clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Salvador Perez contract and Madison Bumgarner

New, 87 comments

Catchers and pitchers aren't comparable, but when an underpaid 26-year-old signs a contract extension, it just might apply to other underpaid 26-year-olds.

The best part is I don't even feel bad about trolling Royals fans about this now.
The best part is I don't even feel bad about trolling Royals fans about this now.
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Madison Bumgarner and Salvador Perez don't have a lot in common. One's a pitcher, and one's a catcher. One's drastically underpaid, and one was obscenely underpaid. One was happy after the last out of the 2014 season, and one was sad. Really, apples and oranges. In this metaphor, the inedible peel of the orange is catcher's gear.

But go back to that part about them being underpaid. Perez just signed an extension because his contract was so team-friendly, which is an idea we've explored recently with Bumgarner, so it's worth exploring the parallels, even if the situations are dissimilar.

Here's what Perez was owed:

2016: $2 million
2017: $3.75 million (team option)
2018: $5 million (team option)
2019: $6 million (team option)

It was an absurd contract. When it was signed, I couldn't stop thinking about it, to the point where I shoehorned it into a Giants-related post here. I brought up Hector Sanchez as a comp, and here's the wacky thing: If Sanchez got that same extension, it wouldn't have been an awful deal. He would be slightly overpaid as a backup this year, and the Giants would simply decline the team option at the end of the season. No one would have thought about it much. That's how underpaid Perez was.

The Royals had Perez for three years and $14.75 million after this season. They tore that up and gave him five years and $52.5 million after this season. That's a difference of $37.75 million, or almost $19 million for each extra season of his new extension. This will help us figure out what Bumgarner might get.

That's probably on the low end of what Perez would be paid on the open market, but if he actually did hit the open market as a 30-year-old before the 2020 season, he wouldn't have settled for a measly two-year deal. The Royals would have had to lock him up for much longer, committing to a contract they figured would be a dog by the end, or they would have had to let him go. Assuming Perez is still a valuable catcher by then, neither scenario would have been especially attractive.

Bumgarner is locked up through 2019 through a series of team options, just like Perez was. Bumgarner is getting almost $20 million more than Perez would have, though, so the contracts aren't perfectly comparable. Also, Bumgarner would hit the market as a 30-year-old pitcher, and those types still get nine-figure contracts. Perez would have been a 30-year-old catcher, and they don't. So even though Bumgarner is getting more money with his current deal, he also knows that he'll get a bigger payday at the end of it. That means there's even less incentive to give up his free agent years.

Still, the original guess was that it would take a six-year, $125 million deal that started after Bumgarner's current deal. Considering that Perez essentially signed a two-year, $37.75 million deal, perhaps that original guess was too player-friendly. Maybe it was underestimating the leverage the Giants had. So if this post gets a fat TL;DR from you, here's a single sentence for you: The Salvador Perez extension was probably good news when it comes to a possible Madison Bumgarner extension.

Apologies again for the wonkiness, but the CPA side of baseball appeals to me. Perez's contract was a fascination at the time, even before I really knew who he was, and now it's a fascination because it partially applies to a young Giants icon. I'll give a Bumgarner extension a 64.83749-percent chance of happening before the start of next season. This Perez deal can only help.