One thing that amazes me when I talk to folks about the upcoming offseason is that there are still so many people who want the Mariners to pursue Carlos Delgado. Frankly, to me, he’s one of those players with enough red flags to attract half of Spain. I can’t imagine any realistic scenario where I’d offer Delgado a multi-year contract, especially not at the money he’s going to ask for. A quick 2004 comparison.
League Average 1B
Delgado is a lot closer to B than C this year.
First baseman with knee problems do not age well. Delgado is already showing signs of decline and health issues, and at age 32, it’s more likely that this decline is the beginning of the end than an aberration that he’ll recover from. Even before this season, the prospects of signing Delgado to a multi-year contract and having it work out looked dim. BP’s PECOTA system projected Delgado to tail off significantly starting this year. He has been worth about 6 wins above replacement each of the past three years and was coming off a career best season, and PECOTA still pegged him as likely to produce just 4.7 wins over replacement this year, 3.6 next year, 2.8 in 2006, 2.1 in 2007, and 1.6 in 2008. Based on that projection, before his poor season and injury are factored in, you don’t want to be paying more than about $7 million to Delgado next year, $5.5 million in 2006, and $4.5 million in 2007. You probably don’t want to be signed up for his 2008 season at any price. And the projection after factoring in his poor 2004 season is going to be significantly more negative. Anyone think Carlos is going to sign a 3 year, $18 million contract with decreasing salaries this offseason? Me either.
Certainly, I don’t expect Delgado to hit .240 for the rest of his career, but I can’t imagine any scenario where I’d rather be paying Delgado $10 million per year than Bucky $300,000. Delgado and Magglio Ordonez (with his chronic serious knee issues) are two big name free agents that the Mariners need to run far, far away from.