MLB Decisions: Matt Harrison 2013

Player Name: Matt Harrison

Date of Contract: January 16th, 2013

Contract Details

  • 5 years/$55M (2013-17), plus 2018 club option. Signed extension with Texas 1/16/13 (avoided arbitration). $1M signing bonus. 13:$5M, 14:$8M, 15:$13M, 16:$13M, 17:$13M, 18:$13.25M club option ($2M buyout). 2018 option guaranteed with 600 innings in 2015-17, including 200 IP in 2017. Salary for 2018 option increases $0.5M with each season of 200 IP in 2013-17. Award bonuses: $0.25M each for Cy Young, WS MVP.

Vital Information

Role: Starter

DVS Score: 13

Number of events (injury/surgery) prior to contract: 1

Total IP prior to contract: 1268

Average number of MLB games started/year prior to contract: 18.8

Number of events (injury/surgery) during contract: 1

Total IP under contract: 51

Number of games started during contract: 12

Win/Loss record during contract: 2-5


DVS MODEL ANALYSIS

If the DVS Model would have been run prior to offering Matt Harrison a contract, the following information could have been reported to the Texas Rangers.

Measured at start of contract (using innings through 2013)

RELATIVE RISK OF INJURY:

178% more than the average starting pitcher with no major injuries born in the same year (1985)

MEDIAN TIME TO INJURY:

277.33 innings 

CHANCE OF HAVING THE NEXT MAJOR INJURY DURING CURRENT CONTRACT (ASSUMING 200 IP PER YEAR FOR FIVE YEARS):

92.8%


TRUE VALUE OF PITCHER

Prior to contract, Matt Harrison was able to start 94 MLB games over a 5 year period with the Texas Rangers. On average, that is about 18.8 MLB starts per year. However, during the last two years of this stretch (2011 & 2012), he made 30 and 32 MLB starts, respectively. Even though he was averaging substantially less starts per year than is expected of a starter, the Texas Rangers probably saw promise in the final two seasons prior to his current contract. We now know, based on his Projected Value Per Game, the Texas Rangers got the worse-end of the deal. 

PROJECTED VALUE PER GAME

Current contract: Assuming 160 MLB games started (32/year), $55 million value of contract, $343,750/start. Over the 2013 and 2014 seasons, he has only been able to make 6 MLB starts (9%) of his expected 64 MLB starts. This means that he is getting paid approximately $3.6 million per MLB start thus far, which isn't even accounting for MLB starts missed in 2015.

Since signing his new deal in 2013, Matt harrison has only been able to make 6 MLB starts of his expected 64 MLB starts (32/yr) for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. This means that he is getting paid approximately $3.6 million per mlb start or more than 10 times per start than the team expected.

CONCLUSION

Had the Texas Rangers consulted DVS prior to offering Matt Harrison his contract in 2013, they would have been informed that he was 178% more likely to get injured than than the average starting pitcher. Not only that, but we would have told them that it was going to happen somewhere around 250-300 innings into his contract. Factoring in the high potential of a few more surgeries, plus countless days and games missed on the DL, the Texas Rangers most likely would have looked at this deal entirely differently. Even though DVS doesn't predict back injuries, which have plagued Matt Harrison for most of his current contract, we still could have game them plenty of information to go a different direction and save millions. 

-Will

Contract details and injury history courtesy of baseballprospectus.com