Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Value Over/Under

Today's exercise looks at some of baseball's most overpaid and underpaid players, based on their '09 performance. Hopefully, this will be informative, fun, or at the very least: tolerable.

Special thanks to Fangraphs and Cot's Baseball Contracts.

First, we'll look at the most overpaid... all figures in millions (salary / value / net loss)...

C: Kenji Johjima, Mariners, s: $8 / v: $1.4 / nl: $6.6
1b: Todd Helton, Rockies, s: $16.6 / v: $7.5 / nl: $9.1
2b: Alexi Casilla, Twins, s: $0.4275 / v: (-$6.2) / nl: $6.6275
SS: Alex Gonzalez, Reds, s: $5.375 / v: (-$3.6) / nl: $8.975
3b: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees, s: $32 / v: $10.8 / nl: $21.2
LF: Alfonso Soriano, Cubs, s: $16 / v: $1.6 / nl: $14.4
CF: Gary Matthews Jr, Angels, s: $10 / v (-$5.7) / nl: $15.7
RF: Jose Guillen, Royals, s: $12 / v: (-$7.8) / nl: $19.8
SP: Oliver Perez, Mets, s: $12 / v: (-$2.5) / nl: $14.5
RP: Brad Lidge, Phillies, s: $11.5 / value (-$3.6) / nl: $15.1

All else being equal, this presents Jose Guillen as the worst investment in 2009. Todd Helton and Arod are having decent seasons, showing significant value. They made this team because their contracts are so huge. Real disappointments at 1b are Carlos Delgado and Chad Tracy. The biggest '09 busts at 3b are Eric Chavez and Garrett Atkins. The other thing to keep in mind is if we are counting all dollars spent towards a player, Daisuke Matsuzaka would be our starting pitcher. Taking a 1/6th prorated portion of the $51,111,111 posting fee the Red Sox paid the Seibu Lions for the rights to negotiate with Dice-K would make him a $17 million loss this season. Last point, the Detroit Tigers have three players who barely missed making the team. Carlos Guillen, Magglio Ordonez, and Dontrelle Willis are all more than 10 million wastes this season.

Now, let's look at the most underpaid "team" of 2009... again, figures in millions (salary / value / net gain)...

C: Joe Mauer, Twins, s: $10.5 / v: $21.3 / ng: $10.8
1b: Adrian Gonzalez, Padres, s: $3 / v: $16.3 / ng: $13.3
2b: Ben Zobrist, Rays, s: $0.4159 / v: $24.2 / ng: $23.7841
SS: Marco Scutaro, Blue Jays, s: $1.1 / v: $18.8 / ng: $17.7
3b: Evan Longoria, Rays, s: $0.55 / v: $20.4 / ng: $19.85
LF: Nyjer Morgan, Nationals, s: $0.4115 / v: $17.3 / ng: $16.8885
CF: Matt Kemp, Dodgers, s: $0.465 / v: $21.9 / ng: $21.435
RF: Justin Upton, D'backs, s: $0.412 / v: $17.5 / ng: $17.088
SP: Tim Lincecum, Giants, s $0.65 / v: $29.6 / ng: $28.95
RP: Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers, s: $1.825 / v: $9.8 / ng: $7.975

Scutaro and Morgan are certainly surprises on this list, as they barely edged out a couple of superstars at shortstop and left field, respectively. Morgan's real value comes from defense, while Scutaro has combined with Aaron Hill to form the best valued double play combination in the game. Who are the superstars that almost made the team? Hanley Ramirez ($17.2mm) and Ryan Braun ($16.655mm).

Feel free to add thoughts to our comments section. What does this show us? Anything? Who's the biggest disappointment? (Soriano? Lidge?) Biggest pleasant surprise? (Zobrist?) Our methodology of coming up with this list is anything but scientific? Are there any players that should have been mentioned that weren't?

As the great Tony Kornheiser says on PTI, "Over/Under is over!"

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