michael bourn bravesLast night, Theo Epstein hopped on the radio in Boston and discussed, among other things, the difficult decision teams face when pursuing free agents who’ve received a qualifying offer, and thus present the loss of a draft pick in order to sign.

We discussed that issue a bit in the morning yesterday, and adding to that discussion about the unintended effect the changes to draft pick compensation and draft bonus pools are having on free agents who received a qualifying offer, FanGraphs’ Dave Cameron looks at the value of certain draft picks, and pairs that value with the expected value a certain free agent might provided, leaving him with a reasonable contract offer. The exercise proves to be a little painful for someone like Kyle Lohse, who looks to be “worth” only about two years and $20 million or three years and $24 million once the draft pick is factored in. He can’t be very happy.

I thought it might be interesting to perform the same exercise for Michael Bourn – using the back of a napkin – and the number 40/41/42 pick, approximately where the Cubs’ second round pick in 2013 will fall, which would be lost if the Cubs signed Bourn.

First, let’s calculate the value of the second round pick. That pick is projected to be worth about 3.5 WAR according to the FanGraphs piece, which gives it a value of about $19.25 million (using a win value of $5.5 million).

Next, let’s calculate Bourn’s projected value over the next four or five years. Bourn is projected to be worth about 4.2 to 4.3 WAR in 2013, but he’s coming off a career year (6.4), so we’ll give him a slight bump to 4.5 in 2013. From there, players tend to decline about 0.5 WAR per year once they’ve entered their decline phase (this is a really rough gauge, folks), so we can project that he’s worth 4.5 wins in 2013, 4 wins in 2014, 3.5 wins in 2015, 3.0 wins in 2016, and 2.5 wins in 2017.

Again, using that $5.5 million per win figure, that makes Bourn worth $24.75 million in 2013, $22 million in 2014, $19.25 million in 2015, $16.5 million in 2016, and $13.75 million in 2017. That totals $96.25 million over five years (and you start to see why Bourn reportedly sought a five year, $100 million contract at the start of the Winter). That’s probably on the generous end of the spectrum, but it’s what we have.

So, how does the value of the lost pick impact what Bourn could expect to receive from a team like the Cubs?

If Bourn is worth $96.25 million on a five-year deal (or $82.5 million on a four-year deal), that means he should expect a contract from a team giving up the number 40/41/42 draft pick (“worth” $19.25 million) no higher than five years and $77 million or four years and $63.25 million.

This exercise makes me feel pretty good about my from-the-hip cap on what I’d like to see the Cubs offer (if they’re going to make an offer at all, something about which I’m relatively ambivalent). I said I’d want the Cubs to go no higher than four years and $50 to $60 million, and now I’ll stand by that. I wouldn’t want the Cubs to sign Bourn unless they were getting some surplus value on paper, and a four-year deal in that range would do it.

And they might be able to pull it off – remember, the Cubs’ lost pick (number 40/41/42) is worth a whole lot less than a pick in the first round, which, for a team with an unprotected first round pick, thus “subtracts” a more sizable chunk from the theoretical contract that team should be willing to offer Bourn.

This is all theoretical. Teams have a great many factors to consider when piecing together a roster. It isn’t all just dollars, or worse, flimsy projections of value.

Included in those factors? Would a team like the Cubs even want Bourn to begin with? Should they?

  • Ben

    Interesting analysis Brett. Love seeing breakdowns like this. It gets into the nitty-gritty of WAR, and what the value of a win is.

    The other factor is inflation. If TV contracts continue to escalate (and not pop), then the value of a win may actually increase over the next 3-4 seasons. That would make Bourne even more valuable.

    Given all this, I do like a 4 year, 55-60 million dollar deal. That would be a firm, final offer, and I may even tell Boras it has an expiration date. Bourne really has very few viable options left.

  • bs7

    I’d like to see the Cubs add Bourn, but at a 5 year deal max. Would 5 years at $75 be enough? I think that would be the most and longest I’d offer if I’m the Cubs.

