Reason George Springer Won’t Sign With The SF Giants:
Harper was 26 years old during his free-agency sweepstakes, Springer will be 31. You might counter by arguing that Harper signed a 10-year deal and Springer is unlikely to get anything more than a 5-year contract (and that’s probably pushing it). What’s the difference? Well, contracts are about surplus value.
The Phillies and Giants didn’t think Harper would be worth $30 million dollars at 34 years old in 2027. Instead, they thought he’d be worth so much more than $30 million dollars per year in the first half of the deal to make the loss worth taking later. At 31, it’s harder to envision Springer accruing that much more peak surplus-value to compensate for some empty years later.
Of course, Harper and Springer are far from an apples-to-apples comparison. Springer will undoubtedly cost less than Harper on a per year basis and the lack of minor-league season in 2020 creates an entirely new dynamic to analysis.
I have a hypothesis that we’ll see aging curves move back and be extended over the next few years because this lost year will likely stunt the development of prospects at all levels of baseball. Even if minor-league ball returns to a new normal next year, the long-term implications will probably give players like Springer an advantage going forward that could extend their peak windows beyond what we’ve come to expect.