Bonus: Mariners sign Evan White to 6-year MLB deal for $24 million, with 3 team options worth $32.5 million
While we were only going to focus on additions from outside the Mariners organization, the signing of Evan White despite just 4 games above AA under his belt, may be the most important move of the off-season. With no MLB track record to go on, the grade of this contract will come down to the deal itself.
White will earn $24 million in his first 6-years of his contract and is due a $2 million buyout after year 6 if Seattle decides to decline his $10 million option for year 7, giving him $26 million guaranteed.
The deal maxes out as a 9-year, $55.5 million contract and would buy out White’s age-24 through age-32 seasons. The deal, in theory, covers most of White’s prime years and gives Seattle an excellent chance to recoup the cost quickly.
While the market place changes year to year, the general consensus is that 1 win is worth between $5-$7 million. To cover $55.5 million over 9 years, White only needs to produce 8 wins. In simple turns, White needs to average a 0.9 WAR per season over the course of the contract to give Seattle it’s money back.
White can produce most of that with his defense and base-running alone. If White is even an average bat, he is going to worth somewhere between 2-3 wins each season. Assuming he averages 2 wins per season over the 9-year length of the deal, White will produce $126 million of value in those 9 seasons.
White is going to be a good player, though great may be a stretch. But it is almost impossible for Seattle to lose money if White is good enough to force the Mariners to activate all 3 options. Even if Seatle only gets 6-years from White, he will need to produce just 3.7 WAR in that time, or just over a 0.6 WAR per season.
The White contract is almost certainly going to be a net win for the Mariners and sets the tone with other young players about the teams’ willingness to pay their young players. With the almost zero percent chance this deal doesn’t return value as well as the actually zero percent chance that this deal will torpedo the rebuild if it blows up, this is a fantastic deal.
Final Grade: A
Well, there you have it. An opinion on the 7 biggest moves of the Mariners off-season. Hopefully, Dipoto has a few more moves in him before Spring Training starts. If not, the off-season will almost certainly be an epic failure.