Red Sox sign P Chris Martin

JM3

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Seems very likely to improve the pen, but that seems like an awful lot of money for 60 innings.
That's how I felt about Edwin Diaz's contract.

This? Meh, seems fine. If he really did discover something with the Dodgers (the new pitch mix perhaps), it's a steal, & if he is what he has been, it's ok.
 

mikcou

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Not sure why people hate the price unless you just didn't want them to sign any proven relievers this offseason.

He's not young but it's 2 years and the $ seems pretty reasonable to me given other signings.

Chaim isn't going to get anyone with his recent production at less than this.
I agree that this about going rate for good, but not great, relievers. That said, I still think this contract is pretty silly. Giving multiple years to a reliever who is about to be 37 isnt a great bet - guys those age are at a high risk to completely fall off the face of the earth and its a decent likelyhood Martin is straight bad by 2024. It also goes to a broader point that Bloom seems predisposed (outside of the low risk deals that basically all teams do) to shop in the mid-tier range (say the $15-25M position player and starter market; $7-10M reliever market), which is generally the least price-efficient free agent markets to operate in, especially for relievers where good but not great relievers become bad overnight (and bad become good but not great overnight - its the fickle nature of relievers). It would be one thing on a 1 year - where the pricing is unlikely to have much surplus value, but the downside risk is pretty limited; a two year deal's upside is probably that hes close to worth the deal - the medain outcome here is he wont be worth it.

It's strange in the context of the roster as well - this seems like the move for a legit playoff roster trying to be serious world series team rather than a bad roster that need serious help both in the lineup and the starting rotation to hope to contend at all - help that almost certainly cannot be sourced in one year of free agent activity in what is a relatively weak class of players.

A broader point that may be beyond this thread, but its quite strange in how seemingly risk averse this FO is that theyve decided to operate in a market (good, but not great or elite players) that typically has comparatively poor results just to avoid long term commitments to the legitimately great talent.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Ideally, you want to identify guys like this like the Dodgers did, and not pay them after that success. He was freely available at less than $3M last year, right? But, he’s got a solid enough track record and the Sox were in need of a durable, strike throwing righty. Seems like a B- type deal to me; should be fine and if he stinks, it’s not a huge amount of money and this deal shouldn’t really prevent them from doing whatever else they need to do.
 

radsoxfan

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I agree that this about going rate for good, but not great, relievers. That said, I still think this contract is pretty silly. Giving multiple years to a reliever who is about to be 37 isnt a great bet - guys those age are at a high risk to completely fall off the face of the earth and its a decent likelyhood Martin is straight bad by 2024. It also goes to a broader point that Bloom seems predisposed (outside of the low risk deals that basically all teams do) to shop in the mid-tier range (say the $15-25M position player and starter market; $7-10M reliever market), which is generally the least price-efficient free agent markets to operate in, especially for relievers where good but not great relievers become bad overnight (and bad become good but not great overnight - its the fickle nature of relievers). It would be one thing on a 1 year - where the pricing is unlikely to have much surplus value, but the downside risk is pretty limited; a two year deal's upside is probably that hes close to worth the deal - the medain outcome here is he wont be worth it.

It's strange in the context of the roster as well - this seems like the move for a legit playoff roster trying to be serious world series team rather than a bad roster that need serious help both in the lineup and the starting rotation to hope to contend at all - help that almost certainly cannot be sourced in one year of free agent activity in what is a relatively weak class of players.

A broader point that may be beyond this thread, but its quite strange in how seemingly risk averse this FO is that theyve decided to operate in a market (good, but not great or elite players) that typically has comparatively poor results just to avoid long term commitments to the legitimately great talent.
2/17.5 is a pretty short term commitment.

Would 1/8-10 range be safer? Sure. But you have to beat other offers and he probably had some 2 year deals on the table.

I still don’t see how anyone could be upset about this sort of midrange deal unless you prefer only cheap fliers and hope something sticks.

Martin has been solid in his career and his recent upside is far better than solid. You have to pay something to get those guys.
 

DisgruntledSoxFan77

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2/17.5 is a pretty short term commitment.

Would 1/8-10 range be safer? Sure. But you have to beat other offers and he probably had some 2 year deals on the table.

I still don’t see how anyone could be upset about this sort of midrange deal unless you prefer only cheap fliers and hope something sticks.

Martin has been solid in his career and his recent upside is far better than solid. You have to pay something to get those guys.
Which is how we ended up with the pen we had this season. If we’re taking a chance on a bullpen arm I would prefer one with a decent shot at being good, not just stockpiling as many as we can. I have no issue with Martin, let’s just hope he can hold it together
 

BornToRun

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Yes! My wife and I were remarking how Kimbrel would walk 34 batters in a weekend after I saw Martin's walk stat. Kimbrel was supposed to be good and he was very not. Maybe I underrated Diekman, so his walks didn't sting as bad. or maybe it was the PTSD from Kimbrel...
I will not tolerate this Craig slander, scoundrel!
 

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FWIW, MLBTR had Martin at #46 in their top 50 FAs, projecting a 2/$14 deal.

Based on early contracts, I think many of their projected salaries are going to be low.

(They had Elfin as #31 at 2/$22.)
 

iddoc

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So an aging but good setup man with an excellent K/BB ratio. At least this time we didn’t have to give up Jeff Bagwell.
 

mikcou

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2/17.5 is a pretty short term commitment.

