A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The $75m Club

If history tells us anything, it is that big contracts to pitchers typically do not have a good ending. However, it would be silly to just make a blanket statement about every single contract and lump them into one big stinking pile of bad contracts, which is what plenty of people try and do when judging the monstrous amount of money the Mets threw at Johan.
Player            Club      Years    Total
Johan Santana NYM 2008-13 $137.5m
Barry Zito SF 2007-13 $126m
Mike Hampton Col-Fl-Atl 2001-08 $121m
Kevin Brown LA-NYY 1999-05 $105m
Carlos Zambrano Cubs 2008-12 $91.5m
Mike Mussina NYY 2001-06 $88.5m
Pedro Martinez Bos 1998-03 $75m
Chan Ho Park Tex 2002-06 $75m
The detractors and jealous Yankee fans might be quick to point out these history of these types of signings, but how they are even comparable is beyond me.

1) Barry Zito: He was looking like he was in decline already and relied on a mid-80's fastball and 12-6 curveball. Should that ever be worth $126m? I mean, the Mets $75m bid was too much in retrospect much less the Giants offer. He had an ERA+ of 101, 113, and 116 leading up to that contract and his durability is worth something, but a bit less than what the Mets were offering. Zito was still living off his tremendous 2002 season and very good 2001 and 2003 seasons.

2) Mike Hampton: People forget how good he was in the two years leading up to this contract. He was at the right age and was a tremendous athlete and you could really tell how athletic he was by the way he fielded his position. He might be the closest comp to Johan's current situation, but Colorado is not Queens. Hampton just picked the wrong city (he loved the schools?!?!?!?!?!), which is too bad for him. He was primed to become the elite lefty in the National League.

3) Kevin Brown: When he was given this contract, he was in his mid-30's. That is a desperate move bereft of intelligence. He was really, really good. However, that big of a contract to any pitcher in their mid-30's is a tremendous risk.

4) Carlos Zambrano: This one has not been a bust or good just yet. However, I am quite optimistic this one will work out.

5) Mike Mussina: For one, Johan will have three years of prime time pitching under his belt before he even gets to the age Mussina was when he entered the first year of this contract. Second, Mussina ain't no Johan. While Mussina was very good and some people will argue a borderline Hall of Fame candidate, he is not an elite pitcher. He was a very, very good pitcher for a long time and did give the Yankees their money's worth for a few years before falling apart.

6) Pedro Martinez: He had a tasty ERA+ of 163, 243, 291, 189, 202, and 210 from '98 to '03. I think it is safe to say that worked out quite well for the Red Sox. He was 26 when he inked that deal and was actually quite good through age 33 before breaking down and needing surgery. Johan is inked for ages 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, and 34. Given his history and fastball/change repertoire vs. relying the majority of time on more stressful pitches, I like Johan's chances of replicating Pedro's dominance through similar ages.

7) Chan Ho Park: ERA+ from 1996 through 2001....107, 115, 108, 82, 133, and 113. If anyone thinks he was worth that much money, stand up now. Right. No one. That was a desperation move made because A-Rod was in the fold. The Rangers needed and ace and falsely thought Park was one. It is not that Park was bad, he had one really good year and quite a few above average ones, but that is not worth $15m per season by any stretch of the imagination.

There are only three comparable signings listed above. Pedro, Hampton, and Big Z. All were elite pitchers at the time they signed and were inked to huge deals. The rest are irrelevant and not very good comparisons at all. You could toss Oswalt's $73 million deal that began in 2007 into the mix, but that is too early to tell just yet either. So far though, it looks like a good deal because Oswalt was back and kicking some ass in 2007.

Anyone quick to judge this deal via comparisons between other huge paydays for pitchers are really stretching things. When you compare Johan to pitchers of similar age and pitching stature, things do not look as risky than if you wanted to just broadly look at every deal $75m+, which just proves futile for obvious reasons. Johan is as good as any pitcher to bet on for making a six year mega deal worth every penny.

* * *

  • Pedro and the Mets are happy about his simulated game. He topped out at 87 mph which means something to me. It means that he is not completely in game form yet and he will probably add a few MPHs onto this fastball. Now the key to that was he 'topped out at 87 mph', but if he can dial it up to 89 or 90 every once in a while, he will be veeeeery effective. Shit, he could effective at 87 mph, but the point is it is early for him so expect some more velocity.

    Pedro also said he is looking for a three year deal maximum after this year. I would assume no one takes that chance, but two years seems more likely or a one year with an easily attainable vesting option if his pickings are slim. For me, he screams Greg Maddux. I see them following the same type of path which allows them to be pretty damn good for however long they want to lace them up. I would not put it past Pedro to rack up 45 wins in 2008, 2009, and 2010.

  • Armando might have found some work with the Blue Jays. He is coming to camp on a minor league deal and will have to earn a spot, which seems like an uphill battle at this point.

    "He hasn't got in shape, but we're going to keep stockpiling as many arms as we can," said Ricciardi. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained. We're not looking for a closer."

    Wow. Sounds encouraging for Benitez.

  • The $24 million man is inching back.

  • Spring stats mean nothing for the most part, but Angel Pagan is making me feel better. He was a decent minor leaguer, albeit with no power, and showed he could hold a place down in the lineup while playing with the Cubs. Again, he would be batting 7th or 8th so I think the Mets would be just fine with him for an extended period of time.

    "I got to see him a couple of years ago, so it's not like he was completely foreign to me," Randolph said. "He's always had the talent, so it's nothing [that] really surprised me. He's consistent right now and playing well. His athleticism is what jumps out at you, because he does a lot of things for you. I wouldn't say I'm surprised. It's been a couple of years since I've seen him, and he's matured a little bit."

  • Another Martinez fluff article.

  • The Mets are looking for a platoon partner for Church? I for one will be upset if they do. I want to see what he can do and believe and can do very well as a full time player.

    In a related note, the Mets are eyeing Stewart and Reed Johnson.

    Let Church play! Let Church play! Let Church play!
  • Labels:


    Anonymous ossy said...

    jays need a pen arm with janssen's surgery... reed johnson? hmmm

    2:05 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    I still want Church to get 150 games. I think he can do really, really good.

    2:12 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Coco Crisp for Angel Pagan

    So says Ed Coleman.

    - Nokes

    2:12 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Nokes...that one is strange. Very, very strange.

    2:13 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Listening to the M&tMD and Crisp - switch hitter, hits better from right side.

    So to start the season, Chavez and Crisp platoon 'til Alou comes back, and then Crisp is the RF platoon with Church.

    My guess, not fact.

    - Nokes

    2:19 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Crisp costs $5m a year. I like the guy and think he has more than he has shown in Boston, but it does not seem like it fits all that well. I GUESS if it was a salary dump, but I would still prefer Church gets a full time job.

    Whatever. It cannot hurt and solves some potential problems, but a weird one.

    2:29 PM

    Blogger Rickey Henderson said...

    Rickey begs to differ--Coco as a Met is a great addition.

    2:33 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Chris (Hoboken, NJ): WFAN in NY is reporting a possible Angel Pagan for CoCo Crisp swap.. thoughts? Seems like an odd trade if true...

    Jim Callis: I think the odds of that being true are about .000000000001 percent, though several of you have sent in some version of this. Pagan has little major league value. Crisp has plenty, and his salary is reasonable, too.

    3:13 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    But......why would Eddie C lie to us?

    To ME?!?

    ) :

    Oh well. Saves a few bucks if this deal does not go down anyway.

    - Nokes

    3:47 PM

    Anonymous Dep said...

    its looking to be bogus. from mlbtrade. I didnt wanna hear Crisp's mouth come June anyways. good.:

    Bogus Crisp To Mets Rumor

    2:34pm: Theo Epstein says he hasn't been talking to the Mets. Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe labels this rumor a fabrication.

    2:10pm: Newsday's David Lennon confirms the Mets haven't traded for Crisp, implying that they wouldn't be interested.

