Seattle Mariners: Power Ranking the Contracts of Every Player
There have been some pretty awful contracts signed in Major League Baseball. The Seattle Mariners don't appear to have any of those looming on the books, but a couple of deals have the potential to one day be on the list.
The Mariners roster is full of arbitration-eligible players, so just nine players have guaranteed contracts for 2014, according to Cot's Baseball Prospectus.
In order from last to first, the following slideshow is a power ranking of the contracts of Mariners players based on the quality of the player and expected production measured against the duration and value of the contract.
Contract: Two years, $5.8 million
Don't get me wrong, Willie Bloomquist is a nice piece to have. He's a veteran who can play any position and play it hard. He does his job quietly and often goes unnoticed.
But at age 36, he'll be making nearly a million dollars more ($2.8 million) than he ever has in a single season, and he almost certainly won't be among the starting nine.
To put things in perspective, Bloomquist is making close to half as much as Hisashi Iwakuma this season. Yes, the same Hisashi Iwakuma who finished third in the most recent Cy Young voting.
Contract: One year, $6 million (additional $8 million in incentives possible)
Any other offseason, signing Corey Hart to this deal would be criminal. He's a perennial .275, 25-home run, 80-RBI hitter and a two-time All-Star, but he missed all of last season with knee injuries, and whether or not he'll ever be back to his former self is unknown.
Hart may end up being a key player for Seattle this season and earn his extra cash with another brilliant offensive showing.
Or he may never see the field and wind up with a statistically empty season.
Contract: 10 years, $240 million
Signing Robinson Cano was huge.
The franchise will flourish financially, and one of the worst home attendances in the league will undoubtedly improve. The team will get better, and it has the potential to develop into a serious championship contender.
Still, Cano's mega-contract has "bust potential" written all over it.
It's happened to A-Rod, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, to name a few. Superstar players sign decade-long contracts for astronomical amounts of money and switch teams, only to put up lower numbers than ever before and disappoint the local faithful.
Not only that, but Cano will be making $24 million when he's a ripe 41 years old. Not exactly ideal.
General manager Jack Zduriencik overpaid for Cano, maybe because he felt he had to. He'll either look like a genius or a fool in a few short years.
Contract: Five years, $8.5 million
Danny Hultzen is a former second overall pick and has ascended through the minor leagues at an alarming pace, excelling at each level.
Hultzen partially tore his rotator cuff and had surgery to repair it in October, meaning he'll likely miss the entire 2014 season at least.
That's really the only thing wrong with his contract, other than the fact that he's been getting paid $1.7 million per season since 2011, the entirety of which was spent in the minors. I understand that he was signed long-term to lock him up until he reached the big leagues. But some guys can't handle that kind of money as a 21-year-old.
Luckily for Hultzen and the Mariners, his only issues have been physical, which can be equally as damaging to a career.
Here's to wishing Hultzen a speedy recovery, a great career and many eight-figure contracts.
Contract: Five years, $7.5 million
Dustin Ackley was also a second overall pick. He has stayed healthy, but hehasn't performed up to par with his potential.
There's still hope for Ackley, as he's only 25, but a relegation to the minors last season was a big wake-up call. He actually hit much better upon being recalled, including an August slash line of .390/.420/.597.
With the additions of Cano and Bloomquist, and Nick Franklin and Brad Miller as incumbent middle infielders, Ackley will likely play the outfield (where he's much worse defensively but hits better) for the foreseeable future. Maybe the change of scenery will do him some good, just as the minor leagues did.
Contract: Seven years, $175 million
Felix Hernandez is one of the best pitchers in baseball, and he absolutely deserves the contract he has.
Unfortunately, he's pitched for one of the most offensively inept teams in baseball history throughout his career.
In terms of wins, Hernandez has 110 through eight full seasons and part of a ninth. That equals roughly 13.5 wins per season. If he continues at that pace until his contract expires following the 2019 season, he will have won 189 games, 93 of which occurred in the span of his contract (Hernandez won 12 games in '13).
Ninety-three wins in seven seasons comes out to $1.88 million per win.
Luckily, pitchers aren't judged solely on their win-loss records. Hernandez has been accompanied with a little offense this offseason and should see his win total increase as long as he keeps doing everything else phenomenally.
Contract: One year, $1 million (additional $2 million in incentives possible)
With all of the injuries Franklin Gutierrez has suffered, he's lucky the Mariners took a chance on him at all. His contract is a great deal for all parties involved, though, and it gives the Mariners a chance to reap the benefits big time.
Gutierrez is an excellent defensive center fielder and is dependable at the plate when healthy (I won't beat a dead horse and tell you how many games he's missed over the last three seasons). The possibility of him staying healthy, albeit small, is worth a million dollars. Plus, the Mariners desperately needed and still need help in the outfield.
The Mariners could make out like bandits in this deal, or, worst-case scenario, they could lose much less than they did in previous injury-plagued seasons.
Contract: One year, $750,000
Lefty reliever Charlie Furbush is one of those guys who does a lot for his team and nobody outside of the organization really realizes it.
Furbush appeared in a team-high 71 games last season and struck out an incredible 11.1 batters per nine innings. His ERA, ERA+, WHIP and K/BB ratio fell off from his brilliant 2012 campaign, but he still stifled left-handed hitters, holding them to a .173 average with five extra-base hits in 110 at-bats.
Furbush was once a starter and can eat a lot of innings if needed, making him all the more valuable. He's a great value for less than seven figures.
Contract: Two years, $14 million (2015 club option worth $7 million or $1 million buyout)
Hisashi Iwakuma's current contract is perfect for the Mariners.
He's blossomed into a stellar pitcher and deserves more money, but he'll also be 33 in April. Not committing to Iwakuma long-term will pay off, and Seattle could look to pick up his option and sign him to a three-year deal worth around $30 million.
Iwakuma's numbers were magnificent last season and, unbeknownst to many, were very good his rookie season as well. He has a career ERA+ of 131 and an 8.9 career WAR, and he has at least one more season with Hernandez, with whom he forms one of the best one-two punches in the league.
The Mariners are getting an absolute steal in Iwakuma and should consider locking him down for a few more years if the price is right.
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