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With talk of 7,8,9, and 10 year contracts going on for Pujols and the like I got to thinking - do these work out often or do teams really, really, really regret them.

My first thought is that any team doing over 5 years or betting $100+ million is taking a silly risk. But lets see if that is true.

Checking Cot's Contracts for the 10 biggest deals and FanGraphs dollar value (2002 and beyond - for 2001 cases I just average the others and add in, for future cases I assume average to date over years remaining) to decide if it was a good or bad deal. FanGraphs isn't perfect, but if they list you at $20 million and you made $100 million I think it is safe to say it was a disaster. Given they tend to overestimate as far as most are concerned this should be generous.

  1. Alex Rodriguez, $275,000,000 (2008-17) - $204.5 - Valuable, but odds are that estimate will get a lot worse.
  2. Alex Rodriguez, $252,000,000 (2001-10) - $247.6 - Texas got lots of buyers remorse but it actually came out close
  3. Derek Jeter, $189,000,000 (2001-10) - $175 mil - acceptable
  4. Joe Mauer, $184,000,000 (2011-18) - $63.2 - odds are it will improve, but horrid start
  5. Mark Teixeira, $180,000,000 (2009-16) - $147.5 - not horrid yet...
  6. CC Sabathia, $161,000,000 (2009-15) - $218.4 - looks like a bargain ($81 mil banked so far)
  7. Manny Ramirez, $160,000,000 (2001-08) - $111.4 - $6 mil a year lost
  8. Troy Tulowitzki, $157,750,000 (2011-20) - $282.0 - Just one year in, doubt he'll be a $28 mil a year player throughout
  9. Adrian Gonzalez, $154,000,000 (2012-18) - $? - unknown but $29.5 last year = $206.5 potentially
  10. Miguel Cabrera, $152,300,000 (2008-15) - $189.0 - looks good so far
So of the top 10 we see 1 unknown (starts in 2012 but looks promising), 3 profitable (but active so could collapse), 5 where there was value but not as much, and 1 total collapse. Actually, not too bad as you get 50-50 odds of having a strong player (ala Man-Ram or Teixeira) and just a 10% shot at 'what were we thinking?'. Still, what if we expand to the top 20 contracts...

11. Carl Crawford, $142,000,000 (2011-17) - $6.3 - Yeah, he had a horrid year
12. Todd Helton, $141,500,000 (2003-11) - $116.7 - Not as bad as I expected
13. Johan Santana, $137,500,000 (2008-13) - $70.8 - Missing a full season hurts
14. Alfonso Soriano, $136,000,000 (2007-14) - $104.8 - Not as bad as I expected
T15. Vernon Wells, $126,000,000 (2008-14) - $40.6 - Ouch!
T15. Barry Zito, $126,000,000 (2007-13) - $38.92 - Ouch squared!
T15. Jayson Werth, $126,000,000 (2011-17) - $79.8 - Yeah, we all saw that coming
18. Ryan Howard, $125,000,000 (2012-16) - $? - unknown but 2011 suggests $37 mil, his best season ever was $22.9
19. CC Sabathia, $122,000,000 (2012-16) - $? - unknown but 2011 suggests $161
20. Mike Hampton, $121,000,000 (2001-08) - $27.2 - a standard for horrid

So this group didn't do so well. Hasn't started: 2 (1 good, 1 not so good), Profitable: none, Not Bad: 2 (maybe - I'm stretching here), Ouch: 2, Super Ouch: 4 Just one suggests profits could be had (Sabathia) while all others are losses with at least 6 and probably 7 being major budget crippling losses.

