Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Well, the LA Times kinda beat me to this, but I had this post pretty much prepped already, so here we go:

(Per Cot's Baseball Contracts)

2007:  $109,251,333

2008 (in millions):

Guerrero: $14.500
Anderson: $14.000
Rodriguez: $10.000*
Cabrera: $ 9.000
Escobar: $ 9.000
Matthews: $ 9.000
Lackey: $ 7.000
Speier: $ 4.750
Figgins: $ 4.750
Shields: $ 4.250
Oliver: $ 2.000
Quinlan: $ 1.050
Izturis: $ .530*
Santana: $ .500*
Kendrick: $ .425*
Napoli: $ .425*
Weaver: $ .425*
Aybar: $ .425*
Kotchman: $ .425*
McPherson: $ .400*
Murphy: $ .400*
Willits: $ .400*
Moseley: $ .400*
Mathis: $ .400*
Balance: $ 6.080 (16 remaining roster spots x $.38M)

*denotes guesstimate for non-arb players and K-Rod

The Times and I agree that the payroll as of now is roughly $100M. The article also points out that the Angels "could clear $18 million after 2008 by letting Anderson and Cabrera go and free up $4.75 million by trading Chone Figgins." These things are true. But a few other points, just kind of randomly assembled:

1. We also may be able to clear Kelvim Escobar after 2009, depending on the development of young pitchers. That's another ~$9M per year.

2. The strong farm system is a boon to us here, as key players such as Napoli, Kotchman, Kendrick, Willits, Weaver, Santana, Saunders, and Quinlan are all pretty cheap.

3. At the same time, these guys aren't that cheap forever, and at some point the Angels are going to have to look into locking down some of them through their arbitration years and beyond. Come 2009 and 2010, Weaver could be up to $5M or $7M per year, and it's easy to see Kotch and/or Kendrick hitting that level, as well. Still, these guys won't be more than $20M per year between them, and if Brandon Wood can take over for Orlando Cabrera starting in 2009, that would be a big help.

4. The LA Times piece also mentions that the Angels may be in need or want of another starting pitcher, one who might cost money. I don't know if that's speculation or if the team lacks faith in Santana and/or Saunders.

Anyway, what does adding $30 or $35M to this payroll do? One fear is that it reduces flexibility; with nearly $50M per year tied up in two players, that doesn't give you a lot of room to navigate. Let's speculate as to how the above list could look in 2009:

2009 Speculative (in millions):

A-Rod: $35.000
Guerrero: $15.000
Anderson: $14.000
Anderson: $ 3.000 (buyout)
Rodriguez: $12.000*
Cabrera: $ 9.000
Wood: $ 0.400
Escobar: $ 9.500
Matthews: $10.000
Lackey: $ 9.000
Speier: $ 4.750
Figgins: $ 4.750
Shields: $ 5.000
Oliver: $ 2.000
Quinlan: $ 1.500*
Izturis: $ 1.000*
Santana: $ 1.000*
Kendrick: $ 1.000*
Napoli: $ 1.000*
Weaver: $ 1.000*
Aybar: $ 1.000*
Kotchman: $ 1.000*
McPherson: $ .400*
Murphy: $ .400*
Willits: $ 1.000*
Moseley: $ 1.000*
Mathis: $ 1.000*
Balance: $ 7.600 (20 remaining roster spots x $.38M)

If Arte is committed to a payroll in the $130M-$150M range (or above, even), that actually gives him some wiggle room. Of course, as mentioned above, come 2011 or so Kotchman, Kendrick, and Napoli may be worth close to $20M instead of $3M. What if all of our young pitchers wash out, and we need to go out and get one (like we did with Kelvim and Colon), but we're already expending more than $140M per year? Would Arte go for spending more?

I don't know, and that's where our analysis runs into a wall: at some point, Arte has to decide if spending that much is worthwhile to him. No one else can make that decision. I think Alex Rodriguez is a tremendous, once-in-a-lifetime player, and that adding him to this lineup makes the team the favorite in the division for the next few years and a legit World Series contender year-in and year-out. But it's easy for me to say that; it's not my money.

And while money doesn't guarantee you rings, right now the Red Sox are paying out more than $140M in salary, and they've gotten two in the last four years. The Yankees are in a Series drought, but still a formidable club, and their payroll is closer to $200M. If Arte wants to play with the big boys, he may have open his wallet a little wider.


There are two main problems with signing Rodriguez as I see it, one which might be minor. The first is the obvious one, giving a long-term deal (like the reported 10 year one he wants) is probably not going to turn out so well (unless he's Barry Bonds and the way baseball is going with drug-testing, it's unlikely his performance will be repeated). So by the end of his deal, the Angels will be spending $30m plus on a below average DH or 1B. That won't help much -- in fact might be crippling. The second might not be a concern -- but it has been lately. The simple fact is that A-Rod is horrible in the postseason. A team like the Angels which is well set up to dominate their division for the next few years simply doesn't really need him. Why sign a guy that's going to hit .200 in the playoffs and strikeout in crucial at-bats? Even with A-Rod in their lineup they still would've have been swept by the Red Sox. So why spend a ton of money for the same result? The hope I guess is the his postseason choking has been a product of playing in New York -- that seems to be a sizable gamble to take when you are spending $300m on a player, doesn't it?
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