    1:13pm: WFAN's Ed Coleman reports rumblings of a possible Coco Crisp to the Mets deal, which would involve Angel Pagan. It's not confirmed or official, but it's out there. When I get more I'll update the post.

    Crisp's contract: $4.75MM in '08, $5.75MM in '09, and an $8MM club option for '10 with a $0.5MM buyout. Crisp has posted an OPS around .700 for Boston while playing stellar center field defense. I imagine he'd spend time at all three outfield positions for the Mets if acquired.

    Pagan, 26, started in the Mets' organization. The outfielder plays all three positions and has a career line of .255/.306/.415. In January of '06, the Cubs purchased his contract from the Mets. He made the Cubs' Opening Day roster, but a torn hamstring knocked him out until July. The following year he got the call in May to replace Felix Pie. Then he had an unfortunate bout with colitis. In January of this year, the Mets reacquired Pagan from the Cubs for Corey Coles and Ryan Meyers.

    4:15 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Maybe Eddie C. is just lying to himself. It did not make sense for a team to dump him when they have plenty of cash just to downgrade!

    Good stuff dep. Way to be on the ball.

    4:30 PM

    Anonymous benny blanco from da bronx said...

    The reason why the Kevin Brown deal sucked was because he first signed that deal when he was already 34 years old. Johan will be about that age or one year older than Brown when his deal is over.
    Mike Hampton man... no explanation for that really other than what GM's are really scared of... injuries.
    Mike Mussina was very productive in his deal. He was bad in his final year but it was worth it.
    And Chan Ho Park and Barry Zito just weren't that good to begin with.
    Carlos Zambrano can go anywhere... he's a psycho. I can see him hurting himself fighting a bear or someshit.

    Pedro for 3 more years? I'd love to buy its going to have to wait.

    Luis Castillo doesn't even need that much time to get ready for baseball, he's a slappy McHappy hitter.

    I'd love a platoon partner for Church but Shanon Stewart and Reed Johnson? I'd prefer just leave Church by himself. ALTHOUGH, Johnson, against lefties has an OBP of .371 AVG of .308, and an OPS of .833 for his career! Plus check out his goattee.

    Coco Crisp to the Mets for Angel Pagan? What the hell? I'm gone for 15 hours and cool things like that turn out to be false, :-(

    9:51 PM

    Anonymous benny blanco from da bronx said...

    What's the deal with the Yankees? What's going on over there?
    SHelley Duncan starting beef over nothing!? He's fighting back becuase a minor league catcher completely blocked the plate and the player had no choice but to take him out, resulting in his injury. It was either the catcher or the runner that was going to get hurt.

    Then EVERYONE getting all worked up over the whole Billy Crystal to play a spring training game? Who gives a shit? Why do the newspapers say "Yankees disgrace pinstripes" because of that?
    This is ridiculous.

    10:04 PM

    Anonymous Two-By-Four said...

    Most Mets fan I have contact with believe the Mets acquisition and subsequent signing of Johan to a long term deal is outstanding. Most Yankees fans I have contact with are extremely happy the Yankees are developing from within and retained their outstanding young pitching prospects. They quickly add that the Yankees could have traded for and signed Johan if they so desired. I haven’t come across too many people that think the Mets made a poor move in the length and value of the contract.

    Even the most pessimistic fan should be pleased with both the progress of Pedro and Sanchez. However there actually were some idiotic fans that thought Pedro would regain his 98 mph fastball. And talking about fastballs Sanchez is obviously displeased with his and was overthrowing today. He reached 90 on the gun but those pitches lacked command. When he stayed within himself he had better success. There is a chance the he will never regain the velocity he had before the accident but his other pitches are still there and he should be a plus factor for the Mets.

    The Pagan for Crisp rumor is still all over the news. Perhaps the Bosox are having behind the scenes problems with Crisp. Like football teams that wait to the final cut down dates to upgrade roster spots the Mets would be wise to wait until the final days of ST to acquire a potent right handed bat that can play both 1st base and the outfield.

    I thought the Yankees would sign Benitez to complement Farnsworth and Hawkins. Then all they would be missing is Julio.

