Wander Franco's contract may be historic in player decisions

The 20-year-old Dominican Wander Franco, agreed for the 2022 campaign in Big leagues for 11 years and $ 182 million with the Tampa Bay Rays, which also includes a team option for a 12th season deal for $ 25 million.

Immediately, the agreement is produced, a shower of divided opinions, starting with those who say that the player ensures his future and that of his family in the immediate future, while others who for the duration of the agreement will be far above what in such a long time it benefits. the team versus the player.

The agreement will have an annual average salary of US $ 16,545,455 million for 12 years, leaving the player in free agency at age 32 and from the team opting for the club option in 2033 the Dominican would approach the free market at age 33 old.

The rush of the contract for a player who has seen action in only 70 games in the major leagues responds to only one reason, which is the weight of the system. Taking into account that in 2021 the minimum salary was US $ 535 thousand, payments that a player receives at least before entering the salary arbitration upon completing three years of service, and after six years in MLB to be able to opt for free agency.

For all this long process that players have to go through before they can set their dream contract in free agency, this is why kinds of agreements are produced, as happened with Franco, in search of ensuring their future and the well-being of their family. , although tomorrow if he explores the maximum of his potential we will say that he received something far below.

Not only has it happened with Wander Franco, Ronald Acuña Jr. heading into 2020 agreed to an eight-year, $ 100 million deal with the Atlanta Braves, including two team options that would lead to free agency at age 31, who Then he assured his future, but because of his performance today he looks like he was “cheated”, but he has the well-being of his family assured and he also flies every year of minimum payments and arbitration.

The most important case in recent years among these types of agreement falls on the Dominican José Ramírez, who as of 2017 saw his agreement for US $ 26 million and four years with the Cleveland Indians (today Guardians) in force, to which he also Two club options are added and the player will be a free agent in 2024 at the age of 31.

For what has become the MLB today, the contract is a bargain, but it was a player who kept receiving a minimum wage and who ends up skipping the salary arbitration, a player who was signed in 2009 for only US $ 50 thousand, for What he did before a system where the team get so many advantages, he had to access yes or yes, because that same player, his biggest cut, charging the minimum, only received US $ 500 thousand in his first year in the league in 2014, increasing to US $ 511 thousand and US $ 518 thousand in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Between 2017 and 2018 the player was third to the MVP of the American League in both years, while second in 2020 and sixth in the culminated campaign of 2021, since 2017 according to Fangraphs the player combined has had a total of 28.0 Victories Over the Replacement Level (fWAR), so its value based on added wins since its contract went into effect is US $ 224.3 million, more than eight times higher than what its actual agreement has been.

We could say that he despaired and all the advantages that the team has taken over their real value, but he was simply a player who, faced with a system that expected free agency for players of his type, did not result in anything beneficial, so He decided to simply look out for their well-being in the moment regardless of the future.

Today we see the cycle repeat itself with Franco, but it has already happened with Ramírez and Acuña Jr., we could also mention others like Eloy Jiménez who decided to do the same before even reaching the Major Leagues.

Faced with this type of contract and the fact that one is repeated in the middle of the negotiation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the Players Association and the owners of Major League Baseball teams, this is where it becomes more immediate than these types of agreement simply which forces the system to be prevented or to secure new agreements for the benefit of the league that makes them less normal.

From the CBA, players could be expected from an increase in the minimum wage in the league to a lower age to reach free agency, this being today the most immediate solution to calm the despair of the players and know that waiting for the right years they could limit the great advantages given to teams.

If this is not achieved, we will continue to see for a long time what happened with Wander Franco or another of the examples of the many cases. And it is simple and understandable to understand the players, they spend three years receiving minimum payments; To be able to see a millionaire salary in their accounts, they have to wait the cycle of three years in a row to go to an arbitration trial, ending up in free agency many times receiving a contract for high age well below expectations, having the option of that from their second year in the league they can achieve their future and that of their families.

The system leads to that, the teams in search of advantages know that they can secure a player for a long time and from which they benefit multiple times more than the real agreement, while the players know that in the long term their contracts to the teams can be being a bargain, but if they don’t they are simply the ones who end up losing.

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