Sometimes, you choose comfort and security over taking a chance.
A lot of us make that decision on a fairly regular basis, and baseball players are no different. That’s part of the reason why Freddy Peralta says he decided to sacrifice potentially making more money in the future in order to get that comfort and security now.
The Brewers officially announced Peralta’s contract extension today, which covers 5 years guaranteed (counting this season) and includes options for the 2025 and 2026 seasons.
In signing the deal, Peralta acknowledged that he may very well have left future money on the table, but it’s something he thought long and hard about and ultimately decided now was the time to set his family up for life.
Freddy Peralta says it was the right decision for him to sign his contract extension with the Brewers: pic.twitter.com/RiuK37j2i0— Todd Rosiak (@Todd_Rosiak) February 28, 2020
“My representatives wanted me to wait a little longer, but it was my decision, and I made the decision for myself and for my family and I’m very grateful, very thankful for the Brewers giving me this opportunity and for my family and for God, and I’m just happy that it was able to work out.”
“It definitely wasn’t an easy decision, but for me, it somewhat was, we had a lot of meetings, talked with my representatives a lot, and we went over a lot of different options, but for me I decided it was the right opportunity, right decision. It took me days to think about it, rolling over in my head thinking about it for days, and I just thought it was the right opportunity for me, the right decision at this point in my career.
Also taking his turn in front of reporters, General Manager David Stearns acknowledged the risk on his part, as well, considering the up-and-down start to Peralta’s career.
“We think Freddy has a lot of potential. We’ve seen flashes of that at the major league level and we think this is just the beginning of who he can be as a major league pitcher.”
“It’s a risk tolerance for both sides in any of these types of pre-arb negotiations. Each side has to do a risk assessment and ultimately it’s the player’s choice. Some players are very comfortable going year-to-year through the arbitration process and ultimately getting to free agency, some players prefer the security earlier in their careers.”
These types of deals have become more common across baseball over the past few years as teams try to keep costs down while signing players long-term before they fully blossom into highly-paid superstars. The Atlanta Braves capitalized on it early, locking up Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna to laughably team-friendly deals, and many other teams followed suit (sometimes, in the case of the Chicago White Sox and Eloy Jimenez, as a condition for not starting the year in the minors).
While many people find those types of deals exploitative — especially since they’ve typically been reserved for players from poor upbringings in Latin American countries who didn’t get large signing bonuses — it’s hard to fault players when they decide to just take the money in front of them. Peralta signed with Seattle as an amateur for just $137,000, and once you start dealing with figures like $15.5 million, the only difference between that and $30 million or $50 million is how many generations of your family you’re setting up in the future (and if Peralta is good enough to have those two options picked up, he’ll still enter free agency just after turning 30 with a chance at another big contract).
The question is now whether this is just the first of more extensions we’ll see from the Brewers in the near future — whether it’s the obvious choice in Keston Hiura or someone else. As for that, Stearns basically said “never say never.”
“You never know. Way back when I started this, I talked about ‘acquire, develop, retain,’ and that’s still a philosophy we harp on, and there is a ‘retain’ part of that equation. And these types of deals help us get to that control of players, get to that retention of players that allows us to build long-term competitiveness, and that’s what we’re after.”