Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Contract Analysis: Adam Wainwright

The Cardinals and Adam Wainwright agreed on a 5-year $97.5 million extension today.



My immediate reaction was that his was a big overpay by the Cardinals.

Let's look closer.

First, Wainwright is only 31 this season.  I thought he was older.  He did miss the 2011 season after TJ surgery, but picked up right where he left off.

Like I did earlier with Kyle Lohse, I combined the projections available on Fangraphs and came up with this composite projection for 2013:
198 innings, 8.0 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 a 3.33 ERA and 4.9 WAR

Applying the standard aging curve, I'll expect the following WAR totals over the contract:
2013 4.9
2014 4.4
2015 3.9
2016 3.4
2017 2.9
2018 2.4
TOTAL = 21.9 WAR

The exact details of the extension aren't out but it's reported to be $97.5 million over 5 years.  Wainwright is already under contract for $12 million this year.  He'll make a total of $109.5 million before he's a free agent.

Assuming $5 million market value per WAR this year and 5% inflation per season, the total value of Wainwright's production comes out to about $122 million.

Wainwright's expected production slightly exceeds what the Cardinals will pay him.

There is risk for the pitchers.  Some of it already included in the standard aging curve (increased risk of injury and decreased performance).  Is Wainwright more likely to be injured since he's already undergone a TJ surgery?  I don't know.

This isn't a great deal for the Cardinals, but it's not a bad one either.




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