Then (for fun and a tie breaker) #21 to 30.
21. Jason Giambi, $120,000,000 (2002-08) - $69.2 - Ouch
T21. Matt Holliday, $120,000,000 (2010-16) - $172.9 - Wow
T21. Cliff Lee, $120,000,000 (2011-15) - $151.5 - Just 1 year so far too early
24. Carlos Beltran, $119,000,000 (2005-11) - $133.0 - Nice, first showing a profit when complete
25. Ken Griffey Jr., $116,500,000 (2000-08) - $15.2 - 7.8 WAR in estimated years, could've added $15-30 mil in net value still ouch regardless
26. Kevin Brown, $105,000,000 (1999-2005) - $54.4 - 2 years estimated, worth 9 WAR maybe $18-36 mil in value vs $15 estimated
T27. Carlos Lee, $100,000,000 (2007-12) - $54.8 - Ouch
T27. Albert Pujols, $100,000,000 (2004-10) - $230.8 - WOW!!! No season below $25.9
29. Carlos Zambrano, $91,500,000 (2008-12) - $53.25 - Ouch and probably overestimating 2012
T30. Mike Piazza, $91,000,000 (1999-2005) - $41.8 - 2 years est at $12 mil net, WAR of 11, worth $20-40 mil
T30. Barry Bonds, $90,000,000 (2002-06) - $114.1 - Nice, even with a lost year
T30. Torii Hunter, $90,000,000 (2008-12) - $68.4 - More proof of why the Angels GM is an ex-GM
T30. Chipper Jones, $90,000,000 (2001-06) - $86.3 - Pretty close
T30. Scott Rolen, $90,000,000 (2003-10) - $136.6 - Very nice despite an injury filled season
T30. Ichiro Suzuki, $90,000,000 (2008-12) - $79.9 - Close, but depends on 2012.

A much better batch of 15. Clear wins: 4, potential wins: 2, some value: 3 (maybe), ouch: 6 (some extreme like Griffey).

So, for a summary... Total Clear Wins (ie: worth more than paid): 4 Potential Wins (on pace for win): 7 (includes some that haven't started or just 1 year in) Some Value: 10 Ouch: 14 including Howard's

So odds of a win out of these top 35 deals is 31% (counting actives), of getting at least something worthwhile 60%, of losing your job over it or wishing you did 40%.

Still sure you want the Jays to open the vault for Fielder or Pujols?
Long Term Deals - Worthwhile? | 15 comments | Create New Account
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Radster - Thursday, November 17 2011 @ 02:48 PM EST (#246808) #
You missed Kemp's deal with the Dodgers - I'm curious how that one will look.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, November 17 2011 @ 06:03 PM EST (#246833) #

Yes.  With the possibility of a second Wild Card berth to the Postseason available in 2012, I'm no longer as reluctant.   It's not as if 1B will be blocked by anyone existing or forthcoming in the minors.   We also do have a DH possition where no one will be blocked.

Michael - Thursday, November 17 2011 @ 07:21 PM EST (#246838) #
I say yes to Pujols, no to Fielder.  Note also that when you are on the cusp of the playoffs, the ROI is much better than when you are the Royals.  So deals that are near break even for playoff teams are actually likely to be wins.

But I'd do a $200M/7 year for Pujols or a $260M/10 year for Pujols.  I'd also do a $70M/2 year if you want to go super $$$ for less years.

bpoz - Thursday, November 17 2011 @ 08:16 PM EST (#246848) #
I strongly believe that 1 guy cannot carry the team. NYY & Boston do not give a pitcher a breather.
92-93 - Thursday, November 17 2011 @ 08:46 PM EST (#246851) #
I find it ridiculous to categorize ARod's first contract as having "Some Value". He was one of the greatest player's in baseball history. Yes, he got paid for his value, but I wouldn't exactly be viewing the contract from Texas' perspective. It was never a good idea to give a guy 25m a year when he was going to be taking up a quarter of your payroll. But for a team like the Yankees, was there any question he was a tremendously valuable player? The surplus value in ARod's contract came from the millions of playoff revenue he had a direct hand in creating for the Yankees.
92-93 - Thursday, November 17 2011 @ 08:54 PM EST (#246852) #
"I strongly believe that 1 guy cannot carry the team. NYY & Boston do not give a pitcher a breather."

Sign Pujols AND Fielder and you'll have 3 elite hitters carrying the team. And the payroll would STILL be below average in the AL East.
John Northey - Friday, November 18 2011 @ 12:48 AM EST (#246857) #
Well, by some value I mean it didn't reach the dollars he was paid but came close enough to not complain unless you are Texas and unable to fully capitalize due to some really dumb moves.

