First Pitch: How Much Will Josh Harrison Be Worth in Arbitration?

Josh Harrison is in a very unique situation. He’s having a breakout season in 2014, and contending for the batting title, after looking like a bench player for his first three years in the majors, and at times looking like he didn’t belong in the majors at all. The breakout season is coming at the right time, since Harrison is about to enter his first year of arbitration.

The arbitration process relies on comparable situations to determine a player’s value and worth. The process also calculates the entire career of a player, and not just his most recent season. So while Harrison’s 2014 season will give him a boost, it won’t be the only thing to determine his value in arbitration. As for the comparable players, it’s very difficult to find someone who has a situation similar to Harrison.

I asked about this last month on Twitter, and got a few possibilities for comparable players. The first one I received was Brandon Moss, who had a big breakout season in 2012 with Oakland. A big difference is that Moss was a 2.3 WAR player that year, while Harrison is currently at 4.6 WAR this season. So even if Moss was a comparable, you’d have to adjust for Harrison being better this year. Moss received $1.6 M, which is almost $700,000 per win in his breakout year. That same rate would have Harrison as a $3.2 M player during his first year of arbitration.

Jose Bautista seems like an obvious choice, although he doesn’t really fit the bill. Bautista broke out with the Blue Jays, but had been arbitration eligible a few times before his breakout season, which complicates the situation.

Ben Zobrist is in a close situation. He had a breakout season after a few years as a bench player, although his breakout year came with one league minimum year remaining. Zobrist ended up signing an extension of four years and $18 M, which bought out control of his first two free agent years through club options. The arbitration years broke down as $4.5 M, $4.5 M, and $5.5 M.

The problem with an extension is that Harrison’s story carries a lot of risk. He’s having a great year, but he only has 492 plate appearances. He had 575 plate appearances prior to this season, and looked like a bench player in this years. What is stopping him from reverting back to that next year, or at least slipping enough to make him a very expensive bench player?

The flip side to this is that the Pirates could get a huge value if Harrison turns out to be legit. The Zobrist deal might not be the best, since Zobrist had an 8.5 WAR in his breakout season. But even if Harrison was guaranteed $18 M over four years, that would be a huge value if he ended up repeating his 2014 season and proving himself to be legit.

MLBTR took a look at Harrison as an extension candidate, noting what he might be in line to receive if the Pirates try to extend him. They pointed out that Pablo Sandoval received $17.5 M over three years, while Elvis Andrus got $14.4 M over his three arbitration years. But because of Harrison’s past, I could see him close to the $10-12 M range if he gets an extension, and around $3 M in his first arbitration year if he goes year-to-year.

Because of the lack of third base options in the system, the Pirates might be better off taking a gamble here and trying to go for the extension. That comes with the risk that Harrison could revert to being a very expensive bench player. The potential payoff would be that they’d have their third base situation answered for several years, possibly at a huge value if Harrison continues playing the way he has been playing this year.

Links and Notes

**Josh Harrison’s Triple Play Sparks Pirates Rally

**Polanco returns to lineup, Morton to start on Tuesday

**How Can Justin Wilson Get Back to the Successful 2013 Version?

**Morning Report: Where is the Speed?

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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4-5 years at 4 mil per year, josh gets paid and the risk to the pirates is minimized. Everybodies happy.


Is there any evidence that advanced metrics like WAR factor into arbitration hearings? I’m fairly sure places like MLBTR have found that service time, innings played, and traditional counting stats are favored.

Given that precedence, and the fact that Harrison will head into arb with similar amount of at-bats, but significantly less home runs and RBI than Brandon Moss, I’ll be surprised if he gets more than $2m.


That was my thought too, arbitration is based on home runs, RBIs, saves, and another traditional numbers, though I believe Moss had better HR and RBI numbers following 2012, than Harrison will following this season. The other thing to consider is arbitration compares players to peers at their positions and rewards players who have won or garnered votes for different awards.


Good point. In an arbitration case, a batting title would likely inflate his award more than WAR.

Harrison’s agent will have an interesting dilemma in coming up with his comparables. Harrison will obviously stack up less favorably compared to other third basemen vs other utility players, but other utility players obviously are less valuable overall.