    From a fan standpoint, I’d love to see Bourn at the top of the lineup. He’d add much needed excitement and provide great defense in center… and maybe he could help Starlin be a better base-runner and more engaged player. I think he would be a good addition for the Cubs given the right deal.

  • bails17

    “My boy’s wicked smart!”


  • 2much2say

    Holes = 3rd / #1 Starter / Closer / Power Hitter
    Keepers = Barney Castro Rizzo
    Must have Soriano’s 2012 season
    Need Bourn and a Power Bat = Granderson / Stanton
    Chips = Marmol, Soriano, Garza, BJax, Lake, Vitters
    Sell High = Jeff Z
    Long term fix = Olt 3rd for Garza/Jeff Z.

  • Rizzo44

    I would love us to sign Bourn at 4/55 but Boars will probably want more than that, the highest I’d go is 4/64. The beginning of our lineup would look really nice.


    I think it’s either we sign Bourn this year, or wait until next year for Corey Hart.

    • Rizzo44

      Boras* haha

    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

      Boras is not currently Bourn’s agent.

      • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

        No wait, yes he is, I was thinking of Jackson who switched.

  • Jim

    I still think that Brett Jackson can be a younger, cheaper version of Bourne if given the chance. I would think that the Cubs would like to see what Jackson can do after working on his swing this offseason. Bourne struck out 155 times in 2012, while Jackson struck out 158 times in AAA. Bourne walks a little more, but Jackson has more power. They are both left handed bats, though Jackson is 6 years younger. Can they co-exist in the same outfield? Alfonso Soriano struck out 153 times in 2012. That would be a lot of strikeouts for an outfield (if Soriano was still with the team).

    • Drew7

      “Bourn struck out 155 times in 2012, while Jackson struck out 158 times in AAA.”

      You do realize it took Bourn 236 more PA’s to get there, right?

      • Tim

        And the fact he struck out 158 times in AAA he would be well over 200 in the majors

  • ncsujuri

    With Bourne you’d have a lineup something like this:

    CF Bourne
    RF DeJesus
    SS Castro
    1B Rizzo
    LF Soriano
    3B Stewart
    C Castillo
    2B Barney

    That doesn’t look too bad IMO, could be that you put DeJesus in the #6 Hole behind Stewart instead of at the #2 Spot.

    • CubFan Paul

      Swap Sori with Dom Brown.

      • ncsujuri

        *Keeping my fingers crossed that we can do that*

    • PKJ

      Ugh. Stewart.

    • terencem

      How can you not spell “Bourn” correctly when it’s in the title of the blog post?

      • OregonCubFan

        He’s probably dreaming that it is Jason Bourne, who, if you watched the movies, can do just about anything!

        • Tommy

          Damn you OregonCubFan – beat me to the punch and stole my thunder!

      • Tommy

        because he’s talking about Jason Bourne. Duh!

      • ncsujuri

        I like Jason Bourne better, who doesn’t??? Perhaps you are too tightly wound to have fun around here?

  • CubFan Paul

    5 years $77M sounds about right. I just can’t see Boras accepting less than BJ Upton’s 5/$75M.

    • Rizzo44

      I really don’t want to do 5 years for Bourn…. July of 2017 and he’s sitting the bench behind Soler, Almora, and another player and were paying him 17 or 20 million.

      • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        If you can project health and the play of players 4.5 years out can you tell me what stocks I need to go with?

        • Rizzo44

          A 35 year old “speed” guy isn’t worth 20 million if you ask me. I like Bourn and all, but I really don’t want more than 5 years.. Perfect contract would be 3 years, but that won’t happen with Boras as his agent..

    • afinch

      Gosh I hope not. I have fears that Bourn’s contract will be a bit of an albatross in 3 years, where he’s slowed down and not getting on base as much yet he’s starting every day in the outfield because of his contract. Sounds a lot like another outfielder I know. The pitching I understand throwing $$$ at but the first position player is Bourn and we’re going to throw 15 mil over 5 years at him scares me.

      Theo seemed to get a little crazy with the contracts the last few years in Boston – I’m all for spending but when it really makes sense. To bring in a 30 year old CF who has been good but not great in his career for 5 years just doesn’t get me excited.

