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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera done for 2018 season with ruptured biceps tendon

Former two-time AL MVP Miguel Cabrera is done for the season.

During Tuesday night’s loss to the Minnesota Twins (MIN 6, DET 4), Cabrera suffered a ruptured left biceps tendon while taking a swing in the third inning. He will undergo season-ending surgery, the Detroit Tigers announced.

The contract is a big deal. Here’s one opinion on the issue:
Tigers still owe Miguel Cabrera a ton of money, but even with
the injury his contract isn’t as awful as you think

The beginning of the end came after the 2014 ALDS sweep at the hands of the Orioles. The Tigers went 74-87 the following season, dead last in the AL Central. Dave Dombrowski was let go in August of 2015, and Al Avila became acting GM. After a decent 2016 season, the Tigers finally tanked in 2017, going 64-98 and making a few rebuilding moves, including dealing Justin Verlander at the deadline. They simply didn’t have the depth or the leverage to handle a reload instead of a rebuild.

Then there’s the final point, and this might be the most important: Cabrera has had exactly one bad season with the Tigers, including this season. 2017 was an abject catastrophe. People were rightfully questioning if Cabrera was done. He hit .249/.329/.399 in 2017, all career-lows outside of his rookie season in 2003. His 16 homers were also his lowest number since being a rookie.

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 13, 2018 at 02:10 PM | 70 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: injury, miguel cabrera, tigers

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   1. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: June 13, 2018 at 03:56 PM (#5691478)
Out of time man. He had a good run.
   2. BDC Posted: June 13, 2018 at 04:21 PM (#5691504)
Most similar complete careers to Cabrera:

Player            dWAR    PA OPSRbaser  HR  RBI   BA  OBP  SLG     Pos
Mike Schmidt      18.4 10062  147   
-1.3 548 1595 .267 .380 .527 *53/H64
Jeff Bagwell      
-7.2  9431  149   31.2 449 1529 .297 .408 .540  *3/HD9
Miguel Cabrera   
-16.3  9687  151  -21.2 465 1635 .316 .395 .551 3579/DH
Willie McCovey   
-21.6  9692  147  -14.6 521 1555 .270 .374 .515 *3H7/9D
Manny Ramirez    
-21.7  9774  154  -21.7 555 1831 .312 .411 .585   79D/H
Frank Thomas     
-22.5 10075  156  -24.0 521 1704 .301 .419 .555   *D3/


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/13/2018.

   3. Lassus Posted: June 13, 2018 at 04:27 PM (#5691507)
Ow.
   4. Swoboda is freedom Posted: June 13, 2018 at 04:27 PM (#5691508)
Out of time man. He had a good run.

He has 5 more years left at $30 million each. He may not run, but he will still be there.
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 13, 2018 at 04:29 PM (#5691514)
Most similar complete careers to Cabrera:

Schmidt does not belong on that list. At all.
   6. BDC Posted: June 13, 2018 at 04:36 PM (#5691526)
Schmidt does not belong on that list. At all

Comps lists aren't generated by intuition. This one just finds players with similar OPS+ and playing time.

Mike Schmidt was a superior defensive third baseman who hit about as well as Miguel Cabrera. That's all.
   7. jmurph Posted: June 13, 2018 at 04:36 PM (#5691527)
He has 5 more years left at $30 million each. He may not run, but he will still be there.

Holy ####.
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 13, 2018 at 04:50 PM (#5691552)
Comps lists aren't generated by intuition. This one just finds players with similar OPS+ and playing time.

Well, to be decent comps, you at least need to look at dWAR. Shocked BRef hasn't incorporated that.
   9. Leroy Kincaid Posted: June 13, 2018 at 04:50 PM (#5691556)
Was listening to the game when it happened. Tigers radio guys were bummed out. They were assuming the worst and I guess they were right.
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: June 13, 2018 at 05:40 PM (#5691596)
Well, to be decent comps, you at least need to look at dWAR. Shocked BRef hasn't incorporated that.


That's Bob's. He's been doing that particular centered comp list for years, to show other players of similar offensive profiles to the player in question. You're trying to make the list into something it's not intended to be.
   11. Batman Posted: June 13, 2018 at 05:45 PM (#5691598)
Cabrera actually gets a raise to $32 million in 2022 and 2023. His 2024 and 2025 club options ($30 million each) become guaranteed if he finishes in the top ten for MVP in the previous year. That would be one of my favorite things ever if that happened.
   12. JL72 Posted: June 13, 2018 at 05:46 PM (#5691599)
This is too bad. While I assumed that "great" Miggie was a thing of the past, I figured he would add to his counting stats over the next 3-5 years, with a decent shot at 500 HRS and 300o hits.

That seems like a stretch now.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: June 13, 2018 at 05:54 PM (#5691607)
Well, to be decent comps, you at least need to look at dWAR

You might want to take a gander at the first non-name column in Bob's table and note the ordering. As #10 partly explains, he finds reasonably similar hitters (by OPS+) then ranks them by dWAR allowing you, dear reader, to assess. As hitters the main difference between Schmidt and Cabrera is the BA (also related to Ks).

