Buster Posey will be on the Giants through 2016.
That's the most important point of this article. No matter what happens, no matter how pricy he gets, how acrimonious the negotiations become, Posey's here for the next four seasons if the Giants want him. That's a long time to wait and evaluate, to see where the team is and where it's going. The Giants are in a good spot.
Posey is about to start getting expensive. He'll go to arbitration this year as an MVP, a Rookie of the Year, and a two-time World Series champion. You know, I'll bet Justin Smoak could have done that in the right system, but I digress. Ryan Howard won the MVP a season before he was arbitration-eligible, and he ended up winning a $10 million salary. By my calculations, because Posey is 50 times more awesomer than Howard he should get … carry the one … $500 million. Seems fair to me.
But according to Matt Swartz at MLB Trade Rumors, who is good at this stuff, Posey should get somewhere around $6 million. Then I'd guess about $10 million in 2014, $14 million in 2015, and $18 million in 2016. Those are just guesses, but they're probably within a couple million. So pretend that Posey is on something like a four year, $48 million contract.
That's a swell contract -- it's below market value, but it's still lucrative enough where it's not like the Giants are completely taking advantage of him. It could be more swell, though. What about five years, $60 million? Six years, $80 million? What would you pay for Posey?
Well, not what you would pay for Posey. You'd pay $527 and a copy of X-Men #1 because that's all you have to your name. And that's a very sincere gesture. But I'm more concerned with what the Giants would pay him. Buster Olney has an article up on this very topic. Now, I get my cologne samples straight from the manufacturer these days, so I let my subscription to ESPN the Magazine lapse, and I don't have insider access to read the full article. But I know that Olney brings up two names: Joey Votto and Troy Tulowitzki.
Votto was 27, and he had two years and $25 million left with the Reds when he signed his mega-contract. That's not a good comparison.
Tulowitzki was 25, and he had four years and $39 million left on his contract, assuming the Rockies would have exercised the option on the last year. That's a much better comparison.
The Rockies added six years and $120 million to the contract after taking off the option. That's nine years and $144 million, with an option for 2021. That's two years after Blade Runner takes place, man. And I'm not going to suggest the Rockies regret the deal already. If they wanted to trade the deal, they'd have suitors lined up around the block. But the deal has to be making the Rockies just a wee bit nervous. Tulowitzki's injury-marred season was a disappointment, and he seems to miss substantial time every other season.
That's not entirely fair, as one of those months was lost to a hit-by-pitch, but there has to be a little concern with how Tulowitzki will age.
Tulowitzki's favorite players growing up were Nomar Garciaparra and Derek Jeter. Tulowitzki's jersey number in college was No. 5, due to his admiration of Garciaparra.
Oh, man. Shouldn't mess with the baseball gods like that, Troy. If Tulowitzki were on the free-agent market, though, he'd almost certainly get a similar deal, if not more. So it's a market-value deal, at least, even with the injuries.
Now back to Posey. He had an injury, too, but that obviously wasn't his fault. His rehab progressed more quickly than expected, and he was something of an unexpected workhorse in 2012. So will he have a succession of nagging injuries, like Tulowitzki? Will he miss a month every season to something out of his control? Or will he be an indestructable combination of Cal Ripken and John McClane?
Here's the thing: We don't know. Posey has 1,255 career plate appearances. That's as many as players like Pedro Alvarez and Ike Davis, whose teams are still trying to decode and figure out. We don't know a thing about how Posey will age. We don't even have a really good idea.
A contract like Tulowitzki's for Posey would be a real leap of faith.
And I'm ready to take it, Butch and Sundance-style. Like I'd grumble about a guarantee of more Posey in my short, nasty, and brutish life. But with just one more season, just 162 more games, there will be a lot more information on what kind of player Posey is. We think we know. But we've seen one full season. As long as there's no urgency -- reread the first sentence of this whole thing as a reminder -- it's probably a good idea to get another season of information to inform the mega-extension.
Does he have the exact same season as 2012? Well, that would be valuable information. Does he miss July because his knees feel like the victim of a communist plot -- and you know they'll try to get at them, too -- and the pain lingers for the rest of the season? Again, valuable information.
So unless Posey will sign a mid-range deal -- think Carlos Gonzalez and his seven year, $80.5 million deal -- which he won't, I don't see the urgency for right now right now right now right now. There's time. Time to gather information, and time to experience seasons where everything doesn't end with a major award and a championship. Because, call me a cynic, but that isn't going to happen every year.
This probably isn't the offseason to go for the big extension, then. We're four years away from a good, ol'-fashioned freakout about Buster Posey being a free agent. Next year is probably the time for a good, ol'-fashioned freakout about the extension he should get.