February 22, 2008

Overpaying a player once is OK, as long as you learn from it.: Going into the 2008 season, 124 baseball players hold contracts with an annual salary of $8 million or more. Getting a contract of that value generally means a player has shown his worth with great performances or long-term durability. Teams, however, sometimes overpay for past performance.

posted by BoKnows to baseball at 08:45 PM - 9 comments

Agree with most of the article, however equating injuries into the formula seems unfair. Can't perform if sidelined. I'd liked to see the formula based on healthy players after signing big contracts. Didn't read for all the players, but the vast majority seemed to be suffering some malady.

posted by Nakeman at 09:01 PM on February 22, 2008

Teams, however, sometimes overpay for past performance. Sometimes?! Side note: I'm not sure the WS/$million is the best measurement. I'd prefer to see WSAB/$million (Win Shares Above Baseline), or WSP/$million (Win Shares Percent). WSAB eliminates the basic value every baseball player should provide for a team based on a minimum skill level required to make it to the major leagues. It's worse to pay a league average salary for a below-average player/pitcher than it is to pay a extra-premium salary for a premium player/pitcher. WSP takes into account playing time and opportunity, and makes a better measurement stick when comparing secretly good part-time players (like Matt Stairs) and famously bad full-time players (like Neifi Perez). As well, injuries are taken into account.

posted by grum@work at 10:37 PM on February 22, 2008

Well, to be fair, the whole point of the article was to determine whether players are overvalued, not whether their actual performance is good or not. If you've paid $20M for a player who only plays 10 games during his contract, you don't care if he hit 10 HR during those 10 games - he still cost $2M per home run, which is a huge overpayment. So, in fact, injuries do matter a great deal.

posted by googly at 10:42 PM on February 22, 2008

What grum said. Something feels wrong about a measure where Alex Rodriguez comes out average just because he's paid like the best player in baseball. It assumes performance rewards are a linear function, that the cost to go from a .250 hitter to a .300 hitter should be the same when moving to a .350 hitter, or that an extra 5 home runs costs the same whether it's the first 5 or 46-50.

posted by yerfatma at 05:13 AM on February 23, 2008

Overpaying for a everyday players seems a better gamble, overall. It just seems too many pitchers, payed based on past performance, tend to break down. I can't help but think one of the big reasons the Yanks and Red Sox ultimately passed on Santana this year is because of the lingering possibility his elbow may not be as sound as should be for that huge a contract.

posted by dyams at 07:53 AM on February 23, 2008

Carl Pavano WS 0.08! Hahahahahaha!!! Hey, are we going to have the DL fantasy game again this year? I liked that game. If we do, I dibs Carl Pavano again.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:27 PM on February 23, 2008

I think the Carl Pavano disaster pretty much left the Yankees gun-shy with regards to big-name pitchers. I don't think Roger Clemens making a dick of himself lying helped too much, either. As time goes on, and I become older, I'm much more enamored with young talent brought up from the farm system. Hopefully the Yanks continue on that trend.

posted by dyams at 05:34 PM on February 23, 2008

My opinion on overpaying a player is that they’re bidding on that player so another team does not sign that player. If one team is offering $7 million and your team offers $8 million to sign him, then maybe you are overpaying him but, at the same time, you've also kept him away from a competing team. If you lose that player because you didn't want to pay the $8 million then who are you going to replace him with, a cheaper player for $2 or $3 million who may not be as good? So that's probably why some teams overpay to acquire a few players because they’re keeping them away from other teams and it would be very hard to replace that player.

posted by al1woods at 10:09 AM on February 24, 2008

But if you pay a player $8 million and he performs like a $1 million player, then you wouldn't have cared if the other team had gotten him. So really, you pay a player $8 million because you want him to play like an $8 million player.

posted by Ricardo at 08:04 AM on February 25, 2008

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