Basically, if you have a guy worth $25 mil a year and you pay him $30 mil then you have $5 mil you could've spent elsewhere that is lost. At least in theory. However, with only 9 hitters playing if you are strong already in the other 8 slots (as the Yanks often are) then wasting $5 mil a year is worth it as you cannot use that $5 mil elsewhere.
Ron - Friday, November 18 2011 @ 12:53 AM EST (#246858) #
When people judge long term contracts, they usually forget to take into account if the player played a positive role in the team winning a championship. In my opinion, one championship makes the whole contract worth it. I would also extend this to trades. Even if Colby Rasmus morphs into Griffey Jr. the next 3 seasons, the Cardinals trade was worth it because they won the whole thing.

John Northey - Friday, November 18 2011 @ 01:14 AM EST (#246859) #
Ron, that is a good point. However, when signing the deal one has no idea if they will win it all during the following 5-10 years. Odds of winning are 1 in 30 if it is pure random odds. The Yankees, historically, are closer to 1 in 5 while the Cubs are near 0% :)

The Jays have 2 titles in 30+ years of existence. That is one more than they probably should have. That makes the bad deals in retrospect (Morris and Stewart for example while letting Key & Henke go away) look a lot better. When you are consistently in contention (as the Jays were in the mid-late 80's) then it is well worth it to risk the future when you know the window is about to close (thus trading Jeff Kent for example).

Right now the Jays are very early in the success cycle - with luck they will be good enough without major additions to be an 85-90 win team which might be good enough with 2 wild cards. With 2 major additions 90 wins should be very reachable, with 95 and a division title possible (if others develop).

If they can get guys without giving up anyone (such as Darvish) then it should be an easy 'go for it'. However, cash does matter. This will be an interesting winter, even if nothing more happens just because it will say a lot about how AA feels about the Jays system and how much cash Rogers is willing to blow.
Thomas - Friday, November 18 2011 @ 05:04 AM EST (#246861) #
As Ron points out, looking at it without looking at the individual situation of each team misses half of the picture. For example, there's a lot more reason for the Brewers and Phillies to go over-market on a player now (not that Philly is really a destination for Pujols or Fielder) than there is for some other clubs. This is true whether it's a 100 million dollar deal or going to four years instead of three on Michael Cuddyer and paying $8 million in 2016 for a platoon corner outfielder.

Of course you can't predict the future, but the front office has to make a calculated gamble, like Milwaukee did prior to this season when trading for Greinke and Marcum. Kudos to them for going for it, even if they fell short in the NLCS.
greenfrog - Friday, November 18 2011 @ 12:38 PM EST (#246884) #
Darvish seems like the ideal off-season acquisition, for many reasons:

- Age (25) - younger than either Pujols, Fielder or C.J. Wilson (Jays get Darvish for his peak, not post-peak, years)

- Potential impact on the rotation (arguably the Jays' area of greatest need)

- Helps bridge the gap to the plethora of young pitching working its way through the Jays' farm system

- No draft pick relinquished, making 2012 another bonanza draft (lots of early-round compensation picks)

- Prevents the Jays' main competitors from landing him, potentially making the Jays much more playoff-competitive over the next few years (signing Pujols or Fielder doesn't have this impact, because NY and Boston don't need another 1B)

- Allows AA to go for it while Bautista (and to a lesser extent Romero) is still performing well

- Potential increase in revenue and fan interest in multicultural Toronto/Canada

- Posting fee (I believe) does not count towards the luxury tax, should that become an issue down the road (unlikely, I suppose)
Jdog - Friday, November 18 2011 @ 01:20 PM EST (#246892) #
Interesting to see that the Yankees have done so well with choosing who they have given out the large multi year contracts to lately.
John Northey - Friday, November 18 2011 @ 02:02 PM EST (#246897) #
Regarding Darvish, the posting fee also allows them to pay up to $25 mil a year without the player technically making more than Bautista as 1/2 of it would be the posting fee ($62.5 million post, $62.5 to player over 5 years for example).

Now, I'm not saying to spend that much, but it is an option.
92-93 - Friday, November 18 2011 @ 02:22 PM EST (#246902) #
The Blue Jays worrying about the luxury tax, which kicks in at 180m. Thanks for the laugh, greenfrog.
greenfrog - Friday, November 18 2011 @ 03:18 PM EST (#246910) #
Yes, I have a sense of humour. And no, my real name is not Kermit.
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