I was on Cot's Baseball Contracts, a great site by the way, doing some research on baseball contracts when I came across an interesting deal that the Boston Red Sox made with starter Tim Wakefield. Wakefield signed a contract in April of 2005 that secured him $4 million for the 2006 season. The way the contract works is that there is a recurring club option for $4 million each season that will end when the club finally doesn't pick up an option. So basically, Tim Wakefield is signed for $4 million a season until he retires or the Red Sox don't want him anymore. Now, its hard to complain about making $4 million, because its more than the average bear would make, but among MLB starters its a crap contract. Not to mention, that he took a paycut from his $4.64 million he made in 2005 to sign this deal.
Now Wakefield isn't a front line starter, but he's a known commodity. A solid 3 or 4 guy who will give you some good starts down the stretch. Here are his stats since 2005:
2005 - 16-12/4.15 ERA/151 strikeouts/63 walks/225.1 innings pitched
2006 - 7-11/4.63 ERA/90 strikeouts/51 walks/140 innings pitched
2007 - 17-12/4.76 ERA/110 strikeouts/64 walks/189 innings pitched
2008 - 10-11/4.13 ERA/117 strikeouts/60 walks/181 innings pitched
He signed his contract during the 2005 season when money was plentiful, and free agents were still signing crazy deals. Just to give you an idea of how terrible this deal is, take a look at what some players with similar numbers as Wakefield signed for:
John Garland - 2009 Contract: $7.25 million with a $2.5 million buyout if club turns down mutual option.
Andy Pettitte (Who had a terrible 2008 season) - 2009 Contract: $5.5 million guaranteed with incentives that could bring it up to $12 million.
Vicente Padilla (Recently Released by Texas) - 2009 Contract: $12 million.
John Smoltz - (Recently Released by Red Sox) 2009 Contract: $5.5 million.
Brad Penny - (Also Recently Released by Red Sox) 2009 Contract: $5 million.
Oliver Perez - 2009 Contract: $12 million.
Jose Contreras - 2009 Contract: $10 million.
Now, not all of these are fair comparisons since contracts were signed at different times, and some of these are lefties, who tend to be in high demand regardless of their numbers, but in general these are pitchers with similar levels of success during the same period of time as Wakefield.
So basically, there are plenty of starters out there, with comparable or worse numbers than Wakefield who make a considerable amount more than him. His agent worked out a deal that was very friendly to the Red Sox, and Wakefield actually signed it. All I'm saying is that Wakefield needs to fire his agent for working out this deal. I know the Red Sox are stingy when they want to be, but c'mon.