By most accounts, C.J. Wilson likes Texas and Southern California, but opted to sign with the Angels for $75 million over five years in part because the Rangers never offered him a contract that approached that figure. Wilson has been an All-Star to elite-caliber pitcher over the past two years, providing 10 wins above replacement over that time frame and being worth roughly $50 million (assuming $5 million/WAR).
On top of that, it can be argued that he still has more upside than the average free agent pitcher his age, because he only has two years of starting experience. On the other hand, his success last year was due to great improvement in his walk rate that probably isn’t entirely sustainable going forward, and he is entering the part of his career where he is likely to plateau or experience age-related decline.
Given all this, it seems safe to project some regression from last year in 2012, but also to project an All-Star caliber pitcher over at least half of the contract (if not more). If he does this, (4.0 WAR is a rough estimate of an All-Star caliber year and is worth $20 million), he wouldn’t even need to be an average pitcher over the last two years to be worth his contract. In other words, you have to be quite pessimistic on C.J. to think that he won’t be worth the $75 million. So, the question is:
Feel free to leave your rationale in the comments.