Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hypothetically Speaking: Who would be the Highest Paid Player?

****Update: I will probably be gone for most of the day due to illness. But in the meantime, enjoy this piece from yesterday, and leave a comment!****

Scenario time: let's assume for a second that after the 2009 season, for whatever reason, every player currently on a major league roster would be granted free agency with no strings attached (no options, arbitration, service time, etc.). No matter what their contract status was after the 2009 season, all contracts have been abolished. This would create the most amazing spending spree in sports history, as every player would have the freedom to pick and choose where they want to go.

But here's where I'm looking for your input. Under this scenario, what player would become the highest paid player in the game?

-Would it be Joe Mauer, who has established himself as the best hitting catcher in baseball?

-Would it be Albert Pujols, who is one of the best hitters on the planet and almost a virtual lock every year for a .300+, 30 HR, 100+ RBI?

-Would it be Evan Longoria, who is on his way towards becoming the best third baseman in baseball even though he only reached the majors last season?

-Would it be Tim Lincecum, who despite his diminutive stature, is widely considered to be the premier pitcher in the National League?

-Would it be Hanley Ramirez, who has developed into the best hitter in baseball that nobody knows about (thanks, Florida)?

-There are many other viable options here that I have not mentioned: Miguel Cabrera, Felix Hernandez, Alex Rodriguez, etc.

My pick: Albert Pujols.

Pujols is my pick simply because he has been this good for so long. His consistency is off the charts. Even though I feel like Pujols has been around forever, he is only 29 years old, which means that he should have many great years ahead of him. I picked Pujols over Joe Mauer because I worry about Mauer wearing down because of the grind of catching every day. The risk of Mauer getting hurt or declining is much higher than it is with Pujols simply because of the position he plays. Don't get me wrong, Mauer is the total package behind the plate and he can do just about everything offensively and defensively, but I'd rather invest $140+ million bucks in the sure thing.

Who do you think would become the highest paid player? Feel free to throw in the contract that you think he would receive on the open market.

(Follow Jorge Says No! on Twitter)


Bill said...

Interesting question! I think the only real contestants are Pujols, Mauer and H-Ram. If they're all going to sign one-year deals, I'd certainly expect it to be Pujols, but on a per-year basis over 5-7 year contracts, it might be Hanley just because of his age.

Ron Rollins said...

Felix Hernandez.

Danimal said...

Pujols. I think you would have to use the A Rod contract as a model. Based on current projections, Pujols will become the all time home run king like A Rod was when he signed his. At the time, A Rod was considered clean, as Pujols has to be until evidence comes up to the contrary. Looking at Tex's big deal last year, Pujols should get at least that.

Also, keep in mind that no teams are burdened with other salaries on the books. Pujols would be the building block for one of the big spending teams (NYs, Boston, LAs, Cubs, etc.) A ten year contract would keep Pujols for the duration of his 30s and would not take him into those ugly 40s.

Bottomline: Pujols 10 years/$270M with incentives to push it over $300M.

Jorge Says No! said...

How about this guys: if Hanley Ramirez could play defense, then would he become the highest paid player?

Bill said...

Well, -5.3, -0.7, and -0.5 are fairly respectable UZRs (I swear 2009's was +2 a day or two ago). Sometimes the system just has blips, like his -19.2 in 2007. I think it's pretty clear now that he was never that bad, and now he's really about average. I'd give an average 26yo shortstop who hits like Hanley 10 years for an obscene sum of money before I gave it to 30yo Albert.

Jorge Says No! said...


I can see how Hanley would be ranked as a respectable defensive player because he's lightning quick, has a great arm, and covers lots of ground; but after watching tons lots of Hanley over the years, I've noticed that Hanley has a tough time with the routine play.

Though I must say, his error total is way down this season, which suggests to me that maybe Hanley is getting more consistent at the routine play.....