Forty Million Youks

Peter Gammons reports the Red Sox have agreed to terms with Kevin Youkilis. Four years, $40 million for the top-notch first baseman who, according to FanGraphs, provided $41 million of value in the last two years alone. The deal would take Youkilis through his age 33 season, with an option for a fifth year. The Globe says it's not quite done.

Thanks to Brad for the heads up.

45 comments… add one
  • Wow, interesting. Youkilis not taking risks with the FA (in a few years), eh?

    Lar January 15, 2009, 4:51 pm
  • I’m incredibly happy; if he’s 70-80% as good as he was last year $10m per is a deal. What happened to all those reports that the Sox couldn’t get Youk to agree to an extension this off-season?

    Jackie (SF) January 15, 2009, 4:53 pm
  • Or how easy it was to grow them but how expensive it was to keep them?
    Thanks for deleting the other ones, Paul. I didn’t really want to put them there in the first place, and regretted doing it.

    Brad January 15, 2009, 5:03 pm
  • I’m curious about that too, Jackie. His agent said they weren’t close, and Youk had talked previously of being content going year-to-year. He made $3 million last year. Even assuming he doubled his salary through arbitration the next two years, he’d only make $18 million over that time. Maybe he was happy giving the Sox a discount on the free-agency years in return for the guaranteed over-arb money on the front end.

    Paul SF January 15, 2009, 5:04 pm
  • My guess this comes on the heels of getting married. Hard to convince the wife that he should keep making 300K a year for a couple years when 10M+ is staring them in the face right now.
    Good for him, and you know what? He’ll be rewarded if he plays like he can. I like contracts that are managable, and it also makes him tradeable in any market.
    Same production as Tex at 25% of the cost. That’s good business.

    Brad January 15, 2009, 5:05 pm
  • edit: 3Million, not 300K.
    And I’m obviously kidding about the Tex comments. The difference are clear in situations. Clearly Theo knew they were going to get this done, and feels that he already has Tex’s equal in house, so no real reason to buy another one.

    Brad January 15, 2009, 5:07 pm
  • Two items left on that to-do list, assuming Papelbon remains insistent on going year-to-year
    1. Get a catcher — either a starter or a platoon partner or Bard.
    2. Lock up Jason Bay.
    This is really shaping up as a productive off-season, even with the big Teixeira defeat.

    Paul SF January 15, 2009, 5:10 pm
  • I agree on Bay. Well, I agree on both points, but I really agree on Bay.

    Brad January 15, 2009, 5:11 pm
  • And I’m not convinced going year to year with Papelbon isn’t the best scenario anyhow. Keep him for as long as he’s cheap, then if need be, blow him away with money.
    When is Roy Halliday (who I consider to be the best pitcher in baseball, hands down) hitting the market? Is it next year?

    Brad January 15, 2009, 5:14 pm
  • It’s funny how as sports fans we somehow forget that ALMOST NONE OF US ARE MAKING $40 million over our lifetimes, period. The minute Youkilis signs this contract, his financial worries should be over if he doesn’t have a touch of Tyson in him. Good for him.

    Hit Dog January 15, 2009, 5:18 pm
  • maybe Youk is seeing what the salaries are doing now, and next year could go lower? lock it up while you can. good for him and the sox.
    Halliday is signed through 2011 with the Jays I think.

    dw (sf) January 15, 2009, 5:47 pm
  • It’s “more” than $40 million, but yes, of course it’s a good deal for the Sox. But it’s also a good deal for Youkilis, who is cashing in on his career year and who wouldn’t have hit free agency for two years anyway. It would be hard to turn down a guaranteed $40 million now than run the risk of only making $8 million this year (and something like $11 or $12 million next year, assuming he plays to his career averages), and who knows the rest.
    Brad, it’s incredibly expensive to keep future Hall of Famers (or borderline cases) past their first six to eight years in the majors, if that’s what you’re talking about. The Yankees had great deals on Pettitte, Jeter, Rivera, Posada, etc. before they hit free agency again. Part of the cycle.
    And what the Sox are doing this offseason no true small-market team (or a mid-market team that’s nearing its spending limit) could even dream of.

    AndrewYF January 15, 2009, 5:56 pm
  • Okay, they didn’t have a great deal on Jeter because Steinbrenner nixed the 7 year, $16.5 million per deal he was set to sign (only to sign him for 10 years, $18 million per the year later…thanks George!)

    AndrewYF January 15, 2009, 6:08 pm
  • Haha, I was just about to question the inclusion of Jeter on that list, Andrew. Didn’t know that about Steinbrenner though. What happened?

