Evaluating pre-FA Contract Extensions part 2

First of all, my apologies to Bill Smith and Denard Span, who completed a contract extension after I finished writing this.  For the record, it wouldn't have ranked in the top 10 on this list, Smith didn't save much money, looks like.

I do love Span, though, one of my favorite players.  His elite plate discipline allows him to really make the most of his tools and he's become one of the better outfielders in the AL.

Last week I spent some time discussing pre FA contract extensions and presented the five best signed during the 2010 pre season.  Here are the rest of the rankings along with a chart that summarizes the data.

6. Maicer Izturis. 3 years, $10 million.  VORC: $5.9 million (6th)VOMC: $5.4 million (6th)BFYBF: 0.59 (3rd).

Actual extension:

Year-to-year:

Market rate:

Perhaps apart from the Gary Matthews Jr. trade, which can mostly be chalked up to typical Jeff Wilpon antics, this is the best move the Angels made all off season.  Izturis isn't an awesome player or anything, but there's a fairly huge chance this contract looks favorable in the long run and a non zero chance he's worth the entire $10 million in the contract's first year alone.  Having a competent utility infielder is especially valuable to the Angels, who will enter 2010 with Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar, and Brandon Wood playing every day.

7. Ramon Santiago. 2 years, $2.5 million.  VORC: $1.5 million (10th)VOMC: $1.4 million (8th)BFYBF: 0.6 (2nd).

Actual extension:

Year-to-year:

Market rate:

I don't have a whole lot to add.  The bang for your buck factor keeps it barely out of the "why bother" category, but the lack of overall value keeps it from being anything more.

8. Shane Victorino. 3 years, $22 million.  VORC: $3.5 million (7th)VOMC: $2.7 million (7th)BFYBF: 0.16 (9th).

Actual extension:

Year-to-year:

Market rate:

Another one of those deals that makes a lot more baseball sense than financial sense.  That's not to say this deal doesn't make financial sense, as you can see the overall economic impact of this contract is without question positive, but the real story here is the Phillies are built to win now.  Seeing as they don't have another capable every day center fielder that's remotely close to MLB ready, retaining Victorino, even on a less-than-desirable contract (this one isn't), makes sense.

9. Michael Wuertz. 2 years, $5.5 million.  VORC: $1.1 million (11th)VOMC: $1.3 million (9th)BFYBF: 0.20 (8th).

Actual extension:

Year-to-year:

Market rate:

How long before Billy Beane trades Wuertz?  And what will he get in return?  I'm guessing a year and a half from now and something pretty neat.  Also, how well is a guy who throws his slider 65 per cent of the time going to stay healthy and preform going forward?  I can't think of any good reason he's more succeptable to injuries/decline than a typical late innings reliever, but I'm far from the person to ask about that.  Will, you reading this?

10. Mark Teahen. 3 years, $14 million.  VORC: $1.7 million (9th)VOMC: $1.2 million (10th)BFYBF: 0.12 (10th).

Actual extension:

Year-to-year:

Market rate:

The move to acquire Teahen was solid but unremarkable.  It was a much better move than signing him to this extension.  Perhaps he ages well and his versatility allows him to be very useful to the White Sox.  Still, you want to commit three years to this guy?  I'd rather just go ahead and take my draft pick after 2010.

11. Justin Verlander. 5 years, $80 million.  VORC: $3.4 million (8th)VOMC: -$0.4 million (12th)BFYBF: 0.04 (12th).

Actual extension:

Year-to-year:

Market rate:

The Tigers may have over paid.  Justin Verlander had never struck out a batter an inning before 2009.  That's not to say he wasn't capable of doing so, and all things considered I like his chances of striking out at least a batter an inning for many years going forward, but it's far from guaranteed to happen.

The Tigers get Verlander's age 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31 seasons under the terms of this deal.  They've got him locked up through his prime, but they had him locked up through his prime, anyway, they added a few years of what will probably be his first decline phase on to what they already had--his prime.

You've got to be pretty liberal with the win totals (as I feel I have been) to make this one look good.  Then again, there's a chance he ages like fine wine and this extension looks like one of the best ever when it's all said and done.  The Tigers do need a productive Verlander to stay competitive, and if the only way to keep him is to over pay a little bit, they probably should.

And, as Jon Sciambi once said, you're not going to get anyone to sign with Detroit unless you over pay.

12. Kelly Shoppach. 2 years, $5.85 million.  VORC: $0.5 million (12th)VOMC: $0.7 million (11th)BFYBF: 0.09 (11th).

Actual extension:

Year-to-year:

Market rate:

Not that there's anything particularly wrong with this, but I believe the Rays may have swapped a bit of value for some financial security.  We'll have to see what their 2011 roster looks like (or if he's even still with the club) to properly evaluate this deal.

13. Joe Blanton. 3 years, $24 million.  VORC: $0.3 million (13th)VOMC: -$0.7 million (13th)BFYBF: 0.01 (13th).

Actual extension:

Year-to-year:

Market rate:

Put me in the "the truth is somewhere in the middle" camp with Blanton.  Better than he's been in 2008 and 2009, but not as good as his 2007 season.  Blanton will be 31 years old during the final year of this extension.  It looks fairly inefficient, but when you consider the fact that starters aren't exactly growing on trees in Philadelphia and the value of a contender having a largely healthy and reliable starter, it makes a lot more sense.

14. Carlos Ruiz. 3 years, $9.35 million.  VORC: -$2.3 million (14th)VOMC: -$1.9 million (14th)BFYBF: -0.25 (15th).

Actual extension:

Year-to-year:

Market rate:

In my search for justification for this deal, I came up with "they don't have Lou Marson anymore".  I suppose that's a good enough reason to get a deal done, but I don't like the chances of it looking too good three years from now.  Though in the end, you can't win the division without a catcher.  Considering the quality of the rest of the Phillies' roster, the peace of mind associated with knowing you've got Ruiz there for fairly cheap through 2012 (and possibly 2013) is probably worth it.

15. Huston Street. 3 years, $23 million.  VORC: -$2.5 million (15th)VOMC: -$3.8 million (15th)BFYBF: -0.11 (14th).

Actual extension:

Year-to-year:

Market rate:

Ugh.  Easily the worst extension of the pre season.  He's a relief pitcher.  If you'll see number 13 (Blanton, Joe), the Phillies made a so-so deal with a starter, and it's pretty much the exact same deal the Rockies gave Street.  It's obviously not going to look good.

The good news is Huston Street is a pretty damn good reliever, but he's never been Mariano Rivera good, and that's basically what a 1-inning reliever has to do to be worth $7 million a season.  The other good news is they're getting his age 26, 27, and 28 seasons, and there's a good chance that three year run is the best of his career.

Certainly not the worst mistake this off season, but thumbs down.

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