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Patrick Bateman
07-31-2011, 02:45 AM
I believe that many posters here feel that the Reds are at the crossroads between short term contention and not, and believe that there should be pressure on the Reds to make just about any move to effect the bottom line, with less consideration of the value of the prospects that the Reds currently boast.

I have been thinking about ways of quantifying the value of particular players from the Reds point of view. Recent hot topics on Redszone have revolved around the constant disagreements over the value of guys like Heisey to the Reds as well as trade targets of star players such as James Shields and Ubaldo Jiminez.

Forgetting for a moment about analyzing these players to the millionth degree, as both sides of the argument have been displayed and both sides I think I have some reasonably fair points.

So what I have gone about doing is to determine the amount of money that the Reds can spend on 1 unit of WAR in order to contend. I have prepared my analysis under the assumption that the Reds goal should be to aim for a 90 win club, as aiming for anything more than that is going to cost the Reds in subsequent years in order to facilitate a year of success. Further, I wanted to find the answer to questions such as, if the Reds fielded a team of Chris Heisey calibre players for every position, how many wins would they project to in a season?

The results that I came up with, is that in 2010, a team of replacement level players net about 42.5 wins, which means that in order to win 90 games, a team needs about 47.5 WAR to have an “on paper” 90 win team.
Next, using Fangraphs team data from 2010, the average team (ie. An 81 win team) gets the following distribution of WAR from their different segments (fielders, bench players, starting pitchers are relievers):

• Fielders – 19.72 WAR
• Bench Players – 2.92 WAR (this was difficult to quantify quickly, so I assumed that the average bench is about as important as a bullpen)
• Starting pitchers – 12.84 WAR
• Relievers – 2.92 WAR

Then using basic cross multiplying, I bumped these figures up to determine how much WAR is required from these segments for a 90 WAR team. The results were as follows:

• Fielders – 24.34 WAR
• Bench Players – 3.61 WAR (this was difficult to quantify quickly, so I assumed that the average bench is about as important as a bullpen)
• Starting pitchers – 15.85 WAR
• Relievers – 3.61 WAR

Then, I allocated this WAR on a per player basis for each of the segments. The results were:
• Fielders – 3.04 WAR
• Bench Players – 0.72 WAR (this was difficult to quantify quickly, so I assumed that the average bench is about as important as a bullpen)
• Starting pitchers – 3.17 WAR
• Relievers – 0.52 WAR

On this basis, I find it easier to look at Chris Heisey’s career WAR of 2.6, which over about 450 plate appearances, which is getting close to a full season’s worth of at-bats for a starting fielder, means that a team of Chris Heisey calibre players, forgetting about salary restrictions, would produce about 82-83 wins. Not bad.

The Cincinnati twist in all of this is quantifying the amount of salary appropriate to pay for 1 unit of WAR. In trade talks, I find a lot of people want to say that 1 WAR is worth 5M because that is what the cost of a WAR costs on the open free agent market. But we know that the Reds can’t survive spending 5M on a WAR without having enough young talent to complement that. So sure, Heisey’s production isn’t enough to win 90 games, but he is good enough that while he is cheap, the value surplus that he presents allows the Reds flexibility to add a better player at another position to overall improve the team.

Again, just looking at basic math, the Reds have a payroll of about $76M in 2011, considering a team needs 47.5 WAR to win 90 games, that means the Reds can only afford to spend about 1.6M on each unit of WAR. It’s easy to say the Reds need more good players, but even paying a fair market wage of 5M for each WAR puts the Reds quite a bit behind the eight ball from what other teams are capable of.

So what are the main takeaways here? Well, I think primarily when I see other posters lamenting the fact that the Reds are letting prospects get in the way of getting a helpful trade piece such as Ubaldo Jiminez. But to me, it makes great sense. Looking at him specifically, yes, he’s clearly the type of guy that improves the team on a cheap contract as he averages a salary of $3.5M for the next 2 years and provides real value, lets say for sake of the argument at 5 WAR per season. That in essence would give the Reds 3 additional WAR in surplus over what they need to be paying in order to be a successful team. But at the same time, likely in having to give up Mesoraco, the Reds give up a very strong candidate that could easily be able to be a 2 WAR player annually for peanuts. From the Reds point of view, in terms of annual contention, that is almost as valuable just in being able to produce 2 WAR for nothing than it is to pay the 3.5M for 5 WAR. Obviously teams with a larger payroll don’t have to be as thrifty.


