Since last season I've covered the Scott Kazmir contract situation in a different regard; mostly looking at what Kazmir could demand on the open market. With some help from J.C. Bradbury we estimated he could be worth around 20 million annually when he becomes a free agent. Today I'd like to look at the situation from an alternate perspective: what does Kazmir mean to the Rays financially?
I'm going to attempt to make this as brief as possible, so here it goes. What I did was take the attendance from Kazmir's Tropicana Field starts - 18 in total - added them, averaged them, and used some very conservative multipliers for ticket prices and concession purchases and came up with a monetary value added by Kazmir alone. I did the same with James Shields, and made them into a rate stat/monetary value added, something that you can do for starting pitchers, but not for everyday players.
Have a look at the charts comparing Kazmir, the team average, and Shields:
So while Kaz is making ~50K a game over average, Shields is only making ~5K more based purely on last seasons attendance numbers. Now I'd like to make a few disclaiming points: I didn't take into account whether the game was a prime game, a weekend game, or a giveaway or concert game. I also did not factor in the time of season - generally a rule of thumb would be more crowds when the team is doing well, less when doing worse, and so on.
It's not failsafe and likely not errorless, however what this data tells us is that last season Kazmir made roughly 840,000 for the Rays through the entire season. For reference his salary in 2007 was ~424K, he paid for himself, and almost twice over. In comparison Shields made ~80,000, not only 760,000 less than Kazmir, but barely covering a fifth of his salary.
In the future both should generate sellouts which would nearly even things up except for the salary they themselves are owed, that's where things will get interesting, but for the time being Kazmir is a moneymaker, and a damn good one.