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Thursday, November 11, 2021

Before free agency, MLB proposes paying players based on FanGraphs’ calculation of WAR

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In the August proposal, MLB offered to use a predetermined sum of money that would be distributed to eligible players, those who had reached at least three years of service time. This time, MLB is offering to pay players based on performance, specifically on a calculation of wins above replacement, or WAR. There are multiple variants of WAR, but MLB proposed to rely on FanGraphs’ version, or fWAR. A player’s career WAR would be part of the calculation, weighted for recency. Whether a player has been in the majors for three-plus, four-plus, or five-plus years would affect the calculation.

Performance already greatly influences the current arbitration system, under which players who have reached three years in the majors can go to a hearing to fight for a higher salary than the team proposes. But the current system nonetheless allows flexibility and room for players to argue to a third party for better salaries.

Full details of Wednesday’s proposal were not immediately known, but the players’ union is unlikely to see the proposal in a much better light than August’s version. One player agent said the proposal has “zero chance.”


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 11, 2021 at 06:15 PM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: labor issues

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   1. Jack Sommers Posted: November 11, 2021 at 06:37 PM (#6052585)
Even I think this is ridiculous. Not the part about basing player salary on a WAR like construct. Teams already do that internally with proprietary versions. But outsourcing to FG and only using their system is WAY off base.

Also, I would add…… "Tell me you think FG player valuations undervalue players without telling me they under value players"

If MLB wants to use FG PLayer valuations, it means they’re too low.
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 11, 2021 at 06:42 PM (#6052586)
I like the idea of an objective metric. It would have to be a negotiated formula though, and I don't see the union coming to the table for this. And it would depend A LOT on how much money is allocated to 3-6 year players. Obviously if the owners are proposing it, it is going to pay them less than under the arb system.

But I hate the current system and would rather see something where good players are paid more than bad players.
   3. Howie Menckel Posted: November 11, 2021 at 07:06 PM (#6052590)
what a time to be alive.....

   4. McCoy Posted: November 11, 2021 at 07:48 PM (#6052596)
This isn't about fangraphs undervaluing WAR. This is about MLB wanting to do a pay for play salary system and do away with arbitration. If the players accept then the salary per WAR has to get negotiated and set instead of letting arbiters and FA setting the price.
   5. The Duke Posted: November 11, 2021 at 09:48 PM (#6052614)
Jim Kaat approves
   6. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: November 11, 2021 at 10:13 PM (#6052619)
The union has been adamantly against paying for performance from the very beginning. They'll never agree to this or anything like it.
   7. winnipegwhip Posted: November 12, 2021 at 12:27 AM (#6052625)
So the age old refrain to an umpires bad call of "you are costing me money" could finally be quantified.

   8. JJ1986 Posted: November 12, 2021 at 06:14 AM (#6052631)
I believe she means he threatened in public to kill her.
   9. O Tempura, O Morays ('Spos) Posted: November 12, 2021 at 07:42 AM (#6052635)
If I'm Scott Boras, I'm buying Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference.
Then I'd make some ridiculous pun based on "moral hazard" or " conflict of interest."
   10. Darren Posted: November 12, 2021 at 09:14 AM (#6052642)
Eduardo Rodriguez: Hooray!
Nathan Eovaldi: Boo!
   11. Darren Posted: November 12, 2021 at 09:16 AM (#6052643)
January 10, 2022: MLB and the Players Union agree to a new collective bargaining agreement.
January 11, 2022: MLB acquires Fangraphs.
   12. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 12, 2021 at 10:03 AM (#6052652)
Yea, I think at the very least MLB should donate to Fangraphs.
   13. Jack Sommers Posted: November 12, 2021 at 12:18 PM (#6052675)
This isn't about fangraphs undervaluing WAR. This is about MLB wanting to do a pay for play salary system and do away with arbitration. If the players accept then the salary per WAR has to get negotiated and set instead of letting arbiters and FA setting the price.

Good point. That part I was just being snarky.

While the defensive evaluations are the biggest differences on the position player side, they're not the only ones. Positional adjustments and other things tend to have big differences too. I so often see people cherry picking which version they want to use to support any given argument.

I tend to prefer to average the two WARS when looking at things like MVP /CY Young voting. My biggest issue is why only Fangraphs ? I don't think one is better than the other, I just think they tell you different things and measure differently. Especially on the pitching side where one is FIP based and the other is RA-9 based.

   14. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 12, 2021 at 01:33 PM (#6052690)
Eduardo Rodriguez: Hooray!
Nathan Eovaldi: Boo!
I would expect that virtually every player would reflexively 110% hate the idea of "the computer geeks deciding how much we get paid," regardless of whether it would personally benefit them or not.
   15. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 12, 2021 at 02:16 PM (#6052699)
This has some precedent, with the Elias Sports Bureau rankings of free agent tiers. Obviously not the same as directly tying their compensation to a number.
   16. Zach Posted: November 12, 2021 at 02:57 PM (#6052709)
Not fangraphs WAR! They have those stupid defensive systems providing all the variability.

Look at Salvy Perez's page.

Gold Glove catcher, .273/.316/.544, led the league with 48 HR and 121 RBI, 161 games played.

3.4 WAR. Nothing special as far as Fangraphs is concerned.

In fact, they like his 2013 season a smidge better: 3.5 WAR for .292/.323/.433, 13 Hr, 79 RBI, 138 games played.

The difference is almost entirely due to, you guessed it, pitch framing: -2.2 runs in 2013, -19.5 in 2021.

Every once in a while, Fangraphs WAR just irrationally loves a player or hates him, and it's usually due to some crazy number on one of their defensive metrics.
   17. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 12, 2021 at 03:19 PM (#6052714)
At least they didn't propose using Win Shares...
   18. Howie Menckel Posted: November 12, 2021 at 03:23 PM (#6052717)
"Charlie, we're up 10 runs in the 9th and we have an early game tomorrow. how about swinging at every pitch no matter what, so we can all get a little sleep? or just bunt one back to the pitcher and head back here to the dugout."

An angry Charlie stares down his manager and replies, "THIS. MEANS. WAR."

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