I really wonder how we will look at 2012 - ????? when it is 2025 or so.
We're pretty fortunate right now. Our best players are relatively young and cheap.
Manny Machado -- 20 years old and costs $495 k.
Chris Davis -- 27 years old and costs $3.3 mm.
Adam Jones -- 27 years old and costs $8.5 mm.
JJ Hardy -- 30 years old and costs $7 mm.
Matt Wieters -- 27 years old and costs $5.5 mm.
Chris Tillman -- 25 years old and costs $508 k.
Miguel Gonzalez -- 29 years old and costs $502 k.
Wei-Yin Chen -- 27 years old and costs $3.57 mm.
Those 8 guys cost us $29.3 mm for the year. Per fangraphs, they've been worth 20.6 fWAR, valued at about $102 mm so far this year at free agent prices. By the end of the year, their contributions could be worth $150 mm or more, an "excess value" of $120 mm or so.
Five of these guys will get only nominal raises, if any, in 2014 -- Machado, Hardy, and the three pitchers. Hardy and Chen are under contract and the other three won't be arbitration eligible. Jones has a $4.5 mm raise coming, and Davis and Wieters figure to get substantial raises next year. If I had to guess, the eight players listed above will cost $45-47 mm next year -- still a great deal if they're worth $150 mm again.
In 2015, the price tag for these eight could go up by a lot. Hardy is a free agent and if he is re-signed, he'll probably get more than the $7 mm he makes now. Davis and Wieters will get raises in their last year of arbtitration, and Tillman and Gonzo will be eligible for the first time. Just guessing here, but these eight players could cost about $60 mm by then, or double what they're getting this year.
By 2016, Davis, Wieters and Chen are free agents, Manny is abitration eligible, Jones is due a $3 mm raise, and Tillman and Gonzo get arbitration raises. Ouch! Probably an $85 mm+ price tag. And now, Hardy is 33, Gonzo is 32, and Jones, Davis, Wieters and Chen are all 30.
Hopefully new young talent (Bundy? Gausman? Schoop?) will bubble up to be the cheap guys providing a lot of excess value, but we'll be hard pressed to get this much excess value from a group of 8 guys like we're getting now.
So enjoy this window, Orioles fans. We've got a fun, exciting team to watch and the key players are all in their primes. I hope DD will find a way to extend our window as far as possible, but I don't know that it will get any better than it is now unless the O's vastly expand their payroll in the next few years -- and I'm sure not going to count on that.
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