Back to Heisey, as he is able to provide 2.5 WAR for nothing, it means that the Reds then are able to throw an additional 1.2M (the 1.6M required per WAR minus the minimum) to acquire the price of obtaining a WAR for a 90 win team, in essence, they can now spend 2.8M rather than 1.6M to acquire that amount. So I find it difficult to fathom why the Reds should be trading him for Ludwick, knowing that even if Ludwick produces at the most optimistic of projections (say 3.5 WAR), the Reds are paying over 6.5M for the additional WAR. So not only do the Reds hurt themselves in the future, but they are actually a worse team presently since they have spent about 4 times as much on obtaining an additional WAR as they can to be a 90 win team. Obtaining the additional win is only sensible if the Reds have the WAR in place to succeed and can obtain additional wins within their payroll constraints.

An additional point, is that from this line of thinking, it paints a very clear picture of how much a contract like Arroyo hurts the Reds. His present day average hit over his contract is about 10M annually. Considering he’s on pace to actually cost us 1 WAR this season, that from this perspective, it means that for the Reds can only pay about $1.35M per WAR, or basically gives the Reds $0.25M less to play with to accumulate one WAR, which further puts the Reds at a competitive disadvantage.

A few other thoughts:

- the average reliever doesn't mean a heck of a lot to a team. A proper bullpen should probably be spent on 2 to 3 guys thast accumulae the bulk of the bullpen's WAR, with the rest going to young players or replacement level stuff. I'm sure other team's pens must be just as frustrating as the Reds', because the overall value that peers' pens are bringing to the table is fairly minimal and not contributing to the bottom line by a lot.

- the Reds likely need 2 new faces in the rotation next year. Our best guys, Cueto and Leake are barely scraping what a 90 win team gets out of their starters.

- the Reds are better off gambling on signing young contributing players such as they did with Bruce/Cueto to reasonable contracts through their free agent years as the ability to get surplus value is essential for them to compete. There is almost no way to contend by the Reds going year to year with their better players

I don't think any of this is by any means groundbreaking, it took no more work than exporting a few tables from Fangraphs into Excel..... but I think it does serve a purpose for quantifying the value of players, either internally, or externally, including prospects, and the related contracts, in terms of their ability to contribute to a contention calibre team.

To make an overall conclusion, I really do think the Reds are right to hold on to their prospects stringently until the timing is right. Jiminez is a clear great target for what he offers. Yes he helps, but considering the amount of money within the current budget that is available to spend, the prospects are the lifeline of the team’s ability to seriously contend. Jiminez is great, but without the ability to have talent contributing to the team within their first 4-5 years of services time, then the team still stinks. Simply put, you make the move of prospects for a Jiminez when the other pieces are already in place, otherwise it is a considerable waste of resources when they could be better spent on a team that is within grasp of a division title, rather than one that has been off the pace for the last few months (I do think a strong argument could be made that the most recent off season would fit the timeline for when the right time would have been). Regardless, from the perspective of general trades, it shows that within the Reds budgets how fundamentally wrong it is to trade players that can produce some level of WAR within their cheap seasons for players that are getting paid high amounts of dollars. For the Reds to contend, it simply cannot happen.

Please, for the sake of contention, the Reds better not trade a Stubbs for a Bourne, it hurts the overall ability to contend now and later. Don’t trade for Ludwick. Stop signing older players to long term contracts. Don’t pay 10M+ to a reliever again. Appreciate any young player who is rosterable. And please, don’t trade our top prospects for anyone, until there is reasonable evidence that it’s the missing piece of the puzzle.

mdccclxix
07-31-2011, 03:35 AM
Excellent stuff, thanks!!


Stop signing older players to long term contracts. Don’t pay 10M+ to a reliever again. Appreciate any young player who is rosterable. And please, don’t trade our top prospects for anyone, until there is reasonable evidence that it’s the missing piece of the puzzle.

From your mouth to God's ears.

A quiet deadline tomorrow is probably a good thing.

