Well the secret is out, and everybody in baseball knows that Kluber is the man.
The facts are that Cleveland controls him through 2018 and as best as I can tell he will not be eligible for Super 2 salary arbitration. He is also 28, which means he will not be a free agent until he is 32. His age and late breakout offer a unique opportunity for the Indians here. Any long-term deal Kluber signs is really the only one he can bank on (as opposed to guys like Sabathia and Lee who were much younger).
If you were running the show, what would you try to get done with him? Buy out multiple free agent years? Let him go through the arbitration process knowing he will not get expensive until late? Sign a cost certainty deal that locks in his price through the years of team control?
If it were me, I would try for a deal that locks in his price through 2018 or 2019 with a series of escalating options that have substantial buyouts.
The deal may look something like this:
2015- $1mm 2016- $3.5mm 2017- $7mm 2018- $12.5mm 2019- $15mm team option with $3mm buyout 2020- $20mm team option with $4mm buyout 2021- $22.5mm team option with $5mm buyout.
The buyouts are only valid if the previous option was picked up.
that's a good-looking deal, at least from the indians' perspective. you might have to throw in some more money in the guaranteed years - say, $1 mill a year to boost it to $28 mill - but generally yes. and i absolutely agree that years beyond his age-32 season should be club options.
for the purposes of comparison, here's a letsgottribe.com piece on this from july 30:
buddy34 wrote: will be an interesting time, because by nex year they could be looking to do something similar for bauer and salazar
Yeah, the biggest difference being those guys have a free agent contract to play for after this one. Kluber is going to be pretty old for getting big bucks. Salazar and Bauer will be in perfect position if they pitch to expectations.
Maybe they could do something super creative like make all of the options one large option. Say the Indians have an additional 3 years $60MM they can pick up with a $10MM buyout.
Job security is the only reason I'd see Kluber & his agent accepting anything close to the numbers by the OP. Of course, all of this hinges on if Kluber continues to pitch anywhere near his current ace level performance.
2015- $1mm If he doesn't sign long term, he'll get something close to this anyways.
2016- $3.5mm His 1st year of arb. would be higher.
2017- $7mm His 2nd year of arb. would blow this away. Price settled for 14M at the same point in his career.
2018- $12.5mm Same as year 2. Price is probably looking at 20M+ & so would Kluber.
So, for the next 4 years, he'd get a combined 24M if he signed long term. If he decided to go year to year, I'm guessing he'd get 40M+. He could always go down with injury, but he'd be leaving 15-20M on the table. That's a huge price to pay for security.
As others have said, it would be a good deal for the Tribe if he accepted something along those lines. With Kluber turning 32 before becoming a FA, I'd think he'd want to make as much as he can before getting to that point. Time will tell.
There are several great examples of what a Kluber deal should look like. What it will PROBABLY look like is an A prospect, a B prospect, and cash.
All jokng aside (or am I joking?), I think it would not behoove Kluber to sign a longterm deal and give up FA years simply because of his age. Now, he may go that route, and the Tribe certainly would, but it would end up being an expensive year if he did. If a deal was done, I would assume it would be for one FA year at most. Who knows on numbers. It would be very kind of Kluber, too. If they can do that, great, if they can't? You use him until the end and let him go. They would have gotten his prime and one hell of a deal on that prime- and I am fine with that.
Thinking up a deal is tricky because of the fact that he has so little service time. Like if he was entering arbitration, buying out one or two years of FA (a 4-5 year deal) would work, but at this point to make it "worthwhile" for the team by buying out some FA years, that is so far further down the road, much further than the Indians are willing to take for a pitcher.
I don’t see the point in taking the risk at all. What is the worse case scenario dollar-wise? An AAV of 10-11M for his last four years IF he pitches like an ace? In addition the way the current contract outlays are staggered they shouldn’t have issue planning for that scenario.
With two years of service time, he got 5/$32.5MM with a $12.5MM team option on a 6th year ($1MM) buyout and a $13.5MM team option on a 7th year ($1MM buyout). There are some escalators based on high Cy Young finish in there as well.
Sale's guaranteed years look like this 13:$0.85M, 14:$3.5M, 15:$6M, 16:$9.15M, 17:$12M, 18:$12.5M
So, Sale got more guaranteed and less in options. I would guess that this would be closer to a deal than mine. I would be totally OK with it, though.
buddy34 wrote: yea, except he's only 25, so 5 years for him is easier to take.
But Kluber is older and wiser. And also came from a zilch baseball background. Chris Sale is going to get paid by somebody year in and year out until his arm falls off. If he can no longer start, he can probably be a nasty reliever. He could probably be a LOOGY until his arm falls off.
Kluber was a fourth round pick who signed for $200M. He toiled in the minors for years and only after six years in professional baseball did it become apparent that he might have a chance to make a real living doing this.
Sale was a 1st round draft pick who signed for $1.6MM (that's more than I estimate Kluber has made his entire career including salary and bonus) and threw exactly 10.1 innings as a minor league pitcher before permanently becoming a major league pitcher.
buckeyedanpt2 wrote: yea the numbers are low... if you asked him to take those lower numbers you'd have to guarantee more years...
No, this isn't right. The lower the numbers, the fewer the guaranteed years. The low numbers reflect the fact that he has zero negotiating leverage until the year 2019. For instance, if the Indians offered him a two year deal that paid him $4MM next year and $4MM the year after, he would be insane not to take it. He is going to make $500M next year. If they offered him a 3 year $12MM deal, the calculus changes dramatically because they are buying two arbitration years and one year where they can pay him league minimum.