Just when Erik says we have been quiet about the Albert Pujols situation, we will have two posts within just a few days. With word coming out that the Cardinals were reluctant (maybe even adamant) about not going more than 6 years on a deal with Albert, now is a good time to look at how he may age over the life of any deal. For this particular exercise I’m going to borrow a methodology that Tango has employed previously and look at historical comparisons based on accumulated WAR. I built my first list of comps by looking at who had the best WAR/season up through their age 30 season (where Albert sits now) and included anyone with 2 WAR/season of Albert (22 players). I then looked at how that list of players performed in their age 32-38 seasons (a 7 year deal), 32-39 seasons and so on. The results are summarized in the table below. Totals are cumulative rWAR
It does appear that those stop accumulating at a decent pace around years 7 or 8. I haven’t run the financials on any of these WAR totals yet other than a select few, so can’t report what these necessarily equate to in terms of deals. That’s a post for another day, or maybe for another author if anyone wants to take a crack at it.
I also built a list of comps based on how players had fared only in their ages 28,29, and 30 season. Using a list of players that were within 1.5 WAR/season of Pujols either direction (24 players) I came up with the following table
Not too different. This is a little lower as the level of greatness was higher to be in the first group.
What does all this mean for the Cardinals and Pujols? Well, I’m not exactly sure. I’d have to run the financials on all of these WAR calculations to get a firmer idea here. Most of the numbers show that 10/300 is a bad idea, but we already knew that (Pujols would have to be at the 75th percentile or better to be worth that deal). The data does support that anything beyond an 8 year deal doesn’t look like a good idea. 6 or 7 would probably be best, with 8 as the upper limit.
All of the WAR data in the article is from http://www.baseball-reference.com/
UPDATE: Tango using my calcs
By my calculation (weighted $ per WAR of around 6MM$ per win), this comes out to:
7 years / 225MM$
8 years / 240MM$
9 years / 250MM$
10 years / 260MM$
So there you have it