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Morneau

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:52 PM
I thought he was was really good last year. Maybe I'm on an opening day high (Not high) but he is so good.Who would have thought he would...
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New Target field policy...no bags of any kind

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:44 PM
Thankfully we went before gates opened and were warned by a friendly security guy in advance that this year there are no bags of any kind...
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The 5 Rule Draft

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 05:58 PM
This year's Rule 5 draft we lost Akil Baddo and Tyler Wells. So I thought I'd check to see how they were doing. 1st I checked on Baddo, h...
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Ex Twins in 2021: Where Are They Now?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:48 AM
One of my favorite annual threads on the site. Let’s stay updated on ex-Twins in the news... This is a start of a list, and feel free to...
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Why isn't Buxton on MLB OPS leaders list?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 04:36 PM
Buxton is listed only on the MLB HR leaders list. Not on OPS or AVG or SLG or OBP. He should be the leader in several of these. He has as...
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What a José Berríos Contract Extension Could Look Like

Though yet to pitch to his front-of-the-rotation potential over a full season, José Berríos has shown more than flashes of that talent level. He’s two years from free agency. Here’s what a contract extension to make him a Twins fixture could look like.
Image courtesy of © Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Unlike teammate Byron Buxton, Berríos lacks clear, directly applicable, recent precedent deals around whom we can build an imagined agreement. That doesn’t directly make a deal less likely, but it does illustrate the roadblocks both sides face at this stage. More so than batters, pitchers tend to have either demonstrated their full ability or suffered setbacks that stunted their development and blunted their earning power by this point in their careers. Berríos, who will turn just 27 in May, is a rare case.

His age means time is still on Berríos’s side. He’s been quite healthy and durable throughout his professional career. He’s been consistently above-average, with DRA- figures of 91, 95, 91, and 95 over the last four years, according to Baseball Prospectus. (DRA- is an advanced statistic that expresses a pitcher’s contribution to run prevention on a scale indexed to 100, such that that number is average, and lower is better.) Yet, there remain several reasons to believe that he could be even better, and his inability to take the step from solid mid-rotation starter to ace has delayed any discussion of a deal until now.

Few pitchers sign extensions taking them past their walk year when they have between four and five years of big-league service, as Berríos does right now. Most have either already signed deals, shielding them from the risks associated with being a good young pitcher, or are willing to bear the remaining risks and go to free agency. Kyle Hendricks signed such a deal in March 2019, with the same amount of service time. It guaranteed him $55.5 million, with a club option that could carry the total value up to $70 million. Because it took effect only in 2020, the deal really extended the Cubs’ control over Hendricks by three or four seasons, not two or three, and it kept intact the $7.4-million deal he’d already signed for 2019.

Hendricks’s deal isn’t a great template for a Berríos one, though, for multiple reasons. Hendricks was already 29 when he signed the deal. He signed it during a period in which extensions were being signed at an unprecedented pace, often on very team-friendly terms. He has also consistently been much better than Berríos has been, albeit with a skill set that leads many to (unfairly) question his staying power. It was only those factors that even led the deal to happen at that time.

To build a potential Berríos deal, then, we need to be creative and willing to work without the safety net of history. Getting an extension done would require the same from both the Twins organization and Berríos’s agents at Wasserman Media Group. Using what we know about arbitration and free agency and the outcomes we can imagine for Berríos over the next half-decade, it is possible to build a contract that would serve the interests on both sides of the negotiating table.

Firstly, remember that Berríos and the Twins already agreed on a $6.1-million deal for 2021. This deal wouldn’t need to replace that one, but let’s suggest that it do so, by converting his 2021 salary to $5.7 million, with a $1.5-million signing bonus. That would be a net raise of $1.1 million for this year, and making more than that a bonus would protect Berríos somewhat in the event of any turn in the progress of the pandemic that leads to fewer than 162 games being played. (Signing bonuses, unlike salaries, are not prorated in such cases.)

For 2022, the deal could give Berríos a raise to $9.1 million, plus a $3.3-million signing bonus. That would protect Berríos in the event of a work stoppage that either truncates or wipes out the season. The total payout of $12.4 million would be right in line with what Berríos would be likely to earn via arbitration, given a strong 2021, and it would represent an investment on the part of the Twins.

In exchange, Berríos would give up some of the potential riches of a free-agent payday immediately after 2022. In 2023 and 2024, a deal could pay him $15 million annually. Then, in 2025, Berríos could hold a $16-million player option, with the right to decline it and pursue free agency heading into his age-31 season. That structure offers the player both security and considerable upside, since if he pitches well at age 30, he would be in line for a fine payday by declining his option after 2024.

