Holy $$$$ Batman, look at those free agent closers!
Tim Chalberg • Monday, November 28, 2005
Today the Mets announced the signing of Billy Wagner to a 4 year, $43 million deal. Last week, the Blue Jays announced they had signed B.J. Ryan to a 5 year, $47 million contract. Both are quality closers, pretty clearly the top two free agent relievers this year. However, since when is any reliever worth $10 million a year? The answer is never. These may go down as the two worst deals of this offseason and here is why.
For argument's sake, let's say that both Billy Wagner and B.J. Ryan average 50 saves per year for the length of their respective deals (needless to say, that should be a ridiculously high overestimate). For B.J. Ryan to do that, he would have to save 250 games over the length of his contract and the Blue Jays would pay $188,000 per save. As for Billy Wagner, he would have to convert 200 save chances and the Mets would pay him $215,000 per save. For perspective, each team could call up any rookie pitcher from the minor leagues and let him close games out for less than $350,000 a year.
So, realistically, both the Blue Jays and Mets will probably end up paying their closers more per save than they could pay a rookie to do the same job for the entire year. Though Ryan and Wagner are clearly superior options to any prospect in any system, are they really 30-35 times better? No way. Unless either of these teams win the World Series in the next four years, they will both regret these ludicrous signings for a long, long time.