Tuesday, May 15, 2012

MLB Mega Deals: Mauer Not Alone in Decreased Production Post Contract

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="594" caption="Does production post-mega deals in the past show that signing Hamilton to a huge contract in 2013 maybe a bad idea?"][/caption]

 

Baseball isn't my strongest suit, but making fun of Joe Mauer is one of my favorite past times.  Why?  I am not entirely sure, but I think it is my anti-homer tendencies that have made me dislike Mauer.  I have no real disdain for Mauer as a person, just as an overrated athlete that local "homers" slobber over just because he is "one of us" more than because he is a good player.

It is with that in mind that I took on Ken's suggestion of looking into the statistics for players after signing mega deals.  As many Twins fans know, Mauer has struggled since signing his monster deal to stay in Minnesota.  Now Pujols signed a huge contract over the winter and has struggled as well, at least so far.  Hopefully the statistics will shed some light on the idea of mega deals and if they are a good idea or something to be wary of.  Today we'll just focus on baseball, but come football season, I may very well take this topic up again and take a look at Chris Johnson and others of his ilk and their struggles post-mega deal.

To make things easy, and so it doesn't seem like I am cherry picking contracts and situations that fit my agenda (of which I have none) I will take a look at the top 10 contracts by "total contract", rather than per year salary.  No real reason for this, other than I had to go one way or the other and I decided to go with "total contract".  I will show you the statistics from the year prior to signing the deal, the year the deal was signed and if the contract was signed long enough ago the year after the year the contract was signed.

Obviously in some cases the contract has just been signed this past winter or spring so the data will just show what the player has done through May 14th, 2012.  After the statistics I will describe what I see and then assign each with what has happened to the players production.  They will either have increased success, decreased success or consistent success.  In the end, we will look and make a judgement on whether the top 10 contracts by total contract indicate that signing mega deals is a good idea or not...or possibly that it is a mixed bag.

 

1. Alex Rodriguez 3B, New York Yankees - Signed for 10 years, $275 Million in 2008 at age 32


Career Averages:
















































YearAgeTmLgGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
162 Game Avg.162717620123187332421272079129.302.386.565.951350

Year Prior:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2007 Totals158158708583143183310541562495120.314.422.6451.067376

Year One Post Deal:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2008 Totals138138594510104154330351031865117.302.392.573.965292

Year Two Post Deal:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2009 Totals1241225354447812717130100148097.286.402.532.933236

 

Some things jumped out at me when looking at this contract and A-Rod's performances in the years surrounding it's signing.  The decline in games played from 2007 (a MVP season for A-Rod) to 2008 and then 2009.  The steep decline in home run totals from 2007 to 2008, along with RBI and batting average.  In general almost every statistical category has dropped in the years that we are focusing on for Rodriguez after signing the deal.

The numbers he put up in 2008 and 2009 aren't bad by any means and 2008 actually matches up relatively well with his career 162 game averages, but had those performances come in the year prior to the contract in 2007, possibly the biggest deal in MLB history doesn't take place.

Production - Decreased


 

2. Albert Pujols 1B, Anaheim Angels - Signed for 10 years, $254 Million in 2012 at age 32


Career Averages:
















































YearAgeTmLgGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
162 Game Avg.1627066011211964314212589167.326.417.6091.026366

Year Prior:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2011 Totals147145651579105173290379996158.299.366.541.906313

Year One Post Deal...So Far:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2012 Totals35351491421028801120718.197.235.275.51039

 

Obviously Pujols is yet to find his groove thus far in his first year since signing the second biggest contract in MLB history.  35 games in and he is batting under .200 and has only one home run.  He is struggling mightily and definitely, in this short sample size, not living up to the expectations that come with a contract that size.  No doubt that Pujols is capable of turning this around and still having a nice year, but after taking 25% of the plate appearances from 2011, he isn't on pace to come close to his pre-mega deal stats.  Also something to consider is that in 2011 Pujols had his worst statistical year as a pro with his only season under 100 RBI's and under .300 batting average.  Possibly the decline started even prior to signing the mega deal.

Production - Decreased


 

3. Alex Rodriguez SS, Texas Rangers - Signed for 10 years, $252 Million in 2001 at age 25


Career Averages:

See above.