    • Ben

      Upton was younger, and there were more teams interested in OF at the time. Boras doesn’t really have a choice here. No team that has to give up a pick will sign a “pillow” deal with Bourne unless it’s a great value for them. So for Bourne to get 4+ years, it will have to be a slightly lower deal.

      The only team that would overspend on him are the M’s, and it sounds like they are in on Upton and Stanton at this point.

  • Ryan

    Cubs will not sign bourn. Epstein and Co. value the draft picks too much. Bourn is overrated. He is a soriano nightmare happening all over again, paying high price for past performance. His best years are behind him. Id hate to see cubs waste the money!

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Values draft picks? It is a 2nd round pick. Are you serious? Not exactly a ton of guaranteed success for that 2nd round pick.

      • Ben

        Agreed. Theo and Jed will do whatever they can to extract value. If signing Bourne to a nice deal is greater value in their eyes than a 2nd round pick, then they will absolutely pull the trigger. IMO, I think it could easily be the case.

      • Ryan

        No, they arent guaranteed at all. But thats what theo has made clear in his statements and also by what he’s doin by stockpiling prospects. I dont see bourn fitting into the cubs plans.

    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

      Epstein and Co. gave away their first round picks to sign free agents four times in the nine years he was in charge of Boston.

      • Cubbie Blues

        Yes, but now he can not over slot in the draft. That’s a biggie when considering to get rid of your first round pick or not.

  • MightyBear

    I’ve said it before and I stand by my statements. Bourn at 4 years 52 million is a good deal. Bourn at 5 years is too long. If the Cubs can get Bourn at 4 years 52 million they should sign him and worry about Jackson later. Good thing about both Bourn and Jackson is that they can both play all three outfield spots well.

  • another JP

    Since we have guys like Brett Jackson and Soler ready ready by the next few seasons, I would offer an EJax contract of 4/$52M and nothing more. I think that lost draft pick- even as a 2nd rounder- could be a more significant loss of value than what fangraphs estimates. But CF is an important position to have solid defense and Bourn provides that.

  • PKJ

    Excellent post, Brett… I’ve been waiting for someone to come up with an explanation like this. Well done.

  • ncsujuri

    I don’t know, with the recent talk from Theo/Jed about signing free agents when they are available etc. Bourne at 4-5 years isn’t going to be Soriano at 8 years.

  • KidCubbie

    I wouldn’t mind signing Bourn to play CF and if we trade Soriano then move Jackson to LF. He’s got some pop if he can cut down on the K’s. That would be a pretty good defensive and speedy outfield combo.

  • Edward

    It doesn’t make much sense to me to use historical draft data. Some teams drafted the best player on the board, others drafted only the ones they could afford.

    That being said, this is the best we got. Interesting article Brett, I enjoy this type of stuff.

    Cubs seem to be straddling the line of maybe trying to compete in 2013. What is your opinion? Go for it early and re-evaluate mid-season? Trade away anybody that has value now and continue to develop? Both?

    • ncsujuri

      Edward, I think they are doing a little of both. The signings they have made this offseason have been with the future in mind (Edwin Jackson) but also with flipping in mind (Baker/Feldman).

      • Edward

        Yeah I have like all of the moves so far. Pitching was going to be horrendous if they did not make any moves. I also love that they have not lost any draft picks so far.

    • hansman1982

      We are using historical data based on decades of drafting. The sample size in this one (when factoring Brett’s range of 3 draft picks) is over a hundred players.

      You just don’t, typically, see major impact talent falling that far in the draft unless there are major concerns or 29 teams missed the boat entirely.

  • Timmy

    I think you just blew my mind with that analysis.

    I think that’s a pretty fair assessment, but I’d see about giving him 3 years at 14-15 mil because it’s better to have a high functional player slightly overpaid than a declining player worth nothing in the 5th year of his contract.

