Estimating the Value of Contract Extensions: Chris Sale and Xander Bogaerts

In this investigation, we will attempt to approximate the salary (dependent on the length of the deal) teams will offer their impending free agents (in their efforts to extend them) through encompassing age decline and the average cost / 1 WAR on the FA market.

In Neil Weinberg’s Beginner’s Guide To Aging Curves, he explains that…

“a basic rule of thumb is that once a player gets to 30, you sort of expect them to lose about 0.5 WAR per year of value due to aging. Some players will age better or worse, but that’s an average estimate”.

Another one of his articles analyzed the price teams pay per 1 WAR on the FA market. Neil Weinberg asserts that…

$/WAR is basically a measurement of how much teams are paying for players on the free agent market according to how many wins they will add over replacement level players. Right now, we think teams are paying about $8 million per every WAR they add to their roster. For example, a 2 WAR player signed for three years would theoretically provide his team with 6 WAR, so a team might want to pay him anything up to $48 million. If the team pays less than $8 million for each expected WAR, we call this a “good deal” and if they pay more, we say they “overpaid.”

Although the players we will be looking at are not yet FAs, they will presumably insist on pay comparable (relatively speaking) to what they could have gotten on the FA market (if they had opted to go that route). 

Chris Sale

Photo: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

29-year-old ace starting pitcher Chris Sale is due to hit free agency after this season (2019). He has been stellar for the Sox, putting up an unreal stat-line (2018 – IP: 158; K/9: 13.5; BB/9: 1.94; ERA: 2.11). For the purpose of this investigation, let’s assume Sale loses 0.5 WAR annually starting in 2020 and that the cost per 1 WAR is $8 million…

2020: 6.6 WAR [FanGraphs’ Depth Charts projection for 2018]; $52.8 million

2021 (age 31 season): 6.1 WAR; $48.8 million

2022: 5.6 WAR; $44.8 million

2023 (age 33 season): 5.1 WAR; $40.8 million

2024: 4.6 WAR; $36.8 million

2025 (age 35 season): 4.1 WAR; $32.8 million

2026: 3.6 WAR; $28.8 million

2027 (age 37 season): 3.1 WAR; $24.4 million

2028: 2.6 WAR; $20.4 million

2029 (age 39 season): 2.1 WAR; $16.4 million

2030: 1.6 WAR; $12.4 million

2031 (age 41 season): 1.1 WAR; $8.4 million

2032: 0.6 WAR; $4.4 millio

Sale contract possibilities:

  • 1 yr, $52.8 million
  • 2 yr, $101.6 million
  • 3 yr, $146.4 million
  • 4 yr, $187.2 million
  • 5 yr, $224 million
  • 6 yr, $256.8 million
  • 7 yr, $275.6 million
  • 8 yr, $310 million
  • 9 yr, $330.4 million
  • 10 yr, $346.8 million
  • 11 yr, $359.2 million
  • 12 yr, $367.6 million
  • 13 yr, $372 million

Prediction: 4 yr, $187.2 million

Xander Bogaerts

Photo: Getty Images

26-year-old SS Xander Bogaerts is also scheduled to hit free agency after the 2019 season (which will be his age 26 season); he has one more year of arbitration eligibility. Both the Red Sox and Bogaerts are interested in an extension, but they haven’t been able to come to an agreement to this point. For the purpose of this investigation, let’s assume Bogaerts loses 0.5 WAR annually starting in his age 30 season (2024)…

2020: 4.3 WAR [FanGraphs’ Depth Charts projection for 2018]; $34.4 million

2022 (age 28 season): 4.3 WAR; $34.4 million

2023: 4.3 WAR; $34.4 million

2024 (age 30 season): 3.8 WAR; $30.4 million

2025: 3.3 WAR; $26.4 million

2026 (age 32 season): 2.8 WAR; $22.4 million

2027: 2.3 WAR; $18.4 million

2028 (age 34 season): 1.8 WAR; $14.4 million

2029: 1.3 WAR; $10.4 million

2030 (age 36 season): 0.8 WAR; $6.4 million

2030: 0.3 WAR; $2.4 million

Bogaerts contract possibilities:

  • 1 yr, $34.4 million
  • 2 yr, $68.8 million
  • 3 yr, $99.2 million
  • 4 yr, $125.6 million
  • 5 yr, $148 million
  • 6 yr, $166.4 million
  • 7 yr, $180.8 million
  • 8 yr, $191.2 million
  • 9 yr, $197.6 million
  • 10 yr, $200 million

Prediction: 10 yr, $200 million

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