The Twins, though, could seek to add one more wrinkle. When Jake Arrieta signed with the Phillies prior to the 2018 season, two seasons were guaranteed. After that, Arrieta held a player option, but the Phillies had the right to void it by guaranteeing that salary for 2020, 2021, and 2022. A similar, slightly souped-up version of that could work here, too. If Berríos were positioned to turn down his player option after 2024, but the Twins believed he projected well over the following few years, they could void the player option by exercising a club option worth a total of $60 million over three years, 2025-27.

To summarize, the deal proposed here would extend the Twins’ club control over Berríos by at least two years, and as many as five. Berríos would be guaranteed as much as $59.5 million in new money, or $43.5 million if he elected free agency rather than exercise the player option at the end of 2024. He’d get immediate security, and the Twins would gain long-term cost certainty in a rotation chock-full of question marks beyond 2021. At its maximum, if the Twins voided Berríos’s option and exercised their lucrative one, he would make $109.6 million over the next seven years, with $103.5 million of that being “new” money. He’d still be positioned to hit free agency at age 33.

This is a complicated contract. Its structure would be unusual in multiple ways. The Arrieta deal happened very late in an offseason, and Arrieta was a free agent. This is a very different situation. The fact that these countervailing interests and possibilities have to be accounted for, resulting in such a complex package, underscores the improbability that the team and the player will find common ground this spring. If they do, though, this is how it might look, and it’s a (potential) deal about which Twins fans should feel good.

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14 Comments

Of all the extension candidates this the one I would get done. He’s durable works hard and the Twins need all the starters they can get.
    • Twins33, mikelink45, Dman and 3 others like this

Interesting. I like what you have done with signing bonuses this year and next. That should be viewed as a positive from Berrios side of the table.

 

But in reality, I don't care what the terms are. I just want to see them get it done.

    • DocBauer, dbminn and wabene like this

I’m skeptical he’ll ever be much more than what he has been, but I’d sign him to this kind of deal. Solid mid rotation starter. 

    • Twins33 likes this

 

I’m skeptical he’ll ever be much more than what he has been, but I’d sign him to this kind of deal. Solid mid rotation starter. 

For the TWINS he is more than mid rotation.We need him.Maeda has had one short season year where he looked great, Berrios has given us a number of good and steady years.We are not going to sign a Bauer or Cole or any other true number one and we do not need to.The pitchers are not the reason we have not won in post season.Home grown talent is the most important and to let Berrios go would be a big mistake.I hope next year it is Maeda, Berrios, Duran, Balazovic, and ???

I'm commenting on this AFTER commenting on the recent Buxton extension idea, so forgive any repetition. The CBA could blow up how things are negotiated contract wise in the future, of course. And I don't want this to sound pro-ownership, because I'm not in either camp, but I think the financial world of MLB has changed even without the whole bizarre covid situation. But analytics are not just part of the on the field product any longer, they are part of the financial structure. While there are, and always will be healthy players who hit their ceilings early and demand huge $ returns, teams are far less likely to hand out massive and long term deals any longer with the return being based on the first few years of a massive deal while "over paying" the final years. Even in the crazy world of professional sports and dollars, there is a wall to be run in to of dimished returns. While the actual yearly $ is variable, I think the types of contracts signed with Polanco, Kepler, Sano and "proposed" by John in his Buxton article may be the new way for teams and players to find fair and common ground. Fair GUARANTEED $ with financial security that exists regardless of production or injury while still allowing for FA around age 30+. Yes, a player could explode and be "underpaid" as a result, but that is also the equitable tradeoff for their guaranteed earnings. Teams are risking floors vs ceilings, much less regression or injury, but hedging production vs cost as well as maintaining roster stability. Berrios is, agreed, in uncharted waters as there simply may not be an adequate comp for his situation. He's very good, young, talented, been a stalwart, and has potential to be even better. In fact, he's just coming to the age where I have always stated experience and talent meet when a pitcher achieves his peak value. Possibly even the rare ACE status that so many yearn for. But despite all he has done, there are at least SOME questions surrounding his full season endurance. That might have been answered in 2020, had it been a normal year and because he began to make some training adjustments to finish 2019 stronger, but it didn't turn out that way. He's never had a significant injury. Hopefully, he never will. I applaud Jose's work ethic, determination and belief in himself. I'm a fan/believer who thinks we haven't seen the best of him yet. And I'm sure there is a part of him, beyond just loving playing, that would like to earn $200M+ in his career. But he also strikes me as an intelligent young man who KNOWS he could, unfortunately, have an injury tomorrow or just never achieve the financial status he might hope for, for whatever reason. And 5yrs of a GUARANTEED $100M+ and still be a FA at age 31 would have to give him pause, IMO. Be gains incredible security for he and his family, while still betting on his future and a second major deal at a still young age. The devil is in the details that I won't get in to here. But between salary, bonuses, etc, 5yrs and $100M is something I'd really like to see both sides as being very fair and just get it done.
    • rdehring likes this
I"m gonna work backwards on this. I think he is worth 5 years and 80 to 90 million. That's 16 to 18 million per year. He is making 6.1 and next season maybe 12 million. So maybe something like 8 14 16 18 18 for a 74 million guarantee over the next 5 seasons. Maybe add some incentives for IP and Cy Young finishes. You can also make small adjustments to the annual payments but this seems like a good start.
    • flpmagikat, Dman and dbminn like this
We’ve been taking about Berrios taking “the next step” for years now like it’s a foregone conclusion.

