS, homered off Kershaw, Mets swept the Cubs and he got a sub $50M contract?

    So where is the collusion?
    What contract this off season is proof?!

    You want to go back to the reserve clause?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I don’t want to go back to the reserve clause. Judging from your comments and defense of the owners, that seems to be your position.

      If you’re looking for the potential Hall of Famer in this free agent class, it’s Darvish.

      If he finds the right situation, he’s going to take off, and people will comment how underpaid he is.

  8. OldBackstop says:

    I don’t think this is collusion, it is an industry business shakeout based on some changes:

    — volatile ticket sales are a much smaller revenue percentage than they were, say, 15 years ago. Teams with cable deals can afford to tear down….their lower contract costs might be significant, ala the Mets salary dumps last summer.
    — the quick teardown an rebuilds have been successful lately, perhaps because stars are skewing younger….seems to me every All Star lately is 16 years old. If it is sign JD and leave Conforto on the farm, I’ll take Conforto, and…
    — foreign born players are increasingly skewing the numbers from past deals, even those just a few years back. Why would I sign some 31 year old for five years when I have all these foreign options either signed or possible?

    Personally, keeping in mind that the Mets are not going to be a top five payroll team anytime soon, I like the winter and I like our team. A big five year contract could go all David Wrighty on us in a few years, and just when we need to start signing the young pitchers. .

    1. metsdaddy says:

      1. With ticket sales no longer being a major revenue generator, that tells you much of the risk is gone. That should compel more teams to spend instead of them sitting on their hands.

      2. I’ve heard the Astros rebuild argument. It’s a factor, but it’s insufficient to provide a full explanation as it creates an opportunity for other teams to go all-in.

      3. International free agents don’t impact MLB deals.

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