Year Prior:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2000 Totals1481486725541341753424113215100121.316.420.6061.026336

Year One Post Deal:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2001 Totals162162732632133201341521351875131.318.399.6221.021393

Year Two Post Deal:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2002 Totals16216072562412518727257142987122.300.392.6231.015389

 

A second look at "Mr. Moneybags" or A-Rod in this post.  This time when A-Rod is much younger and with Texas.  Maybe it was the age (or the 'roids) but A-Rod shows improvement in his home runs and runs batted in.  He actually played more games post-contract and overall was just a better player, at least in offensive measurables.

Production - Increased


 

4. Joey Votto 1B, Cincinnati Reds - Signed for 10 years, $225 Million in 2012 at age 28


Career Averages:
















































YearAgeTmLgGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
162 Game Avg.1626825829718242231106992126.313.408.552.960321

Year Prior:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2011 Totals161159719599101185403291038110129.309.416.531.947318

Year One Post Deal...So Far:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2012 Totals3434150115213616052423329.313.467.5831.04967

 

It seems that Votto is on pace to continue, if not increase, his production from pre-mega deal.  His batting average is right on his career 162 average, his home run pace doesn't have him currently en route to match his career 162 game average but it is early to weigh too much into that.

Production - Consistent


 

5. Prince Fielder 1B, Milwaukee Brewers - Signed for 9 years, $214 Million in 2012 at age 27


Career Averages:
















































YearAgeTmLgGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
162 Game Avg.1626845749316232137106391126.282.388.536.924307

Year Prior:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2011 Totals16216269256995170361381201107106.299.415.566.981322

Year One Post Deal...So Far:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2012 Totals353514913320374051811426.278.349.421.77056

 

Prince was supposed to help push the Detroit Tigers into being a title contender, instead they are now below .500.   Not all Prince's fault, but he isn't living up to his career numbers so far this year.  The very career numbers that got him his mega deal.  Just like Pujols, Fielder has the opportunity to still turn this year around and luckily for him the turnaround isn't as far as what Pujols has.  More meaningful than the numbers for both Pujols and Fielder will be helping their team's win and start reaching the team expectations of being title contenders.

Production - Decreased


 

6. Derek Jeter SS, New York Yankees - Signed for 10 years, $189 Million in 2001 at age 27


Career Averages:
















































YearAgeTmLgGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
162 Game Avg.16274565911820733416802266110.314.383.450.833297

Year Prior:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2000 Totals1481486795931192013141573226899.339.416.481.896285

Year One Post Deal:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2001 Totals1501506866141101913532174275699.311.377.480.858295

Year Two Post Deal:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2002 Totals15715773064412419126018753273114.297.373.421.794271

 

The batting average for Jeter fell from the year before signing his big deal, but his overall production in the year's we are looking at remained consistent and close to his career averages.  A trend that I am starting to see, that could be broken further down the list, is that if you sign your mega deal while you are in your 20's rather than your 30's it seems that the production has a better chance of increasing or remaining consistent.  Certainly not a ground breaking discovery.  Jeter is Mr. Consistency to this day even a decade later.

Production - Consistent


 

7. Joe Mauer C, Minnesota Twins - Signed for 8 years, $184 Million in 2010 (contract began in 2011) at age 27


Career Averages:
















































YearAgeTmLgGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
162 Game Avg.16269159795192383148868368.322.403.468.871279

Year Prior to Actual Signing of Contract:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2009 Totals13813360652394191301289647663.365.444.5871.031307

Year Prior to Deal Going into Effect:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2010 Totals1371295845108816743197516553.327.402.469.871239

Year One Post Deal:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2011 Totals8278333296388515033003238.287.360.368.729109

Year Two Post Deal...So Far:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2012 Totals343414712314347111522314.276.395.374.76946

 

If you've ever been to the Grand Canyon, you know what a drop off looks like.  From 2009 to 2012, statistically, is a Grand Canyon-esque drop off in production for Joe Mauer.  2009 was his career year (thus far) that pushed him into the stratosphere of getting his mega deal in 2010.  Injuries have been a huge factor for Mauer, playing in only 82 games in 2011.  So far this year the issue hasn't been injuries, it has been purely production and that is worrisome to Twins fans. To me, the worry is that the Twins and others said when the contract was signed that they had to pay a catcher that could produce like Mauer the money they did because it was so great for that position.  Detractors, like myself, said that he'd likely soon switch away from catcher for health reasons (knees/legs) and that his production then wouldn't warrant such a contract for a DH or first basemen. Now in 2012 Mauer has played 1B or DH 18 times in 34 games, all while putting up mediocre to below average numbers, even for a catcher, and the Twins currently have the worst record in MLB.  Ouch.

