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2013 Contract Year Players

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We all know for the most part that players in a contract years usually stay healthy and put up big numbers... Does anyone have a list of the players at all positions who will be free agents after this upcoming season ?

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I don't have a list of all the players, but off the top of my head I think Ellsbury, McCann, Granderson, Pence, Garza, and Rodney are contract year players.

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We all know for the most part that players in a contract years usually stay healthy and put up big numbers... Does anyone have a list of the players at all positions who will be free agents after this upcoming season ?

Huh? We all know that? Oh yeah, sophomore slumps and stuff too.

The numbers (what we really know) show this is a fallacy not worth anyone's time.

http://www.forbes.com/2010/04/13/yankees-phillies-astros-business-sports-bloomberg-baseball.html

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nelson cruz. carl crawford is still living off his on contract year the last season with the rays. he had his best season and done nothing since.

bj upton does the same junk he does and gets a big contract.

michael bourn had his best season his contract year.

contract year in not completely something to ignore.

aaron hill last year had a contract year.

josh hamilton did also. had his second to best season but was injured.

sophmore slumps happen also.

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We all know for the most part that players in a contract years usually stay healthy and put up big numbers... Does anyone have a list of the players at all positions who will be free agents after this upcoming season ?

Huh? We all know that? Oh yeah, sophomore slumps and stuff too.

The numbers (what we really know) show this is a fallacy not worth anyone's time.

http://www.forbes.co...g-baseball.html

I'd rather read the article that removes players who are retiring and/or part time players who always sign shorter contracts because their talent levels are lower. If there were a compare of players who were at some point a highly ranked prospect or an all star at some point and compares those players against what those same players did in the first year of their new contract then that would be more meaningful than complete averages IMO.

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nelson cruz. carl crawford is still living off his on contract year the last season with the rays. he had his best season and done nothing since.

bj upton does the same junk he does and gets a big contract.

michael bourn had his best season his contract year.

contract year in not completely something to ignore.

aaron hill last year had a contract year.

josh hamilton did also. had his second to best season but was injured.

sophmore slumps happen also.

BJ Upton has been incredibly consistent. I don't even know where he got this reputation as a contract year player. Bourn's stats were basically equivalent to what he put up in 2011. Aaron Hill wasn't in a contract year last year so I have no idea what you're talking about. His contract year was 2011 and he was horrible. Even when you attempted bring up some outliers to prove your point, you still didn't succeed. There is no correlation.

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I don't have a list of all the players, but off the top of my head I think Ellsbury, McCann, Granderson, Pence, Garza, and Rodney are contract year players.

I'd like to see if the OP thinks Rodney will do better than last year because he's in a contract year. And Granderson is already hurt so I guess there goes the theory that guys stay healthy in their contract year :rolleyes: .

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We all know for the most part that players in a contract years usually stay healthy and put up big numbers... Does anyone have a list of the players at all positions who will be free agents after this upcoming season ?

Huh? We all know that? Oh yeah, sophomore slumps and stuff too.

The numbers (what we really know) show this is a fallacy not worth anyone's time.

http://www.forbes.co...g-baseball.html

I'd rather read the article that removes players who are retiring and/or part time players who always sign shorter contracts because their talent levels are lower. If there were a compare of players who were at some point a highly ranked prospect or an all star at some point and compares those players against what those same players did in the first year of their new contract then that would be more meaningful than complete averages IMO.

And what do you suppose you'd see? You think they try harder and magically stay healthier?

The problem is everyone remembers the 2 guys who blow up in their contract year and forget about the 12 who don't.

So why don't we do our own study here. Those who believe this false narrative put together a list this year that fits criteria. Then we revisit at the end of the year. Think 10%-15% have a career year?

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We all know for the most part that players in a contract years usually stay healthy and put up big numbers... Does anyone have a list of the players at all positions who will be free agents after this upcoming season ?

Huh? We all know that? Oh yeah, sophomore slumps and stuff too.

The numbers (what we really know) show this is a fallacy not worth anyone's time.

http://www.forbes.co...g-baseball.html

I'd rather read the article that removes players who are retiring and/or part time players who always sign shorter contracts because their talent levels are lower. If there were a compare of players who were at some point a highly ranked prospect or an all star at some point and compares those players against what those same players did in the first year of their new contract then that would be more meaningful than complete averages IMO.

And what do you suppose you'd see? You think they try harder and magically stay healthier?

The problem is everyone remembers the 2 guys who blow up in their contract year and forget about the 12 who don't.

So why don't we do our own study here. Those who believe this false narrative put together a list this year that fits criteria. Then we revisit at the end of the year. Think 10%-15% have a career year?

Players are motivated by money right? I'm not going to argue health because lots of injuries are by pure chance. But it would seem to me that a player would be motivated to do better during a contract year, thus maximizing earning potential. Does this apply to everyone? No. Does it apply to some players on a case by case basis? Sure it does. I don't see a problem targeting guys like ellsbury or Pence because they are motvated to play a little harder and perhaps steal an extra few bases or hit a few more homeruns. Should contract year be the end all/be all for analyzing players? heck no, but if you have two equal guys and one just signed a big deal and the other wants a big deal, i would take the guy fighting for his big deal.

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We all know for the most part that players in a contract years usually stay healthy and put up big numbers... Does anyone have a list of the players at all positions who will be free agents after this upcoming season ?

Huh? We all know that? Oh yeah, sophomore slumps and stuff too.

The numbers (what we really know) show this is a fallacy not worth anyone's time.

http://www.forbes.co...g-baseball.html

I'd rather read the article that removes players who are retiring and/or part time players who always sign shorter contracts because their talent levels are lower. If there were a compare of players who were at some point a highly ranked prospect or an all star at some point and compares those players against what those same players did in the first year of their new contract then that would be more meaningful than complete averages IMO.

And what do you suppose you'd see? You think they try harder and magically stay healthier?

The problem is everyone remembers the 2 guys who blow up in their contract year and forget about the 12 who don't.

So why don't we do our own study here. Those who believe this false narrative put together a list this year that fits criteria. Then we revisit at the end of the year. Think 10%-15% have a career year?

Players are motivated by money right? I'm not going to argue health because lots of injuries are by pure chance. But it would seem to me that a player would be motivated to do better during a contract year, thus maximizing earning potential. Does this apply to everyone? No. Does it apply to some players on a case by case basis? Sure it does. I don't see a problem targeting guys like ellsbury or Pence because they are motvated to play a little harder and perhaps steal an extra few bases or hit a few more homeruns. Should contract year be the end all/be all for analyzing players? heck no, but if you have two equal guys and one just signed a big deal and the other wants a big deal, i would take the guy fighting for his big deal.

Sure, but if we're going to continue down this track of narratives with no actual statistic evidence to support them, couldn't the pressure of trying to earn a new contract cause them to start pressing? Affect their play in a negative manner?

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Oh this community is better than this thread, which is very aptly misspelled lol. This is the most tired of all fake topics to go through, I'd love to see 2balls' challenge get answered by you guys so you can see the fallacy firsthand. Most of the others have already been called out, but Ellsbury? Cmon, if he does do well it wont be because of this myth, it will be because he actually plays 150 games. Fantasy, cliches, and outright misinformation do not win titles

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We all know for the most part that players in a contract years usually stay healthy and put up big numbers... Does anyone have a list of the players at all positions who will be free agents after this upcoming season ?

Huh? We all know that? Oh yeah, sophomore slumps and stuff too.

The numbers (what we really know) show this is a fallacy not worth anyone's time.

http://www.forbes.co...g-baseball.html

I'd rather read the article that removes players who are retiring and/or part time players who always sign shorter contracts because their talent levels are lower. If there were a compare of players who were at some point a highly ranked prospect or an all star at some point and compares those players against what those same players did in the first year of their new contract then that would be more meaningful than complete averages IMO.

And what do you suppose you'd see? You think they try harder and magically stay healthier?

The problem is everyone remembers the 2 guys who blow up in their contract year and forget about the 12 who don't.

So why don't we do our own study here. Those who believe this false narrative put together a list this year that fits criteria. Then we revisit at the end of the year. Think 10%-15% have a career year?

