I was surprised by how much formerly useless 25th man Mark DeRosa turned one good season in $4MM per year, but the deal that CF Gary Mathews, Jr. signed with the Angels leaves me completely numb.
Mathews parlayed his first full-time season, as a 32-year-old, into $50MM over five years. By my count, he had one good year, 2006, and that seems to have been heavily influenced by a career-high .313 AVG (previous .275) which helped elevate his OBP and SLG to their career-highs, .371 and .495.
To see if there was hope that these new stats may have represented a fundamental change in ability, I looked at his walks. He walked about once every 10 ABs- a figure no different from the rates he drew walks in his previous three seasons.
What scared me is the similar walk rate in 2005 when he hit .255/.320/.436. Are the Angels $50MM sure that Mathews won't perform at his 2005 levels? I am not.
Just as I refuse to pay full value in fantasy baseball for a career-year from a 32-year-old, the Angels should have done the same. Mathews 2006 numbers 19/79/10/.313 made him a $20 fantasy player in AL-only leagues. In my AL-only 12-team keeper league he went for $3 based on his 2005 numbers 17/55/9/.255.
I expect the Angels to feel the pain of bidding $20 on a player and getting a $3 performance.
Update [2006-11-22 17:30:56 by Eric Hz]: great minds think alike. From Keith Law's ESPN Blog: