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Friday, July 29, 2011

Megdal: Doing It Right: The Feliciano-Fulmer Affair

“Puts Profumo to shame.” adds Howard.

The Feliciano role has been taken up by Tim Byrdak this year. Byrdak is holding lefties to a .671 OPS this year, a fine job. Feliciano posted a .574 mark against lefties in 2010, .594 in 2009, and .575 in 2008. So no question, Feliciano was a bit better against lefties. (Byrdak from 2008-2010 was .644, .700 and .469.) But the overall margin is extremely slight. And Byrdak is earning $900,000 this year, on a one-year commitment. That’s $3.1 million saved in 2011, with all four million that would have been committed to Feliciano available to the 2012 club.

Then in June, the Mets took a promising right-handed pitcher named Michael Fulmer with the 44th overall pick. Fulmer eventually signed for $937,500, exceeding the slot guideline of $776,700 from MLB by more than 20 percent. The Mets, in dire need of more pitching prospects, added a good one.

So… let’s total all this up. Instead of paying eight million dollars for a lefty specialist, they’ve spent $1,837,500 for a lefty specialist and a solid pitching prospect. They have more than $6 million left over to spend on other needs.

And for those who think a New York team shouldn’t watch its pennies, or that this is some Madoff-based budget cutting… you are wrong. This is how the best teams extract maximum value out of everything they spend. The advantage a New York team has isn’t that it can waste a ton of money and still come out ahead, though that occasionally happens. It is that a New York team has many more dollars to extract maximum value from. Done right, it should make a team with a larger revenue stream nearly unbeatable.

Repoz Posted: July 29, 2011 at 06:19 PM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, mets, sabermetrics, yankees

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   1. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: July 29, 2011 at 06:32 PM (#3888425)
And for those who think a New York team shouldn’t watch its pennies, or that this is some Madoff-based budget cutting… you are wrong. This is how the best teams extract maximum value out of everything they spend. The advantage a New York team has isn’t that it can waste a ton of money and still come out ahead, though that occasionally happens. It is that a New York team has many more dollars to extract maximum value from. Done right, it should make a team with a larger revenue stream nearly unbeatable.


This is why I don't find the Yankees FO all that impressive. Maybe you could say the same thing about the Red Sox FO, but I blame their problems on their training staff. Imagine if the rotation were reasonably healthy? They'd be looking at 110 wins.
   2. Sam M. Posted: July 29, 2011 at 06:33 PM (#3888427)
And they pissed off Brian Cashman. Priceless.
   3. Sam M. Posted: July 29, 2011 at 06:43 PM (#3888443)
But seriously, I think this is very solid analysis, and a good lesson: I don't care if Bill Gates ends up owning the Mets, the mindset that says the $6M the Mets "saved" on this transaction is significant is the mindset I would want the GM to have. Because it is smart and leads to good decisions, even if they are not directly motivated by the savings themselves. It's the value represented by each of the two independent decisions really at issue here, and at each step Alderson made the right "value" call, even though in one case he spent less money, and in the other case he spent more money.

First, he let Feliciano go (spending less money on his left-handed reliever), realizing that the value of the innings he was likely to get, even if performed very well, was less than the value he could get from a replacement plus the value of the draft pick.

Second, he made the decision to draft Fulmer, a prospect he (presumably) knew the Mets would have to pay something over slot to sign, rather than some other pick he could sign for slot (or at least believed he could).

What this tells me is Alderson is not always making the decision to spend less; he's making the decision to spend where he believes the value lies. You don't abandon that mindset just because your payroll becomes looser; if you do, you'll start making decisions that are not only too costly, but that are affirmatively bad.
   4. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: July 29, 2011 at 07:28 PM (#3888477)
You don't abandon that mindset just because your payroll becomes looser; if you do, you'll start making decisions that are not only too costly, but that are affirmatively bad.


This is why I didn't like the Carl Crawford signing. In Reddick or Kalish, the Red Sox probably have someone who is 75% of Crawford for an unbelievable savings.
   5. PreservedFish Posted: July 29, 2011 at 07:53 PM (#3888498)
It's a bit unfair to compare Byrdak and Feliciano. Byrdak is a reasonable LOOGY, but that's about it. Feliciano may only be marginally better against lefties, but he's marginally better against righties, and marginally more durable, and it all adds up to him being a much better overall pitcher.

But it does seem like the Mets made some good decisions here. Feliciano is a luxury that the 2011 Mets didn't need, and that's without considering his injury. And going over slot on the draft pick is good news.
   6. The Ghost of Sox Fans Past Posted: July 30, 2011 at 03:09 AM (#3888823)
I am always surprised that teams don't seem to think about saving money one year in order to spend it the next year. But then I have never understood business budgeting for the same reason.
   7. The Original SJ Posted: July 30, 2011 at 06:21 AM (#3888894)
This is why I didn't like the Carl Crawford signing. In Reddick or Kalish, the Red Sox probably have someone who is 75% of Crawford for an unbelievable savings.


So? The Red Sox, (and the Yankees, and the Phillies) are not interested in 75% of Carl Crawford. They have the money, they want 100% of Crawford, and the Yankees want 100% of Teixiera. 60% of him at 2% of the cost does not matter.
   8. Something Other Posted: July 31, 2011 at 07:02 AM (#3889480)
Post 7 misses the point. If you can get 3.75 wins for 2m versus 5 wins for 20m, obviously you choose the former and go chase 1.25++ wins with the 18m dollars you've saved.

We're talking about it because it went off the rails, but the Crawford signing just seemed very peculiar at the time for a team that had the great good sense to hire Bill James--corner OFer entering his decline phase to a massive, very long deal? Damned odd on its face. 20m seemed like the absolute premium you'd pay a guy like Crawford for a four year deal, where he gets the big bucks in return for you avoiding his death spiral, and he gets one more shot at a sucker buying his dotage.

As for Feliciano, it wasn't a matter of not signing him being a smart move. Rather, not signing him was simply avoiding an obviously and utterly foolish move. Didn't he lead the majors in appearances between 2007-2010? Isn't he 90 years old? Praising the Mets FO for not resigning Pedro--at 4m a year when they couldn't even afford a real starter in the offseason despite a brutally thin rotation--is like commending someone for not setting themselves on fire. It's too close to shilling to deserve extended comment.
   9. Something Other Posted: August 02, 2011 at 04:33 AM (#3890905)
Since this is the Mets thread du jour,... it's good to see Wright hitting well. I noticed too that he's gone four consecutive games without a strikeout. Before he hit the DL his season high was two consecutive games. I doubt it means anything, but it's still good to see.

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