Estimating SP Contracts
by, 10-07-2012 at 11:58 PM (1017 Views)
Each year in our Offseason Handbook, we put together a list of all the upcoming free agents at every position. Beyond the write-ups and statistical breakdowns for each player, we estimate the contract we expect them to get, so that armchair GMs can fit prospective acquisitions into their budgets.
This is an aspect of the publication that we take very seriously. In fact, every year, we set aside a day for the entire editorial staff to get together and reach a consensus on each what each free agent might get. This process takes several hours and invariably leads to numerous fisticuffs, but the end result is a fair measure of accuracy. We feel that giving readers a reasonable idea of what each free agent will command is a cool feature of the product, and so we want to get as close as we can.
Given the Twins' current needs, the starting pitcher free agent section is inevitably going to be one of the most important in this year's Handbook. So I thought today I would take a look back at last year's edition and review our contract estimates for starters compared to the actual contracts that those pitchers ultimately received. We certainly weren't always perfect, but in the instances where we missed, perhaps there's a lesson to be learned that can carry over to this year's crop.
Estimated Contract: 5 years, $130M
Actual Contract: 5 years, $122M
Notes: Sabathia's last contract ran through 2015, but it was widely expected that he would opt out and try to get more money out of the Yankees. He did just that, and we were pretty close on what the two sides ended up agreeing upon.
Estimated Contract: 5 years, $85M
Actual Contract: 5 years, $77.5M
Notes: We were pretty close on this one as well. The 31-year-old Wilson signed a five-year deal with the Angels for slightly less than we guessed.
Estimated Contract: 3 years, $33M
Actual Contract: 1 year, $11M
Notes: We had the annual salary correct, but we didn't expect that Jackson would end up settling for a one-year deal. He probably could've gotten a multi-year contract but ended up signing with the Nats, hoping to pump up his value for the following offseason. I'd say that worked out well for him. He may get that $33 million contract this winter.
Estimated Contract: 3 years, $30M
Actual Contract: 4 years, $58M
Notes: Apparently, we grossly underestimated Buehrle's market value. Despite the fact that he was about to turn 33 years old, the Marlins gave him a four-year deal. It's not clear that decision will ultimately work out well, but he was very Buehrle-like in the first year, posting a 3.74 ERA over 202 innings.
Estimated Contract: 3 years, $25M
Actual Contract: 1 year, $1.5M
Notes: We just sort of misread this situation. In the 2010-2011 offseason, the Athletics won the bidding on the Japenese hurler with a $19 million posting fee but Iwakuma ultimately decided to return to Japan after the two sides couldn't agree on a contract. We figured it would take a substantial chunk of change to land him one offseason later, but as it turned out the Mariners landed him on the open market for a huge bargain and he made good with a 3.16 ERA. Still only 31 years old, he may land that three-year deal this time around, and the Twins – who reportedly finished runner-up to the A's in the posting system two years ago – could be a player for him.
Estimated Contract: 2 years, $22M
Actual Contract: 1 year, $5M
Notes: There was a fair amount of interest in Oswalt last offseason, but rather than signing with a club, he semi-retired, only to sign with the Rangers in late May on a pro-rated $5 million deal. It didn't work out well, as he pitched poorly and ended up getting demoted to the bullpen.
Estimated Contract: 2 years, $15M
Actual Contract: 2 years, $12M
Notes: We were pretty close on this one, as well as the next three.
Estimated Contract: 1 year, $11M
Actual Contract: 1 year, $10M
Estimated Contract: 2 years, $10M
Actual Contract: 2 years, $9M
Estimated Contract: 1 year, $4M
Actual Contract: 1 year, $4.75M
Notes: This deal worked out brilliantly for the Braves. Not only because Maholm pitched extremely well for a modest fee, but also because they included a team option for $6.5 million, so they'll be able to bring him back at a reasonable price next year. This is the kind of contract the Twins should be looking to ink.
Estimated Contract: 1 year, $3M
Actual Contract: Minor-league deal
Notes: Even though he struggled in 2011, we figured that Pineiro would be able to land a guaranteed major-league deal given that he'd turned in a 3.66 ERA over 366 innings the prior two seasons. Injury issues robbed him of that chance and he ended up pitching 24 innings in the minors for the Orioles.
Estimated Contract: 1 year, $5M
Actual Contract: 1 year, $3M
Notes: Based on our estimate, the Twins got a bargain! Yay.
Estimated Contract: 1 year, $3M
Actual Contract: 1 year, $4M
Estimated Contract: 1 year, $2.5M
Actual Contract: 1 year, $4M in Japan
Notes: Weird case. Penny followed the money to Japan but was apparently miserable, as he was granted his release from the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks after one start. He returned to the States and made 22 appearances for the Giants but pitched horribly.
Interested in seeing our estimates for this year's robust free agent starting pitching class? Pre-order your copy of the Offseason Handbook today and save 30 percent!