    Paul SF January 15, 2009, 6:10 pm
  • Same production as Tex at 25% of the cost.
    That’s an exaggeration. I’d say 70-80% of Tex’s production for half the yearly cost (total contract is a pointless comparison – it’s still a yearly outlay).
    Great deal. Even if Youkilis regresses a bit closer to 2005-07, it’s still excellent value for a guy that can, at worst, be an above average 1B or 3B. Four years is the right length for both sides too.
    Good work, Theo. I shall point out though that if they sign Bay, that’s approaching a $150-175 million dollar off-season. Throw in Teixeira and were they prepared to spend $350-400 million? Is seems all of these moves are mutually exclusive.

    Rob January 15, 2009, 6:23 pm
  • Interesting, Halladay’s first attempted year, he had a 10.64 ERA in 19 games. So Hughes fan, don’t give up yet! ;)

    Lar January 15, 2009, 7:00 pm
  • I shall point out though that if they sign Bay, that’s approaching a $150-175 million dollar off-season. Throw in Teixeira and were they prepared to spend $350-400 million? Is seems all of these moves are mutually exclusive.
    Well, if they’d signed Tex they might have opted to wait on a Youk deal, or traded Lowell and shed the salary (with subsidy, I am guessing). So it is hard to know how a Tex signing might have altered things, though we do know that the Sox never had a shot at Tex at the numbers they were offering, right?

    SF January 15, 2009, 7:24 pm
  • “And I’m not convinced going year to year with Papelbon isn’t the best scenario anyhow. Keep him for as long as he’s cheap, then if need be, blow him away with money.”
    Agreed.

    I'mBillMcNeal January 15, 2009, 7:44 pm
  • This is a great deal for the Sox.

    I'mBillMcNeal January 15, 2009, 7:45 pm
  • Seems that Youkilis was an independent decision because of his ability to play 3B. That’s what I meant by the mutually exclusive bit. Or maybe they see Lowell healthy in the Spring and decide to trade Youkilis while he’s probably at the height of his value – low salary, cost-controlled, maximum productivity. Either way, that’s still a “Oh, my God, the Yankees are destroying baseball!” $300 million off-season.
    though we do know that the Sox never had a shot at Tex at the numbers and incentivesthey were offering, right?
    there, fixed.
    But even then I’m dubious. Seems like the Sox were the second-best team in the race, even if they weren’t including options or a no-trade. Unless you think there was a conspiracy among Boras and Teixeira to mess with the Sox just for the hell of it.

    Rob January 15, 2009, 7:57 pm
  • Interesting (to me at least) factoid about Youkilis as a right-handed batter:
    Career –
    Home: .295 .387 .478 = .865
    Road: .283 .383 .466 = .849

    Rob January 15, 2009, 8:26 pm
  • Here’s the details of the deal from the Boston Herald:
    $1m – Bonus
    $6m – 09
    $9m – 10
    $12m – 11
    $12m – 12
    $14m – 13 (or $1.25m buyout)
    So a guaranteed $41.25 million, possible total package of five years, $54 million.
    My hope is that Youkilis is a late bloomer who has another couple years like 2008 in him. More realistically, we’ve probably seen his best season. But he doesn’t need to hit like he did in ’08 to be more than worth that kind of contract.

    Paul SF January 15, 2009, 8:56 pm
  • That’s not that interesting.

    AndrewYF January 15, 2009, 8:57 pm
  • And to you New Yorkers, you should be proud today. It was more than just that pilot who saved lives with quick thinking. It was boat captains and rescue personnel and law-enforcement and who knows who else. Unbelievable.
    As feel-good stories go, it’ll be hard to top this one for a long, long time.

    I'mBillMcNeal January 15, 2009, 9:27 pm
  • Speaking of Youk splits, and as Rob notes he’s freakishly similar at home and on the road (rare for good Fenway hitters) here’s some interesting ones:
    Essentially the same against lefties and righties: .293/.379/.479 against righties, .278/.400/.451 against lefties.
    We all know he’s about taking pitches, but Youk hits .387/.388/.679 when he swings on the first pitch, with four HBP, six SF and just one double play.
    With runners on, Youk hits .342/.433/.564. With RISP, he hits .339/.430/.550. With RISP and two outs, he hits .310/.444/.502.
    He’s best against extreme flyball pitchers (duh): .300/.405/.515. But also against extreme groundball pitchers (not so duh): .332/.429/.533.
    Against AL East opponents, he hits best against the Yankees (.308/.437/.446); against the AL, he hits best against Cleveland (.363/.448/.675). He also hits well at Yankee Stadium despite being almost exclusively a right-handed pull hitter: .312/.437/.468. Among AL parks, only Angel Stadium is better for him.
    Just for fun.

