Will Josh Hamilton find the contract he's looking for this winter? And should be?
When the Rangers were knocked out of the playoffs by the Orioles in the AL Wild Card play-in game, Josh Hamilton sounded the part of a politician. The Ranger faithful had booed him during the game in part for his numbers during that play-in game—he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, both on three pitches—but really for his lackluster performance in the second half of the regular season (16 homers and an .833 OPS compared to 27 homers with a 1.016 OPS in the first half).
"I always would love to stay here," Hamilton said at the time of the loss to the Orioles. "They understand that. They know that. When we talked earlier in the year, we didn't get things worked out, so we said we'd wait until the year was over. They obviously get first shot. I told them they'd get first shot at the end of the year. We'll see what happens."
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
According to reports, the Marlins may have interest in Alex Rodriguez. Where does he rank among baseball's most difficult players to deal?
According to a report published yesterday, Yankees president Randy Levine and Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria have had a casual conversation about the possibility of a trade between the two teams involving Alex Rodriguez. While the Marlins could use a third baseman and Rodriguez has close ties to Miami, it seems unlikely that they would be willing to pay much of the money he’s owed, and although the Yankees would like to avoid the rest of A-Rod’s decline phase, they won’t want to give him away. Even if there’s little substance to this particular report, though, it could be the opening salvo in a series of A-Rod rumors that might make the rounds this winter.
A-Rod’s combination of age, salary, and disappointing performance would make him a nightmare to move, but where does his contract rank among the majors’ most difficult to deal? No contract is truly untradeable if a team decides it’s a sunk cost, but the dozen deals below would find few takers unless a team were willing to help pay the player’s way out of town. (Note: rankings mostly for fun.)
The Angels will have to decide on a Mike Trout extension at some point. What are their options?
Mike Trout is having a season for the ages. That shouldn't be news to you. But let's forget about the present for a second and think about what could be an even more promising future, as terrifying as that sounds. By common thought in the analytical community, Trout is still six to eight years away from his peak, and if you’re the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, you want that peak. That means an extension for the most valuable young asset in the game. If you are the Angels, how do you even approach this? To find out, I talked to a number of scouts and executives to get their take.
Has super-agent Scott Boras earned his reputation for getting the most cash and the longest contracts for his clients?
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
Vince Gennaro is the author of Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseballand a consultant to MLB teams. He teaches in the Graduate Sports Management programs at Columbia University and Manhattanville College. He is also on the Advisory Board of The Perfect Game Foundation and the Board of Directors of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), whose upcoming annual convention will feature Scott Boras as the keynote speaker. A non-profit organization with 6,700 members, SABR is a perfect fit for anyone who has an interest in baseball research, statistics and history. Vince's website is www.vincegennaro.com.
Clubs who are down with re-signing their own free agents get better value than those who sign other people's players.
After remembering the 1981 hit "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash with last week’s title on the same topic, we move forward a decade to a 1991 Naughty by Nature hit—and we introduce the money to the equation this time (if you’re down with that). In this article, I will show that players who re-sign with their clubs on multi-year deals provide far more bang for their buck than players who sign contracts with new teams.
Research again shows that free agents who re-sign perform better than those who sign with another club.
In February, I wrote an article evaluating multi-year dealsgiven out to players with at least six years of service time, and I discovered something interesting. I found that players who re-signed with their current teams aged better than players who signed contracts with new teams, and not by a small margin. This finding gained some extra attention (and extra scrutiny) when I used it to question whether the Philliesmight not have erred as terriblyas sabermetricians had suggested when they extended Ryan Howard's contract for five years and $125 million last month. The primary question that people asked was whether there was any bias in the ages of players who signed multi-year contracts with their current teams versus the ages of players who signed multi-year contracts with new teams. In fact, there is some difference in the ages of these groups of players.
Here is how we're now figuring the monetary value of individual players.
This article will follow up on the new version of MORP that I introduced yesterday with a more thorough description of my methodology and my reasoning for it. Firstly, I will restate that the definition of MORP (Market value Over Replacement Player) is the marginal cost of acquiring a player’s contribution on the free-agent market. The basic structure that I am using includes adjusting for draft-pick compensation, which adds to the value of free agents by 10-20 percent. It also looks at all players with six years or more of major-league service time, all years of their free-agent contracts, and makes valuations of their performance based on actual performance rather than the projections, which are biased. I am also adjusting MORP so it is linear with respect to WARP. The discussion of linearity and of the decision to use actual rather than projected performance to evaluate contracts has been detailed in earlier articles, and I won’t reiterate them here in the interest of space. The basic reason why linearity is a fair assumption is that teams frequently have enough vacancies that they can add the number of wins they choose without filling them all. There are exceptions like the 2009 Yankees, who added three front-of-the-rotation starters and an elite first baseman in one offseason. However, even the Yankees do this infrequently enough that it does not regularly impact the market, and without two teams bidding for several superstars every offseason, this is not a large issue. The reason that using projection is so problematic was detailed last week, when I showed how free agents who reach the open market are a biased sample and regularly underperform their projections. For more details of these results, please see my previous work. Here are links to my threepartseries as well as my article on free agents underperforming their PECOTA projections. I will introduce some of the newer concepts in this article.