Overpaying Roger

Yesterday, the Yankees signed Roger Clemens to a deal with the Yankees for a pro-rated share of $28 million. Depending on how quickly he gets ready, he should make between $18-19 million. Based on his 2006 performance, I estimate he’ll be worth about $11.9 million if he starts 23 games at six innings a piece.

I think it is interesting that the Red Sox supposedly offered him $10 million less and to start pitching later in the season. If he pitched the time frame he pitched last year that would put his value at about $9.8 million, which is similar to the amount my system values him (see The Baseball Economist).

Does this mean the Yankees “overpaid” Clemens, as I insinuated in this post’s title? Not necessarily. There are many things that Roger might bring to the table that my system doesn’t value: star appeal, veteran leadership, unique characteristics of the Yankee market, or how much much George Steinbrenner values attention. However, I do think it’s a sign that the Yankees are hitting the panic button. I don’t think the Red Sox were serious about Roger, and I doubt Houston was willing to go this high. Maybe that’s the premium to get him to play in NYC.

7 Responses “Overpaying Roger”

  1. Jeff says:

    I think this is certainly an example of the Yankees hitting the panic button and therefore overpaying. That said, the question I now have is will other star players start doing the same thing as Clemens and wait until the season starts prior to signing a contract? In my opinion, sitting on the sidelines and waiting for a team to have a dire need should up certain players value considerably. Furthermore, a player could argue that they are worth more at a later point in the season because they can be had for money rather than via trade for valuable prospects. Obviously, this could only work if just a few players did it each year, and many would have to be willing to give up about 1-2 months worth of stats and probably sign just one year deals, but I think it could work out better monetarily for a handful of players in many instances.

  2. Evorgleb says:

    One of the guys over at Highbrid Nation wrote a very interesting post about Roger Clemems and and the “real” reason he has come back to play for the Yankees. Good Stuff.

  3. Jason says:

    It’s the premium to get him to leave his kids behind, which was the whole reason he retired (and then unretired but only in Houston) in the first place, yes?

    I’m rolling my eyes.

  4. John Beamer says:


    Don’t forget that by going to the Yanks he doesn’t go to the Red Sox — which would have been choice 2, I suspect. Therefore he is giving the Yankees, say, 2 extra wins rather than the Red Sox. In the context of the division race, ignoring the wild card for a minute, this is potentially a 4 win swing. I suspect that may get you closer to the actual contract number.

    Also don’t forget luxury tax … this will add another $8m on to the bill. Now, that is expensive.


  5. Gordon says:

    You actually need to add $7-8M to the Yankees’ cost, for a total of about $26M, because of the luxury tax.

  6. bob says:

    As far as I’m concerned, Roger should pack up & move to New York. He surely doesn’t mind stiffing his hometown team to pad his ego. It can’t be about the money. I suppose his “values” have changed.

  7. Jason says:

    Perhaps after being badly outbid for Dice-K the Yankees decided to take no chances with Clemens. I remember how badly Nolan Ryan faded in his last season and I would certainly be amused to Clemens have a terrible season. Going into the season, I thought the Yankees had a great chance, but now I’m not sure that they’ll even be good enough to make the playoffs as a wild card.