Ozzie Albies and the Atlanta Braves have agreed to a long-term contract extension that has re-set the bar when it comes to team-friendly, player-unfriendly deals. Multiple reports indicate that the deal is 7 years, $35 million, with two option years that could make the total deal worth $45 million.
Jeff Passan says that other executives and agents are telling him this “might be the worst contract ever for a player.” Albies is 22, and had a 3.8 bWAR season last year. He’s viewed as a potential multi-year All Star going forward, and he’s given up two more years of team control, three arbitration years and up to four years of free agent years for a dollar figure that is less than just the free agent years are worth.
I’ve said in the past that I can understand why players would take the guaranteed payday now, even at a discount compared to what they could earn in the future, particularly when players did not get a large amount to sign (and Albies reportedly got $350,000 to sign as an amateur). I’ve also said that I think we underestimate the risk premium for the players for going year-to-year versus signing now.
That being said, I have no idea how this deal makes sense for Albies. Its unconscionably undervaluing him, and if there’s anything that illustrates why fundamental changes need to be made in the pre-free-agent compensation system in MLB, it is this deal.