Will Sanchez

if i was his winning hits and game winning a % of the rest of the team..making him mvp of this team…would be my argument..high light reel of his on field “play of the day” would be included


Why would an arbiter award him money based on team situations? That argument is easily defeated.


I agree that it’d be strange to base money on team stuff, but if RBI are involved…. then who knows


Ha, I personally love this point. Unfortunately, the concept of RBI being team dependent is far from universally accepted.


What they think of Pedro going forward might have something to do with signing Harrison long term, they might look at Pedro’s problems as temporary.
Harrison is not someone they want to sign for just 3 years of Arb, they need to get that 4th year IMO, but I doubt that they will address Harrison this year with so many other decisions to be made, unless they can cobble a deal together that the team can’t pass up. At this point they don’t have another 3rd basemen of his caliber, but they probably are not going to get anyone to trade a good 3rd basemen away either. Maybe the Pirates could go all in and give up the farm to get Bryant off of the Cubs and if the Cubs bring up Bryant next year they will have surplus of infielders.

dr dng

Crap… All year, I have just been enjoying watching him play.

How naive of me.

I completely forgot how much this success will cost the
Pittsburgh Baseball Club.

Now I have to worry about how much it will cost to
keep him in the future and is he worth it.


The Pirates have to love having this problem.

Lukas Sutton

Gotta hate when people try to make sound financial decisions and think about the short and long term worth of the player and his contract before making the call. Irks ya.

Sean Epstein

The real question I think the Pirates have to ask themselves is whether this breakout year is for real. JHay has been incredible this year no doubt. I think that it is asking a lot to think he could repeat this level of performance. I suspect they just go through the arbitration process this offseason. If he has another solid year then they may look at an extension. Third base is the only realistic position for Harrison to play everyday. There is still a question there however as no one knows what will happen with Pedro. I don’t see them making a long term commitment to Harrison unless and until they know he is their everyday third baseman. Don’t think we are there yet.


I think that it is the right thing to question whether JHay is “legit” and whether he can/will repeat this performance or a similar performance going forward. However, here are the reasons why I think he deserves a shot and why an extension might not be so incredibly risky after all.

Even if we assume that Harrison is not the offensive player that he is showing himself to be this year, and he’s having a truly elite season as I highlighted in the other article about the trip, trip, triple play last night. There is another fact to be considered besides offense when examining whether Harrison is worth a long-term look at 3B/an extension. Pedro Alvarez, as a starter, has averaged 1300-innings at 3B defensively the last two years (the two years he was a full-time starter). Harrison has logged 875-innings total in his career at 3B. So in, roughly, 425 less innings than a full-season Harrison has put up a DRS of 18. Yes, 18. That better than, over still fewer innings mind you, than Pedro, David Wright, Chase Headley, Mike Moustakas, Todd Frazier, Josh Donaldson, and Evan Longoria in 2013. His UZR is 11.7 in those 875 innings…that would be behind only Manny Machado, Juan Uribe, Nolan Arenado, and Evan Longoria. His UZR150 would, again, be better than all those gentlemen mentioned above and only behind Machado, Uribe, and Arenado in 2013. This year, 2014, his 8 DRS would be behind only Donaldson, Arenado, Wright and Headley…with approximately 1/3 as many innings as those individuals.

I mention all of that as a precursor to this: Josh Harrison has a career .308/.358/.437…with a career minor league OPS of .795. He wasn’t ever a bad offensive player. He wasn’t an elite offensive player like this year…but IF JHay can provide even that triple-slash in the majors consistently with the HUGE defensive upgrade from 3B he’s a 3-3.5WAR player minimum each year.


Agree with your analysis as to value, but I think JHay is more valuable as a super utility guy with regular at bats, if the Pirates had another decent option at 3B. Being able to field five or six positions acceptably, and hit over .300 is an amazingly valuable commodity.


I don’t disagree with this, but it’s also unrealistic. We mention Ben Zobrist a lot, but even Zobrist has a primary position. He plays 2B a ton, almost exclusively some seasons. Furthermore, the Pirates don’t have a great second option at 3B…Morel?

Finally, the Pirates lineup is better, I truly believe, with Harrison’s bat in the leadoff spot and letting Marte and Polanco hit elsewhere. Who’s bat do you take out of the lineup to get him to another position? 3B is by far his best option.


And I think the Pirates are clearly planning on Pedro Alvarez being that second option at 3B, as they should.