  • Rob

    Would love to see the Cubs hold firm at 4 years for a speed guy that I believe is already 30. When Soriano’s legs started going on him, and he stopped being a stolen base threat, he had power to fall back on at least – if Bourn started having leg injuries after 2-3 years, and you have him signed for 2 years beyond that at big $$, it could be another ugly contract as the Cubs are settling into a competitive window. Hopefully if we sign him he would age more like Kenny Lofton/Rickey Henderson than a lot of other guys, but I feel like they were the exceptions and not the rule. Loved that Cubs showed with Anibal that they will bid on good guys, but that they have a price – will not just outbid everyone and then end up with some bad looking contracts.

  • Mick

    I wouldn’t want to get locked into Bourn when Ellsbury and Cano will be free agents next season. I’d prefer to trade Soriano and Marmol for Dominic Brown and play DeJesus in CF for 2013. Just imagine our 2014 lineup…

    CF Ellsbury ($22 mil)
    RF DeJesus ($6.5 mil)
    2B Cano ($25 mil)
    1B Rizzo (min)
    SS Castro ($7 mil)
    LF Brown (min)
    3B Valbuena/Stewart/Baez (min)
    C Castillo (min)

    SP Josh Johnson ($20 mil)
    SP Shark ($5 mil)
    SP Jackson ($13 mil)
    SP Vizcaino (min)
    SP Wood/Cabrera/Whitenack/prospect traded Garza for (min)

    = $101.50 mil (+ $30 mil for bullpen and bench) seems reasonable

    • Rizzo44

      I really do love this lineup, but I don’t know about Cano. 25 million that might be for the Yankees, with they’re payroll.. I love and also want us to sign Ellsbury and J. Johnson

    • BD

      The Yankees will not allow Cano to hit the open market. Plus, 2014 would be his age 32 season.

      • Mick

        It’s Yankees policy to not extend contracts until their current deals run out. So, he will absoultely hit the open.

    • Bigg J

      Wow 20 mil for Johnson, I wouldn’t want that. He isn’t worth 20 mil anymore.

    • Bigg J

      Continuing last post: might as well trade for Price and sign him for mega deal of 20+/yr. At least he would be long term and is still young

      • Mick

        To me, Josh Johnson will set his market with this season’s performance. If he returns to his dominant self, there may be no RHP other than Verlander that’s better. If he repeats his 2012 performance than $20 mil might be a stretch. The other possibilty might be to re-sign Garza after trading him mid-season. The Cubs will be doing him a favor by not allowing a team to make a qualifying offer by trading him after season’s start. This along with any good rapport and familiarity with the organization will all help in trying to re-sign him next offseason. If the Cubs are going to go for it in 2014, they still need an ace of the rotation so, whoever they could acquire to fill this spot would be fine with me.

        • Bigg J

          So the Jays might as well make him a qualifying offer and then it will cost the Cubs a pick so that doesn’t make sense for the future when you might as well get Price.

          • Mick

            Depending on the Cubs record in 2013, that pick might only be a 2nd rounder plus if we sign Ellsbury and Cano we would have already surrendered our pick anyway.

            Also, in order to acquire Price we most definitley would need to trade our top prospects whereas we could sign Johnson, Garza, etc. for nothing. We’ll cross the Price bridge when we get there, heck maybe it will make sense to trade Baez, Vicazino, Soler, Almora, etc. at that time, but again free agents only cost you a draft pick not a highly advanced group of prospects.

    • JBarnes

      You realize you have 6 lefties in that lineup?
      J. Johnson for $20M is ridiculous. Not to mention you flip flop him and Garza which is almost a wash.
      If Ellsbury were here I really doubt DeJesus would be.
      Baez won’t be ready by next year.
      You’ll be paying Cano $20-25M into his age 37 season or longer.

      This is the exact opposite of what the FO is trying to do.

      • Mick

        I thought it was determined that Wrigley played better for LH batters so, 6 seems good.

        J Johnson for $20 million might not be enough after his 2013 season. When Johnson is on, he’s unhittable. Greinke just got $25 million and Josh Johnson is agruably the better of the 2.

