Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Getting Your Money's Worth: The Resulting Laughter

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Projected Value Over Contract = (Projected Value - Contract)
Projected Value = 2009 Performance to date extrapolated through the end of the season.

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44.7% of all payroll tied up in Jose Guillen, Gill Meche, Coco Crisp, and Kyle Farnsworth.

For reference, please refer to the brilliant research and analysis by JWF:

Getting Your Money's Worth Part I: The Setup
Getting Your Money's Worth Part II: The Punchline

Getting Your Money's Worth: The Punchline

Now things start to shape up, and like a strip club in the daylight, it's way uglier than it seemed before. This is still made using best available payroll information and Wins Above Replacement Level.

The "A" Team (Players Acquired by the Royals under former GM / Team President Allard Baird)

Total Salary: 15.19 million (counting only players currently on the 25 man roster)

Total 2009 Value to Date: 44.3
Total 2009 Projected Value: 51.2
Total Return: 36.01

The "D" Students (Players Acquired by Dayton Moore):

Total Salary: 68.15
Total 2009 Value To Date: 33.2
Total 2009 Projected Value: 38.8
Total Return: -44.8

In non-Betancourt related material, this is the most damning piece of evidence I've seen. And it's worth noting that the prized shortstop in question isn't even included in this, due to negligible pay to date and an uncertain salary arrangement from the Mariners. But it does include a great year from Bannister. And Gil Meche's work. And Joakim Soria. There's just no hiding what a catastrophic failure Dayton Moore is at acquiring talent for the major league level.

This team has the 15th highest payroll in the league, and by value in investment should have the 25th best record. (Which is pretty darn close, actually. As per my Pythagorean post, they are slightly underperforming.)

If you take away Zack Grienke's contribution , this team is not just the worst in the league, but one of the worst of all time.

Getting Your Money's Worth

I want each and every one of you to reference this chart the next time someone complains that the Royals' difficulties arise from a low payroll.

This is a breakdown of the top 10 Royals earners (plus #10's doppleganger), comparing their annual salary to the value of their contributions in pitching, hitting, baserunning, and fielding. I've used Fangraph's numbers for Wins Above Replacement and a portion of Baseball Prospectus' WARP and playing time projection charts. Salary numbers are represented in millions.

1. RF Jose Guillen
Salary: 12.0
2009 Value to Date: (-7.8)
2009 End of Season Projected Value: (-12.6)
Total Return: (-24.6)

You're reading that properly. The only way Jose Guillen breaks even is if another team pays you 12.6 million dollars to play him. It's not a 12 million dollar per year mistake at this point, it's a 25 million a year one.

2. SP Gil Meche
Salary: 11.0
2009 Value to Date: 8.2
2009 Projected Value: 13.3
Total Return: 2.3

Not bad, but this projection assumes that this year isn't over for him because of the flagrant abuse he endured. If it is, you're 2.8 million in the hole, which doesn't look that bad as long as you compare it to Jose Guillen.

3. CF Coco Crisp
Salary: 6.1
2009 Value to Date: 5.6
2009 Projected Value: 5.6
Total Return: (-.5)

Coco's defense was exactly as advertised, but this number doesn't look nearly as good when you consider that the buyout on his option is now a complete certainty and a total sunk cost. In another one of the many sad ways the Royals can be summed up, Crisp is their 2nd most valuable position player despite not having played since early June.

4. RP Kyle Farnsworth
Salary: 4.3
2009 Value To Date: 1.8
2009 Projected Value: 2.1
Total Return: (-2.2)

The 2009 value numbers are based on what turned out to be a very down free agent market. Kyle Farnsworth is the winner of this year's golden goose award, and his contract was already twice too high before the season even got underway. This was like buying a house in Las Vegas in 2007, but the checks still have to cash. Honestly, he's better than I would have anticipated.

5. RP Ron Mahay
Salary: 4.0
2009 Value to Date: (-.5)
2009 Projected Value: (-.8)
Total Return: (-4.8)

6. SP Zack Grienke
Salary: 3.8
2009 Value to Date: 28.8
2009 Projected Value: 38.2
Total Return: 34.4

I could be a killjoy and point out that as absolutely unprecedented as that return is, it will go nothing but down as the backloaded part of the contract approaches and the performance regresses, but I've decided not to be that guy. I'll be this guy instead: What does this team look like without him?

7. LF David DeJesus
Salary: 3.6
2009 Value to Date: 8.0
2009 Projected Value: 9.1
Total Return: 5.5

It's extremely laudable that DeJesus has put up such a high value while posting an OPS+ of 94, particularly at a corner outfield slot. What's making this arrangement work is the best left field defense in the majors, and among the best glove work regardless of position. The Royal regime's long term insistence that David was incapable of playing center field despite evidence for the contrary has clearly been shown as fallacy. At least this year, however, it's hard to cast blame: Coco Crisp is probably the best defensive center fielder in baseball. More on this and how it applies to Zack Grienke later.

8. UTIL Mark Teahen
Salary: 3.6
2009 Value to Date: 5.1
2009 Projected Value: 6.0
Total Return: 2.4

The most valuable player in the majors that nobody seems to want that much, Mark has been quietly solid and has no reason to be ashamed to cash his check. Baserunning still is what moves him from marginal to useful.

9. DH, "1B" Mike Jacobs
Salary: 3.3
2009 Value to Date: (-1.9)
2009 Projected Value: (-3.0)
Total Return: (-6.3)

For comparison, Russ Branyan of the M's:

Salary: 1.4
2009 Value to Date: 11.0
Projected Value: 12.2
Total Return: 13.6

And of course, without the cost of a useful reliever.

Even more telling, Kila Ka'aihue would have had to put up worse offensive numbers than Tony Pena Jr. did in 2008 in order to be less valuable than Jacobs.

10. C John Buck
Salary: 2.9
2009 Value to Date: 2.1
2009 Projected Value: 2.9
Total Return: 0.0

Value for catcher has to be taken with a grain of salt, thanks to woefully imperfect defensive statistics at the position, but Buck is who he's always been: a perfectly average player at his position who seems like he's failing. Plus, this team likes to pay him pretty decent money to backup, even though he offers no complimentary skillset compared to his overstudy. Which brings us to ...

11. C Miguel Olivo
Salary: 2.7
2009 Value to Date: 5.0
2009 Projected Value: 5.5
Total Return: 2.8

Miguel Olivo has some fatal flaws in his offensive game, and they are a perfect reflection of the flaws in the Royals valuations. As such, it's easy to villify but a catcher who hits home runs alone makes him valuable, even if every other skill is completely substandard. Replacement at the position is just that difficult.

Read the follow up HERE.
For pretty charts on the subject, please see THIS.

Monday, August 3, 2009

AL CENTRAL: Ultimate Zone Rating Comparison

League Average: .003

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Sunday, August 2, 2009