Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tim Wakefield Should Fire His Agent

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.


Rangeley said...

It wasn't his agent, it was his decision. He's a team player and was willing to enter into a rolling, 4 million dollar contract which will be renewed each year for as long as the Red Sox want him. There aren't many people like him in baseball.

Fernando Alejandro said...

Yeah, but team player or not, he really shorted himself. I can see taking a paycut to stay with your team, but to basically give up free agency to lock yourself into the same paycheck for the rest of your career? That's crazy.

Tim said...

Don't forget that Wakefield's contract has bonuses based on the number of starts he makes. If he makes 20 starts, he's owed $4.5 million; if he makes 30, he's owed $5.25 million.

I think the contract was designed to entice the Red Sox to keep him in the rotation, where he's been happiest over the years. $4 million is a lot to pay a reliever, but $5.25 million is not too much to pay a starter.

It's also designed to reward the team for pulling him out of the unemployment line in April 1995. He was a free agent then, and no one wanted to give him a major league contract.

Raven King said...

I still feel sorry for Wakefield.
He got in the All Star game for the first time at the age of 42 but didn't even have the chance to to throw one pitch...

Fernando Alejandro said...

I hear all that, however, when Vicente Padilla is making $12 million a year, is it too big of a stretch to think that the Red Sox could give him $6 million guaranteed? Or look at the contract John Garland got, in what was a terrible economy, and a terrible year to be a free agent. All I'm saying is that with the current make up of the deal, he can't even renegotiate his contract.

Fernando Alejandro said...

Raven, I agree, that is a shame.

Peter said...

As I understand it, Wakefield has no agent. He negotiates on his own. He is happy to pitch, and happy to remain in Boston. That, of course, does not absolve the Sox of their responsibility to be generous and not take advantage of Wakefield's good will, or "hometown discount."

Fernando Alejandro said...

No, he is represented by agent Barry Meister. That's the culprit. I think you're thinking of Schilling. He used to negotiate his contracts by himself.