        DeJesus in 2014 at $6.5 mil might be a decent option and shouldn’t stop the signing of Ellsbury since there’s room for both. If the Cubs trade or decline DeJesus’ 2014 option that leaves Brett Jackson, Sappelt, Sczur, Campana, etc. currently on the Cubs roster. If the Cubs are going to compete in 2014, DeJesus would currently be the best option of what would be available.

        Again, if the Cubs are “going for it” in 2014 than they’ll need to add a middle of the order bat and replace Barney at 2B. Overpaying for Cano solves both of those problems. Cano’s age 37 season is 5 years away which gives the Cubs plenty of time to sort out their payroll flexibility.

        • Bigg J

          Johnson better then Greinke, you kidding me? He may be unhittable when he is on, but when is the last time he was on? He is going to the AL East, so we will see how on he is when he faces better competition in the AL. If he dominates in the AL this year then yea give him around 15-18 mil, but don’t see it happening and Greinke has already been in the AL before and shows he can still dominate.

          • Mick

            Let’s play Player A vs Player B!!!

            Player A:
            Career ERA+ 133
            Career K/9 8.2
            Career AVG against .237

            Player B:
            Career ERA+ 114
            Career K/9 8.3
            Career AVG against .255

            • Bigg J

              You can look at the careers if you want, Greinke has never been hurt and has dominated as much in AL then NL. He has pitched over 200 innings 4/5 seasons. Johnson was hurt ll of 2011, but 9 games. We will see how good Johnson is in the AL for a whole season because it won’t be 20 mil worth.

        • JBarnes

          Not even the Yankees with a short LF would have six regular lefties in their lineup. We would be screwed in late innings facing LOOGY’s.

          I think Felix Hernandez, Matt Cain, Jered Weaver, Adam Wainwright, Johnny Cueto etc. would disagree with J. Johnson being the 2nd best RH in baseball. And Greinke also since he’s not even the 2nd best.

          REALLY doubt Valbuena/Stewart are even here in 2014.

          You want to pay Ellsbury/Cano/Johnson $65M a year when you still have a very shaky rotation, nobody to play 3B, questionable corner OF’s, Castillio is still unknown and an extension for Rizzo coming at some point?

          I might be able to get behind a Cano deal but other than that let someone else have Ellsbury/Johnson. Adding the three guys you mentioned still doesn’t make us a WS contender and IMO it sets us back a few years.

          • JBarnes

            I meant short RF in Yankee Stadium*

      • Bigg J

        I agree with you on all things except Baez should be ready by 2014 and that is what all of his predictions are for. I feel if they are going to spend money then they need a better RF than DeJesus for 6.5 mil. By then Soler or Almora could be ready too. Just too far to really know. I say there is a good chance to land Price by next off season and I feel his previous coach from Vandy will try and push it as well.

        • bbmoney

          I haven’t seen many predictions saying Baez will be ready in 2014.

          at least not for more than a cup of coffee. Guy only played a month at A+ he’ll likely need more than 1 more season in the minors.

          • BWA

            He might be ready for a september call up in 2014, but he will not be starting the season in the pros.

            • Mick

              Agreed but if in 2014 the Cubs are making a run, Valbuena and Stewart are struggline, and Baez is tearing it up in AA or AAA, then he’ll get the call. Look at the Orioles promoting Machado and Bundy late this last season. Nobody really thought either of those 2 guys would get a look in 2013.

    • Timmy

      Ellsbury isn’t worth close to that. He had one phenomenal year but he could also be the next Vernon Wells of high talent low impact. Cano is probably worth that but he’ll be on the overside of age 30 and will want a long contract so I doubt the Cubs will pursue him in any convincing way. It’d be great to have Cano in particular. To think we almost traded for him several times under Hendry.

    • Can’t think of a cool name

      If you’re getting Brown for Soriano, the Cubs are paying in the neighborhood of 13 million,

  • Adam

    Makes no sense to sign Bourn. Speed is a young mans game. Didn’t Theo learn his lesson from Crawford?

