How Much Are The Rays Saving On James Shields?

It has been two full seasons since James Shields signed his potential seven year, $44 million dollar contract. In reality, all that is guaranteed is four years and $11.25 million, but the way things look now, an option year or two is likely. The Rays way is all about getting value for dollars. We need value, but lack the dollars.

The Shields extension has been lauded in the sabermetric community as being one of the best deals in recent years. And it really is in terms of real dollars for production. Using WAR dollars, Shields has been worth $37.6 million dollars over the past two seasons while earning just $2.5. That's a fantastic value, but it's not "real" dollars.

James Shields will undoubtedly earn his contract. In fact, he already has. In his career, he has given the Rays $63 million dollars worth of production for $2.9 million dollars. If he maxes out the contract (years and dollars), his WAR value would be somewhere between $100-$150 million dollars.

But how many -- if any -- real dollars are the Rays saving?

I'm not usually one for estimations and assumptions, but for this post I use some simple ones. Let's toss out a few guidelines.

First, estimated WAR. In his full seasons (2007-2009), Shields has posted WAR of 4.5, 4.3, and most recently 4.1. For the first part of the estimation I'll assume the -0.2 WAR trend continues over the next few seasons. In the next portion, I'll use the standard -0.5 WAR adjustment.

Second, estimated salary. A few things for the seasons considered to be arbitration years. I used the 20/40/60% scale to estimate the amount of the raise. To get the salary amount I took the estimated number of WAR and used the 10% WAR escalating scale. Since 2009 actually happened, and we know Shields earned a 4.1 WAR, I'll use that as an example.

Let's take that 4.1 and multiply it by the value of one WAR, which is recognized as 4.4 in 2009. We get an estimated salary of $18.04. Since he would be arbitration 1 this off-season, we'll say that his salary should be 20% of that $18.04 million dollar estimate, or $3.6 million dollars. From there you can figure out the rest of the table.

Est1

WAR

WAR Value

Est. Salary

Arb Raise

2009

4.1

4.4

18.04

3.608

2010

3.9

4.8

18.72

7.488

2011

3.7

5.2

19.24

11.544

 

That's using the Shield trend of -0.2 WAR going forward. Here is the standard -0.5 WAR.

Est2

WAR

WAR Value

Est. Salary

Arb Raise

2009

4.1

4.4

18.04

3.608

2010

3.6

4.8

17.28

6.912

2011

3.1

5.2

16.12

9.672

 

Now that we have the estimated salaries, we can compare them to actual salaries. Another quick note here, Shields' contract maxes out at 2014. For the purpose of this exercise I'm buying out the final two seasons of the contract for the stated $1.5 million dollar buyout.

 

Est1

Actual

Savings

2010

3.6

2.5

1.1

2011

7.5

4.25

3.25

2012

11.5

8.5*

3

 Total

22.6

15.25

7.35

 

Est2

Actual

Savings

2010

3.6

2.5

1.1

2011

6.9

4.25

2.65

2012

9.6

8.5*

1.1

 Total

20.1

15.25

4.85

*Includes $7 million dollar base salary for 2012 + $1.5 million dollar buyout of future years.

Because of the extension Shields has earned $2.5 million dollars over the last two seasons. These seasons were team controlled, meaning the Rays basically could name their own price. Let's estimate (conservatively) that he would've earned $800k over those seasons and subtract that from the savings. Even with the conservative estimates of -0.5 WAR decline, and team controlled salary years, Shields's extension should save the Rays in the neighborhood of $4-6 million dollars. Of course, he could easily exceed these projections as well as come short. For most teams, the difference may not seem like a whole lot in terms of real dollars, but the Rays could do alot with an extra $5 million; also keep in mind the value aspect.

All in all, the Shields extension remains just another example of "ball on a budget."

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join DRaysBay

You must be a member of DRaysBay to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at DRaysBay. You should read them.

Join DRaysBay

You must be a member of DRaysBay to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at DRaysBay. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker