So much for the moratorium on Thanksgiving transactions… I’ve got a few to catch up on, but I’ll start with Torii Hunter. Generally considered to be the best of the three top free agent center fielders—an assessment with which I disagree—Hunter agreed to a five-year, $90 million contract with the LA Angels of Anaheim on Wednesday.
A few days ago, I estimated Hunter’s 2007 worth to be between $12 and $13 million, based on his recent performance and not accounting for aging or expected salary growth. However, that estimate was only for comparison to Aaron Rowand and Andruw Jones. Now that we know the length of the deal, I want to update the anticipated salary projection for Hunter. The projection is based on annual salary growth and aging. The estimate of a player’s starting value is based on the previous three seasons of hitting performance, with a simple adjustment for position that does not account for quality of defense.
For a five-year deal, my model estimates that Hunter should receive $90.4 million; thus, this deal was right on the mark. [UPDATE: I found a mistake in calculating my initial estimate. The correct estimate is $88.7 million—still, not far off from the actual contract.]
Addendum: I’ve had a few questions about the methodology. I am being brief, because the model is complex. The model I am using here is the model I develop in Chapter 13 of my book—in which I go into precise detail—with modifications for the other factors listed above.