    Also, this WAR average dollar amount stuff is the biggest load I’ve ever heard. A second round draft pick is worth 19.5 million? It’s either worth zero or its worth a whole heck of a lot more then that.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Crawford’s problems had nothing to do with age or his legs. HIs “slump” was due to a ridiculously low BABiP: and despite what people want to be true, there is very little correlation between speed and BABiP. This showed up in his singles rate: only 20% of his batted balls went for singles, whereas his career average was 25%. Now, his K rate was up a bit (19% vs. 14% career) and his BB rate was down a bit (4.3% vs. 5.4% career: but not significantly low). However, his XBH rate pretty much matched the prior year (11.7% down from 12.5%) and higher than his career rate (10%).

      When your singles rate drops like that while your other stats stay the same, then the only lesson is really, really bad luck.

      (2012 was also lost, but that was due to wrist and arm injuries that eventually required surgeries.)

    • hansman1982

      “Also, this WAR average dollar amount stuff is the biggest load I’ve ever heard. A second round draft pick is worth 19.5 million? It’s either worth zero or its worth a whole heck of a lot more then that.”

      This is based off the historical fact that a typical 40-42 draft pick will give you around 3.5 WAR over the first 6 years of their career.

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      “It’s either worth zero or its worth a whole heck of a lot more then that.”
      and what would that average out to be?

      • cjdubbya

        I’m going to wager that it’s right near $19.5MM

        • cRAaZYHORSE

          So is this year 2nd round draft choice for the cubs be worth 35 million and beyond or will he be washed out by the third or 4 year . While Bourn will produce for the next 4 years
          is the question.?

          • Cubbie Blues

            It’s still up in the air if Bourn will produce over the next four years or not. With standard regression his WAR in four years will be around 2.2. On top of that, I am of the mindset that he will regress even quicker than that being a speed guy with no power and already high strikeout rate. I could easily see him being a 1 WAR player in 4 years (think 4th/5th outfielder type). $15M a year is a lot to pay for that kind of player.

            • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

              What sort of “standard regression” did you use to get to 2.2?

              He was at 6.1 last year and averaged roughly 4.8 the last four. Standard regression is at worst 0.5 per year at this age, and that’s probably an overestimate (and the evidence linked in this thread says speed guys of his caliber actually age a little better than average).

              That leaves him at 2.8 in the most pessimistic possible view.

          • AB

            crazyhorse, please spend an extra 10-20 seconds cleaning up the grammer in your posts. You might make some good points, but nobody is going to spend the time reading them the way you type.

            • @cubsfantroy


              Sorry, I had to do it.

  • CH

    Should the analysis on Bourn measure the net value for him? So if you subtract the WAR for another center fielder from Bourn’s WAR’s (say a younger player with increasing WAR value 2.5, then 3.0 in 2014, then 3.5 2015, the net gain in WAR vs. Bourn is apprx. 1-2 WAR to the team each year and declining in value when the WAR value Castro and Rizzo in 2014 and 2015 will presumably be increasing?

    • Ben

      Two things.

      1) Can’t assume we have a player that would generate that much WAR. 2.5 is quite a bit. That’s a good player, and while I hope Jackson gets there, I’m doubtful.

      2) You can only compare Bourne to what it takes to acquire him. If you had said young player on the team still, he would be an asset whether Bourne is there or not. You could deal that player for another asset, or play him in another OF slot.

  • Bigg J

    Interesting piece. I am all for signing Bourn for the right price, but you think he would take a contract that is less then what Jackson just signed? Getting Bourn in the 50-60 range would be great, but very unlikely. Boras is shooting all of his agents in the foot right now. I could see Boras losing some players if they don’t sign soon especially Soriano who opted out of a mega deal with the Yankees and hasn’t found any money yet. Boras can’t work like he was with this new CBA and how valuable draft picks are now. He needs to tell his players to take what they can right now and wait until next year if possible.

    • Mick

      Although I think Soriano definitley made a mistake by declining his qualifying offer, I don’t think Bourn made a mistake by declining his. Right now the next best free agent OF after Bourn is Scott Hariston and there are still numerous teams in the market, such as the Rangers, Mariners, Cubs, Braves, Phillies, etc. We’re still over a month away until pitchers and catcher report to Spring Training so there’s plenty of time to reach an agreement.

