Saturday, March 30, 2013

Contract Analysis: Buster Posey

Add Buster Posey to the list of new MLB multi-millionaires.

Posey and the Giants agreed to a 9-year $167 million extension.

I've been looking at the contracts of some players who have signed extensions recently:
Justin Verlander
Adam Wainwright
Carlos Gomez

How does Posey's deal look?

Projections available on FanGraphs have Posey hitting .383/.503 in 562 PA's and producing 6.25 WAR.

That's good.  That's really good.

Posey's future production is a bit more complex to estimate than other players'.  Posey is a catcher, as such, they decline faster due to the wear-and-tear of the position.  Excellent hitting athletic catchers, of which Posey is, also occasionally quit playing catcher at some point in their career and move to other positions - this prolongs their careers but lessens their value.  As such, I've accelerated Posey's decline to account for either increased potential for breaking down or a move to another positions where his value will be less.


This still turns out well for the Giants

Using the same $5 million per WAR in 2013 with 5% inflation per year as I have with all other players, this is what I get:
YEAR     projWAR            SALARY                 WAR VALUE
2013    6.25      $8 mil         $31 mil
2014    6.5       $12.5 mil      $34 mil 
2015    6.5       $16.5 mil      $36 mil
2016    6.5       $20 mil        $38 mil
2017    5.5       $21.4 mil      $33 mil
2018    4.5       $21.4 mil      $29 mil
2019    4.5       $21.4 mil      $30 mil
2020    4         $21.4 mil      $28 mil
2021    3.5       $24.4 mil      $26 mil
TOTAL  47.8      $167 mil       $285 mil
*Salary source

Given these assumptions, Posey is still expected to provide the Giants with over $100 million in excess value.

Maybe my estimated WAR totals are too high - I didn't want any Giants fans hurling accusations at me.  But Posey is damn good (that should get them off of my back).  Adding the 48 projected WAR to the 13 WAR that Posey has also produced gives him 61 WAR by age 35.

6 catchers since 1900 have produced 60 WAR by age 35
Johnny Bench 75
Ivan Rodriguez 66
Gary Carter 66
Joe Torre 63
Mike Piazza 61
Yogi Berra 60

You've probably heard of those guys and if you're a Giants fan you probably don't mind Posey being mentioned in the same proverbial breath.

Somewhat interestingly, though, is that only one of those players, Piazza with 50 WAR, produced the 48 WAR that I'm projecting Posey for between ages 26 and 35.  The others:
Bench 39
Rodriguez 43
Carter 45
Torre 36
Berra 47

Further only 3 of those pitchers played over 90% of their innings at catcher in their career:
Rodriguez 99.7%
Piazza 96.3%
Carter 91.8%
Bench 81.8%
Berra 76.8%
Torre 41.1%

So, maybe the projection is too high.

It'd have to be astronomically too high for this to be anything other than the Giants signing a phenomenal player to a contract that he's likely to exceed.

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