Rays Sign Wade Davis to Seven-Year Extension | The Process Report

Rays Sign Wade Davis to Seven-Year Extension

And so, the cycle of Rays’ life begins anew. Prior to the 2008 season, the Rays signed James Shields to an extension. The guaranteed portion of the deal included four years and $11.25 million, while the team held option for the 2012, 2013, and 2014 seasons. The total worth of the deal could been seven years, $38 million (with performance incentives driving the value up to $44 million). Wade Davis’ deal is for seven years as well, with three club options at the end. He’s only guaranteed $12.6 million, which is basically Shields’ deal with a bit of inflation thrown in. The total worth? $35.1 million.

When Shields signed his, he had 339 big league innings, a 3.89 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 4.21 ERA. Davis has 204 big league innings, a 1.99 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and a 4.01 ERA. In other words, Shields had the better peripherals and Davis had the better ERA with less longevity. Shields was also about a year older and never had the prospect pedigree that Davis had and continues to hold.

But this deal isn’t about how Davis stacks up to Shields or anyone else on the pitching staff, it’s about Davis and Davis alone. I’m remiss to write that this is a win for the Rays because just about every pre-arb extension will be. At this point, Davis’ earning potential going through the system is minimal relative to what he would earn on the open market. Yes, he’s almost certainly going to make fewer dollars through those options years than he would if he rode it out, but he’s got a guaranteed $12.6 coming his way regardless of whether he blows out his elbow and never recovers.

That’s where the Rays’ risk comes into play. They could wind up having a $12.6 million sunk cost on the books should he never develop like they hope or if injuries ravage him. You have to trust in the Rays’ medical staff and their knowledge of Davis’ work ethic and health. The best part, though, is how the salary is low enough that Davis doesn’t have to be David Price in order to give the Rays a tremendous return on investment. Last season alone, Davis was worth $3.1 million (based on his so-so peripherals). He can duplicate that season over the next four seasons and be worth the money. That’s without any growth or consideration that maybe he can outperform those peripherals.

Davis is a big guy. He’s got a big fastball and a nice breaking ball. He pitches like he’s got big guts and he’s a local kid who made good as a former draft pick and top prospect. And now? He’s going to be around for a while. Congratulations are in order, because while this is a nice looking deal for the team, it’s a life changer for the Davis’ family.

For more on Davis’ potential growth, check out this post from earlier in the offseason.

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