I have been asked by several people if I thought that Toronto paid too much for B.J. Ryan ($47 Million for 5 years). It is an interesting question because it is actually several questions rolled into one.
“Does B.J Ryan deserve $47 Million for 5 years?” Of course he does. This reminds me of an old Redd Foxx joke, but because it is a Redd Foxx joke I won’t tell it here. Let me put it this way. If there are two lines of people, one line is to continue doing the job you are doing for the same pay, and the other line is to continue doing what you are doing for a different company for a $47 Million, 5 year contract, which line are you going to be in? I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be in that LONG line.
“Is B.J Ryan worth $47 Million for 5 years?” Of course he is. Baseball provides an interesting example of the concept of Supply and Demand with a Vertical Supply Curve. The “Supply” of players is basically fixed. No matter how large the “Demand” becomes, the “quality baseball player factory” can’t produce any more of them. Any product is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it.
“Would you sign a pitcher to a 5 year deal?” Of course I wouldn’t. I also wouldn’t put all of my money on “00” on a Roulette wheel. It might work out well, but the odds are against it. If you get lucky, you might get 4 out of 5 good years out of a pitcher. There are 633 pitchers listed on the MLB website. I’m too lazy to do the actual research, but I think it’s a pretty safe bet that most of them will not be playing in 5 years and out of those that are, most of them will miss at least one year worth of games due to some sort of injury. I know that MLB teams can get insurance to cover this type of situation, but it can’t be cheap, and only adds to the Total Cost of Ownership, which means it costs the team much more for the player than the published amount of the salary. Remember – I am a “player’s fan”. I hope he has 50 saves a year for the next 5 years (but none against the Orioles). I just don’t think it will happen.
“Would you pay a closer $47 Million?” Of course I wouldn’t. I think the role of a closer is overrated, but the explanation for that opinion is the subject for another post.
One aspect of the question assumes that I know something about Toronto. I don’t. However, I don’t think they were just a $47 Million closing pitcher (with about 40 career saves and a 1-4 record last year) away from winning the AL East. I don’t consider it to be a “major market”, but I have to assume that they have plenty of money or else they wouldn’t have made this deal.
“Did Toronto pay too much for B.J Ryan?” Absolutely.