Justin Verlander isn’t the only former MVP getting paid today, as Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports that the Giants and reigning NL MVP Buster Posey have agreed to a nine-year contract.
Posey was set to make $8 million this season, but this new contract wipes that away and will pay him $167 million from 2013-2021. In doing so the Giants have bought out Posey’s three remaining seasons of arbitration eligibility (2014-2016) and his first five seasons of free agency (2017-2021), and there’s also an option for 2022.
Posey will be 35 years old in 2022, so this basically makes him a Giant for life. Not bad for a guy who was facing major questions this time last year as he came back from a broken ankle that ended his 2011 season. Posey’s deal is the second-highest in baseball history for a catcher, trailing only Joe Mauer’s eight-year, $184 million contract with the Twins that was signed in March of 2010. Posey now, like Mauer then, is coming off an MVP-winning season that included a batting title, although he was further from free agency than Mauer then.
Here’s the full contract breakdown:
Bonus: $7 million
2013: $8 million
2014: $12.5 million
2015: $16.5 million
2016: $20 million
2017: $21.4 million
2018: $21.4 million
2019: $21.4 million
2020: $21.4 million
2021: $21.4 million
2022: $22 million option or $3 million buyout
Great moments in scouting. MLB.com’s Richard Justice spoke to an unnamed scout about the Astros, currently holding the American League’s best record at 76-47. The scout said that the Astros strike out too much and it will catch up with them. Justice pointed out that the Astros have the lowest strikeout total in baseball. The scout responded, “I don’t believe that.”
Justice, of course, is correct. The average major league team has struck out 1,006 times entering Sunday’s action. The Astros have by far the lowest total at 827, followed by the Indians at 881 and the Pirates at 882.
This scout doesn’t represent all scouts, but this is one of the major problems that advocates of statistics were trying to highlight before Sabermetrics became popular a decade ago. It’s a pattern. Person believes thing. Person either cherry-picks evidence to defend belief or is shown evidence that belief is not factually true and ignores it. Person refuses to change belief, using one of many excuses.
The other problem this highlights is the fallacy of “the eye test,” which is shorthand for treating a scout’s observations as sacrosanct due to his or her experience and knowledge of the game. In this case, the scout ignored easily accessed information, went with his gut, and turned out to be completely wrong. Furthermore, if “the eye test” were legit, the scout would’ve known that, for example, Yulieski Gurriel and Jose Altuve hardly ever strike out (11.1 and 12.4 percent strikeout rates, respectively). In fact, no one on the Astros’ roster (min. 230 PA) has a strikeout rate above 21 percent; the league average is 21.5 percent.
This isn’t to impugn the practice of scouting as a whole. There are a lot of things scouts can tell you about a player that data cannot and that has value. But for easily-researched claims like “the Astros strike out too much,” there’s no reason to trust a scout over the stats.
The Mets acquired right-handed reliever Jacob Rhame from the Dodgers, the team announced on Sunday. Rhame is the player to be named later in the trade that sent outfielder Curtis Granderson to Los Angeles on Friday night. He’s expected to report to the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate.
Rhame, 24, pitched through his second Triple-A campaign with the Oklahoma City Dodgers in 2017, collecting two saves in 41 appearances and logging a 4.31 ERA, 1.9 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 48 innings. While his ERA saw a sharp spike from its modest 3.29 mark in 2016 (perhaps thanks in part to a midseason DL stint due to an undisclosed injury), he’s controlling the ball better than he has in several years and has drawn some attention with a fastball that occasionally touches 98 MPH on the radar gun.
The Mets’ bullpen hasn’t been at its finest over the last few weeks, ranking 16th among its major league competitors with a collective 4.50 ERA and 2.4 fWAR, but likely isn’t looking to add an extreme fly ball pitcher to its staff just yet. Until he gets his big league break, Rhame will beef up Triple-A Vegas’ relief corps alongside fellow right-handers Yaisel Sierra, Joe Broussard and Josh Ravin.