Anyway, this is a shame. I have no idea what the recovery chances are for such a thing -- is this the same injury that Frank Thomas had? It potentially derails his drive for 3,000. As to the contract, I assume it's insured so if he never recovers from the injury (i.e. is never cleared to play) or it gets re-injured, the Tigers would have some financial cover.
   14. McCoy Posted: June 13, 2018 at 06:13 PM (#5691615)
I had assumed that Miggy already was over 500. Was shocked to see he wasn't. Was really shocked to see that he was 39, that he had missed all of 2012, and had only 241 HR so far but then I realized BRef had loaded Victor Martinez's page because BRef has a weird page load jump thing.
   15. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: June 13, 2018 at 06:44 PM (#5691625)
He has 5 more years left at $30 million each. He may not run, but he will still be there.


One of my good buddies was unusually despondent last night upon hearing this news. Wonder if some of it was knowing the rebuilding Tigers now have a 30 million dollar anchor on their 25 man until 2023.

And how do you snap a bicep tendon? Seems like really poor work by the athletic training staff in Detroit. If the area is that compromised, and it seems like he was already dealing with soreness in the bicep, then why the hell is he playing? If he was lobbying to play and this happened then someone should be fired. You gotta tell the players when they can play, can't be the other way around.
   16. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: June 13, 2018 at 07:34 PM (#5691660)
He has 5 more years left at $30 million each. He may not run, but he will still be there.

5/162 assuming the buyout for the team option in '24. Plus whatever is left of this season (which will be over 15m).

One of my good buddies was unusually despondent last night upon hearing this news. Wonder if some of it was knowing the rebuilding Tigers now have a 30 million dollar anchor on their 25 man until 2023.

I am pretty sure I argued around the end of last season that they already had that anchor until 2023. The Tiger's are completely boned. But they were already completely boned. Even with his rebound (pretty much all BA, which was probably fluky low last season) this season, Cabrera was only up to 0.4 WAR.
   17. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: June 13, 2018 at 08:01 PM (#5691684)
I am pretty sure I argued around the end of last season that they already had that anchor until 2023. The Tiger's are completely boned. But they were already completely boned. Even with his rebound (pretty much all BA, which was probably fluky low last season) this season, Cabrera was only up to 0.4 WAR.


My buddy keeps trying to argue how great their farm system is doing but like, it's a bottom tier farm by any objective rating and aren't almost all the guys doing well A ball level pitchers? Even if a few of these guys pan out into solid regulars you're talking 4-5 years. I think they are absolutely boned for the next half decade. I don't see how they compete until they've bottomed out, get a few more top three picks, and some contracts come off the books and they invest heavily in scouting and development.
   18. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: June 13, 2018 at 08:28 PM (#5691701)
Firing Avila would be a good start, unless that already happened and I missed it. He is incompetent.
   19. Ziggy's screen name Posted: June 13, 2018 at 08:53 PM (#5691729)
Won't get to 500? He's only got 35 to go. The only way he doesn't get to 500 is if this injury is actually career ending. Is it?
   20. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: June 13, 2018 at 10:27 PM (#5691787)
Won't get to 500? He's only got 35 to go. The only way he doesn't get to 500 is if this injury is actually career ending. Is it?

I mean 35 is about 3 seasons at his current (or last year's) HR pace. Even if the injury itself isn't terminal to his career, he is already looking pretty toasty. Add a year of ageing and rust, and coming back from an injury which is sure to sap some power... Even if he comes back, I don't think he is guaranteed to get the playing time. I think both saying he absolutely won't, and saying the only way he will are wrong. Looks completely up in the air to me.
   21. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 13, 2018 at 10:39 PM (#5691803)
Wonder if some of it was knowing the rebuilding Tigers now have a 30 million dollar anchor on their 25 man until 2023.
But no, it was totally nefarious collusion when teams refused to give out those contracts last off-season!
   22. Ray (CTL) Posted: June 13, 2018 at 10:42 PM (#5691807)
Wonder if some of it was knowing the rebuilding Tigers now have a 30 million dollar anchor on their 25 man until 2023.