Players are motivated by money right? I'm not going to argue health because lots of injuries are by pure chance. But it would seem to me that a player would be motivated to do better during a contract year, thus maximizing earning potential. Does this apply to everyone? No. Does it apply to some players on a case by case basis? Sure it does. I don't see a problem targeting guys like ellsbury or Pence because they are motvated to play a little harder and perhaps steal an extra few bases or hit a few more homeruns. Should contract year be the end all/be all for analyzing players? heck no, but if you have two equal guys and one just signed a big deal and the other wants a big deal, i would take the guy fighting for his big deal.

You assume two things:

1) these players aren't otherwise "as" motivated for playing time, money, fame, etc.

2) "trying harder" will have a positive outcome. Isn't it just as possible that a player pressing for a contract will fail?

There is just no correlation between a contract year and a positive outcome. None.

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The contract year has gone from phenomenon to myth in the last few years...and I think for good reason. Not only did Forbes' shed a more systematic light, but I think the key missed issue with contract years - they're a LOT more common than you think.

What do I mean? Well, starting from their 3rd year of service time onwards (or if they are a Super-2, after their 2nd year of service time accumulates) - unless you opted for a long-term contract to take away your arbitration-eligible years, each year is a contract year, because of salary arbitration.

You have a great year when you are arbitration eligible - you can try and go for broke in arbitration and get paid. You have a terrible year - teams can decline arbitration (because the maximum decrease is 20 percent from your previous year). And the next year, guess what they use? They use the prior year's salary as the baseline.

So when you are making 500K for the first 2-3 years of your professional MLB career - going nuts in your first arbitration-eligible year can mean going from 500K to 5-6M if you're decent (look at guys like Jason Hammel, SP BAL, and the arbitration figures tossed around), and if you are a star - you are breaking 8 figures (of course, the 8-figures comes if your body of work the whole 3 years is impressive). If you suck, they may decline arbitration - and then you can get even LESS than before. So, great years - 5-10M in your first year eligible - and then the $ amounts increase. Bad year - way less than the 5M, and worse, a renewal at 500K, or getting cut, and a non-guaranteed minor-league invite the next year... if the contract year effect truly exists, I have a VERY hard time believing that 4-5M doesn't mean a ton to guys earlier in their careers, many of whom have not seen huge paydays yet.

Then in Year 2, if you have a 3-4M baseline contract, another great year gets you into 7-8M territory - but if you struggle, you could get a 20 percent decrease proposed. Again, millions - and the scale climbs each year, before free agency (because again, the prior year's salary is the baseline, and the maximum a player can lose is 20 percent - which then can lead teams to decline arbitration and release the player - especially when pitchers get hurt, you see this - and then they REALLY lose more than just 2-3 million, but millions, if they have to start all over again). For Year 3 and Year 4 (for Super-2 players) - rinse & repeat, except the scale of $$ goes up in potential ceiling of earnings for the next year.

So, everyone talks about contract years as if it's only 1 year - but for 24-26 year old players (or older), after Year 2 - they are pretty much contract years - where the difference between a great year and terrible year is literally millions of dollars.

If the contract year theory held water, we'd see a LOT more guys crushing it in their 3rd, 4th, 5th years - and NOT just their 6th+ MLB season when they were about to hit free agency. The fact the contract year proponents ONLY looked at guys hitting free agency, well, I'd be a LOT more interested to see what happens when they almagamate the data from arbitration eligible players - because those guys are playing for their contracts the next year - and when you're making 500K, the prospect of millions, that to me is just as strong an incentive as the big mega-year contract.

For the record, this has to been discussed too, with great points already made, so can't forget the old threads....

http://forums.rotowo...671&hl=contract

http://forums.rotowo...592&hl=contract

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The contract year has gone from phenomenon to myth in the last few years...and I think for good reason. Not only did Forbes' shed a more systematic light, but I think the key missed issue with contract years - they're a LOT more common than you think.

What do I mean? Well, starting from their 3rd year of service time onwards (or if they are a Super-2, after their 2nd year of service time accumulates) - unless you opted for a long-term contract to take away your arbitration-eligible years, each year is a contract year, because of salary arbitration.