Would 1/8-10 range be safer? Sure. But you have to beat other offers and he probably had some 2 year deals on the table.

I still don’t see how anyone could be upset about this sort of midrange deal unless you prefer only cheap fliers and hope something sticks.

Martin has been solid in his career and his recent upside is far better than solid. You have to pay something to get those guys.
That isnt the only way in the market to go. One can move up as well. That is part of the point - they are willing to push the line on these smaller deals that realistically dont have a ton of upside, but when it gets to deals where there is significantly more upside, they clam up due to risk (i.e., moving from the above average/good market to the star/elite guys).

Martin has been an above average, but not good reliever other than about 25 innings in LA this past year and is going to be 37. This is a guy who signed for 1/$2.5M with the Cubs last year and whose time with the Cubs prior to the trade to LA was pretty consistent with the rest of his career (actually worse). Maybe he found something out in the middle of his age 36 season that made him a really good reliever rather than a guy who is a bit above average with some year to year variability, but that fact pattern screams significant regression to me before we even get into age related decline. Others views may vary obviously.
 

radsoxfan

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That isnt the only way in the market to go. One can move up as well. That is part of the point - they are willing to push the line on these smaller deals that realistically dont have a ton of upside, but when it gets to deals where there is significantly more upside, they clam up due to risk (i.e., moving from the above average/good market to the star/elite guys).

Martin has been an above average, but not good reliever other than about 25 innings in LA this past year and is going to be 37. This is a guy who signed for 1/$2.5M with the Cubs last year and whose time with the Cubs prior to the trade to LA was pretty consistent with the rest of his career (actually worse). Maybe he found something out in the middle of his age 36 season that made him a really good reliever rather than a guy who is a bit above average with some year to year variability, but that fact pattern screams significant regression to me before we even get into age related decline. Others views may vary obviously.
Confusing to say this deal doesn’t have a ton of upside when his most recent performance is literally bursting with upside.

I don’t have a ton of faith he will be that good over the next 2 years but this deal makes a sense to me if you’re still trying to contend and build a legit bullpen for 2023.

Option 2, lots of low probability fliers, is not what a team like the Red Sox should be doing exclusively,
 

chawson

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I agree that this about going rate for good, but not great, relievers. That said, I still think this contract is pretty silly. Giving multiple years to a reliever who is about to be 37 isnt a great bet - guys those age are at a high risk to completely fall off the face of the earth and its a decent likelyhood Martin is straight bad by 2024. It also goes to a broader point that Bloom seems predisposed (outside of the low risk deals that basically all teams do) to shop in the mid-tier range (say the $15-25M position player and starter market; $7-10M reliever market), which is generally the least price-efficient free agent markets to operate in, especially for relievers where good but not great relievers become bad overnight (and bad become good but not great overnight - its the fickle nature of relievers). It would be one thing on a 1 year - where the pricing is unlikely to have much surplus value, but the downside risk is pretty limited; a two year deal's upside is probably that hes close to worth the deal - the medain outcome here is he wont be worth it.

It's strange in the context of the roster as well - this seems like the move for a legit playoff roster trying to be serious world series team rather than a bad roster that need serious help both in the lineup and the starting rotation to hope to contend at all - help that almost certainly cannot be sourced in one year of free agent activity in what is a relatively weak class of players.

A broader point that may be beyond this thread, but its quite strange in how seemingly risk averse this FO is that theyve decided to operate in a market (good, but not great or elite players) that typically has comparatively poor results just to avoid long term commitments to the legitimately great talent.
Joely Rodriguez and Chris Martin last year combined for 106.1 innings at a 2.68 FIP, and cost $10.25M (and two roster spots) in 2023.

Liam Hendriks threw 57 innings at 2.68 FIP, costing $18M aav. Rafael Montero threw 68 innings at a 2.64 FIP clip, and costs $11.5M.

I don't mean to frame this like cost-efficiency is some game we need to win, but I think Bloom did well here. Joely Rodriguez and Chris Martin are not household names and were on no one's radar, but adding 110~ elite relief innings innings for $10M — less than 10 percent of our spending power this offseason — seems sharp to me.

I agree with you that these moves probably don't make sense unless you're contending, though either could conceivably be flipped if it comes to that.
 

effectivelywild

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That isnt the only way in the market to go. One can move up as well. That is part of the point - they are willing to push the line on these smaller deals that realistically dont have a ton of upside, but when it gets to deals where there is significantly more upside, they clam up due to risk (i.e., moving from the above average/good market to the star/elite guys).

Martin has been an above average, but not good reliever other than about 25 innings in LA this past year and is going to be 37. This is a guy who signed for 1/$2.5M with the Cubs last year and whose time with the Cubs prior to the trade to LA was pretty consistent with the rest of his career (actually worse). Maybe he found something out in the middle of his age 36 season that made him a really good reliever rather than a guy who is a bit above average with some year to year variability, but that fact pattern screams significant regression to me before we even get into age related decline. Others views may vary obviously.
I would assume (though obviously cannot confirm) that the Sox have looked at some underlying metrics that suggest that there is something beyond pure variance that can account for his improved results, similar to Wacha last year. To be honest, I am generally pretty wary of top-line relievers; I feel like with relievers the range of possible performance from one season to the next (and within the season) that even the top notch guys carry a lot of risk. Edwin Diaz is a great example: in his last 3 non-Covid seasons he has been replacement level, very good and elite. Ideally you'll catch a guy before he breaks out, but then...you wind up with a terrible bullpen if you are planning on those guys to figure something out and they don't, as we've seen. Martin's performances are unlikely to feel like a rush of blood to the head, but he's a decent bet to be at least a solid player, and that makes me feel a bit happier in my place.
 

Scoops Bolling

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Martin has been an above average, but not good reliever other than about 25 innings in LA this past year and is going to be 37. This is a guy who signed for 1/$2.5M with the Cubs last year and whose time with the Cubs prior to the trade to LA was pretty consistent with the rest of his career (actually worse). Maybe he found something out in the middle of his age 36 season that made him a really good reliever rather than a guy who is a bit above average with some year to year variability, but that fact pattern screams significant regression to me before we even get into age related decline. Others views may vary obviously.
This is simply not an accurate characterization of Chris Martin's post-Japan career. First of all, this is a guy who signed with Atlanta for 2/14 after putting up 97 IP of 3.88 ERA (and a 102/10 K/BB) from 2018-2019. He was clearly recognized as, and paid as, a top set up caliber reliever. He performed at that level in 2020, with a 1.00 ERA over 18 IP with a 20/3 K/BB. Then in 2021 he had his worst year post-Japan, putting up a 3.95 ERA and a mere 33/6 K/BB. Last year he basically performed the same as he did in 2019-2020. He's been a good, setup caliber reliever three of the past four years, and he's paid accordingly.
 

adcasaletto

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Joely Rodriguez and Chris Martin last year combined for 106.1 innings at a 2.68 FIP, and cost $10.25M (and two roster spots) in 2023.

Liam Hendriks threw 57 innings at 2.68 FIP, costing $18M aav. Rafael Montero threw 68 innings at a 2.64 FIP clip, and costs $11.5M.

I don't mean to frame this like cost-efficiency is some game we need to win, but I think Bloom did well here. Joely Rodriguez and Chris Martin are not household names and were on no one's radar, but adding 110~ elite relief innings innings for $10M — less than 10 percent of our spending power this offseason — seems sharp to me.

I agree with you that these moves probably don't make sense unless you're contending, though either could conceivably be flipped if it comes to that.
That was my thinking. If the team is performing poorly, and the relievers are performing, they can easily be flipped to a contender for hopefully quality prospects that are close to being major league ready.
 

joe dokes

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I agree that this about going rate for good, but not great, relievers. That said, I still think this contract is pretty silly. Giving multiple years to a reliever who is about to be 37 isnt a great bet - guys those age are at a high risk to completely fall off the face of the earth and its a decent likelyhood Martin is straight bad by 2024. It also goes to a broader point that Bloom seems predisposed (outside of the low risk deals that basically all teams do) to shop in the mid-tier range (say the $15-25M position player and starter market; $7-10M reliever market), which is generally the least price-efficient free agent markets to operate in, especially for relievers where good but not great relievers become bad overnight (and bad become good but not great overnight - its the fickle nature of relievers). It would be one thing on a 1 year - where the pricing is unlikely to have much surplus value, but the downside risk is pretty limited; a two year deal's upside is probably that hes close to worth the deal - the medain outcome here is he wont be worth it.
The mid tier range or below is where shopping for relievers should be. You need a lot of them, and 33%-50% will suck in any given year.
 

mikcou

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Confusing to say this deal doesn’t have a ton of upside when his most recent performance is literally bursting with upside.

I don’t have a ton of faith he will be that good over the next 2 years but this deal makes a sense to me if you’re still trying to contend and build a legit bullpen for 2023.

Option 2, lots of low probability fliers, is not what a team like the Red Sox should be doing exclusively,
There isnt a ton of upside because they are paying him to be close to what he produced last year so you're already mostly buying into him being at least a very good reliever. For an exec who seems obsessed with excess value elsewhere in his contracts its just weird. I hope it works, but finding potential upside in a deal that is paying a non elite reliever who generally pitches 40-50 innings $9M is pretty tough.

I still dont understand why the options are Chris Martin or random dart throws. There are in fact a lot of free agent pitchers who are not Martin and are not $2M lotto tickets.

Joely Rodriguez and Chris Martin last year combined for 106.1 innings at a 2.68 FIP, and cost $10.25M (and two roster spots) in 2023.

Liam Hendriks threw 57 innings at 2.68 FIP, costing $18M aav. Rafael Montero threw 68 innings at a 2.64 FIP clip, and costs $11.5M.

I don't mean to frame this like cost-efficiency is some game we need to win, but I think Bloom did well here. Joely Rodriguez and Chris Martin are not household names and were on no one's radar, but adding 110~ elite relief innings innings for $10M — less than 10 percent of our spending power this offseason — seems sharp to me.

I agree with you that these moves probably don't make sense unless you're contending, though either could conceivably be flipped if it comes to that.
Sure, if these guys are actually elite, it would work great. Joely Rodriguez was just non-tendered by the Mets. Chris Martin has one 25 inning stretch and his 19 inning COVID shoretend season in his career where he was elite (with another very good 2019 season). He wasn't good in either 2018 or 2021 or his stint with the Cubs in 2022. There's a lot of noise in reliever performance so splitting it into even smaller samples (e.g., COVID shortened season and his Dodger's performance) starts to get really hard to find true meaning. Did he figure something out post trade deadline or did he just go on a run.