At least he can still hit, unlike Pujols. I'd rather have a good player who's trying to come back from an injury than a bad player who has no injury.
   23. DanG Posted: June 14, 2018 at 12:43 AM (#5691854)
Here's a list of sims using fairly wide criteria: players with at least 25% of career games at 1B/DH/RF/LF, minimum 8500 PA and 140 OPS+, within 14 WAR of Cabrera

Player            WAROPS+  dWAR    H  RBI    PA
Jeff Bagwell      79.9  149  
-7.2 2314 1529  9431 H
Sam Crawford      75.2  144 
-18.1 2961 1523 10594 H
Frank Thomas      73.9  156 
-22.5 2468 1704 10075 H
Jim Thome         72.9  147 
-16.4 2328 1699 10313 H
Harry Heilmann    72.2  148 
-14.0 2660 1543  8964 H
Manny Ramirez     69.4  154 
-21.7 2574 1831  9774
'Miguel Cabrera   69.3  151 -16.3 2676 1635  9687'
Edgar Martinez    68.4  147  -9.0 2247 1261  8674
Willie McCovey    64.5  147 
-21.6 2211 1555  9692 H
Gary Sheffield    60.5  140 
-27.7 2689 1676 10947
Harmon Killebrew  60.4  143 
-18.7 2086 1584  9833 H
Vladimir Guerrero 59.4  140 
-10.0 2590 1496  9059 H
Willie Stargell   57.5  147 
-19.5 2232 1540  9027 H
David Ortiz       55.3  141 
-20.9 2472 1768 10091 
   24. Cooper Nielson Posted: June 14, 2018 at 01:09 AM (#5691858)
Wonder if some of it was knowing the rebuilding Tigers now have a 30 million dollar anchor on their 25 man until 2023.

The Tiger's are completely boned. But they were already completely boned.

I think they are absolutely boned for the next half decade. I don't see how they compete until they've bottomed out, get a few more top three picks, and some contracts come off the books and they invest heavily in scouting and development.

Lifelong Tiger fan here, let me be the voice of guarded optimism.

1. The money has been committed to Cabrera for a long time, and the likelihood of getting value out of it from his age 38-40 seasons was already pretty low. So it sucks that he's injured, but the injury doesn't make the contract that much worse than it already was.

2. The Tigers are currently 32-37 (.464), 4.5 games out in a weak division that is usually a weak division. They're 21st out of 30 MLB teams in winning percentage, 20th in run differential. That's not good, but it's also not awful for what is clearly a rebuilding year. (If you're truly looking for "boned" teams, look at the Orioles.)

3. As a result of this surprising (in a good way) mediocrity, the fan base seems to be sticking around. Attendance is down -- by a lot -- but part of that was due to unusually bad weather in April, unattractive matchups (lots of Royals and Orioles), and many rescheduled games. They drew pretty well on the last homestand and if they stay semi-competitive I think they'll do OK in the summer. (Incidentally, they're currently outdrawing Cleveland and Kansas City.) I don't know about the TV ratings, but in recent years they've consistently been near the top of MLB (last year they dropped to 6th) so I think they may still be in the top 10. So, they're down, but not as much as expected.

4. Why is this "mediocrity" important? Because by being merely "not good" vs. being "terrible," they're not seeing the degree of revenue drop that was expected, and hopefully the trough won't be that deep and it won't take so long to get out of it. When teams full-out "tank," it can take many years to recover. Look at the Astros' attendance. Last year, when they won the World Series with an exciting young team that already made the playoffs two years before, their attendance was still below every single year from 1998-2009. The Astros missed the playoffs in seven of those 12 seasons but their worst record was 72-90. Then they tanked, and lots of fans went away for a long time. It took a World Series championship to bring them back. The Tigers may be able to bounce back with merely "competitive" teams.

5. So they have more financial flexibility (due to better revenue) than they probably expected. Victor Martinez's contract comes off the books next year, so the only highly paid players will be Cabrera ($30 mill.) and Zimmermann ($25 mill.). Castellanos will be due for a raise/extension/trade but there might be no one else on the roster making more than $6 million. So if they want to judiciously sign some free agents in the next few years, they can.

6. The Tigers' farm system is not great (though Bleacher Report ranks them #9 overall -- seems high to me), but they have some pretty good pitching prospects on the way up, including Casey Mize. They added a boatload of (mostly middling) prospects in last year's trades -- so far only Jeimer Candelario has played in Detroit. Others should be arriving soon. The cupboard is not bare.

7. The current roster is low on star power but it has a few pretty good players who are still young and cheap: Candelario, Fulmer, Boyd, Joe Jimenez... the McCann/Greiner catching tandem could be around league-average. All of those guys could be part of the next good Tigers team, which might only be 2-3 years away. Shane Greene, Francisco Liriano, Jose Iglesias, and Mike Fiers could draw some interest at the trade deadline, at least adding organizational depth.

8. In summary, I don't know if the Tigers are necessarily on the right path to rebuilding, but it doesn't look as bleak to me as many are saying. They definitely need to get more big bats in the system, but they could sign some or trade for some. It doesn't take a juggernaut to win the AL Central. The White Sox are supposed to be the "built for the future" team, but I'm not convinced Moncada or Giolito are ever going to live up to their prospect ratings, Kopech's having a bit of a rough time in AAA, so Eloy Jimenez is the only guy who makes the White Sox system look significantly better than the Tigers'. And the Tigers are already 7.5 games better than the White Sox this year, despite trotting out some comically anonymous lineups. (Cabrera already missed a month.)

They're not in a great position, but I honestly don't think they're "boned."
   25. Walt Davis Posted: June 14, 2018 at 03:30 AM (#5691865)
At least he can still hit, unlike Pujols.

