yadier molina was worth about 1.5 wins above bench last year, per win shares. according to the Hardball Times' net win shares calculator, the typical arb-eligible player with that level of production earned about $3.6m. molina's new contract will pay roughly $2m, $3m, and $4m over the next three years, so if he simply maintains his 2007 level of production, this is a very sound buy. if he improves his production, it's a tremendous buy --- and yadi stands a pretty good chance of improvement. he's still on the upswing of the aging curve, and his on-base skills took a big step forward last year; if he can maintain an obp in the .340 range and stay healthy for a full year, he'll be a 2-win player (worth over $5m on the arbitration market) or better. and that's without counting any of the intangibles --- the character stuff --- in molina's kit.
it could backfire if yadi goes back to the bad old days of sub-.300 obps and/or keeps getting hurt and loses some ability in the process. but the team is not on the hook for more than $5.5m in any single year, so this deal will never be a crippler even if molina regresses and loses his job to bryan anderson. it's also a very tradeable contract, so if anderson delivers on his promise and the cards want his bat in the lineup, yadi can always be moved.
not a bad deal for yadi either; he's a multimillionaire at age 25. further discussion of the deal in this diary.
seems like a fitting time to do a community projection for this guy. it'll be our first batter projection for 2008. gimme your best guess at yadi's final 2008 tally in the following categories:
here's a little piece of news, courtesy of erik manning: the cards' short-season A team at batavia has hired jeff albert as their hitting instructor. at about this time last year, albert (a frequent contributor to Baseball Analysts) broke down cardinal prospect john jay's swing at erik's request. good to have another friend of the site working in the organization.
tournament update is directly below.