Posted tagged ‘Denard Span’

Denard Span staying in Minny

March 14, 2010

Today Minnesota signed outfielder Denard Span to a five year deal worth $16.5mil. There is a $9mil option for 2015 with a 500K buyout. Span will be paid $750K in 2010, $1 mi in ’11, $3 mil in ’12, $4.75 mil in ’13 and $6.5 mil in ’14.

At the ripe age of 26, the deal will take Span through his age thirty season, as well as all his remaining arbitration years. Looking into the future, it seems like a nice little bargain for the Twins.

In 2008 and 2009 respectively, Span has already posted WAR’s of 2.6 and 3.9 in his age 24 and 25 seasons. He is an OBP centered hitter, so he should always provide some type of offensive value, even if he lacks power. In his first 920 ML PA’s, Span has a .390 OBP, .361 wOBA, and 123 wRC+. Not bad. Add in the fact he’ll be entering his “prime” seasons over the life of the contract, and there’s no reason to think he can’t improve those numbers. He has no serious white flags other than the aforementioned lack of power (.104 ISO in 2009; .117 career ISO).

Although a SSS of center field defense shows him to be below average with the glove, at the corners he has been good. Overall, he has a career 1.7 OF UZR/150 in 2070 innings. In 2008 and 2009 his fielding runs component of WAR have been positive.

For 2010, CHONE sees Span as a .294/.371/.409/.347wOBA/113wRC+ hitter with a 3.3 WAR. The Fans (82 projections) see Span putting up a line of .302/.385/.400/.353wOBA/117wRC+ and they give him a 4.1 WAR. Assuming Span puts up 3-4 WAR season in 2010 with similar years from 2011-2014, the Twins will be paying a good price for Span.

Although Span would not have been arbitration eligible in 2010 and 2011, the Twins will only be paying him $1.75mil total over those two seasons. That is well below his actual worth. From 2012-2014 the Twins will then pay Span a total of $14.25mil. As stated before, if Span remains a 3-4 WAR player or better, he would have made more money in arbitration then will make in his new deal. I mean, in 2014 when he will be 29, he could be putting up .290/.390/.440 season with average defense for just $6.25mil in the 2014 market. WOW! Assuming that happens, the Twins will have struck gold and saved money that can go to finance Joe Mauer. If he does not keep up the production, well, the contract is only $16.5mil, so it won’t handcuff the team, even if it is the low payroll Twins.

If Span continues to get better and becomes a mainstay in the Twin Cities by 2015, then $9mil will be an afforable option that Minnesota would love to pick up. If not, it’s only 500K to cut him loose.

I really like this deal for the Twins and Span is being safe by taking the guaranteed money.

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