Little basis for this statement. Cabrera was terrible last year at age 34 with a 91 OPS+. At that age, Pujols posted a 126. The WARs were -1 for Miggy, +4 for Pujols.

This year Cabrera had a terrible first couple of weeks (235/322/353) then got blistering hot for 10 games -- 472/558/1364 -- then he hit the DL. He's been off the DL for 12 games, hitting 244/367/293. To this point, he had just 3 HR in 157 PA.

Now his age 35 season is done, putting him at a 129 OPS+ but in just 157 PA and 0.4 WAR (-0.1 WAA). At 35, Pujols put up a 118 OPS+ and 3 WAR.

So for ages 34-35, that's 7 WAR for Pujols and -0.4 WAR for Miggy and now Miggy is coming back from injury. Age 36 was when Pujols went off the cliff but still at least 1.3 WAR with a lot of the drop in that year being defense.

At ages 34-35, Pujols was paid $47 M while Cabrera is at $58. At that point, Pujols had 6/$175 left (ouch but partially deferred); Cabrera has 5/$154 left (ouch).

Cabrera's contract started in his age 33 season (when he did much better than Pujols) and he's now at 4.3 WAR over 3 years and $86 M; Pujols started at age 32 and through age 35 had given the Angels 13.3 WAR for "$72" M (there's probably a missing signing bonus in there). For ages 33-35 only, Miggy is already 4 WAR behind Pujols. Pujols has added nothing since then so there's a reasonable chance Miggy will catch him over the next 5 years. But if you had to choose the early years of one of these contracts, Pujols wins that by a mile. Cabrera's contract is probably going to end up being around $30 M per WAR; assuming the Angels have enough sense to stop playing him much after this year, Pujols is going to end up around $20 M per WAR (contract started 4 years earlier but signed only 2 years earlier).

If you only want to compare them now then, sure, Miggy will probably out-WAR Pujols from this point forward but now we're comparing 5/$154 for Miggy vs 3/$97 for Pujols and it's still far from clear which of these you'd want. Miggy needs to put up 6-7 WAR over those years to make these even (assuming 0 for Pujols).

But no, it was totally nefarious collusion when teams refused to give out those contracts last off-season!

Nobody suggested anything like these contracts for anybody on the FA market this offseason. The highest speculation I recall was 6/$180 for JDM, a contract that would have taken him only through his age 35 season, vastly different than signing guys through age 40+. And nobody suggested or expected him to actually get that.
   26. bunyon Posted: June 14, 2018 at 10:17 AM (#5691966)
I do think Ray has a point that you'd rather your expensive guy on the downill ride be injured. Obviously, you'd like to get some production out of the money but if that isn't possible, if the guy is barely above replacement, or even below, most teams will keep running them out there because they fail to grasp sunk-cost.

OTOH, if he's hurt, best case you get some insurance. But even without insurance, you play someone else in place of an injured player. Better 1 WAR than -0.4. I agree Pujols compares, so far, just fine to Miggy (which is to say that neither contract has been good). But the Tigers can play someone else now whereas the Angels seem determined to keep running Pujols out there no matter what.
   27. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: June 14, 2018 at 11:52 AM (#5692087)
Cabrera's contract is probably going to end up being around $30 M per WAR; assuming the Angels have enough sense to stop playing him much after this year, Pujols is going to end up around $20 M per WAR (contract started 4 years earlier but signed only 2 years earlier).


To illustrate how underpaid HOF players can be - assuming no further WAR from Cabrera would result in an average of $5.7M per WAR, only $3.5M per WAR for Pujols.
   28. eric Posted: June 14, 2018 at 12:29 PM (#5692119)
To illustrate how underpaid HOF players can be - assuming no further WAR from Cabrera would result in an average of $5.7M per WAR, only $3.5M per WAR for Pujols.

What was the value per WAR 10-15 years ago when Pujols was actually providing all that value? Either way, I doubt the Angels want to be the team paying for the production the Cardinals received.

Also, not to be snarky, but assuming Pujols has "no further WAR" (that is, provides 0 WAR from here on out) seems very optimistic to me. I think most Angels fans would take that outcome in a heartbeat.
   29. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: June 14, 2018 at 12:47 PM (#5692135)
8. In summary, I don't know if the Tigers are necessarily on the right path to rebuilding, but it doesn't look as bleak to me as many are saying. They definitely need to get more big bats in the system, but they could sign some or trade for some. It doesn't take a juggernaut to win the AL Central. The White Sox are supposed to be the "built for the future" team, but I'm not convinced Moncada or Giolito are ever going to live up to their prospect ratings, Kopech's having a bit of a rough time in AAA, so Eloy Jimenez is the only guy who makes the White Sox system look significantly better than the Tigers'. And the Tigers are already 7.5 games better than the White Sox this year, despite trotting out some comically anonymous lineups. (Cabrera already missed a month.)


