In addition to the earlier trio of predictions on free agent signing locations, I wanted to share Jon Heyman’s annual projection of free agent salaries. In years past, Heyman’s work on this topic has explicitly included feedback from anonymous executives and agents, and has been among the more accurate dollar projections (together with the FanGraphs crowd-sourced projections, which we discussed last week). This time around, it’s not entirely clear what input helped Heyman come to his numbers, but I think it’s safe to assume he wasn’t pulling these out of a hat.
So, then, I’ll share the article, offer some stray thoughts, and you can discuss:
- The consensus expectation seems to be that David Price will be shooting to land around, or top, the $215 million commitment Clayton Kershaw received from the Dodgers, and/or the $210 million commitment Max Scherzer received from the Nationals, and, indeed, Heyman pegs Price for seven years and $210 million. That is the same nominal deal Scherzer got, but it was heavily deferred, and folks generally agree that the actual value is much lower than $210 million. Kershaw, for his part, was signed while still in arbitration, while in his mid-20s, and while the best pitcher on Earth. He’s a bit of a different entity entirely. That is all to say, seven years and $210 million seems realistic for Price to shoot for. But is that too much for the Cubs to spend?
- Especially when you compare him against the projected commitments for guys like Zack Greinke (five years, $165 million), Jordan Zimmermann (five years, $115 million), or Johnny Cueto (six years, $144 million). Don’t get me wrong: those are huge commitments for those guys. But each would leave a lot of additional money to play with.
- Heyman has Jason Heyward at nine years and $180 million, which, honestly, sounds about right to me. And given that those nine years would be his age 26 through 34 seasons, I really can’t say that might not prove to be a fantastic deal for the signing team.
- Alex Gordon comes in at five years and $100 million, and, if that’s where his bidding actually goes, I don’t think those Cubs rumors will persist much longer.
- Similarly, five years and $85 million for Jeff Samardzija, while plausible, is not where I think the Cubs would want to go for him. (For me, a one-year deal makes some sense for both sides.)
- Four years and $60 million for Ben Zobrist, or four years and $48 million for Dexter Fowler? Pretty easy decision, right? I still can’t believe Fowler would get so little, even if teams are concerned about his center field defense.
- Similarly, three years and $36 million for Denard Span, or that four-year deal for Fowler? It’s Fowler again, right?
- Howie Kendrick at four years and just $44 million? He’s not a great fit for the Cubs, but that’s such a reasonable deal, my mind starts coming up with ways to shuffle guys around.
- The Cubs were connected to Darren O’Day earlier today, and Heyman pegs the righty for three years and $25 million. Do it.
- The price tags on almost all of the second tier starters look a little scary to me.