Saturday, December 04, 2004
"...inking Tek to three guaranteed years is a risky proposition; four is very tough to swallow and five should be out of the question."
The above statement was based on my analysis last winter. It concluded, based on Tek's comparables and HOF catchers, that it is very risky to sign any catcher at Tek's age to a long-term deal. The odds were long that Tek could continue to produce with the bat as he has in the past. A long-term deal at a high salary would likely prove to be disatrous for the Red Sox. Even after Tek's best season with the bat and using pro games played instead of age, Tek is still a risky investment beyond 2006.
Tek's comparables courtesy of baseballreference.com and OPS+ after roughly 850 games:
Eddie Taubensee - 73/78
Johnny Romano - 25
Stan Lopata - N/A
Rich Gedman - 70/-2/67
Harry Danning - 100
Mike Lieberthal - 100
Chris Hoiles - 117
Damian Miller - N/A
Earl Battey - 120/88/35
Bo Diaz - 62/43
Mike Macfarlane - 111/85/79/66
Sandy Alomar Jr. - 111/82/65/79/80
Darrin Fletcher - 107/116/60/52
Smoky Burgess - 121/110/124/133/110
Dan Wilson - 91/98/63/67
Don Slaught - 116/146/112/90/89
Roy Campanella - 89/81
Dick Dietz - N/A
12 of Tek's comparable catchers did not play five seasons after 850 games. Six made it through four more campaigns behind the dish and three played five seasons after 850 games. Burgess and Slaught are the only comparables to be productive (OPS+ > 100) for all five seasons. B & S are certainly outliners; Fletcher is the one other comparable to be productive past his first season after catching 850 games.
Hence, it will be very unusal for Tek to put up an OPS+ > 100 after the 2006 season. The Red Sox are aware of the fast declining productivity among catchers. Thus, assuming the reports are true, Theo has decided that $36-44 million is worth an OPS+ 110/100/90/80 from a catcher. I am not so sure.