PuffyPig
07-31-2011, 08:13 AM
Please, for the sake of contention, the Reds better not trade a Stubbs for a Bourne, it hurts the overall ability to contend now and later. Don’t trade for Ludwick. Stop signing older players to long term contracts. Don’t pay 10M+ to a reliever again. Appreciate any young player who is rosterable. And please, don’t trade our top prospects for anyone, until there is reasonable evidence that it’s the missing piece of the puzzle.

Great post.

You've demonstrated why a trade of guys like Stubbs, Bailey, Heisey and Alonso for Bourne, Pence and Rodriquez would have crippled this organization for years.

I(heart)Freel
07-31-2011, 09:17 AM
Thank you!

A quantifiable argument that contrasts the "just do something" mentality that's far too prevalent on here.

nate
07-31-2011, 10:20 AM
A great example of a (high) quality post. High five!

I guess the takeaway is, WAR the Reds need has to be cheaper than market value.

Ghosts of 1990
07-31-2011, 11:18 AM
Really great post. Thanks for the analysis

mattfeet
07-31-2011, 11:42 AM
Wow....simply outstanding post! Thanks for the awesome info!!!!!


Matt

Kc61
07-31-2011, 11:47 AM
When is the timing right to go for a proven player?

When Votto is a Blue Jay or a Yankee?

The Reds won a division last year. The timing should be right today.

The premise that young, cheap players are valuable to the Reds is undoubtedly correct.

But this team doesn't trade them. Is very slow to play them. Just piles them up at Louisville.

Bad trades and contracts are a mistake. So is inaction.

mattfeet
07-31-2011, 11:47 AM
Bateman- within your analysis, how does the contract of Brandon phillips fit into your summation of the organization?

Matt

IslandRed
07-31-2011, 11:48 AM
Very nice post.

I think people are just bummed we didn't get Jimenez. Other than he and Shields, there weren't any targets out there that didn't get a "meh" from a significant portion of RedsZone. And who knows if Shields ever was truly available.

Kc61
07-31-2011, 11:54 AM
Very nice post.

I think people are just bummed we didn't get Jimenez. Other than he and Shields, there weren't any targets out there that didn't get a "meh" from a significant portion of RedsZone. And who knows if Shields ever was truly available.

Yeah. Any place but here. Any time but now.

Jocketty's job is to improve the club. Exactly how has he done that? By promoting Wayne Krivsky's draft choices occasionally?

The Reds are stagnant and Redszone approves. Then we all should be happy with a .500 team.

edabbs44
07-31-2011, 11:55 AM
When is the timing right to go for a proven player?

When Votto is a Blue Jay or a Yankee?

The Reds won a division last year. The timing should be right today.

The premise that young, cheap players are valuable to the Reds is undoubtedly correct.

But this team doesn't trade them. Is very slow to play them. Just piles them up at Louisville.

Bad trades and contracts are a mistake. So is inaction.

Cincy is more Minnesota, Florida and Tampa than NY and Boston. Something we have to live with. I'm not sure that today is the day, unless it makes total sense.

But that's when it is time. When the trade is there that makes financial and organizational sense. One trade that costs too much can likely set this team back years.

IslandRed
07-31-2011, 11:56 AM
The premise that young, cheap players are valuable to the Reds is undoubtedly correct.

But this team doesn't trade them. Is very slow to play them. Just piles them up at Louisville.

Bad trades and contracts are a mistake. So is inaction.

I'll say this about that... while I liked the idea of starting the big-game hunting for 2012 early, even if it didn't pan out, there's a lot of work to do before next spring. Like you said, they're stacked up in Louisville. "Keep them all" and "trade them all" are both untenable strategies, so we have to figure out who to hold and who to fold. And the major-league roster needs some reconfiguring in my opinion.

Kc61
07-31-2011, 11:57 AM
Cincy is more Minnesota, Florida and Tampa than NY and Boston. Something we have to live with. I'm not sure that today is the day, unless it makes total sense.

But that's when it is time. When the trade is there that makes financial and organizational sense. One trade that costs too much can likely set this team back years.

It makes sense when you have an MVP caliber player and are on the cusp of being very good.

Waiting for greatness to fall into your lap under perfect circumstances is hopeless.

Benihana
07-31-2011, 12:11 PM
Kc61, you and I couldn't agree more.

Patrick Bateman
07-31-2011, 01:17 PM
When is the timing right to go for a proven player?

When Votto is a Blue Jay or a Yankee?

The Reds won a division last year. The timing should be right today.