      • terencem

        I think the market for Bourn will heat up a lot over the next month. I don’t think he needs to settle yet. Everybody thought the market for Prince had dropped a lot at this time last year. It certainly hadn’t, this is just the time in the year where teams are exploring lots of options since the next big move they make could be their last big move of the off-season.

      • Bigg J

        I am not saying Bourn should have accepted his offer, I am saying that Soriano should get rid of Boras if he can’t find a deal like he had and Boras needs to change his ways with this new CBA.

    • Andrew

      Say what you want but Boras is the best agent in sports, he will likely get his players the best deals. The guy knows what he’s doing. At this point last season he still hadn’t gotten Prince to sign and he ended up getting 200million. He even proved right when he had EJax take a 1 year deal when he could have had 3/30 because the next year he got 4/52. Let’s see what actually happens to these players before deciding that Boras is shooting himself in the foot

      • Bigg J

        Well you had Soriano making about 14/yr. No way he finds that now. Who needs him for that money?

  • BD

    For those that only want Bourn on a low year/low $ deal, what would you think if they added more money in bonus form? So maybe 4/$68M, but $12M was bonus and the AAV was $14M per?

    Or what if they offered 1 year for $20M? Then they could trade him so that next year he would hit a weaker FA market with no draft pick compensation to worry about.

    • terencem

      Usually, elite free agents like Bourn, end up taking the most guaranteed money. Bonuses are generally only used to bring a below market contract for a player with significant risks up to their market level if they stay healthy and are able to fully contribute. Other bonuses (MVP votes, ASG bonuses) are usually pretty small compared to the overall value of the contract.

    • ssckelley

      I was kind of wondering the same thing if he would accept a 1 year deal with the stipulation that he would be an unrestricted free agent after next season. Bourn’s agent has to know the same thing we do that the compensation is what is driving his price down. But the problem is if the Cubs would be willing to give up a 2nd round pick, along with the pool money, just to sign a player for 1 or 2 seasons. IMO knowing that the Cubs are building for 2014 that answer is probably no, if the Cubs did sign Bourn and give up the pick they would want at least 3 or 4 years. I think if Bourn was to want a 1 year “prove it” type of contract he would sign back with the Braves.

  • Curt

    glad I’m not theo or Jed I think this a tough call he’d be nice to have but only at the right price, good napkinoligy Bret. would you want him Bret .

  • Xavier

    Cubs need to sign Delmon Young 4 year 40 mil. Hes only 27 with power can,play RF decently.

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      Oh lord no.

    • bbmoney

      I can only assume you mean decently in the sense that an 60 year old with a limp could play right field decently.

      Goodness that would be the worst contract of the offseason by far. He’s a DH only guy with terrible on base skills. He is “young” but has shown nothing that makes you think he’ll actually become a good player….other than 1 decent year 3 years ago before he’d put on 20 or 30 pounds and not to mention by most accounts he’s a pretty terrible human being.

      • bbmoney

        of course if that was sarcasm…..then good one.

  • Rcleven

    How do you put 3.5 war value on a number 40 pick?
    Not questioning your numbers but trying to figure out what makes that #40 worth 3.5 war when he may never even sniff the majors?

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      It’s in the Fangraphs article. They looked at every player in history and averaged it out.

      “The first pick in any given draft is insanely valuable. The next few picks are pretty great too. It falls off in a hurry, though. When Sky Andrecheck (now with the Indians, by the way) did this analysis back in 2009, he had the #1 pick producing an average of +20 WAR, but the #10 pick was just at +6 WAR, while the #30 pick was only +4 WAR, and then every pick after that leveled off pretty substantially, to the point where it’s not clear that a fourth round pick is that much more valuable than an eighth round pick.”

      • Rcleven

        I read their explanation when I read the ” changing ” article.
        Seems you still have to look at how strong that draft looks.
        Also seems to me you are comparing apples to oranges when comparing a prospect to a player that is a MLB player(a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush).
        War has been attached to a dollar amount between 4M and 5M. A 20% difference seems to be a wide range .