I would assume (though obviously cannot confirm) that the Sox have looked at some underlying metrics that suggest that there is something beyond pure variance that can account for his improved results, similar to Wacha last year. To be honest, I am generally pretty wary of top-line relievers; I feel like with relievers the range of possible performance from one season to the next (and within the season) that even the top notch guys carry a lot of risk. Edwin Diaz is a great example: in his last 3 non-Covid seasons he has been replacement level, very good and elite. Ideally you'll catch a guy before he breaks out, but then...you wind up with a terrible bullpen if you are planning on those guys to figure something out and they don't, as we've seen. Martin's performances are unlikely to feel like a rush of blood to the head, but he's a decent bet to be at least a solid player, and that makes me feel a bit happier in my place.
This is a good reason to be very cautious of a single half season that is completely different than the rest of a player's career. As for Diaz, he's been an elite reliever pretty much ever year of his career outside of 2019.

This is simply not an accurate characterization of Chris Martin's post-Japan career. First of all, this is a guy who signed with Atlanta for 2/14 after putting up 97 IP of 3.88 ERA (and a 102/10 K/BB) from 2018-2019. He was clearly recognized as, and paid as, a top set up caliber reliever. He performed at that level in 2020, with a 1.00 ERA over 18 IP with a 20/3 K/BB. Then in 2021 he had his worst year post-Japan, putting up a 3.95 ERA and a mere 33/6 K/BB. Last year he basically performed the same as he did in 2019-2020. He's been a good, setup caliber reliever three of the past four years, and he's paid accordingly.
You're making my point for me. Hes had two very small sample size driven good years - the COVID shortened season and his half season in LA. Other than that hes a goodish/solid average reliever. The last team who bought into him (and for who he had the great COVID shortened year) let him walk for $2.5M. There is a lot of variability in relievers and judging them on 20 inning samples is inane. I dont think thats the profile of a top set up man at all. Hes pitched like that half the time since hes been back the other half hes been a guy who you dont want to be putting in any high leverage situations. He's also a 37 year-old to be.

Since hes been back from Japan he was a bit above league average in both 2018 and 2021. He was league average with the Cubs in 2022 after signing for almost nothing. Do I think hes going to be terrible? No, but I also dont think there's much upside given the pricing basically assumes he can be a 130+ ERA+ type guy and theres meaningful Diekman (not that hed have the same issues as Diekman, but just the general concept of a reliever who no one really wants touching high lev scenarios) type downside where we're wondering in July what the hell to do with him.

In the end it seems like most have a different reaction and view of Martin as a player, which is fine - that gap isnt going to be bridged until he actually performs (which I hope he proves me wrong). It isnt unreasonable though to question why this deal makes sense.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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This is simply not an accurate characterization of Chris Martin's post-Japan career. First of all, this is a guy who signed with Atlanta for 2/14 after putting up 97 IP of 3.88 ERA (and a 102/10 K/BB) from 2018-2019. He was clearly recognized as, and paid as, a top set up caliber reliever. He performed at that level in 2020, with a 1.00 ERA over 18 IP with a 20/3 K/BB. Then in 2021 he had his worst year post-Japan, putting up a 3.95 ERA and a mere 33/6 K/BB. Last year he basically performed the same as he did in 2019-2020. He's been a good, setup caliber reliever three of the past four years, and he's paid accordingly.
I think the point is that he’s largely been the same kind of guy for years, signing him a year ago for like 2/$8 would have been a pretty great deal. Signing him now just assumes he’s suddenly the elite guy he was for a few dozen innings in LA. Feels like buying high. That being said, if he’s the guy they want, there’s something to be said for getting a deal done quickly and it certainly seems like the market is moving in a certain direction.
 

Scoops Bolling

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Again, he signed for 2/14 two years ago. 2/17.5 is basically the same rate in 2023. It's the same rate a guy like Kendall Graveman got last year (3/24). This isn't paying him like he's "suddenly" an elite guy. It's paying him like the setup arm he has been since he came back from Japan. He is not an "average" or "goodish" reliever. In 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2022, Martin would have been a top three reliever for the Red Sox every single season. He is and has been a setup man the entire time. That doesn't make him some kind of relief ace, but he's also not being paid at that rate. He's being paid like a setup man, which is exactly what he is.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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Again, he signed for 2/14 two years ago. 2/17.5 is basically the same rate in 2023. It's the same rate a guy like Kendall Graveman got last year (3/24). This isn't paying him like he's "suddenly" an elite guy. It's paying him like the setup arm he has been since he came back from Japan. He is not an "average" or "goodish" reliever. In 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2022, Martin would have been a top three reliever for the Red Sox every single season. He is and has been a setup man the entire time. That doesn't make him some kind of relief ace, but he's also not being paid at that rate. He's being paid like a setup man, which is exactly what he is.
Yeah, agreed, this is basically the going rate for a solid 7th-8th inning guy. Was Joe Kelly a better pitcher then than Martin is now after Kelly’s great playoff run for us in ‘18, when the Dodgers gave him 3/$25? Younger, sure. Better? I don’t think so. And the White Sox just gave Kelly 2/$17 last year coming off a good-but-only-44-inning season.
 

