Wacky Zach Buchanan at the Enquirer tries to ease some of the building angst among us bloggerati concerning the future role of Rasiel Iglesias. As you know, Iglesias is running the anchor leg in the bullpen right now (Olympics metaphor!) and there’s a better than decent chance he stays there. Buchanan posits that given Iggy’s contract (he makes $3.5 mil this year and as much as $5 mil up to 2020), he will be an absolute bargain if he maintains his pace as a shutdown closer.
I don’t disagree with that assessment, but I think he is mistaken about the arbitration process. See, Iggy can opt out of his contract and go through arbitration as soon as he is eligible (likely after next season, I think). Buchanan says this is unlikely, because his earnings would then be influenced by his peer group and he likely wouldn’t make as much as he might if he were to stick with the original deal.
But I think what he is missing here that players NEVER take pay cuts in the arb process. Not only are their arb rates influenced by their peers, but also by what they made last year. So if Iggy makes $3.5 mil next season and opts for arbitration going into the 2018 season, he would certainly make more than that. But moreover, as he rolls through the arb process year to year, he would get substantially bigger raises each year.
His contract works a lot like Aroldis Chapman’s original deal did, so I think he is a good comp to look at here. Chapman has gotten raises of around $3 mil every year through the arb process, to where he is making $11.325 mil this season in his last year of arb eligibility. That’s substantially more than what Iggy would make if he remained on his current deal, getting raises of just $1 mil per season up through 2020. So while he may not see a significant increase if he enters arb after next season, he almost certainly will in subsequent years.
Either way, he would likely remain a relative bargain. $11 mil is just not a lot of money to pay a great closer these days. Of course, he’d have to keep pitching like a great closer to make that.
But yeah, #lethimstart.
This really doesn’t have anything at all to do with the Reds, but I’ve become a big Mookie Betts fan of late and you should be one, too. Dave Cameron at FanGraphs outlines the kind of power hitter the little fella has become, comparing his season so far to a prime Vlad Guerrero. Also worth mentioning, for the Cy Schourek’s among you, I submit that Mookie Betts is the best baseball name of this decade.
Wickle Dick touched on this a bit in last night’s recap, but in case you missed that, Tucker Barnhart has been hitting like a goddamn starting catcher this season (.267/.331/.410). His marks are right around league average, but he’s also playing pretty smart defense at the toughest position on the diamond, so he has turned into one really nice and valuable asset. Also, he is younger than Billy Hamilton! Also, he and I have the same birthday!
His emergence as a sustainable option behind the plate really eases the worries most of us have about the future of Devin Mesoraco. Der Golem has been pogrom'd for something like seven years now and he has had multiple surgeries on some really important body parts. When he finally does make it back on the field (should be fine to start next season), I’m really not sure if he can handle the punishment of starting as a catcher full time. With Tuck Everblasting on board, he shouldn’t have to. And if worse comes to worst and Mes has to move to the outfield or something, it shouldn’t be that big of a deal.