  • dan

    sign him foe 1 year overpay with a club option for the secound year, If by June we are struggling again flip him for prospects thus allowing him to be a true free agent with no compensaion next year win win for all

  • Cubbie Blues

    He got it from here

    which got it from here

    and here is the formula
    Expected Lifetime WAR = (20.7 + (-8.5 * pitcher) + (4.6 * college)) * selection ^ (-.49)

    where pitcher is equal to 1 if a player is a pitcher, college is equal to 1 if he is a college player, and selection is equal to the # overall selection in the draft.

    The 3.5 WAR actually comes out to 3.4 and is based on a high school hitter.
    A high school pitcher would be at 2 WAR
    College pitcher 2.75 WAR
    and a College hitter 4.2 WAR

    *these are career WAR on average.

    • Cubbie Blues

      Oops, this was supposed to be under Rcleven. And thanks for posing the question. It made me delve into the numbers a bit.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah, I took clean approximation from those figures. Thanks.

      • Cubbie Blues

        I also used 40 for the draft pick which would change it ever so slightly using the 40/41/42 options. I wanted to be on the high side to take the most away from the veteran’s contract.

      • Cubbie Blues

        Also, I have heard the -.5 WAR drop after prime before. I always assumed that was an across the board average. Wouldn’t that drop be even greater for a speed guy? Any guesses (or actual calculations) on the increased drop?

        • JB88

          Yesterday, a couple people posted a link to a Fan Graphs (IIRC) article in which they found that the drop off for speedsters was actually marginally less than that for other players. They found the drop off to be an average of .45 per season, rather than the .5 drop off.

          I also don’t know what their sample size was or their sample population, so it is hard to know whether to take that figure with a grain of salt or whether it has statistical significance.

          • Cubbie Blues

            The major component left out in that article (thanks for the link Norm) is what other skills the player has. In Bourn’s case, he slaps the ball around quite a bit without much power at all. The bloopers will be turning into soft infield liners at the same time his speed is diminishing.

        • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm
    • Edwin

      You can use a similar formula for figuring out the value of prospects based on where they rank on top 100 lists, and use that when trying to figure what types of prospects would be reasonable to receive back for Garza or other players. You just need to figure out the surplus value a player has.



    • Rcleven

      Thanks for the links.

  • ISU Birds

    Bourn is gonna keep getting slower and slower……just saying.

    • Edwin

      Isn’t that true of every single FA signed this offseason?

  • 2much2say

    You create Prospect value with a Bourn signing. More trade chips. 4 years of Bourn make Jackson, Sappelt, Lake expendable.

  • North Side Irish

    For those of you interested, Fangraphs published their ZIPS projects for the Cubs…


    • Jacob

      Brett Jackson with a 2.3 WAR?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Possible. Jackson is not going to be a career 41% strikeout guy. That 2.3 looks pretty optimistic to me, but I don’t think it is impossible.

        I like that the included projected wOBA as well. Vitters at .307 seems about right. I’d be curious what sort of number he and Stewart would put up in a 3B platoon.

        • Edwin

          I think Vitters is tough to project. His wOBA in 107 PA last season was .183. That’s amazingly terrible.

        • Jacob

          I was more amazed that a number computed that. Like where did they find that projection with his numbers? Do you they account for minor league stats?

          • Jacob

            I meant that a calculation computed that.

          • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

            A projection system isn’t always going to be reliable on players with certain extreme skill sets. They work best in the middle, where the most data is.

    • North Side Irish

      Spoiler alert – They don’t like Ian Stweart

      • Edwin

        I find it strange that Josh Vitters is expected to have a better OPS+ than Ian Stewart.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Nah. Vitters looked bad in his brief trip to the majors, but that’s essentially meaningless. Keep in mind that he posted an OPS of .869 as a 22 year old in his first year of Triple A. That’s a good sign. Given Stewart’s injury history and the difficulty in projecting him, these numbers seem pretty reasonable.