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Contract Retrospective: Vernon Wells' 7-year, $126 Million Contract

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While hindsight is 20/20, I try to "go back in time" to the contract signing using some simple "retrojection." I look back at the Blue Jays' Decemeber 2006 extension of Wells to see how what he was reasonably projected to be worth over the life of the contract at the time. [Quotes below added by Sky. I love these things, keep 'em coming, Mr. Fingers.] "Wells plays center field, so that is +2.5 runs per season. The replacement level for AL position players is 25 runs/season. So 27.5 prorated for 150 game is about 23.4 runs. So, in total, we have 23.4 runs positional and replacement level, + 14.6 runs batting + 5.7 runs defense = 43.7 runs above replacement, or about 4.3 WAR. Remember that we said the Jays were paying for somewhere between 4.5 and 5 Wins Above Replacement... which means that they seem to have come pretty close. Except that they were paying Wells that $126M starting in 2008 -- and we projected for 2007. It is closer than we thought, but attrition has to be taken into account -- if not immediately, over the life of the contract. So Wells was likely to be closer to a 4 WAR than a 4.75 WAR player in 2008 when the contract started. That may not seem like a lot, but according to the salary chart, that implies that something closer to $96.5M than the $126M Wells received. And that's without figuring in the long-term commitment the Jays made."

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