You have a great year when you are arbitration eligible - you can try and go for broke in arbitration and get paid. You have a terrible year - teams can decline arbitration (because the maximum decrease is 20 percent from your previous year). And the next year, guess what they use? They use the prior year's salary as the baseline.

So when you are making 500K for the first 2-3 years of your professional MLB career - going nuts in your first arbitration-eligible year can mean going from 500K to 5-6M if you're decent (look at guys like Jason Hammel, SP BAL, and the arbitration figures tossed around), and if you are a star - you are breaking 8 figures (of course, the 8-figures comes if your body of work the whole 3 years is impressive). If you suck, they may decline arbitration - and then you can get even LESS than before. So, great years - 5-10M in your first year eligible - and then the $ amounts increase. Bad year - way less than the 5M, and worse, a renewal at 500K, or getting cut, and a non-guaranteed minor-league invite the next year... if the contract year effect truly exists, I have a VERY hard time believing that 4-5M doesn't mean a ton to guys earlier in their careers, many of whom have not seen huge paydays yet.

Then in Year 2, if you have a 3-4M baseline contract, another great year gets you into 7-8M territory - but if you suck it up, you could get a 20 percent decrease proposed. Again, millions - and the scale climbs each year, before free agency (because again, the prior year's salary is the baseline, and the maximum a player can lose is 20 percent - which then can lead teams to decline arbitration and release the player - especially when pitchers get hurt, you see this - and then they REALLY lose more than just 2-3 million, but millions, if they have to start all over again).

So, everyone talks about contract years as if it's only 1 year - but for 24-26 year old players (or older), after Year 2 - they are pretty much contract years - where the difference between a great year and terrible year is literally millions of dollars.

If the contract year theory held water, we'd see a LOT more guys crushing it in their 3rd, 4th, 5th years - and NOT just their 6th+ MLB season when they were about to hit free agency. The fact the contract year proponents ONLY looked at guys hitting free agency, well, I'd be a LOT more interested to see what happens when they almagamate the data from arbitration eligible players - because those guys are playing for their contracts the next year - and when you're making 500K, the prospect of millions, that to me is just as strong an incentive as the big mega-year contract.

For the record, this has to been discussed too, with great points already made, so can't forget the old threads....

http://forums.rotowo...671&hl=contract

http://forums.rotowo...592&hl=contract

great post. your knowledge of contracts is ridiculous

i agree the incentive to get from 500K to 5M is much bigger than to get from 5M to 10M. you see a lot of guys get complacent after they get the first big jump in pay.

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We all know for the most part that players in a contract years usually stay healthy and put up big numbers...

This is definitely NOT true so any discussion is meaningless.

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Look- maybe the original post was making more out of what actually is, but if you have two guys on the same tier, who you are scratching your head over, the idea of a contact year could be the kicker to help you make a decision.

Love the arbitration post! This stuff is complicated. I'd imagine a lot of the players probably have trouble getting it straight.

This is my first post so I hope it doesn't ruffle any feathers.

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I like quality players in contract years,the ones who can make an extra leap in order to get paid even more.The ones who already have good reputation but with a chance for a big payday.

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The contract year has gone from phenomenon to myth in the last few years...and I think for good reason. Not only did Forbes' shed a more systematic light, but I think the key missed issue with contract years - they're a LOT more common than you think.

What do I mean? Well, starting from their 3rd year of service time onwards (or if they are a Super-2, after their 2nd year of service time accumulates) - unless you opted for a long-term contract to take away your arbitration-eligible years, each year is a contract year, because of salary arbitration.

You have a great year when you are arbitration eligible - you can try and go for broke in arbitration and get paid. You have a terrible year - teams can decline arbitration (because the maximum decrease is 20 percent from your previous year). And the next year, guess what they use? They use the prior year's salary as the baseline.

So when you are making 500K for the first 2-3 years of your professional MLB career - going nuts in your first arbitration-eligible year can mean going from 500K to 5-6M if you're decent (look at guys like Jason Hammel, SP BAL, and the arbitration figures tossed around), and if you are a star - you are breaking 8 figures (of course, the 8-figures comes if your body of work the whole 3 years is impressive). If you suck, they may decline arbitration - and then you can get even LESS than before. So, great years - 5-10M in your first year eligible - and then the $ amounts increase. Bad year - way less than the 5M, and worse, a renewal at 500K, or getting cut, and a non-guaranteed minor-league invite the next year... if the contract year effect truly exists, I have a VERY hard time believing that 4-5M doesn't mean a ton to guys earlier in their careers, many of whom have not seen huge paydays yet.

