Let’s find a novel way to tie together two of the disparate baseball Hot Stove season talking points: the gigantic free agent contracts players like Jacoby Ellsbury have signed and the Hall of Fame candidacy of former MLBPA chief, Marvin Miller. We can do that (without straining too much) in the form of lefty reliever Boone Logan who finalized a three-year, $16.5 million deal with the Colorado Rockies on Monday.
A slightly above average lefty specialist earning $5.5 million a season is certainly another compelling argument for the yeomen’s work Miller did with the Player’s Union from 1966-1982.
It’s easy to point to a contract like the Yankees handed to Ellsbury ($153/7 years) or Robinson Cano’s $240 million/10 year pact with the Mariners and then compare it to a big name like the $18 million salary probable 2013 NFL MVP Peyton Manning will earn. How about looking at Logan’s new contract like this: his 2014 salary with the Rockies will be slightly more than the combined salary figures of Jamaal Charles ($1.75 million); J.J. Watt ($1.4 million); Colin Kaepernick ($840,000), Richard Sherman ($550,000) and Russell Wilson ($526,000) made during the current NFL season. Granted most of those players are still in their first contract after being drafted.
Again, say what you will about baseball’s declined popularity or relevance in the American sports landscape but if you can make it to the Major Leagues and stick around you’re likely to carve out a lot more money than you would playing other sports — unless you’re an elite level NFL quarterback or upper echelon, max-contract NBA type.
There’s no sense begrudging Logan for inking a contract this lucrative in comparison to his on-field contributions. The Player’s Union has to be thrilled a new, $5 million-plus benchmark has been set for lefty middle relievers for all future contract negotiations.
It’s still hard to figure why the Rockies, who finished in 18 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West, would want to tie up that much money in a pitcher who’s never thrown more than 55 innings in a season and isn’t a exactly a nine-inning option. To put into more perspective, Logan will earn more than half of what Carlos Gonzlez ($10.5 million) clears in 2014. Then again, Colorado also signed 41-year-old LaTroy Hawkins to a one-year deal to presumably close, so perhaps signing relief pitchers isn’t exactly the club’s strong suit.
Logan is a useful player for a team to have in its bullpen. His lifetime ERA is 4.39 over parts of eight seasons. Logan’s ERA+ of 100 is respectable, enough In 2013 with the Yankees he threw 39 innings, facing 159 batters while holding lefties to a .221 batting average and righties to .254. He was efficient, too, with 27 appearances in 2013 of less than 10 pitches. Logan only threw 668 pitches in 2013, so if we applied his 2014 salary that translates to roughly $8,200 per pitch.
Long story short, teach your kids to throw left handed.