Production - Decreased


 

8. Mark Teixeira 1B, New York Yankees - Signed for 8 years, $180 Million in 2009 at age 29


Career Averages:
















































YearAgeTmLgGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
162 Game Avg.16271161510217239237119281122.280.370.528.899325

Year Prior:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2008 Totals1571576855741021774103312129793.308.410.552.962317

Year One Post Deal:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2009 Totals15615570760910317843339122281114.292.383.565.948344

Year Two Post Deal:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2010 Totals15815771260111315436033108093122.256.365.481.846289

 

In terms of home runs and games played, Teixeira is staying consistent.  Yet, batting average and on base percentage is struggling in the years following his contract.  In no way is Teixeira disappointing, but he is changed from what he was when he signed the deal with the Yankees for whatever reason.  He was a slugger with OB% and BA in 2008, and in 2009/2010 he turned into much more of a slugger only.

Production - Decreased


 

9. CC Sabathia P, New York Yankees - Signed for 7 years, $161 Million in 2009 at age 28


Career Averages:











































YearWLW-L%ERAGGSCGSHOIPHRERHRBBSOWHIP
162 Game Avg.179.6533.51343431227209978920691941.224

Year Prior:












































SplitWLW-L%ERAGGSCGSHOIPHRERHRBBSOWHIP
2008 Totals1710.6302.703535105253.0223857619592511.115

Year One Post Deal:












































SplitWLW-L%ERAGGSCGSHOIPHRERHRBBSOWHIP
2009 Totals198.7043.37343421230.0197968618671971.148

Year Two Post Deal:












































SplitWLW-L%ERAGGSCGSHOIPHRERHRBBSOWHIP
2010 Totals217.7503.18343420237.2209928420741971.191

 

Our only pitcher that we'll be looking at as he is the only pitcher in the top 10 all time, Sabathia represents well.  Since his contract, he has been under his career average in ERA and has averaged 20 wins a year in the year's we are looking at.  His ERA did drop from the year prior to signing the deal, but for the most part the stats have stayed close to the same or decreased just slightly.

Production - Consistent


 

10. Manny Ramirez RF, Boston Red Sox - Signed for 8 years, $160 Million in 2001 at age 29


Career Averages:
















































YearAgeTmLgGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
162 Game Avg.16268858010918138139129394128.312.411.585.996340

Year Prior:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2000 Totals1181185324399215434238122186117.351.457.6971.154306

Year One Post Deal:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2001 Totals1421426205299316233241125081147.306.405.6091.014322

Year Two Post Deal:
















































SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSTB
2002 Totals120118518436841523103310707385.349.450.6471.097282

 

Manny looks like the definition of "consistent" during the years we are looking at.  He was right around the production he produced the year prior to his signing and also right around his career averages.

Production - Consistent


 

The Tally -


Increased - 1

Decreased - 5

Consistent - 4

 

So what do we take from this?  5 out of the 10 have had decreased production post-mega deal, while the other 5 have remained consistent or even increased production.  To me it comes down to something that seems obvious, the earlier you can sign a guy to a major deal, the better.  The only increase in production that I gave, was A-Rod who signed his big deal with the Rangers at age 25.  Unfortunately at age 27, Joe Mauer has fallen off the map more than any other player on the list (except for Pujols so far this year, age 32).  Signing a guy in his 30's to a mega deal is 2 for 2 in getting a decreased production from the performance pre-contract in this list.

Josh Hamilton will likely enter this list in 2013, for whatever team that gets him, they can rest easy that outside of Mauer, nobody on this list is not producing still at a high level, even if it isn't at the same level that got them the contract (Pujols and Fielder have time to make up for slow starts).   Yet, they also could worry in the fact that Hamilton will be 31 when the season starts in 2013, so buyer beware.

More than anything this is depressing for the Twins (what a surprise for Minnesota STOB'ers).  Finally they step up to the plate and join the ranks of the Red Sox and Yankees, signing a guy to a huge deal.  Only for that signing to be a complete failure to this point.  Yet another reason we are STOB.

Tell us what you think of this list in the comments section below.

Big thanks to Baseball-Reference.com for the stats used in this post!

 

 

1 comment :

  1. Good post. And just wait for Ryan Howard to start playing again. That thing is going to make the Mauer contract look like a bargain.

    ReplyDelete