MLB Decisions: Johan Santana 2008

Player Name: Johan Santana

Date of Contract: February 2nd, 2008

CONTRACT DETAILS

  • 6 years/$137.5M (2008-13), plus 2014 club option. Signed extension with NY Mets 2/1/08 as part of trade from Minnesota (waived no-trade clause). 08:$19M, 09:$20M, 10:$21M, 11:$22.5M, 12:$24M, 13:$25.5M, 14:$25M club option, $5.5M buyout. $5M annually deferred. Option may become guaranteed based on IP, finish in award voting. NY Mets declined 2014 option 11/1/13.

VITAL INFORMATION

Role: Starter

DVS Score: 9

Number of events (injury/surgery) prior to contract: 0

Total IP prior to contract: 1652

Number of events (injury/surgery) during contract: 2

Total IP under contract until first event: 401

Total IP under contract until second event: 199

Total IP during contract: 724.2

Total days missed due to injury during contract: 658

Total games missed due to injury during contract: 460

Number of games started during contract: 112

Win/Loss record during contract: 46-34


DVS Model Analysis

If the DVS Model would have been run at the start of the contract, the following information could have been reported to the Mets. The model used innings through 2007 (1652 IP). 

RELATIVE RISK OF INJURY

55.4% more than the average starting pitcher with no major injuries born in the same year (1979).

MEDIAN TIME TO INJURY

584 innings (actual injury came at 401 innings).

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

81.2%


If the DVS Model would have been run after Johan's first event (bone chips surgery), the following information could have been reported to the Mets. The model used innings through 2009 (2053 IP). 

Relative Risk of Injury

272% more than the average starting pitcher with no major injuries born in the same year (1979).

Median Time to Major Injury  

175 innings (actual injury came at 199 innings).

Percent Chance of Having the next Major Injury during Current Contract (assuming 200 IP per year for four remaining years) 

95.4%


If the DVS Model would have been run after Johan's SECOND event (anterior capsule surgery), the following information could have been reported to the Mets. The model used innings through 2010 (2252 IP). 

Relative Risk of Injury

359% more than the average starting pitcher with no major injuries born in the same year (1979).

Median Time to Major Injury

186 innings (actual injury came at 125 innings).

Percent Chance of Having the next Major Injury during Current Contract (assuming 200 IP per year for two remaining years) 

88.7%


True Value of Pitcher

After signing with the Mets in 2008, Santana missed a total of 393 games over a 6-year period due to throwing-related injuries. Over those 6 years, he was essentially paid to be available for 972 games; therefore, he was only able to fulfill approximately 60% of his contract in which he made 112 starts. Taking this information, we can project his true value to his team. 

PROJECTED VALUE PER GAME

192 Games Started (32/yr), $137.5 million value of contract, $716,145/start.

Santana was only able to make 112 of his projected 192 MLB starts (58% of all MLB starts), which means that he missed 80 MLB starts (42% of all MLB starts). Therefore, based on his original projection of $716,145 per start, Santana ended up making approximately $1.2 million per start. 

Essentially, Santana was paid 1.7 times more per start than his contract was intended to pay him, over the span of his 5-year career with the Mets

PROJECTED CONTRACT VALUE

Based on his track record and the number of games he was actually able to start (112 or 58%), Santana "should have" been offered a 6 year $79.75 million dollar contract to account for the $57.75 million in "lost" money due to injury time. However, taking into account his DVS Score, in addition to his injury history report, the DVS would have recommended a very different, more realistic contract structure. 


CONCLUSION

Had the Mets contacted us prior to offering Santana a contract, we would have advised the Mets to offer Santana a 2 year contract with a club option in year 3.  However, it's highly unlikely that Santana would have accepted a short term deal, considering he was coming off a a 4 year stint in which he averaged 228 IP/YR.  The median time to injury for Santana, prior to signing his initial contract, was 584 innings. We now know he fell well short of that mark by getting injured 401 innings into his contract. 

-DVS

Contract details and injury history courtesy of baseballprospectus.com