Spotrac is proud to announce the launch of a new segment to our Premium services: The Legend Forecast. We'll look back through the years at interesting/eye-popping contracts and push them through our forecast formula to produce modern figures in comparison to the actual deal.
We'll kick things off with arguably one of the greatest baseball players of recent generation, Ken Griffey Jr. who accumulated an incredible resume of consistent statistics, and an estimated $157 million over 22 MLB seasons. His major contract came in 2000 following his trade from the Seattle Mariners to the Cincinnati Reds. Griffey signed the dotted line of a 9 year $112.5 million deal with the Reds, one of the biggest historical contracts of all-time.
Our goal here is to evaluate Griffey prior to his signing in 2000, and compare him statistically to the top-paid, top-producing outfielders currently playing the game to determine the contract Griffey could have signed today, some 13 years later.
• From 1997-1999 (the seasons we evaluate below) Griffey was the MLB HR leader.
|Player||Length||Value||Avg. Salary||Age When Signed|
|Carlos Beltran||7||$119 million||$17,000,000||27|
|Josh Hamilton||5||$125 million||$25,000,000||31|
|Matt Kemp||8||$160 million||$20,000,000||27|
|Alfonso Soriano||8||$136 million||$17,000,000||29|
|Vernon Wells||7||$126 million||$18,000,000||29|
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 Players in MLB
In order to account for the fact that Beltran, Kemp, Wells, and Soriano were younger than 30, and Hamilton a year older we'll adjust the lengths of their above contracts to match his age. Once a linear regression is performed on these new numbers we're given the following terms to begin with:
|Length||Value||Avg. Salary (slope)|
|Alfonso Soriano (2005-06, TEX/WAS)||157.5||110.5||175||41||99.6||.2725||.330|
|Carlos Beltran (2003-04, STL)||156||113||163||25.5||74.5||.256||.341|
|Matt Kemp (2010-11, LAD)||161.5||98.5||172.5||33.5||107.5||.287||.355|
|Vernon Wells (2005-06, TOR)||155||84.5||176||30||101.5||.286||.3385|
|Josh Hamilton (2011-12, TEX)||134.5||91.5||152.5||34||111||.2915||.350|
|Ken Griffey Jr. (1998-99, SEA)||160.5||111.5||176.5||52||140||.2845||.3745|
|Overall Prime %||19.09%|
We'll factor his slight Prime Percentage of 19.09%, into our previously determined base numbers.
Length of the Contract
At 30 and with an excellent track record of durability (160.5 games per year), Griffey had all the leverage to get the maximum amount of years available to him, and he did. We'll match the lenght of this forecast with his actual deal of 9 years.
Value of the Contract
Our initial age-adjusted regression provided an average annual salary close to $19.5M, a figure $7 million higher than the actual deal he signed in 2000 and a figure that would currently place him 20th highest in MLB. By factoring in our 19.09% Prime Percentage figure to our original base value we're able to increase the terms to the following forecast:
• Average annual salary: $23,160,926