mikcou

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Again, he signed for 2/14 two years ago. 2/17.5 is basically the same rate in 2023. It's the same rate a guy like Kendall Graveman got last year (3/24). This isn't paying him like he's "suddenly" an elite guy. It's paying him like the setup arm he has been since he came back from Japan. He is not an "average" or "goodish" reliever. In 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2022, Martin would have been a top three reliever for the Red Sox every single season. He is and has been a setup man the entire time. That doesn't make him some kind of relief ace, but he's also not being paid at that rate. He's being paid like a setup man, which is exactly what he is.
He had a 105 ERA+ in 2018 - I dont qualify that as good for a reliever at all - its poor. He probably doesnt make the Sox playoff roster that year. He was good in 2019 (after which Atlanta gave him the deal you refer to), elite in a short 2020 season, and then not good in 2021 after which he got a scrap heap deal. Ignoring that intervening deal I think is what some of us are looking at as well as the seeming 50/50 chance as to whether you get a good year out of him (2019, 2020, 2022 yes; 2018, 2021 - no). He's also 37.
 

jwbasham84

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We literally spent $6M for Paxton to throw exactly 0 pitches for us in 2022. $8.75M for a potentially solid bullpen guy who doesn't walk every 4th batter seems reasonable. No it's not a cheap deal but it's not a massive over pay. I hope we continue to add players that can help the team. Not all will be had at clearance prices and nor should they be.
 

KingChre

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We literally spent $6M for Paxton to throw exactly 0 pitches for us in 2022. $8.75M for a potentially solid bullpen guy who doesn't walk every 4th batter seems reasonable. No it's not a cheap deal but it's not a massive over pay. I hope we continue to add players that can help the team. Not all will be had at clearance prices and nor should they be.
Its almost as if he got a market rate deal on the free market.
 

YTF

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There isnt a ton of upside because they are paying him to be close to what he produced last year so you're already mostly buying into him being at least a very good reliever. For an exec who seems obsessed with excess value elsewhere in his contracts its just weird. I hope it works, but finding potential upside in a deal that is paying a non elite reliever who generally pitches 40-50 innings $9M is pretty tough.
But isn't he already a very good reliever? Isn't that the upside? In today's game of baseball there are a lot of situational/specialty type pitchers who don't typically pitch a ton of innings. It's part of the reason that we have 13 man staffs and many teams might go with 14 if allowed to.
 

mikcou

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But isn't he already a very good reliever? Isn't that the upside? In today's game of baseball there are a lot of situational/specialty type pitchers who don't typically pitch a ton of innings. It's part of the reason that we have 13 man staffs and many teams might go with 14 if allowed to.
That isnt upside in any meaningful way then. That would be like signing Xander to a $250M deal and saying that the upside is you signed a good shortstop - we arent talking about roster upside where clearly Martin could be helpful to the pen - its always been a pricing question that I was responding to.

Theyre paying him to be a very good/great, but not elite reliever (i.e., a 1 WAR reliever). Generally (and especially when dealing with a 37 year old reliever), youd want some model cases where the player meaningfully outproduces your payment to reward the team for the risk that he regresses back to the 40% of his post-Japan career where hes been a 0.5 WAR reliever as well as the old age/injury risk. It doesnt take much for a 37 year old pitcher to go from being really good to terrible. Here the only case that that really works for him to exceed his comp is for him to somehow repeat his 2022, which seems outlandish enough to be more like a 90th percentile outcome than a 65th-75th type.

This pricing strikes me as pricing perfection in your projections - something Chaim has not done and hasnt come close to doing with the team's stars where he has priced pretty enormous discounts into every reported offer - there are certainly times to do so (the Astros priced their Montero deal that way and arguably the Abreu deal as well), but I dont think the Red Sox are at that stage for a middle reliever. Others have said it, but it smells like a Dombrowski deal; my immediate thought when seeing the deal details was it only makes sense for a team that think they need a few bullpen pieces to be one of the top 2-3 teams.
 
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Niastri

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The mid tier range or below is where shopping for relievers should be. You need a lot of them, and 33%-50% will suck in any given year.
Given the increased importance of relievers lately, it might be good roster construction to spend $40-$50 million on your top 5-6 relievers and then fill in with fliers and pitching prospects breaking into the big leagues.

Teams are having starters pitch an inning less than not too long ago, and the quality of the guys picking up the slack needs to be higher.
 

Dewey'sCannon

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Given the increased importance of relievers lately, it might be good roster construction to spend $40-$50 million on your top 5-6 relievers and then fill in with fliers and pitching prospects breaking into the big leagues.

Teams are having starters pitch an inning less than not too long ago, and the quality of the guys picking up the slack needs to be higher.
If starters are going an inning less, then you need at least 2 (if not 3) guys to pick up the slack for those 162 additional innings. The low-cost, low-quality "mop-up" man may be a "luxury" contending teams can no longer afford.
 

JM3

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That isnt upside in any meaningful way then. That would be like signing Xander to a $250M deal and saying that the upside is you signed a good shortstop - we arent talking about roster upside where clearly Martin could be helpful to the pen - its always been a pricing question that I was responding to.

Theyre paying him to be a very good/great, but not elite reliever (i.e., a 1 WAR reliever). Generally (and especially when dealing with a 37 year old reliever), youd want some model cases where the player meaningfully outproduces your payment to reward the team for the risk that he regresses back to the 40% of his post-Japan career where hes been a 0.5 WAR reliever as well as the old age/injury risk. It doesnt take much for a 37 year old pitcher to go from being really good to terrible. Here the only case that that really works for him to exceed his comp is for him to somehow repeat his 2022, which seems outlandish enough to be more like a 90th percentile outcome than a 65th-75th type.

