The Hypothetical Danks Extension

Cot's Contracts.  It exists.

Cheat tasked me with figuring out what Danks' extension, if any, would probably look like.  Whatever the terms reportedly agreed to on Tuesday for the 2010 season, it's unlikely that either side was very far away.  Obviously the sticking points come farther into the uncertain future.  Given that, I searched Cot's Contracts for reasonable points of comparison.  

1) I looked for contracts signed by starting pitchers that gave the team control through their arbitration years and into free agency signed after the '06 season, with Brandon Webb a convenient anomaly (he was right next to Dan Haren on Cot's).  

2) Club options are not denoted, but it's almost one per contract.  Presumably, there's a decent chance Danks' hypothetical extension would contain a club option.

3) Felix's contract has been estimated using Tango's .4/.6/.8 rule of thumb.*

4) Just to refresh, after 3 years of service with the major league club, a player becomes arbitration eligible.  After he has completed 6 years of service and is no longer under contract, he becomes a free agent.  Danks will begin the first of his arb-eligible seasons in 2010.  

Player Yr Signed Arb 1 Arb 2 Arb 3 FA FA
Jon Lester '09 3.75 5.75 7.625 11.625 13
Gavin Floyd '09 2.75 5 7 9.5  
Josh Johnson '10   3.75 7.75 13.75 13.75
Felix Hernandez '10   11 14 18 18
Zack Greinke '09   3.75 7.25 13.5 13.5
Scott Baker '09 3 5 6.5 9.25  
James Shields '08 2.5 4.25 7 9 12
Scott Kazmir '09   6 8 12 13.5
Adam Wainwright '08 2.6 4.65 6.5 9 12
Dan Haren '09   7.5 8.25 12.75 12.75
Brandon Webb '06 4.5 5.5 6.5    
Matt Cain '07 2.65 4.25 6.25    
Fausto Carmona '08 4.9 6.1 7 9  
Chris Young '07 2.5 4.5 6.25 8.5  
Cole Hamels '09 6.65 9.5      
Paul Maholm '09 2 4.5 5.75 9.75  
Jeff Francis '07 2.75 3.75 5.75 7  
Average   3.38 5.57 7.34 10.90 13.56


So we'd expect Danks to get something like 4 years for $26-30MM and a club option for $12-14MM in 2014. Averaging CHONE and Fangraphs, Danks' has been worth 4.75 WAR per season over the last two.  If we expect 3.5 to 4.5 wins per full season pitched under the hypothetical contract, Kenny would pay $1.75MM per win.  That's compared to about $4MM on the open market.  Even if Danks misses a season entirely, that only raises Kenny's rate to $2.33MM per.  It makes me wonder if players shouldn't be buying insurance to help them get to free agency.


*.4/.6/.8 refers to the percent of the value of the contract they'd receive for that season on the open market for the 1st/2nd/3rd years of arbitration. Felix's contract buys out the last two years of arb and three FA years, for a total of $80MM. So the estimate looks like .6x + .8x + x + x + x = 80. His open market value is about $18MM/year, which makes those two years of arb worth ~ $25MM. It also means that the CBA is forcing him to leave about $11MM on the table.

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