Thursday, May 15, 2008

Another Ray Hanging Around For A While

The Rays have done it again, locking up their ace lefty, Scott Kazmir, to a three-year $28.5 million extension. They also have an $11 million team option for 2012. Kazmir was set to become a free agent after the 2010 season, so the deal buys out one or two years of free agency. I was very surprised that Kazmir would agree to sign for such a low amount - there was talk of him becoming that next $20 million a year pitcher once he hit the market at age 26. Guys this good rarely can be signed as free agents that young.

Just to compare, Johan Santana has been worth about 10 WARP1 the last few years and he's getting $23 million a year from the Mets (that's $2.3 million a WARP1). Kazmir was worth 8.8 WARP1 in 2007, but lets round it down to 8 (it was just 6.2 the previous year, but he has shown improvement every season). That makes him an $18.4 million player. So the three garunteed years end up being about ($18.4 * 60% =) $11 + ($18.4 * 80% =) $14.7 + $18.4 = $44.1 million. That means that Kazmir is giving up about $15.6 million (at least) to get some security. He was injured this year so there is definitely some risk to the Rays, but as I have said before; signing a whole bunch of good young players to "cheap" deals means that it won't be too bad if some of them don't work out - the team is still getting good value overall. Everything I had heard indicated that Kazmir wanted to test the market though, so perhaps he has become more worried about potential arm injuries.

The Rays now have Kazmir, James Shields, and Matt Garza heading their rotation for at least the next three years, with Wade Davis, Jake McGee, and David Price on the way (and those are just the guys with top-of-the-rotation potential!). That is very. very scary. As if it wasn't bad enough when the O's just had the Red Sox, Yankees, and Blue Jays to deal with. I picked them to finish under .500 this year (barely) because I found it improbable that their fortunes would swing around so fast. This just goes to show you what a great front office can do. How cool would a Rays-Marlins World Series be?

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