BTW, is Harrison really a plus leadoff hitter without the insane BABIP?


Is his BABIP insane? Isn’t his BABIP about right for a .300 hitter? McCutchen has maintained very similar BABIP numbers…again, not truly comparing the two. I do like Marte more in the 2-hole and don’t like Polanco in leadoff even when he gets back to where he can be/needs to be with his bat.


I wonder if you guys are really saying the same thing. Every player that gets every day at-bats while playing multiple positions, a la super utility, has a primary position. That would be 3B for Harrison.


Here’s an obscure stat for you… Stanton leads the NL with 69 XBHs. Based on his 2014 rate, if Harrison had seen the same number of pitches as Stanton, he’d have 81. That’s simply amazing.

The number that’s probably unsustainable is Josh’s .442 BA in high leverage situations. That’s 150 points higher than Cutch, who’s 2nd on team in that category. Harrison is one point behind Martin (.370 to .371) in RISP situations, and leads the team with a .362 BA with runners on. He’s also 2nd on team (Cutch is 1st) when behind in count. For a guy who often hits the first pitch, he also sees 3.58 pitches per PA, so he’s certainly capable of working counts to his favor to get a pitch he can handle.

While parts of his 2014 performance might be unsustainable, overall, Harrison has proven (to me at least) that he has the ability to adjust to the situation and has an excellent two-strike approach. That ability should be sustainable, even if his BABIP and line drive rates drop a bit.


His BABIP isn’t unsustainable either though. Consider McCutchen and other elite hitters almost always put up a BABIP over .340-.350 and BABIP itself admits that the best hitters will put up such numbers. We only discount this for JHay because of the perception that he’s not an elite hitter. Which is fine. When you combine his D work with what we can realistically expect from him on offense you get a 3B that will compete for Gold Gloves and be amongst the highest WAR 3B in the NL even without being the prototypical power hitter. We don’t need prototypical…especially with all things considered.

Sean Epstein

Great points Jared. I don’t argue that defensively Harrison would be an above average third basemen. That I think he has proven that with a very valid sample size as you have shown. The issue is going to be offense. Corner infield positions need strong offense. Harrison is clearly providing that this year. The legit question still is all about offense. That is what will determine whether Harrison can stay at 3b long term. The defense is nice, but his offense is the key long term. On that issue I think the Jury is still out.


On the issue of offense…what is better a .742 OPS or .746 OPS? The first is Pedro’s career OPS with roughly triple the chances as JHay and the 2nd is JHay. And the difference defensively is probably 18-20 runs per season with JHays D…so?????


Let me do this:

Player 1:
1967 minor league ABs
.286/.362/.423….785 OPS

Player 2:
849 minor league ABs
.278/.372/.516….888 OPS

Player 3:
1764 minor league ABs
.308/.358/.437….795 OPS

Which one do you want offensively? You’re going to say player #2 right? Well…Player #1 is the reigning NL MVP…player 2 is Pedro…and player 3 is Josh Harrison. Yes, in less minor league ABs JHay had a better OPS than Andrew McCutchen and a very similar OBP and a better BA.

I do not intend to compare the players completely but I will ask you this: why does JHay get less chance to develop than other players?

It took Andrew 1700+ ML PAs and until his 24 year-old season to surpass 4.0+ WAR…Pedro Alvarez has NEVER passed 4.0 WAR and his best season was last year at age 26 when he put up 3.1 WAR. Josh Harrison had 575 PA coming I to this year. Seriously? That would be like us judging Polanco based on this year…why does JHay get judged as he has? Perception.

Perception plays a HUGE role in scouting/prospect evaluation. If the player is “too small” or “doesn’t have a true position” then they aren’t graded as top prospects. If they aren’t graded as top prospects they aren’t given as much time to develop and when they do finally put up a good year they are told it’s a fluke.

