His 4 year $30 million contract expired in 2013, and the list of starting pitchers joining him in free agency aren't anything to write home about. In fact, as the 2014 MLB free agency season kicks off, many are referring to Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Ervin Santana as the best available pitching option. In many cases, this plays favorable for the 30 year old, set to enter his 10th season in the big leagues. But being the lone wolf in the forest also has its setbacks - notably that there won't be any comparable major, recent contracts to compare or contrast Santana to at the negotiating table.
Just one year prior, pitchers were signing new contracts and extensions nearly once a week, with the bar being raised a little more each time (Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, and Cole Hamels. In short, Santana's statistical numbers will need to speak for themself.
As per usual with our contract forecasts, our goal here is to combine both the finances & the statistical production of Ervin Santana, and compare it step for step with relevant and comparable variable starting pitchers, who signed contracts within a recent time frame, at an age close to 30 years old.
- Santana hasn't been Top 50 in any of the major pitching statistical categories in the past two seasons (2012-2013), with the exception of Innings Pitched (211 in 2013, 17th).
- He's earned an estimated $45.2 million through 10 major league seasons.
- His $13 million salary in 2013 ranked 20th among MLB starting pitchers; he was the top-paid Royal.
|Player||Length||Value||Avg. Salary||Age When Signed|
|John Lackey||5||$ 82,500,000||$ 16,500,000||31|
|Zack Grienke||6||$ 147,000,000||$ 24,500,000||30|
|C.J. Wilson||5||$ 77,500,000||$ 15,500,000||31|
|Jered Weaver||5||$ 85,000,000||$ 17,000,000||30|
|Averages,||5.25||$ 98,000,000||$ 18,375,000||30.5|
Note: A linear regression is a formula that plots the provided points of data for Length and Value of the contracts, and then generates the best-fit line for those points, resulting in a "slope" value that translates to an average annual salary.
View the list of Top Average Paid Starting Pitchers in MLB
Because some of these variable pitchers were older than Santana at the time of their signings, we'll bring the above contracts down to his age by subtracting from the overall years to make each variable player 30 years old. Once a linear regression is performed on these new numbers we're given the following terms to begin with:
|Length||Value||Avg. Salary (slope)|
|5||$ 97,795,699||$ 19,559,140|
|John Lackey (2008-09, LAA)||25.5||169.6||134.5||3.79||1.2505||11.5|
|Zack Grienke (2011-12, MIL)||31||191.65||200.5||3.655||1.198||15.5|
|C.J. Wilson (2010-11, LAA)||33.5||213.55||188||3.145||1.216||15.5|
|Jered Weaver (2010-11, LAA)||33.5||229.65||215.5||2.71||1.04||15.5|
|Ervin Santana (2012-13, KC)||31||194.5||147||4.20||1.206||11.5|
|Overall Prime %||-12.134%|
We'll factor his Prime Percentage of -12.134%, into our previously determined base value.
Length of the Contract
At 30 it appears the going length for a new starting pitcher contract is 5 years. It should be noted that an additional year (or a few club option years) could easily be used to negotiate a deal that includes a lower overall average salary.
Value of the Contract
Our initial age-adjusted regression provided an average annual salary close to $19.6M, a figure that would place him 7th highest among active starting pitchers. By factoring in the -12.134% Prime Percentage figure to our original base value, our overall value decreases into the following forecast:
• Average annual salary: $17,185,834