This pricing strikes me as pricing perfection in your projections - something Chaim has not done and hasnt come close to doing with the team's stars where he has priced pretty enormous discounts into every reported offer - there are certainly times to do so (the Astros priced their Montero deal that way and arguably the Abreu deal as well), but I dont think the Red Sox are at that stage for a middle reliever. Others have said it, but it smells like a Dombrowski deal; my immediate thought when seeing the deal details was it only makes sense for a team that think they need a few bullpen pieces to be one of the top 2-3 teams.
The real question is did something significant happen between the Cubs & Dodgers that makes the Dodgers success somewhat repeatable.

The only real change was throwing about 15% more fastballs & cutters & less sliders/etc. His fastball has always been a better pitch success-wise, so this could certainly be seen as something repeatable to some extent, especially with an off season to tinker more.

The age thing seems like a bit of a red herring considering the lack of wear & tear on the arm.

This is definitely analogous to the Wacha flyer in that there was a small proof of concept after the player underwent a pitch usage adjustment.

Of course it's cheaper if you get the guy before any proof of concept, but the odds of success on that flyer are also significantly lower.

The good thing is that even when Martin was "bad" he still never walked anyone & underperformed his peripherals.

These deals really have nothing to do with the huge long term contracts as it's a whole different type of risk. Like Diekman was a disaster & we still got a free starting catcher for him. If X turns into like Yelich...yikes.
 

mikcou

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The real question is did something significant happen between the Cubs & Dodgers that makes the Dodgers success somewhat repeatable.

The only real change was throwing about 15% more fastballs & cutters & less sliders/etc. His fastball has always been a better pitch success-wise, so this could certainly be seen as something repeatable to some extent, especially with an off season to tinker more.

The age thing seems like a bit of a red herring considering the lack of wear & tear on the arm.

This is definitely analogous to the Wacha flyer in that there was a small proof of concept after the player underwent a pitch usage adjustment.

Of course it's cheaper if you get the guy before any proof of concept, but the odds of success on that flyer are also significantly lower.

The good thing is that even when Martin was "bad" he still never walked anyone & underperformed his peripherals.

These deals really have nothing to do with the huge long term contracts as it's a whole different type of risk. Like Diekman was a disaster & we still got a free starting catcher for him. If X turns into like Yelich...yikes.

I dont fundamentally disagree with any of this other than the age point. Mileage is not the only that causes decreased performance - athletic abilities decline as players age regardless of how much they have played - higher usage may (or may not depending on the individual) exarcebate that trend. Pitchers who can play competently at 37/38 are very much an outlier and trend towards players who are if not HOF level; were at least elite at one point in time.

The comparison to Xander was not meant to equate the risk levels of the contracts - obviously there is much more at risk in large contracts (but also much more to gain), only that you generally do not want to price things assuming that the player will perform under their absolute best case scenario.

I have no problem with spending money on relievers or think that everything should be a dart throw on guys who havent proved their concept at all. I just like deals priced so the reward is commensurate with the risk (there may be exceptions where that isnt the case when there is a clear need to put a team seemingly over the top). I dont see that here, but its not going to kill them either way so no use spilling more ink on it. I hope it works.
 

jon abbey

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I just like deals priced so the reward is commensurate with the risk
I don't think there are going to be many of those signed by anyone this winter, there is a ton of money chasing not enough talent.
 

mikcou

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I don't think there are going to be many of those signed by anyone this winter, there is a ton of money chasing not enough talent.
Not to get too pedantic, but if the realities of the market are such that its multiples move up significantly from last year than the reward would be higher - the free agent market is the free agent market - it can only be judged by other contracts in that market. For example if the multiple goes from 9x to 11x than its easier for any contract to be make sense.

I havent seen a ton of evidence there yet. If a move like that is actually happening, were going to see things like Judge going for closer to 375 than the 300 that has been floated and Correa going for the high 300s as well. Xander (240-260) and Turner (275+) in the mid to high 200s. The big deal (degrom) and kinda big deal and big for a reliever (diaz) dont suggest that.
 

JM3

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I dont fundamentally disagree with any of this other than the age point.
i mostly agree with your post, too. I just think we differ on the level of upside as i think if he is actually the guy he was with the Dodgers there is a good amount of surplus value in there.

Mileage is not the only that causes decreased performance - athletic abilities decline as players age regardless of how much they have played - higher usage may (or may not depending on the individual) exarcebate that trend. Pitchers who can play competently at 37/38 are very much an outlier and trend towards players who are if not HOF level.
The # of pitchers who have excellent age 36 seasons is also quite low. It's kind of like life expectancy... the longer you live, the longer you can be expected to live.

I have no problem with spending money on relievers or think that everything should be a dart throw on guys who havent proved their concept at all. I just like deals priced so the reward is commensurate with the risk (there may be exceptions where that isnt the case when there is a clear need to put a team seemingly over the top). I dont see that here, but its not going to kill them either way so no use spilling more ink on it. I hope it works.
We shall see how the off season plays out, but I doubt this precludes them from doing anything else they would have otherwise intended to do & gives them a bit more flexibility if they want to move a Houck or something.
 

jon abbey

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Not to get too pedantic, but if the realities of the market are such that its multiples move up significantly from last year than the reward would be higher - the free agent market is the free agent market - it can only be judged by other contracts in that market. For example if the multiple goes from 9x to 11x than its easier for any contract to be make sense.