Here’s what I know…based on this year JHay would put up GOLD glove D at 3B… DRS only behind Manny Machado in all of baseball. I also believe his career numbers bear this out as well. So defensively he’s at least an above average 3B. If you give him a chance to develop the bat like you give other players you’ll look back at his minor league numbers and see that in less ABs he put up better numbers than MVP McCutchen and in the majors he has outperformed Pedro in every way other than SLG/HRs. JHay is 26…he’s not 29/30…he’s a guy who had less than a full season of PA coming into this year and has probably out-performed himself a bit with the bat. However, I do believe that with the glove and giving his minor league numbers an actual chance to play out in the majors with actual at bats…he can be a .780-.790 OPS player with 20 steals, gold glove/elite glove work at 3B and a 3.0-3.5 WAR easily each year. Give the kid a damn chance afterall, yes he was older and coming from college, but he did have better minor league numbers than McCutchen and has put up a better WAR than Pedro having received MUCH less of a chance.

Sean Epstein

I actually agree with everything you said. My only point is that there is no reason to extend Harrison right now. Minor league numbers are minor league numbers. I could point out a multitude of players with better minor league numbers than any of the above 3 who flamed out in the majors. There should be no urgency to extend Harrison right now. Lets see if those minor league numbers translate.


Sean – correct. Pgh should do the prudent thing… pay JHay the $3.5 he’s going to get in arbitration for’15, and if he remains a top-of-the-lineup hitter while playing his usual 3b defense in’15, then extend him for 3-4 years @ $5-6mil./year.

If JHay maintains his level of play, then $5-6mil./yr. is an absolute bargain, esp. for a sparkplug/gamer like Harrison.

Give Alvarez one year @ 1b and see if he can get his game back on track. In any case, ’15 is likely to be Pedro’s last year in Pgh, so in my opinion you have to give JH the 3b job – he’s going to be here after PA is long gone…


Why would JHay accept a deal for $5-6M if he has another good year? He’ll easily pass that in arb alone then. Fans always do this…assume players will give hometown discounts and play for pennies on the dollar. If JHay does exactly what you say then he’ll command an extension more like $7.5-8M per year and, yes, a player of 3+WAR would still be worth that.


I was assuming some regression for JH… a good/decent year in ’15 and JH is in the $6mil./yr. range going into his Arb2 year, IMO. A great year in ’15 (like his ’14 season) then I agree with you wholeheartedly…. JH would require a 3yr./$24mil. or 4yr./$32mil. deal – which would still be a very positive contract for Pgh, as there are *zero* 3b prospects in the system.


My point was NOT that JH would sign a “hometown” deal… rather, the point was that Pgh has found it’s 3b, and his name is Josh Harrison.

Nothing against Alvarez, but there’s no way in hell I would play Pedro at 3b next year when you have a bonafide All-Star at the position right now. Pedro is actually pretty damn lucky that the Pirates have no lefty incumbent at 1b… at least he has a shot to play/start most days if he can play reasonable defense at 1b. If he were on another team, he might be looking at a bench role heading into his FA year (ouch).

I’m sick of hearing all this “super-sub” talk regarding JHay – the guy can flat-out play and has earned the right to start at 3b. Pgh doesn’t need a “super-sub” (they have plenty of bench depth already!). Pgh needs a 3b, and now they have one… so play him! Super-sub?!?!? Gimme a break…


Excellent comment Jared. You’ve sufficiently convinced me it’s worth it at a Zobrist-esqe rate.


Extrapolating out his career 3B numbers to a full major league season he would have a DRS of 27 over a full season. That would be best in baseball right now. Would be second best last year in baseball and by far best in NL. Using his numbers from this year he would have between a 22-24 DRS…again best in NL and best in baseball this year and would be behind only Machado next year. IF he hits like he did in the minors once he’s given a chance in the majors he will hit for a .780-.790 OPS with gold glove D…that would translate based on my research to a minimum of 3.0 WAR and more likely a consistently 4.0-4.5 WAR…and that is NOT asking him to keep up with the absurd offensive numbers this year. Just asking him to live up to his minor league averages and continue with his high quality D.


Josh Harrison is not a true talent +27 runs at 3B, I don’t think anyone is, there have only been five >27 run, and only 14 >22 runs defensive seasons by third baseman since BIS first started tracking defensive in 2003.

The correct thing to do with small samples of defensive metrics is regress, not extrapolate. I think a much safer assumption is Harrison is a +5, maybe +7.5 fielding 3B, which isn’t bad any means. Alvarez produced around 5.0 WAR from 2012-13 while playing almost average defense and hitting only 12-15% better than league average.

If Harrison continues to do damage in the air without eroding his contact skills, he can be a valuable player. I think he is more valuable being able to play multiple positions in a Zobrist like role, but that assumes Alvarez could return to 3B, which isn’t a sound assumption.


