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Sunday, November 04, 2012

The 25 Best – and Five Worst – Free Agent Values | FanGraphs Baseball

Another look at the free agent class. This one from Fangraph.com’s David Cameron.

The goal here isn’t to provide the best value in terms of $/WAR, but to identify — at least, in my view — which contracts are likely to have the biggest magnitude of effect on a team’s chances of winning going forward. And, on the flip side, the contracts that could do the most harm to a team’s ability to contend over the life of the deal.

Here’s his top five:

1. Nick Swisher, OF: 4 years, $56 million
2. B.J. Upton, OF: 4 years, $52 million
3. Anibal Sanchez, SP: 4 years, $52 million
4. Zack Greinke, SP: 6 years, $114 million
5. Angel Pagan, OF – 3 years, $30 million

Jim Furtado Posted: November 04, 2012 at 09:07 AM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: free agency

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   1. Dan Posted: November 04, 2012 at 11:29 AM (#4292574)
Greinke and Pagan are the only 2 of those 5 that seem believable. I guess those are the crowd sourced contract figures, but I don't think anyone doubts Swisher is a good deal at that price. Problem is that price is not happening for him.
   2. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: November 04, 2012 at 11:29 AM (#4292576)
I don't agree with Cameron often, but he is spot on about DiceK -- statistically, and emotionally. The most excruciating pitcher in baseball.
   3. Danny Posted: November 04, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4292654)
I'd be surprised if McCarthy gets 2/$20M. I don't think he'd get that much without the brain injury.
   4. bookbook Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4292663)
Yeah. The crowd sourcing experiment is interesting, but it probably needs a smart modifier of some sort. It does pretty well at the low end, but guesses low on the longer contracts to the top ten or so available talents.
   5. jmurph Posted: November 04, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4292666)
3. Anibal Sanchez, SP: 4 years, $52 million


I have to think about 22 teams would take that deal, maybe more. Seems low and maybe even too short.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: November 04, 2012 at 03:50 PM (#4292733)
AT those prices, I'd probably put Sanchez #1 and maybe Pagan #2. Upton's at a fair price bug given how many bargains there were in that crowdsourced list, I'd move him further down on this one.

Napoli on the "no way" list doesn't make a lot of sense to me. OK, 3/$36 for him is actually realistic so I suppose he can't be a bargain like the others. Cameron notes the jump in K-rate but overstates it -- it was 30% vs. 25% career while 2011 was flukishly low. He notes he's an old man skills type which is true but virtually every C is (except for the ones that just have low BAs with no walks or power). The question about Napoli is what do you think of his C defense and how many games do you need him to C and is it useful to stick him elsewhere in the lineup when not catching. That makes him a good sign for an AL team with another C they are happy to give 80 starts, using a rotating DH and a LHB starting 1B. 80 games of above-average C and 50 games of average 1B/DH is worth $12 M. He's been fragile so it could turn out to be a bad deal but it's not a slam dunk.

OK, maybe it's the nature of that list. There were virtually no demonstrably bad deals. In the original thread, somebody pointed out an obvious potential flaw in crowdsourcing something like this -- the question isn't "at what price would you sign X?" but "what price do you think X will get?" These values are probably pretty good for estimates of what these players will actually produce but it only takes 1 confused GM or 2 competing GMs to overprice somebody.
   7. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: November 04, 2012 at 08:09 PM (#4292885)
In the original thread, somebody pointed out an obvious potential flaw in crowdsourcing something like this -- the question isn't "at what price would you sign X?" but "what price do you think X will get?"


If I had to guess (and it will probably prove untrue) at a theory for the kind of player who is likely to be overpaid, I would imagine a players' past prospect status plays a part. So I'm thinking someone like Upton is going to get a bigger contract than people expect because there is more of a likelihood of a GM or people in an organization being in love with his tools. Somone who has the career path of an Angel Pagan, I think, someone who has sort of settled into being a nice player after not being a big prospect, is more likely not to be overpaid.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: November 04, 2012 at 09:08 PM (#4292925)
I would imagine a players' past prospect status plays a part.

No idea if it's true (that they get more) but it makes sense for the reason you state and related stuff like he's probably the sort of player that some hitting coach somewhere thinks he can fix. (Dwayne Murphy would probably have him hitting 35 bombs within a year.) I certainly expect him to do much better than Pagan (3/$30 is probably about right although somebody could go all GMjr about him) and Victorino. I have no idea what to think about Bourn, I think I'm still stunned he turned out this good. Same with Pagan really -- seemed a decent enough 4th OF when he was with the Cubs but no more. Which is the pro-Upton argument in reverse.

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