Happy Thursday, Athletics Nation!
How must it be to be a fan of a team that is in it to win it? Pretty nice, I imagine.
You might want to look to the Atlanta Braves to help immerse yourself in this fantasy. They won 101 games in 2022, the whole shebang in 2021, and they have two of my favorite players locked up until at least 2028, per Mark Bowman at MLB in reporting on the six-year, $73 million extension Sean Murphy signed with the Braves on Tuesday.
Oakland-to-Atlanta trades lucrative for Matt Olson and Sean Murphy, who signed contracts with Braves for a combined $241 million. Good for them, bad for A’s fans and baseball. https://t.co/WZYNqLEFXr— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) December 28, 2022
The contract is worth an average of $12.2 million per year through 2028 for Murph, who was under team control through 2025 and must be happy to be getting paid closer to what he is worth starting 2023. The deal also includes a team option of $15 million for 2029. There is, however, some significant backloading of Murphy’s salary across the contract term.
Clearly, the Braves have adopted a truly novel economic model: instead of underpaying young stars in their prime and then overpaying them as free agents based on past performance, the Braves are keen to pay young stars closer to what they are worth today and what they are likely to be worth in the future.
Murphy is just the latest of young stars to commit long term to playing in Atlanta: recall that the Braves locked up another A’s fan favorite, Matt Olson, last year for $168 million over eight years, again with a year-nine club option that will give the Braves some flexibility depending on how well Olson holds up through his mid-30s.
Murphy and Olson are just two examples of the Braves’ acquire-and-extend strategy. This franchise is looking to compete every year for the foreseeable future:
The Braves’ club control after today’s six-year Sean Murphy extension:— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 28, 2022
Austin Riley, through 2033
Michael Harris II, 2032
Matt Olson, 2030
Sean Murphy, 2029
Spencer Strider, 2029
Ronald Acuña Jr., 2028
Vaughn Grissom, 2028
Ozzie Albies, 2027
Kyle Wright, 2026
Max Fried, 2024
Of course, the A’s don’t follow either of the aforementioned economic strategies. Rather, they generally just squeeze what they can out of young players under team control and then flip them at what seems the most opportune moment. It’s been nearly 20 years since the A’s invested long term in a star, when they signed Eric Chavez to a six-year, $66 million deal in 2004.
John Shea tweets above that the Braves’ deals with Murph and Oly are “good for them, bad for A’s fans and baseball.” Well, John, you got two out of three there—my gut feeling is that teams paying players based more on current and realistically expected performance is good for baseball, versus the status quo, at least.
But no doubt, it sucks for A’s fans. Good luck in Atlanta, Sean Murphy! You are dearly missed.
- Mullin: Murphy signs $73M extension with Braves after A’s trade
- Gallegos: 4 questions facing the A’s in the new year
- Kawakami: 2023 countdown drama for the Warriors, 49ers, Giants and maybe the A’s most of all ($)
MLB News & Interest:
- Stark: The Year in Strange But True: MLB’s Weirdest & Wildest games, plays, moments and stats of 2022 ($)
- McDonald: Red Sox To Sign Corey Kluber To One-Year Deal
- Franco: Rangers Sign Nathan Eovaldi
- McDonald: Pirates, Rich Hill In Agreement On One-Year Deal
- McDonald: The Top Remaining Free Agents
- McDonald: Giants Designate Tommy La Stella For Assignment
- Slusser: How Giants’ Willie Mays scholarship aids Black teens in S.F.: ‘It’s astounding’ ($)
- Groke: Jerar Encarnación, Elly De La Cruz and more prospects breaking out in the winter leagues ($)
- Franco: Fred Valentine Passes Away
- Today in Baseball History
Best of Twitter:
A'S RECENT MOVES: LHP Zach Logue claimed off waivers by DET, RHPs Drew Rucinski & Trevor May signed as FAs, LHPs Jake Fishman & Garrett Williams signed MiLB deals/sent to LV, IF Vimael Machin elects free agency, OF Cody Thomas & IF Ernie Clement to LV… https://t.co/joKXkyUAPy— Athletics Farm (@AthleticsFarm) December 27, 2022
Sean Murphy will always be Terry Steinbach 2.0 pic.twitter.com/ZOZmQKk5YN— Brodie Brazil (@BrodieNBCS) December 28, 2022
HBD Jonah Bride!
#77 is 27! Happy birthday, Jonah! pic.twitter.com/3rXL16hoBQ— Oakland A's (@Athletics) December 27, 2022
Warriors honor Bill King.
Thanks Janie and kudos to @warriors for honoring Bill’s incredible legacy. And although we’re thrilled he’s been recognized with baseball’s Frick Award, let’s hope there’s a day when the basketball and football Hall’s follow suit. His work was unparalleled in those sports. https://t.co/tkaxfD3tap— Ken Korach (@KenKorachRadio) December 28, 2022
Hal looking for an employer upgrade.
https://t.co/iXRLbaNkzR pic.twitter.com/FtNUR1r2iW— Hal the Hot Dog Guy (@AsHotDog) December 28, 2022
Projected 2023 winners.
Projected 2023 wins via ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle:— MLB Metrics (@MLBMetrics) December 27, 2022
90 Blue Jays
82 White Sox