At the end of the 2021 season there were two players who took a one year contract in order to avoid arbitration.
The first player was 25 years old and had just finished an injury shortened season of 95 games. In those 95 games he had 10 HR, batted .165, had an OBP of .262 and 36 RBI. His WAR was -1.5 but despite this the player had won Rookie of the Year in 2017 and MVP in 2019. He wanted to prove to the baseball world that he could do better as he was entering his prime.
Player 1 signed for $17 million for one year.
The second player was 29 years old and had just played 148 games. He had 39 HR, batted .287, had an OBP of .373 and 98 RBI. His WAR was 6.0. He had won Rookie of the Year in 2017 as well when he finished second in MVP voting. Not wanting his contract to be a distraction, he took a risk that at 30 years old he would make his mark and get the contract he deserved.
Player 2 signed for $19 million for one year.
Which one do you want? Which one do you think does better?
Player 1 (as of this writing), Cody Bellinger, has played in 131 games, is batting .200 with 17 HR, 58 RBI and improved his WAR to 1.0. How much do you want to sign today’s version of Adam Dunn for?
Player 2 (as of this writing), Aaron Judge is in the midst of an historic season. His current WAR is 9.7 and he leads the league in Runs (123), HR(60), RBI(128), BB(93), BA(.316), OBP(.419), SLG(.703), OPS(1.123) and TB(372).
Some team is going to look at Bellinger and see a player that is turning 28, will most likely be able to get over his injuries and if he does he could be a dominant player for the next 4-6 years.
On the other hand, Judge is going to get $250 million over the course of 6 years, minimum. Only limited by his late maturity in the game, Judge is an instant impact player on a team who is going to draw crowds, draw revenue and be the cornerstone in right field for the next 4-6 years.
At the beginning of the year there were two players who were ROY in 2017 who wanted to prove themselves. As 2022 comes to a close, one has made a definitive statement.
Payday is coming.