After locking up two cornerstones – Jay Bruce prior to 2011 and recently Joey Votto – the Reds are turning their attention to two-time All-Star Brandon Phillips. And while both sides are during their best to keep the negotiations out of the press, ESPN’s Jim Bowden, who also happens to be a former Reds GM, reported that the team offered its second baseman a five-year, $60 million that would start this season and run through 2016. Phillips, however, is seeking a guaranteed sixth year.
With that being said, this deal – if the reported annual money is a close approximation – has far more greater return on investment than Votto’s, even if it does include a sixth year.
Using the same analysis I showed for the Votto contract (found here), below is the yearly projection for Phillips through the end of 2017, the potential sixth guaranteed year.
Phillips is coming off of a career year. Last season, according to the FanGraphs version, he was worth six wins above replacement, the fourth best total at the position and seventeenth among all hitters. And given his age (then-30), along with having the highest BABIP of his career (.322) and the fact that he’s only had one other season above five wins, it’s pretty safe to assume he’s going to regress this year.
But by how much?
Well, in 2008 he was worth 3.3 WAR but was quite unlucky, sporting a .277 BABIP. The next, even though his overall offensive production improved by 11 percentage points (90 wRC+ to 101 wRC+), his total value held firm because it was his defense this time that slumped. Then, in 2010, everything progressed back towards his career norms and he was worth just a shade under 4.5 wins, which is a reasonable expectation for this season.
Finally, and for those that frequent the site can attest, I generally have a large amount of disdain for long-term contract extensions that keeps a player under team-control well into his 30s. This time, however, I actually think this is a fantastic deal for the Reds, even if they have to go to six guaranteed years.
First off, they should get a significant return on their investment; somewhere north of $35 million or so, or atleast 150% more than they will have to dole out. It’s a tremendous amount, something I suspect that happens very little nowadays.
Secondly, assuming the deal is for six years, Phillips should still slightly outperform his last season’s paycheck. Again, another rarity for long term deals.
And, truthfully, as much as I dislike the Votto contract (again, it can be found here), I like the reported Phillips deal just as much.
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