Buster Posey signed the biggest deal in Giants history and I think, after all the excitement has worn off, that you could call it "team-friendly." Sure, a nine-year deal for anyone is a huge risk. Ballplayers are mortal, and they break down. There is a good chance Johan Santana, for example, will never pitch again after his latest setback. But I think the Giants did the right thing with Posey. If you want to go "all-in" on a guy, he looks like the best bet. Obviously teams are swimming in money as these long-term deals for "franchise players" are becoming increasingly common. It's hard to put a value on wins, but one fellow argues that they are worth about $6M apiece. When you look at the final years of Buster's contract ($21.4M per year for 2017-2021) that's about 3.6 WAR (in 2012 dollars) for five seasons for a total of 18 "wins above replacement." I think there are two certainties: things will cost more in 2017, and the Giants can afford it. Here's a graph:
The Giants are willing to open their wallets and spend what it takes to compete. This year's $132M may not be complete, that's just what Cot's Contracts says the team is already on the hook for (all the numbers are from Cot's). Buster will be 30 at the start of the 2017 season. Through ages 30-34, Mike Piazza racked up roughly 21 WAR. Ivan Rodriguez, over the same span, 17, Jason Varitek 13, Jason Kendall 10, and Bengie Molina 6 (B-R). Rod Barajas, at age 35, gave the 2011 Dodgers 1.4 WAR in 98 games, and Yorvit Torrealba, age 31, gave the 2010 Padres 2.6 WAR in 95 games. If you can catch and hit near league average you are very valuable. Even if Posey moves to first base, you figure he can hit at least well enough to add 3 WAR, which would put him on par with a guy like Mark Teixeira (who makes over $22M now). I like the deal. It works for the Giants as not only is Buster absurdly marketable, he's only making $3.7M this season (Javier Lopez makes more) and $11.3M next season. Even if he winds up being "expensive" down the road, I think he will more than deliver on his "expected" value. I remember when I thought the Aaron Rowand and Barry Zito contracts would be anchors around the neck of the club, preventing them from spending money where they needed to. Then they won two World Series titles in three seasons. So, I don't worry about that any more.
Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner will be here through 2017. Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean will be around through 2016--that's a good thing. So will Angel Pagan. After that, Marco Scutaro, Jeremy Affeldt, and Santiago Casilla are signed through 2015. Ryan Vogelsong, Sergio Romo, and Pablo Sandoval each have another year after this one. The Brandons won't be free agents until 2018. The only real question mark is Timmy--this is his contract year, he will be a free agent this fall. I hope he is still a part of the plan. Speaking of plans, I plan to enjoy this club one hell of a lot.