Giolito is an afterthought at this point. Moncada is scuffling at the moment but overall has produced about 2 fWAR in 500 PA, most of them before 23 (he just turned 23 last month). Kopech is a 22 year old in AAA striking out 12 guys per 9 with the expected control issues that come with that. He's got plenty of time.

And no, Eloy Jimenez is not the difference between the White Sox system and the Tigers. The difference is:

Eloy
Kopech
Robert
Madrigal
Cease
Rutherford
Adolfo
Dunning
Collins
Hansen and so on.

Fangraphs just released their post draft top 131. Chicago has three guys in the top 20, four of the top 35 and 9 of the top 115. Highest rated is Eloy at #4, lowest is Hansen at #113.

Detroit has 5 in the top 131 (not awful) but their highest rated is Mize at #31 and then Christin Stewart at #81 and then they have three guys in the 115-131 range.

The difference is that while both farms have good depth, Chicago has premium talent across the board, pitching and position player wise. Detroit has none of that premium talent outside Mize, who would be the 4TH RANKED SOX PROSPECT (that's kinda amazing imo).

Chicago also just got Carlos Rodon healthy and is seeing good performances from 24 year old Reynaldo Lopez (Eaton trade) and 26 year old Dylan Covey (Rule 5 acquisition last year). Their longest contract is currently the 20 odd million they owe Tim Anderson. Everybody else is pre-arb or arb or only signed through 2019. Not only is their farm loaded, their MLB roster is clear of dead wood. James Shields is about it, and he'll be gone in 5 weeks for an A ball lotto ticket.

The Tigers have a long, long way to go before they are as well positioned as the White Sox.
   30. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: June 14, 2018 at 01:47 PM (#5692188)
To illustrate how underpaid HOF players can be - assuming no further WAR from Cabrera would result in an average of $5.7M per WAR, only $3.5M per WAR for Pujols.

What was the value per WAR 10-15 years ago when Pujols was actually providing all that value? Either way, I doubt the Angels want to be the team paying for the production the Cardinals received.

Also, not to be snarky, but assuming Pujols has "no further WAR" (that is, provides 0 WAR from here on out) seems very optimistic to me. I think most Angels fans would take that outcome in a heartbeat.


Not sure on the WAR value back in the day, but I am assuming $3.5 would have been a bargain then as well. And obviously the Angels (and Tigers) would prefer not to have these albatross contracts weighting down the books, my point was just that even when wildly overpaid at the end of their career, very good players are still underpaid.
Another example - Dustin Pedroia looks rather toasty, and is currently owed $40M more over the next three years. Not ideal for the Sox to have to carry that, but he's produced 52.1 WAR for his career, and assuming no change to that number will have actually only cost them $2.67 per. Even with the huge overpay at the end, he will have been an incredibly good deal for them.
Contrast that with someone like Chris Davis who gets hot at the right time, and he will end up costing $11.89M per WAR - and he's the most likely to put up serious negative value, unless cut immediately. As bad as Pujols et al have been, Davis has been even worse.
   31. Hank G. Posted: June 14, 2018 at 01:53 PM (#5692197)
Cabrera's contract is probably going to end up being around $30 M per WAR; assuming the Angels have enough sense to stop playing him much after this year, Pujols is going to end up around $20 M per WAR (contract started 4 years earlier but signed only 2 years earlier).


Both those contracts were/are awful, but at least the teams were throwing money at legitimately great players, even if they were assuming they would stay great longer than was reasonable.

I offer you Ryan Howard, who was never a great player, despite a 1st (with 5.2 WAR) and a 2nd (with 1.8 WAR!) in MVP voting. The Phillies gave him a totally unnecessary five year extension for $125 million plus a $10 million buyout, for a grand total of $135 million for -4.5 WAR. I think this may be the worst contract ever, based on WAR per dollar.
   32. PreservedFish Posted: June 14, 2018 at 01:57 PM (#5692205)
By WAR, Pujols is now their 5th best (healthy) hitter.
   33. eric Posted: June 14, 2018 at 03:32 PM (#5692304)
I offer you Ryan Howard, who was never a great player, despite a 1st (with 5.2 WAR) and a 2nd (with 1.8 WAR!) in MVP voting. The Phillies gave him a totally unnecessary five year extension for $125 million plus a $10 million buyout, for a grand total of $135 million for -4.5 WAR. I think this may be the worst contract ever, based on WAR per dollar.


IIRC, they also gave it to him a few years in advance. Ok looking it up, he signed the extension in April of 2010 when its first year was 2012.

Also, we recently had a thread about players in bizarrely unexpected uniforms: Joe D as an Athletic, Jackie Robinson as a Giant, that sort of thing. Looking up Ryan Howard gave a picture of him as a Colorado Rocky. The uniform actually fit him well...although only in looks; his OPS in AAA last year was .575.
   34. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: June 14, 2018 at 04:06 PM (#5692329)
I offer you Ryan Howard, who was never a great player, despite a 1st (with 5.2 WAR) and a 2nd (with 1.8 WAR!) in MVP voting. The Phillies gave him a totally unnecessary five year extension for $125 million plus a $10 million buyout, for a grand total of $135 million for -4.5 WAR. I think this may be the worst contract ever, based on WAR per dollar.


