Let's talk about some of the recent signings and trades that have happened over the past week or so.
First let's talk about BJ Ryan who signed a contract for a king's ransom to play up in Toronto. Toronto will be paying him $47 million dollars over five years to be their closer; the highest price-tag for a reliever ever. Higher than Mariano Rivera, Eric Gagne, Keith Foulke or any other established closer.
Is J.P. Ricciardi crazy? Ryan isn't a proven relief pitcher yet, and to give him a contract of that magnitude could prove suicidal. Ryan, in my opinion, has had two great seasons (2005 and 2004) and that's it. He's a strikeout pitcher for sure (222 strikeouts in 157.1 IP the last two seasons), but is he worth almost ten million dollars a year? Not at this point in his career.
Bottom Line: Toronto over-paid, and even though I don't think Ryan will be bad, he won't be amazing like a Rivera or Foulke.
Billy Wagner found a new home, signing a four-year deal worth $43 million dollars to be the closer for the Mets. Wagner, despite his age, is worth the money that he signed for, unlike Ryan who has had two good seasons. Wagner has been amazing since 1996 with the Houston Astros.
Wagner is worth the money, but the Mets are still paying a lot of money for their players. They signed Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran last year, now Wagner and taking on Carlos Delgado's contract in a trade with Florida. I think their high-spending will bite them in the butt very soon. Omar Minaya is making some questionable moves in my opinion, and if they don't make a playoff run this year then he could be a marked man.
Bottom Line: Wagner is worth the money and will produce, but the Mets may be putting themselves in debt.
Paul Konerko resigned with the White Sox for a five-year, 60 million dollar contract today. Konerko hit was explosive this season, hitting .283 with 40 home runs and 100 RBI. Not Ortiz numbers, and he may never produce Ortiz-like numbers, but he sure is getting paid for his production.
I think Chicago overpaid for him, but he really is the core of that White Sox offense. Marc Normandin from Beyond the Boxscore has a good analysis of Konerko and his contract. Dan Szymborski had this to say at Baseball Think Factory:
Bottom Line: Chicago loves Konerko and they had to dish out the money for their superstar. I honestly don't believe he is in the league of Ortiz or Alex Rodriguez, but he is somewhat close. If he does hit 40+ home run in the next five seasons, then Chicago will be singing praises for their decision.