What Will Derek Lowe Get?

I like Derek Lowe as a baseball player. He’s quietly been an excellent pitcher for several seasons without much notoriety. Still, I think Scott Boras is a bit optimistic in his contract expectations for Lowe.

Boras, according to executives with two different teams interested in Derek Lowe, is telling clubs he wants “a Zito-type contract” for the free-agent right-hander.

That’s Zito, as in Barry Zito, as in seven years, $126 million.

Derek Lowe is a better pitcher than Barry Zito, but in June he’s going to be 36 years old—a year older than the age Zito will be when his contract ends. I expect that Lowe will pitch well for a few more seasons, and I think he deserves a hefty payday; but, $18 million a seasons for seven years is a bit much to expect.

For a seven-year deal, I have Lowe looking at around $14 million season. Given that my predictions appear to be undershooting the pitching market this year—I’m used to overshooting—$18 million a year may not be to far of a stretch. However, no team should give a player this old—he’s the same age I am (gasp!)—a contract of this length. I’d go no longer than four years, and that’s pushing it. Some guys have pitched well into their forties, but it’s not a good gamble. And not to be too hard on Boras, this is all part of the negotiating process.

And though I’m a market efficiency guy, I think the pitching market is a bit out of whack right now. If I had an ace pitcher and didn’t plan to contend soon—see the Padres—I’d be selling right now.

Aside: I was looking back at an old post where I estimated Zito was worth about $17 million a season. This was one of the first estimates I ever did, and I have revised my method significantly. That estimate doesn’t fit with the numbers I have now. I just wanted to acknowledge this in case someone stumbles across the old numbers.

3 Responses “What Will Derek Lowe Get?”

  1. Marc says:

    Dear God. I hate Scott Boras.

  2. Rick says:

    Why do you hate Boras? He’s just doing his job, which is to get the highest contract possible for the players he represents. He does this every year. He always puts out numbers to the press for his players that are usually unrealistic. No big deal. Part of the game. There is a picture of Boras next to the word hyperbole in the dictionary.
    If you want to hate someone, hate the owners who overpay for players.

  3. Marc says:

    Sure, he’s just doing his job. But, suggesting Derek Lowe, at age 36, is in line for a Zito-type deal is ludicrous and people, such as myself, are tired of hearing Boras and his ridiculous rhetoric year after year.