I havent seen a ton of evidence there yet. If a move like that is actually happening, were going to see things like Judge going for closer to 375 than the 300 that has been floated and Correa going for the high 300s as well. Xander (240-260) and Turner (275+) in the mid to high 200s. The big deal (degrom) and kinda big deal and big for a reliever (diaz) dont suggest that.
I don't know what most of this means (and you don't have to try to explain it any further), but I do know this isn't true:

"the free agent market is the free agent market - it can only be judged by other contracts in that market."

This would be true if everyone was a free agent every offseason, but as it is, contracts this winter can be compared to ones signed in previous years or ones in future years. My point is that last year someone like Carlos Correa essentially overplayed his hand and ended up with no real market, I don't think that is going to happen to anyone this winter and GMs are way less likely to get the kind of reward/risk combo you're hoping for. For instance, last year BOS signed Wacha for 1/7. I think if 2021 Wacha was a FA in this market, he would do decidedly better than that (1/13? 2/20?), maybe Clevinger's 1/12 deal just signed is a good equivalent.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Isn’t it premature to say that, though? I imagine part of the reason why Correa (and Story) didn’t sign quickly is that they saw what Seagar got. The players who sign early tend to get paid pretty well or they wouldn’t sign early. But there’s usually players left late without a dance partner who end up signing for less than expected, money and urgency dries up eventually. Maybe this year is different, we shall see; obviously last year was an incredibly unique situation.

Also, 2021 Wacha was really bad, below replacement level.
 

jon abbey

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Isn’t it premature to say that, though? I imagine part of the reason why Correa (and Story) didn’t sign quickly is that they saw what Seagar got. The players who sign early tend to get paid pretty well or they wouldn’t sign early. But there’s usually players left late without a dance partner who end up signing for less than expected, money and urgency dries up eventually. Maybe this year is different, we shall see; obviously last year was an incredibly unique situation.
Definitely premature but it's been clear to me for a while that this winter will be a bonanza for FAs, lots of teams looking to fill holes in FA now that the CBA is signed and all sorts of revenue is rolling in, and filling holes in FA allows them to better protect their farm systems by not having to make trades. Pretty much everything so far has pointed that way also, I think even more extremely than I or anyone else expected.
 

chawson

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In hindsight it seems like last offseason was the one to spend, before CBT levels were lifted (higher than most expected, IIRC).

I think the Sox FO may have been philosophically opposed to signing starting pitchers to nine-figure deals. But it may have been a missed opportunity to sign Gausman to that 5/$110M contract, a deal that looks really pretty good, or Rodón to similar. This free agent market is inflationary and not very rich in talent.

If the Sox sign Bogaerts to something like 7/$200 tomorrow, I think a lot of us will be happy and relieved, even if we think it’s an overpay. But then, wouldn’t it have been “better” to have signed Correa last winter to a 9/$300 deal?
 

mikcou

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I don't know what most of this means (and you don't have to try to explain it any further), but I do know this isn't true:

"the free agent market is the free agent market - it can only be judged by other contracts in that market."

This would be true if everyone was a free agent every offseason, but as it is, contracts this winter can be compared to ones signed in previous years or ones in future years. My point is that last year someone like Carlos Correa essentially overplayed his hand and ended up with no real market, I don't think that is going to happen to anyone this winter and GMs are way less likely to get the kind of reward/risk combo you're hoping for. For instance, last year BOS signed Wacha for 1/7. I think if 2021 Wacha was a FA in this market, he would do decidedly better than that (1/13? 2/20?), maybe Clevinger's 1/12 deal just signed is a good equivalent.
You cant compare FA contracts with arbitration pay (or pre-arb guys) or free agents from five years ago - those are all different markets with vastly different pricing. That is all that statement was intended to say. Some teams may do better on pricing than others during that year's market by signing early, waiting for someone to be left out of the game of musical chairs or some other strategy.

If you are correct and wins cost more like $11M or $12M per, than yes the Martin contract looks a lot better. We just have fundamentally different views on how the market has developed so far this year - its more expensive than last year as is to be expected with more money pouring into the league and a lot more teams being able to afford expensive free agents - it just hasnt seemed materially more expensive than last year. I dont think 2021 Wacha sniffs $20M or $10M. Maybe he gets $8M instead of $7M. This is probably getting pretty off-topic to Martin (maybe there should be a general pricing thread that we can add to as more data points come out), but I havent really been shocked by any of the deals so far (Degrom getting 5 instead of 3-4 was a bit surprising, but the AAV was a bit lower - i figured hed get 3/120 or 4/160; montero seemed a bit rich, but within some level of distribution you'd typically see) most of them seem to trend closer to $9-$9.5M rather than $8.5M-$9M last year.

In hindsight it seems like last offseason was the one to spend, before CBT levels were lifted (higher than most expected, IIRC).

I think the Sox FO may have been philosophically opposed to signing starting pitchers to nine-figure deals. But it may have been a missed opportunity to sign Gausman to that 5/$110M contract, a deal that looks really pretty good, or Rodón to similar. This free agent market is inflationary and not very rich in talent.

If the Sox sign Bogaerts to something like 7/$200 tomorrow, I think a lot of us will be happy and relieved, even if we think it’s an overpay. But then, wouldn’t it have been “better” to have signed Correa last winter to a 9/$300 deal?
I think we have a long way to go before we call this a heavily inflationary market. Lets see where the big deals come in (Judge and the shortstops). The rumors on Judge (low $300 range) do not suggest that. 7/200 for Xander wouldnt either.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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If my understanding is correct (and if SportTrac is to be believed as a reliable source - someone correct me if it's not) this means we have approximately $40m left to spend in terms of AAV for this year before hitting the luxury tax threshold. https://www.spotrac.com/mlb/boston-red-sox/payroll/

$40m to spread across needs at SS, DH, and two SPs does not seem like we're going to be adding much in the way of impact talent at all.

