Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder both have a very real chance to make $200 million as MLB free agents this winter. That feat has been accomplished just twice before, and both times, it was Alex Rodriguez who signed for the big money.
Pujols, Fielder and Jose Reyes have huge earning potential this winter, but they all also face a problem of price-setting.
While precedent suggests players of their quality should make astronomical money, they all enter a market wherein the biggest prospective spenders (the Yankees and Red Sox) are not interested; where the economy has actually depressed top-end salaries a bit in recent seasons; and where they must coax money out of GMs (Jon Daniels and Theo Epstein, especially) who are not disposed to simply hand over money as a matter of course or precedent.
Once those fallback methods of price-setting are eliminated, it gets very hard to determine the true market value of a ballplayer. Can even superstars like Pujols genuinely generate $200 million in added revenue over the life of an eight- or 10-year deal?
For that matter, how much additional value does a team get from signing Jamey Carroll? It might seem extravagant to pay $4 million for his services, since he is such an under-the-radar non-attraction, but he is a solid player, and if having him instead of some replacement-level infielder gets your team to the playoffs, he was worth the investment.
Here are over/under estimates for each of the top 50 available free agents' full contract values. The goal is to set a number that splits the projected range of reasonable cost, and that sparks a bit of debate. I'll also give my pick for each player: Will he get more or less than the over/under set point?