Depends on how much longer the Orioles keep running Davis out there. Howard ended up getting paid $190,255,000 for 15 WAR - good for $12.683M per.
Davis is at 15.8 WAR (and declining, -2.1! so far this year) and will be paid $187,958,740. Another -1WAR and Davis passes Howard for the more expensive per WAR career. Any other contenders?
   35. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 14, 2018 at 04:08 PM (#5692332)
Another -1WAR and Davis passes Howard for the more expensive per WAR career. Any other contenders?
I'm sure there's someone who got paid north of $15M for 1 WAR or less, right?
   36. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 14, 2018 at 04:11 PM (#5692336)
And then there's Juan Castro, who pocketed $7,888,000 for -5.4 WAR.
   37. shoewizard Posted: June 14, 2018 at 04:22 PM (#5692343)
   38. TJ Posted: June 14, 2018 at 05:07 PM (#5692388)
Cabrera actually gets a raise to $32 million in 2022 and 2023. His 2024 and 2025 club options ($30 million each) become guaranteed if he finishes in the top ten for MVP in the previous year. That would be one of my favorite things ever if that happened.


I can so see Miggy hitting something like .290 in 2023 with a dozen home runs, but he drives in a boatload of runs while the Tigers stay on the fringe of the wild card race through September. The hype about Cabrera's RBI gets the BBWAA voters attention and he comes in something like 8th place in the MVP vote, costing the Tigers another $30 million...
   39. Rally Posted: June 14, 2018 at 05:47 PM (#5692414)
I can so see Miggy hitting something like .290 in 2023 with a dozen home runs, but he drives in a boatload of runs while the Tigers stay on the fringe of the wild card race through September. The hype about Cabrera's RBI gets the BBWAA voters attention and he comes in something like 8th place in the MVP vote, costing the Tigers another $30 million...


That would be some serious regression for the BBWAA. Pujols is a good test case, he hasn't gotten any MVP votes since 2014. That includes a 119 RBI season in 2016. RBI aren't enough for that.

In the height of the RBI craze Joe Carter got some votes in 1990 for a sub replacement level 115 RBI season, but he finished 17th.
   40. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: June 14, 2018 at 05:57 PM (#5692419)
The Phillies gave him a totally unnecessary five year extension for $125 million plus a $10 million buyout, for a grand total of $135 million for -4.5 WAR. I think this may be the worst contract ever, based on WAR per dollar.


How would one calculate this properly for negative WAR? You can't just divide the total $ by the absolute value of the (negative) WAR, because the worse he is, the better it looks.

Depends on how much longer the Orioles keep running Davis out there. Howard ended up getting paid $190,255,000 for 15 WAR - good for $12.683M per.
Davis is at 15.8 WAR (and declining, -2.1! so far this year) and will be paid $187,958,740. Another -1WAR and Davis passes Howard for the more expensive per WAR career. Any other contenders?


Not quite a fair comparison, because Davis has only 1 pre-arb season in the total and Howard has 2.
   41. Walt Davis Posted: June 14, 2018 at 06:45 PM (#5692446)
Unless we're just comparing two guys whose careers perfectly overlap, it's far from clear how to assess a career $/WAR. Recall that the actual average value of a WAR is around $3 M -- that includes all the min contracts, the arb contracts, the FA buyout contracts, the FA contracts, etc. Then you get issues of how to handle inflation, "market corrections", back-loading, deferments, etc.

Once upon a time, it looked like things were gonna go nuts. ARod was still highest-paid around $25 M but "everybody" (Sosa, Manny, Delgado?) was making around $18 a year. Then 9/11 and a slumping economy led to a "market correction" that saw Vlad and Thome sign contracts that were quite cheap relative to what had happened just a year or two earlier. That reset things and it was still several years before ARod's AAV was topped.

what's of course amazing is that Trout is being paid $34 M and he's still on pace for a $/WAR under 3 this year.
   42. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: June 14, 2018 at 10:54 PM (#5692561)
At ages 34-35, Pujols was paid $47 M while Cabrera is at $58. At that point, Pujols had 6/$175 left (ouch but partially deferred); Cabrera has 5/$154 left (ouch).

You are missing the 8m buyout for the team option.
   43. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: June 14, 2018 at 10:56 PM (#5692563)
Depends on how much longer the Orioles keep running Davis out there. Howard ended up getting paid $190,255,000 for 15 WAR - good for $12.683M per.
Davis is at 15.8 WAR (and declining, -2.1! so far this year) and will be paid $187,958,740. Another -1WAR and Davis passes Howard for the more expensive per WAR career. Any other contenders?

