It's time for Supermarket Sweep!
What GM is the best at getting a bargain? How are you at telling what are the biggest bargains of the offseason - and the priciest purchases? Let's start with the first episode of Supermarket Sweep!
First, the FAs and their salaries I obtained from an ESPN page which updates continuously. So, I may not have the most current numbers to go with all of the signings, but I will revisit through the offseason. The FA signings I have are as of 12/17/04, for this particular blog.
Second, we have to evaluate bargains. You may only spend $300,000 on Stanley Jefferson, but if he doesn't do a thing, is it really a bargain? With potato chips and soft drinks, we can always rely on quality and taste to determine if it is worth the money - so we have to find a measure of value for major league players. Hmmmmmm. How about Win Shares!
So, here is what I did. I looked at all of the players signed to major league contracts that have public amounts. Then I looked at their win shares for the past three years. Instead of just taking last year, I figured a weighted average of the last three years would give a better idea of a player's performance - and give an idea of what a GM is buying. The formula I used was 0.55*2004 WS + 0.35*2003 WS + 0.15*2002 WS. I figured this would put more of an emphasis on current levels of production, but still take on quality (or lack of quality) the previous two years to balance out any one year boost or drop for whatever reason. I don't feel anyone looks at a player and says that performance in 2002 is more relevant to performance in 2005 than performance in 2004, but the multipliers have nothing behind them other than weighting the amounts at different levels.
So - what did I get? First of all, let me start off by saying that I have a few different ways of looking at this information, so bear with me as I hit each one.
$ per Win Share per position high and low:
C - Henry Blanco - Cubs paid $333,333.33 per the weighted average win shares (4.05)
C - Todd Pratt - Philadelphia - $140,186.92 (5.35)
1B - Richie Sexson - Seattle - $889,679.72 (14.05)
1B - Julio Franco - Atlanta - $110,497.24 (9.05)
2B - Jeff Kent - Los Angeles - $349,075.98 (24.35)
2B - Damion Easley - Florida - $145,631.07 (5.15)
3B - Troy Glaus - Arizona - $957,446.81 (11.75)
3B - Vinny Castilla - Montreal - $230,483.27 (13.45)
SS - Edgar Renteria - Boston - $466,200.47 (21.45)
SS - Neifi Perez - Cubs - $132,450.33 (7.55)
OF - Jermaine Dye - White Sox - $548,648.65 (9.25)
OF - Eric Young - San Diego - $114,285.71 (8.75)
RP - Bob Wickman - Cleveland - $1,222,222.22 (2.25)
RP - Antonio Alfonseca - Florida - $42,857.14 (7.00)
SP - Kris Benson - NY Mets - $1,079,136.69 (6.95)
SP - John Halama - Boston - $178,571.43 (5.60)
Average per position:
C - $227,476.04 (5.90)
1B - $378,846.86 (9.17)
2B - $193,771.72 (12.51)
3B - $496,653.22 (17.41)
SS - $271,579.05 (13.67)
OF - $254,009.87 (9.44)
RP - $347,181.63 (5.71)
SP - $559,690.87 (9.68)
Very interesting, because as I was preparing this information, I came across this blog entry on December 19th, and I think there is an inefficiency. Obviously, GMs are paying the highest average amount per win share for starting pitching - and they have the 4th highest average WS total. (I will give you that these are small sample sizes for most positions, but SPs have the most with 17 players. Meaning that there are a lot of big numbers pulling up John Halama and Dennys Reyes.)
Next, I wanted to see about how teams were doing, since my blogging buddies and I have been talking about the worst GMs. So, here you go - due to small numbers, it may not give you much. I only used averages when there was more than one player signed.
Cleveland - average Dollar per WS - $702,020.20
NY Mets - $679,902.92
Seattle - $529,279.44
White Sox - $490,859.76
Philadelphia - $478,660.23
NY Yankees - $478,225.32
Arizona - $464,356.39
Anaheim - $434,581.03
Cincinnati - $387,554.11
Minnesota - $375,728.42
San Francisco - $362,606.71
Texas - $346,411.81
Boston - $282,362.81
Florida - $277,774.38
Cubs - $272,000.81
Toronto - $251,620.11
Los Angeles - $244,552.22
San Diego - $227,752.17
St. Louis - $214,637.03
Montreal - $213,785.57
Houston - $167,225.95
Now, all this is showing what we may perceive as bargains, but are they really? Is it really better to sign a guy with seven win shares for a cheap price or a guy with 21 win shares for an outrageous price? The answer lies somewhere in the middle. So, I decided to look at the average dollar per win share for the top win share folks - and see what kind of prices were paid. Plus, instead of weighting across years, I weighted their biggest win share total the highest and on down the line using the same formula as above. I am going to assume that GMs are thinking that the players will return to their best season for their new team - otherwise they wouldn't sign them.
Jeff Kent - Los Angeles - $313,075.51 (27.15)
Adrian Beltre - Seattle - $474,953.62 (26.95)
Edgar Renteria - Boston - $392,927.31 (25.45)
Nomar Garciaparra - Cubs - $316,831.68 (25.25)
Richie Sexson - Seattle - $556,792.87 (22.45)
Steve Finley - Anaheim - $327,868.85 (21.35)
Pedro Martinez - NY Mets - $632,458.23 (20.95)
Corey Koskie - Toronto - $279,146.14 (20.30)
Todd Walker - Cubs - $135,869.57 (18.40)
Omar Vizquel - Cleveland - $223,744.29 (18.25)
For my last list, here are all of the players that were paid over $600,000 per win share using my original methodology.
Bob Wickman - $1,222,222.22 (2.25)
Kris Benson - $1,079,136.69 (6.95)
Jon Lieber - $1,068,702.29 (6.55)
Troy Glaus - $957,446.81 (11.75)
Richie Sexson - $889,679.72 (14.05)
Jaret Wright - $869,565.22 (8.05)
Pedro Martinez - $699,208.44 (18.95)
Paul Byrd - $687,022.90 (6.55)
Al Leiter - $680,851.06 (11.75)
Carl Pavano - $676,156.58 (14.05)
Troy Percival - $618,556.70 (9.70)
All but two pitchers. Hmmm. Do you see something beginning to develop? I'll give you a hint - of the next 6, 4 are pitchers and the other two are Jermaine Dye and Adrian Beltre.