The premise that young, cheap players are valuable to the Reds is undoubtedly correct.

But this team doesn't trade them. Is very slow to play them. Just piles them up at Louisville.

Bad trades and contracts are a mistake. So is inaction.

I think a strong argument could have been made that the most recent offseason was the time to consider making a move like that. The Reds projected to be 84-87 win team before the season. Adding a 5 WAR pitcher like Greinke really could have made a material contribution towards making the playoffs this season.

As far as timing today? I do think that at the deadline, there is a premium to pay for the "now" aspect of the trade. With playoff odds in the 5% range, I don't think the Reds should be paying a premium to get the Ubaldo Jiminez right now. IThere will be more pitchers available in the offseason, there always is. Although it's nice to get the bird in hand now, I think basic economics suggests that the price will be cheaper in the offseason when rival GM's don't have a gun to their head trying to make a last second effort to improve the team. I don't think the Reds should be players in that particular market.

Patrick Bateman
07-31-2011, 01:31 PM
Bateman- within your analysis, how does the contract of Brandon phillips fit into your summation of the organization?

Matt

Well, firstly at 30, I think he probably fits in the "don't give older players long term contracts". To keep him, the Reds are going to have to give pretty close to market value.

At the same time, in the short term, he does represent a pretty sure 4 WAR next season, as such, he does provide good surplus value over the 12M option that the Reds have available. It's a slam dunk decision to pick the option up, at worst you could trade him for value.

But as far as a long term extension goes, I think there is just too big a risk that in his age 31-36 years that Phillips will be a high risk of not being worth the contract required or provide the efficiencies required within the Reds payroll structure.

Jay Bruce
07-31-2011, 01:36 PM
But as far as a long term extension goes, I think there is just too big a risk that in his age 31-36 years that Phillips will be a high risk of not being worth the contract required or provide the efficiencies required within the Reds payroll structure.

You should call this the Bronson Arroyo rule.

mattfeet
07-31-2011, 01:46 PM
If we plan on Phillips becoming a 2.5-3.5 WAR player over the next 3-4 years, by your math we should only plan on paying him $4mil - $5.6mil per year? I think Phillips will take a discount on an extension, but I bet it's more in the $8-10mil/year range. League average (taking your numbers) at $5mil/WAR would put him in the $12.5-17.5mil/year range.

Im not sure I buy the league average cost/WAR is around $5mil, but more likely in the $4mil/WAR range. Taking the $4mil/WAR cost would plant a 2.5-3.5WAR player in the $10-14mil/year range, which seems logical.

Not really sure the point of my post is, but just thinking out loud. :)

-Matt

Patrick Bateman
07-31-2011, 01:55 PM
If we plan on Phillips becoming a 2.5-3.5 WAR player over the next 3-4 years, by your math we should only plan on paying him $4mil - $5.6mil per year? I think Phillips will take a discount on an extension, but I bet it's more in the $8-10mil/year range. League average (taking your numbers) at $5mil/WAR would put him in the $12.5-17.5mil/year range.

Im not sure I buy the league average cost/WAR is around $5mil, but more likely in the $4mil/WAR range. Taking the $4mil/WAR cost would plant a 2.5-3.5WAR player in the $10-14mil/year range, which seems logical.

Not really sure the point of my post is, but just thinking out loud. :)

-Matt

Well from a team wide perspective that is how much the Reds basically have to average in WAR payment, bu in reality, they aren't going to be able to generate enough internal production whereby the Reds wont have to play the free agent type of markets to field a competitive team. So no, I'm not saying the Reds could plan on paying him $1.6M per WAR, because it's not just within realistic expecations of what he is worth to the rest of MLB.

The $5M is more or less quanitifed by what teams have been paying in free agency for WAR (I didn't come up with the numbers)...... it represents what it costs the Reds to get a WAR withoutgiving up young pieces in trades.

Phillips may give some discount over that, which does present some potential for surplus value over his contract, but I think more than likely he declines over the next 5 years, especially considering that the bulk of his value is contingent on his strong defensive play.

Overall, I'm saying that the Reds have a limited amount of 8M+ contracts that they can give out.... to maximize the surplus value, giving them out to players on the wrong side of 30 is likely a poor strategy unless the contract length can be limited to 1-2 years.

mattfeet
07-31-2011, 01:59 PM
Gotcha, good info. My ideal contract to Phillips would be a 3yr-$24-27mil deal. Which given the contracts off the books for next year (namely Cordero), I think is very doable.