Just want to mention an example: Todd Frazier, had a 3 DRS in 589 innings in 2012 and then basically doubled that in double the innings the next two years. Same thing with 2011 when he had only 200 innings and had a 1 DRS. He didn’t regress but his DRS stat progressed as you would otherwise expect.

In fact the actual numbers for other players work the exact opposite as you indicate above (sorry I did not have access to really viewable stats earlier as I was at work and on my iPhone).

Todd Frazier had expected extrapolation. So did Josh Donaldson from 4 DRS in 600 innings in 2012 and then 11 DRS in 2013 (and then further improvement this year). Juan Uribe saw increase in innings at 3B from 2011 and 2012 to 2013 and 2014 either by double or triple…and his DRS also tripled from 11/12 to 13/14.

So, yes, maybe you’re right about regression but there are plenty of examples (I just gave 3) that extrapolation worked perfectly well and Harrison matches up well with those players (as he has experience at other defensively strenuous positions like 2B).


I think Zobrist is a good comparison for Harrison, although I would honestly see what Harrison can provide at 3B over am extended period of time bc I think over a full season he’s much better in DRS than you’re estimating. I would guess over a full season he would finish in top 3 in NL in DRS and that defensive play would play up his overall value over his positional flexibility. Spot starts at 2B would be possible too and in the OF if injury…but giving him an extended shot at 3B would allow the D to play and with Marte, Cutch and Polanco in the OF give a chance for a bench spot for another OF option like Lambo. Anyways, I’m not sure if the last couple sentences have really conveyed my message well haha. I am not as focused on clarity as I otherwise might be. Ultimately, I believe Harrison’s defense could and would play up better than you estimate and give him more overall value at the 3B position even if his bat regresses to his milb averages like I would estimate it would.


Great explanation.

A safe projection would look to be about one win from defense and base running meaning that even league average hitting- another safe projection moving forward – would still put him in the range of a 2-3 win player, correct?


whoa! bold font!

style points!

Also, i’m glad a lot of the convo here is based on “Harrison will still be extremely valuable even if the bat regresses because of the basically-elite defense” and not “let’s assume the bat continues to be this ridiculously good.”


It is just html text, I hope it doesn’t come across as pretentious, I agree with what Jared has said but I think he has overstated or is overly optimistic in his conclusions.


another tool added to the back pocket


Maybe overly optimistic, but I don’t think so. My eyes tell me, without much fandom playing a role, that Josh Harrison has played as well defensively as Uribe, Donaldson etc and they are 16 DRS players this season in double the innings. And there may only be a slim amount of players in the range I mentioned but the numbers are there. Harrison’s arm is certainly as good as Wright, Headley, and Arenado and I do not think regression is really proper in this case at all. Wright, Headley, Arenado continually place in the top 5 in MLB in DRS in MLB and I do think that Harrison can be expected to contribute similarly defensively…and that’s a 16-20 DRS contribution which isn’t a huge difference but even half of that is a 100% improvement over Alvarez. And, again, even with bat regression you’re talking about another full win (or more) with Harrison over Alvarez at 3B even with less power. I truly expect Harrison to be a .780-.790 OPS bat with the elite defense to provide extra WAR.


Regression has nothing do with eye test or scouting, it is a fundamental of the limitations of the sample. The people who created these defensive metrics state in small samples, regress, regress, regress.

There are 69, >20 run season of 1887 listed player season by DRS, claiming that a player is going to achieve that level after 800 seasons, with the two largest samples coming three years apart is nothing but optimistic.


These are highly variable statistics as it is, right? That’s how someone like David Wright can have a 5 DRS season and then a 16 DRS season. But I understand what you’re saying. I do think Harrison would out perform your regression numbers on average…and by a substantial margin a lot of seasons.


The statistic is the same, regardless of year. Player performance and opportunity is what varies. This may be what you’re trying to say, however.

One reason it is impossible to use the “eye test” to project DRS is that one has no clue how many opportunities a given player will get to add to or subtract from defensive performance. A player can perform exactly the same in a given situation, say plays in the 10%-40% probability range, yet the run value produced would vary depending on how many balls were actually hit in that range.


