Monday, January 19, 2009

They Finally Signed The Man

I've lost count of the number of times I've suggested that the Orioles need to sign Nick Markakis long-term. With Nick going into his first year of arbitration, the O's have locked him up to a six year $66.1 M deal, including some incentives and a limited no-trade clause. No word of any team options, but I won't be too nit-picky.

Right now I've got Nick worth a monster 5.5 Wins Above Replacement next year (3.65 with the bat, 0.50 with the glove, 2.50 for the replacement level, -0.75 for the position adjustment, and pro-rated to 650 PA). And, though it's not close to being finalized yet, the feedback I've gotten on my initial projection of .301/.401/.493 is that it's too low. Assuming we don't project him to be even more awesome, Nick should be worth about $25.1 M next year (on the free agent market).

For arbitration, players tend to get 40%, 60%, and 80% of the free market value in successive years. That means the team "should" pay him about $161 M for those six years, assuming he stays at those 5.5 WAR every year and there's 10% salary inflation annually.

That's why I've said that no matter what contract Nick would be signed to, he'd still be a bargain. The difference between $64 M and $66 M (or whatever) isn't nearly as important as actually getting the deal done. The guy is a championship caliber player.

Needless to say, I'm really really happy about this.

[Update: It seems that the contract includes a mutual option for 2015, so that's a small plus.]

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