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Tuesday Discussion: Bader's Future

by SSTN Admin

June 6, 2023


This week we asked our writers a question that is sure to generate some debate:

Harrison Bader will be a free agent at the end of the year. If you were the Yankees, would you offer try to extend him now or offer him a new contract? If so, what would that deal look like? If not, why not?

Here are their replies:


Paul Semendinger - I have been impressed with Harrison Bader, the baseball player. He is everything his supporters say he is. He hustles. He plays with heart. He plays great defense. He hits for power. He gives his all. Harrison Bader is an easy player to root for.

On the other hand, because of his style of play, Harrison Bader has been frequently injured. I have given the stats before:

  • In 2019, he played in 79% of his team's games

  • In 2020, he played in 83.3% of his team's games

  • In 2021, he played in 63.5% of his team's games

  • In 2022, he played in 53% of his team's games

  • In 2023, he has played in 41.9% of his team's games

Every single full season, he plays in fewer and fewer games. He gets injured often. I know that many will say, "He's a 3.0 WAR player." And, I guess he is, when he's healthy. But when he's not, because of the way the Yankees have their roster constructed, they are forced to either move Aaron Judge to centerfield (something they seem reluctant to do this year, which is also something I'm not surprised about - it makes no sense to move your greatest player away from his natural position) or use any number of stop-gap players or sub-replacement players in his spot. For every positive WAR number Bader creates, playing the likes of Aaron Hicks, Greg Allen, IKF, and others in centerfield reduces the value of that position for the Yankees.

I have previously citer Pete Reiser. Look him up. At the time, some said that he could have been the greatest player ever. Injuries took their toll. Fred Lynn was a terrific player who was frequently injured and missed a lot of time. If a player isn't in the lineup, he can't contribute.

A lot of Harrison Bader's game is based on his speed and athleticism. As he continues to get injured, both will diminish. He will turn 30 next season. If I were the Yankees, I would not invest in a player in his thirties who couldn't stay healthy in his twenties. I wish it were otherwise, but I would not offer a contract to Harrison Bader. His absence from the lineup causes too many holes that are very difficult to fill.


Lincoln Mitchell - The Yankees should negotiate with Bader but within reason. I am less concerned with the length of the contract than with the AAV. Bader’s problem is not that he is too old, so I am okay with a 5-6 year contract. However, given that he gets hurt every year the Yankees should not pay him more than about 15-18 million a year. It is also true that even with a fully healthy Bader for the whole year, this team is not good enough to win a World Series, so once again the question of what else they plan to do is important. If all they do next off-season is resign Bader, than my reaction would be why bother.


Mike Whiteman - Harrison Bader has been an impact player this year for the Yankees. - They are 18-8 in games he appears, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

A great month does not an extension make! While I’m open to extending Bader, check in with me at the end of the season. I’m not feeling the need to lock him up early, and if he wants to sample the market a bit good for him!

As for an actual extension, I’d say a 29-year old dynamic player with his injury history warrants a two year deal, three at the very most.


Ed Botti - The question that actually comes to my mind is what is a player worth that has averaged 97 games a season with 294 At Bats, 41 runs, 72 hits, and strikes out 30% of his AB’s?

Those stats do not take into account the shortened 2020 season. Those are 5 full season stats for 2017-2019, and 2021-2022. Throw into that mix that he is a superior fielder and has a WAR (I am not a fan of WAR) over his career of 2.2.

He is right handed, which is also an issue on this current roster, and has one major problem. He cannot stay healthy and on the field. He is currently on his second Injured List stint in the team’s first 55 games.

He also turns 30 June 3, 2024 (not old) but if he is injury prone at 26 and 27, what do you think will happen at 32 and 33?

Despite never having more than 379 AB’s in a season (2018), ZiPS ("sZymborski Projection System”) suggest a four-year contract extension worth $88 million.

Although a fine player, who has shown the ability to turn a game around from time to time, he simply cannot stay on the field, and therefore one that I have no desire to sign long term to be a starting centerfielder.

Ability is critical, but what good is ability without durability and reliability?

Thanks, but no thanks. I’d prefer a player that can punch the clock 150 times a year.

I’d let him walk after this season.

In typical NYY GM fashion, they could have Benintendi for less. A lefty that is a better hitter and shows up every day.


James Vlietstra - There’s zero chance that the Yankees extend Bader. That’s just not how they do business.

