Estimating the Value of Contract Extensions: Anthony Rendon

In this investigation, we will attempt to approximate the salary (dependent on the length of the deal) the Nationals will offer impending free agent Anthony Rendon (in their efforts to extend him) through encompassing age decline and the average cost / 1 WAR on the FA market (as well as contract extensions) for star infielders (excluding 1B).

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”.

This aging curve/methodology will be applied throughout this exercise.

Here are three useful precedent deals that were signed by players comparable to Rendon in terms of skill level…

SS Xander Bogaerts

Age (for the majority of the 2020 season [when extension is set to kick into play]): 27

Team: Red Sox

Contract (per Bob Nightengale): 6yr/$120 million

Month signed: March

Projected fWAR for duration of contract: 23.4 ([4.4] + [4.4] + [4.4] + [4.4 – 0.5] + [3.9 – 0.5] + [3.4 – 0.5] = 23.4)

  • Weighted fWAR: 4.4 [(4.9 * 0.325) + (3.2 * 0.275) + (4.9 * 0.225) + (4.6 * 0.175) = 4.4]
    • 2015 (fWAR): 4.6
    • 2016: 4.9
    • 2017: 3.2
    • 2018: 4.9

$ (millions) / 1 fWAR: 4.884 (5.128 / 1.05 [to account for inflation] = 4.884)

3B Manny Machado

Age: 26

Former team: Dodgers

New team: Padres

Contract (per Spotrac): 10yr/$300 million

Month signed: February

Projected fWAR for duration of contract: 42.5 ([5.3] + [5.3] + [5.3] + [5.3] + [5.3 – 0.5] + [4.8 – 0.5] + [4.3 – 0.5] + [3.8 – 0.5] + [3.3 – 0.5] + [2.8 – 0.5] = 42.5)

  • Weighted fWAR: 5.3
    • 2015 (fWAR): 6.6
    • 2016: 6.3
    • 2017: 2.6
    • 2018: 6.2

$ (millions) / 1 fWAR: 7.059

3B Nolan Arenado

Age: 28

Team: Rockies

Contract (per Spotrac): 7yr/$234 million (8yr/$260 million – $26 million [2019 arbitration salary])

Month signed: February

Projected fWAR for duration of contract (excluding 2019): 26.6 ([5.3] + [5.3 – 0.5] + [4.8 – 0.5] + [4.3 – 0.5] + [3.8 – 0.5] + [3.3 – 0.5] + [2.8 – 0.5] = 26.6)

  • Weighted fWAR: 5.3
    • 2015 (fWAR): 4.5
    • 2016: 5.0
    • 2017: 5.7
    • 2018: 5.7

$ (millions) / 1 fWAR: 8.571 (9 / 1.05 [to adjust for inflation] = 8.571)

The median cost per 1 fWAR (for the three star players above) would be $7.059 million.

Anthony Rendon

Photo: Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Rendon is one of the most under-appreciated superstars in the league. He’s averaged 23 HRs and 92 RBIs over the past three seasons. Anthony has been worth 17.2 fWAR from 2016-18, which ranks as the 7th highest total during that time span (trailing only Yelich, Lindor, Ramirez, Altuve, Betts, and Trout). Longevity is certainly the biggest concern in regards to signing Rendon to a long term deal (especially how he will hold up at the hot corner; he’s virtually average there — career 14 DRS at 3B [per FanGraphs]).

The calculations for Rendon’s weighted fWAR are depicted below…

  • Weighted fWAR: 6.1
    • 2016: 4.3
    • 2017: 6.7
    • 2018: 6.2
    • 2019 (FanGraphs Depth Chart projections + current fWAR): 6.6

Rendon’s projected fWAR by year and estimated salary per season

2020 (age 30 season): 5.6 (6.1 – 0.5 = 5.6); $41.5 million (5.6 fWAR * [$7.059 million / 1 fWAR * 1.05 INFLATION])

2021: 5.1; $39.7 million (5.1 fWAR * [$7.059 million / 1 fWAR * 1.05 * 1.05])

2022 (age 32 season): 4.6; $37.6 million (4.6 fWAR * [$7.059 million / 1 fWAR * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05])

2023: 4.1; $35.2 million (4.1 fWAR * [$7.059 million / 1 fWAR * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05])

2024 (age 34 season): 3.6; $32.4 million (3.6 fWAR * [$7.059 million / 1 fWAR * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05])

2025: 3.1; $27.9 million (3.1 fWAR * [$7.059 million / 1 fWAR * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05])

2026 (age 36 season): 2.6; $23.4 million (2.6 fWAR * [$7.059 million / 1 fWAR * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05])

2027: 2.1; $18.9 million (2.1 fWAR * [$7.059 million / 1 fWAR * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05])

2028 (age 38 season): 1.6; $14.4 million (1.6 fWAR * [$7.059 million / 1 fWAR * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05])

2029: 1.1; $9.9 million (1.1 fWAR * [$7.059 million / 1 fWAR * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05])

2030 (age 40 season): 0.6; $5.4 million (0.6 fWAR * [$7.059 million / 1 fWAR * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05 * 1.05])

Contract Possibilities:

  • 1 yr, $41.5 million
  • 2 yr, $81.2 million
  • 3 yr, $118.8 million
  • 4 yr, $154 million
  • 5 yr, $186.4 million
  • 6 yr, $214.3 million
  • 7 yr, $237.7 million
  • 8 yr, $256.6 million
  • 9 yr, $271 million
  • 10 yr, $280.9 million
  • 11 yr, $286.3

Prediction: 8 yr, $250 million


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