Then in Year 2, if you have a 3-4M baseline contract, another great year gets you into 7-8M territory - but if you struggle, you could get a 20 percent decrease proposed. Again, millions - and the scale climbs each year, before free agency (because again, the prior year's salary is the baseline, and the maximum a player can lose is 20 percent - which then can lead teams to decline arbitration and release the player - especially when pitchers get hurt, you see this - and then they REALLY lose more than just 2-3 million, but millions, if they have to start all over again). For Year 3 and Year 4 (for Super-2 players) - rinse & repeat, except the scale of $$ goes up in potential ceiling of earnings for the next year.

So, everyone talks about contract years as if it's only 1 year - but for 24-26 year old players (or older), after Year 2 - they are pretty much contract years - where the difference between a great year and terrible year is literally millions of dollars.

If the contract year theory held water, we'd see a LOT more guys crushing it in their 3rd, 4th, 5th years - and NOT just their 6th+ MLB season when they were about to hit free agency. The fact the contract year proponents ONLY looked at guys hitting free agency, well, I'd be a LOT more interested to see what happens when they almagamate the data from arbitration eligible players - because those guys are playing for their contracts the next year - and when you're making 500K, the prospect of millions, that to me is just as strong an incentive as the big mega-year contract.

For the record, this has to been discussed too, with great points already made, so can't forget the old threads....

http://forums.rotowo...671&hl=contract

http://forums.rotowo...592&hl=contract

Some points to consider:

(1) Assumes rational actors, doesn't take behavioral issues into account. (I mean, just an obvious thing to point out is information asymmetry between players, between agents, between organizations, between players and agents, etc.)

(2) Only distinguishes between great years and terrible years - the incentive to perform excellently doesn't exist if performing decently will have similar incentives.

(3) Arbitration (in which there is a third party mediator) is not like contract negotiation, in which there are only two parties and their private ordering has the final say. As such you'll see very different dynamics going on (in both the player and the agent)

(4) This is not in response to you, but the forbes links, which aggregates all player contracts and doesn't account for differing situations, not all contract years are the same.

Just as a final point; when an idea has an extreme shift from "accepted idea" to myth, you know the answer is probably somewhere in the middle. The real difficult part is pinpointing specifically and exactly, where. To ignore contract year incentives to ballplayers is almost like a rejection of behavioral economics.

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On the other hand, this doesn't mean that because a player is in a contract year he will perform better than he has during the rest of his career. I mean think about the various questions involved in players being motivated by a contract:

(1) Is the contract incentive there?

(2) Is the player in a position to capitalize on the incentive?

(2a) Is the player in an organization that typically rewards players?

(2a) Is the player in an organization that needs that particular player?

(2a) Is the player in an organization that will trade the player if they don't need that particular player?

(2a) How about if they perform well?

(2a) Is the market conducive towards a player of that caliber to be traded in?

That's only a handful of the questions that one can consider (again with the assumption that we're dealing with rational actors). It also partially explains why not every player will perform well during a contract year - that does not mean that players performing well in a contract year is a myth - it just means that having an incentive to produce is one factor among many.

So aggregating a list of players in contract years is useful, but not sufficient for determining if a player will have a breakout year.

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On the other hand, this doesn't mean that because a player is in a contract year he will perform better than he has during the rest of his career. I mean think about the various questions involved in players being motivated by a contract:

(1) Is the contract incentive there?

(2) Is the player in a position to capitalize on the incentive?

(2a) Is the player in an organization that typically rewards players?

(2a) Is the player in an organization that needs that particular player?

(2a) Is the player in an organization that will trade the player if they don't need that particular player?

(2a) How about if they perform well?

(2a) Is the market conducive towards a player of that caliber to be traded in?

That's only a handful of the questions that one can consider (again with the assumption that we're dealing with rational actors). It also partially explains why not every player will perform well during a contract year - that does not mean that players performing well in a contract year is a myth - it just means that having an incentive to produce is one factor among many.