-Matt

mth123
07-31-2011, 02:06 PM
When is the timing right to go for a proven player?

When Votto is a Blue Jay or a Yankee?

The Reds won a division last year. The timing should be right today.

The premise that young, cheap players are valuable to the Reds is undoubtedly correct.

But this team doesn't trade them. Is very slow to play them. Just piles them up at Louisville.

Bad trades and contracts are a mistake. So is inaction.

:thumbup:

The Reds have 3 CF Options, 2 top catching prospects, a high level 1B prospect blocked by the defending MVP and two in demand staring pitchers toiling in AAA. I get the idea that you need production in the cheap years of a player, but how does the team get production from guys who don't have a spot to play? The answer is you deal them for the things you need.

As for when to go for it, teams usually win when impact players are on the roster. The Reds have 2 impact players, Brandon Phillips who is an impact player on defense and Joey Votto who is an impact player on offesne. The team should be going for it while they are still here.

Unfortunately, the real problem isn't the moves that they aren't making today, but the moves not made ib December.

The Reds should be shopping Stubbs, Alonso, Grandal, Wood and Volquez with pretty much any of the lesser lights in the minors available to make a deal.

mth123
07-31-2011, 02:12 PM
BTW, the initial post was a nice pot, I just think the time is past to deal some excess for needs and the target WAR is based on 90 wins and I think that is aiming pretty low.

mth123
07-31-2011, 02:17 PM
You should call this the Bronson Arroyo rule.

Except the Reds had in house replacements on the way for Arroyo and at the $12 Million that would have been coming off the books, he could have been replaced in free agency so he was an obvious guy to exercise the option and not to extend (another Walt screw up). Phillips combination of offense and defense probably can't be had in 2013 after his $12 Million comes off the books and there is absolutely no one to replace him.

Arroyo and Phillips are apples and oranges if you ask me. Phillips should have gotten the deal that Arroyo got.

Patrick Bateman
07-31-2011, 02:32 PM
BTW, the initial post was a nice pot, I just think the time is past to deal some excess for needs and the target WAR is based on 90 wins and I think that is aiming pretty low.

I think aiming higher will lead to a huge loss of opportunity cost in other seasons. Putting an "on paper" 95 win team is extremely difficult to do, and within the Reds constraints isn't really possible to do year in and year out without the constant churning in of high end prospects.

I don't think on one hand you can talk about dangling all prospects for short term solutions and the creation of a 90 win without seriosuly being prepared to hinder the ability to contend in other years.

Patrick Bateman
07-31-2011, 02:34 PM
Except the Reds had in house replacements on the way for Arroyo and at the $12 Million that would have been coming off the books, he could have been replaced in free agency so he was an obvious guy to exercise the option and not to extend (another Walt screw up). Phillips combination of offense and defense probably can't be had in 2013 after his $12 Million comes off the books and there is absolutely no one to replace him.

Arroyo and Phillips are apples and oranges if you ask me. Phillips should have gotten the deal that Arroyo got.

I personally think Phillips is in a positon to get himself a 5-6 year contract at 12M per season. That is the type of contract that other teams can afford to pay, but I don't think the Reds can. If the Reds bypassed the chance to extend Phillips through his age 32 and 33 seasons (a similar extension to Arroyo), rather than going long term, then they were likely wrong to do so.

But I don't think that was on the table as Phillips was in a better bargaining position.

kaldaniels
07-31-2011, 02:35 PM
My heart says sign Phillips for a few more years. My head says part ways after the 2012 season. He will be 32 in 2013.

corkedbat
07-31-2011, 02:36 PM
Thye Reds direction? Flatline.

MikeS21
07-31-2011, 02:54 PM
I applaude the OP for his insights and personally be very glad for a quiet deadline. I was not sold on either Jiminez (possible health questions) or Shields (having a career year).

We unloaded Gomes, and once Cozart returns and we start seeing a Heisey/Alonso platoon, things will improve for 2012.

RedsManRick
07-31-2011, 03:00 PM
I think this team will play as well as any team in the NL Central from this point forward due in large part to the boost provided by youngsters, but no trade was going to make up the 6 game difference. I'm very happy that Walt isn't paying dollars for quarters for a ill-fated run.