Sorry, I don’t think I adequately responded/read your initial response. I didn’t mean that I can see via “eye test” the DRS as much as overall defensive performance which is what I meant to say but only later noticed that’s not what you were asking.

And, yes, I meant variable in terms of performance and lack of future indicator not so much the variability of the stat itself.

Also I have used DRS but it is just one of many defensive statistics and others can be used/discussed in reference to JHay and future projection of WAR etc. I’ve maintained from my original post that I expect a WAR of 3-3.5 from JHay but if he puts up those huge D numbers he could be even greater obviously. The overall point is that going forward he doesn’t have to perform as well as this year offensively to put up strong WAR numbers and be worth an extension.


Takes names off jerseys and honestly tell me that you have a good enough eye to tell the difference between a +16 DRS player and a +8 DRS player.

Will Sanchez

that’s easy..for ss how many plays can you make that the ave ss can’t..can he throw the runner out from shallow CF,LF or 50 + feet in foul terr.. for a 3b can you make that play in front of ss or at 3b line…20-30 feet in foul terr.on a ground ball or a line drive .for well can you time a “HIT BALL” to make an out..(if your coach positions you on the rf side and the ball is hit to lf and you go 100 feet to make the out(.”cannon for an arm” ).or rob the hitter of a “hit” for a 1b i’m looking the same quality as a 3b and the ability to dig the throws out..”human vacuum cleaners” ..AT C well i’m looking for “molina’s”


I watch a LOT of baseball, so I would probably be able to do that for a lot of players, but not all. Anyways, Arenado seems to lapse a lot mentally but is ridiculously skilled but besides him I do think Harrison’s D compares favorably. Anyways, it all leads to a safe estimate of 3-3.5 WAR anyways for me.

Lee Young

Agree….Just take a look at Chase Headley from a couple of years ago.

Scott Kliesen

From Pirates perspective, I’d love to have some cost certainty of an extension. Besides the financial benefit, it also sends a message to Harrison and other young players in the organization that organization will reward players for working hard and producing. Seems like a no brainer to me.

Will Sanchez

it will take more than that to change the “PERCEPTION” that our owners are cheap and will only “PAY YOU >>IF YOU GIVE THEM A DISCOUNT” even tho they can pay 80% of players the “GOING RATE” so we don’t get to sign the “ELITE” players but compete for the others …don’t create an atmosphere where players won’t consider the BUCS unless they have any other options..


I don’t think free agents ever go into negotiations with new teams thinking they have to sign for a discount. Signing players to pre-arbitration deals isn’t a sign of ownership being cheap, it’s a smart business move for both player and management. That player gets financial flexibility for an uncertain future, especially with Harrison, while management can gain possible salary help for a future piece while assuming some risk.
BTW you really don’t need to capitalize and throw quotes around every word or phrase you deem important, we are capable of understanding your thought process without those.

Will Sanchez

some things need to be screamed out..signing a someone to a long term contract is risky..I don’t have the figures but i will bet that 1/2 the contracts are a waste of fans $..for every Cutch you got a bunch of players being overpaid..


Extension for homegrown players have been over-whelming success for teams.

Will Sanchez

let c what happens with the braves the moment they r in a crash and burn mode….in 40 years of BB i have learned that a player needs about 600-900 at bats to really determine thier tru value..some players win rookie of the year ..never to be heard from…others..start at below replacement players ..and go on to be “stars”..sometimes the team waste playing time trying ti justify “why we got him or why did we sign him” in your graph..(link)there is a lot of future that’s is an ?..can you say headley..ugla.A.j wandy..and a ton of long term contracts that have failed..a good evaluation would be after the contract expires..anything else is not worth the paper that’s printed far as i know fangraphs have never done a study on total long term contracts and what % have been good for the team..and how many have failed..


And not a lot of the elite guys in FAs’ super contracts have worked out too well for the teams anyway

Will Sanchez

no..i would not compete for them..but for the average to above average we could…IF I was GM I would try do do an incentive laden do well you get pay well..if you fail…the risk is small…but let the mlb players know that they can TALK TO THE BUCS AND THEy WILL TREET YOU FAIR..which I think is not happening right now


i think they could use and could afford a pretty good pitcher this offseason. but you aren’t going to sign James Shields by saying “we’ll pay you what you’re worth if you’re healthy and pay you nothing if you get hurt.” because another team will just pay him what he’s worth whether he gets hurt or not.

