Thursday, May 15, 2008

Eighth More Years For Braunie

Every time something like this happens, it makes me a little more irritated that Nick Markakis is without a long-term contract:

The Milwaukee Brewers have locked up Ryan Braun (who only has about a year of major league experience) to an 8 year deal for $45 million. The Brewers will control the "Hebrew Hammer" for his first two free agency yours (through age 32). If they had a club option or two tacked on to the end of that then it would be even better. Here that Orioles? Eight years. For a guy with little plate discipline who is seen as a defensive liability (currently, but I think he'll end up being a good outfielder) and is two years away from arbitration. This is obviously a great deal for Milwaukee, as Braun should be an MVP candidate as soon as the Brewers start making the playoffs (as stupid as that is). Frankly, I'm amazed that Ryan would agree to sign for less than $6 million a year. For the club (as usual) there is about the same risk as in any type of long-term contract but with a much higher chance of a reward.

I won't compare Braun's deal to a contract for a similar player since he has so little time in the majors. I will, however, point out that Braun was born on the same day as Nick. Ryan posted an EqA of .320 last year, but is down to .279 in 2008. That .279 is Nick's career mark, and he has improved from .268 to .284 to .296 so far. Braun obviously has much more power, but Markakis has already walked more times this year (30) than Braun did all of last year (29). Combine that with Nick being the better defender, and I think that he (Kakes) isn't a much less valuable player (actually, both guys had 22 Win Shares last year, though Braun did play less).

8 years, $45 million for an All-Star outfielder going into the prime of his career? Yes please, I'll take three.

BaseballMusings has a good point about these type of deals:
"At some point, there won't be any free agents or arbitration eligible players good enough to drive up prices. I starting to wonder if this will change the way the union looks at the current free agent structure. This has a real chance of actually driving down prices. If Ryan Braun is playing for $6 million a year, why should you give a free agent $20 million. Braun's a better player! It's only taken 30 years, but it appears the owners finally figured out how to use the system to their advantage."
Well, some owners anyway.

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