FanPost

Multi-Year Contracts of the Epstein Age

In November of 2002, Theo Nathan Epstein was named as the General Manager of the Boston Red Sox and became the youngest GM in history at that time. Eight plus years and 2 World Series trophies later, the 2011 Red Sox are battling for the playoffs in large part due to the maneuverings of Mr. Epstein. As the GM you have basically three ways to improve your squad and make sure that it is competitive each year:

(a) Amateur Draft

(b) Trades

(c) Free Agency/Extensions

This will be a three part series and since its YAD SDRAWKCAB I'll start with (c).  

In this post I will look at Epstein's Multi-Year Free Agent signings & Extensions. For contracts that have expired I'm using Fangraphs WAR and equivalent win earnings to get an idea of the value added by the player. I want to make the caveat here that by no means is this a tried and true method for evaluating value but its the best I have so here goes. For contracts that are on-going I'm using an equivalent methodology for contracts (since about 1/3 of the 2011 seasons has been played then I'm using 1/3 of equivalent value for that year)

List after the jump chronologically and with comments: 

Mendoza, Ramiro (2002) 2 years, 6.5 million: Nothing like jumping in and snagging one from your heated rivals to jump start your GM career. Unfortunately this one didn't work out as planned. Mendoza earned 0.4 WAR and 1.3 Million equivalent dollars making this deal worth: - 5.20 million

Mueller, Bill (2003) 3 years, 6.7 million: The journeyman infielder from the Giants was brought in to stabilize the Sox infield in 2004. Mueller became the type of player that Theo was looking for - good on-base skills, good/decent glove and fairly cheap. This one turned out quite rosy with the whole 2004 Curse thingy and Mueller playig huge roles all season. Mueller earned 9.5 WAR/29.3 Million equivalent dollars: +22.6 Million

Timlin, Mike (2003) 4 years, 11.1 Million: Any GM that signed a non-closing reliever to A 4 year deal these days would be shot on site, but Theo took a chance on Timlin and it seemed to pay off. Mike was fairly critical in both World Series seasons had some stellar years. Timlin earned 4.1 WAR/14.1 Million: +3.1 Million

Foulke, Keith (2004) 3 years, 18.75 Million: The Sox closer situation was pretty unclear heading into the 2004 season. Foulke was brought in to remedy that problem and he did, saving 32 games and pitching lights-out in the post-season. The problems came in 05 and 06 (the second and third years of the deal) when Foulke just kinda sucked. Foulke earned 2.2 WAR/6.8 Million: -11.95 Million

Clement, Matt (2004) 3 years, 25.83 Million: Pedro left the club after the 2004 WS and the Sox went out and brought in Clement. Up to that point Clement had had some interesting but not exactly dominant seasons with the Cubs. His arm then decided to fall off and he amassed a total of 1+ seasons for the Sox. Clement earned 4.3 WAR/14.6 Million: -11.23 Million

Wells, David (2004) 2 years, 8.15 Million: Wells was also brought in to ease the loss of Pedro and while he was not typically liked in Boston, he actually managed to earn his money. Wells pitched the entire 2005 season then was traded to the Padres in August of 2006 for George Kottaras. Using an equivalent payout of 7.5 Million, Wells earned 4.5 WAR/15.1 Million: +7.60 Million (+ George Kottaras)

Renteria, Edgar (2004) 4 years 40 Million: The much publicized SS position was supposed to be fixed with the 4 year deal to Renteria who was coming off some solid seasons with both FL and STL. Come to find out Edgar could not handle Boston and was subsequently traded to Atlanta for Andy Marte and cash. The Sox were on the hook for 19 Million of the deal and Edgar earned 1.8 WAR/6.1 Million: -12.90 Million (+ Andy Marte)

Schilling, Curt (2004) 4 years 50.5 Million: Schilling, who came over in a trade with Arizona was extended to be the de-facto ace of the staff. Bloody Sock and all Schilling earned 17.8 WAR/61.6 Million. +11.1 Million

Cora, Alex (2006) 2 years 4 Million: Not many multi-year deals go to utility infielders, but Cora got one. Cora earned 1.1 WAR/4.5 Million: +0.5 Million

Tavarez, Julian (2006) 3 years, 10.55 Million: Tavarez brought his ugly mug to Boston on a 3 year deal for a guy who could both start and relieve. He ended up being outright released in May of 2008 but earned 2.3 WAR/9.4 Million.      -1.15 Million.

Lugo, Julio (2006) 4 years 36 Million: Lugo was brought in to solidify the SS position that had been a revolving door since Nomar was traded. He ended up sucking pretty bad and the Sox ended up eating a good bit of his contract. He earned 1 WAR/4.2 Million. -31.40 Million

Matsuzaka, Daisuke (2006) 6 years, 52 Million (plus 51 Million for negotiating rights): Dice's plight is very well known around these parts and since he's likely done for the span of this contract I went ahead and made the assumption that he does not earn any more value on his deal. Overall then he earned 10.4 WAR/44 Milllion. -8 Million w/o the 51 and -59 Million with it. 

Okajima, Hideki (2006) 2 years, 2.5 Million: The other Japanese righty brought over prior to 2007 was Okajima, a 30-year old reliever with a funky delivery. He earned 2.6 WAR/11.2 Million. +8.70 Million

NOTE: The remainder of the contracts below are still on-going thus the valuation of the deal at the time of this posting (~1/3 of 2011) was used for comparison. So the valuation is whatever the club has paid up to 2011 and a 1/3 value of their 2011 salary.

Ortiz, David (2006) 5 years 64.5 Million: When his option was picked up last year is gave Ortiz another year to prove himself in a Sox uniform. His contract valuation at this point is 56.5 Million and he has earned 13.3 WAR/55.4 Million. -1.10 Million (but well on his way to getting in the positive)

Drew, JD (2007) 5 years 70 Million: Theo's largest contract to date was Drew's 70 million. The topic of numerous rants, fanposts and discussion here at OTM, Drew has contract valuation at 60 Million and has earned 13.6 WAR/59 Million. -1.00 Million

Youkilis, Kevin (2008) 4 years, 41.13 Million: The 2008 off-season saw Theo lock up his core of young players with Youkilis the eldest. Youk's valuation is 19.63 Million and he has earned 12.2 WAR/52.4 Million. +32.77 Million (Note that Youk has already earned more than his 4 year contract)

Lester, Jon (2008) 5 years 30 Million: This deal was a complete steal as Lester has a contract valuation of 6.67 Million and has earned 12.8/55 Million. +48.33 Million (again Lester has already more than valuated his contract)

Pedroia, Dustin (2008) 6 years 40.5 Million: The third of the core signed in 2008 Pedroia has a valuation of 6.83 Million and has earned 10.3 WAR/44.8 Million. +37.97 Million

Scutaro, Marco (2009) 2 years 12.5 Million: Brought in to fill the SS position once again, Scutaro has contract valuation at 6.67 Million and has earned 2.8 WAR/11.4 Million. +4.73 Million (looks like he'll come in right at value)

Lackey, John (2009) 5 years 82.5 Million: Theo picked up Lackey from the FA market in 2009 and signed him to a pretty lengthy and large deal for a 30 year old coming off of an injury. Remains to be seen how bad this one will be. Lackey's valuation is 23.08 Million and he has earned 3.9 WAR/15.5 Million. -7.58 Million.

Cameron, Mike (2009) 2 years 15.5 Million: Cameron got quite a bit of money for a 4th outfielder but I'm guessing Theo saw him as more of a starter in CF at the time. Cameron has shown pretty much nothing so far - his valuation is 9.67 Million and he has earned -0.5 WAR/-2.3 Million. -11.97 Million (perhaps Cameron should pay the club back)

Beckett, Josh (2010) 4 years 68 Million: After 2010 this one looked like it might be very bad, but Beckett has had a nice bounce back so far in 2011. Valuation is 5.25 Million and he has earned 2.1 WAR/9.5 Million. +4.25 Million

Crawford, Carl (2010) 7 years 142 Million: Theo opened up the wallet to get Crawford and while much has been made of his poor starter in Boston, only time will tell on this one. Valuation 6.67 Million. Crawford has earned 0.3 WAR/1.2 Million. -5.47 Million.

Jenks, Bobby (2010) 2 years 12 Million: Case for why not to sign relievers to multi-year deals. Jenks is valuated at 2 Million and has earned 0.2 WAR/0.9 Million. -1.1 Million

Gonzalez, Adrian (2010) 8 Years 159.5 Million (including 2011 in his extension package): Big bucks here but Gonzalez has already shown that he is one of the top hitters in the league and a solid defender. Valuation 3.83 Million. He has earned 2.4 WAR/10.9 Million. +7.07 Million

Overall, including current player valuations, the contract values come to 511.08 Million. Players have earned 534.70 Million giving an overage of +23.62 Million. While Theo has had a few stinkers (Renteria, Clement, Lugo, Dice) and has the potential for more (Lackey, Cameron, Jenks). The extreme value gained from signing younger players early and a few solid signings (Schiling, Mueller, Timlin, etc.) has allowed the overall mark to come up positive. 

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