Will Sanchez

my concept would be pay whatever war you r worth..if you perform above that lets say 3 or 4 above that get a bonus of 1/2 to 2/3 worth ..for example ..3 or 4 year contract..@ ? war..per year..perform above that and get bonus..below that and you get next year you perform at 4 war..subtract the zilch (war) from this year WAR and he would get that bonus..(was in business for 4 decades..and nothing motivates employees more than the opportunity to make more $..that’s a win – win situation


But incentive laden deals aren’t seen as fair to players. That’s why you only see them for players coming off of injuries and stuff.

that puts all the risk on them whereas guaranteed deals put the risk on the teams.

I agree in that it’d make a lot of sense for teams, but it just isn’t practical. Because if it WAS practical, it would happen more. Because teams would never NOT do it if they had the choice.

Incentives worked well for Liriano because after he broke his arm before he signed, it was still the best deal on the table for him. When they originally had an agreement BEFORE he broke his arm, the deal was guaranteed. Injury took his leverage away.

Incentives are for when the player lacks leverage.

Will Sanchez

Lariano became he agreed to a new deal..the BUCS took advantage of his situation..IF i was Lariano i would not forget that..(“basic psychology” you took food away from my table)..Lariano or his agent never heard of jim abott..he only had one arm..and he pitched MLB..and he was not the only one

Scott Kliesen

I’m referencing players already in organisation. Your comment appears to be geared more towards FA’s. Apples and oranges comparison.

Will Sanchez

well is not..if you know that your employer is not going to pay you what you are worth…would you “STICK AROUND” or get out the first chance you get?..


If the player agrees to a price, then he agrees to that price. It isn’t unfair.

But yeah if a player thinks he’s worth more than a team is willing to give him, then yeah he’ll move on. And if he doesn’t move on, it’s his “fault.” he doesn’t have to accept an offer that he doesnt want to accept.

Lukas Sutton

Russell Martin wants to slap you in the face for continuing to make it sound like the Pirates would never sign an “average to above average” player for max price over a 3 year deal. Its like the team has to do it every year or people like you scream “SEE”. Pirates have been willing to make 3 year deals at market value for average type players/undervalued guys. Hell, they tried to sign James Loney and his always average self.

Will Sanchez

well when he signed with us …he had to 2 offers..and we had to BID higher than the YANKS to get him …also that A.J was an influence helped..but we did have to outbid the yanks…Lets see if that happens this time around..btw ..he signed a 2 year contract not 3 ..Looney took the same amount of money and chose Tampa who signed a free agent contract with us..the “projects” that can’t find work anywhere else…all our other off-season targets went somewhere else.

Lukas Sutton

If only you were the GM we could stop with those pesky “projects” and go after better FA like Loney and Drew that work out so often. Ill take my “projects” with a plan over going after middle type FA that arent really upgrades. Pirates take chances on guys they like at the right price for the right years, and avoid getting guys just to get them. If the fans ran the team, S. Drew would be the SS, Loney or Morales would be at 1B and AJ Burnett would be a SP. All moves some fans would have nodded approvingly at.

Will Sanchez

NAAHH since we gave assets to get BYRD and MOURNEU..or even keep JONES it would seem logical that we would offered a contract to them.(and not waste our assets (prospects))…but there others “PROJECTS” that choose to sign somewhere else and not get helped by the best pitching coach in the MLB. business and baseball are go to know when to buy and when to sell..we got MOSS and Snider too early…sold on BAUTISTA too early…as for PEDRO he should have been gone last winter…his replacement gotten 2 years we may not get much for him..he’s only value would be a DH in the AL and let him become the BIG PAPPY..Wandy should have been traded also and I would have traded Martin by 7/31 and gotten a HAUL for him..I would had not even looked at JD or Morales..BUT i would have signed 24-27 aged minor league FA instead of Martinez and Dickerson..WHY 24-27 or 28..if you got over 600- 1000 minor league at bats in AA, AAA (you know those 4a players) we could hit lighting in a bottle…NO risk..just a aaa contract..With our cheap owners we would need a replacement at each position every 3-4 Trading for outfielders and pitchers only does not work..they seem to have gotten better lately…but NEAL could not see the big holes in front of his face.

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