PuffyPig
07-31-2011, 03:24 PM
[QUOTE=mth123;2455547
The Reds should be shopping Stubbs, Alonso, Grandal, Wood and Volquez with pretty much any of the lesser lights in the minors available to make a deal.[/QUOTE]

Shopping cheap, young, controllable players who are almost a certainty to give us bargain WAR in comparison to salary is pretty much the opposite of what this post is saying.

Stubbs is really our only viable CF. Others can play CF, but nothing more than at an "just Ok" level. Stubbs is close to a 4 WAR player with minimal salary.

mth123
07-31-2011, 03:24 PM
I personally think Phillips is in a positon to get himself a 5-6 year contract at 12M per season. That is the type of contract that other teams can afford to pay, but I don't think the Reds can. If the Reds bypassed the chance to extend Phillips through his age 32 and 33 seasons (a similar extension to Arroyo), rather than going long term, then they were likely wrong to do so.

But I don't think that was on the table as Phillips was in a better bargaining position.

I agree with what will happen with Phillips. Its one reason to go for a World Series contender now and next year. After that, the talent base starts declining. None of those Reds prospects that we want to hang onto can play 2B, but they could bring in the extra boost needed to win while he's still here. 2013 will still provide an opportunity IMO, but after Votto leaves this will be a sub 80 win team whether the Reds hang onto Alonso or not. Saving those guys to continue winning 85 games per year doesn't do much for me. Go for it while there is a chance for more.

mth123
07-31-2011, 03:26 PM
Shopping cheap, young, controllable players who are almost a certainty to give us bargain WAR in comparison to salary is pretty much the opposite of what this post is saying.

Stubbs is really our only viable CF. Others can play CF, but nothing more than at an "just Ok" level. Stubbs is close to a 4 WAR player with minimal salary.

I think Sappelt will provide ample top of the order production in CF and the boost they get elsewhere from what Stubbs brings back will provide a better team overall. Those cheap kids don't give us much WAR if they aren't playing or are stuck in AAA. It would also help solve the problem of being overloaded with 6 and 7 hole hitters.

PuffyPig
07-31-2011, 03:28 PM
FWIW, the Reds (for all their problems recently) remain the 7th best run differential team in the major leagues, so there is no reason we can't compete with anyone in the Central from here on in.

We are well ahead of Milwaulkee and the Pirates and behind the Cards.

Unless things change drastically, if you believe in run differential, the Cards should cruise to the title.

mth123
07-31-2011, 03:31 PM
FWIW, the Reds (for all their problems recently) remain the 7th best run differential team in the major leagues, so there is no reason we can't compete with anyone in the Central from here on in.

We are well ahead of Milwaulkee and the Pirates and behind the Cards.

Unless things change drastically, if you believe in run differential, the Cards should cruise to the title.

Agree with this. The season is not over. Another reason to bring in more help.
The Brewers lost Weeks for most of the rest of the year and while the Cardinals strengthened the pen, they lost Rasmus and Berkman. They should be in for a bit of a fall IMO. The Pirates won't get past the dog days IMO.

Mario-Rijo
07-31-2011, 04:09 PM
My heart says sign Phillips for a few more years. My head says part ways after the 2012 season. He will be 32 in 2013.

I agree with this. It sucks but unless he wants to take a significant cut to remain he'll lose alot of that athleticism that makes up alot of his value.

Gallen5862
07-31-2011, 04:42 PM
When Wandy and Bell go on waivers should the Reds put in waiver claims? Would that require fewer prospects then before the July 31 deadline?

BuckeyeRedleg
07-31-2011, 05:48 PM
When Wandy and Bell go on waivers should the Reds put in waiver claims? Would that require fewer prospects then before the July 31 deadline?

Probably, but I doubt Dusty would want Walt to bring in Bell, because I'm sure he wouldn't want to hurt Coco's feelings.

PuffyPig
08-02-2011, 10:44 AM
If you agree with this thread, the Votto/Batista trade is actually a no brainer.

Signing Votto to a huge, long term contract at the age of 30 is not something that the Reds should likely do. To bad we couldn't have gotten him to sign a 5 year deal, taking him to age 32.

Batista's contract and length actually offers us better value, especially since we have a replacement firstbaseman in-house.