    Paul SF January 15, 2009, 9:51 pm
  • Funny, I never thought of Youkilis as a Yankee-killer, just a good, solid player. Maybe that was because Manny was batting something like .344 lifetime against them.
    I don’t know who I would describe as the “Yankee-killer” on the Sox now. Maybe if Ortiz returns to form.

    AndrewYF January 15, 2009, 10:26 pm
  • The Baseball Prospectus people make an interesting point in “Baseball Between the Numbers”, I quote from the 2007 paperback edition, p. 204: “You can make a compelling case that no multiyear, high-dollar free-agent contract tendered to a first baseman has turned out to be a wise decision. That’s mostly because first baseman, as a species, don’t tend to be athletic and don’t tend to age well.”
    I wonder how this will read after Teixeira has finished his eight years with the Yankees. He might well prove the exeption to the rule, given that he seems to be more athletic than the guys that statement was based on (Mo Vaughn among them).
    Considering the Youk deal I agree with those who have pointed out that Youk should be worth that kind of money for four years even if never has another season like 2008. And from his point of view, who knows what he might have gotten as a free agent in a declining market in the next few years.
    And yes, Jason Bay next, please …

    pale blue eyes January 16, 2009, 2:03 am
  • That right-handed pull part is why I was so surprised he doesn’t seem to benefit from Fenway much (though he did show an advantage last year – .900 OPS on the road; 1.000 OPS at home).
    The more I look at splits like these, the more I think he could just be a late bloomer. And with that plate discipline, he’ll age really well, especially if he really does start using the Monster. Definitely an interesting player to watch.
    That Prospectus quote is exactly why I wasn’t keen on an eight-year deal to Teixeira.
    If you had a choice: Jason Bay or Matt Holliday?

    Rob January 16, 2009, 5:20 am
  • I’d be happy with either of them, because they’re practically identical in most of their stats. I’d lean towards Holliday because he’s young I suppose, but I’d rather lock up Bay mid-season than get into a bidding war with the Yankees for Holliday.
    One thing I just noticed: Holliday stole 28 bases last season and was only caught twice. Pretty impressive.

    Atheose - SF January 16, 2009, 7:36 am
  • I’d rather have Holliday, but would be more than happy locking up Bay, who I maintain is still one of the most underrated players in the game (though I doubt that will last long; I’m predicting a big year from him this season).

    Paul SF January 16, 2009, 7:56 am
  • good signing…count me among the surprised…i thought for sure that he was going to test free agency…i’ve liked youk since i first saw him, and he’s really come along…like his style and passion too, even though the occasion outburst can be a bit put-off-ish…as you remember he was in the mvp discussion before pedroia snatched it from him with a better 2nd half…i don’t agree with the notion that it was either tex or youk, as brad suggests at 5:05pm and 5:07pm on thursday…the sox wanted tex, and at a very high price, and it’s safe to assume they also wanted to keep youk…it’s not “good business” that they lost tex, they just lost him to a higher bidder, that’s all…i’d be shocked if the plan all along wasn’t to move youk to 3rd if they signed tex, so attempting to sign him [youk] was probably in the plan either way…i haven’t been plugged into the lowell rehab news, but last i heard it was “going well”…if that doesn’t translate to the regular season and live games, who will become the sox 3b, or 1b if youk has to move to 3rd?

    dc January 16, 2009, 9:09 am
  • dc, I didn’t mean to suggest it was either/or. I feel that the Sox wanted Tex all the while, and was probably holding off on the Youk talks until that came to fruition. I too feel that the plan was to move Youk to third and plug Tex into the three bag. And, I do happen to think that it is good business to sign Youk to this contract, which is all I meant by that comment.
    Also, Rob: Where do you see that Youk only supplies 70% of Tex’s production? I mean, I’m looking at the both the offensive and defensive stats from the last two years, and I certainly don’t see a 30% difference between the two players. And no, total contract values are not pointless in any way. When one is contracted to 4 years at 45M, and the other is contracted at double years and >4X the money, it’s not a pointess argument point to bring that up.
    Where do you see a 30% difference in stats given the last two years of production from both guys? Even if you factor in the Texas numbers (which we all know are skewed heavily), Youk has been every bit the player as Tex.
    Now, I’m the first to say I wanted Tex all along, but not in lieu of Youk, but in combination with. I always looked at it like doubling Youk’s production in the lineup.

    Brad January 16, 2009, 9:34 am
  • dc, third base, in my opinion is going to be Youk’s spot this year, I think. I don’t think Lowell recovers from his injury. It’s hip surgery. The kind our grandfather’s have. I think his time of huge numbers are over, so I do believe Lars/Kotsay will be at first base at some point this year for the long term.
    I also would like to add that I think the Kotsay signing is a good one for Boston’s bench.

