By Jason Wojciechowski on March 18, 2004 at 4:41 PM
This is, of course, the big news that everyone who writes about the A's, and probably many who write about baseball in general, are going to be talking about. Eric Chavez has signed a six-year extension worth $66 million.
The price seems downright reasonable: the guys immediately around him in VORP last year are Jorge Posada, who makes about $10 million per year, and Carlos Beltran, who has, of course not even hit free-agency yet. His VORP comparables for 2002 are Derek Jeter, who makes around $19 million per year, who signed a highly-publicized deal in 2001 for $12.5 million per year.
In other words, Chavez performs like a star, should continue to perform like a star (whether he ever learns to hit lefties or not) and will now be paid like a star, although at a rate probably below what he would have commanded on the free market, considering the weak crop of third basemen in the majors now.
The contract runs through his age 32 season, with an option on his age 33 season, so it seems like it's just about the right length. Even if Chavez is overpaid a little by that point (unlikely - don't expect the market to continue downward forever), it will likely have been worth it for the first 4-5 seasons.
Speculation now will be on whether the big three Oakland pitchers will stick around so they can keep throwing sinkers low and in to right-handed hitters. The question is more whether the budget will be there to sign more than one of the three. Of course, whether the budget to sign any of them would ever have been available is a big question.