|From 2019 until 2026, Machado should earn more each year than the nation of Tuvalu.|
In the end, it may be cheaper to fund the development of a time machine and go back to 2013 to sign Manny long term, but lets assume that is not possible. What is the general ballpark should we expect to sign Machado? How much should the Orioles dedicate to a talent like him. To answer this question I did what I did last winter, I used a number of variables to find players who were similar to Machado. I then took that population and how they performed moving forward.
You might remember that the model largely underpredicted what players wound up seeing. For example, I put together a comp model for Chris Davis. It projected the following for him:
I also broke down the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentile WAR expectations for Davis. The model had a seven year deal at 40/104/172. With deferred money adjusting the value, we found that Davis signed for 7/145. In other words, the model thinks the Davis deal has about a 33% chance to be worth his deal or better. A quick review of or other modeling efforts and you will find that players generally agree somewhere between the 50th and 75th percentile, which makes sense. The signing team should find the player slightly more valuable than what other teams would value the player. This might give us some level of expectation when we look at Machado.
So who is in Machado's comp class? Well, players like Machado are very rare in how well he has performed at such a young age. I typically like to restrict player groups positionally, but this was not possible this time. In other words, our projection group here is effectively the same group for Bryce Harper. That might be problematic. This group consists of Ken Griffey Jr., Mickey Mantle, Alex Rodriguez, Al Kaline, Andruw Jones, Eddie Mathews, Cesar Cedeno, Vada Pinson, Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron, Cal Ripken, Jr., Johnny Bench, Albert Pujols, and Orlando Cepeda. That is a pretty wide net, but that is what you get who you try to find outstanding 23 year olds.
One thing to notice is that 2017 and 2018 are arbitration years. Using previous research on the Depot, we expect Manny to make 17.6 and 21.4 MM in arbitration of the next couple seasons. This would reduce the mean expected 10 year deal to be 452.5 MM. It should also be noted that the general assumption in the performance modeling is that Manny will be an average defense shortstop. Given his performance this year at the position, we may be able to assume that he is worth another five to ten wins due to his glove. That translates into an additional 40-100 MM, but for simplicity here we will simply assume average defense.
Below is the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles:
In contract to Davis, the expectation for Machado is that he will be a perennial All Star invite up to a perennial MVP candidate. The total value worth for these scenarios are 286/453/637. If we were to consider the Davis contract, then we might conclude the market value for Machado would be around 550 MM. That is such a large jump on existing contracts that I hesitate saying he could see that money. I think a more modest deal in the 450 MM range is more likely. It remains to be seen whether the Orioles think they have the ability to shoulder a salary that may be roughly a quarter of their payroll in the near term.
A little further south, the Nationals face the same issue. Due to positional differences, Bryce Harper's outlook is 231/404/596. One could argue that the population better fits Harper though:
It should be noted that both Machado and Harper will likely finish the year with a career bWAR of around 25. Their batting metrics should also trend upward, but only as much as 350 PA or so can affect those values. With that in mind, Harper barely slides into the upper range of the comp population with Machado in the bottom half. As you can probably see, there is a lot of uncertainty with this model. That said, you probably want numbers, so here you go with consideration to opt out value:
For both sides, it would not surprise me if the sweetspot is somewhere between a 10/400 (opt out after 4 yrs) to 10/440 (opt out after 6 yrs).