phpbXOTCtYesterday, ‘Duk of Big League Stew posted this on his Twitter page.

Evan Longoria has already earned twice what the first four years of his contract are worth.

That sounds great, on the surface. But let’s dig a little deeper.

From 2006 through yesterday, BJ Upton has been worth $36.1 million for the Devil Rays according to Fangraphs. In those four seasons, the Devil Rays ($26) have paid Upton about $1.5 million.

In other words, Upton has been worth about 24 times as much he has been paid. Why? Because young players make very little money compared to veterans, even when they sign a long-term extension in their first 3 seasons. It is basic baseball math.

Let’s take a look at James Shields who signed a long-term deal after his second season. In his first four years (including this season), Shields will have been paid approximately $3.2 million. 2008 and 2009 are part of the 7-year, $39.25 million deal. During these first four years of his career, Shields has been worth $47.9 million to the Devil Rays or about 15 times what he has been paid.

When teams sign young stars to long-term deals, they are not saving money up front. In fact, if Upton had signed a long-term deal in 2007 or 2008, he would have made more money and the differential between what he has been paid and what he is worth would be less.

Where teams hope to save money is at the back-end of the deals. Sure, Shields and Evan Longoria have been worth much, much more than what they have been paid. That was never in doubt this early. The question is: Do they continue to develop and avoid injuries to the point where they are a bargain in the last few years of the deal?

In the case of Scott Kazmir, no. In 2008 and 2009, the first two years of his contract extension, Kazmir will have been paid roughly $10 million. So far in those two seasons, Kazmir has been worth $9.5 million. And he is still owed $20 million over the next two years. Does anybody think Andrew Friedman deserves praise for that deal right now?

In the end, it means little how much a young player is paid in comparison to how much he is worth, because all young stars outperform their salaries whether they have signed an extension or not. It is only at the end of the long-term deals do we know for certain if the ballclub has saved money and whether Friedman truly deserves credit for making a great deal.



  1. theraysparty says:

    I never fully grasped these win values yet as I prefer the other saber stats to analyze teams and players right now. But they are pretty good indicators of how well a player/team has been worth their play. Nice to see you start posting these types of posts.

    I think Kazmir is worth negative dollars this season! (actually at 400,000 on fangraphs)

    • Would you believe I am a bit of a statistician in my day job and have even taught a college stats class. Maybe that is why I am hesitant to dive too much into full blown statistical analyses. I've done a few in the past. You just have to be careful. Stats tend to be better for analyzing trends and not so much for individuals over a short period. There are just too many uncontrolled variables in baseball. For example, I could look at a dozen different stats and each will tell me that Bartlett is in for a poor second half if his numbers are going to approach the norm. But, who is to say that maybe something has just clicked this season? Maybe a hitch in his swing or laser eye surgery or a juiced ball or steroids. Who knows.

      Besides, I also know that most people that believe in the power of sabermetrics still prefer most of the blue collar stats. Baseball is a sport built on tradition. And because of that AVG and ERA will always reign supreme.

      • theraysparty says:

        I know what you mean about other variables. I too looked at Jason Bartlett stats but compared last season to this season. I couldn't find too much difference until an article yesterday on the official Rays website said that Bartlett used a heavy in BP so it felt like the bat was a broom stick come game time. And yet we know that Bartlett is better through those "blue collar" stats like avg. and HRs.

        I say it is still a developing concept that has made great strides recently with the age of the internet/blogging.

  2. Dirtbag Fan says:

    Subtract the cost of my blood pressure meds from Kaz's inherent worth..

  3. Steve says:

    Re: Kazmir's contract

    what should i name after Friedman for that deal? My next shit?

  4. Marinkina says:

    Кстати, если закончаться фото Одри, то можешь в фотошопе старые фото накладывать на новый фон, так и разнообразие будет и ты работать продолжишь

  5. Rayhawk says:

    OK This is what I want.

    Put Kapler on Waivers, bring up Matt Joyce, trade Gross, and give Zorilla 2/3 of the playing time, can I get an Amen here please......?


  6. R. Miller says:

    How about making Zobrist a full time second baseman and get rid of Aki's less than warning track flyball power.

    • Brian H says:

      yes lets take out a .300 hitter with speed, and an above average glove. Good idea Reggie.


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