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$10MM Per Year?

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:

he had a fluke season where his core indicators (particularly his walk rate and isolated power) were right in line with where they were in 2005, but his batting average spiked to .313, the first time in his career he has ever hit over .275. The problem for the Angels is that they've committed to him in time and money as if he is legitimately a .313 hitter, against overwhelming evidence that he's not.