So aggregating a list of players in contract years is useful, but not sufficient for determining if a player will have a breakout year.

As I posted earlier, you're assuming 2 things:

1) Players aren't trying as hard and will then try harder

2) Trying harder will actually produce better numbers.

It's a myth because it's false way more than it's true. I could say water causes cancer and then point to all the people who have cancer and note that they drink water (ignoring the higher % who drink water and don't have cancer). Same lack of causation.

So you say making a list is not enough. I wonder what you (and others) ARE saying. Will a handful of guys have a great year in their contract year? Sure. Will way more NOT have a "career" year? Yes.

So my point is that even discussing this is an exercise in futility.

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On the other hand, this doesn't mean that because a player is in a contract year he will perform better than he has during the rest of his career. I mean think about the various questions involved in players being motivated by a contract:

(1) Is the contract incentive there?

(2) Is the player in a position to capitalize on the incentive?

(2a) Is the player in an organization that typically rewards players?

(2a) Is the player in an organization that needs that particular player?

(2a) Is the player in an organization that will trade the player if they don't need that particular player?

(2a) How about if they perform well?

(2a) Is the market conducive towards a player of that caliber to be traded in?

That's only a handful of the questions that one can consider (again with the assumption that we're dealing with rational actors). It also partially explains why not every player will perform well during a contract year - that does not mean that players performing well in a contract year is a myth - it just means that having an incentive to produce is one factor among many.

So aggregating a list of players in contract years is useful, but not sufficient for determining if a player will have a breakout year.

As I posted earlier, you're assuming 2 things:

1) Players aren't trying as hard and will then try harder

2) Trying harder will actually produce better numbers.

It's a myth because it's false way more than it's true. I could say water causes cancer and then point to all the people who have cancer and note that they drink water (ignoring the higher % who drink water and don't have cancer). Same lack of causation.

So you say making a list is not enough. I wonder what you (and others) ARE saying. Will a handful of guys have a great year in their contract year? Sure. Will way more NOT have a "career" year? Yes.

So my point is that even discussing this is an exercise in futility.

The list of questions was an attempt to explain why potentially, a larger % do not have career numbers than those do. Because it is so easy to break the causal chain between incentive and performance. (because there are so many considerations).

This is important in light of my previous post, because some of those many questions will be reduced in a contract year, where private ordering will exist after the season vs. in an arbitration year where there will be all of those questions because of the existence of rules guiding the arbitration along with a third party.

I don't see how the assumptions listed changes anything. Contracts work as incentives - the relationship between work and performance is not always upward, granted, but for some it is.

What I am saying: Contracts act as incentives and can play a significant role in career years.

What you are saying: Contracts years more often than not do not lead to career years, and are thus a myth.

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On the other hand, this doesn't mean that because a player is in a contract year he will perform better than he has during the rest of his career. I mean think about the various questions involved in players being motivated by a contract:

(1) Is the contract incentive there?

(2) Is the player in a position to capitalize on the incentive?

(2a) Is the player in an organization that typically rewards players?

(2a) Is the player in an organization that needs that particular player?

(2a) Is the player in an organization that will trade the player if they don't need that particular player?

(2a) How about if they perform well?

(2a) Is the market conducive towards a player of that caliber to be traded in?

That's only a handful of the questions that one can consider (again with the assumption that we're dealing with rational actors). It also partially explains why not every player will perform well during a contract year - that does not mean that players performing well in a contract year is a myth - it just means that having an incentive to produce is one factor among many.

So aggregating a list of players in contract years is useful, but not sufficient for determining if a player will have a breakout year.

As I posted earlier, you're assuming 2 things:

1) Players aren't trying as hard and will then try harder

2) Trying harder will actually produce better numbers.

It's a myth because it's false way more than it's true. I could say water causes cancer and then point to all the people who have cancer and note that they drink water (ignoring the higher % who drink water and don't have cancer). Same lack of causation.

So you say making a list is not enough. I wonder what you (and others) ARE saying. Will a handful of guys have a great year in their contract year? Sure. Will way more NOT have a "career" year? Yes.

