Last Spring, the Cardinals signed three veteran players to contract extensions: Paul Goldschmidt, Matt Carpenter and Miles Mikolas. The moves prevented the Cardinals from having to bid for the players once they hit the open market (they did have an option on Carpenter).
So let’s see how the trio performed, comparing their preseason ZiPS projections to their actual Fangraphs WAR:
The Cardinals bid against themselves expecting to get the guys in the first column. Instead, they got the guys in the second column. If each of these players were on the open market right now, there’s no way they would get the kind of deal the Cardinals swooped in and preemptively signed them to.
This should be a wakeup call to the front office that their preferred method of doing business for 20+ years is no longer the way baseball works. In fact, ZiPS creator Dan Szymborski touched on this in a great thread yesterday:
This is no longer the case. Even poorly run teams don’t really think players enter their primes at 31 or that HR/RBI uber alles. Which means that the MLBPA has to fight for their revenue pot in different ways.
— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski)