Analyzing CarGo’s Contract

In January, the Rockies accomplished a feat thought to be impossible: they locked up Carlos Gonzalez, who is represented by Scott Boras.  Despite Boras providing CarGo with "actuary tables that would show Gonzalez's earning power if he would stay healthy and productive," the Rockies were able to buy out three free agent seasons at less than $18MM per year.

Gonzalez's seven-year, $80MM deal set a record for the largest deal signed by a player with between two and three years service time.  The contract topped Hanley Ramirez's six-year, $70MM contract, signed nearly three years ago.  Other recent deals for two-plus players include Justin Upton's six-year, $51.25MM contract and Jay Bruce's six-year, $51MM pact.  A few details on the four contracts:

  • Gonzalez is paid $23MM for his three arbitration years plus $53MM over the course of three free agent seasons ($17.67MM per).  There are no option years, so CarGo could reach free agency at age 32 and score one more huge deal.
  • Ramirez gets $23.5MM for his three arbitration years and plus $46.5MM over three free agent seasons ($15.5MM per).  His deal also has no options, and he can reach free agency at age 30.
  • Upton will earn $20.75MM for his three arbitration years plus $28.75MM over two free agent seasons ($14.375MM per).  The deal has no options, and he can be a free agent at age 28.
  • Bruce will make $25.25MM over four arbitration years plus $25.5MM guaranteed over two free agent seasons ($12.75MM per).  In the likely event Bruce's 2017 club option is exercised, that's $37.5MM over three free agent seasons or $12.5MM per.  If the option is exercised he'll reach free agency at age 30.

CarGo essentially matches Ramirez's arbitration earnings and tops his free agent take by a total of $6.5MM.  In one sense Boras deserves credit for brokering the largest deal ever for a two-plus player, but in another Hanley's agents at WMG win since their deal came almost three years earlier.

Though the Rockies paid top dollar to do Gonzalez's extension now, the savings could still be significant.  Further along in their careers, Ryan Howard and Joey Votto required $44MM and $38MM for their three arbitration years, respectively.  Howard later gave up five free agent seasons at $25MM each, so paying CarGo $16MM in 2015 could be a downright bargain if he remains an elite player.

For my take on the Rockies' other huge extension, the Troy Tulowitzki contract, click here.


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8 Comments on "Analyzing CarGo’s Contract"


iheartyourfart
4 years 5 months ago

Great contract. His bat should play well at home and on the road.

– Dante Bichette, Vinny Castilla, and Garrett Atkins

stl_cards16
4 years 5 months ago

Basically they garaunteed him market value for his arb years, to get a discount for the free agent years. And that is assuming he performs at an elite level for the next few years. Looking at his home/road splits, just doesn’t seem like a worthy investment.

East Coast Bias
4 years 5 months ago

This is a great approach. Team gets a discount on their franchise player, and the player gets TWO big paydays instead of one.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
4 years 5 months ago

Eh, it doesn’t look like much of a discount. Everything looks like what he could get on the current market in terms of arbitration and free agency years. They could be betting on the market going north again.

This looks like another contract where it looks like the Rockies are trying to motivate their players.

kimofromkauai
4 years 5 months ago

Comparing any contract to the Howard extension will look good. $25 per year for an aging 1B was way too much.

4 years 5 months ago

Has anybody here ever seen the kid play? He’s a beast oh and he happens to be a pretty good guy. With those skills and Lansford as the hitting coach he will only improve on the road and kill it at home. He is currently one of the top 5 players in the game…oh and he’s 24.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
4 years 5 months ago

Yes but Holliday, I mean Wallace, I mean Taylor is working out well for them. Wait…

Guest
4 years 5 months ago

I know its a lock that he could throw up a 1000+ OPS in the Mcafee Petco Stadium.