Just for the record, not a fan of this deal at all. Nothing against the player, per se, but I hate the idea of allocating actual money to relief pitchers aside from established closers (like the Jansen deal) or buying out arb years for someone that seems like a young stud (ie Whitlock, if Houck shoves in the 'pen, do that for him too).

Spending $8.75m on Martin, $2m on Rodriguez, $2.4m (arb estimate) on Brasier and $1.1m (arb estimate) on Taylor adds up. I'd far rather have the 'pen be one closer (whom you spend on, either in dollars like Jansen or Foulke or prospects like Kimbrel) and then all cheap players the rest of the way unless / until you have the cheap core in place and can make these luxury spends.
 
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chawson

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If my understanding is correct (and if SportTrac is to be believed as a reliable source - someone correct me if it's not) this means we have approximately $40m left to spend in terms of AAV for this year before hitting the luxury tax threshold. https://www.spotrac.com/mlb/boston-red-sox/payroll/

$40m to spread across needs at SS, DH, and two SPs does not seem like we're going to be adding much in the way of impact talent at all.
I thought we had roughly $100M to spend under the tax going in.

Jansen - $16 aav
Paxton - $4
Martin - $6.7
Joely - $1.5
Yoshida - $18
Total = $46.2

Am I missing anyone?
 

JM3

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If my understanding is correct (and if SportTrac is to be believed as a reliable source - someone correct me if it's not) this means we have approximately $40m left to spend in terms of AAV for this year before hitting the luxury tax threshold. https://www.spotrac.com/mlb/boston-red-sox/payroll/

$40m to spread across needs at SS, DH, and two SPs does not seem like we're going to be adding much in the way of impact talent at all.
Well, the luxury tax threshold isn't a cap, so it's not like they're bound by it if they don't want to be. The Mets are already $100m OVER that line...

https://www.spotrac.com/mlb/new-york-mets/payroll/
 

mikcou

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I thought we had roughly $100M to spend under the tax going in.

Jansen - $16 aav
Paxton - $4
Martin - $6.7
Joely - $1.5
Yoshida - $18
Total = $46.2

Am I missing anyone?
Your starting point is off - they had somewhere between $80M and $90M before free agency depending on exactly where arbitration awards come in. There was 95M of committed salary (23.5 - Story, 25.6M - Sale; 10 - Kike; 8.25 - Barnes; 4 - Paxt; 4.75 - Whitlock; $1.25M - Refsnyder plus $18M of benefits and minor league salaries). Add $40M minimum of arbitration awards and $10M or so in pre-arb pay and you're in the high $80s under the tax.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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Your starting point is off - they had somewhere between $80M and $90M before free agency depending on exactly where arbitration awards come in. There was 95M of committed salary (23.5 - Story, 25.6M - Sale; 10 - Kike; 8.25 - Barnes; 4 - Paxt; 4.75 - Whitlock; $1.25M - Refsnyder plus $18M of benefits and minor league salaries). Add $40M minimum of arbitration awards and $10M or so in pre-arb pay and you're in the high $80s under the tax.
Exactly. Thank you for getting to this before I had the opportunity.

We started with around $85m to utilize, give or take. Jansen brings that down to around $70m, Martin down to around $62, Yoshida down to around $43m and Rodriguez down to around $40m - just back of the envelope math.

Obviously I know that it's not a hard cap in baseball, but it has been Henry's MO to generally use the tax threshold as a "budget". He's shown a willingness to go over if the moves are correct or if we're a true title contender, but to be perfectly frank, I don't think the rotation or line up as presently constituted is close to even getting out of the cellar in the division, much less a title contender, and I'm not going to give them too much of a hard time for refusing to spend beyond the cap on a team that isn't really close.
 

JM3

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Obviously I know that it's not a hard cap in baseball, but it has been Henry's MO to generally use the tax threshold as a "budget". He's shown a willingness to go over if the moves are correct or if we're a true title contender, but to be perfectly frank, I don't think the rotation or line up as presently constituted is close to even getting out of the cellar in the division, much less a title contender, and I'm not going to give them too much of a hard time for refusing to spend beyond the cap on a team that isn't really close.
Yeah, my point was more that if they think the price is right on a Correa or Rodon, they'll be comfortable going over so the $40m isn't really an obstruction, & wouldn't stop them from getting "impact talent". Agree it would stop them from getting like 7 $15m/year players or something, though.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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Yeah, my point was more that if they think the price is right on a Correa or Rodon, they'll be comfortable going over so the $40m isn't really an obstruction, & wouldn't stop them from getting "impact talent". Agree it would stop them from getting like 7 $15m/year players or something, though.
I tend to agree, though I really don't think Rodon is a guy I'd bet on - at least if the rumored 7 years he's asking for is anything in line with what he's going to get. Betting on ages 30-36 for a guy with his injury track record is not something I think we should do.

Truth be told, I'd say the same about Correa (injury) but I think I'd rather spend 10 years on short stop whom could DH 15/20 times per year to keep his bat in the line up but hopefully help keep him off the injured list ages 28-37 than Rodon.