Vernon Wells: 8 WAR for 126m; 15.75m per.
Carl Crawford: 3.7 WAR for 144m; 38.38m per.
Barry Zito: 2.4 WAR for 126m; 52.5m per.
   44. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: June 14, 2018 at 11:06 PM (#5692565)
Sandoval is at -2.3 WAR for his 95m he got from the Sox. God I hated that deal so much even when it was signed...
   45. Ray (CTL) Posted: June 14, 2018 at 11:31 PM (#5692569)
If you only want to compare them now then, sure,


I do and did.
   46. Ray (CTL) Posted: June 14, 2018 at 11:33 PM (#5692573)
Also, not to be snarky, but assuming Pujols has "no further WAR" (that is, provides 0 WAR from here on out) seems very optimistic to me.


As it does to me. I'd say wildly optimistic, actually.
   47. BDC Posted: June 14, 2018 at 11:37 PM (#5692575)
The Angels paid Gary Matthews Jr. about $50M for exactly zero WAR, not as bad as some listed here but nicely balanced.
   48. Ray (CTL) Posted: June 14, 2018 at 11:38 PM (#5692576)
Nick Esasky's -0.6 WAR for $5.6 million (1989 dollars) looks pretty good now.
   49. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 15, 2018 at 01:14 AM (#5692600)
The Angels paid Gary Matthews Jr. about $50M for exactly zero WAR, not as bad as some listed here but nicely balanced.
Yeah, but the 14 WAR Matthews earned elsewhere put him out of the running for this particular career distinction.
   50. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 15, 2018 at 01:24 AM (#5692602)
Yasmany Tomas looks like his career may be over at -2.4 WAR, for which he will end up being paid $68.5 million.
   51. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 15, 2018 at 01:27 AM (#5692603)
Yasmany Tomas looks like his career may be over at -2.4 WAR, for which he will end up being paid $68.5 million.
That's got to be the "winner," no?
   52. Cooper Nielson Posted: June 15, 2018 at 01:32 AM (#5692604)
The Tigers have a long, long way to go before they are as well positioned as the White Sox.

*Shoulder shrug*

The Tigers are currently 7.5 games ahead of the White Sox.

If you look at their current roster, you would have to assume that they have already "bottomed out." Remember, Cabrera has missed almost half of the season, Zimmermann has only made 7 starts (they've used 10 starting pitchers already). They've had days where John Hicks is clearly the best hitter in the whole lineup, which typically has at least four hitters with sub-.700 OPS.

But their starting pitching has not been bad (they have five regular-ish starters with ERAs below 4.20 -- the White Sox have two), and two of those guys are 25 (Fulmer) and 27 (Boyd), who compare favorably with Lopez (24) and Covey (26) at this point. As you admitted, Giolito might be done as a prospect, but also Carson Fulmer hasn't panned out, Kopech's struggling a bit, while the other guys are mostly at A ball, several years away (similar to the Tigers' situation).

Prospect rating lists are interesting but they're not always accurate. In particular, I have no idea how anyone would accurately rank Casey Mize, or any other 2018 draft picks, right now. #31 is obviously a guess -- it could easily be #11 or #81 instead. Maybe all of those highly ranked White Sox prospects will become stars, maybe they won't. They don't have the best record recently of turning minor league talent into major league performance. (Nor do the Tigers, to be fair.)

Anyway, it seems the White Sox still have quite a ways to go to catch up to THIS version of the Tigers, which on paper is quite unimpressive. And the Tigers should be improving and adding some pieces too. Always in motion the future is.
   53. McCoy Posted: June 15, 2018 at 07:25 AM (#5692619)
Cubs signed Gerardo Concepcion for 6 million dollars and I previously thought they couldn't even get him to the majors but I see somehow he pitched 2 and a third innings in 2016. I wonder if he got a ring.
   54. McCoy Posted: June 15, 2018 at 07:29 AM (#5692620)
Darren Dreifort got 55 million to give the Dodgers .2 WAR in about 200 innings over the life of his contract. Jason Schmidt gave the Dodgers -.5 WAR over 43 innings for 47 million dollars.
   55. eric Posted: June 15, 2018 at 09:30 AM (#5692647)
The correct metric might be "WAR-deficit." That would take into account negative WAR, salary inflation, and length of contract.

Player A gets a $100MM deal at a time when WAR is worth $5MM/each. Player A provides 5 WAR over that contract. Therefore he's provided $25MM in value for a deficit of $75MM, or 15 WAR. If Player A had provided -3 WAR, he provided -$15MM, for a WARd of 23. Or if you want to rename it WAR surplus, or WARs, then you get a correct sign in front: -23.
   56. McCoy Posted: June 15, 2018 at 09:39 AM (#5692654)
Well, negative WAR doesn't cost millions it costs the minimum salary at the time.
   57. eric Posted: June 15, 2018 at 09:58 AM (#5692669)
If 1 WAR is worth $5 million, a player who provides -1 WAR has provided -$5 million in value. If that player gets paid $500,000, they are at a $5.5 million deficit.
   58. McCoy Posted: June 15, 2018 at 10:15 AM (#5692691)
If 1 WAR is worth $5 million, a player who provides -1 WAR has provided -$5 million in value. If that player gets paid $500,000, they are at a $5.5 million deficit.

It doesn't cost a team 5 million dollars to get a -1 win player nor do they lose 5 million dollars because of a -1 win.

   59. BDC Posted: June 15, 2018 at 10:19 AM (#5692694)
This is where we need Win Shares :)
   60. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: June 15, 2018 at 11:31 AM (#5692774)
It doesn't cost a team 5 million dollars to get a -1 win player nor do they lose 5 million dollars because of a -1 win.


Nor do the Angels receive money when Trout outperforms his contract. eric is simply trying to equate generated WAR to $. A -1WAR player making $5M is less valuable to a team than a -1WAR player making $.5M.
   61. McCoy Posted: June 15, 2018 at 11:37 AM (#5692784)
Um, yeah. He's less valuable by 4.5 million dollars. You don't need to jump through hoops to know that. Under Eric's system Player A produced -5 million dollars of value for 5 million dollars and player B produced -5 million dollars of value for 500k. One would be at 10 million and the other at 5.5 million.
   62. Rally Posted: June 15, 2018 at 01:47 PM (#5692860)
The correct metric might be "WAR-deficit." That would take into account negative WAR, salary inflation, and length of contract.

Player A gets a $100MM deal at a time when WAR is worth $5MM/each. Player A provides 5 WAR over that contract. Therefore he's provided $25MM in value for a deficit of $75MM, or 15 WAR. If Player A had provided -3 WAR, he provided -$15MM, for a WARd of 23. Or if you want to rename it WAR surplus, or WARs, then you get a correct sign in front: -23.


I like that metric. What it tells you in the case of a bad contract is how many wins worse a team ends up compared to what they should have been if the same money were spent at a league average efficiency.
   63. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: June 15, 2018 at 02:00 PM (#5692871)
The Reds have paid Homer Bailey $68 million over the last 4 years for 187ip and -2.5 WAR. He should be back at the end of June to get that WAR even lower. And, then, only 1 year/$23 million left (with a $5 million buyout after the 2019 season).
   64. Zach Posted: June 15, 2018 at 06:30 PM (#5693066)
I've said in other contexts that WAR is not a great metric for evaluating contracts. Players get paid for the magnitude of their production, without much of an adjustment for replacement level.

If you want to rank contract disasters, you'd do better to use a purely extensive stat like Win Shares or runs created.
   65. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: June 15, 2018 at 06:34 PM (#5693069)
Apparently I misspoke. Homer has halted his rehab assignment because his knee is still hurting. May it keep him out until October 2019.
   66. Zach Posted: June 15, 2018 at 06:34 PM (#5693070)
If you try to use cost per WAR as the figure of merit, you'll get terrible divergence between the "value" of a good season and the player's actual salary for that season. So many contract disasters will look ok in aggregate, because the team "saved" money in the early years by paying the guy $20 million instead of $50 million (despite the fact that nobody actually makes $50 million).
   67. Zach Posted: June 15, 2018 at 06:44 PM (#5693073)
You'll also terribly misvalue the mediocre veteran who accumulates a lot of playing time near replacement level.
   68. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: June 15, 2018 at 10:19 PM (#5693211)
On tonight's episode of "people are economically illiterate #######"...
   69. eric Posted: June 16, 2018 at 10:40 AM (#5693314)
If you try to use cost per WAR as the figure of merit, you'll get terrible divergence between the "value" of a good season and the player's actual salary for that season. So many contract disasters will look ok in aggregate, because the team "saved" money in the early years by paying the guy $20 million instead of $50 million (despite the fact that nobody actually makes $50 million).


I feel that's a feature, not a bug. The reason these players top out around $30-35/per is a combination of total contract value and (probably) marketing. Even the worst contracts, like Pujols', weren't predicated on the fact that he'd be worth $30mm/year at 40+. It was hoping the team would get most of his value early, and then just continue paying for it over time, like deferred money. Then they also would get (ideally, at least) some productive, lower value seasons, as well. But they wouldn't have to take the budget or PR hit of paying someone $50MM+ for a season.

We'd see single-season values like that if, say, Trout demanded to go year-to-year on his contracts.

But ultimately, I do think comparing the total value a player provided to the total amount the team spent is a fair metric, regardless of the order in which the value or payments occurred. This all presupposes that one can accurately gauge the total value a player provided, of course.
   70. Ziggy's screen name Posted: June 16, 2018 at 11:59 AM (#5693339)
if, say, Trout demanded to go year-to-year on his contracts


He should definitely do this. He's so consistently excellent that a team doesn't really need to worry about catching a down season. He's not Brett Saberhagen or Roy Campanella. Of course there'd be a PR hit for spending that kind of money on one player, but who cares, you get Mike Trout.

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