Cool Papa sez,
Weird that they would have Paxton in AA (along with Taijuan and Hultzen).
He already pitched there last season. I guess it's a way to keep pressure off the org to have them in the majors the moment there is an opening or someone struggles. It will be the perfect chance to see exactly how Walker compares to the older, college-trained pitchers, which will be fun.
Who was it, Jeff Sullivan who noted that Tennessee is a better climate in April and May?
Along with that, we fancy that Jay-Z forsees a Maddux-Glavine-Smoltz type golf group, one stimulating another to 3-hit shutout into 2-hit shutout into 1-hit shutout... he has to align his rotations from the top to the bottom of the system, and it could be that he didn't have four open slots at the top rung. Counting Erasmo's slot at Tacoma, if he winds up there.
:: shrug :: AA or AAA, they are all three of them under-challenged in any case. A starting high school point guard doesn't get better playing 1-on-4 in the driveway with the neighborhood kids. He gets better in a camp with Bobby Knight pointing out his weaknesses.
Playing in the driveway is TERRIBLE for him, and a good way to get hurt, by the way, since he's not focused. Worst thing in the world for an elite athlete, to let him overmatch players who are far worse than he is.
They want to secure the 7th years, or keep the IP down this year, or let them dink around with their command and control, or whatever, fine, Tennessee is as good a place to stash them as anywhere. Stash them in Everett if you want.
=== Holland's Deal ===
By the way, Derek Holland became the latest young gun to give a hometown discount which looks terrible for him on paper, but which looks great for him in real life.
We kibitzed, in this series, the Rays' (tremendous) idea of giving an 8-year deal to a rookie starting pitcher. Matt Moore could feasibly make $70-80M in his first 8 years, if he turned out to be a great pitcher. The Rays guaranteed him $15M, with the probability of making $40M if he's any good at all.
Scott Boras would run screaming into the night at the thought of leaving that much on the table. But! That first $15M, and that likely $40M, affects Moore's life farrrrrrrr more than would the $40M following. The delta from $1 to $40 is like 1,000 times the delta from $40 to 80.
This is a core concept in 21st-century MLB: the first $15-40M is heavily "leveraged" money for the ballplayer, but it is not so for the ballclub. The $40th million is the same as the $80th, to the big corporation. This discrepancy, between the player's weighting of the money and the club's, means that the ballclub must extend Moore/Longoria offers to "poor" young players. The ballclub puts a gun to its young players' heads and says, "Take the 50% sized suitcase of millions now, or risk blowing the whole financial dream in one elbow surgery."
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||$9M club opt, or $1.0M and FA (DH: $10M guar'tee)
||FA salary $8-20M
||$10M club opt, or $0.75M and FA (DH: $11M opt)
||FA salary $8-20M
Erase Y1 and Y2 for Holland, and consider that Holland gave them a "Year 9" on this chart, a club option at $11.5M.
You can see how closely Holland's deal tracks Moore's; it's just that Holland got years 6-7 guaranteed, but coughed up an extra club option year for the privilege. Of course Holland's years 6-7 are two years nearer than are Moore's. Both pitchers have totally guaranteed money for the next 5 years.
Third-year pitchers are taking these deals commonly, as Fangraphs documents. The Fangraphs article states that the Rangers pushed these kinds of contracts "at many of their young players" this winter, some of whom declined. The hitters, we assume?
Fangraphs also notes that the young pitchers who signed "security" deals went on to perform very well, as a group. These deals have, so far, logged almost perfect operational records for teams and players.