Well, he’s now almost 27 years old and approaching 700 major league innings.

He’s a really good pitcher. But, I think the “ace” conversations can be put to bed if we don’t see something this year. There are rare cases of guys blossoming late, but that shouldn’t be expected.

I’d like to extend him, but if it’s going to be at the expense of pursuing a legit front-line playoff starter in free agency, or locking up a guy like Buxton long-term, I’d have second thoughts.

We’ve been taking about Berrios taking “the next step” for years now like it’s a foregone conclusion.
Well, he’s now almost 27 years old and approaching 700 major league innings.
He’s a really good pitcher. But, I think the “ace” conversations can be put to bed if we don’t see something this year. There are rare cases of guys blossoming late, but that shouldn’t be expected.
I’d like to extend him, but if it’s going to be at the expense of pursuing a legit front-line playoff starter in free agency, or locking up a guy like Buxton long-term, I’d have second thoughts.


Fully appreciate your arguement. But, respectfully, I'm going to disagree. You're right he is a very good pitcher. And you're also right he hasn't reached the mythical true ACE status. And he may never do that. But year to year, you have to appreciate there are only a handful of truly dominate ACE pitchers. But there is a difference from being a quality #1 SP vs being that special ACE.

In all my years watching baseball I have seen a handful of the Clemons or Blyleven or Ryan or Hernandez types. Some were studs from day one. Many flamed out before reaching late 20's or 30. Most were good or even very good before stuff and experience, maybe a new team and coach, took them to a different level. Only a few were THAT GUY for YEARS.

I think about Stieb and Key from Toronto. I think about Randy Johnson who was very good but not what he became until his late 20's. Despite 1 great season with Pittsburg, Cole never found his greatness until later when he went to Houston.

My point is Berrios may never be that GUY, but you very seldom draft or sign an international FA who is that very special #1. Most need time to harness their stuff, learn their craft, and turn in to something special. Again, Berrios may never reach that special level, but he's already good. And he's at just the right age at this time where he COULD be ready to explode in to a true #1, MAYBE a true ACE. I'd rather hedge my investment at this point from what we've seen and what could be rather than risking losing what we already have and what could be.
    • Dman and TL like this
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drivlikejehu
Mar 06 2021 10:55 PM

My inclination would be to only buy out one or maybe two free agent years. Maybe something like (starting with this year) 7.5/12.5/15? He'd be locking in a nice chunk of change for just a one-year delay in hitting the market. I'd like another year of his prime but I don't see him being particularly valuable on the other side of 30.

I think the player option that can be voided by the Twins for big money on an extension is the exact right way to go. From his perspective if he falters or gets hurt he can exercise it and get one more year of #3 type money, and at that point for the Twins it’s effectively a 1-year contract, which limits risk. If he performs well he gets money that sets him up for life, but is still well less than market value if he were testing free agency. And then he can do it again at 33.
5 years $100m seems like a good starting point for both sides. Pitchers with less results than him have signed for over $20M per. By the time he hits free agency, assuming he keeps progressing, he will be looking at $25M+ per season

If he can prove he's a #1 or #2 this year, lock him up, if not, then consider trading him or letting him walk. Let's all hope it's the former.

If we can get him for 6 years at 100 million, I would jump at the chance. The same with Buxton though Bux may cost a bit more 120 million. A more realistic figure may be 120 mil for him and 140 for Bux. Forget the "ace" talk. Berrios is our ace or co-ace with Maeda. He is worth every penny. How many pitchers out there are actually better than Berrios? Maybe a dozen and none of them are usually available or would sign with us. Just my opinion.

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AlwaysinModeration
Mar 08 2021 09:41 PM
Berrios is getting more than Buxton via arbitration, and has been more consistently available. ZIPs has him at 3.5WAR this year (STEAMER lower at 2.8WAR).
I’d say he could be an extra 0.5WAR per season, or an extra $8mm for years three and four, plus an extra couple for the higher arb numbers. So if Buxton could garner 4 years for 50-55, a Berrios extension might be 4 years for 60-65?