Carlos Gonzalez, get used to Denver, Colorado

Because you just signed a 7/$80mil extension!

Carlos likes this deal, the Rockies like this deal, and I…kind of like and don’t like the deal.

He has two years of service time I believe, so he would be making about half a mil in 2011, and then would be arbitration eligible from 2012-2014.

The Fans think Gonzalez will produce 5.3 fWAR in 2011. I am not that optimistic on CarGo. To be safe, let’s say from 2012-2014, his age 27-29 seasons, that he is 4 WAR, 4.5 WAR, 5 WAR. The $ per WAR will be $4.5mil, $5mil, and $5.5mil. So using the 40/60/80 scale he would have made $7.2mil in 2012, $13.5mil in 2013, and $22mil in 2014. Instead, he will be paid an average of $11.4mil. So, with the contract over the next four seasons he will make about $45.7mil. Using my estimates, he would have otherwise been paid (roughly) $43.2mil. So Colorado may be reaching, but remember he is a fan favorite and a good player who can contribute to a winning team NOW he is worth even more to Colorado. Also, my WAR figures are just estimates. He could continue to be a 6 WAR player. Or he could be a 2 WAR player and Colorado will grossly overpay.

With the deal, Colorado will also be buying out three years of free agency. This is where Colorado can really make their savings. He would have been a free agent while still in his theoretical prime. If he continues to produce at a 4-5 WAR level, he will be a highly attractive free agent and one can only imagine that contracts will be even larger by the year 2014-2015. So they probably will be making a bargain in the years 2015-2017 paying him $11.4mil. In other words, for his FA years they are paying him 3/34.2mil. I can only imagine he would top that in free agency.

So yes, I do like the deal for Colorado in the sense they probably will be saving money on a good player in the long run. Because in the short run they are not really making any savings. Carlos Gonzalez just played in his first full season and did have some good luck. His BB% was a low 6.3% and his BABIP was .384. That almost certainly will come down. While his power his real, I doubt he repeats such a high OBP. I see it more in the .340-.350 range. I do not think, despite being a free swinger, he will completely fall apart like Pablo Sandoval. For 1) Carlos Gonzalez has a LD% above 20%, where Sandoval did not have as high LD rates 2) Pablo hit a lot more grounders than Gonzalez 3) While both were free swingers, Sandoval was a lot, lot, lot worse at swinging at pitches outside the zone and swinging in general. But he will regress, production wise. His talent level may rise, but his production will certainly drop and may never reach his epic 2010 performance again.

With all that said, that is why I kind of don’t like the deal. He’s played one full season. Sure it was great, but as I pointed out he is due for some natural regression. He is cost-controlled for another four seasons, including one season under $1mil. So why not wait another season? See if he regresses, or is just an amazing player who really is worth 6 WAR. You will save money by paying him 500K in 2011, instead of $11.4mil plus a bonus, and could probably sign him to a similar, if not better, deal after the 2011 season.

Again, the deal is solid. In all likelihood, CarGo will need to average around 2 WAR a season to justify the money he is being paid. Now, don’t confuse that for meaning he is actually worth it if you know what I mean. From a production standpoint, if he is a 2 WAR player he should be about $11mil per season, but I’m sure Colorado believes he is better. If they truly thought he would be a 2 WAR player, they would not bother signing him to a seven year deal. What’s the point to keeping an average player long term? None.

I personally think Cargo will be about a .280/.345/.525 player who will provide average defense. That should translate to around 4 WAR (depending on PT, defense, position), so in the long run this will turn out to be a good deal for Colorado. It would be even better if he do that as a CENTER FIELDER and not a corner outfielder.  However, Colorado did have a better option on the table and that option was to wait at least another year to negotiate a contract with Gonzalez.

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2 Comments on “Carlos Gonzalez, get used to Denver, Colorado”

  1. Doug Bies Says:

    Nice write up!

    Braun is a proven 4 WAR player, yet signed a 8 year 45M deal. CarGo signed for 7 80, which is a decent amount of money. Braun also did his extension about a year earlier than CarGo’s. I tough to nitpick about his deal because he put up Godly numbers with a high k rate, low bb rate, & somewhat low obp.

  2. max Says:

    cargo is not a 280 hitter on average give him more credit than that. He’s hitting in mile high for god sakes..inflation here. 290 plus.

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