For the past week or so we’ve seen a number of young talents, most notably Blake Snell, having their contracts renewed at low rates. While teams certainly have the power to do this — and while some renewals are better than others — they’ve caught flak from commentators and players for being cheap and shortsighted moves.
Add Astros’ All-Star third baseman Alex Bregman to the list of players disappointed in such tactics. Bregman was renewed for $640,500 — he made $599,000 a year ago and the minimum salary is $555,000 — which is certainly a bigger bump than some other guys have gotten. Still, Bregman put up a line of .286/.394/.532 with a league-leading 52 doubles, 31 homers and 103 RBI and a 6.9 WAR season and that sort of production is worth eight figures a year on the open market.
Bregman spoke about the move yesterday, making the point better than anyone else can:
“I feel like good business would be wanting to make a player who performed at a high level on your team happy and want to feel like he wanted to be kept and feel like they wanted him to play here forever. I’m just disappointed it doesn’t seem like the same amount of want.”
GM Jeff Luhnow defended the decision, saying “That’s just the nature of our industry right now.” Which is not a defense of the nature of the industry right now, of course. It’s merely an acknowledgment that, when a player has zero leverage, he’s going to be paid far, far less than his production is worth and that teams will, quite happily, take advantage of that fact.
Which, again, is their right. Bregman’s comments about the shortsighted nature of such moves, however, should be remembered if and when players in his position are less than eager to stay with a club or grant any concessions in negotiations whatsoever once they actually get some leverage.