    Brad January 16, 2009, 9:36 am
  • thanks for the clarification brad…i agree it’s good business to sign youk…what he brings at that price is good value…forgot about kotsay, i see he’s played a handful of games at 1b…lars has impressive minor league numbers so far…think he’s ready to make the leap?

    dc January 16, 2009, 9:51 am
  • Not sure, dc. But I look at minor league hitter the same as pitchers. If they’re dominating in the division they’re in, it might be time for a new challenge; suceeding or failing is not the question, but rather, exposure to the opportunity.
    If Lars comes up, he’ll hit the skids just like every other young hitter, but for awhile, like Ellsbury, he could be a big bonus for Boston to put in that spot. His mastery of the plate is impressive, as he’s not just a fastball crusher. He has shown over and over that he can hit the offspeed stuff as well, which is always the huge adjustment to minor leage hitters. Plus, Kotsay did quite well at first down the stretch last year when Lowell was unable to play, so I’m not real worried about it, as I think Lars/Kotsay combo is at least nearly as productive as a non 100% Mike Lowell.

    Brad January 16, 2009, 9:59 am
  • Also, Red Sox reporting that Paps, Lopez agree to arbitration.

    I'mBillMcNeal January 16, 2009, 10:30 am
  • And with the Kotsay deal done, Aardsma designated for assignment. (Rice elected to Hall, Rice grad released.)

    I'mBillMcNeal January 16, 2009, 11:37 am
  • Rob Bradford has an interesting look at the beginning of the courtship between Smoltz and the Red Sox.
    http://www.weei.com/The-Day-That-Led-John-Smoltz-To-Become-A-Member-Of/3655399
    It’s a good read if you can survive the occasional poor writing and sloppy copy editing.

    I'mBillMcNeal January 16, 2009, 11:38 am
  • I am LOVING this offseason. LOVING it.

    Devine January 16, 2009, 1:23 pm
  • *

    I'mBillMcNeal January 16, 2009, 1:28 pm
  • Halladay is under contract through 2010. He will be the topic of trade rumors next November I am sure. If not sooner…
    2010:$15.75M

    John - YF January 16, 2009, 3:29 pm
  • Yeah, John. If he hits the market, he’s going to surpass everyone before him. I think, and this is just my opinion, he’s as talented a pitcher as we’ve seen in the last 15 years, but stuck on a crappy team thus far. Imagine if Toronto was a 90 win team? He’d win 25 a year! ha.

    Brad January 16, 2009, 4:14 pm
  • Part of his value stems from really being a pitcher. It takes a long time before a lot of these throwers learn how to pitch, usually it’s too late. But with Doc, he learned fairly early after a fairly rocky career early on. He’s even keeled, he’s focused, he throws a variety of plus pitches…AJ Burnett spoke of having a similar revelation last season…let’s see if that’s true.

    John - YF January 16, 2009, 4:33 pm
  • “AJ Burnett spoke of having a similar revelation last season…let’s see if that’s true.”
    He didn’t just say that. He credited Doc for helping him become a pitcher. I love Halladay. Wish he was a Yank.

    Nick-YF January 16, 2009, 4:45 pm
  • Brad, I did say say 70-80% (a number I pulled from the deepest recesses of my ass) even as I was effusive for the player and the contract. No need to make it more extreme.
    But to be fair, here’s a comparison (ignore the swipes) of the two’s last three seasons (both full-time, about the same age even as Teix is younger):
    http://riveraveblues.com/2009/01/open-thread-tex-vs-youk-6962/
    Just a little math:
    122/142 OPS+ = 86%
    3.9/4.7 WAR = 83%
    33.9/53.0 VORP = 64%
    Average = 77.7%
    CHONE prediction for 2009:
    3.9/5.4 WAR = 72.2%
    As for the total contract values, you can’t compare them directly for two big reasons. One, Teixeira was a free agent while Youkilis was still two years away from that golden land. Two, we don’t know what kind of contract Youkilis could land (from the SOx or elsewhere) after these four (or five) years are up. So the yearly value is more appropriate.
    I’m sorry if I put you on the defensive, but I think it’s very fair to say 70-80% of Tex’s production for half the yearly cost.
    Either way you cut it, that’s a fantastic deal. Based on the value, I know I’d rather have Youkilis on my imaginary team, especially because I think he could be a late-bloomer and he’ll age well. But we can’t conclude much from one year. Who knows, if he surpasses 2008, and Teixeira stagnates, you could very well be right on them giving the same production going forward.

    Rob January 17, 2009, 8:20 am

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