Let’s take a look at two comparable signings by different teams this offseason.
Contract: 3 years + 4th year team option, $21 million guaranteed
fWAR 2013: 1.3
fWAR last 3 season: 3.2
fWAR career: 4.1
Steamer WAR Projections 2014: 1.4
Oliver WAR Projections 2014: 0.7
Contract: 3 years, $21 million guaranteed
fWAR 2013: 2.7
fWAR last 3 season: 4.3
fWAR career: 8.9
Steamer WAR Projections 2014: 1.3
Oliver WAR Projections 2014: 1.8
So which team do you think got the better deal?
The team that signed Player A was overwhelmingly praised for the signing. The team that signed Player B was also praised, albeit less so. Many felt three years was too long and risky for Player B.
Player A is Charlie Morton. Like most people I did endorse the Morton extension. However, it has to be noted that Morton is a middle of the rotation pitcher with an injury history. The Morton contract is significantly riskier than the contract of Player B, which is first basemen James Loney. I felt Loney was a nice fit for the Pirates. I was concerned about committing three years to him, but ultimately if it was my decision I would have gone further than the Rays offer in order to sign him with the Pirates. I think I’m in the minority with that. There was no clear consensus from Pirate fans that Loney should have been the man for the Pirates’ 1B job on a healthy two year deal, let alone a three year deal. Yet the cold hard numbers seem to indicate Loney has more value and less risk than Morton.