Jake Arrieta Looks Very Affordable, Wade Davis Not So Much in FanGraphs Salary Projections

We’ve seen enough of these free-agent salary projections by now that I feel comfortable dispensing with the chit-chat and heading straight into it. With the GM Meetings taking this place this week, we could actually get a sense of the accuracy of some of the guesses out there pretty soon. The latest slate comes from Dave Cameron at Fangraphs, who added a twist by enlisting the wisdom of the crowd to help him out.

You’ll want to check out the piece for a look at his entire top 50, but I’ve included a names below that could be of interest to the Cubs and/or their fans (number is Cameron’s ranking).

1. Yu Darvish, RHP

Type Years AAV Total
Dave Cameron 6 $28.0 M $168.0 M
Median Crowdsource 5 $25.0 M $125.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 5.4 $24.0 M $130.7 M
This is the highest estimate yet for the man Cameron’s colleague, Travis Sawchick, says the Cubs need. I can’t disagree more strenuously, particularly when we’re talking about this kind of length and AAV. Darvish is only five months younger than the on the next pitcher on this list, a former(?) Cub who’s projected to earn waaaaay less.
3. Jake Arrieta, RHP
Type Years AAV Total
Dave Cameron 4 $24.0 M $96.0 M
Median Crowdsource 5 $22.0 M $110.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 4.6 $22.2 M $102.5 M

In sharp contrast to what we just saw with Darvish, this is the lowest contract prediction we’ve seen for Arrieta. I mean, this feels irresponsibly low to me, all things considered. The crowdsourced numbers are better, but still low. If Cameron is even close to correct, the Cubs would be stupid to sign Darvish over Arrieta.

7. Wade Davis, RHP

Type Years AAV Total
Dave Cameron 4 $17.0 M $68.0 M
Median Crowdsource 4 $15.0 M $60.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 3.6 $14.6 M $53.1 M

At this point, I’m pretty sure Cameron is high. On Davis’s contract, that is. If this is what he’s going to earn, I’d be fine with the Cubs accelerating those talks for Zach Britton.

10. Alex Cobb, RHP

Type Years AAV Total
Dave Cameron 4 $15.0 M $60.0 M
Median Crowdsource 4 $14.0 M $56.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 3.6 $14.5 M $52.6 M

I like the crowdsource numbers far more than Cameron’s, even though we’re only talking $1 million AAV; would love to see three years, but I think this is close to a sure thing for the Cubs and Cobb.

15. Lance Lynn, RHP

Type Years AAV Total
Dave Cameron 3 $16.0 M $48.0 M
Median Crowdsource 4 $15.0 M $60.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 3.6 $14.7 M $53.2 M

I’m cool with this one at Cameron’s figures, though a lot of people are super bearish on Lynn.

16. Brandon Morrow, RHP

Type Years AAV Total
Dave Cameron 2 $11.0 M $22.0 M
Median Crowdsource 2 $9.0 M $18.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.4 $9.2 M $22.4 M

This feels really pricey from an AAV standpoint, but I like the limited time commitment and want to see what Morrow can do.

17. Tyler Chatwood, RHP

Type Years AAV Total
Dave Cameron 3 $10.0 M $30.0 M
Median Crowdsource 0.0 $0.0 M $0.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 0.0 $0.0 M $0.0 M

At only $10M per, this could be a fantastic bargain. Although I suppose getting him for nothing would be even better.

19. Addison Reed, RHP

Type Years AAV Total
Dave Cameron 3 $10.0 M $30.0 M
Median Crowdsource 3 $9.0 M $27.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 3.1 $9.2 M $28.3 M

I’m walking away from this at these prices.

22. Mike Minor, LHP

Type Years AAV Total
Dave Cameron 3 $9.0 M $27.0 M
Median Crowdsource 3 $9.0 M $27.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.8 $9.2 M $25.4 M

See above.

24. Bryan Shaw, RHP

Type Years AAV Total
Dave Cameron 3 $9.0 M $27.0 M
Median Crowdsource 3 $7.0 M $21.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.7 $7.7 M $20.5 M

See above and above.

27. Anthony Swarzak, RHP

Type Years AAV Total
Dave Cameron 3 $5.0 M $15.0 M
Median Crowdsource 2 $7.0 M $14.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.1 $6.9 M $14.6 M

At something in the neighborhood of half the price of the last three, this could represent nice value.

35. Andrew Cashner, RHP

Type Years AAV Total
Dave Cameron 2 $10.0 M $20.0 M
Median Crowdsource 2 $11.0 M $22.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.3 $10.4 M $23.6 M

This is pretty salty for a guy who I think could be sort of a Kerry Wood redux, but I can dig it.

38. Jake McGee, LHP

Type Years AAV Total
Dave Cameron 2 $8.0 M $16.0 M
Median Crowdsource 3 $8.0 M $24.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.7 $8.3 M $22.1 M

The AAV is equivalent to the guys I said were too costly, but the shorter duration makes it much more palatable.

41. Jhoulys Chacin, RHP

Type Years AAV Total
Dave Cameron 2 $8.0 M $16.0 M
Median Crowdsource 2 $10.0 M $20.0 M
Avg Crowdsource 2.5 $10.0 M $24.7 M

Extremely yes. I’m perhaps not as high on Chacin as our Brendan Miller, but improved pitch sequencing could better hide his subpar fastball behind that nasty slider. And at an AAV equivalent to the relievers we’ve seen elsewhere on this list, his potential value is much greater. We’re talking about a starter who only needs to post 1 WAR to be worth the contract.

While none of these prediction pieces can be taken as gospel, they do present us with valuable interpretations of the same basic manuscript. By taking a look at all of them in turn, we can cross-reference and get a picture for where the Cubs could look this winter.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do, because I’m going to keep throwing them out there as they come up. And if you haven’t seen them already, here are four other prediction lists we have previously checked out.

MLB.com top 25
MLB Trade Rumors top 50
Jon Heyman top 80
Vegas odds

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Evan Altman

Evan Altman is the EIC and lead writer for Cubs Insider and has proclaimed himself Central Indiana’s foremost Cubs authority. He is a husband, father, homebrewer, and award-winning blogger with entirely too much pop culture knowledge. Evan’s greatest accomplishments include scoring 400 points in Magic Johnson’s Fast Break, naming all 10 members of the Wu-Tang Clan in under 3.5 seconds, and winning the Meese Literary Award at Hanover College. You can follow him on Twitter @DEvanAltman.

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