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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Reds should extend Jay Bruce

Joel has a nice post up on Red Reporter comparing RoY Longoria and our own Jay Bruce. While Bruce's future value is largely wrapped up in potential compared to Longoria, he concludes that the two players may actually be of comparable value.

I tend to think that Longoria's the safer bet, but I think Joel's right that we're quite lucky to have Bruce on this Reds team. And I think we need to sign him to a contract extension ASAP. Here's what I wrote:

The other nice thing about Longoria, as a “property,” is his contract. He signed an extension about a week into his first season, and unless he gets injured it looks like it will result in an extremely good value for the Rays. I’d like to see the Reds do a similar extension with Bruce this offseason. By giving him guaranteed financial security for life (i.e. millions) this early in his career, teams can usually get players to sign at a massive discount below what you can reasonably (or even conservatively) project them to be worth during their arbitration and early free agent years.

Other examples of this kind of thing include the Tigers’ extension of Granderson and the Rockies’ extension of Tulowitzki last offseason. I know Tulo had a bad season, but he missed much of it with injury and finished up strong. He looks, along with Granderson, to be a very nice value over the length of his contract.
For more on this point, here's a set of nice posts about Evan Longoria's contract from skyking earlier this season. The first two are slightly mathy (though very readable), but the last one is written in straight-up English. You can basically substitute Longoria's name for Bruce's name throughout the article, and it does a great job of explaining why the Reds should sign Bruce to an extension NOW.

Update: In a response to Chad's link friendly link, Dave from Louisville wrote this:

I think its funny that Justin is only talking about Bruce.

Votto and Volquez are higher on my list.

Here's my response:

I’m fine with extending all three of them. And maybe Cueto too. If you sign each for what is projected to be a major savings, you’re insuring yourself against some of them busting. Most of the time, the team comes out ahead. And the players win as well because they get guaranteed financial security against, for example, a career-ending injury occurring prior to making the good money.

The reason I mentioned Bruce specifically is that he was the subject of a comparison with Longoria at Red Reporter, as they were the #1 & 2 prospects at the start of the season. Longoria got locked up prior to “proving himself,” and signing Bruce now would more or less be the same thing.

Extending Votto and Volquez isn’t exactly the same thing, as they now have a very good season under their belts. In that sense, it’s more analogous to extending Tulowitzki, Granderson, or Shields. Seems less risky and easier to stomach, and therefore a bit more conventional (and thus less interesting to write about).

But the same arguments apply all around, and I agree that all of those guys should be signed to extensions this offseason. Hopefully it’ll happen. But I won’t hold my breath, as I’m feeling very pessimistic about the Reds management these days.


  1. Who is Jay Brice's agent? That could have a good deal to do with how this pans out.

  2. Here are some numbers. These are from baseballprospectus's PECOTA pages. Longoria's contract was for 6 years so I'm going to use all the projected years. The thing to remember with these projections I think is that they were BEFORE 2008 and Longoria clearly had a better year than Bruce.

    to set this up
    Bruce will be 22 and has half a season under his belt

    Longoria will be 23 and got only about 100 more PA than Bruce this past season

    Looking at their Super VORP and Valuation projections from BP

    203.2 SVORP worth about $93.7 million over the next 6 years

    221 SVORP worth about $87.6 million over the next 6 years

    A couple things to remember.
    Bruce's VORP and value will go down if he's a corner OFer instead of a CFer and Longoria's projection might even go up after his GREAT season and Bruce's might go ever so slightly down. It's close but because Longoria plays 3B he's more valuable.

  3. @Joseph,

    Bruce talked about his agent, Matt Sosnick, here. No matter who the agent is, it should be possible to sign him at a discount in exchange for a lifetime of financial security right now.


    I agree that Longoria is a better property right now. But Bruce is still worth extending right now for a deal much like Longoria's. Heck, even a deal without all the option year insanity would be a great step for the Reds.