We're 10 months removed from the announcement of Buster Posey's nine-year, $167 million contract. It's probably not the right time to evaluate its success or failures. It's not really close to the right time. We're years and years from figuring out how the Giants fared with their calculated Posey gamble.
But it's not too early to note something that's different between March and now. Here's what I wrote when the Giants and Posey were merely talking about an extension:
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.
The thinking was that by locking Posey up right after he enjoyed one of the greatest seasons ever by a catcher, the Giants were buying high. From a pure leverage standpoint, Posey should have commanded less after a season like 2013, for example. He finished last season as a great player in the middle of a slump, not as a demigod whose fingernail trimmings were likely to turn into gleaming golden trophies. Like it was with Joe Mauer with the Twins and Justin Verlander with the Tigers, picking the MVP offseason to chase the extension seems impatient.
Let's look at the deal now, though.
2014: $10.5 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: Option for $22 million, $3 million buyout
Now Posey's on the equivalent of an eight-year, $157 million deal. That's the going rate, give or take, for 30-year-old semi-star outfielders, but with an extra year thrown in for free.
It doesn't seem quite as risky, quite as insane to lock up a 27-year-old catcher like that now. Still risky. Still -- from the outside, where you aren't blinded by the glint in Posey's eye and how he makes you blush for no reason while you're alone in an elevator -- sorta insane to lock up a catcher for that long.
But even though it seemed like the Giants had less leverage following Posey's MVP season, they somehow got ahead of the bubble. It used to be that Jayson Werth's contract was a gold standard of insanity, but it's kind of the default contract for good players now. Superstars -- honest-to-goodness, MVP-candidate superstars -- get ten years and over $200 million, at least if you go by Robinson Cano's deal.
If the Giants waited, like I was hoping, they aren't getting Posey for eight years, $157 million. They'd probably still need that nine-year deal. Maybe the price jumps to 10 years now that Cano got his decade spanner. And with Posey getting closer to free agency by a year -- he'd be two full seasons away without the extension -- maybe he plays the Lincecum game and waits.
That isn't to say the Giants made out like bandits. Turns out $157 million is still a lot of money, and there are still eight years of danger-fraught baseball out there. But while it didn't look like there was urgency to sign a deal after Posey's MVP season, it turns out there was. Baseball was about to get richer, and the money was mostly going to go to players. We knew this was going to happen. We saw it coming. But it's hard to put into context until it happens.
Which means I think the Giants saved money by doing an extension last year instead of this year. How in the hell did that happen? I wasn't expecting it to look almost-reasonable this quickly. We'll see the the deal looks like in 2018, when he's 31 and still owed $88 million, but the current contract is probably a better deal than it would have been if it were signed tomorrow or next year.
The other point is that Buster Posey isn't going anywhere, neener neener neener. If Posey be for us, who can be against us?