However that’s not the question at hand. It’s “if I was the Yankees …”. Let me preface any thoughts by saying that I am a big Bader fan. He is an absolute joy to watch on defense. The team is just better when he is on the field. Add in that he’s a local product and I am thrilled to have him on our team.

But this is a business. Have to make smart decisions. I have always advocated for the Yankees to sign young players to extensions to buy out arbitration years. Theoretically Volpe would be a candidate for a 7 year $60M offer following this year. 2 years at minimum, arbitration at $5, $10, $15. And two free agent seasons at $15 each. He gets security, Yankees get cost certainty at a premium position.

I would not be getting the same sort of bargain pricing on Bader. Like Judge last year, he’s this close to having all 30 teams bidding on him, he is not taking a discount.

The Yankees also have some of their top minor league talent quickly approaching major league readiness, and there are several outfielders included. Everson Pereira, Jasson Dominguez, Spencer Jones, and possibly Austin Wells if he changes positions.

So let’s compare Bader with a couple of other players with similar attributes to see what he’s going to demand at the negotiating table.

Bader just turned 29 over the weekend. So at the end of the year he will be 29 years 4 months. His 2 best seasons created a combined WAR of 7.2. He has been a bit injury prone recently.

Player A also signed an extension at 29 years 4 months. He, too, was best known for his defensive prowess. His previous 2 years produced a 8.2 WAR while playing 225 games.

Player B signed his contract a year younger at 28 years 6 months. Over the previous 2 seasons, he played 260 games and earned a 5.8 total WAR. At an earlier point, he has had a 4.8 WAR season.

Player A signed a 7 year/$70M extension.

Player B signed a 5 year/$75M free agent contract.

So it’s safe to say that Bader is going to look for a similar contract at say 6 years/$80M.

I would say that I definitely would not give Bader a contact similar to Aaron Hicks (A) or Andrew Benintendi (B) especially if I am confident with my high prices prospects.


Cary Greene - Considering that the Yankees roster is all too often riddled with players that miss too much time due to injuries, the notion of doing a long term deal with a player like Harrison Bader just seems like a bad business decision. (I'll have more on this tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.)

10 comentários

06 de jun. de 2023

On a wholely unrelated note, Evan Grant is reporting that Jacob DeGrom will reporteddly undergo Tommy John surgery. Good thing we didn't sign him.

06 de jun. de 2023
Respondendo a

I had the idea that the Yankees thought it more likely that the 30 year old Rodon was a better investment for a 5 year deal than was the 35 year old deGrom.

deGrom is stellar when he's healthy, but it's been 3 years since he's been

Texas KNEW that they were gambling


06 de jun. de 2023

Unless Bader give Yankees a huge hometown discount he will sign elsewhere for more years and dollars than Yankees are prepared to offer. I don’t think he was ever acquired as a long term player for Yankees and even though fans love him he’ll be in another uniform next year.


06 de jun. de 2023

Bader as a free agent will be offered more years and more $$$ than will be optimal for the Yankees. However, what are the alternatives? Will Dominguez really be ready to make the jump from AA (or short time in AAA) to the starting lineup? I'm not sure Pereira is a true CF and he still has big K problems. I don't want to see IKF and his 68 OPS+ out there (not buying into his recent hot streak) any more. So maybe an extension for 3 years make sense for the Yankees - but obviously not for Bader.

06 de jun. de 2023
Respondendo a

fully agree with you about the desire for a long-term deal being usual.

but Bader's injury history argues against going long

he might be on the team that best suits him and might accept a short deal with a higher AAV, betting on himself to earn an additional deal.

I've certainly been impressed with his skills in the outfield and believe that he will retain his value if he.can be well fueled and exercised


Dale Mather
Dale Mather
06 de jun. de 2023

I couldn't respond to this. I want him back but not for any ridiculous 8 plus year contracts. I like what Ed said and think he's got the happy median.


06 de jun. de 2023

Player A signed a 7 year/$70M extension.

Player B signed a 5 year/$75M free agent contract.

So it’s safe to say that Bader is going to look for a similar contract at say 6 years/$80M.


yes, it seems clear that Bader's agent will seek to earn his commission and ask for the money.

unclear is how Bader completes the season and whether he'll perform in such manner as will motivate the very wealthy Yankee owners to be desirous of offering any contract of 6 years' duration.

as Paul has several times pointed out, Bader gets hurt and misses games. a team might expect that he'll be a heck of a player for 100 games/season

and it might be a…

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