The Mariners Have Made a Huge Mistake

Robinson Cano has convinced the Mariners to outspend the suddenly thrifty Yankees by $50M, and give him a $240M/10 year deal. This deal shoots Cano up to one of the highest paid players in baseball, and one of the largest contracts ever signed. But is it a good deal?

I looked up $100M contracts that were complete, or mostly complete that had been given to players 31+, signed through 38. I couldn’t find any. Well, I could find one, and it’s not a comp that Cano wants:Alfonso Soriano – signed 31-38 – $136M – 9.1 WAR (1.1 WAR/year)

I pulled the rest of the really big contracts, and highlighted the ones that were completely or mostly complete. Annual WAR rate in parenthesis.

Jason Giambi – age 31-37 – $122M – 22 WAR (3.1)
Todd Helton – age 29-37 – $142M – 32.9 WAR (3.6)
Mark Teixeria – age 29-36 – $180M – 16.2 WAR (3.2) – still has 3 years left
Manny Ramirez – age 29-36 – $160M – 36.6 WAR (4.6)
Vernon Wells – age 29-35 – $126M – 7.2 WAR (1.2) – still has 1 year left
Derek Jeter – age 27-36 – $189M – 41.2 WAR (4.1)
Miguel Cabrera – age 25-32 – $152M – 36.2 WAR (6.0) – still has 2 years left
Alex Rodriguez – age 25-31 – $185M – 56.4 WAR (8.0)
  • Helton ended up getting bought out of his 38-year-old season and resigned for $5M/year through 2013, but in doing so also reworked his 37-year-old season and deferred a bunch of money. I counted it as it was originally signed.
  • ARod’s listing above is the $252M contract, but he opted out, so the value was only $185M.
  • I left Sabathia off the list – pitcher.
  • Kind of funny that the Yankees have/had 6 of the 9 players above. 2 of which are salary dumps. I suppose they have a first hand view at what they’re getting into.
I ordered the above strategically – descending by age signed. Is it any surprise that the contracts given to the three players at the bottom: 25, 25, 27 in age, account for half of the annual WAR, despite being 33% of the list?

There’s also a lot of $100M+ contracts that have to play out. You can argue that the ones I’ve highlighted above are last generation, and Cano (rightfully) is valuing himself in today’s market, with what is being signed around him.

Alex Rodriguez – age 32-41 – $275M
Albert Pujols – age 32-41 – $240M
Joey Votto – age 30-39 –  $225M – hasn’t even started playing on this contract yet
Prince Fielder – age 28-36 – $214M
Joe Mauer – age 28-35 – $184M
Troy Tulowitzki – age 26-36 – $157M
Adrian Gonzalez – age 29-36 – $154M
Carl Crawford – age 29-35 – $142M
David Wright – age 30-37 – $138M

There’s a bunch of pitchers I didn’t include, but that’s basically all of the $150M+ contracts in history.

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