    1:05 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Point taken with Castillo. I was not exactly worried though. He just does swinging bunts all the time.

    Church needs to play!!!

    Duncan is an ass. The entire Yankee org is comprised of asses.

    Crystal playing does not even come up on my radar. Although, it fits in with Girardi not wanting people to actually play during Spring Training.

    2x4...the only way they make that deal is THEY have to get rid of him because he is a malcontent. However, the Sox would be keeping that under wraps really well because I have not read or heard about that.

    However, in just a dump scenario, I would assume there would be quite a few teams willing to take Crisp. Shit, the Braves would be MUCH better off with Crisp even if Heyward has to wait another year.

    11:44 AM

    Anonymous tc said...

    Lohse signs one year deal with the Cards for $4 million pending physical. Per MLBTR: "Lohse vs. the NL Central: 11 starts, 70.6 IP, 21 ER, 2.68 ERA."

    Nice deal for the Cards. Would have liked to see Lohse end up on the Mets so we can have some depth. However, I am not sweating this, as Pelfrey's line today was encouraging: one run, two walks, six hits, 1 K, 22 hitters through 4.2 innings.

    Welcome back Endy, Carlos y Carlos, and Luis (this weekend??). However, Delgado 1-11 with 1 rbi and 5 K's ... must not happen throughout the season or I will pull hair out.

    F-Mart today: PH double, .314 in 35 Spring at bats. Prompted the following btis of love and affection from the boys:

    Beltran -- "He has this sense that, 'I will improve,' " Beltran said. "He's not afraid. He's not intimidated. If he takes care of himself, I believe he can do whatever he wants in this game."

    Wright -- "I see a guy who has all the tools to be a great player," David Wright said. "He really wants to learn. He comes in and talks to the veterans. He's soaking it all in."

    Willie -- "Well, I’m just enjoying watching him. I mean, I’m not looking for him to show me anything."

    Ok, ok, Willie did go on to say that he has the potential to be good and has a nice approach, but he's still a big douche and I'd for once like to hear him tell a young guy he's doing a great job and looks forward to his future instead of making them feel like no matter what they do, it'll be five years until we stop seeing Marlon Anderson playing in our outfield. Very Dusty-esque.

    Lastly, the Mets are hosting the All-Star game in 2013 says Marchand at ESPN ... NICE! Granted the Yanks have it this year, but that's a cool thing. Hopefully I will be a proud owner of a nice full-season ticket package by them so I can get tickets. Not like I want to even go to the AS game, I want Derby tickets to see beast-like performances and 500 foot home runs. (Article: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3291524)

    5:51 PM

    Anonymous Dep said...

    I felt Pelfrey stunk today.

    He is a horrible fielding pitcher, making several bad plays today and still has no feel for his secondary pitches at all. The horrible fielding will burn him time n time again, lots of balls will be hit back thru the middle on him.

    he is not ready imo

    Duque, get well mofo, we need ya. Dep's Deps wants you well too! ;)

    6:20 PM

    Anonymous Two-By-Four said...

    I did not see today’s ball game but Dep’s report on Pelfrey is discouraging. I wonder why Omar chose to pass on Lohse?

    Yankees fans were rejoicing over the Duncan play and celebrating that a new sheriff (Girardi) is in town and the Yankees won’t be passive as they were under Torre. They thought Duncan’s slide was just a hard slide. I reminded them that sliding with your spikes high is not playing hard, aggressive baseball. It is as a dirty play as there is in baseball. I also reminded them that some of their best players played the infield and do they want guys sliding in on A-Rod, Jeter and Cano with their spikes high. Sliding with you spikes high belongs with the second baseman or shortstop bouncing his intended throw to first off of the base runners head or the hitter laying down a bunt between first and the mound and waiting until the pitcher bent down to field it and kneeing the pitcher. It’s playing with intent to injure.

    9:26 PM

    Blogger Rickey Henderson said...

    Rickey tossed up his Mets preview today over at RwR for those of you humor inclined individuals.

    8:51 AM


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