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Is Santana Worth A-Rod Money?

Conventional wisdom would tell us no. How could a pitcher be offered a contract similar in years and average annual value to that of A-Rod? A-Rod plays in nearly all regular season games. Santana? 200+ innings. That's if he is completely healthy. Pitchers don't pitch when they have a nagging health issue.

So Santana pitches in roughly 14% of his team's innings during the regular season, give or take. Its obvious he can not be worth $25 million per over 7 years (I say 7, not 10, because no pitcher will get 10). Right?

Wrong.

Barry Zito signed a deal last season that pays him $18 million per season over the course of a 7 year deal. Without a doubt, Santana is head and shoulders above Zito. Now, you can blame the Giants for being stupid. They were definitely stupid and they bid against themselves. Barring a 20+ win, sub- 2.00 ERA this season, the man is getting overpaid by $8 million.

The Giants stupidity however has nothing to do with Santana. They set the market and the rest of us have to live with it. Santana is worth anywhere from $4 to $6 million more a season than Zito. That would put him at or near A-Rod's 2000 contract total. Is he worth it?

We all know pitching wins World Series.' A lot of people blame A-Rod for his playoff woes and see him as the main reason the Yankees have failed. But those of us that know baseball know its statistically impossible for a man who gets 4 at bats a game over a five game series to influence the series that much. An ace pitcher however can dominate 2 games in that same series with his arm. Derek Jeter is known to be oh-so-clutch, but he wouldn't be Derek Jeter today if his pitching staff had not been stellar.

So when you tack on to Zito's contract what Santana is worth, and you consider that his value to a World Series contender is greater than that of Alex Rodriguez, it is not far-out to claim he is worth $25 million a year over the course of a 7-year deal. I think that's mindless. I think it's dangerous. And I'm shocked I'm even endorsing it.

But once we analyze the finances of baseball and compare his relative value to the highest paid position player and current pitcher respectively, we find that the man is going to get his money. My prediction: 7 years, $24 million a year. Total Value: $168 million. I don't know the team yet. I haven't done my analysis yet on the dumbest General Managers. We'll stick with this analysis for now.

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