So my point is that even discussing this is an exercise in futility.

The list of questions was an attempt to explain why potentially, a larger % do not have career numbers than those do. Because it is so easy to break the causal chain between incentive and performance. (because there are so many considerations).

This is important in light of my previous post, because some of those many questions will be reduced in a contract year, where private ordering will exist after the season vs. in an arbitration year where there will be all of those questions because of the existence of rules guiding the arbitration along with a third party.

I don't see how the assumptions listed changes anything. Contracts work as incentives - the relationship between work and performance is not always upward, granted, but for some it is.

What I am saying: Contracts act as incentives and can play a significant role in career years.

What you are saying: Contracts years more often than not do not lead to career years, and are thus a myth.

Ok, so I think we're in agreement there. But an incentive doesn't always lead to a positive result and, in fact, often time does not (either based on general talent, or "pressing" for the incentive).

So if there's no way of knowing which 10% it's going to benefit, isn't it pointless? Almost like saying "Age 35 is a peak year for players" if there's only a small "success rate" to that statement?

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On the other hand, this doesn't mean that because a player is in a contract year he will perform better than he has during the rest of his career. I mean think about the various questions involved in players being motivated by a contract:

(1) Is the contract incentive there?

(2) Is the player in a position to capitalize on the incentive?

(2a) Is the player in an organization that typically rewards players?

(2a) Is the player in an organization that needs that particular player?

(2a) Is the player in an organization that will trade the player if they don't need that particular player?

(2a) How about if they perform well?

(2a) Is the market conducive towards a player of that caliber to be traded in?

That's only a handful of the questions that one can consider (again with the assumption that we're dealing with rational actors). It also partially explains why not every player will perform well during a contract year - that does not mean that players performing well in a contract year is a myth - it just means that having an incentive to produce is one factor among many.

So aggregating a list of players in contract years is useful, but not sufficient for determining if a player will have a breakout year.

As I posted earlier, you're assuming 2 things:

1) Players aren't trying as hard and will then try harder

2) Trying harder will actually produce better numbers.

It's a myth because it's false way more than it's true. I could say water causes cancer and then point to all the people who have cancer and note that they drink water (ignoring the higher % who drink water and don't have cancer). Same lack of causation.

So you say making a list is not enough. I wonder what you (and others) ARE saying. Will a handful of guys have a great year in their contract year? Sure. Will way more NOT have a "career" year? Yes.

So my point is that even discussing this is an exercise in futility.

The list of questions was an attempt to explain why potentially, a larger % do not have career numbers than those do. Because it is so easy to break the causal chain between incentive and performance. (because there are so many considerations).

This is important in light of my previous post, because some of those many questions will be reduced in a contract year, where private ordering will exist after the season vs. in an arbitration year where there will be all of those questions because of the existence of rules guiding the arbitration along with a third party.

I don't see how the assumptions listed changes anything. Contracts work as incentives - the relationship between work and performance is not always upward, granted, but for some it is.

What I am saying: Contracts act as incentives and can play a significant role in career years.

What you are saying: Contracts years more often than not do not lead to career years, and are thus a myth.

Ok, so I think we're in agreement there. But an incentive doesn't always lead to a positive result and, in fact, often time does not (either based on general talent, or "pressing" for the incentive).

So if there's no way of knowing which 10% it's going to benefit, isn't it pointless? Almost like saying "Age 35 is a peak year for players" if there's only a small "success rate" to that statement?

Oh yes, I absolutely agree on the former point (an incentive will not always lead to a positive result). It is not pointless however, because it is one tool among many.

Furthermore, I think if we really start to distinguish and group players in contract years we might find stronger links between incentive and success. Of course, I don't know if that's actually possible given the limited amount of data we outsiders have, but I'm guessing it might be possible for some organizations (although I don't know if it would be useful - your theory might end up being right, that no matter how we group "contract years" that your point holds true.

Although I do think it's important to at the very least, distinguish between actual contract years and arbitration as a starting point and maybe go from there. Obviously I don't have the answers which is why I'm discussing what further points might be considered. Simply aggregating the data (and thereby equalizing all contract years) like Forbes and coming to a conclusion doesn't seem like the right path though.

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