Saturday, January 28, 2012

(More Expensive) Long Term Contracts

As a follow up to my post on long-term contracts, Jon's in a league where the rules are a little bit different.
...before a player's third year, you can keep him at his current price for a final year, put him on an L2 for +$10, or put him on an L3 for +$15. This really seems to disincentivize the L2 contract and makes L3 contracts attractive only for younger players you're holding at steeply discounted salaries. 
I currently have to decide on two players: Ian Kennedy at $2, and Corey Hart at $1. I'm leaning toward riding out Kennedy for a final year (because, a) he's a SP, and b) I don't believe he's as good as his 2011), but Hart is a tougher call. Would he be worth an L3 at $16? Or, because he's at a position that's not terribly scarce, should I hold at $1 for a third year and waive bye-bye? My inclination is not to long-term Hart either, but OF seems thinner than in past years.
While I do agree that this rule offers a disincentive for doling out long-term deals, it shouldn't really change your analysis regarding whether or not to give out a long-term contract. Using yesterday's example, in Jon's league you could either: a) option Castro out at $10, b) make Castro a $20 L2 or c) make Castro a $25 L3. As I noted yesterday, I'd be on the fence about giving Castro a $20 contract; I wouldn't give him a $25 contract.

As far as Hart goes, I'd be OK with giving him an $11 L2. I wouldn't give him a $16 L3. Yes, he's "worth" the contract in terms of his earnings the last two seasons ($28 in 2010; $24 in 2011), but I tend to be wary of giving L3s to non-elite players. I also worry that Hart might suffer somewhat from what I'll call Jayson Werth Syndrome. Werth was great in Philadelphia as one of many good or great hitters on a championship-caliber ball club, but struggled in Washington when he was supposed to be the best player on the team. Without Prince Fielder and possibly 50 games of Ryan Braun, Hart's numbers could similarly suffer. His RBI and/or runs totals almost definitely will.

Hart's also a free agent after 2013. Will he be a Brewer in 2014? It's likely but - again - don't assume that he will be.

Could or should Jon option Hart out? I revert to the question I asked yesterday: what's the dump market for Hart at $11? In my home leagues, Hart at $11 would definitely be a target...but he wouldn't be a primary target for the teams in the second divison. Younger players like Castro and Mike Stanton - as well as several players still in the pre-long-term contract phase - are considered better traditional dump targets than Hart, who is older, moving into his 30s, and could be a trade risk if the Brewers are out of contention in 2013.

The most important reason to give out a contract is to try and create bait for owners playing for the future. While Hart qualifies as bait, there are better ways to catch a fish come dumping season.

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