Contract Crowdsourcing: Uggla results and reaction

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Though I only have 23 votes for the Contract Crowdsourcing of Dan Uggla and his potential future extension, I went ahead and decided to close balloting in terms of results and analysis. If you guys would like, you may continue to vote for Uggla’s years and annual average salary (in millions), but this article reflects the votes that I have received so far.

Part of the reasoning for closing is the very timely article by the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson regarding some of the offseason moves on which the Marlins will decide after September. Principle among these decisions is the potential Uggla extension, and Jackson has stated the initial numbers both sides have favored:

• Uggla’s representation wants a deal similar to Hanley Ramirez’s six-year, $70 million contract because Uggla (.281, 31 homers, 96 RBI) has outperformed Ramirez (.301, 21, 76) this season. Uggla has asked for five years in the $58 million range, about $11.6 million per year.

The Marlins are offering less money (barely over $8 million per year) and fewer years (three is their preference).

Ponder the numbers for a second, then consider what 23 intelligent Marlins fans from both MM and our fellow Fish blog FishStripes voted for as the most likely outcome. Here were the results of the crowdsourcing survey:

Average years: 3.4 years
Average AAV: $10.3M
Median years:  4 years
Median AAV: $10M

Std Dev years: 0.72 years
Std Dev AAV: $3.22M

I did a trimmed mean, taking out up to the highest and lowest three values (there were at least three values in the survey which I felt were blatant outliers in terms of contract offers) yielded similar values of around 3.4 years and $10M annually. Don’t read into that standard deviation for Uggla’s contract, as that was entirely done by a few errant votes; trimming the top and bottom two results yields a standard deviation of just under $2M AAV, which seems like decent agreement.

What does this mean, and how does this stack up against the first quoted numbers that we have heard with regards to this discussion?

The Results

The results of the Marlin Maniac survey seem absolutely on point, in my opinion. Keep in mind that I myself did not vote, so as to not influence the results; however, despite my lack of participation, the 23 voters overall got my expectations almost down to a tee. I expected the Marlins to sign Uggla to a deal for three years and approximately $11-12M annually. The readers have split the difference between three and four seasons almost down the line, with the median being four years. I’ll also point out that no one went to more than four years and one voter voted for one season, meaning Uggla would receive just a tender for his final team-controlled season.

The value of the contract as the readers have put it is fair, but probably a little on the low side. Lou over at SoFlaMarlins had Uggla at $11M annually if and when the two sides ultimately agree, but the figure shown here is fairly close. The Marlins could possibly get away with a $10M offer for the 2011 season, since that approaches his likely arbitration figure (I’d say it is still probably closer to $12M, but Uggla seemed to settle for less last season as well). However, there would be little incentive for him to sign for a lower total annually when he is so close to making free agency. If Uggla and his representation firmly believed that they could get a healthy amount in the free agent market, they would not commit for an additional two to three years at arbitration-level salaries.

However, the overall values look great, and a four-year, $40M extension would be well within the Marlins’ reach. Whether the move to sign a second baseman with poor defense to a contract paying him $10M a season for his ages 31-34 seasons is a different question, one that the Fish will likely have to answer this offseason.

The Offers

Let’s get this right out in the open: the offers from either side are simply ridiculous. On the low end, the offer the Marlins made is downright preposterous. The low offer the team made Josh Johnson this past offseason before eventually agreeing on a fair deal that worked well for both sides was at least justifiable; JJ was going into his second season of arbitration and had not yet made a payday above $3.2M. However, Uggla is heading into his third year and made $7.8M this year. An offer of $8M annually would have been ludicrous for Uggla to take; he would have been better served waiting a season and taking $3-4M in arbitration.

Similarly, the offer the Uggla side proposed was also preposterous, mostly due to the length of the deal. The Marlins would be getting little to no discount for Uggla (he is probably projected for around 3.5 WAR next season) and committing to five seasons, taking Danny through his age 35 year! Compounding the issue is the fact that Uggla has been completely defensive when it comes to his ability to play second and has been very adamant about wanting to stay at the position; a long-term deal like this would either end poorly in terms of player-team relations or commit the Marlins to five years of what is likely declining defensive play. At almsot $12M annually, the Fish would undoubtedly reject this deal

Meeting in the Middle

It looks like the voters in this site’s poll are looking for Uggla and the Marlins to meet squarely in the middle. The Fish want three years and $8M annually, while Uggla wants five years and $12M annually. Ironically, that is the exact average of what the readers have voted. I think it probably ends a bit higher than that, with four years and $44M (Lou’s guess) a very plausible move. My personal preference would have the Fish pay for three years and $33M, but my trust in Uggla’s future talent is lower than some. It is going to be one of the major subplots of this Marlins offseason, and Marlin Maniac will keep an eye on it as it develops.

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