Edgar Renteria: The Art Of Putting a Price on Postseason Performance

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Edgar Renteria: The Art Of Putting a Price on Postseason Performance
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
After winning this year's World Series MVP Award, Edgar Renteria has deemed a one year, $1 million offer from the Giants as "disrespectful"

In the 2010 World Series, the San Francisco Giants beat the Texas Rangers in five games. 

After the immediate celebration, shortstop Edgar Renteria was named World Series MVP, and rightfully so. Over those five games, Renteria batted .412 with two home runs and six RBI.

It was nice to see Renteria win, as he had missed nearly half of the regular season with various injuries. Rather than retire, he chose to come back for one more year, hopefully with the Giants.

Today, Renteria’s chances of returning to San Francisco are slim-to-none, after he turned down a perfectly fair one-year, $1 million contract, calling it “disrespectful.”

“That offer from the Giants was a lack of respect. A total disrespect,” said Renteria.

“To play for a million dollars, I’d rather stay with my private business and share more time with my family. Thank God I’m well off financially and my money is well invested.”

OK, Edgar. You think you deserve more than $1 million a year? Alright, let’s take a look at your numbers over the past couple of seasons and determine just how much you should earn.

Let’s start with Renteria’s stats from 2010. Overall, they’re very disappointing for a contract year: Only 72 games played, three home runs, and a mere 22 RBI. The batting average is a respectable .276, but sadly it cannot be factored into this equation, as Renteria was not a regular throughout the season. 

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Many believe the Giants' offer is perfectly fair, given Renteria's declining production over the past few seasons

This leads to my question: How much is an effective postseason worth?

To get an idea of how much Renteria should get, I think it’s fair that we take a look at previous World Series MVPs and the contracts they received after winning the award, beginning with 2009 World Series MVP Hideki Matsui.

Overall, Matsui’s 2009 regular season was very effective. He batted .274 in 142 games with 28 home runs and 90 RBI, with his World Series was even better: .615 batting average, three home runs and eight RBI. 

How much did he earn that season? $13 million. How much did he earn in 2010 with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim? $6.5 million.

Some of my readers are probably thinking, “Josh, that’s totally unfair! Matsui had a great 2009 and deserves way more than that!”

Well, fans, let me tell you why Hideki Matsui took such a large pay cut. His effective 2009 can be much attributed to him playing in a hitter-friendly stadium, plus he was used primarily as a designated hitter. Thus, his legs were consistently fresh.

On top of that, he had missed much of 2008 due to weak knees and given how his offensive stats aren’t comparable to those of one Big Papi, not many teams were willing to pay him more than $10 million a year just to be a DH. 

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Hideki Matsui was the World Series MVP in 2009, but his injury problems forced him to leave the New York Yankees and sign with the Angels at a lower salary

Despite a productive 2010 with the Angels, (.274 average, 21 home runs, 84 RBI), Matsui has just taken another pay cut in signing a one-year deal with the Oakland Athletics, worth about $4.25 million.

The case of Matsui is a good reason as to why the Giants would be hesitant to offer Edgar Renteria a bigger contract. An even better example is that of newly retired third baseman Mike Lowell, who received a big contract extension the year after he won the World Series MVP Award and was never as effective again.

In 2007, Lowell simply had an amazing season for the Boston Red Sox. He batted a career-high .324, hit 21 home runs and had another career-high with 120 RBI. He fared even better in the ALCS, batting .333 with one home run and eight RBI as he helped the Red Sox reach the World Series, where the team swept the Colorado Rockies in four games as he garnered MVP honors with a .400 batting average with one home run and four RBI. 

The numbers are modest, but many of his hits were clutch and key in the victories.

After the World Series, Lowell became a free agent. He re-signed with the Red Sox for three years and $37.5 million. The Red Sox proved to overpay him as his offensive stats were effective over those three seasons, but he also had many injury problems. 

During the course of the contract, he had a respectable batting average of .267, but never played more than 119 games in a season. The multitude of injuries he suffered led him to retire at the end of the contract. 

Jim Rogash/Getty Images
The Red Sox gave Mike Lowell a big contract extension after he won the award in 2007 after a career season, and he was never as effective again

Thus, the Giants should use Lowell’s post-Series performance as a tale of caution in re-signing Renteria.

Now, let’s go back to the man of the hour, Edgar Renteria. He thinks he deserves more than a one-year, $1 million contract because of his performance in the World Series. 

In my opinion, that’s a perfectly fair offer. Over the past few seasons, his effectiveness has dropped off immensely. In 2009, his batting average was a career-low .250 and to add insult to injury, he had the lowest range factor among shortstops.

To put it bluntly, Edgar Renteria’s production over the two years he spent in a San Francisco uniform are not worth the $18.5 million the Giants paid him. Combine that with his gradual decline since 2005 (minus one semi-effective season in 2007 in which he hit .332), he should consider himself lucky that any team wants to offer him a contract at all.

He says that this offseason, other teams have made him offers. OK, then how come we haven’t heard of them? My theory is that no team wants to take a risk on an aging shortstop whose production is very hit or miss, and now it appears he has an attitude problem.

So, Mr. Renteria, you think that the Giants’ offer is disrespectful? Well, this writer thinks that your handling of the situation is disrespectful. 

Considering how much money you have cost the San Francisco Giants so far, including your World Series bonus, you should be grateful that you received a contract offer at all. That all being said, if you love the game as much as you claim, one year for $1 million is perfectly fair. 

If anything, demand a player option for 2012. 

As Brian Cashman said to Derek Jeter at one point, “drink the reality potion,” and maybe then you will see how out of line you are truly being.

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